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Thread: Are the Jedi bad?

  1. #1

    Are the Jedi bad?

    There's this bit of riveting dialogue that marks a high water mark of American cinema...



    And it does have me wondering, are we supposed to think that Anakin is right in his assessment of the Jedi, and not merely that he has been manipulated by Palpatine? Perhaps it is not that they are evil, but perhaps it is true that they are corrupt and unaccountable to anyone. And that while they claim to work for the good of the Republic, that they are in fact interested in maintaining and expanding their own power, and that, while their legitimacy rests on the morality of their religion, it is, in fact a shibboleth, that even they do not believe in.

    Rewatching The Last Jedi changed how I saw the prequel trilogy. It made me wonder if we're supposed to be more sympathetic to Anakin that I initially believed. He's not merely a tragic figure because he is manipulated by Palpatine, but also because he's also an agent of change that is horrible, but somehow necessary, in order to restore balance to the force -- something which includes destroying the Jedi Council as an institution.
    Last edited by Eversor; 08-19-2018 at 03:19 PM.

  2. #2
    So, Trump 2020?

    (Edit: is that a record?)

  3. #3
    hey man i'm trying to have a serious conversation here about moral relativism

  4. #4
    So am I!

    And it does have me wondering, are we supposed to think that Trump is right in his assessment of the Democrats, and not merely that he has been manipulated by Putin? Perhaps it is not that they are evil, but perhaps it is true that they are corrupt and unaccountable to anyone. And that while they claim to work for the good of the Republic, that they are in fact interested in maintaining and expanding their own power, and that, while their legitimacy rests on the morality of their leftism, it is, in fact a shibboleth, that even they do not believe in.

    Thinking back on the 2016 election changed how I saw the previous administration. It made me wonder if we're supposed to be more sympathetic to Trump that I initially believed. He's not merely a tragic figure because he is manipulated by Putin, but also because he's also an agent of change that is horrible, but somehow necessary, in order to restore balance to the country -- something which includes destroying the two party system as an institution.

  5. #5
    Admiral of Awesome
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    Remember that time the Jedi Council ordered the extrajudicial execution of a democratically elected official because a Jedi said he followed the wrong religion?

    Yes, we were supposed to think they were bad. We were supposed to think a lot of things. Unfortunately, most of them weren’t expressed very well.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Yes, we were supposed to think they were bad. We were supposed to think a lot of things. Unfortunately, most of them weren’t expressed very well.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    So am I!

    And it does have me wondering, are we supposed to think that Trump is right in his assessment of the Democrats, and not merely that he has been manipulated by Putin? Perhaps it is not that they are evil, but perhaps it is true that they are corrupt and unaccountable to anyone. And that while they claim to work for the good of the Republic, that they are in fact interested in maintaining and expanding their own power, and that, while their legitimacy rests on the morality of their leftism, it is, in fact a shibboleth, that even they do not believe in.

    Thinking back on the 2016 election changed how I saw the previous administration. It made me wonder if we're supposed to be more sympathetic to Trump that I initially believed. He's not merely a tragic figure because he is manipulated by Putin, but also because he's also an agent of change that is horrible, but somehow necessary, in order to restore balance to the country -- something which includes destroying the two party system as an institution.
    Well Trump says there was no collusion, so... false premises.

  8. #8
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    I’m not sure if there’s room for moral relativism near a mob-connected likely human trafficker whose own mother thought he was a soulless beast.

    Maybe we should stick to discussing Star Wars.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    Well Trump says there was no collusion, so... false premises.
    Implying the Senate's judgement hasn't deliberately been clouded by Russian Sith!

    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 08-19-2018 at 04:49 PM.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Remember that time the Jedi Council ordered the extrajudicial execution of a democratically elected official because a Jedi said he followed the wrong religion?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Maybe we should stick to discussing Star Wars.
    Now I'm really confused.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    Maybe we should stick to discussing Star Wars.
    But... yes.

  11. #11
    The Bush administration was the clear political subtext of the prequel trilogy. It was clearly influenced by anxieties about ways in which that administration seemed to endanger democracy, and how, the black and white moral rhetoric of that administration concealed its own moral depravity.

    I'm less clear on what the political subtext of TLJ was supposed to be. Going along with some of these themes, there's an anti-institutionalism to the end of the Jedi, that seems to advocate a politics of personal authenticity or something along those lines. Institutions are illegitimate, and they get in the way of personal self-realization.

    Does the movie intend to discourage genuine political participation in favor of politics as culture war?

  12. #12
    I was really hopeful when they announced that there would be a sequel trilogy that there wouldn't be much moral ambiguity: that the Rebels would be good, the Empire would be bad, and that's all. Wouldn't it be kind of refreshing, and unexpected, to see a movie with that kind of moral clarity?

    It's weird saying that about a Star Wars movie that very self-consciously intensifies the way that the Empire evokes the Nazis, but go figure.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    I'm less clear on what the political subtext of TLJ was supposed to be.
    Say what you will about the political undertones of the prequel trilogy--at least it's an ethos.

  14. #14
    staaaaaaahhhhppppp!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eversor View Post
    I'm less clear on what the political subtext of TLJ was supposed to be.
    2016 market research showed that fascism was abruptly becoming much more marketable

  16. #16
    The original idea behind this thread is an interesting, if not original, idea. Trying to force the prequel trilogy to fit some pre- and ill-conceived notions about the Bush or Trump administrations is dumb. You can find similarities with, probably, any administration. When Amidala complains about the fall of democracy to thunderous applause, how do democrat cheers to broadening federal power not come to mind? Or even bipartisan applause? But, yeah, the Jedi really seemed to be unaccountable douchebags. And funny that without a clone army to command, what they hell did they even do? Fly around and threaten, err, negotiate with people?
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Wookie06 View Post
    Trying to force the prequel trilogy to fit some pre- and ill-conceived notions about the Bush [...] administrations is dumb.
    Yes, George Lucas is dumb.

  18. #18
    My takeaway from the prequel trilogies (and watching some of his other, later work, like the movie Labyrinth with David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly) is that GL believes that kids like dumb things. That's what he probably meant when he said that SW was for kids: that he didn't have to bother writing decent lines, because kids can't tell the difference.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Wookie06 View Post
    Trying to force the prequel trilogy to fit some pre- and ill-conceived notions about the Bush or Trump administrations is dumb. You can find similarities with, probably, any administration.
    Specifically, the Nixon administration:
    Quote Originally Posted by George Lucas
    It was really about the Vietnam War, and that was the period where Nixon was trying to run for a [second] term, which got me to thinking historically about how do democracies get turned into dictatorships? Because the democracies aren't overthrown; they're given away.
    ...although later in the article that cites him saying this much (back in 2005), it is made clear that the parallels to the Bush administration are more coincidental (if prescient).

    However, a few years later:

    Quote Originally Posted by George Lucas
    George Bush is Darth Vader. Cheney is the emperor.
    (source)
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 08-19-2018 at 05:50 PM.

  20. #20
    I'm impressed to see some of that old fashioned conservative love for Pinochet:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Weekly Standard
    Make no mistake, as emperor, Palpatine is a dictator--but a relatively benign one, like Pinochet.
    (Article title: "The Case for the Empire")
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 08-19-2018 at 05:56 PM.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    Specifically, the Nixon administration:


    ...although later in the article that cites him saying this much (back in 2005), it is made clear that the parallels to the Bush administration are more coincidental (if prescient).

    However, a few years later:



    (source)
    How dare you read highly unoriginal liberal political messaging into a movie made by liberal Hollywood elites.

  22. #22
    Awfully funny that George W. Bush so greatly influenced the prequel trilogy considering the first two were made before his election although Attack of the Clones wasn't actually released until 2002.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  23. #23
    No, like I said it was supposed to be about Nixon. The putative similarities with Bush were purely serendipitous.

  24. #24
    You could more consider that comment applicable to Eversor.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  25. #25
    Isn't RotS (2005) the one with the most explicit political messaging anyway?

  26. #26
    I see AotC the most political as that's where the power is really seized. RotS was just the natural fall to tyranny along with some youngling killing.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  27. #27
    Actually even the politically charged lines in that movie were written before 9/11:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Chicago Tribune
    NICASIO, Calif. — With "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," George Lucas' epic science-fiction/fantasy series has come full circle -- politically as well as storywise.

    Lucas, you see, originally conceived "Star Wars" while many Americans were questioning leadership during Richard Nixon's presidency.

    "It was really about the Vietnam War, and that was the period where Nixon was trying to run for a [second] term, which got me to thinking historically about how do democracies get turned into dictatorships?" Lucas said at his Skywalker Ranch earlier this month. "Because the democracies aren't overthrown; they're given away."

    Now the "Star Wars" series has wrapped up while George W. Bush's presidency is triggering questions about America's role in the world, its use of military might and the tolerance of political dissent.

    In "Revenge of the Sith," Chancellor Palpatine exploits war fears to turn the Republic into an Empire ruled by him alone. As Senator Padme, played by Natalie Portman, watches Palpatine consolidate his power amid a rapturous senate, she comments disgustedly, "This is how liberty dies: with thundering applause."

    "I didn't expect that to be true," Lucas said, then laughed. "It gets truer every day, unfortunately."
    In particular:

    Lucas said he wrote that line and the screenplay's other politically pointed elements before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the subsequent war on terror. So when Palpatine announces that he intends to remain at war until a certain General Grievous is captured, no parallels to the hunt for Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein were intended.

    "First of all we never thought of Bush ever becoming president," "Star Wars" producer Rick McCallum said, "or then 9/11, the Patriot Act, war, weapons of mass destruction. Then suddenly you realize, `Oh, my God, there's something happening that looks like we're almost prescient.' And then we thought, `Well, yeah, but he'll never make it to the second term, so we'll look like we just made some wacky political parody of a guy that everybody's forgotten.'"
    Instead, viewers may assume that when Anakin Skywalker threatens, "If you are not with us, you are my enemy," he is intentionally echoing Bush's repeated "with us or against us" declarations.

    "I know that's the line that George Bush said, but many other people who have run countries have said it before him," said Ian McDiarmid, who plays Palpatine. "That really is a great Sith line."

    So is George Bush a Sith?

    "You'd have to ask him," McDiarmid said.

    "I wouldn't say," Lucas laughed.

    To Lucas the broader point is that politics, like the age-old myths that inform "Star Wars," never really changes.

    "No matter who you look at in history, the story is always the same," Lucas said. "That's what's eerie. It was a little eerie that things have developed the way they have."

    McCallum was willing to make one prediction: "There's no question that the French are going to love the movie. We are definitely going to get the Golden Freedom Fry Award for best movie of the year, because they'll see it exactly the way they see their relationship with us now."
    Source: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...sith-palpatine

  28. #28
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    yes, the person who made Star Wars thinks the Republican Party is corrupt anti democratic trash and partly based the movies on this idea.

    Sorry not sorry if this explicitly stated and well publicized information is news to you or offends.

  29. #29
    Admiral of Awesome
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    Remember that part in ANH when the Emperor abolished the senate and dissolved the federal bureaucracy to transfer powers directly to regional governments

  30. #30
    Except that's a poor description of what happened.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  31. #31
    Admiral of Awesome
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wookie06 View Post
    Except that's a poor description of what happened.
    “How will the emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?”
    “The regional governors now have direct control over their territories”

    In the damn movie dude

  32. #32
    And then what do we make of this?

  33. #33
    Sounds more like old-fashioned fascism (nationalizing industries) than anything else to me.

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Reverend Jones View Post
    And then what do we make of this?
    Um, actually...

  35. #35
    Are you saying that any criticism Lucas was making of classic fascist policies in that scene apply equally well to any and every example of capitalism? And that because Republicans are in favor of capitalism they are by definition fascist?

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon`C View Post
    “How will the emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?”
    “The regional governors now have direct control over their territories”

    In the damn movie dude
    Exactly. The answer to the question to how the emperor will maintain power is the regional governors having direct control which, obviously, implies the Emperor maintains indirect control. The power was never transferred away from the emperor, merely the "federal" bureaucracy was removed as an impediment to his power. My contention with your statement is that the power was never transferred away from the emperor but shifted more to him. This undercuts the premise that the move is somehow republican, however, if Lucas viewed it that way I can't say. He very well may have.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  37. #37
    On the other hand, I know of a certain political party whose AM radio hosts are always ranting about all the "pencil necks" in the bureaucracy, how federal regulations are a form of totalitarian control by unelected and unaccountable officials, etc.

  38. #38
    EVERYONE should rant about that.
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


  39. #39
    Note the least Senator Palpatine:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Phantom Menace
    Chancellor Valorum: The chair recognizes the senator from the sovereign system of Naboo.

    Senator Palpatine: Supreme Chancellor, delegates of the senate, a tragedy has occurred... which started right here with the taxation of trade routes... and has now engulfed our entire planet... in the oppression of the Trade Federation.

    Senator Dod: This is outrageous! I object to the senator's statements!

    Chancellor Valorum: The chair does not recognize the senator from the Trade Federation at this time.

    Senator Palpatine: To state our allegations, I present Queen Amidala, recently elected ruler of the Naboo, who speaks on our behalf.

    Queen Amidala: Honourable representatives of the Republic, I come to you under the gravest of circumstances. The Naboo system has been invaded by the droid armies of the Trade -- [interrupted by Senator Dod]

    Senator Dod: I object! There is no proof! This is incredible. We recommend a commission be sent to Naboo to ascertain the truth.

    Senator Teem: The Congress of Malastare concurs with the honourable delegate from the Trade Federation. A commission must be appointed.

    Chancellor Valorum: The point -- [interrupted by the bureaucrat]

    Bureaucrat: Excuse me, Chancellor. [whispers to Chancellor Valorum]
    In particular:

    Senator Palpatine: [Whispers to Queen Amidala] Enter the bureaucrat. The true rulers of the Republic, and on the payroll of the Trade Federation, I might add. This is where Chancellor Valorum's strength will disappear.

    Chancellor Valorum: The point is conceded. Will you defer your motion to allow a commission to explore the validity of your accusations?

    Queen Amidala: I will not defer. I've come before you to resolve this attack on our sovereignty now. I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee! If this body is not capable of action, I suggest new leadership is needed. I move for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum's leadership!

    Senators: [Chanting] Vote now, vote now...!

    Senator Palpatine: Now they will elect a new Chancellor, a strong Chancellor, one who will not let our tragedy continue.
    http://www.moviequotedb.com/movies/s...ote_22373.html
    Last edited by Reverend Jones; 08-19-2018 at 06:59 PM.

  40. #40
    I agree, that is a quote from the film!
    "I would rather claim to be an uneducated man than be mal-educated and claim to be otherwise." - Wookie 03:16


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