Montana is California’s route to the sea

Dawn Duncan Harrell:

The problem is that we project our own definition of stupid, bad, evil, and satanic onto our Other (1 John 1:8). Then we can define ourselves as the opposite — smart, good, righteous, and godly — but within this tidy little package, we’ve created Satan in our own image (Rom 2:1).

Pro-life protesters:

Pro-life protesters in Chicago’s Daley Plaza on Saturday said that abortion was “worse than Hitler” and that President Barack Obama was a “Communist Nazi.”

“What children’s rights? They want to abort them before they can even become anything,” one protester told independent YouTube reporter DogStar7. “It is worse than Hitler. How many millions of people have they killed compared to Hitler?”

“He’s a Communist Nazi,” another protester [said].

* * * * * * * * *

George Marsden and Mark Noll on America’s Christian Roots.”

George Marsden: “I don’t think it’s ever a good strategy to exaggerate the facts, to change the facts in order to make a current point.”

The bad news for American evangelicalism is that this needs to be said at all. The good news is that we’ve got people as wise and knowledgeable as Marsden and Noll saying it. But then the bad news (again) is that they’ve been saying this for more than 30 years and don’t seem to be gaining any ground.

* * * * * * * * *

The first decade of the 21st Century — the Naughty Oughts — was the first (since the 1940s) that saw no such technological tsunami, making America rich enough to buy from the world.  As the internet boom petered out, we could have made sustainable energy our Next Big Thing. It was proposed, and the rate that China and Germany are getting rich off solar and wind is most impressive!

By coincidence, that was also the decade when the Fox War on Science hit full stride. When science became the right’s enemy number one.

David Brin

* * * * * * * * *

Matthew Soerens of the evangelical pro-immigration group (yeah, you read that right) G92 makes a bold statement:

I’m going to make a prediction that I don’t think is mere wishful thinking: 2013 will be the year that immigration reform finally passes.

I hope he’s right. Whether he is or not depends completely on what happens on Nov. 6.

* * * * * * * * *

This (funny) video highlights the barriers to healthcare women face in many parts of the world, such as in countries where a husband’s consent is required to get birth control.

The goal of this project is to help improve women’s access to health care around the world by working to remove such barriers. I’m worried, though, that someone like Texas Gov. Rick Perry will see this video and adopt its litany of obstacles to women’s health care as his legislative agenda for 2013.

Related: Christianity Today reports on glimmers of good news for women from Uruguay and Buenos Aires, mistaking it for bad news.

* * * * * * * * *

• Here’s one difference between England and American ca. 2012. In England, they have charming eccentrics whose fascination with unexplained phenomena and Forteana leads them to write books about local legends and to give the occasional lecture at the public library. In America, we have much angrier cranks who believe even stranger things, and we elect them to Congress.

• I don’t disagree with Dean Baker lightly, but the headline on this post of his is simply not true: “Not Just Tax Increases, but ANY Deficit Reduction Will Cost Jobs.” The substance of the post is fine, but that headline is just wrong. We’ve got 7.8 percent unemployment. That means that right now the best way to reduce the deficit is to put the unemployed back to work. Creating jobs is deficit reduction. And creating jobs will not cost jobs. Massive investment in infrastructure, right now, would reduce the deficit.

• “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favour to the skilful; but time and chance happen to them all.”

• Josh Romney is a handsome fellow. Rebecca Schoenkopf thinks he has Patrick Bateman-like good looks, but I’d say he looks more like a young Robert Redford.

The Dude abides: “We must end our national problem of hunger through national and political leadership. Charity is nice for some things, but not as a way to feed a nation. We don’t protect our national security through charity, and we shouldn’t protect our families and children that way either.”

 

 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Imagine adding the equivalent of 2 billion new brains to the human race’s current capacity for innovation and excellence.

    That’s what a super-surplus of energy would do: allow all of Africa and Asia to live in such comfort and ease (and only make our Western lives even easier) that they would be freed of drudgery and lack of hope for a better life.

    Energy is the key: without it, all the creativity in the world won’t amount to a hill of beans.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Optimist. More likely is that the infinite energy will be discovered by a Western scientist and hoarded by Westerners. And my point, which is that there will be a finite (if potentially growing) number of [insert author] books regardless of how many copies of those books it has become possible to make and how easy it has become to make them, remains.

  • Beleester

    Creativity is always scarce, so you will probably be able to get paid for that.  But what are you going to get paid with?  What exactly are you working for when you can get everything you need from a replicator?  Creativity might be valuable, but it can’t be transferred or traded, and its products are not scarce.  So it’s not a great thing to build an economy on.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The adulation of the crowd? I don’t know, really. I’m just not convinced that creativity will stop being worth something when energy and raw materials become free.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    In what way do you think that Star Wars doesn’t promote fascist rule by genetic overlords?

    The part where the fascist genetic overlords are the Sith, a.k.a. the Bad Guys.

    Episodes V on establish that forciness is heritable, and every movie
    shows that having the force makes you invincible against anything apart
    from another force user, even if, like Yoda, you’re a complete moron.

    And the only faction that espouses that such invincibility qualifies one for rulership is the Sith.

    Force users seem to have been political powers in the story for tens of
    thousands of years, and periods where someone asks, “Why don’t I be in charge?” seem to have been common.

    The Jedi were servants of the Republic, not its rulers. The force users who held great political power were generally (wait for it) Sith.

  • Turcano

    But if we run the dreadnought list, the international community will complain about us being cheap assholes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    Yes. What I have read of Brin on Vader, which might not be everything,
    is all about sacrifice and redemption. His sacrifice didn’t mean much
    stacked up against his crimes, and he did not deserve redemption.

    You must have read a very different essay than the one I did, because Brin argued that the end of RotJ presented the following scenario:

    “Sure, this Vader guy is responsible for millions of deaths, but he saved the life of his own son, so the galaxy should throw him a ticker-tape parade.”

    Most people, including myself, would describe it as:

    “Darth Vader sacrificed his life to destroy the Emperor and save his son, redeeming himself in the eyes of Luke, Obi-Wan, and Yoda.”

    Brin’s whole “apotheosis” argument is pure BS – Vader doesn’t become a hero beloved by the Rebellion. During the post-battle celebration, how many people attend Vader’s funeral?

    Just Luke, and the spirits of Obi-Wan and Yoda. Nobody else, including Leia who had almost certainly gotten the full story about her father by the time of the funeral. (The EU establishes that it takes Leia a long, long time to come to terms with her parentage, and adopts an attitude similar to Obi-Wan’s regarding the distinction between Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader.)

    I’m not sure I fully agree, though. Vader’s sacrifice did allow him to
    kill Palps, which has got to be worth something. Palpatine’s wars and
    oppression probably add up to a lot more than a planet’s population, and
    it’s not like Darth Vader had much more to offer at that point.

    He offered his life. I’m not sure what more he could have given.

    Incidentally, the whole “Darth Vader’s crimes consist of the destruction of Alderaan” thing bugs the hell out of me. Vader was Emperor Palpatine’s chief enforcer, responsible for two decades’ worth of tyranny – the destruction of Alderaan was

    a) Just the worst of the crimes against sentience that Vader was involved in, and

    b) Only peripherally involved Vader.

  • Launcifer

    You can’t have six of those mothers in your army and still be a cheap asshole. Maybe a poor asshole, but still… ;).

    Not that I ever worked for that delightful company in any particular capacity, obviously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    Did they miss the part where it was Voldemort who said that, and who is the bad guy in that series?

    As with Brin and Star Wars, they conveniently leave that out.

  • Madhabmatics

    Man, the hand-wringing over David Brin criticizing Star Wars is cracking me up, especially when “this sci-fi author thinks Star Wars is a lil’ too conservative” is practically goofy compared to all the other stuff.

    We’ve got Dan Simmons writing books about how Obamacare is going to destroy America and california will be ruled by the evil ethnic Mexicans, we’ve got that “Dies the Fire” guy getting banned from message boards where “What if the Nazis stopped being jerks and became heroes in an alternate-future” is acceptable for being over the top racist, we’ve got Weird Tales magazine recommending a series whose subtitle is basically SAVE THE WHITE RACE by an author who compares interracial relationships to “Beauty and the Beast.”

    If David Brin’s biggest flaw is he has a goofy analysis of Star Wars that isn’t leaking into his books, then I’m pretty happy for him.

    (Speaking of which, the Ian M. Banks book where he mixes his usual neat Utopian sci-fi plots up by making the protagonist a sympathetic galactic conservative looking at The Culture from the outside, as an enemy, ruled.)

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    “We don’t protect our national security through charity, and we shouldn’t protect our families and children that way either.”

    This is my favorite quote in quite some time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    But if we run the dreadnought list, the international community will complain about us being cheap assholes.

    I’ve never gotten the furor over lists like that – it has ONE scoring unit, after all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    Man, the hand-wringing over David Brin criticizing Star Wars is cracking
    me up, especially when “this sci-fi author thinks Star Wars is a lil’
    too conservative” is practically goofy compared to all the other stuff.

    ((reads the description of “all the other stuff”))

    This is why I mostly just read the same dozen authors over and over these days. And why all the science fiction I read is space operas very distinct from real-world events.

  • Joshua

    The part where the fascist genetic overlords are the Sith, a.k.a. the Bad Guys.

    Luke and Leia are absolutely genetic overlords. One wins a battle against the greatest weapon ever seen, plus a huge army, entirely single-handedly – the other pilots contributed less than the guy on the ground who maintains his X-wing. Leia starts out a princess and only gets more political power as the stories go on. The reason why is their parentage.

    In the Return of the Jedi, the Emperor clearly regards only Luke as being important in the big space battle – he only brings up the rest of the battle is to brow-beat him. When the battle starts to go against him, despite his prescience and insight, he doesn’t deign to notice – if he can get Luke on board, the rest doesn’t matter. The movies demonstrate repeatedly (Anakin in I and the start of III, and Luke in IV) that he’s actually quite right. When a force user from Anakin’s family is on their game, they are literally unstoppable and a galaxy-wide civilisation with ordinary force users and ridiculously advanced technology is no match.

    Luke and Leia may not personally be fascist, but being the only people even relevant in the fight against the Emperor is hardly democratic.

    And the only faction that espouses that such invincibility qualifies one for rulership is the Sith.

    And Leia just stayed at home working on her knitting?
    In the movies, the Jedi seem to be the primary recruiting ground for the Sith.

    The Jedi were servants of the Republic, not its rulers. The force users who held great political power were generally (wait for it) Sith.

    Ah so, the Jedi in III, like the Praetorian Guard in the Roman Empire, always stayed out of the process of choosing political leaders.

    Nah, the politics of the Star Wars galaxy is entirely the Palpatine and Skywalker Show, everyone else are pawns. Whether it’s fascist may depend on which particular Skywalker, but it’s never remotely democratic.

  • Tricksterson

    Sunce Syria already lies on the Mediterranean, no.  They would have to plow through Iraq first.  Understandable if you forgot about it though.  It’s not as though we’ve had anything to do with Iraq in recent history.

  • Tricksterson

    No, no, you have to do the Schoolhouse Rock version.

  • Tricksterson

    Yes, it’s that Brin.  Abnd the space dolphins are tres cool.

  • Tricksterson

    With Arctic ice melting at it’s current rate indeed it does.

  • Tricksterson

    If you’re referring to Stirling’s “Draka” series they do not stop being assholes and become heroes.  Rather, as he’s openly and repeatedly stated it’s meant to be a dystopia.

  • phranckeaufile

    You are giving Romney way too much credit.

  • Madhabmatics

    I’m not referring to any of Stirling’s series, I am referring to the fact that he openly told the moderaters of an alternate history board that he advocated killing all Arab males, turn the middle east to glass, etc. He’s openly talked about how the only way to ~save the world~ is to face the ~hard facts~ that we have to genocide Arabs on multiple websites.

    Other authors there would do nazi althistory speculation, and the fact that he went so over the top that even those guys said “what the hell is going on with him” just shows how bad he was.

  • EllieMurasaki

    he advocated killing all Arab males, turn the middle east to glass, give their women to whites

    Yeah, that wouldn’t piss off the kids of the Arab women the least little bit. Especially the male kids, who might think the people who killed their uncles and grandfathers would also be willing to kill them. Not to mention that a world racist enough to do away with all Arab men would probably not be enlightened enough to treat Arab women with respect.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    Luke and Leia may not personally be fascist, but being the only people
    even relevant in the fight against the Emperor is hardly democratic…

    Nah, the politics of the Star Wars galaxy is entirely the
    Palpatine and Skywalker Show, everyone else are pawns. Whether it’s
    fascist may depend on which particular Skywalker, but it’s never
    remotely democratic.

    At what point in the films are Luke or Leia running the Rebellion? They are valuable members, and Leia occupies a position of leadership, but neither of them in are in charge. Following the EU, Leia is twice elected Chief of State of the New Republic.

    Elected. Twice. As in, “democratically elected to office, and stepped down once her terms of office ended.”

    I really don’t understand your argument here. Are you arguing that a
    work is ultimately fascist/anti-democratic if it involves individuals of
    tremendous personal power, who can affect events on a
    world-wide/galactic/multiversal scale?

    Because that basically
    dismisses whole genres as “fascist” due to the nature of their
    constructed worlds, regardless of how themes of power may be explored
    within such works.

  • Turcano

    It’s mainly the Blood Talons and the fact that they can all go in drop pods.  Your opponent doesn’t need scoring units if he can just table you.

  • Münchner Kindl

    Since I don’t know the context of Mitt’s quotes, I wonder if:
    he simply misspoke and meant Iraq, not Iran – if so, he should’ve corrected himself or somebody should’ve mentioned that it doesn’t make sense

    he had forgotten to update his Cold War notes about the enemy (Russia) needing access to an ocean and thought it applied to enemies generally.

  • Tricksterson

    Ah, had not heard of that.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Iraq is about as much of a threat as a wet blanket. Mitt just doesn’t know his freakin’ geography (and considering that many Americans surveyed have had the same issues, I suspect that he is not terribly fussed by that level of ignorance and knows it won’t hurt him in the polls).

  • vsm

    Which David Brin essay are we talking about here? This: http://www.salon.com/1999/06/15/brin_main/ ? He never calls Star Wars fascist there.

    I don’t think we should dismiss the genre, but its basic assumptions really are anti-egalitarian. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying art that’s politically questionable, but we should recognize it.

  • Madhabmatics

     I get more and more disappointed every time that happens to a popular sci-fi author. :(

    At least Ann and Jeff VanDerMeer are still badasses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Which David Brin essay are we talking about here? This: http://www.salon.com/1999/06/1… ? He never calls Star Wars fascist there.

     That’s one of them. Like the others, it features plenty of twisting and dancing around, deliberately ignoring the part where all the super-powered despots are the bad guys, and the guys guys are trying to preserve/restore democratic government.

    For all Brin’s  talk of “genetic overlords,” the only Skywalker who advocates rule by Force users is the one who has fallen to the dark side.

    I don’t think we should dismiss the genre, but its basic assumptions
    really are anti-egalitarian. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with
    enjoying art that’s politically questionable, but we should recognize
    it.

    Which basic assumptions? The ones where some people have super-powers?

  • vsm

    The ones where some people have super-powers?
    The ones where certain people have hereditary powers that make them almost the sole players in galaxy-spanning events. You can do a story about people with superpowers without implying they’re the only ones who matter. Alan Moore’s Watchmen does something that, even when one of the characters is practically a god, by focusing on the less-super supers and several ordinary people from the street. Spiderman is agile, strong and has cool tights, yet the world doesn’t revolve around him most of the time. Buffy never sidelined the characters who weren’t born with superpowers.

    Also, making the Rebellion democratic always seemed like a blatant retcon to me, what with all the princesses running around in the first movies, but let’s skip that. Luke goes on to re-establish the Jedi Order, yes? As far as I understand, it’s still extremely powerful and is ruled by a couple of unelected old guys with little government oversight. That sounds like a third world country where the army is always prepared to step in if the people happen to elect the wrong candidates. It’s quite telling that this is how Lucas decided to let Palpatine take over. The unprincipled and misguided senators choose him as their leader, leaving the job of deposing him to Samuel Jackson and the rest of wise men who know better.

  • Joshua

    I agree.

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the original Star Wars trilogy, at least up until the Ewoks turn up. I even enjoy aspects of the three prequels.

    However, the story that George Lucas told in the movies is not democratic, democracy in the movies is only ever a failure or at best a bureaucratic waste of time, what good government occurs is good only by virtue of the personalities who happen to have the superpowers. From what I have read in interviews with him, this appears to reflect his actual attitudes, although that’s neither here nor there for discussing his work.

    That is a dictatorship, and in real life or fictional works by authors with a better grip on human nature, tends to work out badly. Just like unelected bodies with guardianship over the political process including succession.

  • KNicoll

    Seriously, this fetishization of the Constitution as a reason not to do something beneficial, when the Constitution has repeatedly been flouted* by things like the Drug War and the War on Terror and nary a peep from the likes of aunursa –

    Because of juxtapositions of topics, the first time I read this sentence I thought it was referring to Old Ironsides.

  • Tricksterson

    I looked for evidence of that and couldn’t find any.  Would you care to point me in the direction of some?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    The ones where certain people have hereditary powers that make them almost the sole players in galaxy-spanning events. You can do a story
    about people with superpowers without implying they’re the only ones who
    matter. Alan Moore’s Watchmen does something that, even when one of the
    characters is practically a god, by focusing on the less-super supers
    and several ordinary people from the street.

    Whose viewpoint is used to introduce the series at the beginning of A New Hope? Two droids, regarded by most sentients as objects rather than people.

    Lucas deliberately structured ANH like this because of Kurosawa’s A Hidden Fortress, where the “lowest” characters (two peasants) acted as the viewpoint characters.

    Spiderman is agile, strong and has cool tights, yet the world doesn’t
    revolve around him most of the time. Buffy never sidelined the
    characters who weren’t born with superpowers.

    In The Empire Strikes Back, the non-powered characters (and Leia is effectively non-powered in the films) save super-powered Luke’s bacon. In Return of the Jedi, Luke determines that his presence endangers the Endor mission and steps out, leaving the non-powered characters to successfully carry out the mission that enabled the Rebellion to destroy the second Death Star (which would have killed Emperor Palpatine regardless of what Luke and Vader did).

    So I’m just not seeing your argument.

    Luke goes on to re-establish the Jedi Order, yes? As far as I
    understand, it’s still extremely powerful and is ruled by a couple of
    unelected old guys with little government oversight.

    The Jedi Order is under the control of the Republic’s Senate.

    That sounds like a
    third world country where the army is always prepared to step in if the
    people happen to elect the wrong candidates. It’s quite telling that
    this is how Lucas decided to let Palpatine take over. The unprincipled
    and misguided senators choose him as their leader, leaving the job of
    deposing him to Samuel Jackson and the rest of wise men who know better.

    Palpatine took over the way that many real-world dictators have taken over. The parallels to Roman Emperors, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, and others were quite intentional.

    And the Jedi were not ready to step in at any time if the people “happened to elect the wrong candidate.” When they learned that Palpatine was a Sith and behind the Clone Wars, they decided to violate their mandate by assassinating Palpatine and taking over the Senate. As a result of their attempted coup, the Jedi were hunted down as traitors and destroyed.

    The super-powered Jedi Order failed, ultimately playing right into Palpatine’s hands by taking the exact sequence of actions he needed in order to legitimately issue Order 66. “The Jedi violate their code and die as a result” does not come across
    as a ringing endorsement of “the Jedi should have been running things.”

    Episode III is essentially a tragedy. Obi-Wan fails Anakin as a mentor. Anakin fails everyone by turning to the Dark Side and putting his personal desires over doing the right thing. The Jedi fail themselves and the Republic by violating their code, resulting in their destruction. George Lucas fails Padme Amidala by cutting the entire plot where she starts the core of the Rebel Alliance (all non-powered people, by the way).

    The only person who does not fail is Palpatine, who gets everything that he wants. And he is, again, the primary villain of Star Wars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    However, the story that George Lucas told in the movies is not
    democratic, democracy in the movies is only ever a failure or at best a
    bureaucratic waste of time, what good government occurs is good only by
    virtue of the personalities who happen to have the superpowers.

    You mean the Rebel Alliance’s leaders like Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, General Dodonna, Genereal Crix Nadine, Admiral Ackbar, General Solo, General Calrissian, and Senator Leia Organa (who had no knowledge of her potential for super-powers until the Galactic Civil War was hours from being effectively over)?

    From
    what I have read in interviews with him, this appears to reflect his
    actual attitudes, although that’s neither here nor there for discussing
    his work.

    That is a dictatorship, and in real life or fictional works by
    authors with a better grip on human nature, tends to work out badly.

    They tend to work out very badly in Star Wars, too. But the old Republic did not become one until it was subverted by Palpatine, and the only Force user to serve in high office in the New Republic was elected to that office (twice) and stepped down when her term ended?

    Just like unelected bodies with guardianship over the political process
    including succession.

    The Jedi were under the control of the Senate, had no authority over political processes, and their single attempt to interfere with the political process was an act of treason that saw them destroyed. That’s a tragic fall, not an endorsement.

  • vsm

     Lucas deliberately structured ANH like this because of Kurosawa’s A Hidden Fortress, where the “lowest” characters (two peasants) acted as the viewpoint characters.
    The
    difference between ANH and Hidden Fortress is that the latter keeps
    using their POV for the whole running time. Lucas abandons it the moment
    Luke is introduced. Good for him, because nobody wants to see those two
    as the main characters of a story like this, but I can’t say it’s a
    particularly successful use of Kurosawa’s trick.

    In The Empire Strikes Back, the non-powered characters (and Leia is effectively non-powered in the films) save super-powered Luke’s bacon.
    I
    never meant to imply non-force sensitives are useless. It would have
    made for a pretty boring series if they were. As for Leia, isn’t it
    implied that force-sensitivity means more than just the ability to wave a
    sword and lift moderately heavy objects? There seems to be a great
    amount of destiny or something of the kind involved.

    leaving the non-powered characters to successfully carry out the mission
    that enabled the Rebellion to destroy the second Death Star (which
    would have killed Emperor Palpatine regardless of what Luke and Vader
    did).

    Alternatively, if the others had failed, Luke and
    Vader killing the emperor would have also ended the Empire. I wondered
    about that part even as a child, since it seemed curious that the hero
    could have just as well stayed home, aside from the status of his dad’s
    immortal Jedi soul. Apparently the EU has solved that problem by
    suggesting the Emperor was using Battle Meditation to help his side, but
    I don’t generally care about that. RotJ just might be the most
    egalitarian of the movies, though note that even there blowing up the
    Death Star requires the work of a single great (though not supernaturally so) person instead of, say,
    every ship in the Rebellion giving it everything they have.

    The parallels to Roman Emperors, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, and others were quite intentional
    They
    were all people who used a chaotic situation caused by complex social
    processes to rise to the top. Palpatine orchestrated a crisis and used
    it to rise to the top. This is pretty much all I need to be convinced of
    Brin’s case, really. That Palpatine is evil is irrelevant; that it’s even possible tells you a lot.

    The Jedi Order is under the control of the Republic’s Senate.
    Going
    by Wookiepedia, there’s a vocal faction that wants to act independently
    of the Republic if it considers it necessary, and the council elects
    its own members. Would you feel comfortable if the US Army operated like
    this?

    The super-powered Jedi Order failed, ultimately playing right into Palpatine’s hands
    They
    were still the only significant form of opposition we saw in RotS, and
    we were meant to find their attempted coup heroic. From what we see, everyone who isn’t a Jedi or a
    close personal friend is fine with their Republic being turned into a
    dictatorship.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    As for Leia, isn’t it implied that force-sensitivity means more than just the ability to wave a aword and lift moderately heavy objects? There seems to be a great amount of destiny or something of the kind involved.

    Nope. Without training, all Force sensitivity means is that you occasionally get hunches or unconscious premonitions. Having some kind of great destiny is a whole different thing, and being Force-sensitive does not make you destined for greatness any more than it makes you invincible in combat. Just ask the thousands of Jedi who died in the Clone Wars.

    In the films, Leia’s Force-sensitivity pretty much just means that she has the potential to become a Force-user.

    RotJ just might be the most egalitarian of the movies, though note that even there blowing up the Death Star requires the work of a single great (though not supernaturally so) person instead of, say, every ship in the Rebellion giving it everything they have.

    Which great person was that? The Battle of Endor was won because of the entire Alliance working together. While certain leaders were clearly instrumental in how the battle played out, none of them did it alone. Even the pilots who destroyed the Death Star’s main reactor were only able to do so because of the entire Fleet’s actions.

    Let me put it this way: What WOULD make the Star Wars films egalitarian and democratic in your eyes? Heroes who don’t do anything important? Problems solved entirely by political processes? Because that would be a very different genre from space opera.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    Found the David Brin quote that sums up why I despise his arguments so much:

    But there’s a more important rebuttal: The whole Luke-Vader-Emperor scene in Return of the Jedi
    is IRRELEVANT! It makes absolutely no difference to the success of the
    rebellion. The only characters who matter a bit in the actual plot
    climax are the wookie and Lando!

    I’m serious. Watch Return of the Jedi again carefully. None of
    the “Force” people — from the Emperor and Vader to Leia and Luke —
    make the slightest difference at all to the actual victory achieved by
    the Rebel forces.

    THAT is the only part of the film I like, and hardly anyone noticed it. (Certainly not Lucas, or he’d have changed it!)

    That last bit of bile was what convinced me that I don’t want to read any of Brin’s fiction.

  • vsm

    Sorry for the late reply. Here’s a few things, keeping the main elements intact:
    *Make the rebels move amongst the people as fish swim in the sea. That is, emphasize its role as popular movement supported by significant amounts of the population, at least on some worlds. Suggest the unsung heroes of the Rebellion achieve something without Luke and company around.
    *Make the characters consider the implications of some people being more super than others and all the crap the Jedi/Sith conflict keeps causing to ordinary people. I’d personally have Luke stay at the exploding Death Star to remove the last trained force-sensitive from the galaxy, but that’s just me.
    *If we must have big space battles, drop the part where it’s all about a single shot hitting true with everyone else acting as cannon fodder. Have them use unconventional and daring tactics instead of abusing an incredibly obvious design flaw.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I’d personally have Luke stay at the exploding Death Star to remove the last trained force-sensitive from the galaxy

    That doesn’t seem bright, unless you’re counting on there never being any more Force-sensitives, or on being able to find and kill them all before they cause too much chaos due to being Force-sensitive and not knowing what’s happening or how to control it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    *Make the rebels move amongst the people as fish swim in the sea. That
    is, emphasize its role as popular movement supported by significant
    amounts of the population, at least on some worlds. Suggest the unsung
    heroes of the Rebellion achieve something without Luke and company
    around.

    Good stuff to have in novels, and the EU is full of it, but it is hard to do much of that within the structure of a space opera film. One of the most common complaints about the prequel trilogy is that it spends more time on politics than the straightforward “rebellion against a dictatorship” background of the original trilogy.

    Note that the films DO contain references to what the rest of the Rebellion is doing – the evacuation of Hoth in ESB, the Bothan spies in RotJ. We don’t see much of that stuff because those aren’t the characters the films follow.

    We also don’t see much of what the Rebel leadership does – contrary to what Brin claims, none of the focal characters are in charge of the Rebellion, but occupy places within its command structure.The big movers and shakers like Mon Mothma operate mostly off-screen.

    *Make the characters consider the implications of some people being more
    super than others and all the crap the Jedi/Sith conflict keeps causing
    to ordinary people. I’d personally have Luke stay at the exploding
    Death Star to remove the last trained force-sensitive from the galaxy,
    but that’s just me.

    Most of the crap that the Jedi/Sith conflict causes to ordinary people is due to the Sith being Dark Side-twisted, mass-murdering tyrants, and the Jedi being utter crap at stopping them.

    Ignoring the EU (and its multitude of Force-using orders, holocrons, et cetera) to focus on the films, a lack of trained Force users would seem to leave new Force sensitives much more vulnerable to corruption by the Dark Side, as it is far easier and faster to draw on. So in a few generations you would wind up with the same problem, but no organized group working to train Force sensitives NOT to abuse their power.

    *If we must have big space battles, drop the part where it’s all about a
    single shot hitting true with everyone else acting as cannon fodder.
    Have them use unconventional and daring tactics instead of abusing an
    incredibly obvious design flaw.

    The “situation is hopeless for the good guys unless they can pull off that one thing that gives them an Instant Win Condition” is a well-worn setup because it provides for a lot of drama, high stakes, and battles that can be resolved dramatically rather than through a more realistic slog. It’s basically the kind of stuff that space opera runs on.

    And I regard ANH and RotJ as good examples of this trope, because in both cases that Instant Win Condition was the focus of a successfully executed battle plan, rather than an eleventh hour Deus Ex Machina.

    And looking over the battles in the Star Wars films, I observe that the actions of a Force user were critical in exactly ONE – the Battle of Yavin in ANH – and that involved following an unconventional and daring plan that worked not simply because of Luke’s Force-enhanced aiming skills, but because the Rebels intentionally exploited the Empire’s arrogance and the power of friendship brought Han Solo back for a Big Damn Heroes moment.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X