Sunday, October 28, 2007

Galactic Empire, a Space-age Third Reich

by: Francesca Black

Born in May of 1944, in Modesto, California, George Lucas lived a world away from the horrors of Fascist Germany. Yet its imprint is more than evident in Lucas' life's work and creative brainchild, the Star Wars Saga. Admitting that the Galactic Empire was based on Germany's Third Reich, Lucas drew from history the characters and imagery needed to paint his evil regime. While some parallels are obvious-such as the robotic white soldiers Lucas named "storm troopers," the same name Hitler gave his personal bodyguards during World War II, other comparisons require a little digging. These comparisons make for a fascinating study.

Senator Palpatine and Adolf Hitler: The story of Senator Palpatine as fleshed out in Episodes I, II, and III bears remarkable resemblance to Adolf Hitler's rise to power. Both men rose from obscurity to power, outwardly embracing democracy and the republic, while behind the scenes they worked for its ruin. In Episode II Senator Palpatine faces the dissolution of the senate with, "I love democracy…I love the republic," while reluctantly accepting supreme power. It is unknown that he is also the Sith Lord, orchestrating the downfall of democracy. This echoes the history of Hitler, who also outwardly supported democracy, promising to play by its rules, all along forming a shadow government and an army among the ranks of his Nazi party. The similarity is most striking in the burning of the Jedi temple and the 1933 burning of the Reichstag which effectively dissolved the German senate. These spectacles were both masterminded to bring Palpatine and Hitler into power. Afterwards, Palpatine installs himself as Emperor, while Hitler declared himself "Fuhrer," or supreme leader.

The leadership style of Palpatine continues to be modeled after Hitler, who then withdrew from the public eye and surrounded himself with only those whom he knew to be his loyal followers. While Hitler formed the SS-a black-coated protection squad which protected him day and night and publicly carried out his orders, Palpatine as emperor created Darth Vader-his black robed crony whose obedience to the Emperor extended to destroying whole planets. Hitler is remembered as evil embodied, and as such, Lucas could not have chosen a better figure to model Palpatine after.

Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker Parallels: In German, vater means "father." Thus, Vader is a most interesting and deliberate choice for a character who is the father of the spiritual Star Wars hero. This father-son relationship finds its parallel in the relationship between the German poet and political rebel Albrecht Haushofer and his father, Karl. Karl's frequent travels to Japan greatly influenced his life and thinking. He was particularly entranced by the samurai--the Japanese military aristocracy which Lucas drew on heavily for inspiration for the Jedi. In the 1920s Karl became involved with Hitler through his close student, Rudolf Hess (who later was considered Hitler's #3 man after Goring). Karl became instrumental in forming the alliance between Germany and Japan. An additional interesting side note is that a geopolitical contemporary named Maull existed at this time. Maul was a contemporary sith of Anakin Skywalker.

Young Albrecht, in a poem entitled Der Vater, alludes to an evil that shows itself once every thousand years. When Star Wars begins the sith had not been seen for that long. The poem continues by saying that Albrecht's father had power to stop this evil but instead he unleashed it, a power and choice that Anakin Skywalker made before becoming Darth Vader. While Albrecht worked alongside his father at first, attempting to bring peace to Europe through a treaty with England and France, he later saw the futility of his actions and joined the Bomb plot to assassinate Hitler and restore balance and peace in Germany. Here George Lucas departs from history; for while Luke succeeds in overcoming the evil that his father embraced, Albrecht was not as fortunate. He was arrested for his treasonous involvement and shot by an SS commando as Russian troops entered Berlin. Karl was also imprisoned after the war. Perhaps the remembrance of his son prompted his death in 1946. Before his death, Darth Vader redeemed himself by throwing off the Emperor's influence and restoring balance to the universe. He is last seen taking his place among Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, thus becoming the Jedi he once was. Karl's last act in life also resembled the Jedi when he committed suicide by seppuku, the traditional Samurai method.

Nazi Echoes The discerning eye recognizes the overt Nazi overtones apparent in the Galactic Empire. This is no accident. George Lucas reportedly told costume designer and military historian John Mollo that he wanted the "baddies" to look Fascist. The atmosphere of rigid control and dehumanization was the ideal of Hitler, whose armies marched in stiff procession, going beyond the description of disciplined to robotic. The uniforms and caps worn by imperial officers in Star Wars were modernized versions of 1915 Bavarian Chevaulgers. The throne room scene in Episode IV is reminiscent of a Nazi propaganda film, further painting the image that history repeats itself. In this way watchers of Star Wars gain a lesson in history.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Deja Vu - Phenomenon or Artificial?

Deja vu is defined by as the experience of feeling that one has witnessed or experienced a new situation previously. According to formal studies deja vu has been experienced by over 70% of the world's population; I myself can think of more than one occasion were I have experienced deja vu.

Because deja vu is such a unique experience in the way that it occurs there is really no way that science can prove or disprove of its existence. Though scientists feel that hypnosis has taken them a few steps forward, we are still very far off from finding out the true cause of deja vu.

But what if I told you that deja vu may not be a natural phenomenon. What if it was actually an event that was manufactured by mankind or some other Alien life form. Now seriously, stay with me on this one. What if there is a machine that man or alien has placed into space, and mankind is allowed to live on Earth until the point where we completely destroy the planet, but this said machine actually turns back time to allow mankind to start over again. We of course would have no knowledge of the entire event taking place but what if after many rewinds certain images or events aren't fully erased from your memory and they seep into your dreams letting you see "future" events.

I know this maybe hard to swallow, but prove me wrong, if you can.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Top 20 Reasons Why Star Wars is Better Than Titanic

20. Titanic's big, but it doesn't have hyperdrive.

19. Star Wars has WAY cooler action figure potential.

18. Yoda could use the Force to lift Titanic out of the water.

17. Leia is a princess, a senator, a freedom fighter, and Jedi material; Rose is just marriage bait.

16. Ewoks throw better parties than either first class or steerage.

15. When flying towards the Titanic, Wedge can't say "Look at the size of that thing!" and really mean it.

14. It would be much scarier to get chased around the boat by a raving madman with a lightsaber as opposed to a handgun.

13. Titanic is egalitarian by portraying poor people as sympathetic characters. Star Wars is egalitarian bypromoting bug-eyed amphibians to Admiral.

12. Said bug-eyed amphibious Admiral manages NOT to lose his ship.

11. We know Cal is the bad guy because he sneers at the poor and treats his fiancee like property. We know Darth Vader is the bad guy because he strangles people and blows up planets for fun.

10. Yeah, Leo can dance, but can he fly an X-wing?

9. Rose braves icy water to rescue her man. Leia braves Jabba the Hutt.

8. Two words: John Williams.

7. There are always enough escape pods in Star Wars.

6. Do you know what the Empire does to self-proclaimed "kings of the world"?

5. If Luke were handcuffed to a pipe below decks in a sinking ship, he would use the Force to get the key.

4. "I'd rather be his whore than your wife" just doesn't have the same sting as "I'd rather kiss a Wookiee."

3. Han is frozen in carbonite and turned into a wall ornament. Leo simply freezes.

2. We knew the boat was gonna sink. But who could've anticipated "Luke... I am your father"?

1. Han Solo would've missed the dang iceberg!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Greatest Star Wars Character Ever

BOBA FETT. Need we say more. But what is it about this masked man that made thousands of fans decide that Boba Fett is to be the most memorable character to come out of the Star Wars saga.

First between the two movies he originally appeared in, he had a total of what ten minutes, and most of that was spent standing around in the background. Was it his dialog? Which was all of two lines; "He's no good to me dead." and "AAAHHHHHHH!"

Maybe it was his appearance. I mean have you seen this guy. Covered in armor from head to toe, wookie pelts, multiple weapons, or maybe it had something to do with the awesome jet pack with a huge missile attached.

I've often thought that maybe it has something to do with Darth Vader getting into Fett's face and telling him " disintegrations." I mean we already know Vader is powerful, but the fact that he had to get right into Fett's face to say this kind of makes us believe that even Vader felt a little fear when dealing with Boba Fett.
Funny thing about it all is that George Lucas had no plans for Boba Fett after he fell into the Sarlacc pit. That was suppose to be it, Boba Fett was to die. But in the end so many people loved the mysterious man that George Lucas started letting novels and comics be centered around him.

Now Boba Fett has an extensive profile that includes an adventerous past chasing Solo and multiple other bounties, managed to obtain family, and oh yeah, became Mandalore, which means he's in charge of an entire planet and millions of lives; all of whom seek advice and knowledge from their great Mandalore.

In the end Boba Fett has captured the hearts of fans around the world, and placed fear in the scum of the universe.