2017/04/18

Is Star Wars Dead?

Star Wars Funeral

Has Disney already bastardized its newly acquired Star Wars franchise beyond saving? Prolific blogger Bradford C. Walker presents a well-sourced case for concern.
One more big red flag keeps coming up in the new stuff for Star Wars: Moral Relativism.
This keeps appearing. It started with all that "Grey Jedi" bullshit during the Expanded Universe, and now in the new canon you see it in the comics and novels first before it comes to television and the films. Rogue One was the first big show of it in action, as usual done with plausible dependability, but now with the Bendu in Rebels and all the fan-blather that the new trailer prompted we're getting more of that Fan-Dumb that I find bothersome and stupid.
Again, for those that missed it the last time I posted it, this is George laying out what the Force is about. Note the date; this was a writers' meeting for Season 3 of The Clone Wars, which is in the new canon unchanged so this IS the official position (i.e. "Yes, the Jedi are correct.")
The video that Bradford refers to is only five minutes long and is required viewing for anyone who still labors under the illusion that Disney is competent to helm this franchise.


I've always maintained that Lucas is the best idea man in the business. Say what you will about the artistic failure of the prequel trilogy, Lucas has a rare talent for perfectly managing his vast stable of influences and synthesizing them into something greater than the sum of their parts. His main deficiency is as a director. The concepts that he lays out in plain language above are far more elegant and internally consistent than they're made to appear on film. It's a problem of telling vs. showing.

Ascended Fans who've been led into error by Lucas' difficulties with showing what he wanted say are compounding the signal to noise problem while adding more problems of their own. Bradford explains:
Go on, try to lie to me and say that you can mix Good and Evil like that. That "balance", that "grey", is just an excuse for moral degeneracy. It's not like we don't see, in graphic detail, MULTIPLE TIMES where this goes and how this ends- both in multiple stories and in real life. He said nothing that wiser, smarter, and far more holy men haven't said many times before (and got martyred for it); he just put on new trappings and sold it well. Star Wars is Superversive.
Which is why I find the official stuff out of the official love-in throwing up so many red flags for this--again, remember who's running the show now: Ascended Fans, no less prone to Fan-Dumb than the rest--that I cannot ignore it. Nothing would destroy the value of the franchise faster than diving into that known fraud of Moral Relativism.
As wiser men than I have pointed out, the devil's lie isn't that black is white. It's that everything is gray. Only moral idiots and psychopaths would fall for the line that murder, theft, and lies are intrinsically good. The con that opens with, "There is no black or white, and only you can determine the difference between good and evil for yourself," is a far more seductive--and effective--assault on objective morality.
Nothing will get me committed to making a fork faster than proof positive that this form of pozzing is now policy- and yes, even something so beloved as that can be forked, successfully, and made to surpass it far sooner than you'd think.
Disney has given ample warning that they always intended to murder Star Wars and dress up their cynical corporate agenda in its flayed skin. Star Wars is dead. It's just not broke...yet.

The comments on Bradford's original post are a goldmine of theologically informed criticism.

Durandel Almiras:
Vox Day has said similar, that if they mess up Star Wars, and it looks like they will, then it needs to be forked and said forking will do far better. He thinks it needs doing regardless of the next two films simply because of the theology of the force, if you will, is messed up (and mideclorians). Why would killing the bad guy who is killing your friends make you suddenly evil and have a penchant for ruling a galaxy wide tyranny? The Light/Good vs. Dark/Evil needs to be preserved and moral relativism rejected, but the functionality of the force needs to make more sense in regarding the human condition. The Dark side needs to act more like sin that is always tempting the user and encourages the person once they start down that road...think of how St. Ignatius explains encouragement in Discernment of Spirits.
I think many of us SW fans would like a fork of the series that made sense to the human condition and stayed closer to the pulp that inspired it while also adopting superversive standards.
Jon Mollison:
You ain't kidding about that last bit. Hell, in a lot of ways Star Wars was just a forked Buck Rogers.
Archaeopteryx:
A lot of it seems like Lucas, and/or EU creators keep trying to have the Force simultaneously represent Good/Evil and Yin/Yang (or they have somehow confused to two concepts). This confusion is why crazy shit like righteous anger at injustice can turn people 'dark'. It also would contribute to people trying to come up with various Grey Jedi philosophies in attempts to solve this discrepancy, even if they don't consciously realize there is such.
And as the man of the hour, Bradford gets the last word:
Part of it is that fans often take what a character says as being wholly correct, and don't pay attention to the actions and their consequences. The result is that they miss when characters are wrong in word, deed, or both and thus subtlety is lost. That inability to deal in such things is a big reason for a lot of Fan Dumb (which feeds back into the miseducation of recent generations, but that's another post).
But now? Post-buyout we're seeing this come from the top, and (as with the previous post) I think this is Kathleen Kennedy pushing a policy. I can't prove it yet (unlike the feminism fraud), but I suspect it.
That's the big difference. It's one thing to have an incompetent, and therefore inconsistent, editorial oversight. It's another to impose relativism by policy from the head office.
A major reason that movie studios, comic book companies, and big publishing houses can continue to push corporate propaganda against their customers' wishes is the international conglomerate sugar daddies whose deep pockets insulate their subsidiaries from the natural consequences of their bad decisions. You won't see a course correction until the parent company starts getting hit where it hurts: in the pocketbook.

As Bradford and his astute commenters have said, forking such co-opted IPs can help to hasten the onset of this salutary pain.

Star Wars came about as a reinvention of classic stories from the pulp era. There comes a time when all works of human hands are in need of renewal. For Star Wars, that moment is long overdue.

May the fork be with you.

Brian is willing to alter the design to better fit his story...Soul Cycle is influenced by many sources, but synthesizes the influences into something new instead of rehashing and repeating them like many writers are wont to.
--Nathan Housley

17 comments:

  1. I have to admit here: Star Wars was a big thing for me when I was a kid. These days I don't think could sit all the way through A New Hope by myself.

    Not gonna say I outgrew it. Rather, it outpaced my desire to keep up.

    And then Lucas made the prequels, which I hoped would be nice but which disappointed me (see: Red Letter Media's 'wife returning to abusive husband' remark).

    I've got zero enthusiasm left for the series, and haven't seen either of the Abrams efforts. So, it's already dead to me, wherever Disney takes it.

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    1. RLM's autopsy of the prequels is largely spot on, in my opinion. But Lucas' failure was at least honest. Don't waste your time with Disney's propaganda.

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  2. To do some psychoanalyzing of the ascended fans, I'm curious if it's an inability to recognize the difference between balance and equality. The balance that Lucas-helmed movies sought for the Force was the balance of light OVER darkness - Lucas makes this pretty clear in the above video.

    To use the terms of Christian theology, the "dark side" are passions unmoored from reason and/or transcendent aims - attachments and possessiveness. The "light side" are not the denial of these passions (sorry hardcore Stoics), but their proper orientation toward true good under the guidance of reason and the transcendent. Balance IS the light side's dominance over the dark.

    Taylor Marshall does a good interpretation of it in these terms here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXbXgKxjC3M&t=1492s

    This kind of reading, balance as light OVER dark, can't be seen by the ascended fans because it smacks, being the good moderns they are, too much of hierarchy. Thus they reread "balance" to mean some sort of equality between light and dark. Even Yin-Yank philosophy of the orient doesn't believe that. What they believe is all just dressed up Jacobin hooey.

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    1. Well said. Lucas couldn't have stated more clearly that the Light Side is selfless, unconditional; even kenotic, love. The Dark Side is Nietzschean will to power.

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  3. I heard about this "Grey Jedi" nonsense recently and my reaction was "oh hell no". If Star Wars goes relativist I'm done with it.

    Another good blog post on the "balance" topic:
    http://friendofsophia.blogspot.com/2010/08/cloudy-and-clear.html

    "Now, oddly enough, a lot of people—including the Taoists—identify "good and bad" as a yin-yang pair, which is where that whole "balance of good and evil" nonsense comes from, à la Dragonlance. Actually, though, if you really examine Taoism, you'll notice that, to them, "good" means balance, and "evil" means imbalance—because evil is privation of a good. The "balance of good and evil" is the error the Manicheans made, and though the Chinese philosophers might've occasionally said the same thing (possibly in desperation for more yin-yang pairs), they never actually mistook the concept like that."

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    1. My favorite comment on the whole debacle thus far came from a reader on Twitter (apologies for forgetting who):

      "If 'balance' means balancing the Dark and the Light Side, then the Jedi are Confucians who had the mandate of heaven and lost it to corrupted Taoists."

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  4. Dedicating RuckusApril 18, 2017 at 2:35 PM

    I think maybe some of the psychological impetus for "grey Jedi" and other such silliness comes from the similarly silly prequel-era ruling about the Light and Dark sides of the Force. In the original trilogy, there's a pretty clear light = good, dark = evil identity; however, in the prequels, we have the whole thing about how the Jedi Order prohibits having attachments to other human beings, because this leads to the Dark Side, or something. Very few people are willing to buy "attachments to other humans always lead to evil"; therefore, people who accept the prequels' definitions there, but want Jedi to be normal people with well-balanced lives, end up creating "grey Jedi" as "Jedi who do the things which the prequels say are Dark, but are obviously not actually evil".

    Far better, of course, is to throw out the prequels' silly definitions (which I think were only really there to enable the mediocre romance plot, anyway) and go back to the standard Light = good, Dark = bad. Then you can just say "yes, some Jedi are married, this has no special metaphysical implications".

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    1. You give a perfect example of the fans mistaking Lucas' point due to his deficient directing.

      Watch the video above. Lucas clarifies that loving other people is of the Light Side. Trying to _possess_ them is of the Dark Side.

      But I agree. The prequels muddled the delivery of that concept badly.

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  5. Well, George was the one that gave us the line "only a sith deals in absolutes." Which of course leads to so many problems.

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    1. That line used to make me facepalm, too. But in light of evidence like the video in today's post, I'm leaning toward the opinion that Lucas intended it as one of those witty truisms that sticks with you because of the contradiction, e.g. "A woman's advice is worthless, but only a fool ignores it."

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  6. Brian

    Thanks for the post. The prequels with the Jedis getting all huffy and sanctimonious about human attachments really bugged me. I saw it as a cause for the Jedi's downfall. If itvweren'the Anakin I think Obi wan's mentor would've rebelled.

    I think he concluded that the Jedis had become insufferable and was glad not to sit on the council. To me, The Force awakens missed a fantastic opportunity to explore the tensions between Luke and the Republican/gnostic faction. Would've been a great way to introduce Mara Jade. First as assassin then as Luke's wife and mom of lots of kids.
    Maybe that's what I'do like to do with a my own mashup/fork :)

    xavier

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    1. You're welcome. And yes, TFA could've been subtitled Missed Opportunities.

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  7. I forgot to add the Republican/gnostic faction of the Jedis I think that would add a layer of drastic tension along with the imperial rump.
    More pulp action:)

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  8. >There are calls to fork star wars.
    >Just as Brian is putting the finishing touches on his new novel for Castalia House.

    Well that is serendipitous.

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  9. Brian

    I haven't seen the Force awakens. I would like to but as a dillitente writer analyzing how not to write a story. In any case, i bet that there'll be lots of samidzat fanfic appearing which will be quite good even pulpy.

    I'm sorta working on a Star wars story. It's post Death star 2 from an Imperial point of view from the lower ranks.
    In any case, i want to reflect on some issues within Star wars that Disney is squandering

    xavier

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  10. Me and my brother both watched the last star wars hoping the movie would just end already for about the last 20-30 minutes.

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    1. Same here. That's when I stopped watching.

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