Excerpt from Star Wars on Trial
"How often, anymore, do you see tales that portray society itself functioning, perhaps helping the protagonist, or suggesting solutions that arise from collaborative effort? Maybe even offering hope that hard work and goodwill might bring better days? Do cops ever come when called? Do institutions ever deliver or perform, even partially, in ways that help a little? Are the hero’s neighbors ever anything other than hapless sheep? Does scientific advancement ever – ever – come to the rescue, anymore, instead of simply causing more problems and provoking lectures about how “mankind shouldn’t meddle” in things we do not understand? Do big projects, or ambitious undertakings, or team efforts ever hold a candle to the boldness of the single, archetype hero, sticking it to every authority figure in sight?
"Are we being taught, gradually but inexorably, to turn away from the whole modernist agenda? The concept that science, society, citizenship and faith are things that go well together, contributing to the good of everybody? Or that it was once a good idea – to replace arbitrary leader-worship with democratic institutions that we can all hope to share? What about the notion that any of us regular people – not just the mutant chosen ones – can be the hero, if we’re ever called upon."
- David Brin
Star Wars on Trial
Think about it. I certainly did - in fact, I wrote a ridiculously long response to it which I had intended to include in this post, but I decided not to put it up since I'm pretty sure no one would want to read all the way through it. Plus, I'm sure you're all capable of thinking about the idea yourselves, so do it. Where's he right? Where's he wrong? It's ok if you don't care, I guess - but critical thought never hurt anyone. (hahahaa)
This is from a book I'm reading in which various sci-fi and fantasy authors debate certain aspects of the Star Wars universe in a mock trial (examples of charges brought against the series: "Women in Star Wars are portrayed as fundamentally weak" and "The politics of Star Wars are anti-democratic and elitist." Nerdy? Yes. A waste of time? Never. Sure, I'm reading a 384 page book on Star Wars when I could be working, or reading classical literature or something - but this is film criticism done in an interesting way. Thinking a little harder about the messages that are actually being conveyed in films can't possibly be a bad idea, particularly for those of us that are interested in creating films and games someday. (NOTE: This should DEFINITELY be applied to gaming as well. Maybe the debate is taking place on a super small scale.. but it really needs to be considered more in-depth - particularly since games involve our own participation, and as such probably convey messages to us a lot clearer than we realize.)
Anyway, Birn goes on to point out that, yes, indeed, those stories are told on occasion (he uses all of Spielberg’s work as an example) but argues that nearly all popular films nowadays do this – the Star Wars series being the main example. Again, think about it. It's fun.