On his radio show today Glenn Beck and his crew claimed that the perfect movie for these teabagging times is Star Wars. Beck managed to turn Star Wars in into a Tea Party epic. Beck said, “Wow, is it a appropriate story for today. My gosh, the Republic is going down. The Empire is starting.”
Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:
Beck said, “Have you watched it lately?….You should watch it because, wow, wow it is a appropriate story for today. My gosh, it is just such a, you know the republic is going down the empire is starting. Your Jedi that old religion is gone and not powerful.” Of course, Pat picked up the theme and chimed in with, “Well, one of my favorite lines that I think applies today comes from was it the latest Star Wars where Queen Amidala says, “”So this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause.” I mean how many times have I thought that as people are applauding redistribution of wealth, or some other stinking concept that these guys are putting forward.”
In Glenn Beck’s Tea Party retelling of Star Wars, Barack Obama, the Democratic Party, and progressives are the Empire. He and the Tea Party are the resistance that is fighting to restore the Republic. I guess this makes Beck, Luke Skywalker, and Sarah Palin is Princess Leia. Darth Vader, because he is black would be Barack Obama. The problem with this is that it doesn’t match up with the obvious theme and message of the any of the prequels.
As usual, Beck has taken a quote completely out of context. What Queen Amidala was referring to with the liberty dying quote was the Proclamation of the New Order when Palpatine proclaimed himself Emperor and outlined his vision for transforming the Republic into the Empire. The movie’s proclamation bears a not so coincidental resemblance to the post-9/11 authorization to use force and George W. Bush’s vision of empire through preemptive war. George Lucas may be a lot of things, but he is not subtle.
Here are a few other quotes from the same film that contradict Beck’s retelling of the story:
Anakin: “I think this war is destroying the principles of the Republic.”
Amidala: “What if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil we’ve been fighting to destroy?”
Amidala: “This war represents a failure to listen.”
No matter how Beck tries to twist, Star Wars is not an epic of Tea Party values. The original trilogy based on the work of educator and mythologist Joseph Campbell and his concept of the hero’s journey, which is in classic work The Hero With a Thousand Faces. The trilogy of prequels is a reversal of this story to show the demise of a hero. It is a classic myth that spans all cultures and thousands of years.
The beautiful thing about film is that the message is often left up to audience interpretation. This has never been the case with the writing and films of George Lucas, who is as subtle as a jackhammer. Lucas’ prequels were warning against the dangerous direction that George W. Bush and the GOP were taking America towards. Beck, Palin, and the Tea Party aren’t defenders of the Republic.
They are the very people who are manipulating the Republic while trying to establish their empire. They are foes, not friends of democracy, and they are the people who our democracy and Republic must be saved from, because as they claim to defend freedom, they are dreaming of the day when they can strip it away.