David Brin's commentary on AOTC and what it reveals...

Discussion in 'Attack of the Clones' started by Kiki-Gonn, Sep 19, 2002.

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  1. cratylus Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2001
    star 2
    Dr.Brin's criticism of Lucas has much to do with his own radical views. If you really get to the bottom of what he is saying, he is not criticizing Lucas on the grounds of shared common values but on the grounds of his own unique values. His own personal perspective is actually pretty unusual once you boil it out of what he says.

    He has repeatedly said that most of what humanity considers its treasured literature is actually execrable trash, and great works like the Iliad and great thinkers like Plato are to be shunned because they do not promote the ideas Dr. Brin considers good and right and true.

    It's kind of funny, but while he champions freedom and "democracy" he promoted a politically-based aesthetic in which all art and literature are supposed to share populist values and everything from the past is considered inherently bad. It is no surprise that he was trained as a scientist because he clearly thinks that only the newest things are good and that there is no problem with destroying the past.

    I am reminded of the literary movements of the Soviet Union and its satellites, where every single bit of art or literature had to praise the worker and extol the values of the collective. Is it any wonder that dissenting voices like that of the exiled Alexander Solzhenitsyn are the only ones remembered from that era?

    I would call him disturbing and pompous, but he is not that influential and his episode II review did tone things down a bit. I am actually a little disturbed by all the boasting around here to the effect that star wars is better because it is more popular. It's nice to know that I have many fellow fans around me, but that isn't why I think the movies are good.

    But to my final point: We do not live in a democracy. Technically the Galactic Republic is not a democracy either. A Pure democracy elects executives and holds popular elections on all legislation. Military leaders are also elected, and all trials are by jury only.

    We have a mixed government modeled on that of the Roman republic. Like most historical governments we can only say we are relatively democratic, not that we are a pue democracy. But we call ourselves a democracy because it sounds good to us.

    If you do not live in the USA, the same comments apply to your government as well, or perhaps it is even less democratic.

    All of this polarization has really obscured the issue, as though we lived in a word where pure dictatorship constantly wrestled with pure democracy. It is really a sliding scale, and if there is political significance to the prequels it is to show an honest republic sliding toward dictatorship, with corruption as the lubricant.

    OK I have one more point in this disjointed posting. When Lucas mentions the benevolent despot he is talking about an ideal. He is not really proposing a change away from democracy. For someone to take that as a proposal rather than an illustration of human nature and human desires is rather unfair in my opinion. What's funny is that when Brin compares Lucas to Plato in an attempt to disparage Lucas, not only is he giving Lucas high praise in my opinion, he is demonstrating that he understands neither of them.

    Plato discussed the IDEA of a philosopher king to illustrate human nature. He did not consider the idea very realistic. In fact the one time he tried to convince a dictator to adopt philosophical principles he barely escaped with his life. He wrote another whole book on the presupposition that a philosopher king was a piepe dream...but I will stop myself.

    Humans are entitled to have opinions. But being qualified in one field, especially physics, doe not qualify you as an expert in all of them.
  2. yodaschum Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2002
    star 4
    DIE BRIN! You have not right to do this to us. george lucas is a lovely man and he would never criticise your books! I hate you, Brin. I'm never going to buy your S*** now. You upset GL, you upset me too.
  3. JediRandy Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2002
    star 4
    Yodaschum, you really suck. So friggin' annoying its incredible. Why do you waste your time on here? I guess so you can get reaction from people like me. So here I am feeding your stupidity.

    But, as long as I get to say you suck, I don't care.
  4. JediHeretic47 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2002
    star 1
    ANYWAY, thank you for another great post Cratylus.

    I think you hit the nail on the head. He does seem to have no problem just sweeping what he called in the Salon bit our "dark past" under the rug. That's why I think my little skits up there were actually appropriate. I can't even imagine the regime Brin would instigate.

    Since you've already covered Plato and the Republic, I notice Brin is also going after Confucius. Back in the days when the Emperor could behead anyone, just as long as he could quote from the Analects. But the ethical system of Confucianism is to me one of the most sane, reasonable, and unfanatical on the planet. And yes, it did propose something like a benevolent ruler, but Confucius' whole ethical philosophy, "ju," is based on virtuous living not only in fine words, but in the actions of the leaders. Primarily in action. People were to learn how to behave by the deeds of honorable rulers. The dynasty was basically an extended family, with the ruler literally being the benevolent father figure. Confucius was big on order, but only because he came along when the states were in utter disorder.

    Like you said, Brin seems to have a knack for putting Lucas in high company.

  5. JediHeretic47 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2002
    star 1
    Okay, after reading his articles at Salon a few more times, another thing that slays me - he says Nazism is essentially a Romantic movement. Grrrrrrr.

    What? What?! Okay, I can't think of any poets more interested in political change and liberty than the six romantic poets. Blake was a political revolutionary. Wordsworth was ecstatic over the French Revolution. Shelley was constantly writing about political reform. Both he and Byron constantly spoke out for oppressed masses, both in their own country, and abroad. Hell, Byron died in a swamp while organizing revolutionaries to help achieve Greek independence. He's still honored as a national hero in Greece today.

    Brin ends his little notes by saying, who would be more willing to ask, "Keep asking questions! The more irksome the better!" Bejamin Franklin, or Percy Shelley?

    Um, Mr. Brin ... Percy Shelley?

    Brin rants on and on about how Star Wars doesn't deserve our attention. Yet he lets his child play with the figures, goes to the movies himself, and then continues to bring it to our attention by writing articles about it. What is that!

    He says that Campbell advocates we all "slavishly adhere to the past," and that he wanted to "reinforce sameness and changelessness." This is a complete and utter LIE. Campbell spent forty years criticizing our own myths for not changing, as well as anticipating myth that would be appropriate to our own time. If all myths are the same, from Gilgamesh to comic books, shouldn't we still be writing about Gilgamesh? This argument unwinds itself.

    He also says that Lucas "prescribes judging by looks" for good or evil. I guess he missed Yoda and Jar Jar, huh?

    BTW, the original quote was a "benevolent despot," or at least that's the one that Brin uses. Lucas said that "The idea that power corrupts is very true and it's a big human who can get past that."

    Brin is a completely uninformed doofus.
  6. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    "What? What?! Okay, I can't think of any poets more interested in political change and liberty than the six romantic poets. Blake was a political revolutionary. Wordsworth was ecstatic over the French Revolution. Shelley was constantly writing about political reform. Both he and Byron constantly spoke out for oppressed masses, both in their own country, and abroad. Hell, Byron died in a swamp while organizing revolutionaries to help achieve Greek independence. He's still honored as a national hero in Greece today."

    Okay, I'm not going to defend Brin's(goofy)assertion that Romanticism inspired Nazism or Fascism. That's too much a stretch.

    BUT, most of the revolutionary movements of the last 200 years were based off ideas generated by romantics. Many revolutionaries coopted art and literature from the Romantic era to serve their own ends. Idealism is also a romantic notion.

    Burke also attacked the French Revolution. It, unlike the moderate revolution in America, was an disaster. Robespierre and other vile cohorts murdered innocents in the name of "The Republic".

    It was counterproductive in the end. It weakened France to the point they needed a savior. They got Napolean instead. A romantic dictator.

    I agree with many of Brin's political and cultural views. I just think it's too much to compare Lucas and Star Wars to "Nazi Propoganda". Brin hurts his cause by saying so much.

    Someone above made a great point about allowing true discussion of this issue and how Brin contradicts his own essays with his terse and lazy email responses.
  7. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    JediHeretic47,

    He says that Campbell advocates we all "slavishly adhere to the past," and that he wanted to "reinforce sameness and changelessness." This is a complete and utter LIE. Campbell spent forty years criticizing our own myths for not changing, as well as anticipating myth that would be appropriate to our own time. If all myths are the same, from Gilgamesh to comic books, shouldn't we still be writing about Gilgamesh? This argument unwinds itself.

    No, no, no. You missed the POINT! The point was about the STYLISED characters! I.E., all male, all heres were demi-gods, the only female allowed to accompany the "hero-demigod" on his journey had to be HIGH-BORN, i.e., a queen or a princess.

    We do not have to be slaves to the above to write a modern myth. GL shows that he is by his choice of characters to people his myths.

    That leaves most of the ordinary people in the dust, altho GL contradicts himself in the Bill Moyers article by claiming to know everyday heroes and by saying we're all everyday heroes. Okay, GL, put some in your movies! Not nincompoops like Jar Jar, either.

    ShaneP,

    Bravo! Keep it up! I'm in your corner.

    Lady S.
  8. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    "Okay, GL, put some in your movies! Not nincompoops like Jar Jar, either."

    Jar Jar was very close, IMHO. The argument could be made he was.

    Thank you too for the kind word Church...err..Lady S.




    I promise that's the last time I'll do that. ;)
  9. JediHeretic47 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2002
    star 1
    Well, I am aware of how badly the French Revolution ended, for heaven's sake. But it started on a happy note. The declaration of the rights of man, and all that.

    The demigod argument is completely idiotic. I mean, so much so I can't even bear to respond to it again. If everyone really wants to see a Star Wars movie about a bar maid on Tatooine who's a single mom and who's biggest crisis is how to pay next month's rent, I don't think this saga is for you, period.

  10. DarKnight Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 14, 2000
    star 2
    I was just wondering.

    Has anyone, who has posted a negative comment about Dr. David Brin's article, read Dr. Brin's material. In paticular, the Uplift series?

    Before anyone criticizes Dr. Brin further, I suggest that you read Dr. Brin's novels. They are exceptional.

    I also agree with Dr. Brin in regards to his comments about TPM in the Salon article and disagree somewhat with the statements about the OT. However, Lucas made an improvement with AOTC, though it was a marginal improvment. I hope Lucas continues and improves Ep. III.
  11. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    "If everyone really wants to see a Star Wars movie about a bar maid on Tatooine who's a single mom and who's biggest crisis is how to pay next month's rent, I don't think this saga is for you, period."

    [face_laugh]

    C'mon! It would be great. Watto could be the landlord even.

    Anakin and Kitster steal Truggatts from local merchants to buy some Jawa Juice.

    3PO falls in love with a Binary Loadlifter.

    "Like sands thru the hourglass, so are the Days of Young Jedis Lives."

    *Cue Music*

  12. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    Darknight,

    Yes, I have read Dr. Brin's novels. And I even met him in person! He's a jerk!

    I read all his articles, too, at least the ones on SW.

    If you like his novels, okay.

    ShaneP,

    Who's Churchill?

    Lady S.
  13. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    "Who's Churchill?"

    Renny....Renny Churchill.
  14. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
  15. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    Guys,

    I knew that! Don't start calling me surely!

    Seriously, ordinary people doesn't mean the series has to degenerate into a soap opera!

    Lady S.
  16. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Jar Jar was the common person. Well, in a way. He's just a regular gungan with no royal title or inherited wealth.

    He's just baneeshed. :D
  17. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    ShaneP,

    I think Dr. Brin's point was the hero should be an ordinary person, not royalty or half-god, etc.

    If Jar Jar is GL's idea of the common man, we're all doomed! To quote C3PO.

    Of course, I still think Dr. Brin's brain is so big he has to go outside to change his mind.

    Lady S.
  18. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    "If Jar Jar is GL's idea of the common man, we're all doomed!"

    lol. After I wrote that, thought about all his crazy antics and bumbling. Heh. It's probably better he's not Lucas' depiction of the common man lest the audience attack the screen. ;)

    I read Brin's speech to the Libertarian Nat'l Convention last July on his website. It's quite good actually.

    To me though, SW is a place to go in your imagination. I sure wouldn't want to live there. The SW Universe is a place to dream about.

    Sometimes fans talk as if they'd love to live in that type of universe. Not me!
  19. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    I don't think Jar Jar represents the common man at all. A better assesment would be (now don't laugh) the Fool.

    I'm gonna retype a little from the Mythology of AOTC thread from my own post concerning Jar Jar.

    3 types of Fools:
    1. Bringer of Knowledge, this is like Prometheus who gives man the knowledge of fire.
    2. Bumbling moron, this is mostly what Jar Jar is. These guys sometimes survive despite there own stupidity.
    3. Trickster, Loki is a great example here. Palpatine fits this as well. These guys are trouble makers and if any aspect of the Fool is evil its usually this one.

    The common man does not fit any of these archetypes, although a storyteller may try to make a common man one of these types, however this would no longer make them common.
  20. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Jar Jar is most certainly a trickster/fool archetype. He at times also acts as a Herald.

    Qui-Gon occupies this position at times also.


    Nice post Le Ment.
  21. gilod Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Critics are people who can't do the work themselves.
  22. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    I am not sure why people assume these archtypes are superhuman, because when you put them all together, you get the common man's psyche.
  23. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    Yep, you can go through the Fool and any other archetype and find them in mankind. Its when they become part of/cause/ an out of the ordinary situation that they are no longer common.
    In that regard they must have the strength to..how shall i say..."rise above" in the first place.

    Jar Jar caused all kinds of problems for his own people getting him banished in the process. Not normal. He brings the Jedi to the Gungan city. Not normal because later Jar Jar will bring them again to the Gunagans tostand against the Trade Fed.
    This fits in conjunction with the first type of Fool, a bringer of knowledge.
    In AOTC Jar Jar unknowingly helps Palpatine further his own ends. Not normal. His most dominate aspect as a bumbling Fool comes into play.
    Jar Jar is not common. He is extraordinary(For good or bad, like him or not) from the beginning.
  24. Lady_Sami_J_Kenobi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2002
    star 6
    We were discussing JC's mythology which is very confining and limited in that the hero can only be a demi-god, half-god, etc. and the woman who accompanies him on his hero's journey can only be royalty or a goddess herself.

    Brin is just advocating breaking the mold on this type of thinking and using ordinary people as heroes, etc.

    Lady S.
  25. elfdart Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 1, 2001
    star 2
    David Brin's ideas are so "Swiss" that they are hardly worth the trouble.

    Lucas was speaking as an artist and businessman, not a political commentator. What's more, when you take his comments IN CONTEXT, they aren't even close to advocating a dictatorship. Given Brin's erroneous and dishonest anecdotes about Star Wars, I'm not sure I trust his version of Lucas' comments. Is there a full text of the article anywhere?

    Anyway, if Lucas was pushing pro-despot propoganda, the heroes in Star Wars wouldn't be trying to restore a republic, they would simply want to grab Palpatine's throne. None of the Rebels even HINTS at such a thing. In fact, Darth Vader makes an offer to Luke about being the number two tyrant, which Luke rejects angrily: "I'll never join you!"; He does NOT say: "Forget it! I want to be the number one Sith, Daddy!"

    As far as "real" heroes (Who the hell wants realism in Star Wars?) vs. "supermen", I'll offer this: If Lucas was trying to push the worship of "demigods", why are the two most popular characters in Star Wars Han Solo and Boba Fett?

    Why do we go to the movies? I mean aside from the fact that taking a date to the theatre is still the cheapest date in town. Do we go to watch average-looking people doing average things in average times? Or do we go to watch those who are pretty, cool or grotesque doing unusual and/or exciting things in interesting times? I admit that I'll watch a flick like Gas, Food and Lodging and enjoy it, but that is the exception that proves the rule.
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