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'Star Wars' Raises Questions on U.S. Policy

  1. May 17, 2005 #1
    'Wars' Raises Questions on U.S. Policy

    By DAVID GERMAIN, AP Movie Writer

    CANNES, France - Without Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 9/11" at the Cannes Film Festival this time, it was left to George Lucas and "Star Wars" to pique European ire over the state of world relations and the United States' role in it.

    Lucas' themes of democracy on the skids and a ruler preaching war to preserve the peace predate "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" by almost 30 years. Yet viewers Sunday — and Lucas himself — noted similarities between the final chapter of his sci-fi saga and our own troubled times.

    Cannes audiences made blunt comparisons between "Revenge of the Sith" — the story of Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side and the rise of an emperor through warmongering — to President Bush's war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq.

    Two lines from the movie especially resonated:

    "This is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause," bemoans Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) as the galactic Senate cheers dictator-in-waiting Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) while he announces a crusade against the Jedi.

    "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy," Hayden Christensen's Anakin — soon to become villain Darth Vader — tells former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). The line echoes Bush's international ultimatum after the Sept. 11 attacks, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

    "That quote is almost a perfect citation of Bush," said Liam Engle, a 23-year-old French-American aspiring filmmaker. "Plus, you've got a politician trying to increase his power to wage a phony war."

    Though the plot was written years ago, "the anti-Bush diatribe is clearly there," Engle said.

    The film opens Wednesday in parts of Europe and Thursday in the United States and many other countries. At the Cannes premiere Sunday night, actors in white stormtrooper costumes paraded up and down the red carpet as guests strolled in, while an orchestra played the "Star Wars" theme.

    Lucas said he patterned his story after historical transformations from freedom to fascism, never figuring when he started his prequel trilogy in the late 1990s that current events might parallel his space fantasy.


  2. jcsd
  3. May 17, 2005 #2
    Democracy has long been dead in this country. It is democracy in name only. If that anymore.
  4. May 17, 2005 #3


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    Whos really to blame though. People in this country are about as uncommitted to the democracy in their country as that woman was haha, who ran away from her wedding.... oh that was hilarious. A decent sized portion of this country thinks that they can achieve dmoecracy through violent demonstrations and vandelism in the name of "free speech" and the people who arent like that really dont care. Obviously violence never gets you a voice in washington... thankfully. But hey, we all know exactly what to do if we ever wanted to change this country but does anyone care to do it? Of course not. All you gotta do is change your spending habbits because thats where it all comes from... your dollars. Unfortunately too many people are more then willing to buy from people who fund radical special interest groups like PETA or moveon.org or whatever the conservative equivalencies are because they just HAVE to be seen wearing the latest... horse **** they saw at the grammy's or on oprah or the latest drug craze that spouts "dont do work, lose weight! Its too good to be true so do it! This isnt a scam at all, give me your money!"

    The crap these cannine or whatever film goers think is the ruin to democracy is of course, not the actual ruin. They get their facts off of, what else, movies instead of the cold reality of what actually goes on in the US and whats the blame for whatever. Ive still yet to be informed about anything in the Patriot Act that destroys any right of mine though... which makes me wonder if they are more anti-american then they are pro-democracy.
    Last edited: May 17, 2005
  5. May 17, 2005 #4
    Bottom line: The system is fundamentally broken. The past 230 years have seen systematic erosion of the constituion through legal and illegal means. Why? Because culture has changed. The culture of America in the days of the revolution was such that it produced those unique leaders who essentially were so afraid of ever being told what to do they did everything they could to assert their fundamental right to be left alone. And for 230 years everyone who wanted to control something has been trying to undo that. And they've just about succeeded for all intents and purposes.

    The only thing that can save the system is to tear it down and start from the ground up, its become too convoluted to salvage. Politicians need to be at least retaught that they are the people's servants--NOT power brokers, not rulers. Servants. If that's not possible they need to be done away with entirely. By any means necessary.

    America is no longer a democracy (technically it never was, it was a republic, but the average american is ignorant of the distinction). It is a timocracy, and one of the few, if only, valid examples of one. Bush wants to form a culture of ownership. This i don't disagree with. But the sheeple of this country cannot distinguish between cultures of ownership, and cultures of materialism. A culture of ownership leads to independence from the government through necessary sulf-sufficience--good thing. A culture of materialism leads to a timocracy, it is ultimately antithetical to the idea of serving your country selflessy, because a culture of materialism is a culture of selfishness, something that a culture of ownership should not be.

    Again, bottom line: the system is broken.
  6. May 17, 2005 #5


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    Although i agree with most everything you say, the US is actually still a democracy in all technical terms along with being a republic as their defintions overlap in the case of the US. There are many people with a large amount of wealth under their name but take no power in the political realm. We also have a lot of people with an incredible amount of power with relatively little assets... although there few and far between.
  7. May 17, 2005 #6
    Since when do technical terms mean anything in politics?

    Like? Most anyone with significant cash uses it to bribe politicians, err i mean make campaign contributions.


    Money rules this country. Money buys power here. Doesn't have to be personal wealth. No one gets into power with millions of dollars behind them. And generally, he who can bring the most ad campaigns (and thus has the most money) will win. Of course it doesn't have to be this way, its just that there are no honest men in politics. So it is this way.
  8. May 17, 2005 #7


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    You said it was technically never a democracy so i replied it technically is. Technically, all politicians are a-holes too :D

    Bill gates doesnt make naerly as much "democracy supporting donations" *cough* bribes *cough* as you suspect he would. Plus hes constantly pounded on by the judicial system for pretty much trumped up allegations and SUN crying over its own negligence. I also dont believe the Wal-mart kids hold much power in the government either although i really dont know.

    And as far as small fund, big influence... you basically have those little left-wing organizations that seem to hold disproportionate amounts of power such as PETA. It si very difficult to find examples of things i claim but im simply insisting on the fact that there are SOME groups/people not following the correct corruption rules we brought up.

    Also, there have been studies that show money does not necessarily gain you the win. There was one case i remember where someone didnt have nearly as much money thrown into tv-advertising and they still won the electoin (and i dont even think they were the incumbant). Another example from right out of my home town was this one local race where this woman spent about 10x as much per vote recieved then the other guy did (and the other guy won). The Bush/Kerry election is also another example where money probably didnt matter. We were all being flooded and choked with ads and all this bs for the longest time ($600 million worth) and no study has shown the ads really did much for either candidate...... wow thats kinda sad... what a waste of money... haha, presidential campaigns, the new system of wealth distribution.
    Last edited: May 17, 2005
  9. May 17, 2005 #8


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    I'm not buying any of this at all. Its just Hollywood doing what Hollywood does - be extremely liberal.
  10. May 17, 2005 #9
    i will have to agree with russ, hollywood is usually liberal, but some movies, now im not saying star wars is all leberal and agianst bush, becuase personally i dont think thats true. If you know the history of star wars, george lucas wrote the whole series before President Bush became elected to serve his first term. George lucas was only aloud to make movies on the LAST three books, (more people found the last three more interesting) then they started to make the first episodes, if anyone has read the books of star wars, they would know. But this movie, star wars, has nothing to do with politics or democracy.
  11. May 17, 2005 #10


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    First, the arts have expressed political views forever, especially literature (Alice In Wonderland & Gulliver's Travels, off the top of my head).


    Second, the political views are not always liberal (you may note the above occurred against a Socialist)--If you try I'm sure you can think of many films that are right wing in nature, not to mention TV shows like JAG. Third, which precedes which? Often real life mimics fictional works.

    Pengwuino--not to get OT, but I watched Red Dawn for the first time in years because we had posted about it. The movie was made before 9-11 and current Homeland Security issues, but the attack on the US was initiated via commercial airlines, and from the south via our open borders. And BTW, I consider that film to be rather right wing in it's message (though I did note that the Americans fighting the invasion are referred to as insurgents).
  12. May 17, 2005 #11


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    That's true, but Star Wars was not intended to be a political allegory.
    You had to go back pretty far for that, didn't you...

    Regardless, the first point is the main point - Star Wars was not written as a political allegory.
  13. May 17, 2005 #12
    Exactly, and I refuse to read the OP of this thread before I have seen the film. Either some reviewer has dreamt up all the criticism or I will be very dissapointed with the film (of course I could be that either way). Where can you escape politics, if not in the world of Starwars?
  14. May 17, 2005 #13


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    I think it is being confused because so much of the prequels center around a political body. Unless Lucas came up with a completely different system of government (which he didn't) there's bound to be some similarities. It's like all of the people that say Nostradamus predicted the future. If you look at it in the hindsight of 20/20 it appears he did.

    I don't give Lucas that much credit. He wrote a story. Period.
  15. May 17, 2005 #14


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    Similarities between Star Wars and current events are only coincidence.

    If you were looking for a science fiction series with a more intentional tie to current events, try Frank Herbert's Dune.
  16. May 17, 2005 #15


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    Even lucas himself said he made it 30 years ago and it wasnt meant to be a comment on today's political climate. but man, some people must have no life at all if when they go to a theatre, they immediately start drawing parallels between movies and politics. I wanted to see hitchhikers guide to the galaxy and if i do, i dont think ill try to draw parallels between the movie and any governmental space agency agendas. And that quote that they are bragging about, pff, what a joke. I bet you'll find a dozen western movies with even closer matched quotes then the one in star wars.
  17. May 17, 2005 #16


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    It was my intention to show this is not a new issue, and more recent films/programs also were mentioned that do not present a liberal message.
  18. May 19, 2005 #17
    Huh? Care to elaborate?
  19. May 19, 2005 #18
    Some dumbass thinks he can prove the US government is corrupt by quoting star wars, same kind of person who thinks the bible has hidden codes in it about the future.
    I don't want to bug about proper english use, but a coincidence is a really bad way to put it. In fact that sentence makes almost no sense at all considering the subject matter.
  20. May 19, 2005 #19


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    Well the same people who said all this are the people who almost setup temples to michael moore and his "documentary". They probably see every movie and hope they can somehow make a connection between Bush and the movie because thats how ideologs are... politics is the only important thing in life and anything and everything must convey a political msg in their eyes hehe.

    And i wonder how many john wayne movies probably have the exact same quote that these people are going nuts about.
  21. May 19, 2005 #20
    Star Wars...the Bush regime....why am I suddenly reminded of Jar jar binks? :rofl:
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