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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars - Blah Blah Blahhh
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:26 am 
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Reform Jediism

The Last Jedi, the story of a community that abandons its religion for an ephemeral universalist creed, can feel like a documentary about American Jews
By Liel Leibovitz
http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-an ... -207043669
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Reform Jediism

The Last Jedi, the story of a community that abandons its religion for an ephemeral universalist creed, can feel like a documentary about American Jews
By Liel Leibovitz
December 18, 2017 • 12:00 PM

At this point, attempting a critical review of the Star Wars franchise feels a lot like buzzing about in an X-wing and trying to blow up a Starkiller Base: You might succeed, but the imperial galactic force is likely to recover without too many scratches and return unharmed for the next installment. But watching The Last Jedi, the eighth episode in the saga, this weekend, I felt a torrent of anger I haven’t known since gazing at the calamity that was Jar-Jar Binks. That’s because the movie, while otherwise engaging and enjoyable, introduced a radical new take on the Jedi religion. Call it Reform Jediism.

Who is a Jedi? The question has been answered several times in divergent ways in the different Star Wars movies. According to one school of thought, Jedis are born, not made: They are the chosen ones whose blood is carbonated by midi-chlorians, magical microparticles that enable them to do things like wave their hands ever so slightly and convince you that these were not the droids you were looking for. Other explanations argue that the Force is a kabbalistic energy of creation, everywhere in existence but accessible only to those orthodox souls who are committed to studying its secrets and unlocking its mysteries. This being 2017, however, the latest Star Wars movie posits a different approach altogether: The Force is everywhere and for everyone, no study or observance necessary.

It wouldn’t be much of a spoiler to say that this new Jedi denomination comes to us courtesy of Luke Skywalker, whose haggard face, adorned with a rabbinic beard, you might’ve seen on every surface of the Earth that supports advertising. When Rey, the franchise’s current heroine, comes to Luke for guidance, the graying master brushes her off. The ancient sacred Jedi texts, we are told later in the film (though by whom will remain a surprise until you make your way to the multiplex), are boring rubbish, and the ancient Jedi practices—the very ones Luke himself had spent so much of the earlier films trying to master—are a waste of time. To be a Jedi, according to Reb Skywalker Ba’al HaNes, you only need to feel like a Jedi, because the old religion wasn’t about the ethics of the fathers but about tikkun olam, which everyone can achieve just by being, you know, a good person. Toss in a few bagels, and you can say that Jediism, really, isn’t a religion but a culture or something.

This bit of theological inanity also makes the movie sag. Instead of fighting the malicious First Order with skill and determination, the rebels—they frequently remind you that the correct nomenclature for their group is the #resistance—are busy bickering about the root causes of evil. Like some galactic fringe group—call them J(edi) Street, or, better yet, Jedi Voice for Peace—these would-be warriors worry that the homicidal maniacs who had just murdered everyone they love in cold blood may not be, you know, bad, but simply misunderstood or even oppressed. You won’t believe what happens next.

For American Jewish audiences, then, The Last Jedi can feel almost like a documentary, a sordid story about a small community eager to trade in the old and onerous traditions for the glittery and airy creed of universalist kumbaya that, like so much sound and fury, signifies nothing.

In part, it’s a question of evil. The new movie’s villain is a laughable lump of CGI and malice, with a name—Supreme Leader Snoke—that may as well belong to a second-rate Pokemon. Who is this Snoke, and what does he want? Why all the murder and the hate? And how did he get the gnarly sickle-shaped craterous scar on his forehead? We’re never told, because, frankly, it doesn’t matter: Snoke is here merely to embody evil in the abstract, like the caped, mustache-twirling baddies who once tied distressed damsels to the train tracks. He has no cause or depth or soul: Those are all reserved for the movie’s other bad guy, Kylo Ren, whose Zayde, you may recall, was one Darth Vader. Much of the movie’s drama stems from debating whether or not Ren, last seen murdering his own father, may yet be redeemed, which only makes moral sense if you believe that there are moderates among the dark Sith lords with whom you can negotiate some sort of a deal that would somehow prevent them from accumulating their weapons of mass destruction. In this morally sophomoric cinematic universe, where not even the genocidal Ren is exempt from relativism’s muddled misjudgment, it’s no wonder that the ultimate evil is a lanky caricature that hisses generic bad guy catchphrases without rhyme or reason. Anything else would require coming to terms with the harsh reality of having real enemies that wish you real ill and that ought to meet with real and swift and painful deaths.

Reform Jediism, of course, is capable of nothing so steely and resolved. Unlike that other cinematic hero of the moment, Gary Oldman’s superb Churchill in The Darkest Hour, the latest batch of Star Wars heroes shy away from the grim realities of war, instead trying to constantly sacrifice themselves for what they believe is some ephemeral and tender purity. At one point late in the movie, one character sabotages a crucial military strike and then, beaming beatifically, delivers a starry-eyed speech about how violence is never the answer and how only love can ever prevail. The imperial guys with the AT-ATs, needless to say, have a very different point of view.

But it’s hard to blame these sunken soldiers for bungling the fight. Instead of a concrete belief, a solid faith with specific rules and concrete decrees, they cling to a feeling, sweet and fleeting, that people are good and worth saving. It’s a noble idea, but unless it is rooted in the hard earth of nation or religion, it tends to melt into air. Untutored in the old ways of the Force, the young rebels have nothing to guide them in their struggle except their passions and their pride, both of which lead to disaster.

The old ways and the old texts still do matter—both in the here and now and in a galaxy far, far away.

***

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Liel Leibovitz is a senior writer for Tablet Magazine.
I've got to see this.

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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars - Blah Blah Blahhh
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 12:44 am 
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Saw it this evening and have to say that it was quite good, even purple haired Laura Dern. Also thought that the eestruction of sacred texts was excellent and that no human on this earth could go wrong tossing their religious texts into a recycling bin.

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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars - Blah Blah Blahhh
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:17 am 
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mdiehl wrote:
Saw it this evening and have to say that it was quite good, even purple haired Laura Dern. Also thought that the eestruction of sacred texts was excellent and that no human on this earth could go wrong tossing their religious texts into a recycling bin.

Does this include your Holy Scripture, your Constitution. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars - Blah Blah Blahhh
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:53 am 
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Mac wrote:
nero wrote:
Interesting that one who has not seen the movie starts a campaign against the movie. :roll:

I haven't started a campaign against it, I have just been saying why I am not going to pay money to watch it. It's yet another example of cashing in on a franchise and being lazy about the lore behind it, it's even doing a disservice to TFA, JJ Abrahams set things up and Rian Johnson comes along and is like "no fuck that, we will forget about that." Obviously I am not the only one who think it sucks arse, audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes is down to 57% now.
...

I believe that you didn't start it. There are a lot of last-jedi-hate in 4chan.

As for the rot:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is being review-bombed on Rotten Tomatoes.

For those who don't do links:



Mac wrote:
...
Quote:
Perhaps it really is anti-Trump, anti-Bannon movie.

Sure, Snoke represents Trump and Kylo Ren is Bannon. Not sure if you can tell who is Snoke or who is Ren is though. :roll:

Well, I was awake to carefully detect anything anti-Trump like. Nothing.

As for Bannon, I think the whole theme of the Star Wars saga is anti-Bannon. ;)

This is the fundamental reason. But in this episode there is too much fem-power and racial diversity.

Then I was pleased to see two Finns in the set, the first Finn was black, and the second was in Chewbacca. :lol:

I liked the film, 4/5. But my criteria is somewhat of technical nature:

1) I have to leave.
2) I can no say anything, I was in sleep all the time
3) I din't sleep at all.
4) I din't sleep at all, and in the end I wanted more.
5) I die.

Then the version of an old thing: The best teacher, failure is.

So it goes.

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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars - Blah Blah Blahhh
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:48 am 
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It seems The Last Jedi has become the movie equivalent of marmite.

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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars - Blah Blah Blahhh
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:19 am 
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Mac wrote:
It seems The Last Jedi has become the movie equivalent of marmite.

You can stuff your mermaids into a place where the Sun never shines. :twisted:

But for the alt-right the message message is:

The best teacher, failure is. -- Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Also this one is good:

Empty Bannons make the most noise. -- :mrgreen:

So it goes.

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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars - Blah Blah Blahhh
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:31 am 
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nero wrote:
Mac wrote:
It seems The Last Jedi has become the movie equivalent of marmite.

You can stuff your mermaids into a place where the Sun never shines. :twisted:

What mermaids?

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I could be the catalyst that sparks the revolution
I could be an inmate in a long-term institution
I could dream to wide extremes, I could do or die
I could yawn and be withdrawn and watch the world go by
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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars - Blah Blah Blahhh
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:16 am 
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The Constitution is an agreement, not scripture.

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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars - Blah Blah Blahhh
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:29 am 
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mdiehl wrote:
The Constitution is an agreement, not scripture.

True.

But if the over 200 years old agreement is outdated? When amendments are not enough, and impossible to get though anyway. You know.

I imagine a three level system, a fundamental, meta-constitution that defines rules of the game, below that a practical constitution agreed once a century or when needed. Under that normal laws that a simple majority is enough to pass.

I know, a mission impossible. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Star Wars - Blah Blah Blahhh
PostPosted: Fri Dec 22, 2017 11:33 am 
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Mac wrote:
nero wrote:
...
You can stuff your mermaids into a place where the Sun never shines. :twisted:

What mermaids?

Sorry my bad engrish, but you can anyway stuff your marmite in the same place I suggested. ;)

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