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Tuesday, May 04, 2021 

And this explains why I don't own Star Wars comics today

In this AMC interview by James Cameron with veteran Star Wars creator George Lucas, he reveals something very unpleasant about how and what he modeled the Jedi rebels upon: the Vietcong. This comes around 1:13 into the tape, and notice how, when terrorists and muhajideen are mentioned, Lucas doesn't try to refute the notion Jedi fighters could be metaphors for such monsters. Also note how, as these twosome drone on, Lucas seems comfy with the notion the USA would lose in the war against commies in Vietnam.

Needless to say, this is very dismaying to think about, when you realize the phenomenon of the late 70s-early 80s sci-fi fad - one of the most significant movies to give the whole genre a boost in modern times - was built on some of the grimiest templates and metaphors like commies, while the empire headed by Palpatine could be an allusion to the USA, which makes the Nazi allegories with pith helments even worse.

I remember when the novelist David Brin argued over 2 decades ago on Salon, of all places, that the SW universe is built on elitist and anti-democratic ideas. For example:
  • Elites have an inherent right to arbitrary rule; common citizens needn't be consulted. They may only choose which elite to follow.
  • "Good" elites should act on their subjective whims, without evidence, argument or accountability.
  • Any amount of sin can be forgiven if you are important enough.
  • True leaders are born. It's genetic. The right to rule is inherited.
  • Justified human emotions can turn a good person evil.
And surely more stupefying would be the metaphor for Darth Vader by the end of the original trilogy:
...let me again acknowledge that "Star Wars" harks to an old and very, very deeply human archetype. Those who listened to Homer recite the "Iliad" by a campfire knew great drama. Achilles could slay a thousand with the sweep of a hand -- as Darth Vader murders billions with the press of a button -- but none of those casualties matters next to the personal saga of a great one. The slaughtered victims are mere minions. Extras, without families or hopes to worry about shattering. Spear-carriers. Only the demigod's personal drama is important.

Thus few protest the apotheosis of Darth Vader -- nee Anakin Skywalker -- in "Return of the Jedi."

To put it in perspective, let's imagine that the United States and its allies managed to capture Adolf Hitler at the end of the Second World War, putting him on trial for war crimes. The prosecution spends months listing all the horrors done at his behest. Then it is the turn of Hitler's defense attorney, who rises and utters just one sentence:

"But, your honors ... Adolf did save the life of his own son!"

Gasp! The prosecutors blanch in chagrin. "We didn't know that! Of course all charges should be dismissed at once!"

The allies then throw a big parade for Hitler, down the avenues of Nuremberg.

It may sound silly, but that's exactly the lesson taught by "Return of the Jedi," wherein Darth Vader is forgiven all his sins, because he saved the life of his own son.
This type of metaphor (who knows if such a news site would be willing to publish it today, seeing how far left they're going?), when I thought about it in years after reading it, was alarming. A villain annihilates millions, and we're supposed to be forgiving by the end just because he saved his son from an assault by Palpatine? Good grief. What's the world coming to? This is precisely why, much like I've found villain worship stemming from comicdom galling, I also find any worship of Darth Vader equally troubling. But few villains in comicdom have ever been portrayed as instantly worthy of forgiveness as Darth looked like he'd been by the time Return of the Jedi was done. The Death Star was the population-slaughtering weapon, used to terminate planets housing tons of innocent people, yet at the conclusion, that doesn't matter because of one mere life? That's not outweighed by the previous crimes? What an embarrassment. It reminds me that there's a similar problem with how the original Space Battleship Yamato series of 1974-83 goes along in its depiction of Desslar: he was in charge of an alien empire that attacked the earth in much the same way Nazi Germany fired rockets at Britain, his machinations led to the deaths of untold millions, and though he does perish by the end of the first series, when he's resurrected in the second, suddenly - and certainly by the third - he's now being depicted as on good terms with the earthlings, having rebuilt his alien empire again. Desslar may have spent time in the afterlife, but does that excuse his own past crimes in that anime series? Hardly. That's why Leiji Matsumoto's tale was dumbfounding in retrospect.

And all this is why, when I realized the disturbing metaphors SW was built on years after it was such a big thing, I honestly began to find it all discouraging, and it makes me decide it's good I don't own any comics based on it today. I say that because I used to own a few years before, and certainly read some of Marvel's original adaptations from 1977-86. I no longer own any, and rarely bothered to read any since, and the way some of the more recent ones, including from the time Dark Horse had a license, are illustrated in a photo-realist format does nothing to improve my modern perception of them. Nor does it improve my overall perception of Lucas, when I see how he normalizes his choice of metaphors.

That's not saying I'm happy with how the franchise has turned out under Kathleen Kennedy. Nor am I happy Gina Carano had to lose her Hollywood gigs on spinoffs like the Mandalorian because her politics stand in contrast to Lucas and company's. But it's still a decided shame a sci-fi franchise like this had to be built on something so tasteless. I know some people will say SW was what really pushed the genre forward over the years, with Steven Spielberg contributing just as much with his company contributors. And I won't say they're mistaken about SW's influence. Yet it's still no excuse for the politics Lucas drew from. It may be one thing if he based Palpatine on Richard Nixon, as I vaguely recall reading in a history book by Dale Pollak. But basing the Jedi on anti-democratic forces in Vietnam is going way too far, ditto the Vader metaphor of a mass-murderous villain being worthy of forgiveness. When you look at the templates Lucas used, and realize something so stupefying was the driving force behind it, it all just looks dismaying and depressing.

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He does say in the same video that the Star Wars rebels are based on the American rebels against the British Crown who fought the Revolutionary War and created the United States. Basically, it is a David against Goliath metaphor, underdog as hero.

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. As far as Darth Vader's sudden redemption, it's most analogous to the man on the cross next to Jesus, who was saved by simple belief, despite his crimes. There are Christians like Tex Watson member of Charles Manson's inner murderous Manson family. Despite his crimes, he is saved trough faith.

"He does say in the same video that the Star Wars rebels are based on the American rebels against the British Crown who fought the Revolutionary War and created the United States. Basically, it is a David against Goliath metaphor, underdog as hero."

First of all, he didn't say that the Rebels were based on the American minutemen, he just used a comparison (and it's an ill comparison anyways since UNLIKE the Vietcong, the American Minutemen made sure to avoid civilian casualties or mob violence, as John Adams famously demonstrated with the Boston Massacre. In fact, to compare the American Minutemen to the Vietcong is a complete insult to their memory. Heck, the VC only produced demagogues to Communism. The American Minutemen by contrast were learned men, not "hayseeds in coonskin hats who didn't know anything." Aside from writing Give me Liberty or Give Me Death, the Declaration of Independence, they even coined the John Hancock.). Second of all, if Lucas truly cared about the underdog as hero storyline, he'd be rooting for Donald Trump and not villifying him like he and Cameron did in that video, because his entire victory was precisely via those underdog tactics he so loved (especially when the mainstream media was claiming Hillary Clinton was "inevitable."). Besides, most people in Lucas's generation made the ill comparison between the VC and the Minutemen (for goodness sakes, they even called Ho Chi Minh "the Vietnamese George Washington", even though technically, since he plagiarized the Declaration of Independence, he should be called the Vietnamese Thomas Jefferson, but still... Not to mention he if anything was closer in overall nature to Maximilien Robespierre than he EVER was to Washington), so that doesn't detract from his abysmal roots.

"One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

You know, I really hated that bit, especially when there's a fine line of difference between the two: When innocent civilians are deliberately targeted, regardless of whether they're even for their actions or against them, they're not freedom fighters by any definition, they're terrorists. Freedom fighters at least try to avoid targeting innocent civilians.

"As far as Darth Vader's sudden redemption, it's most analogous to the man on the cross next to Jesus, who was saved by simple belief, despite his crimes. There are Christians like Tex Watson member of Charles Manson's inner murderous Manson family. Despite his crimes, he is saved trough faith."

You could also use Saint Paul, then known as Saul during Damascus. Before then, he was downright genocidal.

"In this AMC interview by James Cameron with veteran Star Wars creator George Lucas, he reveals something very unpleasant about how and what he modeled the Jedi rebels upon: the Vietcong. This comes around 1:13 into the tape, and notice how, when terrorists and muhajideen are mentioned, Lucas doesn't try to refute the notion Jedi fighters could be metaphors for such monsters. Also note how, as these twosome drone on, Lucas seems comfy with the notion the USA would lose in the war against commies in Vietnam.

"Needless to say, this is very dismaying to think about, when you realize the phenomenon of the late 70s-early 80s sci-fi fad - one of the most significant movies to give the whole genre a boost in modern times - was built on some of the grimiest templates and metaphors like commies, while the empire headed by Palpatine could be an allusion to the USA, which makes the Nazi allegories with pith helments even worse."

Well, technically, he modeled the Rebel Alliance and the Ewoks on the VC, not the Jedi per se, but yeah, it's pretty bad (and it's not like the Jedi were given good sources either, especially when their whole dang philosophy in the prequels and ROTJ only shows that Lucas HIMSELF is devoid of any morality. It says a lot when the Sith barely come across as having any actual absolute morality than the Jedi did, and THEY'RE supposed to be the actual villains. It's as bad as Red Skull being used currently as a mouthpiece for conservative/right-wing views by the leftists in Marvel.). What's even worse is that apparently, Lucas did this knowing full well children would be watching his films, meaning he tried to brainwash them into becoming leftists (that's certainly what Ian McDiarmid implied in this Guardian interview here: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2005/nov/07/theatre1 This alongside Peace Walker and its Che Guevara love is pretty much the reason why 1. I think leftists love making things light hearted specifically to get away with shoveling this kind of crap and brainwashing kids, and 2., I am rooting for the Empire (can't quite shake off Star Wars altogether, but I CAN root for the so-called "villains," even though I don't like doing that).

Speaking of which, Avi, you might want to consider making a blog entry regarding Kojima and Che Guevara, especially when despite saying you'd add in that information, you really didn't do much on the original Kojima thread other than adding a footnote on his anti-Trump stance, and not the Che Guevara bit or even the Grand Game Plan for MGS2.

In Cameron's defense, though, the Mujahideen did aid in taking out the Soviets, and not all Mujahideen were aligned with al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden (in fact, there were several Mujahideen who if anything attempted to aid us in taking him out, and our failing to do so was all thanks to Clinton).

"This type of metaphor (who knows if such a news site would be willing to publish it today, seeing how far left they're going?), when I thought about it in years after reading it, was alarming. A villain annihilates millions, and we're supposed to be forgiving by the end just because he saved his son from an assault by Palpatine? Good grief. What's the world coming to? This is precisely why, much like I've found villain worship stemming from comicdom galling, I also find any worship of Darth Vader equally troubling. But few villains in comicdom have ever been portrayed as instantly worthy of forgiveness as Darth looked like he'd been by the time Return of the Jedi was done. The Death Star was the population-slaughtering weapon, used to terminate planets housing tons of innocent people, yet at the conclusion, that doesn't matter because of one mere life? That's not outweighed by the previous crimes? What an embarrassment."

In Vader's defense, it was Tarkin who ordered Alderaan's destruction (and the novelization indicated Vader if anything strongly disagreed with blowing up Alderaan, at least, not before consulting with the Emperor, even attempted to talk Tarkin out of it), so that bit wasn't exactly his fault.

And as far as the forgiveness bit, I've seen plenty of stories where a dead person's allowed into heaven just because they did a single good deed in life, even if they were an absolutely appalling person in life. The Little Mermaid by HCA literally dealt with that in its tacked on ending, and that predated Vader (and I personally think the original HCA Mermaid was actually a lot WORSE in that regard especially when her "good deed" was literally committing suicide, despite pretty much wrecking her family with her actions, including her sisters being essentially bald, her dad heartbroken, her grandma most likely DEAD from heartbreak, and even when sparing the prince and his newlywed, she still ultimately harmed him. I'd even go so far as to argue that, if anything, Disney's rendition of that story was an up and out IMPROVEMENT largely because Ariel at least cleaned up her mess, but I digress... At least with Vader, you could argue that ended up freeing the galaxy was a good thing that solidified his redemption.).

If you ask me, the troubling morality in Star Wars actually came from the Jedi themselves, especially starting with ROTJ. I mean, thanks to George Lucas's retcon of Vader being Luke's dad all along, it resulted in Obi-Wan and Yoda coming across as callous individuals who were willing to outright manipulate a boy into committing patricide just to get back at him for dooming the Jedi, and then claiming moral relativity when called out on it ("Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."), and then pretty much told him to kill his father (and yes, they DID in fact tell him to kill Vader. The fact that they didn't try to tell Luke that they only said confront, not kill him says all). And don't get me started on the Prequel Trilogy, which had George Lucas depicting the Jedi Order's youngling procurement as being closer to, say, Napoleon's raising of his dogs in Animal Farm, a completely stupid "no attachments" clause in the Jedi Code that basically gave the unsettling implication that the Jedi can slay their own brethren just to remain unattached, like Wesker from Resident Evil or Revolver Ocelot from Metal Gear, as well as demonized familial attachments or even basic bonds with others as basically being the shadow of greed, not even allowing them to help anyone who needed it even when it was very obvious something like that was preventable. And based on Obi Wan's "Only a Sith deals in Absolutes" line, they not only don't even believe in any absolute morality, but even deem any belief in such to be evil. They basically engaged in Leninthink in other words. Say what you will about Vader, at least HE believed in absolute right and wrong unlike Obi-Wan or Yoda or, heck, any of the Jedi other than maybe Luke Skywalker, which ironically enough actually makes VADER closer to the likes of classical superheroes like Superman or Batman than the Jedi ever did (and if anything, their philosophy made them more like the Joker), so for THAT reason, yeah, I'd "worship" Vader largely because unlike the rest of the cast, barring maybe his son Luke, he actually DOES adhere to an absolute right vs. wrong mentality, even AFTER he became Vader. Even if dark in nature, he still came far closer to matching classical comic superheroes than the Jedi did even when he was the actual villain, and those guys were depicted as the "heroes." There's also the fact that their Jedi Mind Trick is something that is treated as an undoubtable good thing in the movies, even though it essentially entailed literally robbing a person of their free will.

Heck, I even wrote a piece on the Che Guevara love in Peace Walker and how it just ruined the game, the series, not to mention at least two main characters as well: https://otnesse.tumblr.com/post/649891432699691008/ayako-touchy-on-twitter Well, technically two pieces, one of them was an addendum showing the tweets by Kojima's secretary.

Just something you could use if you decide to cover Kojima and Che Guevara in the near future. And this was basically the same thing as Lucas' modeling the VC on the Rebels as well.

It is wrong to say that the American revolutionaries avoided mob violence; just ask the United Empire Loyalists, who were often the victims of mob violence and who had to flee to Canada - unlike those among the German mercenaries who fought for Britian and then became US citizens!

Donald Trump has a strong sense of grievance and likes to present himself as the underdog, but that is all persona; he is a bully who likes to pick on people weaker than he is. He is no Jedi.

...did you own anything Star Wars related in the past?

"Donald Trump has a strong sense of grievance and likes to present himself as the underdog, but that is all persona; he is a bully who likes to pick on people weaker than he is. He is no Jedi."

He's much better than Biden, the senile racist pervert who cheated his way into office, that's for sure.

Take your Trump hatred to some liberal blog. Don't you have better things to do than to troll this site?

"It is wrong to say that the American revolutionaries avoided mob violence; just ask the United Empire Loyalists, who were often the victims of mob violence and who had to flee to Canada - unlike those among the German mercenaries who fought for Britain and then became US citizens!"

Sounds like more revisionist history to me.

"Sounds like more revisionist history to me."

Which part is revisionist history?

You can read about the Loyalists' history on the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada site:

http://www.uelac.org/PDF/loyalist.pdf

About 3000 Hessians stayed in or came back to America after the war, about 10% of the ones who fought against Washington's troops, meaning about a quarter to two-fifths of the troops who did not get killed during the war:

https://www.mountvernon.org/library/digitalhistory/digital-encyclopedia/article/hessians/

https://www.washingtoncrossingpark.org/captured-hessians/

Whoever said this Anon liked either Trump or Biden? The President's office has sure gone to the dogs since the 1950s...

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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