The Honorable 47 Rogues of the Palpatine Era

Not Carrie Fisher

Has “hope” ever been creepier than as the last word of dialogue in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, uttered by Carrie Fisher or something like her or some unlikely likeness of some former incarnation of her, before us in double death-in-life? The movie’s fish-eyed space admirals were more believable than Fisher’s sex dollish image clone.

We are beyond the realm of “spoilers” here, so will note without hesitation that the scene in which it, not she, is cinematically discovered, standing still, presumably having been waiting all along, terminates a crescendo of death. Prior to that moment, the narrative is of the accelerating annihilation by heroic self-sacrifice, one by one and all-inclusively, of the typically motley crew of cartoonish types. Princess Leia promises new life for the hapless rebellion, and yet her or not-her’s appearance is the first and only moment in the film that qualifies as macabre.

“Forlorn hope,” “last stand,” “suicide mission,” and other variations on the theme turn up in different genres, but are especially poignant when drawn from history, and even when we are not necessarily inclined to sympathize with “the fallen.” Before there was the movie Rogue One, there was, for example, Kanal (1957), Andrzej Wajda’s film threnody of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, but, before there was Kanal, there was The Loyal 47 Ronin of the Genroku Era, aka The 47 Ronin, Kenji Mizoguchi’s bushido epic, released in 1941 – complete with intertitles, once at the beginnings of each of two parts, calling upon… someone… to “defend the homes of those who fight for a greater Asia.” Viewing The 47 Ronin far on the other side of the history then homing in on it, one may imagine oneself sympathizing with the main characters, all ardently seeking the path to destruction, treating any delay or detour as threat of inconsolable loss.

Over the three to four hours of The 47 Ronin‘s deep-focused quietude, one may find oneself justly in awe of Lord Asano’s righteously vengeful, hopefully hopeless samurai, both admiring them and empathizing with them, happy that they all “ended their lives without disgracing themselves” and satisfied that they “carried through on their original intent.” The in its way even more merciless fatality of Rogue One, the former structuring the latter all the way through the hectic final sequence, may have been the finest effect ever achieved in the entire Star Wars cinematic universe, but The 47 Ronin, evoking both past and, as it happened, quite imminent actualities, puts the pseudo-pathos of the Star Wars character in withering relief – as pastiche, an idea of an idea of an idea.

All the same, the world closes in on art, on the fantastical and feeble as well as on the historical and fine. The real as not merely idea emerges from within its representation, or the not merely imaginary emerges from the image, each re-absorbing the other into its own background, approaching unity. The effect is not always moving and not always marvelous or even enjoyable. It is as often enigmatic and unsettling, nauseating paradox joined to unseemly impulses, or word-games next to the deaths of beloved celebrities who were also, as we often say, real people: Rogue One was still in movie theaters when the news about Carrie Fisher’s death hit the nets. Friend of the blog Lee M was one of thousands of moviegoers who, that very night may have been shocked by the CGI apparition. Months later, the equally unexpected clumsiness of the CGI art itself, its utterly excessive artificiality, its pratfall into the uncanny valley, in short its obvious phoniness, is almost comforting, almost itself a rescue and promise, in these times, when we reflexively presume that almost any human quality can be, as soon as it is identified and isolated, rendered as empty effect.

We may or must wish to believe that human vitality or spirit remains or must be thought to remain ineffable and indelible, beyond all ever achievable f/x no matter how many millions are plowed into its negation: The Death Star exploded from within, and the message of “new hope” equaling the survival of old and mysterious things or of mystery itself, a permanent deferral of “singularity” – the subsumption of being under things like that Fisher thing, most definitely not Fisher ever in life, nor even a death-mask – and, in the falseness of the visage, Star Wars for a moment as close and true as here and now.


WordPresser
Home Page  Public Email  Twitter  Facebook  YouTube  Github   

Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001; WordPress theme and plugin configuring and developing since 2004 or so; a lifelong freelancer, not associated nor to be associated with any company, publication, party, university, church, or other institution. 

Commenter Ignore Button by CK's Plug-Ins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Noted & Quoted

(0)

[C]limate scientists have a strange kind of faith: We will find a way to forestall radical warming, they say, because we must.

It is not easy to know how much to be reassured by that bleak certainty, and how much to wonder whether it is another form of delusion; for global warming to work as parable, of course, someone needs to survive to tell the story. The scientists know that to even meet the Paris goals, by 2050, carbon emissions from energy and industry, which are still rising, will have to fall by half each decade; emissions from land use (deforestation, cow farts, etc.) will have to zero out; and we will need to have invented technologies to extract, annually, twice as much carbon from the atmosphere as the entire planet’s plants now do. Nevertheless, by and large, the scientists have an enormous confidence in the ingenuity of humans — a confidence perhaps bolstered by their appreciation for climate change, which is, after all, a human invention, too. They point to the Apollo project, the hole in the ozone we patched in the 1980s, the passing of the fear of mutually assured destruction. Now we’ve found a way to engineer our own doomsday, and surely we will find a way to engineer our way out of it, one way or another. The planet is not used to being provoked like this, and climate systems designed to give feedback over centuries or millennia prevent us — even those who may be watching closely — from fully imagining the damage done already to the planet. But when we do truly see the world we’ve made, they say, we will also find a way to make it livable. For them, the alternative is simply unimaginable.

Comment →
(1)

They were concerned that any pre-election response could provoke an escalation from Putin. Moscow's meddling to that point was seen as deeply concerning but unlikely to materially affect the outcome of the election. Far more worrisome to the Obama team was the prospect of a cyber-assault on voting systems before and on Election Day. They also worried that any action they took would be perceived as political interference in an already volatile campaign. By August, Trump was predicting that the election would be rigged. Obama officials feared providing fuel to such claims, playing into Russia's efforts to discredit the outcome and potentially contaminating the expected Clinton triumph.

This, right here. This is where they choked. The American people had damned close to an absolute right to the information their government already had. The most fundamental act of citizenship is the right to cast an informed vote. The idea that the Obama administration withheld the fact that the Russians were ratfcking the election in order to help elect a vulgar talking yam is a terrible condemnation of the whole No Drama Obama philosophy. Would Donald Trump have raised hell if the White House released what it knew? Of course, he would have. But, as it was, the American people went to vote with only about half of the information they needed to assess his candidacy. This was a terrible decision.

Comment →
(0)

Changing views of U.S. presidents over past decade and a halfAs Pew Research Center’s global surveys from George W. Bush’s presidency illustrated, many of Bush’s key foreign policies were unpopular, and by the time he left office Bush was viewed negatively in most of the countries we polled. His successor, Obama, generally received more positive ratings throughout his White House tenure.Today, in many countries, ratings for President Trump look very similar to those for Bush at the end of his term. This pattern is especially clear in Western Europe. In the UK, France, Germany and Spain, the low levels of confidence in Trump are very similar to the poor ratings for Bush in 2008.

Comment →

State of the Discussion

Wade McKenzie
Comments this threadCommenter Archive
+ …the desperate last-gasp radicalism of American reactionary conservatives before the demographic deluge and the expected relegation of white-European Americans to “minority” status in “their own” [. . .]
Holy American Major League of Nations (Notes on Baseball and the Re-De-Nationalization of Americanism)
Wade McKenzie
Comments this threadCommenter Archive
+ Speaking of George Friedman... The party of Chancellor Angela Merkel no longer uses the word “friend” to describe the United States in its platform. But in [. . .]
German Trust in America – the Trend (#OAG 12b)

just a note on your observation about the whiskey rebellion

https://youtu.be/ASZ7NXD4i1s

Holy American Major League of Nations (Notes on Baseball and the Re-De-Nationalization of Americanism)

Extraordinary Comments

CK's WP Plugins

Categories

Related