Vaguely connected thoughts on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
by Mike Crumplar
Star Wars is myth and it is franchise and it is owned by Disney. It presumes to encompass the collective desires of our liberal bourgeois spirit—paradoxically, through a return to a mythic past, both in a galaxy far far away and in the experience of the cinema. Who really watches movies at the theater anymore anyway? I am not French. But I go to see Star Wars and enjoy it. So it is fitting that the The Force Awakens repeats the past to the word.
A sequel (or, in this case, prequel), like Episodes I–III, is not enough. That is why The Force Awakens is the essential remake. “Fans” want nothing so much as the total repetition of a myth. People recite Star Wars lines like Homeric bards. And so we want to see it again, performed in all its classicity. How much happier the box office when the symphony is playing good ol’ Ludwig van than some contemporary avant-garde nobody?
Star Wars is an ideological universe with a hotly debated canon.
Myth and brand are composed of not just of a mere name alone, but of the world of symbolic instantiations contained within it. This is not just, for example, the lightsaber itself, but the image of the lightsaber trapped in ice, nudging its way, finally breaking out. To be canonical, the mass must be performed with complete devotion to its symbols. The communion wafer literally is the body of Christ.
Star Wars, like religions, is a lifestyle brand.
So we have a DisneyTM instantiation of Star Wars. It is satisfyingly PC; that there are women/black leads tickles my bourgeois liberal fancy. And is Poe Dameron a queer figure? Headlines in my news feed ask. But deep down, one misses the weird racism of the prequels—Jar-Jar, Sam Jackson’s pimpsaber, and usurious Watto are just a few that come to mind. What good is a myth if there’s nothing “problematic” that we have to confront about it at some point or another? Thus spawns Christian apologetics.