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Does the Empire Have a Specific Ideology?
 PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:12 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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So the recent controversy over the tweets by Rogue One writers comparing the Empire to a "a white supremacist (human) organization" that is being "opposed by a multi-cultural group led by brave women." Basically a not too subtle link from Rogue One to current politics.

It got me thinking about what ideology the Empire actually has and my conclusion is that I guess I always saw the Empire as having a non-specific ideology. It could be far right fascism or far left totalitarianism. Star Wars should be universal. Just as people of all religious affiliations can find spiritual relevance in Star Wars, people of all political affiliations should find political relevance - if they choose - in the Rebellion's fight against the Empire. We all dislike oppression - even if it's just perceived oppression - regardless of the source and so we all unite against the Empire. When making Star Wars, George Lucas was interested in the ideas that unite humanity across cultures and time and that is, I believe, why Star Wars has found such a large audience and has such an enduring legacy.

It distresses me to see the writers of Rogue One being partisan and using Star Wars as just another means of dividing us when a Star Wars movie should be uniting us. And, heck, Star Wars should also be timeless! The Original Trilogy didn't feel like the 70s and 80s - it felt like a galaxy far, far away, but with universal human truths - and Rogue One shouldn't feel like 2016.

I'm not saying it will. Obviously, this was just a tweet (though the fact that it was written by the writers of the movie makes me a little concerned) and is probably not reflective of the movie. I still remain optimistic about this movie.

Anyway, I guess this turned into a rant. What are your thoughts?
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 PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:35 pm Reply with quote  
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  Mara Jade Skywalker
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Just get out of politics. Get out. Star Wars has always been an escape for me, and now they're trying to make statements relevant to current events? This is so frustrating. I am trying so hard to hold on to what attracted me to this universe in the first place, and it's slipping away.
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 PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:06 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Politics has affected fandom in general. Sad

I see so many people using their fandoms as a soapbox to speak about their political opinions and, while I suppose that's fine in moderation, it's gotten way out of hand. I feel like in the past few years, so many people who used to be pretty apolitical - or were at least pretty silent about their views - have suddenly become vitriolic ideologues. I swear modern fandom cares more about whether or not a movie, TV show, book etc. are or are not pushing a given agenda than about the actual stories themselves. Gone are the days of discussing characters (aside from superficial details like their race, gender, sexuality etc.), themes, plot, special effects, music, cinematography etc. Now it's just "This movie is SJW propaganda!" or "This movie reinforces traditional gender stereotypes!". I feel alienated from my generation for just wanting to experience and talk about stories.

I just unfollowed Mark Hamill on Twitter. I used to enjoy his anecdotes on Star Wars and voice acting, but lately 90% of his tweets have just been about bashing Trump. I just don't want to hear it, and I definitely don't want to hear it when I'm trying to head off to a galaxy far, far away as an escape.

I was so excited for Rogue One and I'm still trying to hold onto my optimism, but now I have a nagging feeling this film is going to get preachy. If it was one of the actors who had tweeted those things, I don't think I would be worrying. The fact that it was the screenwriters concerns me. I want Lucas back. Say what you want about his directing style, he was the heart of Star Wars.

This election has reminded me why I labeled myself a "political agnostic". Kark politics. I follow Obi-Wan Kenobi in saying I'm not brave enough for them.
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 PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:29 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Episode 1 and the prequels were very much representative of the political climate of the time, which a lot of people found just as annoying then as you do now.

The OT was never really political, but it did go against conventional story telling in some ways. One of the big appeals of SW is that it had heroic women, which made it very inspirational to girls and yes, did defy gender roles. A little less celebrated, but it also had black heroes like Lando and Mace Windu.

In other words "diversity" was always a part of SW. It's really dumb to complain about it. It's just that the promotion of it didn't focus on that and use annoying buzz words. That's really what you are against, but it's a good thing about star wars.

The Empire is clearly a Nazi analogy. Human supremacy and that being a rallying point for the mixed species Rebellion was a part of it, at least in the EU material.
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 PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 12:24 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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See, the thing that annoys me is that I plugged my ears every time someone said that TFA or later Rogue One was SJW propaganda. I stand by my opinion that the races or genders of characters doesn't matter. I feel like we need to take that stance or every time there's too many white male characters in leading roles people will be crying out "Privilege!" and "Patriarchy!" and on the other hand when there are women or non-white characters in leading roles people will cry out "SJW propaganda!" All of that nonsense makes me want to bang my head against my desk. I don't care if there's an all white Star Wars movie, an all black Star Wars movie, an all Asian Star Wars movie, an all male Star Wars movie, an all female Star Wars movie, or a mix like Rogue One. Plot, characters, action, music, cinematography - that stuff matters to me. The amount of melanin or the type of genitalia the actors playing the characters have is negligible.

That's why I wanted to give Disney et al. the benefit of the doubt. Shut up Alt-Righters - they can cast this movie however they want and all of the actors look fantastic. I didn't want to to believe their anti-white conspiracy theories! But how are the screen writer's attitudes not anti-white? They're basically saying, "Look at us! We wrote a story with white people as our villains!" If they took that attitude with any other race they'd be derided as a racist - and rightfully so.

It annoys me that this crazy obsession over such a superficial thing as race has to carry over into a galaxy far, far away. I liked to think that white supremacy was never a thing there. I didn't mind the anti-alien thing in the EU because it made the subject of racism be present without feeling preachy. Then again, maybe it's just the fact that it's 2016. I'm just so sick of the current political climate and the two shrill political cults we have in the West and I wish I had Star Wars as an escape (i.e. a healthy dose of sanity). And I very well might still. I don't think the screenwriters political views are going to apparent in the movie and, if they aren't, I'll forget all about it.

I'm not sure that the parallels with current events in the Prequels was intentional though. If it was, Lucas went out of his way to hide it. Here's a quote from Lucas:

George Lucas wrote:
I love history, so while the psychological basis of "Star Wars" is mythological, the political and social bases are historical. I like to take things and strip them down, then use the model and build a different story on it. You can put in a motif of Saturday-afternoon serials to make it relevant to kids of today, but the political situation of the Empire and the Republic -- that's a scenario that's been played out thousands of times over the years and that never seems to change much.

I had an interesting discussion when I was doing publicity in Europe for the final "Star Wars" movie. I was sitting around with a dozen reporters, and the Russian correspondents all thought the film was about Russian politics, and the Americans all thought it was about Bush. And I said, "Well, it's really based on Rome. And on the French Revolution and Bonaparte." It's shocking that these things get repeated through history. The same mistakes get made and the tension between democracy and tyranny is always the same. And we haven't figured out any way around it.


Even the Empire, while having clear Nazi influences, also had influences from the Soviet Union, and communism is at the opposite end of the political spectrum compared to fascism. For example, the arrangement of the Imperial troops when Palpatine arrived at the second Death Star was modeled after a May Day Parade in the Soviet Union. (Source: Lucas's commentary on the RotJ DVD). History has shown that both the left and the right, when taken to extremes, lead to tyranny. As someone who generally holds moderate political views, I liked that Lucas kept it vague. Heck, I've heard staunch supporters of the left and the right convinced that Star Wars is a parable told from their perspective. Razz

Star Wars is a universal story that breaks barriers between time and cultures and I don't like seeing it co-opted to a very specific and very current political ideology. Politically, the original six Star Wars films are very pro-democracy, but that's about it.
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 PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:14 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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I don't get it. Sorry, It just sounds like red pill whining to me. You claim that you don't care about race, but then you are mad because they chose to be multiracial. So women and people of color are only allowed to be actors if they pretend to be white? Why is it problematic to celebrate diversity? Pretending that everyone is the same is not only untrue, but it's boring.

When they start making Hollywood blockbusters with no white men in them, then I guess you will have something to complain about, but I wouldn't hold your breathe for that one.

GL acknowledged current politics and how history has repeating motifs, Plato's Revolutionary cycle. The underdog, the oppressed, is another repeating historical theme, but again this time it's for some reason unacceptable.
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 PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 10:23 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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But I don't mind a diverse cast at all! I'm excited for the cast of Rogue One - not because they're of diverse races but because they look like good actors. I ignored all the whining that there aren't enough white people in the movie, just as I ignore all the whining when there are too many white people in other movies. It's specifically the tweets that the screen-writers made that annoyed me.

Dog-Poop_Walker wrote:
I don't get it. Sorry, It just sounds like red pill whining to me.

I don't want to be rude, but this right here is what frustrates me so much with the current political climate (and maybe it was always like this and I just wasn't as politically aware/interested). As soon as I contradict one of the two party's orthodoxies, I get accused of belonging to the other side. Drives me nuts. I can have ideas of my own without belonging to one of those cults.

Dog-Poop_Walker wrote:
Pretending that everyone is the same is not only untrue, but it's boring.

Granted, when populations of a species are isolated from each other, there will be genetic differences between populations. However, in the human species, genetic diversity between "races" is significantly less when compared to other mammals - to the point of being negligible.

Source: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/human-skin-color-variation/modern-human-diversity-genetics

What I don't get is why we fixate on these negligible differences instead of focusing on what unites us - which is a whole lot more significant. And George Lucas understood this. That's why he studied mythology from around the world to find the psychological motifs and ideas that we all hold in common - and then made a movie about that. Star Wars should unite us, so having a diverse cast makes sense - it also makes sense given the universe - and it doesn't bother me. And, like you said, diversity has been a thing in Star Wars long before Disney. What bothers me is having the screenwriters say "Look at us! We're using white people as our villains!"

In my opinion, the only way to lessen racial tensions (lessen, not destroy because racism will always exist in some form for at least a long, long time), is to obsess over race less. Stop thinking of ourselves as a "white", "black" etc. and start thinking of ourselves as people.
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 PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:10 am Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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You can have your own ideas...but if your ideas are presented using the rhetoric of a group ideology then people will assume that you share that.

"let's not talk about race/ race doesn't matter" is a common tactic of racists to enforce white supremacy by shutting out black voices and concerns under the guise of progressivism.

Citing some scientific evidence about racial differences is bogus. I know that race isn't real. It's a social construct. But as a social construct, it effects people socially in reality. You know that, so pleading ignorance doesn't help anything.

I don't really think that you are racist. I think that you are burned out on negative politics. I understand that. I'm saying let's try to be positive and not add more hostility.

There's a ton of fear and anxiety in America right now. I think that the SW writers that were tweeting were just trying to be a little light hearted and proclaim a "win" for liberals when they are feeling down right now.
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The spirit can die when the force that's crushing it is great enough. By raining bullets down on the silent faces, already turned away from the world, you thought you could destroy the face of our truth. But we have faith in a different force. That hopeless hope is what sustains us now. My comrades are more numerous than your bullets, and more patient than your executioners.


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 PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:57 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Dog-Poop_Walker wrote:
You can have your own ideas...but if your ideas are presented using the rhetoric of a group ideology then people will assume that you share that.

Just out of curiosity, which part of my earlier posts sounded like Alt-Right rhetoric? I thought I had been bashing both ends of the political spectrum throughout this thread.

Dog-Poop_Walker wrote:
"let's not talk about race/ race doesn't matter" is a common tactic of racists to enforce white supremacy by shutting out black voices and concerns under the guise of progressivism.

But surely it can also be said by people who recognize that race is a social construct and thinks that the best way forward is to obsess over race less? I know that our ideas of race affects people in the real world, but we both agree that race doesn't have any real basis in science. In my opinion, the best thing we can do as individuals is behave better than society and truly judge people by the content of their character rather than by the colour of their skin. Sure, people will continue to obsess about race, be racist etc., but we can't stop that. All we can control is our own thoughts and actions.

Dog-Poop_Walker wrote:
I don't really think that you are racist. I think that you are burned out on negative politics.


I think this gets to the heart of it. I am indeed burned out on politics and also frustrated by finding the political debate infecting everything. I'm still waiting for things to die down on social media. I never thought I would miss kitten videos this much. I'm going to take a long break from keeping up with politics and get back to the things I'm passionate about. I'm good and ready to watch a new Star Wars film and forget about 2016 for a while, so seeing those tweets got me worked up because it felt like even my escapist fiction is being dragged into the debate.

Regardless of any garbage that goes on beyond the screen, Star Wars has always been an egalitarian universe, at least within the human species. Lando Calrissian, Mace Windu, and Finn aren't black characters. They are simply characters. The galaxy of Star Wars can be seen as a place where Martin Luther King's dream is reality. It doesn't even strike me as a post-racism society, but as a society where racism (again, at least within humanity) never existed at all. Bringing in white supremacy would change all that.

That said, I'm fairly confident the Empire won't be portrayed as white supremacists in Rogue One. For one thing we already have a canonical black Imperial Admiral, Rae Sloane and secondly, we know that Cassian Andor disguises himself as an Imperial officer at some point during the film. If the Empire is a white supremacist organization, that disguise wouldn't work out too well. Razz

Anyhow, sorry if I sounded heated in my previous posts.
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Where sky and water meet,
Where the waves grow sweet,
Doubt not, Reepicheep,
To find all you seek,
There is the utter east.


Last edited by Reepicheep on Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:59 pm; edited 1 time in total


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 PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:31 pm Reply with quote  
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  Dog-Poop_Walker
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Yeah, I don't get the sense that the Empire is white supremacist. That is pretty silly. As you said, there is no "Black" or "White" people in the SW Galaxy.

Darth Plaguis was a Muun, Darth Maul was Zabrak, and Darth Vader was black.

The only ideology of the Empire is the Sith. Of course Palpatine has no problem in using other people's ideologies to manipulate them into serving him.

I think it's along the same lines as the "controversy" when Mark Hamil was asked if Luke is gay. People can project what they want into it. That's not a bad thing, that is what fan fic is.

I personally think that the creators need to keep that separate from the narrative and not give into it like JK Rawling, but maybe that's another topic.
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The spirit can die when the force that's crushing it is great enough. By raining bullets down on the silent faces, already turned away from the world, you thought you could destroy the face of our truth. But we have faith in a different force. That hopeless hope is what sustains us now. My comrades are more numerous than your bullets, and more patient than your executioners.


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 PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 9:32 pm Reply with quote  
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  DarthMRN
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Reepicheep wrote:
What I don't get is why we fixate on these negligible differences instead of focusing on what unites us - which is a whole lot more significant.

Survival by tribalism in a species whose most important sense is sight, and whose social nature gives them extraordinary perception for their own kind. When you compete with the next tribe over for goods, and your culture-crafting brain enables each tribe to act radically and insurmountably different from the next, indentifying the other on sight to kill, avoid or be wary of, was adaptive as hell.

And so here we are, the same outdated brain in a very different world, very concerned with skin color and social stereotypes, even to our own detirment.



I will say this on the topic of politics, Rogue One's Rebels were extremely timely, especially one group of them. Terror angle dialed waay up! But I can't really complain, for that has been SW all along. From Watergate inspiring the OT, to Bush politics inspiring the PT and TCW, this trend has precedent. And it wasn't too ham-handed, so whatevs.

Even the choice of protagonists in Rogue One, considering they represent what used to be a white sausagefest Rebellion, must be seen in light of the times.
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 PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 3:56 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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DarthMRN wrote:
I will say this on the topic of politics, Rogue One's Rebels were extremely timely, especially one group of them. Terror angle dialed waay up! But I can't really complain, for that has been SW all along. From Watergate inspiring the OT, to Bush politics inspiring the PT and TCW, this trend has precedent. And it wasn't too ham-handed, so whatevs.


Yeah, there was definitely an Islamic terrorist influence in Saw Gerrera's group and Jeddha in general is basically the galaxy's version of Israel. I had absolutely no problem with that. I don't mind current events having an influence on fantasy/scifi stories, I just don't like it when it comes across as propaganda or polemics. I thought it was pretty even handed in Rogue One and I never felt like it was trying to make a political point. Saw and his group was grey and morally ambiguous, so it came across as neither terrorism apologetics nor fear mongering. We understand some of Saw's motivations, but his methods are denounced.

I still deny the Bush influence on the PT because George Lucas himself denied it (see above quote).
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 PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:28 pm Reply with quote  
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  DarthMRN
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I question how reliable a man given to self-serving historical revisionism is when what appears to be concrete real-world inspiration supposedly reflects insight into the human condition instead. It just happened to occur at the right time, huh George?
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 PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 3:13 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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To be fair, I was denying the Bush influence not the Nixon influence.

More importantly, to quote the article you posted:

Enjolras wrote:
In the end, despite Lucas' quote, Palpatine is much more than a Richard Nixon clone. Palpatine also contains elements of Hitler and Augustus Caesar in his scheming to overthrow an elected government. Palpatine's name also evokes ancient Rome, particularly the Palatine Hills. Moreover, Palpatine in his Sith incarnation has elements of Satan, especially in Revenge of the Sith, where he plays the role of tempter to Anakin Skywalker.


Nixon disregarded the rule of law; I don't think anyone is okay with that. However, at the time Nixon was just another leader in a long list of leaders who have disregarded the law and the people. Because Lucas didn't make his influence obvious or explicit, the end result is a story that has a universal quality to it. Palpatine wasn't a Republican or a Democrat. He was simply a power hungry tyrant. And honestly, tyrants all end up being pretty similar regardless of where they line up on the political spectrum.
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 PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:19 pm Reply with quote  
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  DarthMRN
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I understood you the first time. I just see something very familiar in the more modest-and-honest 70s and 80s Lucas admitting the Nixon influence, and the perpetually-high-on-decades-of-adoration modern Lucas denying the Bush influence.

The point is still that if Lucas could channel the human condition in his old age, what was he doing getting inspired by the mundane in his youth? We have to ask ourself if he turned a genius as he grew older and made the worse movies, or if he just got high enough on public adoration for his youthful works inspired by reality, to self-aggrandize his own ideas.

Guess which one I believe more in.
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