Tag Archives: Star Wars

“Diversity” explained for racists

Warning: Eric is on his soap box again. He still managed to throw in some gags, though. Always with the jokes, this kid.

lupita2

As anyone with an internet connection could have predicted, the long-anticipated and finally confirmed casting of Lupita Nyong’o in the new Star Wars movie caused an uproar among racist idiots online today.

For those who don’t pay attention to Hollywood stuff, Ms. Nyong’o won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar this year for her performance in the acclaimed film 12 Years a Slave. Meanwhile, if you have never heard of Star Wars, I can’t help you.

lupita6You can probably tell from her photograph that she’s black. This is very upsetting to a lot of people. Of the principle cast of about 15 actors announced for the new Star Wars movie, 13 are white. Clearly, white folks are being robbed of their cultural identity by the producers of this movie!

Side note: I don’t recall anyone being upset about the number of green characters in the original Star Wars trilogy. Yoda, Jabba the Hut, and Greedo vs. Lando Calrissian. Greens outnumber blacks 3 to 1!

So anyway, the racists are angry because, if I can boil it down for you, “diversity” is being shoved down their throats (the de rigueur expression of bigots who resent having to accept the existence of anyone not like them). Everyone knows that characters in popular films are all supposed to be white, so when a black (or Asian, etc.) person is cast, it is nothing less than political correctness gone mad.

These are the same folks who lament, with sarcasm, that we don’t have “White History Month” and “White Entertainment Television,” as if history and TV weren’t already that.

This explanation is for them, but they aren’t here, so please read anyway and help my words feel noticed:

“Diversity” is not a weapon being wielded against you. It’s the intermediate step between the Civil Rights movement of the past and future total engagement, in which people of all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds participate equally. It means getting used to a more culturally diverse world, whether you like it or not, because you can’t stop the world from changing. It always does.

The outrage about Star Wars is particularly dumb, considering the story takes place in another galaxy. There is no reason to believe humanoid life forms there would favor one skin color over another. Think about that next time those jerks in Hollywood ruin your favorite movie franchise by casting actors who actually reflect the variety of people living on the real planet where it’s filmed.

Lupita Nyong’o was cast in Star Wars for the same reason people always get cast in high-profile Hollywood films: She is young, talented, trendy, likable, and photogenic.

She also earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale Drama School and has directorial credits on her resume, which is more than most movie stars can say. And she is fluent in four languages. I hardly think she represents a token sacrifice to the gods of political correctness.

In other words, her “15 minutes of fame” as you say (good lord I hate that misused and abused cliché) is not going to be over any time soon. Sorry (not really).

Hard to find, work is, for green actors.

Hard to find, work is, for green actors.


Star Wars … retold entirely in Haiku!

Haiku? This is madness!

Haiku? This is madness!

*

Words scroll up the screen

Something about “Death Star plans”

Please pass the popcorn

*

Rebel ship is chased

Giant spaceship fills the shot

“Get in my belly”

*

Chick in a white dress

Talking to a garbage can

Oops. It’s a robot

*

R2 has the plans

Robots take the escape pod

Darth Vader looks pissed

Peripheral vision is for losers.

Peripheral vision is for losers.

*

Down on Tatooine

Gold bot has sand in his pants

Here come the Jawas

*

Luke works on a farm

With no animals or crops

This is the hero?

*

R2 does it all

C-3PO speaks “Bocce”

Buy one; get one free?

*

R2 runs away

He’s chased by a floating car

I want one of those!

*

Meanwhile, up in space

Vader chokes his co-workers

What will HR think?

*

Sandpeople shake sticks

Luke gets scared and passes out

This is the hero?

*

Obi-Wan saves them

He gives Luke a light saber

I want one of those!

*

Uncle Owen dies

Aunt Beru is baked alive

So much for Luke’s chores

*

Quite the wretched hive

Mos Eisley is not for wimps

You might lose an arm

*

 A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, men wore disco clothes, and their friends were naked. Or it was just the 1970s.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, men wore disco clothes, and their friends were naked. Or maybe it was just the 1970s.

They meet Han Solo

His ship made the Kessel run

Less than twelve parsecs

*

Off they head to space

Robots, ape man, and three dudes

Sounds like a good time

*

The princess won’t talk

How to teach her a lesson?

Blow up Alderaan

*

The Force cries in pain

Obi Wan says “Suddenly”

Twice in one sentence

*

Say, is that a moon?

We’re caught in a tractor beam!

Does Han still get paid?

*

death star

The Death Star is huge

They find Leia right away

That was pretty odd

*

They jump in garbage

Rather than run down the hall

They deserve squashing

*

Lasers everywhere

Storm troopers can’t shoot for shit

I blame budget cuts

*

Storm troopers fall dead

Plastic armor is useless

I blame budget cuts

*

The chasm is too wide

Leia kisses her brother

Ew. They swing across.

*

Darth and Obi Wan

Grampa-speed light saber fight

Obi-wan pops off

*

Luke is so depressed

A guy he met yesterday

Vaporized himself

*

Meanwhile, the princess

Her whole planet was destroyed

Double-u tee eff?

"Luke. My entire planet... everyone I've ever known or cared about... has just been obliterated. But here, have a blanket.

“Luke. My entire planet… everyone I’ve ever known or cared about… has just been obliterated. But here, have a blanket you poor thing.

*

To the rebel base!

But the Death Star followed them

Tricky S.O.B.s

*

Han get his reward

Apparently plastic crates

He’s easy to please

*

Attack the Death Star

It’s a suicide mission

Best scene ever filmed

*

Luke is all alone

Until Han Solo comes back

Darth Vader goes “Whaaaaaaat?”

*

Luke uses the force

His lasers turn a corner

That would never work

*

The death star goes BOOM

Luke and Han get gold medals

Chewy gets a bronze.


Giving Characters Choices

Source: The Internet

Source: The Internet

Last time around I talked about character motivation, my philosophy being that interesting fictional characters must have intrinsic motivations as well as external goals. Otherwise, they are merely devices that serve the plot. Placed in another story, people should still have the same qualities driving their actions, but toward a different objective.

For example, if you take Luke Skywalker out of the Star Wars universe and put him in a Chicago slum in the 1920s, he’s still a restless young man with big dreams but an unclear picture of his destiny who feels trapped by his circumstances. Maybe he gets involved in organized crime and eventually becomes Don Skywalker. Perhaps he joins the FBI and foils the assassination of Shirley Temple. He might even go into acting and win an Oscar for his starring role in a Mark Hamill biopic. After all, the resemblance is uncanny.

Today I will build on this concept and discuss giving characters choices. Choice is where the character’s motivations intersect with the plot.

In most cases, a writer knows what her story is about, so her characters don’t really have a choice as to their actions. If Luke Skywalker had decided not go to Alderaan with Ben Kenobi, the second half of Star Wars might have been a bit of a downer. But still, we don’t want our heroes and villains to be like marbles rolling down a slide that leads to the climax. We should give them choices, and then give them reasons to make the correct one for the plot.

I got to thinking about this because of a story tossing around my hard drive for about three years now. I believe I created an interesting main character who is appropriately flawed and who has intrinsic qualities that steer his behavior. His backstory makes him sympathetic, if not likeable. I also included plenty of emotion and a dark, dramatic climax.

Disney is too big to sue me

Disney is too big to sue me

But it doesn’t work.

About every six months, I open it up, read it, move a few words around, add or subtract a line, then stick it back in the nether reaches of MS Word. I just haven’t been able to figure out what is wrong with it. Until now, that is.

Upon hard analysis, I have identified the fatal flaw: When my character’s motivations intersect with the plot, he does not make a choice. He just does what I told him to do, and that sucks the tension out of it. Enlightened by this sudden awareness, I now understand the choice he must make and the revisions I must do to set it up. Unfortunately for him and for his likeability factor, he will make a bad choice. Sorry dude.

Think about the choices you’ve made and how things that seemed insignificant at the time have had a profound impact on your life: The party you almost skipped… where you ended up meeting your future husband. That day you ran back into the house to grab a Milli Vanilli CD for the road… only seconds before your idling car was obliterated by a meteor. That time Obi Wan’s ghost told you to switch off your targeting computer, and you used the force to hit an impossibly small opening in the Death Star’s exhaust port, thus saving the galaxy.

Our fictional characters must have options too. Instead of making them follow a pied piper, imagine the plot not taken. Ironically, by giving them choices, we make their outcomes seem all the more inevitable.

Thoughts, comments, insults?

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I promised no more 80s videos, but, darn it, those cats back then anticipated my blog topics so well. If One Direction has a song about making choices, let me know. For next time.