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The Vulgarity of Star Wars

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Bubba, May 29, 2001.

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  1. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 7

    Jul 19, 1999
    It isn't that Jaina05.

    The idea propsed is that in recent SW merchandise there has been a move towards actual over invented curses. Despite the films generally using very minor curses, it is felt that there has been a move towards use of real cursewords.

    The Q here is is this a good thing for SW?

    As you say there are no shortage of stories that out do SW for sex and violence, relative to these SW is not vulgar but I don't think anyone is saying that. Instead the debate is whether a move towards use of real swearwords, seen as vulgar, is acceptable within SW stories.

    Oh, as for explicit sex scenes in Dune, well, what do you expect if you read an adult novel? :) Seriously though, a well written love scene is anything but vulgar, that may or may not include sex. (My personal view is for less detail and let imagination do a better job of depiction). Similarly violence, properly used, can be an essential part of a story. But what is appropriate in either category for SW?


    Jedi Ben

  2. JediStryker

    JediStryker Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 5, 2000
    Like Kerschner said, a kiss is the SW equivalent to a sex scene. That's all we need. I personally don't need to hear about Han and Leia's or Luke and Mara's sex life. They both have or are having kids, so we know it's done, leave it at that.

    Cursing. Like I said, no need. The made up ones are good enough.

    Violence. Well, it is Star Wars, so that's pretty unavoidable. Just as long as it doesn't get real gratuitous, and emphasises that violence should always be a last resort, then it's fine by me.

    Just my two (or three) cents. :D
  3. Keyan_Stele

    Keyan_Stele Jedi Master star 2

    Oct 26, 2000
    It was stated in an earlier post that a starfighter pilot doesn't say "Oh blast" when a TIE fighter slips in behind them.
    I seem to recall Luke in ANH saying something to the effect of "Blast it Biggs, where are you?" as we was locked in the front firing arc of a pursuing TIE.

    Now for my two cents overall. It comes on the issue of censorship.
    Censorship is bad because it will never be agreed upon by 100% of people as to what should and should not be censored. What's alright for some is not alright for others, obviously. Thus to argue over what to censor and what not to censor would be pointless because a resolution would never be reached. Additionally, it is clear that levels of censorship diminish according to various factors such as age. And besides that, just because a 12 year old suddenly knows about the birds and the bees doesn't mean a parent would want that child to regularly watch pornography presenting the objectification of women.

    SW produces a certain kind of product for sale that is manipulated heavily by those that consume it. Sometimes the manipulation occurs through the filter of individual personality and intellect right as one reads a SW book or view a SW movie.
    However in the production of that product, SW has attracted numerous people of a very young age. If you were to poll their parents as to whether or not they'd want swearing, you'd probably get a 50/50 result. Some would say definitely not and some wouldn't care. I won't say what's appropriate and I won't go into that issue now though. Needless to say, not everyone is born a great parent and not everyone suceeds at it.
    On second thought, I'll just leave that last thought hanging and let each reader finish it. Instead I'll go on to my big trump card.

    Do you think George Lucas wants anything stronger than "Damn" or "Hell" used no matter how much character realism it adds?

    Obviously not. We've seen already that he's made a new action adventure (TPM) in a time when all other such movies are littered with **** this and **** that. He still was successful and didn't resort to those vulgarities to attract a crowd of adult men and women with a harder edge. If he wanted to please everybody with these movies, they'd be a lot different.
  4. jastermereel

    jastermereel Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 19, 1998
    i agree with Keyan_Stele in that the stronger words shouldn't be used however i think that in the proper situaion those weaker words can and should be used for, after a while, Emperor's Black Bones or other such "curses" just sound rather comical and ring more of Robin's incessant cry of "Holy {fill in the blank with a random word}, Batman!} than of a curse that would actualy be sounded...

    the cat, i have no intention of telling you that sex doesn't sell but i would harldy call a few kids you know a "rock solid foundation"......if you were to have the age demographic for the show, odds are, the average is going to be a far cry from the age of those kids.....those kids may watch it for that purpose, but they are hardly its primary audience..........i know a number of adults who tune in to watch the show and none are looking to be titilated by some glimpses of t&a...they are looking for a quality character is a well writen and well acted drama with rare momentary (for the most part looking at the past season or two) flashes of bared skin...if those kids are looking to that show for that purpose i pity them in that not only are they missing the point of the show but they are that desperate that they would wait for and watch the show meerly to catch a glimpse of said bared skin...

    It seems that a large chunk of this debate, aside from censorship itself, is on the difference between those looking to Star Wars for reality and those looking to it for truth to the movies in their mythological purity......Star Wars is essentialy fantasy...and so is a far cry from reality based premices...however when the alternative words to the standard exclamations of hell or damn are comical in their nature they are at least as jolting in reading them as the regular ones, if not more.........and while its true that as far as we know neither hell nor damn are mentioned objectively in GFFA and therefor have no internal basis for their use...and poodu and others repace the fecaly related words......most of the readers are accustomed to hearing and seing such words and so they often flow better than those that are custom made for the world...however when the phrases aren't in as wide useage such as pissed off (while wide, it isn't as widely used as the others)...the reader catches the use and it blows the whole flow......i have no problems with the basic words per say...however when it comes to those that are either excessively strong ala F words...or those that are more coloquial than the others...i think the line should be drawn...the first for taste...and the second for reader enjoyment...

    BTW...Jaina05...i take it you don't know many potter fans...the last book was 700+ pages...and many, many around that age or just slightly older that read it within days...
  5. I-poodoo

    I-poodoo Jedi Padawan star 4

    May 1, 2001
    That famous line from Han in ESB where he says to the gaurd "Then I'll see you in hell."

    I think that was included to help show viewers that ESB was a tad bit more mature in nature than ANH, when a straight sequel of ANH was what they were probably expecting seeing ESB the first time.

    But it was sort of boneheaded in a way, becuz then you'd have to include the notion of hell into GFFA philosophy. When aside from the force's two sides there's no real prevalent religious or philosophical ideas based on hell or heaven. In short That's judao-christian not GFFA, and the curse doesn't mean anything there.

    I wish that soldier Han said that to had said. "See me where? Well, Captain Solo, okay, as long as its warmer there than here on Hoth."

    P.S. If that really is Salvatore above me then I'd like to say sorry for some of the things I've posted about Vector Prime (I know you tried hard) Anyway better luck with Ep. II's novelization.
  6. Vergere

    Vergere Jedi Knight star 5

    Jul 19, 2000
    Hi Mr. Salvatore, i haven't run into you in a thread on these boards yet, so seeing you there gave me a surprise ;)

    And certainly there is no (and never has been any) mandate at DelRey or Lucasfilm that there be more graphic violence or vulgar language in NJO.

    i think that there definitely is a difference in violence level in the NJO though(compared to the Bantam books), and that led to this belief. it was also stated that DelRey did want to bring in more realism, which became interpreted as Chewie's death(amoung others...)

    that's an interesting take on ESB, i-poodoo, and one that i haven't considered before. now that you mention it, it does make sense!

    P.S.that is RAS, his name's in red ;)

  7. Anakin SkySolo

    Anakin SkySolo Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 20, 1999
    A word about the concept of "hell"...

    This isn't strictly a Jewish or Christian idea. The idea that (some of) the dead spend eternity in a nasty place is pretty common in human belief systems. Hel was the Norse goddess of the underworld, and Hades was the Greek god with the same function. Both names have become synonymous in English with the Abyss...

    In other words, simply because Han refers to hell as a place doesn't mean that he'd expect to see Satan there holding a pitchfork and breathing fire and brimstone.
  8. RowanRaven

    RowanRaven Jedi Youngling

    May 17, 2001
    He probably meant better luck with fan response, not better luck writing a Star Wars novel.
  9. Rotan

    Rotan Jedi Youngling star 1

    Feb 4, 2001
    Meh. "vulgarity" gives certain people their flavor. If the real world has vulagrity, what's to stop the "Sithspawn", "Sithspit", "Frell"s of the GFFA. There is no conceivable difference.
  10. Grand Admiral Reese

    Grand Admiral Reese Jedi Knight star 6

    Sep 1, 1999
    Of course excessive vulgarity doesn't belong in Star Wars. But there isn't. There are a few lines in a few books that are slightly more crude than usual, but truthfully, no more than in the movies. Old Ben swears, Owen swears, Han swears. Not often, but neither are swears used often in the EU.

    If you want to see a series that has a lot of sears and vulgarity, read George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. But don't confuse it's rather profuse vulgarity for it being bad. It's one of my favorite fantasy series. Swearing is profuse and very crude. But it gives it the feel it needs.

    The few swears that pop up now and then in the EU are no worse than those found in the movies. It's not common and not heavy. Just enough to add the touch of realism that Star Wars needs sometimes. Star Wars is not strictly for kids, remember. It's got a PG rating, which in the seventies and early eighties covered the area now filled by PG-13. It has arms being sliced off, animals being eviscerated, burned bodies, and murder. Not exactly kiddy-fare. A few swears in the books(most of which are aimed at teenage-adult readers anyways)isn't a problem.
  11. Dewlanna Solo

    Dewlanna Solo Jedi Padawan star 4

    Oct 31, 1999
    There is a world of difference between made up slang and swear words and real life vulgarity.
  12. DarthBoba

    DarthBoba Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 29, 2000
    To "The Cat" on his comments about NYPD:

    Not all episodes contain nudity, and this "warning" is nothing but an advertisement that says "Tune in tonight for some T&A!!" I don't watch the show, to me it looks like just another cop drama, but it's clear what they're doing is substituting superior writing, better acting, whatever might set the show apart from its competition, with nudity. Has it won awards? Sure. So has Law and Order.

    You're flat-out wrong on NYPD blue. Nudity & swearing are not the core of the show by a long shot. it's definitely the best cop show I've seen in a loong time, and there's a good reason why that warning is there-the Church and uptight politicians bullied them into it.
  13. Bubba

    Bubba Jedi Knight star 5

    Sep 10, 2000
    Whoa. Mr. Salvatore in a thread of mine. I must have done something right.

    When there were rumors about the sex scene in Episode II, I didn't believe it, because Mr. Lucas would never sink that low. Except maybe "Howard the Duck." :)

  14. Valiento

    Valiento Jedi Knight star 7

    Mar 19, 2000
    Bubba if you can see THX-1138, raping, beating etc etc, and it's a lucas story and movie. I think it was rated R. Lucas not sweet old man people put him on a pedastal to be.
  15. Dark_Sith_Alf

    Dark_Sith_Alf Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 30, 2000
    Whenever I run into vulgarity in a Star Wars book I get by black ink pen and block it out of the book. The vulgar parts of the book are usually not integral to the plot. The're just there to make you think evil thoughts.
  16. MariahJade2

    MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor star 5 VIP

    Mar 18, 2001
    I don't see a major problem with Vulgarity at the moment in SW but I do not want to see it creep in and become acceptable, the way it has in so many other media. I am mostly happy with the way it has been done. I just don't want to see pop phrases, or earthisims when I am reading a SW book. Care should always be taken to resist the temptation to throw things in to appeal to a certain audience.
  17. Darth Tuna

    Darth Tuna Jedi Youngling star 2

    Aug 18, 1999
    Valiento, I had a chance to see THX recently and I found it to be very moving. Adult themes in an adult movie is not the same thing as vulgarity. Vulgarity implies cheap and gratuitous use of swearing, sex, etc. THX was a tragedy along the lines of 1984 and could hardly be called vulgar. I was surprised that GL was capable of this sort of picture.
  18. The Cat

    The Cat Jedi Youngling star 3

    Mar 24, 2000
    For fans of such a "mature" show you NYPD Blue fans seem a little naive when it comes to the way television works. How often do you hear Jay Leno making a joke about Dennis Franz's butt? How big of a stir did "the Church" as you call it and "those uptight politicians" make when NYPD Blue first premiered? Alot of people all over the media talk about NYPD Blue's nudity. That's called publicity. Publicity, good or bad, generates interest. Interest generates viewership. Viewership generates ratings. Ratings generate money.

    In short, nudity = money.

    That is what gives the show its edge. If you can fault my logic here, please tell me. I never said nudity and swearing were the core of the show, what I'm saying is that it's the core of the show's publicity, that which sets it apart from competition.
  19. Jades Fire

    Jades Fire Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 8, 1998
    So far, Star Wars has given me no cause for alarm on the vulgarity/swearing front. Nothing I have seen so far goes beyond those bounds set by the movies. I felt that Ruin was gratuitously violent, more so than anything to date.

    The future does hold the potential for alarm if Matt Stover can't really tone things down for his SW work. What I saw of "Hero's Die" was quite vulgar and violent, and definitely not SW.

    As far as censorship goes, I think it is much ado about nothing, and a red herring. If a writer is contracted for SW work, then along with that contract comes certain obligations. If a writer can't uphold certain standards -- standards set by the movies -- by toning down swearing, violence, or vulgarity, then it is quite within the rights of the editors to edit out the objectionable parts. It comes with the job and contract work in other universes. If the writer cannot accept those limitations, then the writer should take his or her "free speech" somewhere else.

    With freedom to speak comes responsibility. The responsibility to uphold certain standards within other creator's licenced universes, and to know when not to speak provocatively.
  20. RowanRaven

    RowanRaven Jedi Youngling

    May 17, 2001
    There may not be a mandate calling FOR violence and vulgarity, but judging by the published product and the recent promotions for SW merchandise - which is what caused this thread to come into being - there certainly isn't a mandate AGAINST it, either

  21. Jades Fire

    Jades Fire Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 8, 1998
    Some additional points as I catch up...

    Yes, Valento, TPM is a great example of unnecessary vulgarity. Scatalogical humor is so immature. Frankly, I was shocked that George Lucas would sink so low. I couldn't believe he was pandering to the "ten year old giggle factor".

    To whomever mentioned it, frell is NOT a Star Wars curse. It is a curse from Farscape, a much more mature and intelligent SciFi TV show than the NJO books.

    Just because 10 year olds know all the cuss words these days isn't justification for condoning it and sinking to a lower level. Kids cuss on the playground because it is "forbidden" at home, it is "cool", it makes them seem more mature. Sooner or later, the novelty of cussing wears off. Hold SW to the precedent set by the movies. The only curse words in the movies were "hell" and "damn". Nothing more.

    To compare Star Wars books to Huck Finn is like comparing apples and oranges. First of all, Huck Finn is classic literature. SW books will never be considered classic literature. Second, Huck Finn is a morality play, a social commentary, and a book to invoke contemplation, despite the author's protestations to the contrary. SW books are pulp fiction.

    I am so tired of hearing the "wars" excuse for depictions of violence in the NJO. Again I say, look to the films. The movies gave a rather rose colored depiction of war. With the exception of the wampa, blood didn't spurt from wounds when cut with a lightsaber or shot by blaster. Retreating soldiers on Hoth weren't dismembered. Star Wars depicted battle like the old 40's and 50's war movies, not the newer "Saving Private Ryan" or "Apocalypse Now" style.
  22. Dark_Sith_Alf

    Dark_Sith_Alf Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 30, 2000
    Its not the violence thats the problem. Its the language and sex stuff. I have haven't seen a Star Wars book yet where the language or suggestive thoughts were important to the story. There is no justification. We have a choice. We are all responsible for our own decisions. The ends do not justify the means. Just like the means to not justify the ends.
  23. Mastadge

    Mastadge Manager Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 4, 1999
    This graphic violence isn't new to SW. There was graphic violence in BFC, in X-wing, and other stuff, like when hutts get killed. And the editors are on top of sex and language. There were sexual scenes cut out of Allston's least that's what I was led to believe by an interview with him.

    And about Stover, well, in his words, "My novel, Traitor, is going to be just about as gritty as it gets. It's in no way as graphic as Heroes Die or Blade, of course, but you can do a lot with understatement and suggestion, and the central conflict is as intense as anything I've ever written."

    But then, that's one of the themes of NJO..."the universe just got a whole lot darker"
  24. Bubba

    Bubba Jedi Knight star 5

    Sep 10, 2000
    I can't recall what the vulgarity was in TPM.

    But yes, there have been some gruesome deaths, especially in Dark Tide: Ruin.
  25. Valiento

    Valiento Jedi Knight star 7

    Mar 19, 2000
    "Valiento, I had a chance to see THX recently and I found it to be very moving. Adult themes in an adult movie is not the same thing as vulgarity. Vulgarity implies cheap and gratuitous use of swearing, sex, etc. THX was a tragedy along the lines of 1984 and could hardly be called vulgar. I was surprised that GL was capable of this sort of picture."

    And yes, you got my point that I sarcasticly was pointing too. What one person considers Vulgarity and non Maturity. Another person will see it as very mature and moving story. By the way your oppinion of the movie actually is my view of the movie. But others as I implied with my remark about see it as otherwise.

    Which comes to my other point, as Jades fire had said, "To compare Star Wars books to Huck Finn is like comparing apples and oranges. First of all, Huck Finn is classic literature. SW books will never be considered classic literature. Second, Huck Finn is a morality play, a social commentary, and a book to invoke contemplation, despite the author's protestations to the contrary. SW books are pulp fiction."

    What she had read into my post is offbase, I wasn't comparing star wars to a classic, but the point that people read different things into different books. Some People see Huck Finn as a Classic, and a wonderful literature, but those that Censor it, See it as vulger and malignant trash, and want to keep it away from there children.

    Much as what peoples views of star wars has become, even to TPM. While honestly star wars has had it's violence and mental rape scenes, and other language. More people are attacking NJO, because it has alot more of it for an extended series, I'm guessing.

    But if I was to list the violence aspect, of star wars, I'd have to mention Star Wars radio drama's expanded torture scenes, they were made roughly during the original star wars debue, some scenes in the Dark Forces books, Many Scenes in the X-wing books, Scenes in short stories, BFC, etc, etc, the list is quite long.

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