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Star Wars – Attack of the Clintons

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By now you’ve seen Star Wars III and heard the bemoaning everywhere about how it was a reflection of Bush. “Oh, he’s trying to build an evil empire, just like the Sith Lord! He’s making a political statement against BUSH! It’s so funny! The neo-cons are gonna’ hate it!”

Well, my friends, that’s a complete load of crap. Sure you could compare Bush to The Sith Lord. That would make Cheney, Darth Vader right? If you wanted to look at it that way it could appear that is what was happening. Well, you’d be wrong.

Let’s start with how old the script for this episode actually is. If anyone out there is a fan-boy you can back me up but I seem to remember that all nine (9) of the scripts were written long before Lucas had a producer for A New Hope. Maybe Bush is trying to follow Lucas’ lead? I didn’t think so either.

The storyline revolves around what happens when government becomes too powerful. It’s the same sappy story that’s been playing out in movies since people were doing plays. Probably the most original part of the plotline was to make both Anakin and Luke Skywalker whiney little punks. Well, that and the cinnamon buns attached to both Amadala and Leia’s heads. (okay, that was a spoiler.)

Lets try a different sort of comparison. Maybe we could stick Hillary Clinton as the Dark Lord? She is the lead Democratic candidate at the moment and she’s a member of…the Senate. Bush was never a member of the Senate. He was a governor.

Maybe we could use Bill Clinton as Darth Gigolo? There’s a strong rumor floating around that he could be replacing Kofi Annan in a year or two. Does anyone have any doubt that he could win them over with a smile and a quickie?

Now lets take a look at things, you get Hillary Sidious as president and Darth Gigolo as leader of the UN and that would mean master and apprentice controlling the galax…er..world. Wouldn’t that fall in line a bit better than Bush?

Just for laughs, we would need Kennedy as Jabba the Hut…either him or Michael Moore.

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About Jeremy H. Bol

  • He only had the outline of the films back then, the scripts weren’t actually written until just prior to shooting each of the prequels. SO who knows what may have seeped in during that time….

  • Okay, he had a storyboard but that was about it. You got me there. I highly doubt that the…ahem…plot would be changed to harrass a president. It’s like saying Rocky 6 (the main boxer is supposed to be black from the rumors I hear) is supposed to be about Tyson.

    One could take the empire situation and compare it to ancient Rome, the Ottoman empire, Genghis Khan, Hiil and Bill, etc. Bush is just the target of the day.

  • “Bush is just the target of the day”

    I’m not sure I agree.

    Several of the lines, like the near-identical paraphrasing of Bush’s “you’re either with us or you’re against us” quote, and Padme’s quote about the consolidation of power, seemed like they _had_ to have been tweaked to reflect current political debates.

    And saying that the comparison could apply to Hillary Clinton, or any other political leader, misses the point completely . . . it could apply only to someone who has pushed the limits of a constitutional republic’s checks and balances in the name of security, and mislead the nation into a foreign war.

  • See, this is where I’m going to have to disagree with you Thad. Yes, Hillary is probable a poor example. It’s a joke. It’s not meant to fit exactly. Lighten up a little.

    However, the “with us or against us” line is a classic from waaaay back. I think it goes all the way back to the bible somewhere but I can’t remember the verse. (not a bible scholar) Could he have been poking fun at the bible? I frankly don’t care.

    THe point I’m trying to make is that we can all go to see a movie, libs and repubs and have fun for a change. Instead we have to make it into something more than it is supposed to be.

  • Joe

    Has anyone read/seen Lucas’ interview where this was mentioned? He said that it was written prior to president Bush. Although he does say the resemblance is coincidental, he does not refute that there IS a resemblance. And there is, because as Lucas also said, history repeats itself, and is doing so now. I am paraphrasing, but go to his text, and read it. Repubs need to relax and quit being so defensive. One man can have his opinion. Dems need to relax too. Unless they start controlling government at the precint level and at the Registrars offices and Board of Elections, they can make a million movies against Bush and garner a million more votes and still lose. Now put the popcorn down and Save Our Republic!

  • I don’t know enough about the script-writing process to really say anything about whether recent political events actually had anything to do with anything. All I’m saying is that, when it came down to the editing process, Lucas et. al. had to know that the “with us or against us” line, and others, would resonate in the current political climate. This, of course, is something that is desirable with all kinds of movies/books/works of art/historical documentaries.

    There definitely is _not_ a truly coherent allegory that can be made, although it is fun to try.

    I actually thought there were several aspects of the movie that conservatives could use to make a Democrats=Dark Side comparison, one of which was the Jedi’s prohibition on using the powers of the Force to prevent death vs. the dark side’s use of the Force to meddle with such things, which (regardless of how you feel about the issue) was very remniscent of the arguments made in the stem cell research debate.

    On the other hand, when Annakin and Padme consider “talking to Obi Wan” about her pregnancy, and then say something like “no, we should welcome this child as a gift to us” – I was wondering if Obi Wan performs abortions on the side. Maybe I misinterpreted what they meant, I don’t know. Did anyone else notice this?

    Another problem with the Bush-administration-as-Dark-Side comparison is where the Jedi Council fits in. The closest parallel in the American system has to be the Supreme Court. Unlike the democratically-elected executives and legislatures, the Jedi Council and Supreme Court are elite institutions with a rigorous appointment/confirmation process. They do not represent the people, but are stewards of the Force, which is not that different conceptually from the US Constitution. Replace Yoda’s references to the Force with “the
    Commerce Clause” or the “Equal Protection Clause,” and he would easily pass for a Con Law professor.

    Under the Jedi Council=Rehnquist Supreme Court comparison, Yoda can represent Scalia: both have a gift for humorous one-liners, and urge a strict construction of the Force and Constitution, respectively.

    Or Yoda can be Rehnquist, if you’re basing the comparison strictly on appearance and having leadership roles. We’re all wondering when Rehnquist will retire; in “Sith,” Yoda retires from the Jedi Council by going into exile on Degobah (a swampy, humid world which, when you think about it, is kind of like Florida, America’s top retirement destination).

    I’ll be lazy and say that Mace Windu is Clarence Thomas, and that the female Jedi is O’Connor or Ginsburg. Something about Obi-Wan’s even-keeled, logical approach to things reminds me of Justice Stevens’ tendency to weigh cases and issues individually.

    Finally, if the Jedi Council is the Court, a conservative interpretation of “Sith” could view Annakin’s slaughter of the Jedis-in-training as a parallel to the Democrats’ filibuster of Bush federal court nominees.

  • Thanks Joe, well said. You said it much better than I could have.

    I should probably do a regular Star Wars review, but there’s so many out there this is a bit easier to get seen this way.

    Besides, it’s kind of funny how they all rush into their appointed roles though. libs and cons.

  • Wow Thad, You’ve thought way too much about this. It’s funny, but you thought way too much.

    I’d be willing to bet that MoveOn.org is despirately working with the script rigt now…wait, nevermind…they just put out that commercial…(joke)

    There are 101 ways to make that desert of a movie and you have found your favorite cheese cake. I’ll take come cherry pie with a dollop of ice cream.

    Really though, that’s a good deal of thought on that one Thad. You might want to work it into an article. I’m sure it would spur more debate, like this post has.

  • I probably would have missed the comparison to Bush specifically but the scenes of a congressional body giving up power to a leader who thinks he has divine guidance is a bit hard to ignore.

  • I think Sisiphus (or some other Greek thing) was the first play to have this storyline. Writings about world domination are about as old as…well…world domination.

  • Sam

    The “with us or against us” line jumped out at me when I saw the film last week (to my dissapointment). How mundane for Lucas to become involved in trivial worldly politics when he should be concerned with far more celestial issues (:-). For sure he’s a Democrat,(what else is new for the boring Hollywood crowd)which results in his inability to keep his political views to himeslf, reflects on his lack of creative political thinking and reduces his appeal to a large part of the population. For a series with more class, I guess we will have to stick with the Lord of the Rings. Oh-oh, has anyone noticed an anti-Republican spin there as well? New Zealand is, after all, almost as wacky as Hollywood.