Thursday, May 19, 2005

Dear Day to Day

Here's what I sent to NPR this morning.

Dear Day to Day: I have no problem that Jonathan Last did not like Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. In fact, I agree. The wooden acting, the hackneyed dialogue and the silly plot are, at best, irritating. However, his review made me, well, uncomfortable. I understand that Mr. Last found the transformation of Darth Vader more interesting than the a light-saber-weilding-pseudo-philosophizing Yoda. However, we should separate falling in love with the character from falling in love with what that character means. Mr. Last's review, which lauds the Empire's order, strength and ability to effectively suppress those that disagree with it is, quite simply, praise for fascism and despotism--yes, the same fascism and despostism that can be associated with Hitler and Mussolini. While I hesitiate to convict by association, Mr. Last's employment at the Weekly Standard only reinforces the idea that his review of Star Wars III was a thinly-veiled piece of propaganda that could have emerged from his magazine. Take for example "The Case for American Empire" in which the Weekly Standard's Max Boot argues that "The most realistic response to terrorism is for America to embrace its imperial role" (10/15/2001, Volume 007, Issue 05). Mr. Last's review was not about the politics in George Lucas' movie, but rather those of today and his own vision of political utopia--one where "messy" civil liberties are less important than order, one where the inherent disorder of any democratic republic (read filibuster) make it somehow less desirable than goose-stepping our way to a well-organized, smoothly operating and, ultimately, despotic empire.