Well I heard the hype and saw the movie. Now it’s time for me to weigh in on the “President Bush as Darth Vader” debate.
When I heard the original accusation made from an article linked to the pages of The Drudge Report, I laughed. President Bush has been compared to a whole slew of historical evildoers, especially in the past couple of years. In quite a few cases, I’ve heard and read opinion commentary from frothy-mouthed liberals claiming he was WORSE than most of those evil historical figures.
But to compare President Bush with Darth Vader? That just drives home the contention I’ve been making for some time now that the hard left really has lost its collective marbles. Either that or they’re REALLY REALLY desperate for some new material. I just have this vision in my head of a bunch of folks from Moveon.org sitting in a meeting, desperate to figure out who or what NEXT to compare the President to…
DESPERATE RADICAL #1: “How about we compare Bush to Cain who killed his brother Abel out of jealousy?”
DESPERATE RADICAL #2: “Don’t be a dumb&%#! That’s a religious theme, and worse, a judeo-christian one! We hate judeo-christian philosophy more than we hate the President!!!”
DESPERATE RADICAL #1: “Oh yeah, right. Forgot that… Sorry!”
DESPERATE RADICAL LEADER: “The fact is, my friends, we’ve been so busy comparing the President to every reviled historical figure we can think of, we may have run out of reasonable non judeo-christian choices. We need a person or a figure that is well known on an international scale and who is seen universally as ‘the bad guy.’ We have to come up with someone new soon or Soros will cut off our funding!”
DESPERATE RADICAL #1: (Having tuned his boss and group members out out in favor of the local newspaper) “Hey, anyone want to go see the new Star Wars: Revenge of The Sith flick this weekend? I hear that we get to see how Anakin becomes Darth Vader! ”
DESPERATE RADICAL LEADER: “What did you just say?”
And the rest, as they say, was history.
But, seriously, this gets worse (or better, depending upon your perspective). Some have even mentioned that Lucas might have updated some of the scripts to take some potshots at President Bush and to give the movie overall more of an anti-Bush feel.
After seeing the movie, do I think it’s true? I don’t know and I’m not sure I even care.
In my mind, Lucas is doing what so many other producers, directors, and actors are doing; trying to influence the culture in what they deem to be a positive manner. Is it a bad thing to want to place democracy in a good light and offer up warnings as to what can happen to democratic institutions when they give one person or group too much power?
Absolutely not. It’s a good message in fact; and a VERY conservative message to boot!
I think any movie which makes Americans more cautious in terms of the power it grants to their government is a good movie. Our entire system was built with the assumption that government is inherently power-seeking and, therefore, dangerous.
We have a system of checks and balances in this country for a reason… To make sure that no one part of our government ever becomes too powerful. And you had better believe that any government, or any BRANCH of government, for that matter, will eventually grow too powerful if left unchecked.
In the end, it is the American people who have to serve as the ultimate check on government power. Should “we the people” serve our government, or should our government serve us? How much or little should a government do? How much or little CAN a government do?
So, what does any of this have to do with George Lucas who may or may not be comparing President Bush to Darth Vader?
Mainly that it is true that our government could potentially overreach it’s power and authority if we let it happen. At the same time, let’s be reasonable. And, while we’re at it, can we also be a bit more civil?
After all, even if Lucas did not intend to compare Vader and President Bush, many liberals have, and that is just silly to the extreme. Are you really so angry and desperate that you have to compare the President to a movie character? If so, maybe you should wait until the new movie The Fantastic Four comes out, then you can compare the President to the character “Dr. Doom.”
As for my take on the movie’s possible slant? As I said earlier, I’m not sure.
I will say this; if there is ONE line in the whole movie that MIGHT be a slap at the President, it would be the line uttered by Obi Wan towards the very end of the movie. He and Anakin are preparing to do battle with one another and Anakin utters this oft-quoted line: “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy.”
For me, this wasn’t a key line. I’ve heard that same line (or something like it) uttered a thousand times in movies and on television over the years. What made me laugh was the response by Obi Wan: “Only a Sith thinks in absolutes”; at which point, Obi Wan draws his light sabre and prepares to do battle with Anakin the evil absolutist.
I laughed for two reasons. First of all, because, it seemed to me to be a very thinly veiled slap at conservatism in general, if not the President in particular. Liberals love to accuse conservatives of couching our beliefs in terms of moral absolutes, ignoring the grayish nuances of life.
Secondly, I laughed because Obi Wan’s reply was one to make any absolutist proud. As a matter of fact, Obi Wan’s reply was more absolutist in nature than Anakin’s original statment!
Think about it… Anakin makes a very simple statement, not about life in general, but to Obi Wan in particular. “If you are not with me,” he says to his master, “then you are my enemy.” Very clear declaration of intent, don’t you think? “Join me or we duke it out right here,” is Anakin’s message.
So, what does Obi Wan do? Comes back with a univeral principle of his own, but one which is even more absolute than Anakin’s. “Only a Sith thinks in absolutes,” replies Obi Wan. With one sentence, Obi Wan passes judgement, not only on all Siths every where (terribly racist thinking, don’t you agree?), but also on anyone who thinks LIKE a Sith. What Obi Wan is saying is basically, “all Siths think in absolutes and anyone who thinks in absolutes is ‘Sith-like.'”
Wow! A little heavy on the judgementalism, don’t you think? Of course, I’m used to that kind of hypocritical thinking, especially from Hollywood elites. Did it never occur to Lucas, or anyone else making this movie for that matter, to consider the fact that a judgement of any kind requires an assumption of truth?
But this post has gone on long enough. Let me just end it by stating that I enjoyed Revenge of The Sith, but not as much as I had hoped. And it had nothing to do with supposed political messages; I’ve already told you why I have no problem with those kinds of messages. Rather, it was just an average Scifi epic. It had some very bright moments and some not-so-bright moments.
The Star Wars movies as a whole are incredible, and everyone who loves the genre should see them. But they are not epic on the scale of, say, The Lord of The Rings, I’ll always love the Star Wars series and I hope that Lucas changes his mind and does the last three pics (episodes 7, 8, and 9). At the same time, I remain strangely dissatified with these latest three pictures. Perhaps Lucas got just a bit too nuanced for this second trilogy? Yes, life is more gray than black and white, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy escaping it now and then.