Saturday, February 3, 2018

Civil Wars, past and a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

This post comes out of a new series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to mini-podcasts I'm doing with Sean T. Collins answering questions by listeners of the podcast. Give the Patreon a look!
I only just noticed a weird line by Padmé Amidala in Revenge of the Sith (yeah, weird lines in that movie, shocking). She says to Anakin that the whole civil war between the Seperatists and the Republic only came to pass because "no one listens to each other anymore". This reminded me instantly of the god-awful debate a few months ago, when Chief of Staff John Kelly attributed the much more real American Civil War to a "lack of compromise", which is basically the same thing. It makes about the same amoung of sense in both universes. 
I don't want to rehash the whole debate that Kelly's argument started, because I find it pretty self-evident that a system permutating slavery cannot be compromised with in any meaningful way without compromising core human values. It's like claiming that the Second World War was caused by a lack of compromise. At some point, there can't be anymore compromise (and in both cases, there was far too much compromise before the war anyway). 
The same is true in Star Wars. The whole conflict between Seperatists and Republic comes to pass not because both sides weren't able to compromise about policy positions; the Seperatists built up a secret offensive army while the other side ostensibly had none (although it did because it ALSO built up a secret offensive army, which the Jedi for some reason were totally cool with). They then used that secret offensive army to oppress a peaceful and defenseless world, so there's not exactly much room for compromise there (never to forget that the damn first movie starts with the Republic trying to compromise by sending two Jedi that are instantly attacked!). 
But never mind even all that stuff, because the driving force behind all this conflict is the DARK SIDE OF THE FORCE, which is controlled by a DARK LORD OF THE SITH and his student, another DARK LORD. So, compromise is kind of off the table with these guys, amirite? 
Anyway, the idea that both sides are equally guilty in starting and perpetuating the conflict is a pervasive one, be it in Star Wars or in the real world. It allows Very Serious People to make Very Serious Claims and look good in the process, while those who actually stick their neck out and believe in something and/or bear responsibility for the whole mess do their thing. How I hate those armchair pundits, be it on Coruscant or in the opinion pages.

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