Mister Pterodactyl
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
More Star Wars Thoughts
I’ve read several comments to the effect that, having not seen some of the ‘interim’ material available (most notably the fantastic Cartoon Network “Clone Wars” series), one might miss out on some stuff. The Anakin Skywalker of ‘Return of the Sith’ is not the awkward, petulant teenager he was in ‘Attack of the Clones.’ He’s a veteran of many battles and sieges. He’s grown. He was granted Jedi Knight status on the weight of his experiences in war; ‘the trials,’ whatever those are, were waived for him. He still addresses Obi-Wan as ‘Master,’ but now it’s because Obi-Wan is a Council member, not because Anakin is still his padawon (sp?).

On Naboo biology. [I confess I’ve always thought of them as ‘Nabootians.’] I’ve noted before that these people seem unusually well-aged. Padme was the ruler of her people, when she looked like a teenager. In the ten years (or so) between ‘Phantom Menace’ and ‘Clones,’ Obi-Wan visibly aged. Anakin visibly aged. Mace Windu and Yoda didn’t, but hey, “when 870 years you reach, look as good you will not.” Padme, on the other hand, still looked like a teenager. I suspect that Nabootians are very long lived, and so age slowly.
Consider, though, the gestation process. It’s been repeatedly noted that Padme’s pregnancy seems to progress rapidly; she’s still slim in the beginning of the film, but very quickly begins to show. At first I suspected that this was meant to depict the length of time that Anakin was actually present on Coruscant, rather than an unusually quick fetal development. [Being away from the action could have added to his frustration with the Council, as well.] However, I wonder: just when was it that she was impregnated? It’s not explicitly stated but it seems that Anakin must have been away for a long time. At least several months. When, exactly, did this coupling take place? And why was the result so long in coming?
I conclude that Luke and Leia are only half human and exceptionally long-lived, which will bode well for the (eventual) future Republic but will likely cause some chagrin to the (eventual) scruffy-looking Nerf herder.

I feel not enough attention has been paid to the Romeo-and-Juliet quality of Anakin and Padme’s relationship. Palpatine lies, leading Anakin to believe that the dark side can prevent Padme’s death. Anakin gives in to the pain (that started with the loss of his mother) and joins Palpatine. That choice breaks Padme’s heart and in the end causes her death. All Anakin had to do was let Windu do the thing, and he could have left the Jedi to live with Padme in the lake country.
It occurs to me that Palpatine didn’t entirely lie; he also said that (paraphrase) ‘only one practitioner of the Force has ever defeated Death.’ He left out that the one was Qui-Gon Jinn.
It further occurs to me that Windu did a hell of a lot better against Palpatine than Yoda did. How about that.

One more thing: Chewbacca knew Yoda! I suppose ‘Chewbacca’ could be the Wookiee (two E’s!) version of ‘Smith,’ but somehow I doubt it. [Come on, they have the same bandolier.] This suggests several things. Only four characters (good guys, anyway) knew the whole story: Yoda and Obi-Wan, who ain’t talking, and Chewie and R2D2, who nobody can understand. Further, can it be a coincidence that Vader’s ship caught up with Leia’s while passing by Tatooine? Unlikely. Could it, then, be a coincidence that Chewie left his home planet, got a job as first mate on the Millennium Falcon, and later was interviewed by Obi-Wan as a possible ride out of that hellhole? And got the fare? I doubt it, yo.

Imagine the following conversation:
Yoda: “Leave this planet, Chewbacca, you must.”
Chewbacca: “Rrraaagh!”
Y: “Join a starship crew and defy the Empire as a smuggler, you shall. Han Solo, the captain’s name will be.”
C: “Gaauraah!”
Y: “Yes, many adventures you will have. And twenty years hence, when grown to adulthood are Anakin’s children, to Tatooine you must go. There, my fellow Jedi will you find.”
C: “Aauuraaruagh!”
Y: “A boy he will have with him. And an Astrodroid. With you, they must go. And with them, avenge the subjugation of your people, you will.”

It’s the only possible conclusion. Yoda sent Chewie to Tatooine. Now that I think of it, Chewie probably convinced Han to return to the Death Star fight just in time to help Luke, too.

Could Chewie be Force-sensitive? Communing with Yoda across space? Hmm. “Strong with the Force, is this walking carpet. Yet much fleas do I sense in him.”

Finally, what’s with the big black Darth suit, anyway? They have warp drives and planet-destroying ray guns, but not skin grafts and organ replacements? I find it hard to believe that Anakin would be content to live inside that thing for the rest of his life. After all his real redeeming feature throughout the films was his love of action; he lived for the fight. My defining image of him is from E2: the Jedi surrounded in the arena, Windu shouts defiance, the droids raise their weapons, and Anakin twirls his lightsaber and lifts it over his head in readiness. I can’t believe he’d be happy commanding an Imperial fleet, and that’s the best argument I can think of for why he should have stuck with the Jedi. More action.

FYI, MS Windows 03 let’s you add words to it’s dictionary. It now recognizes ‘Wookiee,’ ‘Jedi,’ ‘Sith,’ and ‘Tatooine,’ among others. Cool.

Sunday, June 26, 2005
Blogger weirdness
I don't know what's going on, but with my last couple posts, the title appears at the top of the page and I have to scroll down past the blogroll to find the text. Is this happening to everybody else? Other blogs aren't doing it to me.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate...
Old Whig. Deep. Go. Read.

I just hadda. Plus, any reason for another Star Wars reference.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Hey Lance
How come we weren't in on this?

Possibly the title of this post should have been 'scientists study heritability of political views, find nothing interesting.' By polling sets of twins, they've attempted to measure the influence of genetics in political opinion.

"[O]n the basis of a new study, a team of political scientists is arguing that people's gut-level reaction to issues like the death penalty, taxes and abortion is strongly influenced by genetic inheritance. The new research builds on a series of studies that indicate that people's general approach to social issues - more conservative or more progressive - is influenced by genes. On the basis of a new study, a team of political scientists is arguing that people's gut-level reaction to issues like the death penalty, taxes and abortion is strongly influenced by genetic inheritance. The new research builds on a series of studies that indicate that people's general approach to social issues - more conservative or more progressive - is influenced by genes."
Note the terms 'conservative' and 'progressive,' rather than 'liberal.'

They're trying hard: "[C]ertain names and political concepts - "taxes" or "Clinton," for example - produce almost instantaneous positive or negative reactions." No shit.

The rest is a confusing mishmash comparing genetics to upbringing and ideology to party affiliation, and in the end, uh-oh:
“The researchers are not optimistic about the future of bipartisan cooperation or national unity. Because men and women tend to seek mates with a similar ideology, they say, the two gene pools are becoming, if anything, more concentrated, not less.”

I really don't know what to make of this. But, it's the Times. Via Althouse.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Had a really good converstion the other day...
I was in a waiting room of sorts, making idle chitchat with the woman behind the desk. I don't recall what brought it up, but she began to express her dislike of the Iraq war. She felt it was stupid and wasteful, and that once we left everything would go back to the way it was before despite our efforts.

Me: "Gotta disagree with you on that."

Her: "Well, I hope you're right."

Me: "Me too."

I wish more of them could be like that.
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Guess what I did today...
I went to see Star Wars. And as soon as it was over, I wanted to see it again.

Lots of opinions out there. Instapundit didn't like it (apparently along with the weak dialogue, there was a problem with the sound - the dubbing was off. Must have been the theater he was in; it was fine in mine), and he's got a whole bunch of links to other people who didn't, and who did. Vodkapundit had a different take.

Lots of comments about said weak dialogue. All I can say is I don't go to Star Wars for Oscar-caliber scripts, I go for big space battles and lightsaber duels. And did I get them. [The first half hour in particular is nonstop rock-'em-sock-'em.]

Palpatine was great. Obi-Wan was considerably less annoying than in Clones (and he trimmed the beard!), and Anakin's slide was very well done. And the action scenes... all in all two, er, talons up. It was the best installment of the six, excepting perhaps the first. So taken chronologically, the series started with Jar Jar Binks and ended with Ewoks, but it got pretty good in the middle.

Okay, the love scenes were kind of irritating.

As far as the political stuff, well, I've already commented on that. But here's Mickey Kaus's position (copied with apologies because you still can't link directly to Kaus): [T]he idea that Episode III is a Bush/Iraq allegory is silly. Isn't it obvious the movie is really an allegory for the filibuster fight? The Sith are judicial activists who would use the Force to satisfy their passions. The Jedi are the believers in judicial restraint (hence their concern with rules and democracy, their quasi-Buddhist self-denial, etc.). The story initially promises a climactic showdown between these two factions, but the violent battle turns out to merely set up the later, definitive conflict in Episodes IV, V and VI. It kicks the can down the road!
I like it.

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