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The Case for the Empire

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the evil-is-in-the-eye-of-the-stormtrooper dept.

Star Wars Prequels 752

fReNeTiK writes "In this amusingly controversial article over at the weekly standard's web site, we get to hear an opinion not often heard among the hordes of Star Wars fanatics out there: The rebel alliance are actually "... an unimpressive crew of anarchic royals who wreck the galaxy so that Princess Leia can have her tiara back." An entertaining read which will surely spark flame wars of epic proportions." Reader kaypro submits an MSNBC story examining the science of Star Wars. And Ant notes that the Clones DVD will be out earlier than expected.

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The Case For (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3535989)

My computer.

Sarah! This one is for you!

news for what ? (-1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536014)

yous uck, how do you expect me to join the masses in order to wooow at the fscking mpaa nullshit that this film is ?

There's no interest in seeing these studs and their romance expect when the guy gets his arm cut... ahr ahr ahr ...

Pinochet...? (4, Insightful)

ChiPHeaD23 (147491) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536000)

Make no mistake, as emperor, Palpatine is a dictator--but a relatively benign one, like Pinochet.

Wow, calling Pinochet "relatively benign" is about the biggest stretch I've ever heard of. Sure, beningn to the US and its economic interests, but I think any Chileans in the room will disagree.

Re:Pinochet...? (2)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536084)

Wow, calling Pinochet "relatively benign"

Remember, he called Pinochet a relatively benign dictator. He didn't say that Pinochet was benign on his own merit.

Re:Pinochet...? (2, Insightful)

rifter (147452) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536122)

I am no fan of Pinochet, but when you consider there were massive demonstrations in favour of him, and against his trial in Europe, and a hero's welcome when he was returned, it becomes plausible some Chileans actually like him. Granted, it is possible these were all staged, and people were paid to celebrate in what we believe to be a relatively poor and unfree country, but this was believed to be the case in Nazi Germany, and was proven wrong. There actually were ordinary citizens in direct favour of the oppressive dictatorship.

In freer and ostensibly democratic societies this seems unconcionable to the average person, but it appears to be the case in such places.

Re:Pinochet...? (1)

ChiPHeaD23 (147491) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536193)

Well, there's a taste for everything. Hell, some people like Britney Spears, does that make it good music? People watch The Young and the Restless, does that make it good television?

Of course, apples and oranges here in a way. I suppose there were *SOME* good things about Pinochet's regime that some Chileans appreciated, but I would hardly call him a "benign" dictator.

Re:Pinochet...? (2, Insightful)

Mike Connell (81274) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536209)

(There is a sound of weeping)
Please, laugh, the piece is satire. Only a few lines later:
Captain Piett is quickly promoted to admiral when his predecessor "falls down on the job."

Piett's predecessor was Kendal, whom Vader killed by crushing his throat so that he did indeed "fall down on the job"

Not to mention that as a dictator Pinochet was relatively benign.

and the big deal is? (1)

BiggyP (466507) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536001)

i mean sure they're oppressed, but c'mon, their helmets are shiny enough, life can't be that bad under lord vaders rule.

Slashdotted already... (2, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536003)

Sigh. Here's the text:

The Case for the Empire
Everything you think you know about Star Wars is wrong.
by Jonathan V. Last
05/16/2002 12:00:00 AM

Jonathan V. Last, online editor

STAR WARS RETURNS today with its fifth installment, "Attack of the Clones." There will be talk of the Force and the Dark Side and the epic morality of George Lucas's series. But the truth is that from the beginning, Lucas confused the good guys with the bad. The deep lesson of Star Wars is that the Empire is good.

It's a difficult leap to make--embracing Darth Vader and the Emperor over the plucky and attractive Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia--but a careful examination of the facts, sorted apart from Lucas's off-the-shelf moral cues, makes a quite convincing case.

First, an aside: For the sake of this discussion, I've considered only the history gleaned from the actual Star Wars films, not the Expanded Universe. If you know what the Expanded Universe is and want to argue that no discussion of Star Wars can be complete without considering material outside the canon, that's fine. However, it's always been my view that the comic books and novels largely serve to clean up Lucas's narrative and philosophical messes. Therefore, discussions of intrinsic intent must necessarily revolve around the movies alone. You may disagree, but please don't e-mail me about it.

If you don't know what the Expanded Universe is, well, uh, neither do I.

I. The Problems with the Galactic Republic

At the beginning of the Star Wars saga, the known universe is governed by the Galactic Republic. The Republic is controlled by a Senate, which is, in turn, run by an elected chancellor who's in charge of procedure, but has little real power.

Scores of thousands of planets are represented in the Galactic Senate, and as we first encounter it, it is sclerotic and ineffectual. The Republic has grown over many millennia to the point where there are so many factions and disparate interests, that it is simply too big to be governable. Even the Republic's staunchest supporters recognize this failing: In "The Phantom Menace," Queen Amidala admits, "It is clear to me now that the Republic no longer functions." In "Attack of the Clones," young Anakin Skywalker observes that it simply "doesn't work."

The Senate moves so slowly that it is powerless to stop aggression between member states. In "The Phantom Menace" a supra-planetary alliance, the Trade Federation (think of it as OPEC to the Galactic Republic's United Nations), invades a planet and all the Senate can agree to do is call for an investigation.

Like the United Nations, the Republic has no armed forces of its own, but instead relies on a group of warriors, the Jedi knights, to "keep the peace." The Jedi, while autonomous, often work in tandem with the Senate, trying to smooth over quarrels and avoid conflicts. But the Jedi number only in the thousands--they cannot protect everyone.

What's more, it's not clear that they should be "protecting" anyone. The Jedi are Lucas's great heroes, full of Zen wisdom and righteous power. They encourage people to "use the Force"--the mystical energy which is the source of their power--but the truth, revealed in "The Phantom Menace," is that the Force isn't available to the rabble. The Force comes from midi-chlorians, tiny symbiotic organisms in people's blood, like mitochondria. The Force, it turns out, is an inherited, genetic trait. If you don't have the blood, you don't get the Force. Which makes the Jedi not a democratic militia, but a royalist Swiss guard.

And an arrogant royalist Swiss guard, at that. With one or two notable exceptions, the Jedi we meet in Star Wars are full of themselves. They ignore the counsel of others (often with terrible consequences), and seem honestly to believe that they are at the center of the universe. When the chief Jedi record-keeper is asked in "Attack of the Clones" about a planet she has never heard of, she replies that if it's not in the Jedi archives, it doesn't exist. (The planet in question does exist, again, with terrible consequences.)

In "Attack of the Clones," a mysterious figure, Count Dooku, leads a separatist movement of planets that want to secede from the Republic. Dooku promises these confederates smaller government, unlimited free trade, and an "absolute commitment to capitalism." Dooku's motives are suspect--it's not clear whether or not he believes in these causes. However, there's no reason to doubt the motives of the other separatists--they seem genuinely to want to make a fresh start with a government that isn't bloated and dysfunctional.

The Republic, of course, is eager to quash these separatists, but they never make a compelling case--or any case, for that matter--as to why, if they are such a freedom-loving regime, these planets should not be allowed to check out of the Republic and take control of their own destinies.

II. The Empire

We do not yet know the exact how's and why's, but we do know this: At some point between the end of Episode II and the beginning of Episode IV, the Republic is replaced by an Empire. The first hint comes in "Attack of the Clones," when the Senate's Chancellor Palpatine is granted emergency powers to deal with the separatists. It spoils very little to tell you that Palpatine eventually becomes the Emperor. For a time, he keeps the Senate in place, functioning as a rubber-stamp, much like the Roman imperial senate, but a few minutes into Episode IV, we are informed that the he has dissolved the Senate, and that "the last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away."

Lucas wants the Empire to stand for evil, so he tells us that the Emperor and Darth Vader have gone over to the Dark Side and dresses them in black.

But look closer. When Palpatine is still a senator, he says, "The Republic is not what it once was. The Senate is full of greedy, squabbling delegates. There is no interest in the common good." At one point he laments that "the bureaucrats are in charge now."

Palpatine believes that the political order must be manipulated to produce peace and stability. When he mutters, "There is no civility, there is only politics," we see that at heart, he's an esoteric Straussian.

Make no mistake, as emperor, Palpatine is a dictator--but a relatively benign one, like Pinochet. It's a dictatorship people can do business with. They collect taxes and patrol the skies. They try to stop organized crime (in the form of the smuggling rings run by the Hutts). The Empire has virtually no effect on the daily life of the average, law-abiding citizen.

Also, unlike the divine-right Jedi, the Empire is a meritocracy. The Empire runs academies throughout the galaxy (Han Solo begins his career at an Imperial academy), and those who show promise are promoted, often rapidly. In "The Empire Strikes Back" Captain Piett is quickly promoted to admiral when his predecessor "falls down on the job."

And while it's a small point, the Empire's manners and decorum speak well of it. When Darth Vader is forced to employ bounty hunters to track down Han Solo, he refuses to address them by name. Even Boba Fett, the greatest of all trackers, is referred to icily as "bounty hunter." And yet Fett understands the protocol. When he captures Solo, he calls him "Captain Solo." (Whether this is in deference to Han's former rank in the Imperial starfleet, or simply because Han owns and pilots his own ship, we don't know. I suspect it's the former.)

But the most compelling evidence that the Empire isn't evil comes in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Darth Vader is battling Luke Skywalker. After an exhausting fight, Vader is poised to finish Luke off, but he stays his hand. He tries to convert Luke to the Dark Side with this simple plea: "There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you. . . . Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy." It is here we find the real controlling impulse for the Dark Side and the Empire. The Empire doesn't want slaves or destruction or "evil." It wants order.

None of which is to say that the Empire isn't sometimes brutal. In Episode IV, Imperial stormtroopers kill Luke's aunt and uncle and Grand Moff Tarkin orders the destruction of an entire planet, Alderaan. But viewed in context, these acts are less brutal than they initially appear. Poor Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen reach a grisly end, but only after they aid the rebellion by hiding Luke and harboring two fugitive droids. They aren't given due process, but they are traitors.

The destruction of Alderaan is often cited as ipso facto proof of the Empire's "evilness" because it seems like mass murder--planeticide, even. As Tarkin prepares to fire the Death Star, Princess Leia implores him to spare the planet, saying, "Alderaan is peaceful. We have no weapons." Her plea is important, if true.

But the audience has no reason to believe that Leia is telling the truth. In Episode IV, every bit of information she gives the Empire is willfully untrue. In the opening, she tells Darth Vader that she is on a diplomatic mission of mercy, when in fact she is on a spy mission, trying to deliver schematics of the Death Star to the Rebel Alliance. When asked where the Alliance is headquartered, she lies again.

Leia's lies are perfectly defensible--she thinks she's serving the greater good--but they make her wholly unreliable on the question of whether or not Alderaan really is peaceful and defenseless. If anything, since Leia is a high-ranking member of the rebellion and the princess of Alderaan, it would be reasonable to suspect that Alderaan is a front for Rebel activity or at least home to many more spies and insurgents like Leia.

Whatever the case, the important thing to recognize is that the Empire is not committing random acts of terror. It is engaged in a fight for the survival of its regime against a violent group of rebels who are committed to its destruction.

III. After the Rebellion

As we all know from the final Star Wars installment, "Return of the Jedi," the rebellion is eventually successful. The Emperor is assassinated, Darth Vader abdicates his post and dies, the central governing apparatus of the Empire is destroyed in a spectacular space battle, and the rebels rejoice with their small, annoying Ewok friends. But what happens next?

(There is a raft of literature on this point, but, as I said at the beginning, I'm going to ignore it because it doesn't speak to Lucas's original intent.)

In Episode IV, after Grand Moff Tarkin announces that the Imperial Senate has been abolished, he's asked how the Emperor can possibly hope to keep control of the galaxy. "The regional governors now have direct control over territories," he says. "Fear will keep the local systems in line."

So under Imperial rule, a large group of regional potentates, each with access to a sizable army and star destroyers, runs local affairs. These governors owe their fealty to the Emperor. And once the Emperor is dead, the galaxy will be plunged into chaos.

In all of the time we spend observing the Rebel Alliance, we never hear of their governing strategy or their plans for a post-Imperial universe. All we see are plots and fighting. Their victory over the Empire doesn't liberate the galaxy--it turns the galaxy into Somalia writ large: dominated by local warlords who are answerable to no one.

Which makes the rebels--Lucas's heroes--an unimpressive crew of anarchic royals who wreck the galaxy so that Princess Leia can have her tiara back.

I'll take the Empire.

Slashdotted my fluffy pink ass (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536113)

Someone explain why the FUCK is this informative, its not slashdotted you dumb fucks..., the dickhead is karma whoring as usual.

Re:Slashdotted my fluffy pink ass (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536153)

True, the site isn't slashdotted. But I really don't want to know about your strange donkey.

an obvious remark (2)

darkonc (47285) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536017)

And Ant notes that the Clones DVD will be out earlier than expected. "

It's not like they've got to do a lot of work to create the base digital master!

Re:an obvious remark (1)

CatPieMan (460995) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536038)

I personally was surprised to go to cdnow and see them asking if I wanted to pre-order the DVD BEFORE the movie even came out.

-CPM

In related news... (5, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536107)

..this article at Empire Online [empireonline.co.uk] indicates that the Original Trilogy DVDs are still some way off. Mainly so that Lucas can do more fiddling with the trilogy, including shooting brand new footage. It's all from Rick McCallum [imdb.com] , so it's probably true.

I'm betting he's waiting until after episode 3, to add what would be serious prequel spoilers to the second half of the "hexology", or whatever the term is ("hextet"?), since I seriously doubt it's going to be a nonology anymore.

Pinochet? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536020)

"Palpatine is a dictator--but a relatively benign one, like Pinochet."

Christ almighty, how offensive. Pincochet overthrew a democratically elected government, murdered dissenting voices by the thousands and crushed all opposition. That is *not* by any standards benign. F---wit.

Re:Pinochet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536072)

I disagree. I think it's only because we've had so many dictators these past few centuries that have been so good at what they do, that we can now call a man such as Pinochet "benign". Our hindsight may only be 20/40, but it's hardly a stretch to view the likes of Stalin & Hitler & Mao as the true dictatorial monsters of our time. Some might argue that summarily executing any number of your populace is grounds for the title of monster. Such a viewpoint, unfortunately, leaves us with no means to measure the varying effects upon history these dictatorships had. In the end, it all comes down to your view on the value of a human life, or of human rights in general. Are men like Pinochet even capable of doing what Stalin did? Going that extra step, and killing sizable percentages of your beloved countries population. Ah, questions, without certain answers.

Re:Pinochet? (5, Insightful)

hij (552932) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536118)

Ah, questions, without certain answers.

So your argument goes like this,

I knew Stalin. Stalin was my friend. Generalissimo Pinochet, you are no Stalin.
Pinocchet was a monster. He terrorized the people he was asked to protect. He had no respect for their fundamental rights. You are correct that his crimes did not match those of Stalin, Hitler, or Vlad the Impaler for that matter. Last time I heard, you don't have to commit genocide to be considered a criminal.

Finally, the ends do not justify the means.

Re:Pinochet? (1)

Isle (95215) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536079)

By dictator standards it was.. Compare with Stalin, Hitler and Sadam, just to pick a few at random.

When comparing dictators you cant look at the amóunt of violence, since it is needed to protect the regime. You can only look at what state they left the country in.

But you are right: If this man loves order so much, he would have loved facisime.

Re:Pinochet? (2, Insightful)

blackwings (525682) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536185)

"When comparing dictators you cant look at the amóunt of violence, since it is needed to protect the regime. You can only look at what state they left the country in."

Following that logic YOU must think that Stalin is a even better dictator than Picochet. He did afterall turn his country into an modern industrial superpower.

Face it!!! your logic is both cynical and flawed.

Re:Pinochet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536088)

Pinochet was our friend and was backed and supported by the US.
The so called democratically elected goverment he overthrew and later shot were just terrorists anyway.

Re:Pinochet? (1)

rsmah (518909) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536150)

While no one can dispute that Pinochet was a brutal military dictator, most people forget how bad things were in Chile before Pinochet took power.


Chile was a nation with a crumbling economy, where the central bank was printing money so fast inflation exceeded all imaginable proportions. People were out of work and the economy was basically dying.


Soon after Pinochet took power, his regime instituted market reforms, reduced the size of government and generally improved things. While their reforms were far from perfect, Pinochet's regime transformed Chile from a basket case into one of South America's most vibrant economies. They dramatically raised the standard of living for most Chileans, reduced inflation, etc, etc, etc.


I don't mean to minimize the valor and courage of those who opposed Pinochet or died at the hands of his secret police. However, in the end, for most Chileans, Pinochet's rule was probably a good thing.

Re:Pinochet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536223)

Afghanistan was a crumbling economy, ravaged by years civil wars and the economy (with the exception of heroin trafficking) was dead.

After the Taleban took power, they remove the corrupting influence of mass media, installed centuries old traditional islamic sharia law, and saved women by forcing them to be covered at all times.

According to islamic fundamentalists, the Taleban's rule was probably a good thing.

Questions (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536031)

How can the Rebels be called anarchic if they are primarily people with Royal titles trying their best to establish the "Old Republic".

Besides that though, the Empire kills people at will, and they impose Draconian smuggling laws which only serve to prop up Hut gangsters.

As tiresome as a republics claims to a monopoly on 'good' can be (and lord knows we see enough of that), the only other alternative at the time is a group that claims a monopoly on 'evil', which can't possibly be any better.

Re:Questions (5, Interesting)

CatPieMan (460995) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536064)

I actually was just mentioning this article to a friend of mine. He too thought it was interesting, but, put forth the idea that the rebels were probably trying to have the old republic rebuilt.

Just look at the US Revolution, the people didn't really know how they were going to change the government, they just knew that they wanted (or needed) it to change. The new government was created years after the old one was overthrown, and even then people were challenging it even up to and including the Civil War (ok, yes, I know, many causes of the Civil War).

Did the old British Empire work, for the most part it did. It didn't interfere with the small farmer (like this empire), so the farmers didn't all pick a side until one came and found them. Most of the US revolution came from and began in the larger seaport cities (Philadelphia and Boston were the big ones that I can think of right away). This parallels the Empire in that the small planets, like tatoine that didn't have many cities, really wouldn't see much interferrence from the empire (unless they did something to warrent the empire getting into their buisness, as this guy is claiming).

It is very true that this Dark side is only evil when compared to the alternative (the Light side). The Dark side really doesn't do much that is 'bad'. Their main crime is trying to undermine the light side and gain power. This sounds like commercialism and capitalism (a new competitor trys to build strength while hiding from the old established corporation).

While I may not have all of my ideas straightened out, I just wanted to get some of my ideas out on the forum for dissection (and perhaps some karma in the process :) )

-CPM

Re:Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536090)

They did blow up an entire planet, I'd say that counts as bad and certainly doesn't fall under any Anarcho-capitalist ethos I've ever heard.

The Empire appears to regulate the commerce within its borders pretty fiercly (hence the need for smugglers), so they are hardly capitalistic.

Re:Questions (1, Insightful)

couch (83548) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536161)

That was harbouring terrorists.

Carpet-bombing-Afghanistan parallels anyone?

And anyway, the rebels wipe out Endor by exploding a large metallic 'moon' in a low orbit. Thats gotta hurt! Red hot metal fragments and unexploded armoments raining down on the planet for a while.

Those Ewoks are toast.

Re:Questions (2)

hij (552932) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536101)

The rebels represent a coalition of "royals" and are chaotic in their composition. Also, the Empire does not kill at will, they are fighting for their existance. In their desparate attempt to bring back order and justice to the universe, a small band of spoiled princes and princesses fight to preserve their cherished thrones at the expense of the people.

It is time to rise up and take arms against the petty princes who are holding us back!

Oh yeah, and the Ewoks really are annoying. I would vote for the emporer if he only promised to rid us of this vermin alone. (If only I were allowed to vote....)

Re:Questions (2)

belbo (11799) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536125)

Oh yeah, and the Ewoks really are annoying. I would vote for the emporer if he only promised to rid us of this vermin alone.

Actually the rebels already took care of that [theforce.net] .

belbo

Re:Questions (1)

rifter (147452) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536172)

As tiresome as a republics claims to a monopoly on 'good' can be (and lord knows we see enough of that), the only other alternative at the time is a group that claims a monopoly on 'evil', which can't possibly be any better.


This made me think of the Linux vs Microsoft argument. Come to think of it, Microsoft does seem to claim evil as its intellectual property...

Satire? (4, Insightful)

Wister285 (185087) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536035)

While the points in this may be true, I feel that there is a very good chance that the author wished that this piece would be viewed as satrical, not a proclamation of truth. I mean, the most common analogy between Star Wars and history is that the Emipre parallel Nazi ways. Ever notice that the Empire people are always humans? What about the complete control that the emperor has, much like Hitler did during WWII. Both of these people demanded absolute power (at all times, but most specifically at times of conflict), which led to mistakes being made because they only had one specific goal. It is possible to equate Dunkurk with Yavin or Endor? Yes it is.

So, one must look at this situation differently. I really don't think the writer meant to side with the Empire 100%, mainly because that justifies Nazi-esque policies. And if he did, well I hope he has a good time refuting all the /. flames. :-)

Re:Satire? (1)

DataCannibal (181369) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536065)

If he regards Pinochet as a benign dictator (oxymoron surely) then he probably only finds that the Nazis were slightly vulgar.

Re:Satire? (2)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536068)

It is possible to equate Dunkurk with Yavin or Endor? Yes it is.

Go ahead. I didn't see any evidence in EOTC or ROTJ of the Emperor refuting his generals' advice (The Emperor actually seemed to seriously listen to Vader as a matter of fact) and changing battle strategies on a whim, or, indeed, of him taking "complete control." What scenes are you thinking of that give evidence of this?

Re:Satire? (2, Insightful)

Carnivorous Carrot (571280) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536080)

It is satirical. If the Pinochet comment didn't convince you, then certainly the comment about blowing up a planet of people not being as bad as you might think.

If nothing else, he makes an interesting point that the Old Republic is, at best, the lesser of two evils.

Re:Satire? (0, Troll)

MaxQuordlepleen (236397) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536091)

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The¦Roman¦republic¦was¦incapable¦of¦governing¦be ca use¦of¦the¦increasing¦power¦of¦individual¦senators , who¦fielded¦private¦armies¦and¦used¦their¦politica l¦influence¦to¦get¦"special¦commissions"¦giving¦th em¦sweeping¦power¦over¦great¦chunks¦of¦the¦Romate¦ state.¦¦Sounds¦a¦little¦familiar,¦eh?

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Re:Satire? (1)

MaxQuordlepleen (236397) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536099)

wtf¦is¦up¦with¦the¦question¦marks¦in¦my¦post?¦¦Any one¦know,¦I'm¦using¦mozilla¦rc1¦on¦sparc¦solaris.

Re:Satire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536134)

In Windows IE, they come up as pipe-like chars. I pasted the text of your post into UltraEdit (my fave text/hex editor, and instead of character value (decimal) 32 for spaces, you're spitting out 221.

Re:Satire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536140)

They look like pipes on Mozilla RC2 on Winblows.

The empire was not so great but.... (1)

King of Caffiene (517266) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536037)

the empire is what supplied law and order to the galaxy. although they seemed to be repressive at times, we can only see it from the rebel's perspective. additionally, what good can come from destroying not a country wide, but a galaxy wide government. that would leave a massive power vacuum which would only result in civil wars and more fighting for the rebels.

Under the Patriot act... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536042)

Its clear that the rebel alliance are terrorists.

Parallel: Imagine a bunch of heavily armed British (or even French) Monarchists waging guerilla war across th US to undo the "injustice" of the American revolution and restore the House of Windsor to power.

The whole Star Wars series is responsible for promoting and glamorizing terrorism. Somebody arrest George Lucas.

...of course, he should have been arrested for Ep 1.

Re:Under the Patriot act... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536094)

Finally the truth comes out.

Princess Leia and all her Al Queda loving rebels are nothing more than terrorists.

For Goodness sakes they destroyed not one but two DeathStars. How can that be described as anything but terrorism.

( Oops did I say DeathStars, I meant HappyStars ;-) )

Re:Under the Patriot act... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536127)

Oh, so the naming of a weapon makes it better or worse? Perhaps a few changes to the US arsenal:

1 The Teletubbies cruise missile
2 The Aegis Group Harmony Facilitator
3 The Polaris Submersible-launched Sunshine Machine

"Terrorism" is based on perspective:
I am a freedom fighter.
You are a partisan.
He is a terrorist.

Re:Under the Patriot act... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536207)

Only in a dictatorship could you get away with calling such a Mobile Space Attack Platform a "Death Star". In any other regime (Tyranny included -- Tyrants at least have the need to look good) this would never fly. In any society, it'd be a PR nightmare.

"This is Planet Horumba to the head of the Federation. We're requesting a diplomatic envoy for our mission to Planet Splarch."

"Acknologed, Horumba. Now dispatching THE DEATH STAR."

"Wait a minute, Death Star?? We're trying to hold trade talks, not destroy their entire civlization!"

"The Death Star is a standard class sattelite-sized envoy space vehicle. For wartime measures, we send out our attack ships, The Genocidal Scary Big Balls of Death, Pain and Torture."

"Oh. Very well then."

help me Obiwan, you're my only hope! (4, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536045)

"This isn't the story you wanted to read."

"Hey, what's this crap, I didn't wanna read this!"

"Move along."

"I'm gonna reload so I can get first post on the next story!"

Points (4, Interesting)

el_flynn (1279) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536046)

Like it or not, he does put some of the points across in a clear, lucid manner. I must admit, a quarter of the way into the article sees of doubt were already being sowed into my idea of who the "good guys" are.

Of course, some points he makes about the rebel only havings plots, and no clue about what to do once the empire is decimated doesn't really hold water - i'm sure lucas would have made more installments to handle that case, but then again it probably wouldn't make for good viewing. It's a man's fantasy after all, for god's sake!

Maybe it's just a case of this guy being able to argue his way convincingly out of anything. Sure did convince me.

Re:Points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536050)

Well if a satirical article can make you change your mind, or plant seeds of doubt, either that guy is a fucking master writer, or your as gullible as all shit.

Re:Points (2)

friscolr (124774) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536131)

Maybe it's just a case of this guy being able to argue his way convincingly out of anything.

yup. there's a lot he didn't point out. Here are a couple examples.

For example, why does he trust Palpatine's words? His argument against trusting Leia is that we know she's lied to the Empire so nothing else she says to him is beleivable. We've seen that Palpatine is willing to deceive people, so his words of wanting order or of the Senate not working should not be trusted either.

Comparing the Post-Empire galaxy to Somalia is naive - Somalia doesn't have a 1000 year history of governing itself democratically. There are plenty of examples of countries which have gone from dictatorships to more democratic governments with substantial success - look to latin america for plenty of examples.

And i see no reason to trust Darth Vader any more than Palpatine - though arrogant he shows many signs of being manipulated by Palpatine.

Finally, is there a point in the movies where the rebels actually say they have no idea of what to do with the dissolution of the empire? i was under the impression that their goal was to re-implement the Democratic Senate which had previously served them for 1000 years, right up to the point that Palpatine started manipulating organizations (like the Trade Fed) to blockade others, start wars, secede, etc.

Re:Points (5, Insightful)

Fishstick (150821) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536137)

You know, you think about it, Leia and her "rebel friends" look like a bunch of terrorists, depending on your perspective. "Striking from a hidden base", and all that.

Sure, the empire is evil. Sound familiar? Striking out against the great evil that has enveloped the galaxy in its wicked grasp, this small band of freedom fighters struggles against the overwhelming might of an unjust and corrupt empire.

But, from the other side of the "war on terror":

"Our top story tonight, imperial security sources tell us that a radical terrorist group, calling themselves "the alliance", has struck once again at key imperial military and economic interests in the outer rim of the galaxy."

"Our source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that terrorists, using small, lightly armed attack fighters, carried out a cowardly surprise attack against a major imperial space station. The source reports that the terrorists were beaten back and that the space station sustained only minor damage."

"However, we at ENN have received unconfirmed reports that the space station was, in fact, destroyed by the terrorist attack. Only one imperial commander reportedly managed to escape from the space station, and is now leading a manhunt to track down and destroy the terrorists responsible for this attack."


No, I'm not equating the star wars empire to any particular country on earth, just making the observation that what differentiates a rebel hero from a terrorist is your perspective.

Re:Points (1)

bigbadwlf (304883) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536170)

no clue about what to do once the empire is decimated doesn't really hold water - i'm sure lucas would have made more installments to handle that case

Star Wars is supposed to have 9 episodes, not just 6.
I remember reading this in the paper when ROTJ came out back in '83 and wondering if/when he'd ever get around to doing episode 1.

Wow, I'm really showing my age.

Anyways, if he plans on waiting another 20 years before doing 7-9, I ain't holding my breath.

Galaxies (1)

dJOEK (66178) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536047)

When Star Wars: Galaxies ccomes out, I know what side I'm on
Call me Darth dJOEk :)

Re:Galaxies (1)

Carnivorous Carrot (571280) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536093)

I'm signing up for the Empire! I want that useless blaster armor all over my body and the inability to shoot a woman in a toga.

Come on, you know you wanna join up, too! Admit the joy you'd feel the first time you said, "You rebel scum!"

In defense of the empire (3, Funny)

ascholl (225398) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536048)

"Well, they make the trains run on time ..."

Re:In defense of the empire (5, Funny)

Mignon (34109) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536217)

(With apologies to Martin Niemoller, not to mention 12 million or so Nazi victims)

"First they came for the Droids but I was not a Droid so I did not speak out;
Then they came for the Wookies and the Naboo but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out;
Then they came for the Jedi but I was not a Jedi so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me."

Trent Reznor said it better (2, Interesting)

tbradshaw (569563) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536056)

Don't open your eyes, you won't like what you see.

The devils of truth, deal the souls of the free.
Don't open your eyes, take it from me.
I have found, you can find, happiness in slavery.
Personally, I don't see where a poor set of rebels without a governing plan justifies as facist dictatorship. Too bad the seperatist movement (those eager for a capitalist society) didn't win, they might have been the Hong Kong of the Star Wars universe.

Of course, they would probably be handed to the Empire after several centuries anyway...

Meanwhile, back in the real world.. (5, Insightful)

phaze3000 (204500) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536057)

Make no mistake, as emperor, Palpatine is a dictator--but a relatively benign one, like Pinochet.

Pinochet [remember-chile.org.uk] was a benign dictator? This man tortured and killed thousands of people. I'd hardly call that benign..

Re:Meanwhile, back in the real world.. (1, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536071)

This man tortured and killed thousands of people. I'd hardly call that benign.
But, hey, they were Marxists (albeit democratically elected ones) and he did it with the backing, knowledge and support of the CIA, which means (in the fucked up eyes of certain "Libertarian" commentators) that its all right.

Re:Meanwhile, back in the real world.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536104)

Large nuke in Langley would probably reduce state sponsored terrorism significantly.

Libertarian (1)

vrai (521708) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536115)

Actually a true libertarian would never endorse imperialist actions like those of the CIA in South America. Those are the actions of a large government in league with big business: libertarians want a small (as in as small as possible) government.

Replace the word 'Libertarian' with 'Republican' and you'd be correct.

Re:Libertarian (1)

gowen (141411) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536152)

That was the meaning of the quote marks, though thats not very clear. But the US supported Pinochet, first and foremost, because he was (ideologically) a free marketeer, and that meant that too many other free-market-ideologues (Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger...) were willing to overlook the fact the he was a sadistic butcher.

Re:Meanwhile, back in the real world.. (1)

Steve B (42864) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536216)

Actually, the Weakly Standard crew is best described (to the extent they can be said to possess a coherent political ideology at all) as "Corporate Statist".

relatively benign (4, Redundant)

wiredog (43288) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536108)

I guess that's "relative to other mass-murdering dictators". Funny line though.

Re:Meanwhile, back in the real world.. (2)

DecoDragon (161394) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536119)

Pinochet [remember-chile.org.uk] was a benign dictator?

(I'm going to assume on day two if you don't want to see spoilers you're not reading stuff like this)

I think this would be one of the first clues of the satirical nature of the peice. In the beginning the author desposes of the novelisations and comic books because he thinks they are attempts at "cleaning up philosophical messes," etc. I suspect that he feels similarly about the first two fo these three movies. That the two movies have not made a compelling case for why over throwing the old government was such a bad thing. AOTC is clumsy in spots, as was Phantom. Why do I care that Anakin is hovering on the precipice. I have to use my knowledge of Jedi to assume there's anything but jerk burried deep away (yes, I did notice the many ways he was manipulated). And, in the same vein, what does Amadala, a supposedly intelligent person see in him? Why are they together? The best I can come up with is that perhaps he's the only person that treats her like a person instead of queen/senator all the time.


Or maybe he is attempting to be topical, which still puts the peice firmly in the camp of satire. There seems to be a great willingness these days amongst people in general to hand over more and more powers to the government to be safe. And, hey, look at the results! The good thing about AOTC (I'm going to assume on day two if you don't want to see spoilers you're not reading stuff like this) is that there is an attempt of a gradual slide down the slippery path (well, gradual for a movie anyway).

Re:Meanwhile, back in the real world.. (1)

Saint Fnordius (456567) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536211)

Another piece of info that this isn't all that serious is that he refers to Han being trained in an Imperial academy. Since that information isn't in the movies (*I* haven't seen it there), he must have gotten it from one of the novelisations. Thus, he's drawing from the sources that he specifically bars!

I also like how he describes Piett's rise to power, yet neglects how the predecessor was removed from office. Or how Vader offhandedly killed a competent captain for getting outwitted by Solo.

The claim of loyalty is also just as far-fetched. Member worlds may have royalty, but this had no bearing on senatorial power. As far as we can tell, each world was allowed to choose its senators in a way its rulers saw fit.

Lastly, I wonder how he gets the idea that the Emperor is benevolent if he rules by fear? I don't recall the original trilogy ever showing what life was like in the heart of the empire; the stories all were set on peripheral worlds - "in the boonies", so to speak.

It's not bad for a "Ha Ha Made You Think" article. Also good for seeing through the arguments of other power advocates.

Thoughtful Articles (5, Informative)

Spencerian (465343) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536061)

This article reminds me of a series of articles found on Space.com called The Phantom Heresies [space.com] , a collection of speculation on why things were in Star Wars. (Because these links are fairly old, you may have to scrounge around--use Google.)

The link above discusses the powers and the arrogance of the Jedi, and why they had it coming. The cool part for me about these articles was that they reflected my views after watching The Phantom Menace after watching how mortibund both Jedi Council and Senate were in comparison to the efficient manipulations of Darth Sidious in TFM.

Was the Empire a better system? I think that a gilded cage is a cage, no matter how informative or high-class the reading material is that covers the bottom of my cage. I would side with the Rebels, lightsaber in hand if I were a Jedi.

MSNBC article typo (1)

CatPieMan (460995) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536082)

>"Long ago, in a galaxy far away"

I thought it was "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away"?

This is probably one of the most famous lines from Star Wars and it was messed up, I for one find this amusing

-CPM

just like hitler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536086)

"It is here we find the real controlling impulse for the Dark Side and the Empire. The Empire doesn't want slaves or destruction or "evil." It wants order"

just like hitler

Well, exactly (2)

daw (7006) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536087)

I think it is exactly to head off this sort of criticism that AOTC has all this silly business about the former Queen Amidala having been democratically elected. This, of course, makes no sense at all (why would the daughter of an elected i.e. non-hereditary ex-"queen" be a princess?) except that it makes the rebels seem a little less totalitarian.

Re:Well, exactly (1)

Jim the Bad (192095) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536205)

I thought that too. Suddenly (and, let's be honest, retroactively) making the 'Queen' of Naboo an elected position, why did the Nabooians (Naboobies?) , facing one of the biggest crises of their planet's history, decide to elect a 13 year old?

Just like the American Revolution (2)

MongooseCN (139203) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536096)

Sure, Star Wars is just like the American Revolution. The Americans were rebels fighting against the opressive Britans for their freedom. The reality of it is that we were rebeling against our own government. That would be like Americans now a days taking up arms and fighting against our own military and president Bush.

If the Britans had won that war do you think it would still be called the American revolution? I think it would go down in history more like The quelling of political extremists, where Britain had to restore peace to it's original form.

What about Star Wars? What if the "dark side" killed off the rebels? They would be restoring peace to the way it was before the rebel uprising. Everything's relative.

Re:Just like the American Revolution (1)

CatPieMan (460995) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536155)

Some parallels that cannot be made btwn this and the American Revolution were actually pointed out in the article.

The article mentions an empire that does not get in the way of the average citizen. The British Empire did some things that did get in the way of the average citizen (Tea Act, Stamp Act, etc) and also tried to force the Church of England on the colonists as the only accepted religion (and as we know, many colonies were formed for religious tolerance, PA, MD) and others were founded and/or controled by religious bodies (Puritans in Mass, Quakers in PA).

However, this does not by any means invalidate your point. History is written by the winners (most of the time) and, this story could easily be told from the point of view of a benevolent empire who rules well and keeps the peace and everyone is (more or less) happy. Then these 'rebels' could simply be shown as the jealous outsiders who wish to destroy the peaceful, successful empire. In this case, the Empire is like Rome when Caesar took over -- they may have used a lot of force to keep the empire growing, but, people could live, trade could exist with far away places, and infrastructure was built (roads, aquaducts).

History is always slanted, anyone who tells you otherwise is a fool (this is also the reason for revisionist history). If the 'Dark Side' and the Empire were to totally defeat the rebels and jedi, why would they even continue to call themselves the 'dark side', why not, the happy lightsaber police, or something like that.

-CPM

Re:Just like the American Revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536174)

As much as Americans would like to think of their revolution as noble, that would be denying history. Starting with the Boston Tea Party, it was an event that was started off for purely economic reasons as business men (not many women sorry) were dissatisfied with the control Britain was maintaining over trade (read taxes). How ironic can it be that a country claimed to be built on freedom would have abolished slavery sooner, if it had remained part of the British Empire.

Bringing Knives To Gunfights (5, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536103)

From Jerry [jerrypournelle.com] .

Silly people the Jedi are, with the partial exception of Yoda who at least knows not to show up for a gunfight without some guns. The other Jedi always bring a knife to a gunfight.

People as stupid as these, in possession of the kinds of weapons they have, probably NEED an Emperor,...

maybe he wants to be Emperor because he realizes these people are idiots playing with machine guns and atom bombs, and need to be protected from themselves, and the Jedi sure aren't smart enough to do it.


But...(spoiler) (1)

YanceyAI (192279) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536106)

He makes an interesting case, but ignores the fact that the chancellor manipulates a fake war to consolidate his power, causing the death of numerous individuals, many of them Jedi.

The Jedi may be arrogant, but they seem to be a very loyal "royal guard" and their idealism is not misplaced.

I hope he's kidding, but just in case.... (5, Insightful)

Stephen VanDahm (88206) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536111)

It's time to put my full karma load to good use....

I'm hoping that this article was written in jest, but in case it isn't, it needs to be addressed. The whole thing is asinine, but here are the most offensive errors.

The Republic is controlled by a Senate, which is, in turn, run by an elected chancellor who's in charge of procedure, but has little real power.

The Senate moves so slowly that it is powerless to stop aggression between member states.

Episode I makes it clear that it's Palpatine who is behind the bureaucratic mess that plagues the Senate. He's trying to discredit Chancellor Velorum so that he can become Chancellor. Palpatine (as Darth Sidious) admits to this.

"The Republic is not what it once was. The Senate is full of greedy, squabbling delegates. There is no interest in the common good." At one point he laments that "the bureaucrats are in charge now."

But it's obvious to everyone in the audience that Palpatine's concern is an act to gain the trust of Amidala. This is just a no-brainer.

What's more, it's not clear that they [the Jedi] should be "protecting" anyone. The Jedi are Lucas's great heroes..., but the truth, revealed in "The Phantom Menace," is that the Force isn't available to the rabble. ... If you don't have the blood, you don't get the Force. Which makes the Jedi not a democratic militia, but a royalist Swiss guard."

I don't understand the problem with this. Qui-Gon explains that they have a screening program that presumably recruits kids from no specific background to become Jedi. So membership in the Jedi order isn't hereditary at all. That one must possess special qualities to be a jedi isn't a problem either. You can't program computers if you aren't good at technical stuff, but that doesn't make us a Royal Swiss Guard.

As for the Jedi being blinded with arrogance, yeah I guess that's true. But if they hadn't fucked up somehow, you wouldn't have had Vader, or the Emporer, and Episodes IV-VI would just be about the Jedi council sitting around picking their noses.

If anything, since Leia is a high-ranking member of the rebellion and the princess of Alderaan, it would be reasonable to suspect that Alderaan is a front for Rebel activity or at least home to many more spies and insurgents like Leia.

Assuming that this is true, and Alderaan is armed to the teeth and crawling with terrorists, the indiscriminate slaughter of every man, woman, and child on an entire planet would be an act of evil greater than anything we've ever seen. Much worse than Nazi Germany, Maoist China, and Stalin combined. Of course, there's no reason whatsoever to believe that his claims about Alderaan are true.

Oh yeah, and that remark about Pinochet being a benign dictator. Saying that Pinochet's rule in Chile was acceptable is like saying that a little bit of murder is OK, just not too much. How many innocent people is it OK to murder? 100? 1000? 10,000?

I'm sorry for ranting about something that isn't even a big deal, but this article is so badly written that it's offensive. This conservative fuckhead should go back to the trailer park where he belongs.

Steve

Re:I hope he's kidding, but just in case.... (3, Insightful)

ArsSineArtificio (150115) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536198)

This conservative fuckhead should go back to the trailer park where he belongs.

It was heretofore difficult for me to contemplate someone being so pathetic that they took real offense at someone mischaracterizing the actions of fictional persons.

Re:I hope he's kidding, but just in case.... (1)

YanceyAI (192279) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536219)

Well said, except for this:... this article is so badly written that it's offensive. This conservative fuckhead should go back to the trailer park where he belongs.

I strongly suspect that the article is a bit tongue-in-check. Even if it isn't, it is well written and forces us to think about why we root for our heroes. An excellent exercise any time.

unattractive choices (4, Informative)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536121)

We have the sclerotic and bureaucratic republic, an empire run by some evil guys dressed in black, and a bunch of rebellious royals. I'm with Brin [salon.com] : Star Trek offers a more inspiring vision of the future.

analogy (1)

Simon Garlick (104721) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536124)

A more-accurate 20th-century analogy with the overthrow of the Republic and the ascension to power of the Emperor Palpatine may be the overthrow of the regime of the Shah of Iran and the ascension to power of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Well, not VERY accurate, but close enough to stimulate some debate.

FWIW, I personally agree with the author of the article in question -- I'd take the Empire over the Rebel Alliance any day of the week.

"I Suspect" = "I Made It Up" (1)

Steve B (42864) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536132)

And yet Fett understands the protocol. When he captures Solo, he calls him "Captain Solo." (Whether this is in deference to Han's former rank in the Imperial starfleet, or simply because Han owns and pilots his own ship, we don't know. I suspect it's the former.)


Never mind that only the latter is in any way indicated on the screen.

Die, Ugly Ones! Die! (4, Insightful)

Tyrone Slothrop (522703) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536133)

Reminds me of the time I came in late on one of the Star Trek movies and missed the set up. What I saw was a bunch of handsome/cute creatures (the starship) beating up the ugly Klingons for no reason whatsoever. I came to the conclusion that this was how hollywood sees the world: the triumph of the beautiful.

Too much credit (0)

ABeit (571959) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536135)

I think this analysis gives George "Jar Jar" Lucas more credit than he deserves. At best, he wanted to create a group the audience would side with (Rebels) and a group the audience would side against (the Empire). His writing is really not good enough to create characters who, externally, appear to be bad but really have righteous motives.

Foundation (1)

drc500free (472728) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536139)

I was going to write something deep and insightful about parallels between the "Star Wars" and "Foundation" empires, but I'm way too tired - finals coming up :(.
Hopefully someone else will see this and be inspired to write something (+1 interesting) before it gets modded down and disappears into the (-1 offtopic) black hole.

The Empire is the USA ? (1, Interesting)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536141)

It's funny how many parallels one could draw between the US and The Empire, although obviously George Lucas intended them to be the Nazis: "Stormtroopers", all-human (as the article points out) etc.

Also bear in mind that the examples I list below consist mainly of events that happened well after the films were made, so I am not really saying that GL even subconsciously made the Empire be a reflection of the USA.

US/Empire Parallels:

* Imperial treatment of captured rebels, e.g. Leia: Camp X-Ray.

* Battle on Endor: This is so Vietnam, the Imperials get creamed by the indiginous population because they know the land better, even if they have cruder weaponry.

* Destruction of Aldaraan: Nagasaki, Hiroshima. Large Explosion to cause terror against innocent civilians.

* Battle on Hoth: Seek out the rebels/terrorists in those caves/those ice-tunnels and wipe them out- all of them.

* Destruction of Death Star: WTC. Don't flame me for this, I am not trivializing this horrific tragedy or siding with the terrorists, but both the Death Star and the WTC were symbols of the supremacy of the US/the Empire.

graspee

Flame/downmod away; I am just trying to start a thread here. If people reply, even if they tell me why I am wrong, it will be interesting...

Pinochet is no Benevolent Dictator (4, Informative)

Vroom_Vroom (29347) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536160)

From a background briefing.....

The report, based on nine months of testimony and research, describes several stages of repression. In the weeks after the military seized power in a coup Sept. 11, 1973, thousands of Chileans sympathetic to the socialist government were detained. Many were tortured, and several hundred were tried and executed by military war tribunals. A woman described the corpse of her son, the manager of a state cement plant, who turned himself in after the coup and died in custody five weeks later: "He was missing one eye, his nose was torn off, one ear was separated and hanging, there were marks of deep burns on his neck and face, his mouth was very swollen." In the next stage, the army's secret police squads waged a "systematic campaign to exterminate" leftist dissidents from 1974 to 1977, the report states. Inside clandestine prisons, people were tortured with electric shocks, choking, confinement and even animal rape. There were 957 victims who never reappeared and are presumed dead.[6]

Thats a lot of benevolence.

Mmmmmm I suspect the author has been listening to CNN.

From the remember Chile website

Remember Chile [remember-chile.org.uk]

You know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536168)

it really is just a movie...

let's face it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536173)

Lucas is the biggest wanker of our time.
Indulging in a childish inconsistent fantasy world and making others watch it.

It is sad that there are people out there with ten times the insiration and talent, yet they don't have the resources to create and propagate their work.

The only thing that is more sad, is that avergae people actually like his flashy and shallow dreams.

It's all Greek to me (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536175)

Well, Athenian, specifically. That city state had direct democracy (restricted by gender and status, as the US system was originally) rather than representative democracy. Every free adult man could and should (and were sometimes coerced to) take part in city assemblies, on an equal basis. Anyone could speak, everyone could vote.

The results of this great experiment? Well, tyranny, for one. They regularly executed "traitors" (e.g. anyone who spoke against the democracy like Socrates), or in fact anyone that annoyed a sufficient number of people. They engaged in wars of aggression. They demanded tribute with menaces. They justifed all of this by saying that they must be right simply because they were a democracy.

In the end, the system turned into the Senate scene from Menace. It became too big and too unweildy. Votes were bought, issues were decided on a whim or a clever turn of phrase, and eventually a majority of them decided that they'd be much better of as a dictatorship.

No, dictatorships never last, but then neither do democracies in the true sense. A ruling overclass always emerges, and eventually becomes heriditary. We reelect 90% of incumbent candidates, draw our political candidates from privileged political dynasties, and our monarch - sorry, President - is the son and heir of a previous mo^H^H President, groomed from birth for the role, and appointed (ultimately) by a council of political appointees (all very reminiscent of the Anglo Saxon witan system). And yet we still applaud ourselves for living in a democracy because it must - must!- be better than any possible alternative.

I'm in agreement with the article. The Empire appears to be a lot better for the average Galactic Citizen than the Republic, and the only rational result of the actions of Episode VI are destructive anarchy, the rise of many mini-emperors, and death on a scale to make the destruction of Alderaan look like "regrettable collateral damage" (sound familiar?)

The first duty of any government is to maintain control, both of its position and of the most unruly of its subjects. The Empire of Star Wars does it with strength and shiny boots. Our government does it with stealth and lies (aka PR). But they both do it very well (90% incumbents, remember?), and - by and large - we're better off for it. For a New Order to rise from the ashes of the old, you have to burn down a lot of moisture farms.

Parallels the U.S ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536177)

The first hint comes in "Attack of the Clones," when the Senate's Chancellor Palpatine is granted emergency powers to deal with the separatists

Replace separatists with terrorists and I think of our current state of politics here in the U.S. of A. Kind of like Bush, Ashcroft, and the Patriot Act?


BUT, let me assure everyone: I am a patriot, against the terrorists, and for the Empire ...er.er. I mean America!

nice written though flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3536179)

The article if taken without explicit and deep knowledge of the movies could pose a very convincing argument. Sure the author left out details that would discredit the article, but Star Wars isn't a perfect piece of fiction to begin with. It took balls to write that article, considering how much hate mail the dude is going to get from fanatics.

From the MSNBC article... (1)

Bohnanza (523456) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536183)

"NASA puts hundreds of thousands of dollars into breakthrough research along these lines." Hundreds of thousands? I want my X-wing NOW!

Let me get this straight... (1)

Curialis (218588) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536199)

The empire is the better side because they:
1. Keep the peace
2. Don't bother the citizens as long as they obey the laws of the empire
3. Punish those they consider involved in illegal trade and promote trade by collecting 'fees' from legitimate traders

Hmmm.... sounds like the Taliban to me....

Amusing, but silly (2)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 11 years ago | (#3536222)

But the most compelling evidence that the Empire isn't evil comes in "The Empire Strikes Back" when Darth Vader is battling Luke Skywalker. After an exhausting fight, Vader is poised to finish Luke off, but he stays his hand. He tries to convert Luke to the Dark Side with this simple plea: "There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you. . . . Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy." It is here we find the real controlling impulse for the Dark Side and the Empire. The Empire doesn't want slaves or destruction or "evil." It wants order.

What an amusing exercise in taking quotes out of context to try to make a silly point. Just because Vader didn't kill his son doesn't make him a good guy.

Didn't Palpatine order the entire planet of Alderaan destroyed. The entire planet? Not the single, stupid Quickie-Mart on the corner that refused to give Palpatine change to make a phone call without him having to buy something -- I mean the whole planet!

These are the actions of a benevolent dictator?

The writer excuses this as Leia probably lying about Alderaan being peaceful and that somehow justifies Palpatine's actions. That's a pretty big lie to justify destroying an entire planet.

I guess it's just another example of misguided effort put towards silly ends.
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