Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Star Wars Musical Kerfuffle

or, How Fandamentalist Internerds Predictably Overreact

This was a funny/revelatory week for overreaction among the more panicky sectors of fandom. Apparently, Yahoo! News reported that George Lucas had signed off on Star Wars: A Musical Journey, which was basically a concert performance of John Williams music accompanied by clips from all six films. (I believe this is an expansion on something that went around in the eighties, isn't it?) Well, somehow this immediately morphed into a story that I saw repeated endlessly on film site after film site after film site: George Lucas is doing a Star Wars musical featuring singing Wookies and a chorus line of Stormtroopers.

Everyone got into quite the snit over it.

You know the typical cries.

"George Lucas hates us!"

"This is raping my sweet childhood memories!"

"This is the death of everything good in the world!"

All of that hilarious whining the fantards do when they see the unshakable seriousneness of their pet love (if you discount all of the humor and cuteness and silliness of the actual movies themselves) being tossed about.

The most hilarious thing about all this is that there isn't a Star Wars stage musical being done. It just got out of hand and, thirsty for something else Star Wars-related to get self-righteous about, the fantards immediately started crying infant tears. It was awesome.

Seriously, now, I love Star Wars. Try as the fantards did to make it distasteful and embarrassing to say so, I'm finally at the point in my life where I can say I love Star Wars again. I'm not one of those people who loves and apologizes for everything with the label on it, nor am I one of those people who seems to have decided that loving Star Wars means being displeased with everything for not being as wonderful and serious as that thing you loved when you were a sophisticated, objective six year-old. But I do think that loving Star Wars means you like what you like, you ignore what you don't like, you appreciate that George Lucas has kept to his vision, and you know that when there's something big and stupid that you don't like, it's not a big deal.

I don't know why so many Star Wars fans feel the need to jump up and scream loudly against something like a Star Wars musical, as though this, somehow, after 31 years of commercialization and marketing and exploitation, this is going to be the thing that finally takes all of the dignity out of Star Wars. It's like they have to make sure we know that they don't condone this, that their love of Star Wars is separate from this thing that they think is crass or whatever. Which is kind of like apologizing to other people for being a Star Wars fan. Which someone would only have to do because they were embarrassed by being a Star Wars fan. That they were afraid of seeming childish to others and constantly on guard against that.

Which, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, is an immature, insecure fear.

And which is why I tend to hate the fans who have nothing better to do than grumble about all of the things they "disapprove of" in Star Wars. Because being a fan means constant criticism and not, I dunno, enjoyment. Would you be happier if George Lucas had never bothered to create the whole thing? Where's your precious, over-revered childhood now?

To the people who thought George Lucas hated them and that he was doing this on purpose to fuck with you: good. You deserve fucking with. You deserve the hatred.

Can you imagine sitting in an office and writing and rewriting and polishing this stuff, and coming up with ideas, and investing all of this money and time and effort and innovative special effects into something, spending years working on it and doing it the best you could and the way you wanted it, just to hear a chorus of "Jar Jar sucks!" and "Wah, children in sci-fi, I can't stand it!"? I would hate you people, too. I would do everything I could to fuck with you. I'd reveal that Anakin Skywalker was a mutated Ewok all along just to piss you people off even more. And that Yoda was Jar Jar from the future. And then I'd thank you for all of the money you keep spending on this thing that you profess to hate.

Just because you need constant reminders that you don't own it. That it's not your creative voice that decides what happens.

Which makes George Lucas a better person than me, honestly. He's just following his vision despite the constant stream of hatred and heckling and dickery.

But you know what? Star Wars doesn't need the obsessive Fandamentalist shepherding. It has survived many things. Take, for example, the putrid Star Wars Holiday Special, which has way too much nerd cred these days but, when watched, is not good. At all. It's not so-bad-it's-good or even so-bad-it's-funny; it's so bad it's bad. And that was when Star Wars was just over a year old. I was two. Somehow, Star Wars got over it and moved on. It survived bubble baths and shampoo bottles; it survived the terrible Droids and Ewoks cartoons; it survived the Christmas album, Christmas in the Stars, which actually is so-bad-it's-completely-awesome; hell, it survived disco music. Star Wars is bigger than all of that, and even though the movies are great, it's bigger than those. Once you get it away from the insane acolytes who have appointed themselves the modern guardians of it, Star Wars is awesome. It's too big to be destroyed by a musical or Caravan of Courage or any other product under the sun.

(Side note: Ewoks rock. Get over it. It's been 25 years. Get a life. Gungans do, too.)

And, you know, how hypocritical are the fantards, anyway? It's always okay when it's some (admittedly hilarious) Family Guy episode or some pompous novel series or godawful filking contest. Those aren't indignities to be suffered, but a musical is somehow the worst thing anyone could think of to do to Star Wars? What?

You know, there should be a Star Wars musical. It should totally exist. It should be over-the-top and awesome. Someone needs to get Joe Steinman or (oh yes) Paul Williams working on that right away. With singing Wookies and a chorus line of Stormtroopers.

Because the right kind of adult knows it would be sublimely awesome.

Saturday Playlist

1. Christina Aguilera: Keeps Gettin’ Better
2. The Doors: Love Her Madly
3. The Beatles: Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
4. Judas Priest: Epitaph
5. Iron Maiden: The Number of the Beast
6. The Rolling Stones: Route 66
7. David Bowie: Oh! You Pretty Things
8. Gwen Stefani: Luxurious
9. The Bonzo Dog Band: The Intro and the Outro
10. The Spinners: The Rubberband Man

1. I love when there's a new Christina Aguilera video, but the Target commercial for her new hits album was way better than the music video was. Sexier, plus she wore a superhero costume. I have this great idea for a movie called Super Bitch with Christina Aguilera as an emotional superhero that would be, if done right, just plain awesome.
2. I always hear Bruce McCullough saying "If you become a Doors fan, that's the only song you won't like."
3. Dig the psychedelic merry-go-round section. I used to hate this song when I was in high school, but I like the sound now.
4. Pretty song their second album, Sad Wings of Destiny.
5. Hands down my favorite Iron Maiden song. It's just so good.
6. Three sixes; not bad for a band as Satanic as the Rolling Stones (rather ridiculously) thought they were. Not a bad cover, but not one of their best tracks. Workmanlike. Filler, almost.
7. Love this song. Hunky Dory is a perfect album, and this song about the next stage of human development sounds like both lament and kiss-off.
8. I thought Love. Angel. Music. Baby. was a perfect little pop album. That said, this song gets old for me.
9. "And looking very mellow, it's Adolf Hitler on vibes!"
10. Finally, some soul. Dig this song. This song always makes me feel good and full of energy. I also have a version by Lynda Carter.


A little Hanukkah goodie from, made with a PDF. (Image via Cinematical.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Throwdown 12/26

Random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. The snub-nosed monkey. I didn’t think there could be a terrifyingly creepy species of monkey. But, boy, this is it.

2. Frank Miller is going to direct Buck Rogers next? Awesome. That TV show is the dumbest fucking thing ever (though I love Erin Gray and Pamela Hensley and the theme music), so there’s nowhere to go but up. I’d do what I always do and point out that this movie doesn’t affect your love of the TV show in any sense, nor does it erase the show from history, nor are you duty bound to see it, but those words will just fall on deaf, fantarded ears.

3. And then, all of a sudden, the judge awarded Fox the distribution rights to Watchmen. I figure that means that Warner will have to give Fox a big payout and the movie will still come out in March. There goes the expected profit margin, though. And that, then, is the more obvious reason why Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince got moved to July. Warner is going to need the summer hit.

4. The RIAA have announced that they’re going to stop suing grandmothers and teenagers for ridiculous amounts of money for downloading. Instead, they’ve threatened, they’re going to get your internet access cut off. They don’t have the power to do that; all they have the power to do is tell your internet service provider who you are in the hopes that they’ll shut you off. Which is kind of stupid; I mean, it’s not in the business interests of an ISP to start dropping customers right and left, so are they really going to follow through on it? I mean, you get dropped by one you just find another, right? How is this supposed to help the RIAA? Are they just hoping to shed some of the negative image they’re getting by passing it on to ISPs?

5. The bones of new, huge types of pterosaur and sauropod were discovered in the Sahara. That kind of news always makes me happy.

6. Also making me happy: Java rhino babies! They found babies of the most-endangered species of rhinoceros there (currently) is. It’s a bright spot in an often bleak world.

7. Ann Coulter has anointed Sarah Palin the “conservative of the year” in a syrupy love note that fails to discuss a single point of policy or social concern. Note for the future, neocons: you lost because all you could offer this year was malice, anger, high-handedness, arrogance, and identity politics. You’re done. Figure out what you have to offer and rebuild. And leave these two idiots out of it if you want us to take you seriously.

8. A couple of different studies were done recently showing that Jim Cramer, the braying jackass from CNBC’s Mad Money, is lousier at picking stocks than his over-the-top blowhardery would fool you into believing. Besides the fact that he said in July that the economic downturn was over, his advice is apparently right less than half of the time. So you would literally be better off flipping a coin. Hilarious. Anyone can claim to be an expert on anything and get their own forum in this country.

9. I found out this week that Caroline Kennedy supports full civil equality and marriage rights for same sex couples. So there’s a point in her favor for me (since neither Obama nor Clinton seem to believe in, you know, equality). Of course, then there are those allegations that she’s essentially buying her way in.

10. An AP study just found that the 116 banks that have received bailout money so far mightn’t have needed it at all if they weren’t overpaying their executives such an unrealistic amount. In 2007, those same banks spent $1.6 billion spread over 600 employees. That’s roughly the amount spent on “bailing out” half of those banks so far. We’re not bailing out anyone; we’re just making sure executive pay doesn’t dwindle while working stiffs lose their jobs and homes. Wonderful. When everyone’s unemployed, where is the tax money to bail these idiots out going to come from? The Republican desire to make everyone in America poor is going to seriously backfire on them.

11. John McCain: “I regret the president’s decision to give away over $17 billion to the domestic automakers. Just last week, the Senate rejected a bailout plan because it failed to provide assurances that the domestic manufacturers would fundamentally change the way they do business to ensure their long-term viability. I find it unacceptable that we would leave the American taxpayer with a tab of tens of billions of dollars while failing to receive any serious concessions from the industry.” It’s been so long since he said a single thing I agree with, but I’m with him there.

12. The best scientific explanation of the auto industry bailout I’ve ever seen. (via Andrew Sullivan)

13. Speaking of bailouts, we’re starting to see the reality of the mortgage crisis now. It’s hurting a lot more than just the precious banks or the people getting kicked out of their homes. Since banks have been refusing to take over the homes they’ve kicked people out of, they’re letting the properties sit, abandoned. That’s lowering the property values of people who are able to pay their mortgages and creating a blight on communities because the banks refuse to spend the money to maintain their properties. The city of Cincinnati is suing Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo over it (and it looks like other cities may follow). This is creating a cycle that’s going to perpetuate itself. Yeah, we bailed out the wrong people. I’m sick of hearing how this mess was created by struggling people trying to eke out a living and sometimes going beyond their means. That’s life in America right now. We’re finally seeing that an economic system that is purposely set up to allocate more and more money into the hands of fewer and fewer people takes the money out of the economy and makes things a lot worse.

14. The United Nations passed a resolution saying that hunger is an outrage and a violation of human dignity and should be eliminated. The only member nation to vote against the resolution was the United States. Seriously, why does the US despise the rest of the world so much? It’s another toothless, powerless diplomatic resolution that will prompt no action and require no commitment, and the US can’t just say it doesn’t believe people should be allowed to starve? I mean, jeez, our free market system is making the hunger problem worse, the least we could do is appear to feel bad about it. I guess we’re just going to keep creating terrorists instead.

15. So, Rick Warren compares gay marriages to incest and pedophilia, and he’s allowed to give the invocation, but what if he’d said the same about interracial marriage? There wouldn’t even be a debate; he’d be disinvited in a heartbeat. And now I have to listen to Tammy Lynn Michaels and Melissa Etheridge defend this creep? I don’t care what he says in private, it’s what he says in public that’s the problem. And in public he’s been a leader of the Yes on 8 campaign, he’s said gays should suppress their homosexual urges, he’s said homosexuals aren’t welcome as members of his church, and that they should be converted to heterosexuality. And don’t give me that bunk about his work for HIV/AIDS in Africa. His uses that as an outreach tool for evangelicalism: he promotes only abstinence and Jesus, not condoms or family planning. This guy is such a charlatan I’m looking around for a snake to oil.

16. After repeatedly promising not to push for nullification of the same sex marriages performed in California between May and November this year, the Yes on 8 campaign is doing just that. Acting as their legal counsel, Ken Starr has filed a legal brief to annul 18,000 marriages. And it’s shameful, twisted and wrong. What the fuck is wrong with this country?

17. Mike Connell, the IT guy who stole the 2004 for the GOP by running the election returns in Ohio through his own servers, is dead. He died instantly in a plane crash on the 19th when the plane he was in “ran out of gas.” He did a lot of work for the GOP, including the creation of the gwb43 domain, which the White House staff used to get around FOIA laws by sending email outside of official channels. Supposedly he was getting ready to turn on Karl Rove and give up some information. Just saying. People should stay out of small planes. Well, at least when they’re getting ready to testify against a Bush, a Cheney, or a Clinton.

Time's Two (Pair O' Docs)

Sorry. Done with the punning.

Glorious. Not what I expected, but still glorious. The genius of Doctor Who being that it's almost never what I expect, but something I didn't even know I should have expected.

It's never going to feel like Christmas without the Doctor again, I expect.

New Post-Christmas Banner

Once again, thanks to Becca for making this masterpiece.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Thursday!

Whatever you celebrate today (or don't), have a safe, warm, happy day!

* Only 117 More Shopping Days Until Christmas
* Xmas Meme '08
* Just So Everyone Knows What They're Getting from Me for Christmas
* I Want to Unwrap Kitty Lea for Christmas
* Because It's Just Not Christmas at the Swamp Without Boobs
* All I Want for Christmas Is Oola
* Christmas Link Stuffers
* My 2008 Kringus Offerings
* Have a Skiffy Christmas
* Christmas with Denise Milani
* Dear Santa: I Want a Gemma Atkinson for Christmas
* The Presence of Denise Milani
* Christmas Gift 2008
* 'Tis the Season
* Last Minute Holiday Links
* Last Year's Christmas Links

Make sure to get some relaxation in and be good!

Last Minute Holiday Links

Lots more geek stuff for today's holiday!

[.] The Retroist has a lot of great toy catalog pages on his site; take a look at them all; my favorites are 1983 video game systems and Return of the Jedi toys. Damn, I wish I knew whatever happened to my stuffed Ewok!

[.] He is also having a Patrick Swayze Christmas.

A Pac Man tree! (via No Smoking in the Skullcave) Becca’s also got two new Christmas drawings, both skiffy-related!

[.] Topless Robot lists the 10 Nerdiest Christmas Ornaments Money Can Buy. Heh, we actually bought number 3 last year. And I DESPERATELY need number 5.

Jingle Beeps! The crew of the Enterprise is a little too into Christmas this year:

[.] Geek Orthodox has posted classic Christmas commercials!

[.] Once Upon a Geek has Christmas comic book covers here and here!

Come, let us adore them.

[.] Michael Barrier has great 1930s Christmas drawings from Tex Avery, Rudy Ising, Hugh Harman, and Friz Freleng!

[.] A Time Warp SF Christmas story with art by Steve Ditko at Diversions of the Groovy Kind! And he’s also got the Marvel Family in The Year Without a Christmas!

And check out Jon’s Random Acts of Geekery, where he’s been putting up Christmas comic book covers all month long!

[.] And there’s also the entirety of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians!

[.] More old comics! Branded in the 80s reveals The Night the Transformers Saved Christmas!

And I leave you with a new Grickle cartoon:

'Tis the Season

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Gift 2008

It's another Christmas Eve post of holiday eye candy. It's the annual EC tradition (see 2005, 2006, and 2007). Have a safe and happy whatever your bag is.

















The View This Morning

Taken around 8:00 this morning.