to all the Star Wars playa-hata haters out there

There’s been a popular critique of anyone who has been dissatisfied with the state of the Star Wars universe since May 19, 1999*. To paraphrase, the critique typically goes something like this: “Well, there were a bunch of 5-year-olds in front of me, and they LOVED it, so dude, just remember, the movie’s for kids. Like, lighten up and shit.” There’s a commentary by Jeff Jensen in Entertainment Weekly this week that more or less says the same thing in regards to the latest desecration of the Star Wars universe, aka Star Wars: The Clone Wars. To Mr. Jensen and everyone else who might make such an argument, I have the following rebuttal:


You know what I loved as a kid? You know what movie I stood in line for an hour with my mother and siblings for? The fucking LAND BEFORE TIME. And you know what? That movie has stayed with me ZERO. Zilch. Nada. All I remember from that piece of shit is that the mealy-mouthed dinosaurs are running from some crazy looking tyrannosaurus. And that’s it. Oh, I think the T-rexs name was Sharptooth. Or maybe Sharktooth. My eight-year-old mind couldn’t comprehend the difference between the two. Fuck, my twenty-eight-year-old mind can’t comprehend the difference, either. But you know what? I fucking ate up every moment of that movie, hook, line and sinker.

My point is not to rag on the original version of Ice Age. Rather, it is to point out that kids are stupid. I don’t mean this as a slight to kids. Kids are supposed to be stupid. They don’t know better. They are easily distracted by spectacle and loud music (which, incidentally, considering the state of the average Hollywood blockbuster today, should be indication enough that our current audience of adults is getting dumber – or, more optimistically, is being treated dumber – opening weekend by opening weekend). Kids gravitate more towards cartoons because it more closely resembles or relates to their developing worldview; they’re still trying to figure out physics and consequences, which are often murky at best in most hand-drawn animation (computer animation by design works with a perfect set of locomotion physics).

But as fantastic as Star Wars was, it was never cartoony, nor was it stupid – and I’m talking the original trilogy here, episodes 4-6. I enjoyed them as a kid, and I still enjoy them as an adult. They speak to both sides of that very wide and fuzzy line of maturity. The reason is simple: they’re good stories, told in abstract, far away lands, with fantastic characters and mythic plot lines. Anyone can follow them in any culture and at any age, because they are fundamental and universal.

So to make excuses for the Star Wars universe’s current stupidity by saying, “well, it’s designed for the youngin’s” is to insult the intelligence not of children in general but rather the inner child of every adult. It is insulting to say that, “yes, the part of you that wants to experience fabulous settings with epic stories is a pathetic, fucking moron who desperately wants to laugh at Jar-Jar’s fart joke.”

Pixar studios doesn’t seem to have a problem in creating films that speak to a wide demographic but are first and foremost squarely aimed at the children/family market. Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Monsters Inc. all play to the child in all of us without insulting anyone’s intelligence. Why doesn’t Georgey-boy take a cue from those guys and make movies in a similar vein? Oh yeah, because he once owned and subsequently sold Pixar to Steve Jobs. Way to stay in tune with the demands of the art market instead of relying on brand loyalty and merchandising.

So if you’re walking down the street, and you hear me bitch once again about Ahsaka, the ridiculous girl padawan that Annakin is paired up with in the dreadful new cartoon, be very, very careful telling me, “dude, it’s for kids.” I may just kick you in the balls and tell the yard duty you fell off the slide.

*For those who aren’t obsessively geeky like myself, that is the release date of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace – and for the record, no, I did not have to look it up on IMDB, and no, I didn’t even check. That’s how much of a dork I am.

Published in: on September 19, 2008 at 7:00 am  Comments (1)  
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get smart about your vote

Voting isn’t sexy. It doesn’t “rock”. And it’s not a fashionable privilege that can be shrugged off should it not fit in with your work schedule or social plans. Voting is 1) a right, and 2) a responsibility. Let me repeat that: it is your responsibility to vote. Voter turnout for the last 3 federal elections as been 37% (2002), 53.3% (2004), and 43.6% (2006) – that is fucking pathetic. And sadly, it’s been the status quo for the past 30+ years.

Democracy is a team sport; it requires participation from everyone involved in order to work properly.

Yeah, yeah, I know the election isn’t until November 4th. But it’s not just our responsibility to put a pin through a punch card; in order to do it properly, we need to do it with intelligence. It is our job to be informed voters. It is our job to make educated decisions as to who will better handle the demands and responsibilities of the highest executive office, not just in this country but, more than arguably, the world. And in order to pick the more extraordinary of the two candidates, even if it’s just relatively speaking, it is our duty to form educated opinions of them. So don’t try to sell me or anyone that “I’m abstaining/gimme someone to vote for” jive. It makes you sound like a spoiled child. First of all, that viewpoint more often than not is a product of the seemingly endless array of information and, by extension, choices, with which we are presented early on in the campaigning process. So no matter whom we choose, there will always be the buyer’s regret of, “I should have got the other one”. There’s always a better choice, right? Well, maybe there is. But the bottom line is that our choices are McCain and Obama. Period. We have no other choices. So we’d better learn as much about these dudes and their running mates as we can, because one of these two teams is going to be leading our country, and the way they govern will affect you, your loved ones, your neighbors, and your present or future children.

We have 7 weeks from today until Election Day, which gives us plenty of time to read up on the candidates, their positions, and their campaign policies. For our collective convenience, I’ve posted some links on my sideboard to both presidential candidates’ respective homepages, in addition to a few political sites and newspaper feeds. I’d recommend checking them at least semi-regularly, because the way a candidate runs their campaign will tell you a lot about the way they might run things out of the oval office. If you have any that are of particular merit or interest, please feel free to post them in the comments section; I’ll do my best to post some more links on the sidebar as well.

Of course, it hopefully goes without saying that, if you’re not registered, you owe it to yourself, to your family, your neighbor, and me to go out and get that taken care of. Normally when one shrugs and mumbles, “hopefully it goes without saying”, one is saying it for one’s own piece of mind. Sadly, I am not; or at least, not exclusively. There are a lot of people out there who, for one reason or another, don’t take this seriously. And while they shouldn’t have to be reminded, they need to be. So make sure you’re registered. Not tomorrow. Now. You can get a registration card at any post office, DMV, or other government service building. Or, you can download a mail-in form by clicking here.

I haven’t even discussed the state and municipal elections/propositions/amendments that will be on the ballot, but I’ll get to that as we come closer to November 4th.┬áBut for the time being, make sure you get yourself and your friends/famly educated on the candidates, if you haven’t already. Spread the word. Get people involved. Pressure them to know what the shit these guys and gal actually stand for. Even if you’ve already made up your mind on whom you’re voting for (like me), get some more learning on your brain so that you can 1) be more convinced of your decisions, and 2) more intelligently debate someone from the other side of the aisle.

But, should you choose not to vote, know that you’re fucking up my democracy. And I do not look kindly on that.

Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 12:07 am  Comments (1)