I have a bad feeling about this

In all the years I’ve been reading dumb commentary online about Star Wars, I don’t think I’ve ever read a more wrong-headed assertion about it than this one:

If there was a moment when the culture of enlightened modernity in the United States gave way to the sickly culture of romantic primitivism, it was when the movie “Star Wars” premiered in 1977. A child of the 1960s, I had grown up with the optimistic vision symbolized by “Star Trek,” according to which planets, as they developed technologically and politically, graduated to membership in the United Federation of Planets, a sort of galactic League of Nations or UN. When I first watched “Star Wars,” I was deeply shocked. The representatives of the advanced, scientific, galaxy-spanning organization were now the bad guys, and the heroes were positively medieval — hereditary princes and princesses, wizards and ape-men. Aristocracy and tribalism were superior to bureaucracy. Technology was bad. Magic was good.

That’s the entire bit about Star Wars in the article, which makes a point about…something, I guess. I didn’t bother reading the article, actually; I just read the Star Wars bit and realized that I’m not terribly interested in the insights of a guy who can’t be bothered to be even remotely in the ballpark on what a movie is about.

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7 Responses to I have a bad feeling about this

  1. Jason says:

    I read that last week sometime and had much the same thought. Yes, a single escapist film is responsible for everything you dislike about American culture 35 years later. This douche's comments reminded me of a rabid Trekkie I knew back in college who once told me Trek was superior to SW because a trek offers so many more storytelling possibilities than a war. Sigh. As if Star Trek didn't tell plenty of war stories over the years.

    If you really want to burst a blood vessel, look up Orson Scott Card's polemic about how the Jedi are medieval elitists and SW fans long for a feudal society, while ST represents democracy. Or some damn thing.

    I'm a hard core fan of both, so what the hell does that say about me and what I long for?

  2. Kelly Sedinger says:

    The writer of that idiotic article has me thinking, a little bit. His error is enormous, but it's also one I think I have seen before, in characterizing Star Wars as being science vs. magic. I just don't think that George Lucas views the dividing line between science and magic in the same way that most do…I may have to incorporate this in a future post.

    OSC? Nope. He is on my permanent "Never read another word by this son-of-a-bitch again" list. Not one word. I won't read his books, his essays, his blog posts, his grocery lists, nothing. OSC is as dead to me as an author can get.

  3. Jason says:

    He is rather a jerk, isn't he? Too bad, too, as I enjoyed his earlier work quite a bit. But then the same thing happened to me with Michael Crichton.

  4. Unknown says:

    Man, I bet the guy dies a little every time someone mentions Section 31. Which I love because I always thought that Starfleet was too good to be true.

  5. Lynn says:

    Wow. It's really sad when people can't see beyond the possible political implications of a work of fiction and just sit back and enjoy the story.

  6. Doug says:

    Well, let me wax philosphically here, the vision of Gene Roddenberry vs. what George Lucas wanted, I think is the difference between a man who had a clear vision of the future and wanted to illustrate it, while George I think, just wanted to tell a good story. But each grew in ways neither man probably had envisioned. The trajectories of both SW and ST moved along from those starts.

    I kind of see the SW Jedi/Old republic as the same notion as the Arthurian tales (the "good" old days of yore, but probably never to see again because of the massive change that took place).

  7. Tonio Kruger says:

    Actually the head of that galactic scientific organization in that particular movie was an Emperor and I seem to recall Emperors gemerally being considered aristocrats by definition. Plus both sides used technology and magic at different times so Mr. Lind's point is what exactly? To prove how little attention he paid to the actual movie?

    As long as we're looking around for unwieldy political metaphors, what are we to make of the fact that one of the most popular musicals on Broadway near the start of the 1960s space race was Camelot? I seem to recall some aristocrats and magicians in that play as well but alas, I doubt Mr. Lind will be mentioning it in future articles.

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