Friday, May 20, 2005

Some More Thoughts on Star Wars


I'm posting this photo because Hayden Christensen is good looking. Welcome to Catholic Girl Talk, folks.

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT.

First, go check out what Peter at Catholicae Testudines says about the film's pro-life message. Hopefully he'll post a more complete review soon.

Second, John Tierney of the NYTimes says the political message of the movie is a descendent of Adam Smith's thought:

[Anakin] says he could never betray the Jedi because they're his family, but then the chancellor puts the family question in perspective: "Learn to know the dark side of the Force, Anakin, and you will be able to save your wife from certain death." Anakin promptly recognizes the
limits of altruism, just as Adam Smith did in the 18th century.

Smith knew that some people professed love for all humanity, but he realized that a man's love for "the members of his own family" is "more precise and determinate, than it can be with the greater part of other people." Hence his famous warning not to rely on the kindness of strangers outside your family: if you want bread, it's better to count on the baker's self-interest rather than his generosity.

This has never been a popular bit of advice because selfishness is not admired in human societies any more than among Jedi knights. We know it exists, but it feels wrong. We are born with an instinct for altruism because we evolved in clans of hunter-gatherers who would not have survived if they hadn't helped one another through hard times.

The result is an enduring political paradox: we no longer live in clans small enough for altruism to be practical, but we still respond to politicians who promise to make us all part of one big selfless community. We want everyone to be bound together with a shared set of values, a yearning that Daniel Klein, an economist, dubs the People's Romance.


Third, did anyone else but me have a problem with Padme's depiction in most of the film? I mean , I know she's pregnant, but she IS a senator and they are in the middle of a war, so shouldn't she be doing something more for most of the film besides staying in her apartment fixing her really bad hairdos? (BTW, it's weird that they're sharing an apartment together when they're secretly married. Isn't that kind of obvious?) I did think her part is redeemed at the end when she goes to the volcano planet to meet Anakin. "You're breaking my heart," she says. That made me want to cry. Really. And then she tells him, "I love you." And then, when she's on her death bed/delivery table, she tells Obi-Wan there's still good left in him. Yay for women not giving into despair and emanating hope instead.

Fourth, was it just me, Gina and Sierra talking in the ladies room at 1 a.m. yesterday after the movie got out, or does Yoda remind you of Pope John Paul II? They were both old, wrinkly, wise, patient, good leaders and teachers and both could kick some major you-know-what.