Book Sale

Saturday 12 November 2022

The Best Team Will Win

Image: Unsplash

'Then more stupid happens', no line describes Disney Star Wars better than this line. Except maybe 'we hate the fans'. 

In a just world Disney would be asking John C. Wright for advice on their Star Wars plots. In clown world, at least we get the joy of seeing Wright tear Disney's maliciously wicked plots and stories to shreds: 

"Hotshot Pilot, now demoted to Dogcatcher, goes to the new commanding officer, who is not fan favorite Admiral Ackbar, but instead is a thin-faced crone in a sadly sagging evening dress with brightly-dyed purple hair, hereafter called Girl-General Gender Studies van Grievance.

He politely asks her what plan he and his men should be following to preserve their besieged and dying flotilla from the hot pursuit at that moment shooting at them. She replies by telling him men are the inferior sex, and are not allowed to hear plans invented by Gender Studies crones with purple hair. 

He must obey orders without question, mechanically and mindlessly. After all, that is the principle and the philosophy the rebellion has stood for during the entire Star Wars canon of films, novels, and comics: The Empire stands for freedom and initiative, and the Rebels are fighting to bring about a regime based on perfect mindless obedience of authority. How clear. How reasonable. 

This conversation takes place in public, in earshot of Hotshot Dogcatcher's men, who, for some reason, are all women. Just to make sure that the whole process is carried out with proper military courtesy and decorum, the commanding officer in the sagging evening dress smacks Hotshot in the face with a lemon meringue pie and squirts an entire bottle of seltzer water down his pants. 

The scene leaves me pondering questions: What is the point of this scene? What is the film-perp trying to accomplish? 

What is the motive of General Grievance? Why such fierce odium? 

Maybe she was the other sister of the oriental bombardier killed in the first reel, and so hates and loathes Hotshot with an irrational fervor. 

Or maybe in her misspent youth, her virginal love for some or other devilishly handsome yet reckless rogue led to heartbreak, a pregnancy, and a hushed-up scandal, forcing her into military service to hide her shame: and her burning hatred of all young roguish men festered and grew as years passed. 

Or maybe the film-perp thinks all creepy old women hate and loathe handsome young soldiers who routinely risk life and limb to save their worthless, withered, dry, infertile, post-menopausal lives. 

Or whatever. From what we see on the screen, the emotion comes out of nowhere and has no point."*

Wright manages to say everything every sane Sar Wars fan thought and felt watching The Last Jedi, and then more. His ability to summarize the stupid evil of this movie is incredible. But this book is not just great entertainment, it is incredibly insightful: 

"The theme is nothing. Nothing means anything. It is shown in every plot-plop, emphasized at every turn, and even spoken aloud by the sockpuppets to the audience: kill the past. 

What do you think 'kill the past' means? 

It means all the triumphs and lessons painfully learned before, all the growth, all the value of everything remembered, is now set at naught. Nothing you did in a prior movie means anything. None of those movies mean anything. The Star Wars universe means nothing. 

That is what 'kill the past' means. 

That is what 'it is time for the Jedi to end' actually means. It is time for the Star Wars franchise to end. That is what the film-perpetrator is saying with this film. 

It is not a hidden message, nor a subtle one. 

There is no consistency of theme between this film and anything else in prior films, books, comics, games, or other source materials. In the whole rest for the Star Wars universe, there is no room for nihilism, because nihilism is not merely unheroic and unhopeful, it is anti-heroic. It is numb despair. By intruding into Last Jedi, this numb and anti-heroic worldview makes a mockery of all that has gone before. 

What is being presented in all this badly written mess is a vision, a worldview, and a moral message: and that is the message of modern nihilism, which says every one makes his own truth for himself. 

It is the message of self-centeredness, as when Rose Tico commits her treason for selfish reasons: to save a man she is crushing on. 

This film teaches that nothing matters, nothing is worth doing, all heroes are false, all legends are lies, all heroes are cowards. Masculinity is toxic; the Force is female; Wealth is theft. Good is evil and evil is good."**  

As Wright argues, The Last Jedi was not just bad, it was not just poorly written and told, it was put together to undermine everything that every fan of Star Wars has enjoyed about the series for decades. It was mean to demoralize Star Wars fans and kill the franchise in their eyes, trashing the world they had enjoyed for so long. We have all known this for sometime, but Wright sums it up so entertainingly. And he does it so well, I had to share this little book, The Last Straw, after reading it this week. 

Like Wright, I don't care about The Last Jedi, I barely even care about Star Wars anymore, and certainly not Disney Star Wars. But Wright is spot on that they are well beyond making bad movies, they are making movies with themes and messages which are harmful: 

"And this is the point, where the film preaches desertion, when the film passes the nadir of badness and actually becomes something offensive, and even pernicious: a bad influence, something impressionable children cannot be allowed to see."***  

I highly recommend reading The Last Straw, it is funny, insightful, and incredibly uplifting. It also serves as a helpful look into the minds of those who hate us, from the perspective of one of the best Science Fictions authors around today. You will enjoy this book. You will probably enjoy it more the more you hated The Last Jedi, but that is not a necessary prerequisite. Reading a book like this is encouraging because it helps you realize that the future is bright for team good, and we are going to have a lot of fun along the way. 

* John C Wright, The Last Straw, pp. 67-68.
**John C. Wright, The Last Straw, pp.123-127.
*** John C. Wright, The Last Straw, p.87.

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