The only way you’ll get me to watch Episode VII*.

*Unless it gets really really good reviews in which case all bets are off.

 

 

 

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Happy Friday from C-3PO.

In which some adorable folks calling themselves the “Star Wars Club of Tunisia” do a super delightful version of Pharrell Williams’ Happy, dancing in costume through the abandoned Tatooine sets in the Tunisian desert. No, I know!

(If you happen to be unfamiliar with original, I urge you to fill that lacuna in your life’s education — click here)

h/t BuzzFeed

No really. I kind of hate George Lucas (the re-up).

 I felt a great disturbance in the force. It’s as if a million voices suddenly cried out in terror and were driven to social media, where they complained very loudly. 

And so, in light of the news that Lucas Film is to be bought by Disney and Star Wars Episode VII is planned for release in 2015 (yes really, and yes really), I figured there was never a more auspicious time to re-up the following. Because I really kind of hate George Lucas, but for real, y’all.

Pretty much the only person who doesn’t need to be ashamed of what went on in the prequels.

So after all these years, and all those movies, and all that hype and excitement and fanguish (why yes, I did just coin that term), and prompted by the already-infamous-yet-still-brand-new Darth Vader “Noooooo!”, plus the recent viewing of Episodes IV-VI with my family — I have finally figured out why I really kind of hate George Lucas.

So yes. Here we go, another nerdy blogger is going to write about hating George Lucas on the intertrons. Quelle surprise! But a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do.

I remember going to see Star Wars (back when there was just the one) with my mom. I remember leaving the theater and walking to the car and being enthralled. I’m not sure how many times I saw the first one as I waited for Empire Strikes Back, but it was probably a lot, given that when Empire came out, I cut school in order to go downtown for the opening (back in the olden days, openings were matinees) — and subsequently spent the summer watching it over and over. The arguments among my friends regarding Luke’s parentage were long, loud, and filled with genuine emotion, and one night, we all went to the early show, didn’t leave, and watched it again. I think I saw it eleven times before school started that fall. I have no recollection of the first time I saw Return of the Jedi, likely because the wheels were already coming off — stuff went on and on, or appeared, kind of out of nowhere (that chase scene on Endor, for instance, can now be seen in its true light, as a brutal precursor to the seemingly eternal pod race in Phantom Menace),  and like all my budding quasi-socialist friends (we were 18), I suspected the Ewoks reflected less about a galaxy far, far away, and more about Lucas’s increased understanding about merchandising. And yet: It was Star Wars. And it was still pretty damn good.

Fast-forward to 1999. I’ve just moved back to America after 14 years away, and George Lucas has finally made the first prequel — the movies that my friends and I used to talk about in tones reserved in other circles for prophecy and magic — and: BOOM.

Oh my God. Oh my God! I had to see it twice to make sure it was that awful, and oh my God. There is so much to be said (and has been said) about just what a terrible turn Lucas took with Phantom Menace (and I have already mentioned the endlessly endless pod race of endlessness), but I will say only this: Midichlorians? Are you fucking kidding me with this?! Either the force is “an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together,” or it’s something in communication with microscopic beings within our blood for which we are (and I quote) “symbionts.” Take your pick.

I so hated Phantom Menace that I never intended to see the other two prequels, but life and the advent of a child warranted otherwise. At some point I caught the boy up on the first three films with great joy, and ground my teeth through the prequels (only the last of which had any redeeming qualities, if you ask me. And Ewan McGregor deserves a trophy for being the only actor among a large group of excellent actors to actually do any good with his terrible role) and I seethed. Like any good old-school Star Wars fan, I have been seething for 12 long years, and every time he tinkers and changes and adds and subtracts and releases some new damn version, my fanguish grows and I hate George Lucas a little bit more.

BUT I FINALLY FIGURED OUT WHY.

Broken down into parts, the first three movies are not particularly great, certainly not by today’s standards. In light of my immersion in the cinematic world of Lord of the Rings, I find myself particularly bothered by the way that whole cultures pop up, unremarked, and then disappear, again unremarked, as so much set dressing. You never get anything on anybody who isn’t front and center to the story, and even then, you don’t get much. And then there’s (some of…) the acting. And, of course: Bechdel Test. Of course.

And yet! The sum is clearly so much greater than all of those parts, all of those flaws, even all of the moments of greatness — when seen in its entirety, all together, it told a story of such sweep and such emotion that it fell straight into people’s hearts and hasn’t let go since.

But Lucas didn’t make that story — he recognized it.

The stories are out there. If an artist is lucky, he or she gets to be the one to tell a particular story, and if the audience is lucky, he or she is skilled and respectful, and the story is served. That’s what happened in the first three (well… two and a half) movies.

But ever since, Lucas has been pissing on his own work, and jerking canon around because he felt like it, and disrespecting his audience — and disrespecting the story.

And that, my friends, is my bottom line. It was a long walk to get here, but at least I’ll be brief: I’m a writer. Stories really, really matter to me. Words matter to me. Truth-that-cannot-be-weighed-and-measured matters to me. And it matters that we try really, really hard to respect all of that. The stories, the words, the truths do not belong to us. If we’re lucky, we get to recognize them.

And stupid George Lucas was lucky! And then he messed it all up.

The end.

Though of course, as we discussed the other day, there’s always the possibility that this is what really happened:

We live in hope.

*****

More credit where it’s due! Go read this by Lev, over at Library Grape — he definitely jogged my mind on all of this, particularly with regard to the differences between Lucas’s re-fashioning of his films, and the recent-ish remastering of the original Star Trek series.

PLUS: On the very day that I decide to add to the endless stream of internet anti-Lucas sentiment, the extremely cool Shortpacked did the same! Click here to see one more reason (I really couldn’t go into all the reasons on my own) that the prequels suuuuuuuuuuucked. 

Geek is as geek does.

Available for purchase at ThinkGeek.com -- though, in my case, it really should be in the plural.

I’ve recently discovered a funny thing about me:

I’m less a geek, than I am a geek of geek culture.

It’s true that I’ve hit a few of the geek high points all on my own: I’m a life-long fan of the original three Star Wars films, and have nothing but disdain for the latter three; I’ve been watching Trek since the original series was first in re-runs (even I was a little too young when it first hit the airwaves); I’ve been known to watch all three LOTR films on consecutive evenings (extended cuts!); and I recently become a bona-fide Browncoat (aka: stupid-big fan of Firefly). I even have genuine Dr. Horrible cred, having watched it online almost immediately upon its release. Moreover, I’m a certified egg-head, and do things like read history because I want to and get deeply into the minutiae of history that particularly grabs me. So yeah. On some levels, I really am a geek.

But on a lot of other levels, I’m a complete dilettante. I don’t game (online or with poly dice) and never have (unless you count that one game of Angry Birds & a few visits to the arcade in the 80s); I don’t watch Dr. Who; I still haven’t read the Hitchhiker’s Guide. I intend to remedy that last sooner rather than later — especially now that even the boy is quoting lines at me — but I have no interest in either of the former. I don’t have any idea who’s Marvel and who’s DC, I didn’t much enjoy the actual source material for the LOTR films (though I did finally force myself to finish reading them), and I have no intention of ever reading any George RR Martin (I already know too many unsavory spoilers – why walk into that?)

But I love enthusiasm that vibrates in the very bones of the enthusiast. I love wild imaginations and thundering humanity. I love smart people, and especially smart people who really enjoy being smart. And I love hearing people talk about language and words and plots and narratives and what-is-canon.

So of course I love geek culture. After all being a geek — of any kind — is essentially about having ill-disguised, hugely enjoyable (and occasionally excruciating) enthusiasms. It’s about hatching plans in December 2011 to attend the midnight show of The Hobbit on the day it’s released in December 2012 (as I am); it’s about making elaborate plans for just which costumes you’re going to want to make for that event (not me, but my Internet pal kiranmartin [also known in these parts as caoil]). It’s about having opinions about each of the successive Doctors, and indeed, individual episodes in each Doctor’s arc. It’s about being able to describe yourself using Dungeons and Dragons terminology, and actually meaning it. It’s about loving something so much that you are willing to go outside the bounds of normative behavior to express that love, and more often than not, it demands a native intelligence that simply cannot let plot inconsistencies and fucking-long pod races slide (me again).

So I find myself following conversations about games and gaming culture (particuarly at my friend K. Cox’s place, because I also love people who know how to write), developing opinions about how women are presented in comics (it’s bad, man), and trading geek culture epehmera with my buddy anibundel (to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for being among those who hounded me into my late Browncoat-dom). It’s why I love ThinkGeek.com, why I encouraged the boy to read Hitchhikers in the first place, and why just the other day, I found myself watching a show called The Nerdist, despite only catching about half the references — not to mention why I found myself annoyed (despite host Chad Chris Hardwick’s entirely charming presence) with the yawning chasm where the women should have been (“but they mentioned Felicia Day!” I can already hear someone protesting, to which I can only reply: “Right! Only after insulting four hugely talented women musicians, and in the most overtly sexual terms possible! And anyway, one mention of one women isn’t really enough, is it, for the love of God?”). (Please note update, in comments – my second reply to Alison. Squee! Chad Chris Hardwick got in touch directly via the Twitters to apologize!) 

So rock on my geeks! I less-than-three you from the bottom of my less-than-three, and I am so grateful to be allowed into the room now and then. I may not be as great a mind as any of you on any of this, but I will get the  snacks and help you find those buttons you need for your Hobbit shirt. Because you’re awesome. And you make my days much, much brighter.

Good stuff: Too.Much.Cute.

I challenge you to tell me that this is not the cutest 39 seconds of your day. Your weekend. Your whole freaking week.

And if you can tell me that? I demand that you share your videographic proof with the class.

h/t BuzzFeed

No really. I kind of hate George Lucas.

Pretty much the only person who doesn't need to be ashamed of what went on in the prequels.

Please note important comics-based update, below!

So after all these years, and all those movies, and all that hype and excitement and fanguish (why yes, I did just coin that term), and prompted by the already-infamous-yet-still-brand-new Darth Vader “Noooooo!”, plus the recent viewing of Episodes IV-VI with my family — I have finally figured out why I really kind of hate George Lucas.

So yes. Here we go, another nerdy blogger is going to write about hating George Lucas on the intertrons. Quelle surprise! But a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do.

I remember going to see Star Wars (back when there was just the one) with my mom. I remember leaving the theater and walking to the car and being enthralled. I’m not sure how many times I saw the first one as I waited for Empire Strikes Back, but it was probably a lot, given that when Empire came out, I cut school in order to go downtown for the opening (back in the olden days, openings were matinees) — and subsequently spent the summer watching it over and over. The arguments among my friends regarding Luke’s parentage were long, loud, and filled with genuine emotion, and one night, we all went to the early show, didn’t leave, and watched it again. I think I saw it eleven times before school started that fall. I have no recollection of the first time I saw Return of the Jedi, likely because the wheels were already coming off — stuff went on and on, or appeared, kind of out of nowhere (that chase scene on Endor, for instance, can now be seen in its true light, as a brutal precursor to the seemingly eternal pod race in Phantom Menace),  and like all my budding quasi-socialist friends (we were 18), I suspected the Ewoks reflected less about a galaxy far, far away, and more about Lucas’s increased understanding about merchandising. And yet: It was Star Wars. And it was still pretty damn good.

Fast-forward to 1999. I’ve just moved back to America after 14 years away, and George Lucas has finally made the first prequel — the movies that my friends and I used to talk about in tones reserved in other circles for prophecy and magic — and: BOOM.

Oh my God. Oh my God! I had to see it twice to make sure it was that awful, and oh my God. There is so much to be said (and has been said) about just what a terrible turn Lucas took with Phantom Menace (and I have already mentioned the endlessly endless pod race of endlessness), but I will say only this: Midichlorians? Are you fucking kidding me with this?! Either the force is “an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together,” or it’s something in communication with microscopic beings within our blood for which we are (and I quote) “symbionts.” Take your pick.

I so hated Phantom Menace that I never intended to see the other two prequels, but life and the advent of a child warranted otherwise. At some point I caught the boy up on the first three films with great joy, and ground my teeth through the prequels (only the last of which had any redeeming qualities, if you ask me. And Ewan McGregor deserves a trophy for being the only actor among a large group of excellent actors to actually do any good with his terrible role) and I seethed. Like any good old-school Star Wars fan, I have been seething for 12 long years, and every time he tinkers and changes and adds and subtracts and releases some new damn version, my fanguish grows and I hate George Lucas a little bit more.

BUT I FINALLY FIGURED OUT WHY.

Broken down into parts, the first three movies are not particularly great, certainly not by today’s standards. In light of my immersion in the cinematic world of Lord of the Rings, I find myself particularly bothered by the way that whole cultures pop up, unremarked, and then disappear, again unremarked, as so much set dressing. You never get anything on anybody who isn’t front and center to the story, and even then, you don’t get much. And then there’s (some of…) the acting. And, of course: Bechdel Test. Of course.

And yet! The sum is clearly so much greater than all of those parts, all of those flaws, even all of the moments of greatness — when seen in its entirety, all together, it told a story of such sweep and such emotion that it fell straight into people’s hearts and hasn’t let go since.

But Lucas didn’t make that story — he recognized it.

The stories are out there. If an artist is lucky, he or she gets to be the one to tell a particular story, and if the audience is lucky, he or she is skilled and respectful, and the story is served. That’s what happened in the first three (well… two and a half) movies.

But ever since, Lucas has been pissing on his own work, and jerking canon around because he felt like it, and disrespecting his audience — and disrespecting the story.

And that, my friends, is my bottom line. It was a long walk to get here, but at least I’ll be brief: I’m a writer. Stories really, really matter to me. Words matter to me. Truth-that-cannot-be-weighed-and-measured matters to me. And it matters that we try really, really hard to respect all of that. The stories, the words, the truths do not belong to us. If we’re lucky, we get to recognize them.

And stupid George Lucas was lucky! And then he messed it all up.

The end.

Though of course, as we discussed the other day, there’s always the possibility that this is what really happened:


We live in hope
.

*****

Oops, more credit where it’s due! Go read this by Lev, over at Library Grape — he definitely jogged my mind on all of this, particularly with regard to the differences between Lucas’s re-fashioning of his films, and the recent-ish remastering of the original Star Trek series.

UPDATE: Well, I never! On the very day that I decide to add to the endless stream of internet anti-Lucas sentiment, the extremely cool Shortpacked does the same! Click here to see one more reason (I really couldn’t go into all the reasons on my own) that the prequels suuuuuuuuuuucked. And then, if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably geeky enough to want to click here to see the his fantabulous reaction to the recent abysmal DC Comics Starfire reboot.

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

Good stuff: Huzzah! Your day in stupid. (The good kind).

So. Apparently the people of Tunisia are rising up to claim what’s theirs (and along the way providing astonishing evidence that maybe FourSquare can be a power for good) and — as is the way in such things — are being met with brutal violence.

Meanwhile, here in America, on the same day that Sarah Palin equated her PR difficulties with the slaughter of countless thousands of Jews (in the words of my fave rave Ta-Nehisi: “What part of ‘Sarah Palin’ don’t you understand?”), the President delivered a speech I hear was quite moving at a memorial service I hear was quite odd in honor of those killed in last Saturday’s attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords life.

I wouldn’t really know though.

I haven’t been following the Tunisia story, I didn’t watch the President, and I’m not even really sure what Palin said (other than it involved the words “blood libel”). I’ve embedded a bunch of links that look helpful, but I wouldn’t want you to think I’d actually read them (well, I actually read the FourSquare thing, and Ta-Nehisi’s post. And that one tweet) — because the crazy people in my life, and the crazy people in the lives of people very dear to me, appear to have decided to hold a virtual crazy conference over the past few days, with today being the plenary or something, and man oh man alive, my bones have been sucked of their very marrow. I have nothing in me for Tunisia or Tucson. I’ll have to catch up tomorrow.

But like yesterday, I’m banking on the fact that even if (perhaps especially if) you have been paying attention to Tunisia or Tucson (or the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, or the floods in Australia, or the political crisis in Lebanon) (nope, didn’t read those links either. But they’re all from the New York Times, so you’re probably in good hands) — you, like me, could might maybe use a wee bit o’ stupid right about now.

And so! Herewith I present you with a short and surely very random collection of some of the very best stupid the intertrons can provide! Huzzah!

You are, as they say, so very welcome.

1) 30 Second “Harry Potter Years 1-5 Part 1” (in Bun-o-vision!).

2) 30 Second “Harry Potter Years 1-5 Part 2” (what, you thought I’d make you look for Part 2? I’m not cruel!) (Though I have to say: If you have to do your 30 second Bun-o-vision in two parts, you’re not really sticking with your own self-imposed limitations, now are you?)

PS How is it that Bunny Harry Potter actually looks like Daniel Radcliffe? Weird, man! Moving on.

3) How It Should Have Ended: Lord of the Rings (honestly, people, you have giant eagles…)

4) How It Should Have Ended: The Empire Strikes Back (because of course. Duh).

And finally….

5) Cee-Lo’s epic ode to the brokenhearted, “Fuck You,” as interpreted in American Sign Language — verily, the awesome sauce, it has been poured!

Life. Sometimes it’s just better when it’s stupid.