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Does the Empire Have a Specific Ideology?
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 PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:33 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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How is Palpatine like Bush? I'm genuinely curious because I've never heard someone try to actually explain it.
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 PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:04 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Palpatine was like Bush because after the terrorist destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001, he declared a "war on terror". In other words an ideological war against a concept that had no goals or conceivable end, like Palpatine's Clone Wars which served no purpose other than to give him control over the Republic's military for his own power.

The Trade Federation is like OPEC, and episode one opened up with the Republic having an embargo against them just like the US did for ten years with Iraq.

Under Bush, he rolled back civil rights, most notably with the Patriot Act that allowed the government to spy on citizens without court order, and utilized rendition where suspected terrorists would be arrested, imprisoned and tortured in other countries so they didn't have to uphold US law and he defied international law in general. The idea is that people were terrified and would elect a dictator to protect them that was worse than the thing they feared. It's not that thinly veiled.

The Chancellor in the V For Vendetta film is a far less subtle Bush analogy and the film just straight up tells you the concept I described above.
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 PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:51 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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^ Here's the issue I have with that. Much of the comparisons go back to AotC. In AotC, Palpatine is given emergency powers to ensure security against the Separatists and the Clone Wars are declared. The trouble is that the production of AotC ran from June 26 2000 - September 20, 2000. There were reshoots done, but they were filmed in March 2001. So the film completed shooting before 9/11 and the creation of the Patriot Act even happened!

Honestly, leaders using public paranoia to enact "security measures" and gain power is such a recurring theme in human history that I think it's very possible it could have been a coincidence - and, given the film's shooting schedule, it almost certainly was. AotC came out shortly after 9/11 and so it was fresh in people's minds, but I think they were jumping at shadows.

For all I know the blockade in TPM could be based on the US embargo against Iraq, but without the comparisons in AotC being valid, I don't think there's much of a case to be made out of one blockade (something even more commonplace in history).
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 PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:47 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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You're right, the movie is obviously based on Julius Caesar. The fact that Platonic History played out that current events matched up with the film unintentionally, could make the film seem pretty brilliant in retrospect. But this is the PT we're talking about here, so that's not gonna happen Laughing

The point was just that there was a whole slew of movies making a cynical political commentary at the time, like I mentioned V for Vendetta and in particular Fahrenheit Nine Eleven, so that there were plenty of critics that thought SW was doing the same thing and slammed it for that.

That just goes to show history repeating yet again.
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 PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:13 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Taral-DLOS wrote:
Finished Leia, Princess of Alderaan. I've confirmed my previous suspicions: Claudia Gray is fantastic and we should read all of her books.

Also, there's a chance I'm an advocate for war collaboration, which makes me a bit less comfortable. I wrote a blog post about it: http://taralbooks.blogspot.ca/2017/11/star-wars-new-canon-princess-leia-books.html


Sorry, I'm snagging your post from another thread because It made me think of a talking point that I think fits better for this one.

Frankly, I found this comment kind of disturbing. A collaborator, assuming that I am getting the context of this post correct, is someone that betrays their country or group in order to secure their own self interest. I assume that is not what you meant, and what you meant is that if you were in SW you might be reluctant to support the Rebel Alliance against the Empire.

I get the idea of realpolitik and having a complex story for dramatic purposes, but I feel pretty icky about the prospect of presenting a Nazi allegory in a sympathetic light. That strikes me as maybe even being socially irresponsible.

In the original story the Rebels are Good and the Empire is Bad, and there is kind of a good reason for that, IMO. This scenario is the other side of the coin to which this thread was made for, about why presenting real world politics in SW is not such a hot idea.
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 PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:37 pm Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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Dog-Poop_Walker wrote:
Taral-DLOS wrote:
Finished Leia, Princess of Alderaan. I've confirmed my previous suspicions: Claudia Gray is fantastic and we should read all of her books.

Also, there's a chance I'm an advocate for war collaboration, which makes me a bit less comfortable. I wrote a blog post about it: http://taralbooks.blogspot.ca/2017/11/star-wars-new-canon-princess-leia-books.html


Sorry, I'm snagging your post from another thread because It made me think of a talking point that I think fits better for this one.

Frankly, I found this comment kind of disturbing. A collaborator, assuming that I am getting the context of this post correct, is someone that betrays their country or group in order to secure their own self interest. I assume that is not what you meant, and what you meant is that if you were in SW you might be reluctant to support the Rebel Alliance against the Empire.

I get the idea of realpolitik and having a complex story for dramatic purposes, but I feel pretty icky about the prospect of presenting a Nazi allegory in a sympathetic light. That strikes me as maybe even being socially irresponsible.

In the original story the Rebels are Good and the Empire is Bad, and there is kind of a good reason for that, IMO. This scenario is the other side of the coin to which this thread was made for, about why presenting real world politics in SW is not such a hot idea.


Hey, I wasn't all that comfortable writing it. I'm almost certain I used the word wrong (there's no invocation of Nazism in what I meant). You got the gist of my point right.

Claudia Gray is really good at presenting both sides of a debate. In Lost Stars, she made the pro-Empire and pro-Rebel characters compelling, with equally valid ideologies. Some characters think the destruction of Alderaan was not only ok, but necessary, and you're not necessarily left thinking "Ok, I'm done with that character."

She did a similar thing with Bloodline. Leia was a Populist, while Casterfo was a Centrist; both POVs had supporters that made them seem like equally good ideas, and also supporters that took the ideas too far.

In Leia, Princess of Alderaan, it's a different debate. The story is told from Leia's perspective, so there's no pro-Empire ideology. The debate here is "Is it better to fight the Empire, or to keep your home safe from Imperial retaliation?" Most of the characters dislike the Empire, but while some want to form Rebel movements to take it down, others warn of the consequences of rebellion. Someone who goes along with the Empire (perhaps begrudgingly) may be enabling a bad outcome, but their home isn't being threatened.

If Bail and Breha Organa left well enough alone, would their people still be alive? As rulers, it could be argued that the lives and well-being of their people should be priority #1

That's my bad for using the term wrong. I did think it was evocative, but didn't mean for it to be offensive.
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 PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:03 pm Reply with quote  
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  Skywalker2B
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Taral-DLOS wrote:
If Bail and Breha Organa left well enough alone, would their people still be alive? As rulers, it could be argued that the lives and well-being of their people should be priority #1


I think Bail and Breha's actions, along with the entire Rebellion, is a great truth/lesson that "Freedom isn't Free". That's also a Biblical truth.


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 PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:59 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Taral-DLOS wrote:
That's my bad for using the term wrong. I did think it was evocative, but didn't mean for it to be offensive.


No, you're fine. I wasn't really what you said, or even entirely about Gray's books specifically.

It just made me consider the question: Is it OK to write a book that is apologetic for the Galactic Empire?

Besides the moral question, it's just not that interesting of a concept, I think. All you could really do would be the Nuremberg Defense.

I think that is why all the older stories about Imperials either had them be bad, even if they were magnanimously entertaining like Thrawn, or else be naive people who came to realize they were wrong and joined the Rebellion.
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 PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:50 am Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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Dog-Poop_Walker wrote:
Taral-DLOS wrote:
That's my bad for using the term wrong. I did think it was evocative, but didn't mean for it to be offensive.


No, you're fine. I wasn't really what you said, or even entirely about Gray's books specifically.

It just made me consider the question: Is it OK to write a book that is apologetic for the Galactic Empire?

Besides the moral question, it's just not that interesting of a concept, I think. All you could really do would be the Nuremberg Defense.

I think that is why all the older stories about Imperials either had them be bad, even if they were magnanimously entertaining like Thrawn, or else be naive people who came to realize they were wrong and joined the Rebellion.


I guess we have a difference of opinion here. In general, I find stories focussing on villains, describing their point of view and their motivations, to be a lot of fun. When villains are compelling characters that have reasons for what they're doing, I tend to like the story even more.

The prequels (regardless of quality) make Vader a sympathetic character, driven to darkness by the loss of all he cares about.

Joker was by far the best part of the Dark Knight, and Two-Face's fall from grace was fully understandable.

Loki is denied the crown he so desperately wants, and turns to greater powers that can help him carve out an empire of his own, starting with Earth.

Khan genuinely believes himself to be a superior being (literally engineered for that purpose), but is cast away and loses his power and his loved ones.

(and this is where people might get angry, but please remember that I'm referring to a movie/broadway musical and not the Bible directly): If you to listen to the first song of Jesus Christ: Superstar, you may actually think "Hey, that Judas guy has some fair points." He is concerned that Jesus will take it too far and cause them all to be killed, either by spurned former believers who decide they're wrong, or the Romans putting down a would-be King in their territories. "And all the good you've done will soon get swept away // You've begun to matter more than the things you saaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy".

So yes, generally speaking, a story that turns a villain into a relatable character is something I'll enjoy. And that's true of Imperials. Some are indeed portrayed as zealots for Palpatine, especially in the New Canon after Return of the Jedi (per Shattered Empire, Aftermath trilogy, and Battlefront II: the Empire starts attacking its own. The logic here is that an Empire that cannot protect its Emperor does not deserve to survive. This is indefensible). But others grew up with lawlessness or chaos caused by corruption in the Old Republic, crime lords, Separatists, etc., and the Empire legitimately offers them security (I believe this was part of the origin of Rae Sloane from the Aftermath books). Others swore vows of loyalty which their cultures view as more important than life itself (Ciena Ree, Lost Stars)

Skywalker2B wrote:
Taral-DLOS wrote:
If Bail and Breha Organa left well enough alone, would their people still be alive? As rulers, it could be argued that the lives and well-being of their people should be priority #1


I think Bail and Breha's actions, along with the entire Rebellion, is a great truth/lesson that "Freedom isn't Free". That's also a Biblical truth.


That's definitely what they're going for. I'm not denying that it's the philosophy of the Rebellions in general and the Organas specifically. But not all of the sympathetic characters of Leia, Princess of Alderaan agree. It's an interesting question to raise, and I really like the way in which Claudia Gray raises these questions.

We can agree to disagree on the value of the idea, and we can agree to disagree on whether and how it should be presented. But I like it.

**

In the end, I totally get the value of a black and white story about good vs. evil. The movies (especially the Original Trilogy) do this very well. This sort of thing is exactly what we want out of these movies. But in my novels, I for one want more nuance.
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 PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:43 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Taral-DLOS wrote:


I guess we have a difference of opinion here. In general, I find stories focussing on villains, describing their point of view and their motivations, to be a lot of fun. When villains are compelling characters that have reasons for what they're doing, I tend to like the story even more.


That's not what I'm saying.

I think that Svidrigailov is a much more interesting character than Raskolnikov because he is honest about his evil and selfishness, whereas Rodya is a coward and a liar that tries to justify his crimes and then repent them to convince himself, and us, that he's a good person.

But that is a work of fiction, like your examples. Even so, do you not believe that fiction can be transgressive?

Could you find the Marquis de Sade to be sympathetic and entertaining?

I assume that you haven't read, and probably are not familiar with the book The Turner Diaries? It's a fictional story about White Supremacists committing terrorist attacks and trying to overthrow the US Government. I don't find that entertaining and sympathetic.

Although crime is certainly a cosmopolitan phenomenon, It's closeness to life is ironically also what gives it a vagueness and generality that makes it easier to keep at a distance. The more specific the incidents and the context, the harder it is to separate from real morality.

As I said, the Empire is an analogy for Nazi Germany. In order to justify it in a work of fiction one would need to use rhetoric that defends and condones Totalitarian government and acts of Genocide. I'm not very comfortable with that.

Does that make a clear distinction between how that is different than, say, liking Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones, an evil character who is murdering all these people to try to gain the crown in a magical land?
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 PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:50 pm Reply with quote  
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  Taral-DLOS
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Dog-Poop_Walker wrote:
Taral-DLOS wrote:


I guess we have a difference of opinion here. In general, I find stories focussing on villains, describing their point of view and their motivations, to be a lot of fun. When villains are compelling characters that have reasons for what they're doing, I tend to like the story even more.


That's not what I'm saying.

I think that Svidrigailov is a much more interesting character than Raskolnikov because he is honest about his evil and selfishness, whereas Rodya is a coward and a liar that tries to justify his crimes and then repent them to convince himself, and us, that he's a good person.

But that is a work of fiction, like your examples. Even so, do you not believe that fiction can be transgressive?

Could you find the Marquis de Sade to be sympathetic and entertaining?

I assume that you haven't read, and probably are not familiar with the book The Turner Diaries? It's a fictional story about White Supremacists committing terrorist attacks and trying to overthrow the US Government. I don't find that entertaining and sympathetic.

Although crime is certainly a cosmopolitan phenomenon, It's closeness to life is ironically also what gives it a vagueness and generality that makes it easier to keep at a distance. The more specific the incidents and the context, the harder it is to separate from real morality.

As I said, the Empire is an analogy for Nazi Germany. In order to justify it in a work of fiction one would need to use rhetoric that defends and condones Totalitarian government and acts of Genocide. I'm not very comfortable with that.

Does that make a clear distinction between how that is different than, say, liking Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones, an evil character who is murdering all these people to try to gain the crown in a magical land?


Ok I get what you’re saying now. I see the difference you’re conveying, but I think the Empire, as a fictional entity, is closer in scope to the GoT example than the real-world examples.

The Empire has many trappings of Nazi Germany. But it’s still a fictional entity ruled by an evil space wizard, powered by an army and bureaucracy filled with purely fictional people that I’d like to understand and empathize with.
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