The End of May and My Inner Nerd

2010 May 22

by Roy W. Bakos

Some notes and observations and a letter to George Lucas…

The “Tea Party” movement fascinates me and confuses me at the same time.  I love the fact that people are getting involved in politics.  I love the fact that more folks are letting their voices be heard at protests and at the ballot box.  I love the fact that people are again realizing that they can speak truth to power and that they are indeed the government.  My confusion comes in the people that the Tea Partiers are supporting.  Sarah Palin is a demagogue that shills for whomever will buy, sell, or print her next book.  Glen Beck purposely uses mis-information and faulty logic to sway millions of viewers (customers?) nightly to his view that our President is the tall, thin, and dark second coming of Joseph Stalin.  Everyone else on the right that purports to support them is part of the system that they supposedly hate so much.  I find it sad to see so many Americans support groups of people that are in direct opposition to the economic self-interest of the majority.  Sadly, everytime that I talk to an active tea-partier, I get the sneaking suspicion that they want to take me in the corner and whisper the n-word into my ear.  Maybe I was just to naive to believe that there would be such a visceral reaction to the election of a non-white President and the multicultural sea-change that that election brought to the body politic.

Politics is going to be very fun and chaotic over the next few months.  The Tea Party, Republicans, Democrats, “The Establishment,” reformers, and out of the closet Liberal/Progressives who don’t think that this Administration is living up to the values for which it was elected are going to make the 2010 election cycle one of the most interesting of my lifetime.

I completed my first full-time semester in college last week.  It is very different going back to school as a working 40 year-old than it was when I attended previously in the early 90’s.  Technology makes learning and research so much easier than it was a decade ago.  The use of all of the tools of computing and the internet in all facets of the classroom quintuples the amount of information that a teacher can get out to their students.  This, along with the fact that being a Thornton Mellon-esque English major makes one a bit of a curiosity around campus and enables one to concentrate on the material without any job-expectations at the end of the course of study, is the main difference in my experience.  The fact that many of my classmates won’t get the Back to School reference is one of the differences as well…

Finally, after watching portions of Star Wars (the original) and the Return of the Jedi today (during a cable TV network celebration of the 30th anniversary of the release of The Empire Strikes Back), I am forced to write this open letter to George Lucas in regard to his changing of two parts of the films that destroy the myth created originally:

Dear Mr. Lucas,

I am writing to ask you to restore two scenes from your digitally updated versions of Star Wars and The Return of the Jedi to their original form.  The Scenes which need to be “put back” are the following:
1)  The scene where Han Solo shoots Greedo in the Cantina before departing.  Han Solo is a smuggler and a mercenary.  His only allegiance is to himself and his pocketbook.  In the original scene, Han shoots Greedo before Greedo can go back to Jabba and tell him where Han is.  He needs no justification for this because he is a criminal operating among criminals at this time.  In the new version of the scene, Greedo pulls a blaster on Han first, making the shooting appear to be more justified.  If Han needs to be a “better” or a “good” person before he is redeemed by his association with the Rebellion, Obi Wan, and Luke, his transformation from dishonorable character to honorable one is lessened.  Take a lesson from your good friend Mr. Spielberg and his character of Oscar Schindler…Schindler’s act is more whole because he is not a “good” guy at the beginning of the story but he is transformed towards “good” as the horrors of his world unfold around him.  Allow Han to once again do the same.
2)  At the end of the Return of the Jedi, the Jedi in question come to visit Luke in a vision.  In the original, the Jedi are depicted by the actor that played Darth Vader, Sebastian Shaw, Yoda, and Alec Guiness.  In the new version, you have repleced Shaw, with Hayden Christensen, the actor that portrays the pre-sith Annakin Skywalker.  By replacing the newly redeemed Vader with the uncorrupted Annakin, you have destroyed the moral point of your Epic.  Good has to be fought for and can triumph over evil though choice and redemption.  By making the spirit of Luke’s father appear as the young Annakin, the point of turning away from evil is missed.  Annakin embraces evil and turns to it in rage and hubris.  Vader, turns away from it when he kills the Emperor (and himself by doing so) to save his children.  This type of salvation is only possible by facing evil and choosing good.
George, please give me my Epic back.  Reread the Iliad and the Odyssey and rethink these two horrible choices.  The power of your whole story is the myth that it has created for three generations of Americans that are steeped in its lore.  Don’t weaken the story or the power of it by changing things to make characters nicer or prettier.  We have enough of that in our society already.

Sincerely,
Roy W. Bakos

2 Responses leave one →
  1. WES permalink
    May 24, 2010

    You forgot one more thing: If Greedo shoots first and he is only across the table from Han Solo, he’s the worst shot in at least 5 parsecs. How the hell did he become a bounty hunter anyway?

  2. June 7, 2010

    Exactly Wes…yet another reason why Lucas should just leave it alone and let Han be the bad-ass that he is and shoot first.

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