Dec 24, 2015

Star Wars: The Diversity Awakens

via Alternative Right

Girl-Power-Girl: don't question what she can do
Much has been said about the latest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. In Alt-Right circles this has tended to focus on a kind of unholy trinity of:

  1. The malevolent Jewishness of J.J. Abrams
  2. The malevolent casting of a Black actor in one of the two lead roles
  3. The malevolent casting of a "kick-ass," "empowered" woman in the other lead
It is not difficult to "prove" any one of these points. Abrams is on record making negative comments about Whiteness and his desire to diversify the cast, and it is not difficult to spin these comments as maliciously anti-White or his casting as “anti-White” and “anti-male.”

Critics have commented on how similar The Force Awakens is to the first Star Wars movie that appeared in 1977, with some saying that it is essentially a remake of the earlier movie. This is especially evident in the dynamic of the two main characters. Finn is basically a version of Han Solo’s character, while Rey is a reprise of Luke Skywalker’s naive potential. For this reason it is possible to see this movie as two White males replaced by a Black and a woman "because diversity."

There is also a feeling in much of the Alt-Right that the Black male character and the White female character will eventually become "romantically involved," although we were spared that in this episode. Whether this ultimately happens or not will probably depend on sales of merchandizing, as this is where the Star Wars franchise makes the bulk of its money. If the plastic products of the two new leads do well, then we can probably expect to see their relationship taking a more intimate turn in later movies.

J.J. Abrams and the "Die-versity Star."
But even without that economic sanction, many in the Alt-Right expect to see this pairing happen anyway because Hollywood is identified as the "Death Star" of anti-White propaganda and brainwashing.

This view of the movie as pure propaganda and the latest manifestation of the global drive towards White genocide has a feeling of plausibility and paranoia, and such a narrative – whether true or false – has its uses in promoting a healthy racial awareness that Whites have a desperate need for under present conditions, so I have no wish to undermine such tropes.

In the present age, racial paranoia has its uses, especially with regard to the less intellectually gifted, and is almost to be commended. However, it is also possible to explain the casting decisions of the latest Star War movie in a less nefarious if just as contemptible way.

May the Schwartz be With You

It is true that Star Wars has been an overwhelmingly White and male experience, both in terms of characters and audiences. Creatures like Jabba the Hut, Yoda, and Jar Jar Binks do not, it seems, count as ethnics.

Those non-White and non-male characters who have appeared have been relatively minor and certainly uninteresting. Even Princess Leia, the main feminine presence in the series, is nothing more than a cliché or a poorly realized cipher for the feminine, something emphasized by her surly and unlikable character – a nerd's eye-view of a woman, rather than an actual woman.

Diversifying the cast in the way that J.J. Abrams has done has raised murmurs from Star Wars' core audience of male geeks, and even accusations of anti-White racism, a growing phenomenon of our age, both in deed and consciousness. But potentially such diversification has a dual benefit for the franchise:

  • Firstly it enables the franchise to be marketed to previously under-exploited, new demographics, namely women and Blacks. This is no different from beer makers developing and marketing "lady beers."
  • Secondly, by so doing, it creates a feeling of jealously and protectiveness in the previous audience that creates a renewed interest.
Core fans may be irritated by the casting decisions, but they are hardly disinterested. In fact, the threat posed by the diversification process may impel them to take a renewed interest in the franchise. Yes, they may start on-line campaigns to boycott the movie, but there is also the suspicion that they will only end up going to see this movie more than ever. Nothing like a little infidelity to reignite a jaded passion! Good, old-fashioned "sub-racism" and its gender equivalent "sub-sexism" are among the most effective – and cheapest – methods of getting publicity for any project.

On this point, it is interesting that the diversification of Star Wars does not include Asians, at least in terms of main characters. This is all the more telling because much of what we see in Star Wars clearly derives from Asian culture and the Asian audience for Star Wars is immense. But the reason for this is simple. Asians have little problem identifying with White characters – "transcending race" or simply LARPing – something that Blacks as a group clearly have great difficulty doing, at least based on the evidence here and the clear need to give them their own character to reach out to them.

Interestingly, this may also explain why J.J. Abrams chose Boyega, whose "ugliness" has been commented on by many, rather than a more "palatable" Black actor. The most significant thing about Boyega is that he actually looks like how a Black person looks.

Rather than evidence of how "nice" and post-racial the West has become, the new Star Wars casting of a Black actor in a lead-role and Boyega in particular, is therefore yet further proof of how polarized and circumscribed the multicultural West is by race.

Intergalactic Pussy Pass

But there is yet a further reason for J.J. Abram’s diversification of the movie franchise. This one also cuts to the heart of one of the key aspects of science fiction, namely its ability to make an audience forgiving of a poor or shoddy story.

A lens to see the bigger picture.
Ideally sci-fi can be used as a hypothetical cultural space to explore interesting ideas or notions. This is the highest level of science fiction and the one with the greatest utility for our species and culture: "What if...?" etc.

Classic examples would include movies like The Time Machine, Solaris, Planet Of The Apes, Soylent Green, and Blade Runner.

Beneath this level, science fiction can also serve as a vehicle for recasting stories and myths from our past. The 1956 movie Forbidden Planet is essentially Shakespeare’s Tempest in space, with Robby the Robot in the role of Caliban. The 2001 movie A.I., originally a project conceived by Stanley Kubrick and birthed by Steven Spielberg, would have been Pygmalion if Kubrick had seen it to completion. In the event, under the direction of Steven Spielberg, it is more like an electronic version of Pinocchio.

Beneath this level, sci-fi just becomes a get-out-of-jail-free card, a means of explaining away or ignoring shoddy concepts and poor plot lines. Characters that should be dead can reappear because of death-defying technology, awkward events can be ignored because they only happened in a "parallel reality," and plot lines can twist in any way the writers and directors want because of technological quirks that the audience has no wish to have explained – effectively "magical powers."

Star Wars seems to partake of all three of these sci-fi levels, although mainly the second and third layers. Its initial concept – a sword in the stone, dungeons and dragons narrative grafted onto a political parable of power corrupting, with a little Greek tragedy thrown in – had strong retro elements. But the longevity of the franchise threw up lots of awkward story lines and absurdities that needed to be skimmed over, ignored, or detoured around in a way that would be unforgivable in a more realist and Earthbound genre. Sci-fi, by contrast, allows a much more tolerant attitude to any and all abuses of artistic unity and violations of credibility. Over many years, these have accumulated in Star Wars, and with the latest movie they have reached toxic levels.

It figures!
This also suggests why the movie has moved so strongly towards Black and female characters. Just as sci-fi induces a much more tolerant and forgiving attitude towards fictive deformities, so the same can be said for Black and female characters.

Due to gender and racial asymmetry – the essential fact that Blacks and females achieve much less than Whites and males – and our unfortunately egalitarian culture, we have got used to holding Blacks and females to a much lower standard than Whites and males. What we would question or sneer at as outlandish or absurd if acted by a White male character, will be less questioned if the actors are Black or female – another version of the old pussy pass.

This suggests that J.J. Abraham’s decision to racially and sexually recast the leads for this reboot may not have been about promoting miscegenation and White genocide as many fear, but might have been mainly motivated by the need to get people to cut him a bit of slack for the deformities of a franchise that was never that great to begin with, and which is still being used to sell cheap plastic toys well beyond its sell-by date.

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