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Tag Archives: Star Wars

A while ago, as a result of the Mass Effect finale, one of the many conversations I have had as a result of the Mass Effect finale, the idea came up that the final segment of a trilogy should be the best and most emotionally satisfying part of that trilogy.

Does this always work? After all we are all individuals with differing tastes and emotional reactions. We all look at things differently. Again because of conversations about Mass Effect 3, I realize I have some widely different opinions then many of my peers.

And the issue is, idealistic, yes, the final segment in any long-term series should wrap things up in a nice little bow and be the most satisfying of the set.

But it does not always work out this way.

And I can think of many examples of it. Many people say the Empire Strikes Back was a better movie then Return of the Jedi.

That the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie is better than either of the two sequels. Or, for that matter, On Stranger Tides.

That Halo 1 was better than Halo 2 or 3, that the original Mass Effect was better than ME 3.

Or as I believe personally that ME 2 was better than ME 3, the second Pirates movie was the best of the set, and that the best season of Babylon 5 was the fourth and not the fifth.

This works because of a gamble in art, not everything that you do is going to find an effective place in an audience. You take a risk, you try to do something different, and some people hate it. Some people may even hate it over some idealized picture of the first installment and thus that no matter what the other installments in any series does, especially if its different, they hate it.

And this is ultimately why things may not work out for the best. Because an author or artist is forced to comply to different pressures. To fan pressure, to the pressure of the people they are working for, to their own original artistic vision. To the writers and costume people who are also a part of the creative vision and each putting their own technical restraints on a project.

To even new writers being added to a project mid way…or people dying or people getting sick and tired of circumstances. Of people leaving a project, or getting bogged down in other commitments.

You can say as a writer, ‘hey I want this person to be playing this role in my movie who has been there since the beginning, but sadly he has moved on to do a big hollywood thing!’

Or something simply not matching audience expectations.

There are a few examples of trilogies ending with a bang, IMO. Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings are fine examples of their craft.

But we all have to realize that just because something should be this way, doesn’t mean it will be this way.

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Over the past couple of months and weeks I have been paying great attention to what is going on in the Middle East. Blogging about it slowly in the weeks covering many topics in that time from what I think they should do, to what we should do, to ideas on the Caliphate.

But it has occurred to me that this may not be enough. That the issues are too wide and too severe. And even though this crisis may take months, or years, to develop, it is happening now and the earlier I get this out, well hopefully more people will read about it and think about it.

And I cannot wait, there is just too much at stake. I was originally thinking, and a friend of mine even said, that why don’t you do this over a period of six weeks?

Well who knows what will happen in six weeks I have to get it out now.

So over the next six days from here I will be writing a six part blog about all the stuff that I think that is happening in the middle east and what lessons can be learned.

Aside from economics. You can hear those anywhere and personally those may yet be able to wait…but suffice it to say those are bad.

So Part One:

I think as with many things the answer to the puzzle of what is going can be found in Star Wars, and more specifically the Galactic Emperor.

Because that is really what is going on in the Middle East.

The fundamental fact of life here and the fact of many philosophers and poets and entire novels, television shows, movies, and songs is that evil feeds off of chaos.

It simply lives off of and feeds off the chaos and chaotic situations.

Evil cannot live with stability, the light of truth, and a healthy conversation of events and principles.

It needs chaos.

As in the case of Palpetine and the fall of the Republic and the Rise of the Empire he created his own chaos.

He manipulated the events and started the Clone Wars. The Clone Wars created and started a highly traumatic event in that galaxy, in that universe, which created a situation of great chaos.

In the real world the Middle East, Europe, and even the United States has civil unrest to varying degrees. There is great and unyielding chaos in the world. It is a chaotic situation.

Protesters are coming out for Democracy and to over throw the dictators that have been plaguing them or to stick it to the man and throw off their shackles and have a Government that truly matches their ideals.

And they are dying and killing and raping in the streets. They are fighting civil wars and seemingly willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their objectives.

There is much chaos in the world and the world is on the brink.

And the truth of the matter is that any evil, any tyrant, or any emperor can easily manipulate the situation for their own ends. Even if they did not start it they can use it for their own objectives.

Which is what the Emperor in Star Wars did after there was great chaos in the galaxy, he used it to achieve his own objectives and form a Galactic Empire.

And after years of fighting, and after years of chaos, after a war had ripped up the Galaxy the Senators cheered it on.

The elected representatives of thousands of worlds stood up and cheered as their liberty was stripped from them.

And, as far as I know, there was no wide scale and popular uprising on the Republic Member Worlds for years after the formation of the Empire.

So even the people and the citizenry, after years of chaos and war were subdued enough and weak enough where they were willing to accept their new circumstances, their new Liberty stripping, xenophobic, and downright evil new Government.

They were manipulated into excepting their new circumstances.

Well enough that any rebellious movement had to go underground for years.

As what is going on here, in the real world, and in the Middle East.

No matter the situation and no matter the good of people there is always the potential for manipulation.

No matter the attitudes or the goodness of some aspects of the Muslim Population and elements in it there is great potential for manipulation.

When people are beaten down, depressed, hungry, with no economic opportunities and even a repressive and corrupt Governments all the situation needs is some chaos.

A fluid situation to tip the country or region or world into chaos.

And then all they need is a charismatic, intelligent, well spoken leader with a ‘plan’ that can come and manipulate the situation to whatever his specific agenda is.

For good or for evil. He or she can be a beacon of hope, or a beacon of darkness.

And all the Middle East needs is a tyrant or a group of people who can come in and manipulate the anger and the hate of the populace and mold it to their heart’s content.

Today was the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 1 (Well technically yesterday but I watched it today and it was good, brilliant, fantastic, molto bene alons-y…sorry got a bit carried away there…) Needless to say a great movie, but in its release…one of my favorite movie series of all time… I came back to something that I have been thinking about often. It is the perfect time for this blog.

Now back years and years ago I was at one of my friend’s house, and we were watching something on the TV…a Discovery Program or something of that nature.

Now the younger brother asked something, and I seem to recall the answer being, don’t believe things you see on TV…or something of that nature.

And yeah, sure I can see his point to an extent but it got me thinking, and even at the time…I was quite puzzled and affronted a little bit at first.

And the reason was, in reflecting about it years later, is that fiction is…or was rather…an important part of my development.

Still is, I still really enjoy fiction and movies and books and video games.

I suppose the main reason comes from the Glenn Beck theme song that he has been using for a majority of 2010:

In it, it states that we must look for answers everywhere. No matter how dark, gloomy, depressing, or fictional, we must look for answers.

We must have our eyes open to all possibilities and we must listen and be willing to learn from any number of sources, and then incorporate it and act accordingly.

To try to discern the best answers and the correct answers from the information you are assimilating.

Because that is how I did it…I think…I mean I think I turned out OK in my upbringing…don’t you?

Because shows and fiction and movies and books teach proper principles, they teach lessons, and they do things that can point one in the right direction to be good.

They are there if you know where to look for them. If you are willing to listen and to learn and be open. They are there…all around us in fact…everywhere…and some of them can be quite…subtle.

But whether it is Babylon 5, or Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars or…even more recently…the Overton Window.

They can teach lessons on Liberty, Freedom, Friendship, loyalty, and love.

After all perhaps one of the better lines from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is Hermione’s chat to Harry: ‘me? books and cleverness…there are more important things…like friendship…and loyalty…’

And after all, the fiction that is the best, is grounded in reality or real principles.

And we should trust people to discern lessons…the correct lessons..while avoiding the evil and the bad. In the franchises, and in the arguments.

We can be the guide.

We can be the guide to ignore the Voldemort’s and the Twilight’s of the world. Or avoid acting them out.

We can learn the proper answers when it comes to Government and Liberty, in fact there are a lot of motifs and scenes of interest throughout both Harry Potter and Babylon 5 showing the dangers of overbearing Government…even those that seem benign.

In fact, I think that fiction is one of the most important way of getting lessons, especially today.

People ignore things all the time, we do not learn proper real world examples, but yet we do seem to listen to Fiction. Maybe we should listen to it more.

But the point is it is there, it is there if we want to listen to them and it does get the blood going and thinking.

After all many of the deepest conversations I have had in my life has followed National Treasure or some other movie that we just got out of the theater for.

After all fiction inspires you to be better, inspires you to look into something, look up something, to gain further knowledge of the movie and its real world icon.

After all it inspires you to be like the heroes on the big screen, or the pages of a book.

Again as long as you can learn the proper lessons.

So if we CAN learn the proper lessons, then we must encourage people to gain knowledge from all sources and all areas. I do not think we have much choice in the matter.

And on another note, in looking at the numbers from the opening weekend of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows…..61 Million Dollars…I think we have found a way to solve our debt problems. Hehe…just a thought.

Actually this should be “Only the Sith deal in absolutes absolutely”…because the Jedi have been known to deal in absolutes quite a lot too.

But this is one of my favorite kernels of wisdom in SWs, almost a throw away line in actuality, but an important one.

And I think it is one of the most important statements about humanity, good and evil, and our lot in life as it applies right now.

And I think dealing in absolutes is a path to great evil, it’s a path to the dark side.

I try to avoid them myself, I try to avoid absolutes and generalist statements wherever possible and use them only at the most sparing, if at all.

Now there are absolutes in this world, there is absolute good, and evil, and truth, and those who would want to strive towards them.

But we humans can only ever strive for one, to strive for an absolute, usually what we think is absolute good, to be more Godlike.

But to deal in absolutes, to make blanket statements about entire groups, one or the other. It is a path to evil.

Which is why I get so uppity about people who ‘over generalize’

We are not the enemies of the Republicans or the Democrats, and we are not the enemies of anyone absolute group. We are up against certain individuals in all of those groups that want to grow the Government and take over our lives.

Because part of the reason is that when you deal in groups, you only make the problems worse and more over bearing and seemingly unstoppable then they really are.

You make the situation hopeless because if everyone in society is against you, then you have very few options.

It makes the problem worse than it is, and with the problems that we do have it is reckless to do that. We are already facing too much to add problems onto it in our own minds, to treat all members of a group badly because of the actions of a few of its members.

And we cannot get into absolute statements of ideology where we can make a claim just because someone said something then that is the end all be all of their ideology, or just because we think they are something that means they are exactly like everyone else. We must be able to pick our individual arguments.

This is a path to the dark side, this is a path to evil.

And we must not let ourselves be consumed by it. We must not only deal in the realm of absolutes where we, as a species, do not live in.

All we can do is strive, strive for the individual.

A while back I did a blog in which I tried to explain the concept that is popularly known as the Overton Window.

This is about when I started reading the book.

I just finished it and should read it again.

It was…quite the mind blowing book. Quite a terrifying book that makes your head hurt, and if you know 1984 grab your sheets and want to hide under them.

It is a story of two main Characters, Molly Ross and Noah Gardner, who basically get together and battle the evils of the current administration and a plot, hundreds of years in the making…but not executed or done by the people you would think.

Knowing Beck (since I have had the Insider/Insider Extreme since December, and since I have watched most of his shows since he came to Fox, I know where he is coming from. Or try to.) as I do the most striking character in the book is the character of Molly Ross.

Molly is a very strong…but very independent and…um…unpredictable Female Character. I am trying to not give too much away in this blog, (the point really), but she is…awesome. Despite some of the things she does in the book.

In fact she is responsible for saving, enlightening, and bringing about Noah’s growth and change is a character. Oftentimes having to beat him into it and drag him into it, quite literally, but is a strong character who despite what she does, is still able to get through to Noah.

I think there is an important message here. One of Love, one that I can relate to.

You see Beck often talks about how his wife helped to save him and bring about the change in religion, in faith, and in politics, and is responsible for a lot of the things that have become known as Glenn Beck.

Not all of them, and please do not kill me Glenn, you have basically said this.

And I agree. Love and women, and a lot of other things, are responsible for saving ones character. They complete us and vice versa and is often the principle reasons why you are fighting for something. You are fighting to protect them and the family. And you are fighting, if you care about them, hoping that they will see the light.

But Molly, not Noah, is by far the strongest character in the book. In almost every single way. She has her problems yes, but so does Noah. And this is important knowing Glenn Beck.

At first, through the first couple of chapters of the book it sounded like something out of one of his shows. Arthur Gardner (Noah’s father) spends a lot of time quoting Carrol Quigley, and exercising his plans.

While I eventually saw the reason for it, most of it was set up for the meat of the book, the climax, the plot, and the conclusion, it did make me more than a little uncomfortable.

You see I think that there is far too much ‘fact’ and not enough ‘fiction’ in this faction book.

True most fiction books is based on reality, you need to do that to have a realistic plot. Even Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Doctor Who, portrays science, history, and human relationships. You have to relate.

But I feel that this would be a lot better as a Science Fiction Novel. To create a totally different Earth or foreign Government and play it out.

You see this book is too connected to our reality. So it will be a turn off to many people ‘not in the fold’, and will not achieve its aim of bringing more people there.

Despite this the book is highly enjoyable, a great read, and…well a thriller. It certainly thrilled me…lol. And I think I would be quite smitten with Molly too.

This book gets high marks in plot, in characterization, in the thriller aspects of it, and its portrayal of real life aspects. It was quite humorous and seemed to have it at the proper times…I was rolling on the floor at the obvious Star Wars reference and the near fiasco.

It is an interesting take with obvious characters and whose who, but the roles and portrayals are interesting.

This is Noah’s story, his conflict with himself whether he is a warrior for Freedom, or the NWO, if he loves Molly or if she is the ultimate bad guy.

This story scores low in dialogue, and word choice (mostly the same problem) he says ‘said’ a lot.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it. When I get rich, or some income I will probably do the same thing that I want to do with Common Sense and a few other books: Get two Copies that I can lend out to people. But beyond that there is the library, I am sure the internet, and several other means.

If you do not want to contribute to the evil Glenn Beck’s financial empire, chose one of these methods.

It will be well worth it.

But on a personal level and a note the climax of this book and a lot of things that happened to it was shocking to me.

You see, because of this book and what I was watching recently, there are three basic types of outcome with this.

There is the approach where one character submits, is co-opted, is tortured and brainwashed into cooperating and then loses it all. Example is 1984.

Then there is the real approach where one character succumbs, is forced to submit, enslaved, mind controlled, what ever, and that is how his journey ends. But another never backs down and walks away in freedom. Example: Babylon 5.

And then there is the process of one character does not submit, despite insurmountable odds, he submits, does not say no, and still has his freedom and his wits about him.

That is interesting, it is the key. These three types of stories are really, so fascinating and bizarre.

A while back we had ‘1984’ on the TiVo. I could not bring myself to watch it. It is a terrifying book and a terrifying portrayal.

But these three types of stories are what it is all about gang. These three types of stories make all the difference.

It is the story of humanity, the story of history. The triumph, the co-opting, and the slavery of the human spirit.

Again: Enjoy.

Lately I have seen a lot of hate, and I have seen someone recover from their hate.  Hate is a powerful force, a destructive force.

I have been planning this blog for a long time, this has been where I have been planning to end the month of may almost at the beginning of May.  But it seems coincidence that I have seen an awful lot of hate, and an awful lot of intolerance.

It is a powerful, all-consuming, all enticing emotion.  It focuses efforts but has a way of destroying the person who hates just as much as the object of that hate.

Hate is blinding, it is binding, it is something that is hard to break the cycle of.

There is an old saying from a popular and wise franchise, I do not know the specifics but it is basically ‘once you start down that path forever will it dominate your destiny’

Whether it is Big Government, whether it is Hate, whether it is the Dark Side of the Force, it will just burn us, consume us, and it usually takes a great revelation or a great struggle to get us out of it.  To get one away from the path.  Because it gets so easy to go down that path.

It is so easy to get on that path, to frame the debate in those terms and in those ideologies of hate, it is so easy to move the Overton Window to that specific place and so hard to move it back or move it away.

We must not go there.  Let us be the movement of peace and brotherhood, let us be the movement that constantly beats the hammer of non violence and constantly explain our position and our ideology.

Whether it is Libertarian, Conservative, or any other freedom and liberty loving institution.  Lets not hate, lets come from a position of strength.

I know its hard but we need to be these people or we will lose, or we will have to have Government come in and save us from ourselves!

And I know its hard, I know its hard because we are human.  Because we are not always at our best, because we despair…which is a path to the Dark Side.

But, we must do these things because if we have any hope of expecting any better from our Government, if we expect to save the Republic this is what is required from us in this moment in history.

Awhile back I wrote a blog about Cloward and Piven, and then went into one of two different angles on their strategy.  I said I would discuss the other one at a later date, when I felt comfortable.

With Joe Stack ramming his plane into an IRS building, I feel that this is the time.

Now, the Cloward and Piven theory was that if you put as many crises into the system as possible, then you can collapse the system, and then transform it.

As I have indicated this can really only lead in two basic concepts, a freer society, or one that is more enslaved.

This also works for the individual, but it is simpler than that.

The choice for the individual is between good and evil.  Between hard work and giving into your passions.

Now in Star Wars fear is the path to the dark side.  Fear leads to anger, which leads to hate which leads to suffering.

That is the choice that we as individuals must face.

Now this choice comes about through a vast number of circumstances.

But it is usually the loss of a job, the loss of a paycheck, losing food, control over your life.  This causes fear, this causes a sense of loss, and a sense of where do I turn?

For all people the ‘bottom’ is lower than any other persons, that sense of hopelessness.

That sense of collapse.

At that moment we all have a choice.

The choice can be to give into your fear, to let it consume you, which then causes you to get paranoid, mistrustful, and bitter, angry even.

That it is someone else’s fault, it is not my fault, its society is to blame, not me.  Never me.

Then to hate.

That I must do something about it, they deserve it, and after all for anything to change I have to make a body count.  After all that is the only way to change.

Now despite this fear is a healthy emotion.  It can lead you to do great things.

But if you let it consume you, then you might see the situation above come to pass.

Instead you need to forge it into a tool, to use it, and get off your butt.  Maybe you have fallen and maybe you have collapsed but that is not the end of the world.

You can still get up and do something, that the sense of fear and impending disaster hopefully leads you to greater things, and does not consume you, bringing suffering on the people around us.

That is the choice that we as individuals face playing out our own scenarios of success, and failure.

When we give in, it ripples out, our lives effect other people’s maybe even sets an example for others? An example for them to follow, hey they are just like me, maybe if I do kill, things will change? My life is over anyways. It can ripple out into society.

And that is the choice, because the choice that we make for ourselves as people, will affect the choice that we make as a people.

Are we be willing to pick ourselves up and do the hard work? Or will we give into our fear, and our sense of entitlement?