Star Wars reconsidered

Star Wars is now an iconic part of our culture. After forty years it has become an integral part of modern-day America, much as the Hollywood musical was in its heyday.

For the last few days my friends and I have been having intense debates about the latest release in the franchise, The Last Jedi. Discussions have been surprisingly heated, with some people loving the film and others seriously disliking it.

Everyone agrees that TLJ was entertaining, but not everyone agrees that it was a good film. I suspect that this has less to do with the movie itself, and more to do with the legacy of Star Wars.

Somehow the ideas of Star Wars, what it represents in terms of notions of good people looking out for each other in the face of tyranny, and the personal sacrifice that entails, has taken on a life of its own. The resonance of those ideas seems to have traveled well beyond the confines of “escapist entertainment”.

We are in an unprecedented time in our nation’s history. Our federal government is in the process of systematically siphoning astonishingly a vast amount of wealth away from working families, and gifting that wealth to the already enormously rich.

Here in our so-called real world, the very idea of “good people looking out for each other” no longer even seems to be part of the conversation. No wonder people are looking toward fantasy worlds to find some semblance of a moral center.

Star Wars, at its core, is a conversation about good people standing up to naked corruption by those in power. And that is always an important conversation to have, even when it is taking place a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away.

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