Total Douchebag

Mike Ryan, senior entertainment “writer” for The Huffington Post, provides example number [f*** it, there's no point counting any more] of how hateboys are obligated to trash Star Wars even when it has nothing to do with the point they’re trying to make.

In a review of the ‘Total Recall’ reboot, ‘Total Recall’ Is Pretty Much ‘Attack Of The Clones’, Ryan can’t just talk about the plot parallels between the two movies — the purpose of the article — he needs to make sure he throws in some hateboy red meat and show he’s talking for everyone about how we all really feel about Episode II.

“On Wednesday night, while watching the press screening of Total Recall, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that I had seen this movie before.” “It wasn’t the Arnold Schwarzenegger version of Total Recall that I was reminded of … instead, it was Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. This is not a compliment.

“Attack of the Clones, if you don’t remember, is the fifth Star Wars movie (the second, sequentially), which you most likely hate today (but perhaps liked at one point in your life).”

Really??? I most likely hate it today? Well thank you, Mr. Mindreader, for looking inside everyone’s heads to tell us exactly what we all really think! And kudos for pointing out that if we every really DID like AOTC, it was probably when we were younger and stupider, not like Mike Ryan.

Ryan then goes on with a very detailed description of the events in AOTC, proving once again that those who allegedly hate this movie clearly have memorized every single frame of it. In fact, reading Ryan’s mini synopsis I’m reminded of why I love AOTC’s political plotline and how prescient it is about the manipulation of democracy.

“Regardless, if your plan was to skip the new Total Recall and just watch the 1990 original, perhaps you should watch Attack of the Clones instead. Or, you know, not do that.

Ryan could have just as easily written this article as a compliment to AOTC’s influence or how ‘Total Recall’ validates many of Episode II’s themes. In fact, given Ryan’s vivid description of the plot, it’s clear AOTC had a positive memorable impact on him — and isn’t that what a good film is supposed to do? Sadly, he’s clearly scared shitless to actually say that because his hater friends will likely make fun of him. He’s also terrified because his job isn’t to say what he really thinks, it’s to get clicks.

And if you’re wondering how I know what Mike Ryan really thinks, or how I know he’s scared shitless, it’s because I can read his mind.

Or, you know, not.

Posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Double Standards

Is there any doubt that if George Lucas were to announce he was producing a film based on one book but splitting it into two movies that he’d be mercilessly condemned for gouging audiences because he’s a greedy bastard? Is there any doubt that if he then decided to split the two movies into three that people would accuse him of crimes against humanity?

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Anger leads to hate…

The following exchange was posted at OriginalTrilogy.com under the category “General Star Wars Random Thoughts.”

Comment: “Sure there are problems with eps1 & 2 but they’re still star wars. I love star wars! All six films flaws & all.”

Reply: “You want Lucas to punch you in the back of the head while he takes you from behind, fine, but don’t tell those of us who don’t want to to follow your lead. Now STFU & GTFO.”

The reply came from a regular who later goes on to say, “I came here to this forum specifically to get away from “true fans” like you.”

I guess this just proves that admitting to “problems” and “flaws” in the PT or SE isn’t going to get us any closer to a kumbaya moment among all Star Wars fans. To be fair, the original poster admits to have earlier “posted rudely” that he apologized for, but even if he fired the first shot in being “bitter” (to use his word) about hateboy nonsense, the response from this forum regular certainly illustrates a very troubling mentality.

To these fans, George Lucas making an artistic choice about his own work they don’t like is an act of violence against them.

These people are not only being victimized unfairly, in their eyes, but brutally victimized in the most emasculating and humiliating way possible for young men — to be made into a woman. To be sexually assaulted against their will. That’s what they feel is being done to them and, consequently, what they’re fighting against.

No wonder these guys are so upset all the time and so determined to fight back. No wonder there is so much animosity in Star Wars fandom. When unhappiness about a movie is constantly framed in violent terms like “rape” or references to sodomy who can blame them? I mean, they’re exactly the same thing, right?

Here’s a suggestion that might get us Star Wars fans closer to that elusive kumbaya moment: Let’s start by not complaining about being f***ed in the ass… unless we’re literally being f***ed in the ass.

Okay?

Let’s start there.

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Freeing the Slaves

God of Star Wars philosophy Paul F. McDonald has his terrific ‘Night of the Mindless Lucas Slaves’ commentary up over on Star Wars Heresies and it’s another home run. As usual, Paul says better than I that there is no need for “buts” and qualifications when fans talk about Star Wars. No one who LIKES something should feel the knee-jerk reaction to defend their subjective tastes just because the internet fun police have decided they shouldn’t. Check it out.

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Variations on a Theme

As everyone knows (or should know), when George Lucas originally conceived ‘Star Wars’ he turned to the past for inspiration and for its stylistic template. Space battles were modeled after WWII dogfights, the heroic derring-do was modeled after ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ and ‘The Sea Hawk’, and the storyline was modeled after the films of Akira Kurosawa. These intentional nods to history and the artistry of the past permeate all aspects of the six films, from the set design to the acting to the plot itself.

When it comes to the two droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO, Lucas began by modeling them after the two bumbling peasant characters in Kurosawa’s ‘The Hidden Fortress’. In early drafts of the script, the two characters were simply workers accompanying the heroes on their journey to provide comic relief. As the story evolved, Lucas turned to the classic comedy teams of Hollywood’s golden era for inspiration. Artoo and Threepio are the obvious descendants of comedy duos like Laurel and Hardy and Abbott and Costello (a fussy tall guy and a short fat guy), and Artoo even borrows Harpo Marx‘s ability to communicate through pantomime and toots on his horn.

When it came time to create the comic relief character in ‘The Phantom Menace’, Lucas again turned to cinema history in modeling Jar Jar after classic bumbling comedy characters from Hollywood’s past. Instead of a comedy duo, Lucas made reference to solo slapstick performers like Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. The performer who serves as Jar Jar’s most direct descendant, however, is Charlie Chaplin.

The past is prologue

Chaplin’s “Little Tramp” character is a show business icon and from 1914 to 1940 was one of the most popular and recognizable characters in Hollywood. Chaplin developed the character while working in London’s Music Halls (the British version of vaudeville) and perfected it in Hollywood as a down-and-out outcast who often finds himself facing off against authority figures and succeeding despite himself. The Tramp had distinctive characteristics, including a body shape that was too narrow at the top and too wide at the bottom. The Tramp’s most distinctive characteristic, however, was his distinctive walk. While watching Chaplin’s classic, ‘The Great Dictator’, the other night, I noticed one scene that really shows the character’s body movements in action and likely served as Lucas’s inspiration for Jar Jar during the Trade Federation invasion. In the scene, Chaplin plays a Jewish barber who wakes from a coma unaware that a malevolent dictator, modeled after Hitler, has come to power. The barber doesn’t understand why the dictator’s stormtroopers are trying to arrest him just because he’s different. I found the scene on YouTube. Forward to the 7:00 mark and watch Chaplin in action to see if you can see the resemblance. Charlie Chaplin: Scene in the jewish ghetto

Here’s the kicker. Chaplin credited the origin of the Tramp’s distinctive walk to observing a down-and-out drunk from his boyhood neighborhood in London named “Rummy Binks. Later while working in sketch comedy in the Music Hall under Fred Karno, Chaplin named the bumbling character “Archibald Binks” before coming to America and morphing the character into “The Tramp.” Jar Jar’s surname is most definitely Lucas’ tip of the hat to this comedy icon.

Back to the future.

Whether you love him or hate him, Jar Jar is a character born from the same artistic intentions as the rest of the Star Wars saga. Like the droids or the dogfights of the 4-6 trilogy, he’s a nod to cinema’s past brought to life by the latest motion picture technology. As I pointed out in my post “The Amphibian in the Mirror”, Jar Jar’s inclusion in the Star Wars pantheon will likely always be controversial because of what he represents, but for me he’s a fitting and creatively consistent part of diverse Star Wars universe.

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What Goes Around…

Some people have always bitched about Star Wars. Whenever something becomes a pop culture sensation, especially when it makes a lot of money, it’s going to generate negative attention from those who somehow feel its success is unwarranted, undeserved or an unfortunate development for society. Attacking something other people love is a sure attention-getter and, for some, an empowering act of rebellion. It’s a declaration of independence from the status quo. In many cases, however, the specific issues that sparked the negativity in the first place are of far lesser concern than the conflict itself.

A big reason why I focus on issues of fans and fandom in this blog, specifically the petulant nihilism of the hateboys, is because over the years the bitching about Star Wars has evolved from harmless subjective disagreement into an active and organized campaign of destruction. Contrary to their claims, a big reason for this evolution is not the films themselves or the specific complaints, but rather technology. The Internet has given the haters a broadcast medium and a tool to join with other haters to coalesce their views, consolidate their activities and coordinate their attacks. What had once been small, isolated pockets of dissent and criticism now has an enormous megaphone to stage a crusade fueled by group-think. There are now dedicated warriors of hate on sites like Reddit, OriginalTrilogy.com and AICN that have made it their mission to let no discussion of Star Wars, no matter the topic, proceed without injecting a stain of negativity to poison other fans’ enjoyment.

The hateboys, of course, don’t see it this way. They’re convinced it’s Star Wars and George Lucas that has changed, not the ability of angry fans to communicate and synchronize their attacks. Their complaints about the SEs and the prequels, they argue, are somehow new and something that didn’t exist during the glory days of the 4-6 trilogy’s release.

Those of us who were around in 1977, 1980 and 1983, however, know this is utter bullshit.

The EXACT SAME ARGUMENTS hateboys now use to justify their snarky, childish and relentless attacks on the franchise were being made back then. Even “The Empire Strikes Back,” now ubiquitously lauded as “the best” of the series (and elevated to unassailable holy scripture by hateboys specifically because George Lucas didn’t direct it), was attacked for the very same “flaws” hateboys somehow think are unique to the PT.

Don’t believe me?

Only months after Empire’s release in the summer of 1980, Starlog magazine — the biggest genre publication at the time — published a scathing commentary titled “The Empire Strikes Out” written by Star Trek alum David Gerrold (as in the case of Mark A. Altman, its interesting that many of Star Wars biggest longtime critics also happen to be professional Star Trek fans). The article contains the same variety of attacks, nitpicking and general whining that hateboys have hailed as brilliant insight in RedLetterMedia’s “reviews” of the prequels or in ANY online debate about the saga since 1997. Thanks to reader Mike, I have a copy of the article. Unfortunately, I can’t simply post the scans due to its copyright.

Lucas must've time traveled 17 years back to do Spielberg's first "Special Edition".

Gerrold begins his article with a lengthy pre-buttal defending his attacks to come by acknowledging that his views aren’t likely to sit well with Star Wars fans. He describes a conversation with the magazine’s editor about his intent to write “some thoughts” about the movie, telling his nervous colleague:

“Now, listen to me–we have a responsibility to the readership. It’s that simple. I have to tell the truth.” “Even if it’s unpleasant.”

Gerrold then directly addresses — and preemptively dismisses — anyone who might have a contrary opinion.

“-uh, listen, if you’re one of those fanatics who started waiting in line sometime last December, who hasn’t seen daylight since May 21, who worships the wart over Yoda’s left eye, then maybe you’d better skip this part of the magazine and go on to something else.”

Perhaps in Gerrold’s eyes, enthusiastically liking the movie immediately disqualifies you from rational debate. Gerrold then moves into his empowering act of rebellion mode as he writes:

“I really hesitated before I wrote this column, because nobody likes the guy who stands up to say, ‘Awww, this party isn’t as good as everybody says it is.’”

As I wrote in Hateboys Ruin Everything, hateboys LOVE being the guy who stands up to “volunteer an opinion no one wanted with the sole intention of trying to ruin some other person’s enjoyment.” Gerrold’s acknowledgement that “nobody likes [that] guy” doesn’t prevent him from BEING that guy — because, ya know, the “truth” demands it.

Gerrold then graciously foretells the wisdom of what he is about to bestow [Emphasis Gerrold's]:

“My job is to make you think about what you saw. If you’re happy, if you don’t want to think, then turn the page.”

Translation: If you liked “The Empire Strikes Back,” you’re a moron. You don’t have a brain and you’re not going to accept my gift of knowledge. Go away. Does this attitude strike anyone as familiar? Over on Reddit the other day, a critic of this site aptly named “adouchebag” wrote:

“Just another retard pandering to other retards that think the prequels were good.”

Whether 32 years ago or last week, it’s the same shit. If you like something these guys don’t, you’re a moron. [note to the Reddit guys: I don't call out hateboys because they have a differing opinion. I don't care. It's because they can't stop themselves from making sure their negative opinions pollute every debate, every discussion, no matter the topic, all the time.]

Gerrold then launches into the “quibbles” — the nitpicks. It’s here where the article most resembles an unfunny version of RLM’s screed.

“Han Solo maneuvers the Millennium Falcon into a hole in an asteroid to hide while he makes repairs. Princess Leia sees something outside the ship. They go out to investigate — wearing only oxygen masks. No spacesuits. They explore the inside of the tunnel they are in, walking around the ship — walking?!!”

Gerrold continues with skeptical “questions of ecology” about how the space slug could live in space, how it could find food to eat and why it would hide in an asteroid. Perhaps it’s Gerrold’s Trekkie demand for scientific accuracy (because Trek is always sooooo accurate), but he clearly can’t suspend disbelief in the scene. This scene was often cited when people would complain about the film back in the day. It was clear evidence of Lucas’ hackery and indifference to “good” storytelling. It ruined the movie for some people — exactly the way the RLM “review” bitches about the Jedi going through Naboo’s “planet core” in TPM. It just one of those implausible things that ruins the movie, ya know.

Gerrold moves on to low hanging fruit: how the Falcon goes from Hoth to the Bespin system without hyperdrive. I love this complaint because it’s EXACTLY the same complaint made about TPM: How does the Queen’s starship get from Naboo to Tatooine without hyperdrive? Again, for modern era hateboys (neo-hateboys?), it’s a fatal flaw in TPM, but not even worthy of discussion in the holy TESB.

The article then continues to berate the scientific inaccuracy in the film by complaining about the movements of the spaceships. Gerrold then adds this gem:

“What we are seeing may look like spaceships, but they move like supersonic fighters and flying aircraft carriers. Impressive, yes. But reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica.”

Wow. Gerrold certainly knew ‘Galactica’ was produced after the first film’s release and that it was clearly copying Star Wars’ “dogfighting spaceships” stylistic template (and that former ILMers were involved in both productions). By making such a flawed comparison, it seems obvious the intent is make a disingenuous argument: I don’t have to prove it sucks, I’ll just compare it to something everyone knows sucks. Viola!

Gerrold then makes more grudging concessions that the film is “great fun,” while giving faint praise to its “flash and dazzle, zipping and zapping.” As is frequently the case with PT criticisms, Gerrold praises John Williams’ music and admits that “most of the effects” are stunning. The list of kudos, however, is just the prelude to the inevitable big “but–”

Gerrold then goes for the red meat: the flaws in storytelling — and directly blames George Lucas (strangely NOT Irvin Kershner) for “forgetting the audience” and making “some serious miscalculations.” He says the “incompleteness” of the story is “terribly unsatisfying” because it fails to “demonstrate a piece of truth.” Gerrold then displays the douchy arrogance of any film school reject who took “Intro to Cinema” by complaining about the film’s lack of a McGuffin and lack of “epic quality.”

“All the chasing and racing is very exciting, but it doesn’t seem to have a larger purpose. Where before we were made aware that these events were one small part of a larger rebellion, now it seems as if everything revolves around Darth Vader versus Luke Skywalker. The focus has been narrowed. The rest of the battles are therefore trivialized by comparison, and the sense of epic is weakened.”

That quote could easily fit into any of RLM’s reviews of the prequels or any hateboy “I know cinema because I watch the supplemental materials on my DVDs” rant. It’s a simple formula: dismiss the plot by being intentionally vague (“all the chasing and racing”), state it doesn’t have a purpose (RLM: “What are the Jedi trying to do? It doesn’t make any sense!”), and then make an unfair comparison to something unrelated. Argument MADE.

The film suitably dismissed as “flawed,” Gerrold then continues to talk plot, but in doing so he exposes his real objective — and it’s the same objective today’s hateboys inevitable reveal whenever they complain about the SEs or the prequels: I call it the ‘Here, let me drive’ moment. It’s the moment when the hateboy tells us what Lucas should’ve done if he wasn’t such a hack storyteller. It’s the moment where they tell you what the prequels should’ve been about or how much cooler it could’ve been had only Lucas somehow accessed their childhood fantasies or read all that college-ruled fan fiction they’d written when they were in junior high. Gerrold writes:

“Structurally, the film is flawed by its need to imitate its predecessors “formula” of fast-paced cross-cutting. We cut back and forth between Luke and Yoda on Dagobah and Leia and Han in the asteroids, and the time sense of both sets are events is distorted. How long were Han and Leia fleeing? How long is Luke studying?

“Why not stay with Han and Leia until they leave the asteroid and head for the Bespin system, then cut to Luke arriving at Dagobah and stay with him until he leaves?”

Raise your hand if you want to see THAT movie. It’s ridiculous, right? But it’s no more ridiculous than the countless awesome suggestions (or fanedits) hateboys have offered over the years to improve the PT.

“Because the film now runs at such a fast pace throughout its entire length, it can’t build to an additional peak of excitement at the end when Luke finally confronts Darth Vader. It’s an exciting fight, yes — but we’re already at our peaks, we can’t get any more excited — and darn it, we should.

“The fight should be a climax, and it isn’t, and that’s one of the reasons why we’re left feeling just a bit unsatisfied.”

Remember, this is an article from September 1980 – long before Ewoks, long before fart jokes, long before the SEs or Jar Jar or the prequels. How many times have we heard hateboys complaining about Lucas “rushing” the story or screwing up the pace or fumbling the exposition or leaving them unsatisfied?

None. Of. This. Shit. Is. New.

What about Yoda? Surely, Gerrold loved Yoda, right? Well, he admits he’s “cute” and “has the best line in the picture: ‘There is no try. Either do or do not.’ [Gerrold's misquote]” But then he adds, “if he’s a Jedi master, then the galaxy is in worse trouble than we thought.” Gerrold describes the scene of Yoda lifting Luke’s X-Wing out of the swamp and again kicks Lucas out from behind the wheel to show him how to drive. (Again, emphasis Gerrold’s]

“What is the point this scene is supposed to make?” “So why does Yoda give Luke his ship? He’s denying him a reason to learn. Having the fighter handed back to him so easily is definitely not going to teach Luke patience.” “If Yoda is truly a Jedi master, then after he has raised the X-wing fighter out of the swamp to show it can be done, he should drop it right back in and say to Luke, “When you believe you can do it, then you will.” And then the next time we cut back to Luke and Yoda, it would be enough to see the fighter out of the swamp again, cleaned off and Luke grinning like a man who’s just discovered he can run the four-minute mile in three and a half. It would get applause from the audience.”

Of course it would. Every Monday morning quarterback basks in the glow of the big game they would’ve won.

What about the characters? Here’s Gerrold regarding Luke:

“He isn’t a hero because he hasn’t demonstrated his ability to grow–and that’s what heroism really is: discovering that you can master what looks like an impossible challenge.” “If Luke doesn’t learn anything, then he can’t grow. And if this isn’t about growth, then it isn’t a story. In fact, it isn’t even a very good chapter.”

Imagine if the Internet existed back in 1980. How many “fans” would read Gerrold’s comments and parrot his talking points back in chatrooms and comment boards as “evidence” proving their point the same way hateboys religiously point to RLM or Michael Kaminski or Simon Pegg or any other voice of supposed authority to make their case? The arguments haven’t changed — the ability to broadcast them and create a clone army certainly has.

Gerrold ends by restating that the storytellers have failed.

“An author or filmmaker chooses the specific incidents that he believes best tell his story. That the authors of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ chose to portray these incidents suggests that they may not fully believe in the power of the Force themselves.”

And that’s the point: Gerrold wants his readers to know that he understands the story better than the storytellers. Just like hateboys understand Star Wars better than George Lucas.

Gerrold was also not the sole voice of dissent complaining about the film at the time. There were other negative reviews and plenty of commentary. People forget what a radical departure TESB was from the formula established in the first film. It upset a lot of people. I personally had plenty of debates defending the movie and I have an older brother who still insists TESB is a “terrible movie.”

What this article shows is that neither the complaints nor the complainers’ tactics have changed much in the last 32 years. If anything, they’re remarkably (and astonishingly) consistent. Their hate for the SEs or the PT isn’t original in the least. What has changed is the ability of these hateboys to gather with the like-minded, exchange information, organize and take action.

And the goal they’ve dedicated themselves to achieving is ruining other people’s enjoyment of movies they don’t like.

Posted in Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Unlearning

Reader Shedao Shai made the following observation about my rebuke of EW.com writer Christian Blauvelt’s article on the upcoming season of The Clone Wars:

I totally agree with you that the prequels are underrated and deserve more respect. But you guys REALLY need to read ALL of Christian Blauvelt’s articles on Star Wars. He’s one of the biggest fans of our beloved saga to write for a major mainstream publication. He even said ‘Revenge of the Sith’ is his favorite franchise film–period–of the past decade. I think he was just trying to expose all the skeptics out there to the idea that Clone Wars is a great and worthy show. Nothing wrong with that. He doesn’t need to preach to you guys, since you’re already on board.

Blauvelt’s article praised the new trailer for Season 5, quoting Simon Pegg as saying The Clone Wars, “Made Star Wars cool again,” adding:

“Cynical as you may be about the franchise, it’ll make you feel like your 12-year-old self clutching a Boba Fett lunchbox in no time.”

My complaint was that even while praising something about Star Wars, Blauvelt’s piece is another example of writers too often making preemptive obligatory concessions to hateboy complaints, whether they’re warranted or not. It’s become a knee-jerk response: ‘Hey we all know Star Wars sucks, but check out this awesome new thing!’

I think that criticism is still valid, but I took Shedao’s advice and clicked back on some of Blauvelt’s previous articles (at least the ones I hadn’t already read). I think Shedao is right that Blauvelt was trying to “expose all the skeptics out there to the idea that Clone Wars is a great and worthy show.” Blauvelt is clearly a big fan of the show and well-versed in Star Wars literature, the EU and even the video game franchises (far more than I because, as I’ve said previously, I only have a passing interest in anything beyond the films and TV). In writing about the Mortis trilogy from season 3, for example, Blauvelt writes:

“One of the great themes of Star Wars is the necessity of accepting Fate. It’s Anakin’s Fate to become Darth Vader because he can’t accept his Fate. It’s the classic Macbeth causation paradox. By trying so hard to prevent Padmé’s death, he actually kills her himself. By trying to rid the galaxy of tyranny, he becomes the ultimate tyrant. (I’m telling you, Revenge of the Sith really is a film of Shakespearean complexity.)”

It’s certainly hard to argue that anyone writing that could be considered a hateboy and its a point taken that my lumping Blauvelt in with the hateboys was unfair. In re-reading Blauvelt’s articles, however, I think my broader point — that writers make obligatory concessions to hateboy complaints — has only been underscored. Consider the following quotes [emphasis mine]:

“How can you call yourself a Star Wars fan and not watch the most fun, engaging Star Wars storytelling since the original trilogy?”

“That could be just the thing to recapture the Sergio Leone-in-space vibe of the original trilogy.”

“A lot of you also probably look at Star Wars as an unfulfilled childhood promise, a franchise that didn’t grow up with you and that’s now creatively dried up. You’ll complain about the prequels, shout down the addition of “Nooooo!” to Darth Vader’s climactic dialogue in Return of the Jedi, and bitch about Slave Leia dancing to “Genie in a Bottle” in Star Wars Kinect. Don’t give in to the Dark Side, guys! Star Wars is alive and well. If you’re willing to look beyond the big screen, and dive deep into Lucasfilm Ltd.’s sprawling treasure trove of Expanded Universe novels, comics, videogames, and one particularly satisfying TV show, this is a franchise that’s thriving.”

“James Luceno’s epic hardcover depicts events you never thought were going to be revealed: Emperor Palpatine’s backstory, for one. How the Sith created Anakin Skywalker by manipulating the Force, for another. It almost makes midi-chlorians seem cool. Almost.

“I’m not one of these crazed (anti)fans who considers May 19, 1999, the day The Phantom Menace was released, to be the day my childhood died. Was it a disappointment? Sure. Was it a total loss? No way.”

“The Clone Wars has done a pretty great job of catering to us older Star Wars nerds—that’s why we’re recapping it on EW.com. Lucasfilm also needs to realize this important fact: we’re the ones who would actually buy the Star Wars merc for the Clone Wars’ kid audience, and I can’t imagine ever bestowing a Jar Jar or Captain Tarpals action figure, or poster, or lunchbox, on any young lad.”

And, most painfully, Blauvelt perpetuates the great Jar-Jar racism lie in reviewing last season’s “Shadow Warrior” episode:

“I mean, you’re adding voodoo to the Gungans’ catalogue of Stepin Fetchit tropes?”

If Blauvelt sees himself as a fan — and I believe he does — and truly feels that there is more merit in the Star Wars entertainment franchise than others give credit, then his approach is a sad reflection on fandom. Hateboys have so poisoned the well of respectable disagreement — of simply allowing others the common courtesy of enjoying something they don’t — that even big supporters of Star Wars feel the need to qualify their praise with obsequious concessions to hateboy memes.

Christ.

It doesn’t have to be so!

If Blauvelt believes The Clone Wars is a great show, he can simply SAY SO without the need to add “since the Original Trilogy” as a bone to the hateboys — especially if he personally believes ‘Revenge of the Sith’ is Shakespearean in quality! The hateboys deserve NOTHING, certainly not validity. The hateboys aren’t going to start thinking “Star Wars is cool again” just because writers like Blauvelt concede ground in hopes that it will generate a little goodwill. Conceding ground only serves to move the goalposts of the conflict. It does nothing but embolden those making the complaints and frighten those who hold contrary opinions into silence. It makes things worse, not better.

Look, it’s really simple. If you like Star Wars, you’re entitled to say so. No excuses, no apologies. We’ve evolved to a point as a species — at least in terms of our entertainment options — where we are free to like what we like. And if others start making noise about how we’re NOT supposed to like what we like, it’s our duty to tell them to FUCK OFF. In fact, I would argue that self-respect demands you tell them to fuck off because there is no shame in being true to who you are and being honest about your specific tastes. I would also argue that hateboys are the ones who need to be shamed into SHUTTING THE FUCK UP about stuff other people are entitled like in peace. It’s none of their damn business whether other fans like something or not. If they hate Star Wars, or parts of it, they’re free to do so — but NOT at the expense of MY enjoyment. If their hatred demands spamming every damn message board on the Internet or polluting every discussion about cinema to make it impossible for those who LIKE Star Wars to simply say so without meekly mumbling, ‘Yeah, I know they aren’t very good, but I think this one thing is kinda good…” then they deserve contempt, not concessions.

And I refuse to concede shit to them.

I LIKE Star Wars. I LIKE the prequels. I LIKE the SEs. I LIKE George Lucas’ vision for the franchise.

Period.

Saying so isn’t hard.

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Calling All Hoarders — Updated

I’m looking for anyone out there who might have a copy of STARLOG MAGAZINE Issue #38 in their private stash somewhere. If you’ve got a copy, I’m specifically interesting in David Gerrold’s article, “The Empire Strikes Out.” Post a comment if you’ve got it.

This is how nerds got news before we had before the "Internets."

UPDATE — Reader Mike has come through and has graciously sent a scan of the article. I’ll post about the contents soon. Thanks Mike!

Posted in Uncategorized | 23 Comments

Get Off My Lawn!!!

Reader Omar brought up a great point in his comment about Christian Blauvelt’s EW.com article about the trailer for Clone Wars Season 5. In regards to Blauvelt writing:

“Cynical as you may be about the franchise, it’ll make you feel like your 12-year-old self clutching a Boba Fett lunchbox in no time.”

Omar correctly points out:

“Why the hell do “writers” like Blauvelt assume everyone reading his articles are 80′s kids (I’m referring to the part about a 12 year old with the Boba Fett lunchbox)?!” “In my childhood (particularly 1999-2000), kids had lots Episode I backpacks and lunchboxes, and yes, they even had pictures of Jar Jar!”

Omar has nailed it. This article clearly shows that those “cynical” about the franchise (i.e. the hateboys) are primarily middle-aged men with an overinflated sense of importance about their childhood years in the 70s and 80s. Blauvelt is writing for his peers, the former Gen-Xers now staring into the headlights of mid-life and getting increasingly cranky about defending their past.

At a recent WonderCon Panel, professional hateboy master of ceremonies Mark “I coined the ‘raped my childhood’ whine” Altman hosted a panel of his middle-aged “Trekspert” colleagues (they’re actually just his buddies — WHY are these guys constantly invited to EVERY sci-fi convention as if anyone needs to hear what they say??!!) about why 1982 was “the Greatest Geek Year Ever!” Now the argument could be made that 1982 was a great year in sci-fi and fantasy films — in that a lot of sci-fi films were produced. As for it being the “greatest” year, it really boils down to one critical factor: it was the year Altman and his buddies were all teenage boys. How else do you explain how the same guys who have made it a mission in life to destroy the cultural respectability of the SEs and the prequels because they “suck” can also have the cojones to wax poetically about merits of films like ‘MegaForce’, the original ‘Tron’ and ‘The Dark Crystal’? Those films were critical and box office flops. It’s no accident it took nearly 30 years to make a ‘Tron’ sequel — the first one nearly ruined the studio and was an embarrassment! Using the same criteria these clowns use to dismiss the 1-3 Trilogy, those films were utter disasters. Yet, through the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, the grey-haired hateboys consider those films to be masterpieces and cinematic classics.

Bull. Shit.

Here’s what’s going on: Gen-X geeks now have jobs. They get paid to write shit. And they now get to write about the things THEY loved from their past — the same way BabyBoomer writers stuffed THEIR pop-culture artifacts down America’s throats for years. That’s it. That’s where a huge chunk of the anti-prequel, anti-SE , anti-Lucas crapola germinates. It’s about middle-aged men investing too much importance in the entertainment of their childhoods and getting upset when things change in ways they don’t like. They’re old men shaking their fists at the sky.

The one bright spot here is that eventually the children of the 2Ks are also going to have jobs writing about THEIR childhoods. Hopefully they’ll be equally vocal about praising the films they like from their past (and ask any random collection of kids under the age of 15 their favorite Star Wars film and its almost always a prequel film) and telling the bitter old hateboys to take a blue pill and go watch ‘MegaForce.’

BTW, Altman’s panel also noted the following:

“Altman brought up the issue of director’s cuts in relation to Blade Runner, and why fans seem to welcome special editions of that movie while reviling other special editions, such as for the “Star Wars” films.

“I think it has to do with the fact that they released all the versions on high-quality Blu-ray,” said concept artist Daren Dochterman, alluding to the recent “Star Wars” Blu-ray boxed set that contains just the special editions of those films.”

Really? Then explain why “fans” didn’t welcome the ‘E.T.’ Special Edition even though the 1982 original was ALWAYS available in high-quality? Explain why Altman himself was equating an artist deciding to make changes to his movie with RAPE years before the nonsense about the originals being available was even an excuse.

I’ll listen to the lawn crickets while I wait for an answer.

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Every. Damn. Time.

It seems impossible for “writers” to post articles about Star Wars – even glowingly positive ones – without first making the obligatory concession that the prequels suck and George Lucas is evil.

Every.

Damn.

Time.

The latest example comes from Christian Blauvelt in his EW.com article about the trailer for Clone Wars Season 5. Blauvelt proves his geek street cred right off the top by quoting “prequel naysayer” and professional Twitter-twit Simon Peg as saying The Clone Wars series has made Star Wars “cool again” — as if everyone was only waiting for Pegg’s permission for it to be so (funny how Star Wars is suddenly cool the moment Pegg decides to cash George’s paychecks – twat). Blauvelt writes:

Cynical as you may be about the franchise, [the trailer] make[s] you feel like your 12-year-old self clutching a Boba Fett lunchbox in no time.”

It seems completely lost on Blauvelt that perhaps a BIG reason some people feel “cynical” about the franchise is because they’re constantly TOLD TO BE by guys like him.

Every.

Damn.

Time.

Blauvelt, if you want to write a positive story about Star Wars, just write a POSITIVE STORY ABOUT STAR WARS! You don’t have to immediately throw a bone to the hateboys just to prove you’re cool, like Simon Pegg. It also seems lost on Blauvelt that The Clone Wars he loves is every bit as much George Lucas’ creation as the prequels. Ask Dave Filoni. Most of the story ideas originate in George’s head, he gives story approval, he’s the executive producer and he has final cut.

Of course, the impression — or lie — guys like Blauvelt and Pegg want to perpetuate is that The Clone Wars is cool despite George Lucas — the same way hateboy activists work nonstop to perpetuate the Internet meme that Lucas somehow wasn’t responsible for anything that made the first three films good yet is solely responsible for anything that made the prequels bad.

The not-so-subtle implication in Blauvelt’s article is the one the hateboys are increasingly trying to mainstream: that Star Wars is better off without George Lucas. Given the fact that Lucas IS involved deeply in The Clone Wars, it’s an obvious fiction and further proof that what hateboys really want is COLLECTIVE OWNERSHIP of Star Wars. They want George Lucas out of the way so they can have it be what THEY want it to be.

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