Friday, December 29, 2017

Vox Popoli: Masterfully subversive (The Last Jedi)

It's fascinating to see that SJWs actually believe Disney is slipping the convergence of Star Wars past anyone:

The new films are again at the vanguard of cultural concerns, but push harder and more subversively than any of the previous films. Above all else, The Last Jedi is about smashing patriarchal white supremacy– smashing it to the ground and starting over– and I am here for it.

While the earlier films were about the need to purify corrupt systems, the new ones are about smashing everything and starting over.

At every turn, the new films are about “letting the past die.” At its most broad and obvious, this means killing off the older generation and handing the narrative to the new. The Force Awakens killed off Han, which was no surprise as Harrison Ford had been badgering them to kill off Han Solo since Empire. Then The Last Jedi turned a hard corner by killing off Luke when everyone expected to lose Leia due to the loss of the great Carrie Fisher. Luke sacrifices himself in one last spectacular moment of force-wielding brilliance in order to save Leia and the Rebellion. This kind of sacrifice is something we’re used to seeing from extraordinary female characters (see every extraordinary woman from Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web to Eleven in Stranger Things). In TLJ, the central white male hero of the original films dies to save an exceptionally diverse, gender-balanced group of people who are, as Poe says, the “spark that will light the fire that will destroy the First Order.” Not “save the galaxy”; not “save the Republic.” This is not about saving something from corruption. It’s about ending the old order and creating something completely new.

As the older generation dies, the older way of doing things dies as well. Luke can’t bring himself to burn down the tree containing the sacred Jedi texts, so Yoda force ghosts in and does it for him, cackling, telling Luke that Rey already has “everything she needs,” then dropping this bit of heartaching profundity: “We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.” Anyone who has ever been a teacher or a parent understands this most painful and exhilarating of truths, but Yoda says it as the foundational texts of the Jedi order burn (as far as Luke or the audience know at that point). “We are what they grow beyond.” Not just us, but our old ways. Specifically, the old ways of hierarchical privilege.

Luke believes the Jedi order needs to die for this very reason. “The Jedi don’t own the force,” Luke says. The force is in everyone. Leia reflects this as well. “Why are you looking at me? Follow him,” she says, handing leadership to a random pilot who came from nowhere to become central to the Resistance. And although I am the first person to sign up for Team Leia– she was more than worthy of every inch of her power in the Rebellion– the door opened for her because she was part of the royal family of Alderaan. Her mother was the Queen of Naboo. Poe Dameron’s mother was a Rebel pilot. As the Rebels follow Poe, waiting for them on the other side is Rey, whose parentage was the subject of feverish speculation. Certainly she must be someone— she must come from some kind of peerage, pedigree, or privilege to be so special. But she is nobody from nowhere, daughter of unsavory junk traders who sold her for booze and died on Jakku. The force belongs to everyone, not just the pedigreed.

Privilege is handily dismantled wherever we try to create it. Rose Tico is awed by meeting Finn, now a hero of the Resistance, only to have her hero worship dashed when she realizes Finn is trying to escape. Finn comes from nowhere– one of many nameless troopers stolen as small children. Rose, as well, comes from nowhere– daughter of miners who now works as a tech for the Resistance. Some have criticized the Finn/Rose subplot, but thematically, the meaning is critical– these young Rebels are the new generation who will build the new society on the ashes of the old. They’re played by actors of color. Rose is respected by Finn for her expertise and quick thinking as a matter of course, not as a reveal (“Oh look! The pretty girl is actually smart!” or “That competent person took off their helmet and HOLY CRAP IT’S FEMALE”). When she falls for Finn, it’s not the usual trope of Hero Wins Sexy Woman, and was therefore criticized for being “shoehorned in.” Rose wasn’t wearing a low-cut top; we never saw Finn ogling her; we never saw the camera linger over her ass. We were never given the signals “SEE HER AS A SEX OBJECT,” so her love for Finn is “shoehorned in.” But this is the stirrings of the new society. Any idiot can ogle a woman’s ass, but the man who automatically respects a woman’s expertise is well worth falling for. While Leia and Poe are trying to save the Resistance on one front, Finn and Rose represent what they’re trying to save.

The Resistance is impressive in its casual diversity. Women and people of color are valued for their expertise as a matter of course; nowhere does the film congratulate itself on its diversity by making a huge point of highlighting it, demonstrating white male benevolence by the generous inclusion of women and people of color, positing a white male audience nodding along, agreeing that we are so wonderful for allowing our White Male World to donate a very small corner for the Less Fortunate. The Resistance is naturally diverse, and no one even seems to notice. That is masterfully subversive.

The Last Jedi is not masterfully subversive, it is massively converged. Which is the main reason why it has underperformed expectations by 27.8 percent, or to put it in monetary terms, $175 million in two weeks. That is the cost of convergence, and it is only going to rise over time.

The future is brown, and female, and brilliant, and fierce, does not give even one single fuck about the way things used to be.

Well, she's got the fierce, brown, matriarchal society part down, anyhow. What a pity it will lack star travel, as well as indoor plumbing. To call SJWs half-savages is to give them far too much credit. They are not only uncivilized barbarians, they actively hate civilization.

PB found his viewing of the movie to be an awakening of his own:

I wanted to comment on a thought that occurred to me after reading you for some time, but due to my personal situation it is not appropriate for me to comment publicly in the comments section.

After seeing "The Force Awakens" and before regularly reading Vox Popoli, I was simply disgusted and attributed this to stifling feminism and the surreptitious goal to pacify Western white culture into becoming the next Brazil or such.  Today after listening to a podcast about the movie, it struck me that while the host and guest nibbled around the edges of the main character Rei that she was nothing more than a subliminal confirmation for affirmative action.  She has these abilities and powers because she is entitled to them, because they say so. By virtue of being the SJW's victim de jour, or, their favorite pet of the day, her inexplicable mastery of everything "Star Wars" conclusively affirms the narrative for affirmative action.  In this movie it is, perversely, the SJW version of a "Deus ex machina" moment.

Forgive me if this has been obvious to you all along and I've simply managed to overlook or miss it in your blog or in the comments section.  But this was a major epiphany to me and felt that this is as an important point of discussion in unravelling the surreptitious techniques of the left as any.

TFA is a milestone of sorts, because it has introduced the concept of convergence to the general public.