Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

Joseph Campbell – The Mythmaker

A Practical Guide to THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES by Joseph Campbell

In the long run, the most influential book of the 20th Century may turn out to be Joseph Campbell’s THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES.

It’s certainly true that the book is having a major impact on writing and story-telling, but above all on movie-making. Aware or not, filmmakers like John Boorman, George Miller, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Francis Coppola owe their successes to the ageless pattern that Joseph Campbell identifies in the book.

The ideas in the book are an excellent set of analytical tools.

With them you can compose a story to meet any situation, a story that will be dramatic, entertaining, and psychologically true.With them you can always determine what’s wrong with a story that’s floundering, and you can find a better solution to almost any story problem by examining the pattern laid out in the book.

There’s nothing new in the book. The ideas in it are older than the Pyramids, older than Stonehenge, older than the earliest cave painting. Campbell’s contribution was to gather the ideas together, recognize them, articulate them, name them. He exposed the pattern for the first time, the pattern that lies behind every story ever told.

Campbell is a mythographer — he writes about myths. What he discovered in his study of world myths is that THEY ARE ALL BASICALLY THE SAME STORY — retold endlessly in infinite variation.

He discovered that all story-telling, consciously or not, follows the ancient patterns of myth, and that all stories, from the crudest jokes to the highest flights of literature, can be understood in terms of the “HERO MYTH”; the “MONOMYTH” whose principles he lays out in the book.

Campbell was a student of the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, and the ideas in THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES are often described as Jungian.

The book is based on Jung’s idea of the “Archetypes” constantly repeating characters who occur in the dreams of all people and the myths of all cultures.

Jung believed that these archetypes are reflections of the human mind — that our minds divide themselves into these characters to play out the drama of our lives.

The repeating characters of the hero myth, such as the young hero, the wise old man, the shape-shifting woman, and the shadowy nemesis, are identical with the archetypes of the human mind, as shown in dreams. That’s why myths, and stories constructed on the mythological model, are always psychologically true.

Such stories are true models of the workings of the human mind, true maps of the psyche. They are psychologically valid and realistic even when they portray fantastic, impossible, unreal events.

This accounts for the universal power of such stories. Stories built on the model of THE HERO OF A THOUSAND FACES have an appeal that can be felt by everyone, because they spring from a universal source in the collective unconscious, and because they reflect universal concerns. They deal with universal questions like “Why was
I born?” “What happens when I die?” “How can I overcome my life problems and be happy?”

The ideas in the book can be applied to understanding any human problem. They are a great key to life as well as being a major tool for dealing more effectively with a mass audience.

Christ, Hitler, Mohammed, and Buddha all understood the principles in the book and applied them to influence millions.

If you want to understand the ideas behind the HERO MYTH, there’s no substitute for actually reading the book. It’s an experience that has a way of changing people. It’s also a good idea to read a lot of myths, but it amounts to the same thing since Campbell spends most of the book illustrating his point by re-telling old myths.

Campbell gives a condensed version of the hero myth on p. 245. However, since he uses some specialized technical terms that require going back to his examples in earlier chapters to find out what he’s talking about, I’ve taken the liberty of amending his outline slightly, re-telling the hero myth in my own way. Feel free to do the same. Every story-teller bends the myth to his own purpose.

That’s why ‘THE HERO’ has a ‘THOUSAND FACES’.

The stages of the HERO are:

1) THE HERO IS INTRODUCED IN HIS ORDINARY WORLD.

Most stories take place in a special world, a world that is new and alien to its hero. If you’re going to tell a story about a fish out of his customary element, you first have to create a contrast by showing him in his mundane, ordinary world. In WITNESS you see both the Amish boy and the policeman in their ordinary worlds before they are thrust into alien worlds — the farmboy into the city, and the city cop into the unfamiliar countryside. In STAR WARS you see Luke Skywalker bored to death as a farmboy before he takes on the universe.

2) THE CALL TO ADVENTURE.

The hero is presented with a problem, challenge, or adventure. Maybe the land is dying, as in the Arthur stories about the search for the Holy Grail. In STAR WARS again, it’s Princess Leia’s holographic message to Obi Wan Kenobi, who asks Luke to join in the quest. In detective stories, it’s the hero accepting a new case. In romantic comedies it could be the first sight of that special — but annoying someone the hero or heroine will be pursuing/sparring with the remainder of the story.

3) THE HERO IS RELUCTANT AT FIRST.

Often at this point, the hero balks at the threshold of adventure. After all, he or she is facing the greatest of all fears — fear of the unknown. At this point Luke refuses Obi Wan’s call to adventure, and returns to his aunt and uncle’s farmhouse, only to find they have been barbqued by the Emperor’s stormtroopers. Suddenly Luke is no longer reluctant, and is eager to undertake the adventure. He is motivated.

4) THE HERO IS ENCOURAGED BY THE WISE OLD MAN OR WOMAN.

By this time many stories will have introduced a Merlin-like character who is the hero’s mentor. In JAWS it’s the crusty Robert Shaw character who knows all about sharks; in the mythology of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, it’s Lou Grant. The mentor gives advice and sometimes magical weapons. This is Obi Wan Kenobi giving Luke Skywalker his father’s light sabre.

The mentor can only go so far with the hero. Eventually the hero must face the unknown by himself. Sometimes the wise old man is required to give the hero a swift kick in the pants to get the adventure going.

5) THE HERO PASSES THE FIRST THRESHOLD.

He fully enters the special world of his story for the first time. This is the moment at which the story takes off and the adventure gets going. The balloon goes up, the romance begins, the plane or spaceship blasts off, the wagon train gets rolling. Dorothy sets out on the Yellow Brick Road. The hero is now committed to his
journey… and there’s no turning back.

6) THE HERO ENCOUNTERS TESTS AND HELPERS.

The hero is forced to make allies and enemies in the special world, and to pass certain tests and challenges that are part of his training. In STAR WARS, the cantina is the setting for the forging of an important alliance with Han Solo, and the start of an important enmity with Jabba The Hut. In CASABLANCA, Rick’s Cafe is
the setting for the “alliances and enmities” phase, and in many westersn it’s the saloon where these relationships are established.

The tests and challenges phase is represented in STAR WARS by the scene of Obi Wan teaching Luke about the Force, as Luke is made to learn by fighting blindfolded. The early laser battles with the Imperial Fighters are another test which Luke passes successfully.

7) THE HERO REACHES THE INNERMOST CAVE

The hero comes at last to a dangerous place, often deep underground, where the object of his quest is hidden. In the Arthurian stories the Chapel Perilous is the dangerous chamber where the seeker finds the Grail. In many myths the hero has to descend into hell to retrieve a loved one, or into a cave to fight a dragon and gain a treasure. It’s Theseus going into the Labyrinth to face the Minotaur. In STAR WARS it’s Luke and company being sucked into the Death Star where they will rescue Princess Leia. Sometimes it’s the hero entering the headquarters of his nemesis; and sometimes it’s just the hero going into his or her own dream world to confront his
or hers worst fears… and overcome them.

8) THE HERO ENDURES THE SUPREME ORDEAL.

This is the moment at which the hero touches bottom. He faces the possibility of death, brought to the brink in a fight with a mythical beast. For us, the audience standing outside the cave waiting for the victor to emerge, it’s a black moment. In STAR WARS, it’s the harrowing moment in the bowels of the Death Star, where Luke, Leia and company are trapped in the giant trash-masher. Luke is pulled under by the tentacled monster that lives in the sewage, and is held down so long the audience begins to wonder if he’s dead. E.T. momentarily appears to die on the operating table.

This is a critical moment in any story, an ordeal in which the hero appears to die and is born again. It’s a major source of the magic of the hero myth. What happens is that the audience has been led to identify with the hero. We are encouraged to experience the brink-of- -death feeling with the hero. We are temporarily depressed, and then we are revived by the hero’s return from death.

This is the magic of any well-designed amusement park thrill ride. Space Mountain or The Great White Knuckler make the passengers feel like they’re going to die, and there’s a great thrill that comes from surviving a moment like that. This is also the trick of rites of passage and rites of initiation into fraternities and secret
societies. The initiate is forced to taste death and experience resurrection. You’re never more alive than when you think you’re going to die.

9) THE HERO SIEZES THE SWORD.

Having survived death, beaten the dragon, slain the Minotaur, the hero now takes possession of the treasure he’s come seeking. Sometimes it’s a special weapon like a magic sword, or it may be a token like the Grail or some elixer which can heal the wounded land.

Sometimes the “sword” is knowledge and experience that leads to greater understanding and a reconciliation with hostile forces.

The hero may settle a conflict with his father or with his shadowy nemesis. In RETURN OF THE JEDI, Luke is reconciled with both, as he discovers that the dying Darth Vader is his father, and not such a bad guy after all.

The hero may also be reconciled with a woman. Often she is the treasure he’s come to win or rescue, and there is often a love scene or sacred marriage at this point. Women in these stories (or men if the hero is female) tend to be SHAPE-SHIFTERS. They appear to change in form or age, reflecting the confusing and constantly changing aspects of the opposite sex as seen from the hero’s point of view. The hero’s supreme ordeal may grant him a better understanding of women, leading to a reconciliation with the opposite sex.

10) THE ROAD BACK.

The hero’s not out of the woods yet. Some of the best chase scenes come at this point, as the hero is pursued by the vengeful forces from whom he has stolen the elixir or the treasure. This is the chase as Luke and friends escape from the Death Star, with Princess Leia and the plans that will bring down Darth Vader.

If the hero has not yet managed to reconcile with his father or the gods, they may come raging after him at this point. This is the moonlight bicycle flight of Elliott and E.T. as they escape from “Keys” (Peter Coyote), a force representing governmental authority. By the end of the movie, Keys and Elliott have been reconciled, and it even looks like Keys will end up as Elliott’s father. (The script
not the final cut, guys).

11) RESURRECTION.

The hero emerges from the special world, transformed by his experience. There is often a replay here of the mock death-and-rebirth of stage 8, as the hero once again faces death and survives. Each ordeal wins him new command over the Force. He is
transformed into a new being by his experience.

12) RETURN WITH THE ELIXIR.

The hero comes back to his ordinary world, but his adventure would be meaningless unless he brought back the elixir, treasure, or some lesson from the special world. Sometimes it’s just knowledge or experience, but unless he comes back with the exlixir or some boon to mankind, he’s doomed to repeat the adventure until he does. Many comedies use this ending, as a foolish character refuses to learn his lesson and embarks on the same folly that got him in trouble in the first place.

Sometimes the boon is treasure won on the quest, or love, or just the knowledge that the special world exists and can be survived. Sometimes it’s just coming home with a good story to tell.

—————————————————-

THE SHORT FORM OF THE HERO STORY:

The hero is introduced in his ordinary world, where he receives the call to adventure. He is reluctant at first but is encouraged by the wise old man or woman to cross the first threshold, where he encounters tests and helpers. He reaches the innermost cave, where he endures the supreme ordeal. He seizes the sword or the treasure and is pursued on the road back to his world. He is resurrected and
transformed by his experience. He returns to his ordinary world with a treasure, boon, or elixir to benefit his world.

—————————————————————–

As with any formula, there are pitfalls to be avoided. Following the guidelines of myth too rigidly can lead to a stiff, unnatural structure, and there is danger of being too obvious.

The HERO MYTH is a skeleton that should be masked with the details of the individual story, and the structure should not call attention to itself. The order of the hero’s stages as given here is only one of many variations. The stages can be deleted, added to, and drastically reshuffled without losing their power.

The values of the myth are what’s important. The images of the basic version — young heroes seeking magic swords from old wizards, fighting evil dragons in deep caves, etc., — are just symbols, and can be changed infinitely to suit the story at hand.

The myth is easily translated to contemporary dramas, comedies, romances, or action-adventures by substituting modern equivalents for the symbolic figures and props of the hero story. The Wise Old Man may be a real shaman or Wizard, but he can also be any kind of mentor or teacher, doctor or therapist, crusty but benign boss, tough but fair top sargeant, parent, grandfather, etc. Modern heroes may not be going into caves and labyrinths to fight their mythical beasts, but they do enter an innermost cave by going into space, to the bottom of the sea, into their own minds, or into the depths of a modern city.

The myth can be used to tell the simplest comic book story or the most sophisticated drama. It grows and matures as new experiments are tried within its basic framework. Changing the sex and ages of the basic characters only makes it more interesting, and allows ever more complex webs of understanding to be spun among them. The basic characters can be combined, or divided into several figures to show different aspects of the same idea. The myth is infinitely flexible, capable of endless variation without sacrificing any of its magic.

And it will outlive us all.

Adapted from coverage by Chris Vogler

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Filed under: Media & Entertainment,

Born again as a Diamond?

Make your beloved sparkle forever
By Allan Hall
Age Correspondent
Berlin
May 27, 2005

A Swiss business is turning dead people’s remains from ash to cash by creating artificial diamonds from cremated corpses.

The Algordanza – “Memory” – company of Chur, Switzerland, says wearing the glinting remnants of a loved one “is better than staring at an urn on a mantelpiece”.

Rinaldo Willy, 25, and Veit Brimer, 38, have been licensed to make the ersatz sparklers from remains from crematoriums across Europe.

“There are many people who prefer to have a sparkling, beautiful memento of their loved ones instead of turning them to ash or burying them to be eaten by worms,” Mr Willy said.

So far, sparklers have been made from an unnamed number corpses in Switzerland.

The company has had “many inquiries” from Britain, Portugal and Germany, although there have also been requests for information from as far away as Japan.

The company says it takes advantage of the fact that the human body is 20 per cent carbon, the main ingredient of natural diamonds, which are formed under great pressure and phenomenal heat over millions of years.

Vladimir Blank, a Russian, developed equipment that can simulate the enormous pressure needed to make an artificial diamond.

Professor Blank’s synthetic diamond process has featured in many engineering and science journals.

The diamond machine is Algordanza’s premises in Neuenburg near Chur.

Mr Willy went on: “Ash is cleaned of all minerals then the pressing process begins. It takes six weeks to produce a one-carat diamond.”

Costs begin at about $A14,400 for a one-carat diamond that will fit into a ring or an earring.

“It is expensive, but we are finding that more and more people are willing to have a say in their remains and what they are used for,” Mr Brimer said.

Filed under: Science & Technology,

What Women Want

What Women Want – New York Times

By JOHN TIERNEY
Published: May 24, 2005

Suppose you could eliminate the factors often blamed for the shortage of women in high-paying jobs. Suppose that promotions and raises did not depend on pleasing sexist male bosses or putting in long nights and weekends away from home. Would women make as much as men?

Economists recently tried to find out in an experiment in Pittsburgh by paying men and women to add up five numbers in their heads. At first they worked individually, doing as many sums as they could in five minutes and receiving 50 cents for each correct answer. Then they competed in four-person tournaments, with the winner getting $2 per correct answer and the losers getting nothing.

On average, the women made as much as the men under either system. But when they were offered a choice for the next round – take the piece rate or compete in a tournament – most women declined to compete, even the ones who had done the best in the earlier rounds. Most men chose the tournament, even the ones who had done the worst.

The men’s eagerness partly stemmed from overconfidence, because on average men rated their ability more highly than the women rated theirs. But interviews and further experiments convinced the researchers, Muriel Niederle of Stanford and Lise Vesterlund of the University of Pittsburgh, that the gender gap wasn’t due mainly to women’s insecurities about their abilities. It was due to different appetites for competition.

“Even in tasks where they do well, women seem to shy away from competition, whereas men seem to enjoy it too much,” Professor Niederle said. “The men who weren’t good at this task lost a little money by choosing to compete, and the really good women passed up a lot of money by not entering tournaments they would have won.”

You can argue that this difference is due to social influences, although I suspect it’s largely innate, a byproduct of evolution and testosterone. Whatever the cause, it helps explain why men set up the traditional corporate ladder as one continual winner-take-all competition – and why that structure no longer makes sense.

Now that so many employees (and more than half of young college graduates) are women, running a business like a tournament alienates some of the most talented workers and potential executives. It also induces competition in situations where cooperation makes more sense.

The result is not good for the bottom line, as demonstrated by a study from the Catalyst research organization showing that large companies yield better returns to stockholders if they have more women in senior management. A friend of mine, a businessman who buys companies, told me one of the first things he looks at is the gender of the boss.

“The companies run by women are much more likely to survive,” he said. “The typical guy who starts a company is a competitive, charismatic leader – he’s always the firm’s top salesman – but if he leaves he takes his loyal followers with him and the company goes downhill. Women C.E.O.’s know how to hire good salespeople and create a healthy culture within the company. Plus they don’t spend 20 percent of their time in strip clubs.”

Still, for all the executive talents that women have, for all the changes that are happening in the corporate world, there will always be some jobs that women, on average, will not want as badly as men do. Some of the best-paying jobs require crazed competition and the willingness to risk big losses – going broke, never seeing your family and friends, dying young.

The women in the experiment who didn’t want to bother with a five-minute tournament are not likely to relish spending 16 hours a day on a Wall Street trading floor. It’s not fair to deny women a chance at those jobs, but it’s not realistic to expect that they’ll seek them in the same numbers that men will.

For two decades, academics crusading for equality in the workplace have been puzzled by surveys showing that women are at least as satisfied with their jobs and their pay as men are. This is known as “the paradox of the contented female worker.”

But maybe it’s not such a paradox after all. Maybe women, like the ones who shunned the experimental tournament, know they could make more money in some jobs but also know they wouldn’t enjoy competing for it as much as their male rivals. They realize, better than men, that in life there’s a lot more at stake than money.

For Futher Reading:

Do Women Shy Away from Competition? by Niederle Muriel, and Lise Vesterlund (working paper)

Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences by Uri Gneezy, Muriel Niederle and Aldo Rustichini (Quarterly Journal of Economics, CXVIII, August 2003, 1049 – 1074)

Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide by Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever (Princeton University Press, 240 pp., September 2003)

Heroes, Rogues, and Lovers: Testosterone and Behavior by James McBride Dabbs with Mary Godwin Dabbs (McGraw-Hill, 256 pp., July 2000)

The First Sex : The Natural Talents of Women and How They Are Changing the World by Helen Fisher (Random House, 377 pp., May 1999)

E-mail: tierney@nytimes.com

Filed under: Arts, History & Social Sciences,

Old Habits Die Hard – Mick Jagger

I thought I shook myself free
You see I bounce back quicker than most
But i’m half delirious, Is too mysterious
You walk through my walls like a ghost
And I take everyday at a time
I’m as proud as a Lion in his Lair
Now there’s no denying it, a note to crying it
Your all tangled up in my head

Old habits die hard
Old soldiers just fade away
Old habits die hard
Harder than November rain
Old habits die hard
Old soldiers just fade away
Old habits die hard
Hard enough to feel the pain

We haven’t spoken in months
You see i’ve been counting the days
I dream of such humanities, such insanities
I’m lost like a kid and i’m late
But i’ve never taken your coats
Haven’t no block on my phone
I act like an addict, i just got to have it
I can never just leave it alone

Old habits die hard
Old soldiers just fade away
Old habits die hard
Harder than November rain
Old habits die hard
Old soldiers just fade away
Old habits die hard
Hard enough to feel the pain

And I can’t give you up
Can’t leave you alone
And its so hard, so hard
And hard enough to feel the pain

Old habits die hard
Old soldiers just fade away
Old habits die hard
Harder than November rain
Old habits die hard
Old soldiers just fade away
Old habits die hard
Hard enough to feel the pain

[From the Motion Picture Soundtrackof “Alfie” (2004), Original Music by Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart]

Filed under: Media & Entertainment,

Revenge of the Sith

http://www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=20157

STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH review

By Ain’t it Cool’s HARRY

I have watched my last new STAR WARS film.

Really don’t know what to say. I’ve wanted to see Obi-Wan fight Vader on that Lava Planet since that issue of Starlog in 1978. My 6 year old reading comprehension grasping for every word of every article I could get my grubby little hands on. For me, the origin of Vader has been the Holy Grail of my geek soul. That story most coveted, but yet untold. I’m 33 years old now. 27 years lay between me and that boy that dreamt of that fight – but right now, he’s on my shoulders and we’re slapping high-fives.

The imagery in REVENGE OF THE SITH — The turning of Anakin, the annihilation of the Jedi, the expulsion of Yoda, Obi-Wan vs Anakin, Palpatine revealed, the birth of the twins, Alderran, the adoption of Luke, what became of the droids… These are all near religious iconography in the minds of children raised in the ways of the Force. I’ve spent a quarter of a century discussing these things, speculating on what it’d look like, how it’d play out… I’ve seen it in countless dreams, but never with my eyes open. Never George’s dream of what it was. Till now.

As I sat at the Regal Metropolitan Theater in South Austin watching the film – I couldn’t help but get caught up in it. Dad was there with me, we’ve spent countless years talking STAR WARS – through STAR WARS – I learnt of the source material George was smashing and grabbing from – B serials, Pulp sci-fantasy adventure romances, Asian cinema – all of it. Before STAR WARS – I was well on my way – after STAR WARS the road was poured. I would be a geek for the rest of my life.

That would mean, I’d be primed to openly weep as Yoda crawled through that damn crawlspace to escape, during the whole of Obi-Wan and Anakin’s fight and the death of Luke & Leia’s mother. It is a very powerful thing to see the dreams one has spent a quarter of a century pondering. It might be cheese ball of me, but dammit – this is exactly what I wanted out of this last STAR WARS film… closure.

I’m having a really hard time writing about this one. It’s just so damn big. So full of literally everything that I wanted to see in all the prequels – but crammed all into this one. This really is the big Michael Corleone episode of STAR WARS… It’s where all the traps are sprung, all the cards are laid on the table, where everybody dies, all is lost and evil rules the galaxy.

That’s what makes the film so damn hard to talk about, at least off a first viewing. Let me see if I can explain this.

We all know how dark this film is intended to be. We all know how incredibly dire things will turn out in this film. However, the first 40 minutes are so light… as to be completely disconcerting. There’s just a feeling that THEY shouldn’t be having fun. Don’t they know this is the last smiles they’ll share? That when Obi Wan goes on that last mission and Anakin wishes him well… that that’s the last time they would be friends… Don’t they know that? WE DO, why can’t they see what’s coming? WAKE UP!

The film makes you powerless to change things. It’s like sitting still for a fucking tragedy right from the get go, but unlike TITANIC, you don’t have it all spelt out yet. Unless you’ve read all the spoilers – and I don’t really know what you spoiler-lovers will think. Just because for me… I knew, basically, what was going to happen. The broad strokes. I’ve gone out of my way to ignore as many spoilers as possible – which is a near impossible thing to do when you’re being emailed by everyone on Earth 300 images a day, 40 reviews a day now and were sent all the books, comics, score, everything from Publicity firms… shit… I bought that Talking Yoda toy – and next thing I know the little Green Bastard is trying to tell me the story of REVENGE OF THE SITH. It’s so hard to be pure on this – there’s just so much information out there. Everywhere.

The most shocking or surprising emotion I felt during this film experience is that… I don’t want Anakin to become Darth Vader. I just… Despite 27 years to the contrary, as I sat in that theater watching the last act of a good Jedi that turned evil… I just found myself wanting to scream at him to stop. I wanted desperately to send him on that mission with Obi Wan. I wanted Mace Windu to put his hand on Anakin’s shoulder and say, “Come on Kid, Let’s finish this!” and march off as brother Jedi to kill the fucking Emperor. I wanted Anakin to let go of his hate, fear, ambition, jealousy and self-centered egotism and just be the knight in shining armor… FOR THE GOOD GUYS!

You can tell… Anakin so wants to do what is right. He even does the right things, it’s just everyone around him doesn’t treat him as an equal… save for Palpatine. That when push comes to shove, the only fucking rat bastard in the galaxy that is going to call him son, tell him ‘fairy tales’ and really listen to his problems enough to find out what is REALLY troubling him is the bad guy!

Why?

Because the whole damn galaxy is at war, because to everyone else, Anakin’s existential crisis doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, they’ve got bigger fish to fry. They’ve got to Protect Wookies and the mushroom people and Hellraiser’s home planet and kill lots of robots and General Grievous and police the fucking universe… and… and… well, their damn domestic policy sucks!

The Bad Guy has his priorities right. He’s controlling the robots, the clones and to a large extent the Jedi… yet still manages to multi-task enough to listen to Anakin and help him deal with his premonitions of personal tragedy. He’ll take the time, to ignore an amazing science fiction zero G Esther Williams number, to tell young Skywalker a SITH LEGEND. A story, an anecdote. And he tells it, like a father would to a son. And the story is directly related to the problem Anakin is facing, it gives him hope, direction and the first glimmer of a happy ending to his concern. He doesn’t tell Anakin bullshit like… learn to not give a shit, detachment is the key to inner peace… What sort of bullshit is that? Ignore your problems, betray those you love, watch everyone you care about die – and just be happy cuz they’re food for the force, which you manipulate… and everyone’s death will just make you more powerful. WHAT SORT OF FUCKING JEDI WISDOM IS THAT SHIT YODA??? THAT’S NOT REALLY HELPFUL YOU NEGATIVE GREEN TURD!

My god. The Jedi really are a bunch of goody two shoe clueless fucks. They’re so concerned with fixing the galaxy’s problems that they don’t have time for their own… and due to their unrealistic and inhumane rules about not loving or caring about anything other than the almighty “force” they created an air of fear for Skywalker. How could he level with them? How could he share with them? By the time Obi Wan finds out Anakin and Padme have kids on the way… it’s too late. That ship has sailed. Everyone is so busy being good little soldiers, that they just are not communicating.

Obi Wan never takes Anakin out for drinks and just levels with him. Sits him down and explains fascist totalitarianism. He doesn’t explain why sacrificing the most marginal freedoms to create a false sense of security enables those taking on those additional powers to create a greater evil than that which they fear. Hell, nobody really explains to Anakin why Democracy is better than Absolute Rule. Instead it is all this, “Search your feelings” bullshit. Turn to your ancient religion. This is why ultimately Luke Skywalker kicks ass. Because he doesn’t have all this dogmatic bullshit. Because he’s got a buddy like Han Solo that’d be willing to bust ass across the galaxy to save his ass. Somebody that has his back. FRIENDS! Because when the Sith hits the fan, it’s the love of your friends that’ll help you push through and kick ass. Because Luke believes in twin sunsets, the good guys and saving his dad.

What does Anakin have? Who cares about Anakin? Well Obi Wan, but he doesn’t know how to show it. Yoda? He’s too busy being disturbed about the cosmic meaning of shit to even form a no bullshit non fortune cookie sentence. Mace Windu? He’s got his head so far up his ass it ain’t funny. Padme? She’s more concerned with her hair, her image, everybody’s standing and well being. And then Anakin himself? He’s told he’s the chosen one, the key that will make the galaxy unified. Yet, the only one empowering him to do that is the fucking Emperor.

I love how together Palpatine is. He’s just one of the greatest bad guys in the history of bad guys. He absolutely must be Karl Rove’s hero. Look at this. Palpatine has engineered so many things. The creation of the Droid armies, the creation of the Clone armies, his various Sith apprentices, Fall guys for Fall guys… all with the direct purpose of spreading his enemy so thin, that no matter their powers, when he calls ORDER 66… they’ll never see it coming. It’s like inviting your friends over for an all night session of game play and spreading cyanide on the fucking pizza. They’re all gonna eat it, cuz… dude… it’s what you do when you play games. The Jedi are fighting their war, doing Jedi shit. Kill the droids, tons of them. This shit is fun for them. They eat it up. This is their Frosted Flakes with Bananas. They finally got their Holy Crusade, woo hoo, a sense of purpose. They never think twice about all them fucking Boba Fetts watching their backs.

It’s so beautifully laid out. It’s fucking immaculate. This is literally how you rule the universe. It is to be admired. And learnt from. Cuz as Padme says, “This is how Democracy ends, with Thunderous Applause.” Exactly. Distractions, a clear and concise innocent front and cutthroat evil behind the scenes.

REVENGE OF THE SITH is a masterpiece. The final piece of the puzzle Lucas first presented me at age 6. 27 years later, the Jigsaw is complete and damn if it isn’t just damn near the most tragically cool thing I’ve ever seen put to film. We won’t see another like this. This is it.

We’ll see enormous sci-fantasy told, with more focus and even grander visions in our lifetime… but we’ll never care as much about a story like this one. For our generation, Star Wars is our mythology. The big story we lived to see told the first time. For those of you that were kids in lines in 1977 through to the coming weeks… I have to say, it has been an absolute fucking honor to do this with y’all.

We all know where we each were at the opening of all these films. In two weeks… this is your last story. I’ll never see a new Star Wars movie with my father again. I’ll see many more movies – but this is the last Star Wars, I’ll ever see for the first time with my dad. I’ve seen all 6 with him. All on either the first day – or before. It’s the mythology he’s grown old with and helped me grow up with. This one counts, this one is beautiful. This is the last one.

I can’t possibly express how profoundly odd that is to type. How weird it makes me feel. I went out after the film – I went to find a toy to sit on my desk to look at while I typed this. I went through aisle after aisle of Star Wars stuff, and I couldn’t pick something out. I think the one I most thought was cool – was this Lego play set of Anakin and Obi Wan on Mustafa. You pressed down the Lego character’s head and the light sabers lit up. Gosh that’s cool. I’ll probably buy it for my nephew… Instead I came home, played the score to REVENGE OF THE SITH and wrote this.

Remember – this isn’t a Star Wars movie to cheer for, to erupt into applause and call cool. If you really love STAR WARS – this one is heart ache. Not only is it the end of a nearly 30 year journey for us… It really is the story of how things got so bad, that the good guys had to be a rebellion, where the Jedi had to hide and how evil ruled the galaxy. Wow, I’ve seen my last new Star Wars film. Fuck.

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