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I’ve been following the release of “The Last Jedi” with some interest, primarily because of the odd contrast between the rave reviews, glowing publicity, and the complete and total lack of substance.

“The Last Jedi’ Dominates Christmas Box Office, Nears $400 Million in US”

Google keeps running a poll declaring 86% of people just loved “The Last Jedi.” I’ve yet to find one single person. I talked to a kid recently who told me, “it was cool.” A bit amusing, he also could not tell me what was cool about it and confessed he hadn’t really paid attention to the movie at all.

So basically he was so bored, his whole psyche just got up and took a trip to the pink forest.

Spoiler alert, I haven’t seen it either and have no intention of going. I do however, have fond memories of my dad and I practically camping out on the streets of Hollywood to see the original Star Wars. Good times, long, long ago.

My interest is really in culture, perceptions, and publicity, especially brain washing and social engineering. The deliberate hype around the Last Jedi is a fascinating bit of social engineering. There is an agenda here that goes  beyond selling movie tickets and merchandise.

It’s not unlike the Paul Revere story as immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride.” Everyone knows Paul Revere single-handedly rode through the countryside warning people, “the British are coming, the British are coming.”

Except he never really said that, the British weren’t really coming, and he wasn’t alone but merely one of perhaps 40 riders. Also, he’s the one guy in the whole bunch who managed to get himself promptly captured and detained. So he didn’t even get much riding done.

Why is Paul Revere the stuff of legends while those other 40 men have been forgotten? Paul Revere had a better publicist……Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Never underestimate the power of  poets to shape how we think about things. 

Besides selling movie tickets, there is a pretty clear girl-power agenda at play with The Last Jedi, or rather a feminist one of the political sort. You can tell by all the merchandise, “the force is female” shirts, and the story line. Clearly the Jedi is now female, heck the whole darn force is now female.

Douglas Ernst always has some podcasts and reviews I enjoy. He didn’t disappoint in this post either, “Last Jedi: Rian Johnson’s middle finger chin scratch to confident men.”

So I take it he is yet another member of Google’s “86% of us just loved it” demographic?

This is a biology blog after all, and one thing I keep taking away from all this, is that you just can’t change biology. You cannot change the dynamics between men and women, unlike the way you can spin a bit of romanticism about Paul Revere. He was actually a real guy, he was there at the time, and he was a revolutionary. So everything else just becomes poetic license and behold, he is now transformed into a legendary hero. But the essence of who and what Paul Revere was remains the same.

What you cannot do is take the hero status away from all the male characters, put women into those roles, and than just leave the men standing about like stage props or something. Accessories. You not only lose the foundation and structure of your whole story, you also lose the drama, the tension, and the conflict.

You can certainly have female heroes, lead characters, but they have to actually have earned that role in some way, to be battling something bigger than the force is female now so there. Neener, neener……

A story must have an beggining, a middle, and an end.

On the good side, what usually happens is that we’re all bored to tears and the pain is forgotten as soon as possible, like a bad remake of Ghostbusters.  On the dark side, we create women nobody really likes. Without some vulnerability, grief, hardship, she is just not an empathetic character. In fact, we hate her. The guys now sitting in support roles, really serve no meaningful purpose at all, and so we start to hate them too. Eventually you feel so yucky about the whole situation, you start to empathize with the bad guy, to hope the enemies of the empire put all these people out of their misery as soon as possible.

 

 

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