Accuracy In Media Attacks Gays, Reason Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Today, Cliff Kincaid of “Accuracy In Media” penned a truly vile piece attacking gay conservatives and imploring CPAC to hold panels on how homosexuals were dangerous, dangerous people who were bad for American and all communists.

It’s absolutely idiotic. Here’s why.

Kincaid begins with:

The term “gay conservative” is being used by some news outlets in connection with the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and whether certain homosexual groups should be invited to appear. There is no such thing as a “gay conservative,” unless the term “conservative” has lost all meaning.

Really, Cliff? You mean the word “conservative” didn’t lose its meaning after eight straight years of budget deficits and ever increasing government spending under George W. Bush? You mean it didn’t lose all meaning when Republicans had a chance to cut spending this past year but complained about it? You mean it didn’t lose all meaning when they decided the holy grail of conservatism, the Constitution, was trampled upon in their mad dash to sign the PATRIOT Act and the NDAA? It took the acts of GOProud, a group formed for the express purpose of spreading the message of limited government and free markets throughout the LGBT community, to make the word “conservative” lose all meaning?

WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN THE PAST DECADE?

But there is a homosexual movement that has its roots in Marxism and is characterized by anti-Americanism and hatred of Christian values.

Yes, GOProud is Marxist. Except…if I ever heard Chris R Barron utter anything about Marxism, it was always deprecating. Cliff, you haven’t talked to any gay conservatives, have you?

Two of this movement’s members, Bradley Manning and Floyd Corkins, have recently been in the news. Manning betrayed his country in the WikiLeaks scandal, while Corkins has pleaded guilty to trying to kill conservative officials of the Christian Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.

Rather than debate whether “gay conservatives” exist or ought to have prominent speaking roles, CPAC should be sponsoring a panel on the dangers of the homosexual movement and why some of its members seem prone to violence, terror, and treason.

Let’s get some things straight. First, two people does not serve as a representative sample of gays across America. You darn well shouldn’t be using this argument, since AIM has complained loudly about the media smearing the Tea Party movement as “racist.” Glass house rules, and all. Second, they are not part of the “homosexual movement.” Manning was a soldier who disagreed with what his country and his army was doing, and took matters into his own hands. Corkins was a crazy guy with a gun. It would be indicative of the “movement” if there were armies of gay people marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, shooting up the place while rainbow APCs disgorge bear troopers into the FRC’s headquarters. But…there aren’t. So your “argument” is without merit.

Gay people make up around 2-5% of the populace. If we’re going to talk about sexual orientations being “prone to violence, terror, and treason,” we could more easily talk about straights. Or are you going to invent the fiction that Benedict Arnold was gay, too?

But the fate of a political party is not only what is in jeopardy. Historian Paul Johnson knows something about why nations fail, and he says one reason is the acceptance of homosexuality.

Johnson’s book, The Quest for God, laments that Western society made a huge mistake by decriminalizing homosexuality and thinking that acceptance of the lifestyle on a basic level would satisfy its practitioners. He wrote, “Decriminalization made it possible for homosexuals to organize openly into a powerful lobby, and it thus became a mere platform from which further demands were launched.” It became, he says, a “monster in our midst, powerful and clamoring, flexing its muscles, threatening, vengeful and vindictive towards anyone who challenges its outrageous claims, and bent on making fundamental—and to most of us horrifying—changes to civilized patterns of sexual behavior.”

Today, this monster wants to impose itself on our children in the schools and even the Boy Scouts of America.

Right, gay people are a monster who want to…..get married.

OH NOES! THE SKY IS FALLING!

Newsflash: Gay marriage has never brought down a civilization. It was not the cause of the fall of either ancient Greece or Rome, nor Byzantium, nor the Mongol hordes, nor any civilization. Grow up and deal with the facts.

I know something about this as well, since I spent several years in Scouting, became an Eagle Scout, and received merit badges in various skills. My wife and I became Scout leaders. Now, the homosexual movement is determined to overturn the ban on homosexual Scoutmasters and wants to teach young men in the Boy Scouts that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle.

Such a campaign is objectionable on its face because the Boy Scout oath commits a young man to being “morally straight.” That “morally straight” can be considered compatible with homosexuality is a complete perversion of the English language.

This is where I blew a gasket. Cliff, I served with Eagle Scouts. I am an Eagle Scout. Eagle Scouts were my friends. You, Cliff, are no Eagle Scout. And that you bizarrely conflate “morally straight” with heterosexuality just shows that you have learned nothing from either your English classes in school. “Morally straight” means the “straight and narrow,” not “morally heterosexual.” How can one be “morally heterosexual”? It’s absurd on it’s face.

You are not only a disgrace to the Eagle Scouts, by preaching hate and intolerance for others*, but you are also a colossal disgrace to the English language and English writers everywhere. You sir, should not be blogging, period.

The rest of the column is a long and confusing rant about how homosexuals are all Marxist communists in disguise. It’s really pathetic, seeking to pin everything on Harry Hay as the “founder” of the modern homosexual movement, as if someone just stepped up and said, “Hey, let’s be gay today.” Heck, Hay even had to resign from one of the original LGBT organizations because he was a communist. But Cliff won’t tell you about that, will he? No.

Cliff, just stop. You realize the reason why nobody votes for Republicans or free market conservatives anymore? Because of people like you. You don’t have an “argument,” you just have unveiled bigotry and hatred. And 21st century Americans are not fans of hatred or bigotry. They’re not going to vote for a party that embraces the free market if it simultaneously embraces bigotry, even bigotry against a small slice of the population.

Just come out and say it, Cliff. Just come out and say that you find gays “icky.” Fine. You find them icky. At least that’s valid, as it’s merely personal preference. Well, you know what, Cliff? Not a single gay person is going to come up and get gay with you. They’re not even going to want to be in the same room with you. So they can be gay, you can be lilly-white straight, and just not cross paths, and everyone will be happy.

Homosexuality is not an “unacceptable lifestyle.” It’s a sexual orientation. That’s it. I know libertarians and conservatives must work together to limit government, rebuild a free market economy, and promote individual liberty, but I am supremely frustrated with “conservatives” like Cliff who turn to us at every step and the liberty movement in the foot with a twelve-gauge shotgun. We don’t need this. What we need is to be expanding the movement and reaching out to people from all walks of life, to show them that free markets and limited government is the best thing they could possibly want. But people like Cliff cling to their old traditions, and abjectly refuse to build any bridges to new islands. At the same time, people are leaving the island he’s on in rafts made from whatever they can find.

You’re why we can’t have nice things, Cliff. You’re why Obama is president, the Democrats control the Senate, the government is spending at record levels, and we can’t even reduce the rate of increase in spending by 2% without everyone going ballistic. Just stop.

*I realize that the official position of the BSA is still no to gays, but since that is not courteous nor kind, it really goes against the Scout Law. Eagle Scouts should be speaking out against this, even though, as a private organization, the BSA does have the right to exclude gays. But just because it has the right to do so, doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

I’m a horrible bastard, probably

Tim Carney: An awful loss, a beautiful life, a daunting task | WashingtonExaminer.com.

I’m sure, after you read the linked story above, and read what I’m about to say, you are going to think what the headline says (except I’m the bastard, not you. Probably.)

The above story is from Tim Carney, a columnist at the Washington Examiner, who is understandably conservative. The story is about his nephew, who lived for only 442 days before dying, and suffering every one of those days with spinal muscular atrophy, being just about paralyzed at birth and getting worse as the days went on.

Carney writes about the love that the boy’s Catholic parents had for him, and how he spread love by being an object of attention:

Pat and Elena are devout Catholics from strong families, but their answer to this question can’t be set aside as some teaching in the Catechism. It’s a truth written on the human heart.

Jesus said that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love your neighbor. This is our purpose. This view is not uniquely Christian. It’s understood in other religions and in secular worldviews.

In this regard, John Paul lived a superior life. He exuded love. Before he lost control of his facial muscles, he beamed smiles that made grown men sob. Babies can love those around him with the pure, unconditional love we all should show.

Also, JP drew love from others. Neighbors, relatives and strangers cooked meals and gave time, equipment and money to help the Kilners. JP’s brothers and sisters showered him with affection. And Pat and Elena sacrificed immensely to care for him.

Before the wake at St. Patrick’s in Rockville, during an observance called Stations of the Cross, we read a Gospel passage in which Christ explains our duty to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick.

“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,” the Lord says in this passage, “you did for me.”

Clearly a call to charity, this is also an exaltation of parenthood. Even moreso, this exalts the work of caring for helpless JP.

Tribulations both reveal character and form it. JP’s struggles revealed his parents’ heroic virtue and fostered virtue in others.

Pat and Elena saw John Paul as a blessing, and they generously shared that blessing with the world. They took him wherever they could, in a chair rigged with a ventilator and an IV. Elena shared wider, by penning hopeful, contemplative letters to John Paul every few weeks, which she posted on a blog.

One friend of mine, who never met the Kilners, read the “Letters to John Paul” blog. She wrote me, “John Paul’s story made me want to be a better person.”

John Paul continued shaping souls even in dying. A priest at St. Patrick’s took confessions during and after the wake. He commented afterwards that he heard some of the more honest, searching and contrite confessions he’s ever heard.

More than 500 people attended the beautiful funeral. One non-Catholic mourner was moved so much by the Mass she told Pat, “Now I understand why you’re Catholic.”

John Paul, who never spoke a word in his life, was the greatest evangelist of love, faith, virtue and hope I have ever met.

I look at this and shake my head. I don’t necessarily see love here. Yes, John Paul’s parents loved him, as any parent would, and they sacrified for him, as any parent would. But I look at this and think, “Why didn’t they just abort?”

Ayn Rand said it best when it came to abortion:

An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).

Abortion is a moral right—which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?

–“Of Living Death”, The Voice of Reason, pgs 58-59

Never mind the vicious nonsense of claiming that an embryo has a “right to life.” A piece of protoplasm has no rights—and no life in the human sense of the term. One may argue about the later stages of a pregnancy, but the essential issue concerns only the first three months. To equate a potential with an actual, is vicious; to advocate the sacrifice of the latter to the former, is unspeakable. . . . Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives.

–“A Last Survey”, The Ayn Rand Letter, IV, 2, 3

Because of this stance, which I agree with, I don’t consider an embryo or a fetus to be a person like a born human, and thus am not a “pro-lifer.” (I’m willing to accept that personhood would emerge when the fetus displays cognition, or “neonatal perception,” but that’s very late in the pregnancy, and virtually nobody gets abortions at that stage.)

That’s also why, when I look at this, I think that the parents should have aborted. If they had known that the fetus was going to have spinal muscular atrophy, and therefore was going to have a short life full of suffering, why bring the fetus to term? Why increase suffering in the world?

Shouldn’t we, you know, work at reducing suffering? And if we should be doing that, then why bring to term a fetus that has congential problems and is going to have a life full of suffering? It doesn’t make any sense, and to me, it seems pretty sick to do so. Of course, I know some will retort that he wasn’t suffering, and the love he was receiving from his family was proof he wasn’t. But that’s crap. He was clearly in pain for 442 days, he was clearly suffering, there is no way around that.

UPDATE: In this case, the parents didn’t know…which means a great part of this is moot, for this case. In this case, continuing with the pregnancy is completely logical and understandable, and thus giving all you can for the child is similarly logical and understandable. Thus, a huge chunk of my blog post is irrelevant, and so I’ve deleted it. But I still stand by the idea that if a fetus has mental and physical problems, you should still head off at the pass a life full of suffering. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. Thus I won’t take down the rest of the post.

Even some pro-life people think it is okay to have an abortion if the baby is going to be born with severe complications:

Over one-quarter of pro-life individuals think that abortion should be legal if the baby may be metnally or physically impaired. And for good reason: they don’t want to increase suffering.

Let’s actually try and reduce suffering as much as possible in this world. Stop with the displays of “care,” “compassion,” and “love,” the ones meant to make yourself look good, and actually do something. I’m not perfect–I myself need to take this up–but we can all start. And maybe one of those places is not bringing in infants into the world who are very clearly going to live only in pain and suffering.

Yes, that probably makes me a bastard in many people’s eyes. But so be it.

When Corrections Go Wrong (Or Awesome)

Beyond Castro churchs drag-queen fuss, Aug. 16, Bay Area, C1 C.W. Nevius column about Most Holy Redeemer banning drag queen performers incorrectly stated that entertainer Peaches Christ appeared at an event at the churchs hall with a dildo shaped like a crucifix.

via Corrections, Aug. 16 – SFGate.

WOW.

Man, pulling that assignment out of a hat must have been the best game in the bullpen ever.

@tamronhall Encapsulates #WTF Is Wrong With Contemporary News Media

Watch Tamron Hall Go Nuts | Washington Free Beacon.

If you really want to know why people continually dislike and distrust modern, contemporary news media, look no further than this outburst from an MSNBC anchor which makes her look like she’s five years old.

I’m serious.

The topic in question is this BS story about Romney allegedly cutting a guy’s hair in school back in the 1960s, a story which really doesn’t have any relevance to anything today (and which might, apparently, actually be false.) Tim Carney, of the Washington Examiner, was trying to put the story into context, and why whatever Romney’s response really shouldn’t matter. It’s something I wholeheartedly agree with–even though I am no fan of Romney–but apparently, Tamron didn’t:

HALL: So there you have it Tim. And the point is, he’s doing local television—that’s a local reporter asking something that is important to the people of that particular state. His response, you know, people are raising an eyebrow about.
CARNEY: Okay, well, I’ll talk about the marijuana in one second. But what you’re doing here is a typical media trick: You hype up a story, and then you justify the second-day coverage of the story by saying, “Oh, well, people are talking about it. Here’s how Romney responded to it—“
HALL: You don’t have to answer a single question I ask you. You do not. And you did not have to accept the invitation to come on. You knew what we were going to be discussing. [Unclear]
CARNEY: [Unclear]
HALL: Hang on, Tim. You’re kind of in my house here. The problem is this: The story’s out there, and you’re right—I am not saying that we should belabor what happened 50 years ago. We are talking about the response by the campaign and the governor, not just on this issue, but—
CARNEY: You are bringing up a meta story here, which is, “What is the Romney response to this other non-story?” I’m trying to go meta-meta on you, and say here’s some media treatment—
HALL: You don’t want me to go anything on you, because you are actually irritating me right now. I’m going to be honest with you—yes, you are, because you knew the questions and topics we were going to discuss. You knew them; you agreed. And we are not talking or demeaning—listen, 50 years ago, I was a much tougher kid probably than Mitt Romney was in high school. I’m not talking about the issue of whether he was bullying or not. He says he doesn’t remember; to be fair, I cannot say he does. What I am asking about is how the campaign has handled this situation, how he handled the Colorado reporter, how he handled same-sex marriage where he said he agrees with gay parents be able to adopt, but he does not agree with same-sex marriage? Just the handling of questions beyond the economy. If you’re not comfortable talking about that, I am a-okay, but you’re not going to come on and insult me, you’re not going to come on and insult the network when you knew what you were going to come on and talk about. Done. Now, let me talk to Jimmy, I’m done.
CARNEY: Are you going to cut me off?
HALL: Yes, I am.

This is why people are ceasing to watch TV news, or read the newspapers. It’s a combination of the shortsighted arrogance that news anchors and journalists decide what is and isn’t a story, and the technique of trying to hype up things in order to be “entertaining.”

In other words, it’s complete and utter horseshit. And people aren’t buying it.

Newsflash to Tamron Hall: More people get their news through Twitter and blogs than your TV show. Kicking Tim off your show won’t change any of that.

The whole point of having news is having a wide variety of opinion. Yes, there is a point where you have to say “stay on topic,” but you can do that in a far more civilized and adult manner, and you could also ask first where this is going. Second, Carney was talking about the topic at hand. She was asking about Romney’s response to a reporter, and how that might be the same nature as what Romney exhibited in the past, so Carney decided to talk about the media’s hyping up (which is really what it is) about the past story.

Trying to control the discussion in that manner is not news, that’s propaganda. And that shows a distinct lack of integrity on Tamron Hall’s part.

(In her defense, though, that “I’m going to go meta meta on you” line from Tim just sounded utterly crass, and he should not have said it. That was dumb.)

People got that sense from media coverage around the 2008 election, and they’ve been getting it a lot during the Obama administration (and a little before that too; we had it during the build up to Iraq, for example.) This was a crystallization of that distrust. And I think when people think about what’s going on here–not the mindless ravings from places such as ThinkProgress–you’re going to find that 52% trust in the media will evaporate.

This is why people read blogs, go on Twitter, and generally get their news sources from places you wouldn’t traditionally think of as news. It’s not just technology–though that plays a part–it’s because the traditional media outlets are extremely haughty and think they have the right to be the gatekeepers of all knowledge. And if you don’t toe their line…you get Tamron’d.

Also, a couple of quibbles:

  1. “I bet I was a lot tougher than Mitt Romney when I was a kid:” REALLY? You went there? Wow, that’s like, so, like, awesome, like. Seriously, isn’t that a phrase uttered by children? Because you’re so tough when you’re a teenager. Really.
  2. Where, at any point, did Carney insult you or the network? As I’ve said repeatedly, all he was doing was providing context to your question. If you don’t like that, well tough. That’s what he’s doing. He was discussing your question. If anyone was insulting, it was you, Ms. Hall, for saying “You don’t want me to go anything on you.” In fact, that might constitute a threat, which might be at the level that can bring on legal action.

I normally don’t get involved in these things–I said nothing about that whole Chris Loesch Twitter pseudo-debacle–but I abhor bullies, and that’s exactly what Tamron Hall was today. A bully. MSNBC should be ashamed of itself for having her on the show.

[Note: Tried to write this faster but I was so angry I had to get up and pace around my office. This video infuriates me that much.]

Oh, @Cher, You’re Cute When You’re All Venomous and Spiteful

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/cher/status/199871809586348034″]

What I find most humorous about this is that Romney is not a Tea Party candidate whatsoever. The guy is a big government establishment Republican. He has nothing, really, in common with the Tea Party. Heck, he put Obamacare through its trial run in Massachusetts, for crying out loud.

I think the best response was this:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Miss_Wisconsin/status/199872993483177984″]

That is, of course, assuming that Cher had any brain cells to begin with.

Star Wrongs

Like anyone who was born in the latter half of the 20th century, I’m a huge fan of Star Wars. I was born roughly five years after the last of the original trilogy (It’s Glory in the Highest) was released, so I didn’t get to experience it firsthand. I did, however, immerse myself in what is now known as the “Expanded Universe,” reading novels and comics and playing video and roleplaying games and truly becoming a fan, including getting so excited when I heard about Episode I coming out I nearly jizzed my pants.

Nearly. I think I was still prepubescent at the time.

To me, the Expanded Universe was Star Wars, even though I knew even as a kid it was secondary to what George Lucas had personally wrought (although it did take me some time to fully understand what “canon,” “fanon,” “apocrypha,” and “Infinities” were.) I grew up reading the adventures and exploits of Wedge Antilles’ Rogue Squadron, and later his more wild creation, Wraith Squadron, in the Star Wars: X-Wing series (some books written by Michael J. Stackpole, who also wrote one of my favorites, I, Jedi, and with the Wraith books written by Aaron Allston, who wrote my #1 favorite, Starfighters of Adumar.) I learned basic English by cutting my teeth on the Young Jedi Knights series by Kevin J. Anderson and his wife (and developing a young lust for Jaina Solo, I might add.) I discovered the background of one Mandalorian bounty hunter which may or may not be true, and the origins of one Corellian smuggler, by reading A.C. Crispin’s Han Solo Trilogy. I even got to “star” in my own adventures by playing in the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, at least the Revised edition under WotC’s management (d20 based.)

Ah, the 90s. How nostalgic. Just give me a minute…….okay, I’m done.

So we had this wonderful period of great literature and material for George Lucas’ universe, spreading it farther and wider than I think he ever intended (or probably wanted; there was that bit of Dark Empire and The Crystal Star, after all. Nothing is ever perfect.) And aside from a few (aforementioned) bumps, it was glorious! The spirit of Star Wars flew on, forever and forever, without boundaries…

Until…

At a certain point, the people running the continuity and being the franchise managers–i.e., the dudes and dudettes over at Lucasfilm Licensing, or LFL–decided they wanted to take Star Wars in a “new” direction. As George was focusing on the prequels, they decided to focus on the era some 20 years after the Battle of Endor and Return of the Jedi. They wanted to focus both on the original characters and the “next generation” of heroes, and in some way “mature” that latter generation. Unfortunately for everyone involved (even the characters themselves), LFL…basically, they screwed up. Badly. They trashed Lucas’ central story, soiled the spirit of Star Wars, and produced a product that was not so much what we had grown up to know and love, but what was closer to a hollow pastiche.

And then, that began to seep into the “prequels” era and beyond, in that direction. Part of the blame in this area can be laid at Lucas’ feet–if anyone really thought that the “romantic dialogue” in Episode III was actually good, I will find them and cut their ears off with a lightdagger–but most of it actually lies with those producing EU material, although they were mainly cluttering up the continuity and making improbable connections and confusing history, not blatantly crapping on what Lucas had produced.

So let me go through each “era” and explain what I find to be wrong, and then wrap up with a “discussion”–more of a rant, really–on how they screwed up, what I personally feel continuity is, and some views on the “dead author” hypothesis and where the story truly lies, with the writer or with the fan.

The Next Generation

The New Jedi Order

So here we are, 25 years after the Battle of Yavin thrust Luke Skywalker onto the center stage, the Rebellion was in full swing, and Han Solo decided to be a good guy after all. Well, Han and Leia now have three kids, Luke is married to a former Imperial force-using assassin, the remnants of the Empire have signed a peace treaty with the Republic, and the Jedi Order is coming back, thanks to Luke creating an academy–or, using his more pretentious word, a praxeum–on Yavin IV, and peace has finally been brought back to the galaxy.

Um, maybe not.

The basic plot of the NJO series is that the Yuuzhan Vong, a race that is “invisible” to the Force and relies entirely on biotechnology, invades from another galaxy, and basically wipes out pretty much everyone. The New Republic, established a few months after Return of the Jedi, is destroyed, replaced by a new entity which sort of combines it with the Empire called the “Galactic Alliance,” while the Jedi are hunted down and have their ranks depleted.

Oh, did we mention that the galaxy is basically flattened? Nearly every capital world is destroyed, “Vongformed” into jungle worlds, trillions of people die–way more than the death toll in the Galactic Civil War, I’m sure–and every single institution we’ve come to accept is more or less wiped out, aside from the Imperial Remnant, which sort of stays the same. (Oh, and the bloody Chiss. But nobody really likes them anyways.) The death toll also touches the characters quite directly–of the popular new generation, Anakin Solo dies, while of the old generation, Chewbacca goes. He does go in a pretty awesome way–they have to drop a frigging moon on his ass–and he’s probably the least damaging death out of all the major characters, but still. They kill Chewbacca.

Are you upset yet?

The reason NJO fails as a Star Wars series is that it does not have the tone that Star Wars had, nor does it really respect its spirit. Although George Lucas did sign off on it, by making some stipulations (apparently he told them that the villains couldn’t be Force-users), it also did not really respect his story, making me wonder how involved he was with it (which is to say, not at all.)

First off, while it was definitely dark in some respects–I mean, for chrissakes, the galaxy is under the thumb of an authoritarian, racist dictatorship–Star Wars is inherently bright. The first movie had its parts, but overall it was good, with the Rebel Alliance defeating the Empire at the Battle of Yavin, and Luke taking his first steps as a Jedi Knight. The Empire Strikes Back was a downer, but that was really just to set the stage for the triumphant victory in Return of the Jedi. And then Luke brought order to the Force, redeemed his father, helped destroy the Empire–yeah, the story was more or less complete.

And it should be noted that, throughout the trilogy, Star Wars is fairly campy. Even the prequel trilogy is, to an extent, so that just shows you how central it is to the series. The spirit of Star Wars is adventure, heroism, becoming more than yourself, and essentially is space fantasy. That’s why its the greatest thing since the sandwich was invented.

NJO is completely the opposite. It’s doom and gloom, dour, dark, cowardice, and a sense of futility, that nothing will be right, that the end is nigh. In one way, NJO is Star Wars’ version of the Apocalypse (an averted apocalypse, perhaps, but it still has permanently scarred that galaxy far, far away.) It isn’t Star Wars; it may have the same characters, locations, props, and even some of the concepts, it isn’t Star Wars. It’s a reanimated corpse of a bright and fantastic story, with all of the life and spirit literally leeched out of it.

And then there was the villains themselves. I mean, c’mon, “invisible to the Force?” Look, I realize The Flanneled One told you not to use Force-users as villains, okay, fine, not a problem. But don’t take that so far that you have beings that are “invisible” or “immune” to the central topic and myth of the entire fucking story. And biotech? This is not Transhuman Space, here, this is Star Wars. Where did you see any of that sort of stuff in Star Wars? Answer: you didn’t. Aside from cyborgs, whose presence seemed to be fairly light, there was really no transhumanism or anything of that sort in the story. It wasn’t the far future, it was the far past. What NJO did with that was just…stupid.

Mother of all Ugly Mugs
The Yuuzhan Vong, on the other hand, are always past their shelf life.

But what really bothered me was that it was taking Star Wars past it’s shelf-life. Like I said, the story essentially ended with Luke redeeming his father and the Alliance defeating the Empire. Since the central, pivotal character of the story is really Anakin Skywalker, the story of his fall from grace and his eventual redemption, that only makes Return of the Jedi even more solidly the end of the series. Sure, there was going to be some clean up. I felt the X-Wing series was essentially the denouement, and while it seems pretty drawn out or elaborate for that, you can look at Lord of the Rings to see one even more drawn out and elaborate. Meanwhile, Young Jedi Knights was setting up the torch to be passed to a new generation, and a new series of adventures–maybe. Or maybe not. But in any case, it was wrapped up. Over. Done.

So then what the hell does NJO have to do with anything? Where the hell does it stand? It really has no foundation. But that is something I will argue more strenuously in the next few chapters.

The Swarm War Trilogy

I just want to point out here that I really have no beef with this trilogy. It’s nothing more than a blip on the radar, with no serious concerns for anybody. As far as I’m concerned, it’s irrelevant. With that over with, let’s move on to the next bit.

The Legacy of the Force

The NJO series was bad, don’t get me wrong. It was not Star Wars, as I said. But honestly, if they had stopped there, I could possibly, just possibly, have seen it staying.

But no. They went from bad to “Emperor’s Black Heart” worse.

So after the Yuuzhan Vong wipe everybody out, they ended up getting defeated by Jacen Solo, the only remaining son of Han and Leia Solo, who apparently fuses with the Force and becomes this glowy thingy and–I’m going to stop there before I say something really stupid. Suffice to say, he beats the crap out of the Vong and saves the galaxy.

Problem is, the boy is scarred by his traumatic experiences in the war. He’s messed up inside. Understandable, I guess. So what does he do? Get counseling? Go to his mommy? Off himself? No…

He becomes the next Dark Lord of the Sith.

Oh Christ. (And since I’m an ignostic saying it, you know its bad.)

Yup, young Jacen Solo becomes “Darth Caedus,” slowly takes over the leadership of the Galactic Alliance, and then ends up creating a Second Galactic Civil War, instituting a reign of terror, and then finally being killed by his sister.

I know what you’re thinking. WHAT THE FLYING FUCKITY-FUCKITY-FUCK FUCK FUCK? I know this because that’s the same thing I thought. I wish I could put something down that’s corny and geeky, like “What in the name of the Force!” or “What the Sith?” but I can’t, because it’s just that bad awful horrendous atrocious I don’t have a word for it.

Everything I said about the story ending above, in the NJO section, applies here, but with 100 times the force. (And not that Force, unfortunately.) Here we have, essentially, a complete repeat of the entire movie series in a 9-book sequence, with Jacen Solo taking the place of his grandfather, and Jaina taking the place of her uncle (although instead of being a good guy, and you know, redeeming, she just decides to kill him and end it that way.)

I really want to take the executives at LFL and sit them down and say, “You do realize, haven’t you, that you basically took George Lucas’ magnum opus, the defining masterpiece of two generations, a work that is practically required reading for the United States citizenship test, and then shat on it. You do realize this, right?”

That’s what they’ve done. Everything that Luke and his colleagues fought for and triumphed over has been invalidated. There was utterly no point in destroying the Death Star. Luke’s destiny of bringing peace to the galaxy for a hundred thousand years apparently was procured at a budget soothsayer’s, since he wasn’t able to bring peace for 30 years.

It is a travesty and a sham. It is a dark, twisted joke, a spoof that lands in the horror genre. It inverts everything that Star Wars was. It might as well be a mirror universe. (In fact, I might be wrong, but Luke might actually have a beard in one of the books. Or is it Han? Ah, who cares? It’s crap.)

As far as I am concerned, Legacy of the Force is not only horrible, it is a blight. How dare these executives, how dare the fans, how dare these writers go and unmake everything that was Star Wars? NJO was bad enough, but at least they didn’t move to totally invalidate everything, at least they made some semblance of the previous order survive. But here? No.

And it only gets worse.

Luke Skywalker At Xmas. Yeah, I'm scared too.
Wait, can I take that back?

Fate of the Jedi

I haven’t really bothered researching this series all that much. Anything following in Legacy of the Force‘s footsteps is bound to be a grotesque, hideous, Lovecraftian monster. And I feel FotJ sort of lives up to that.

So now Jacen–sorry, “Darth Caedus”–is dead, and peace is at hand, right? Supposedly, but unfortunately, the leaders of the three powers are all Imperials (the Galactic Alliance, the Imperial Remnant, and the Confederation, essentially a rehash of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, yet another way in which LotF crapped on it all.) Oh, and by the way, the public is now very wary of Jedi and don’t like them very much. Can you see where this is going?

Oh, but wait, it gets better. Some Jedi start going crazy, inflicted with some sort of psychosis that was Darth Caedus’ parting gift to the galaxy. So now Luke has to take off with his son, Ben, to find out why his nephew turned to the Dark Side, and maybe something that will heal the crazy Jedi, while back home, a virtual Third Jedi Purge starts to take place (I’ll get to the “real” First Jedi Purge much later.) Oh, and at the risk of sounding trite by putting in “by the way” again, apparently a lost tribe of Sith have finally found their way off their miserable rock and want to rejoin galactic society.

Yeah.

FotJ basically drives the point home that there is no hope for this galaxy–the exact opposite of what the original trilogy was trying to tell us. It really opens up some new questions–like, “Is this the most dysfunctional galaxy ever?” You would think by now people would be fed up with war and would just throw away all their weapons, but apparently that is not the case. But if we were to add any sense of realism to this, we would be confronted with the inescapable conclusion that the galaxy could not possibly support yet another war. It’s industrial base has been continually pummeled, the people are sick and tired (when they’re not, you know, dead), and the military forces have been exhausted. I don’t care if this is space fantasy, you couldn’t support another war. Maybe low-level conflicts, ala the Balkans, but not a sustained, interstellar conflict. No way. And yet, this is still probably going to happen. There is no hope left. These bastards are irredeemable.

And we also the continued perversion of the story by making the Jedi pariahs again. I mean really–haven’t we gone down this road before, and only about 40-50 years or so in the story timeline?

Random House better not keep up the cycle of crappy, imitation Star Wars. If they continue, who knows what damage they could inflict on the Force.

Han Solo Shooting First
Or what damage Han Solo will inflict on THEM.

A Long Time Ago…

Some introduction is required here.

The distant past of Star Wars centers around the Galactic Republic forming, circa 25,000 years Before the Battle of Yavin (BBY), the Jedi expelling a faction that dabbled with the Dark Side, and then doing it again later, only this time the expellees flee beyond known space and end up forming the Sith Empire, which is rediscovered a few thousand years later and fights the Republic–and the Jedi–in an event known as the “Great Hyperspace War,” and later again in the “Great Sith War.” A few thousand years pass again before more take up the Sith mantle, and eventually fight the Republic in an event known as the “New Sith Wars,” which take place approximately 1,000 years before Episode I, and lead to the claim that the Republic is 1,000 years old in the prequel series by “reforming” the Republic.

Most of this is courtesy of the Tales of the Jedi comic book series, which influenced and inspired some of the works I’m about to discuss below. Those are centered around two periods: 5,000 BBY, which is the Great Hyperspace War, and approximately 3,900 BBY, which is the Great Sith War. Tales of the Jedi is currently the earliest set story in the greater Star Wars mythos, and it holds true to that, by having some of the weapons be “swords” instead of lightsabers, hyperspace travel is difficult and dangerous, and the feel is somewhat fantasy (I mean, the first story arc is about the “Beast Riders of Onderon,” for chrissakes.)

Unfortunately, while this continuity was originally quite clean and tidy, it was later mussed up by a series of video games. By their necessity, video games have to put the player in the position where they feel awesome, they’re the center of something great, but unfortunately, this has terrible implications for continuity.

Knights of the Old Republic

I know what you’re going to say. “How dare you criticize KOTOR? That game was effing awesome!” Indeed, KOTOR had some good gameplay, good artwork, fantastic music, and the story itself, or at least its character development, was really good. But it really mussed up the continuity.

First off, the central focus of the story is on Revan and Malak, two Jedi Knights who go around and create a Sith Empire, sparking the Jedi Civil War. The whole thing takes place roughly forty years after the Great Sith War is over with, which messes up its timing; I mean, really, forty years after the galaxy just went through such a large struggle, you’re going to start another one? It actually doesn’t bother me as much as the stuff that happens in LotF, since this doesn’t completely invalidate everything, and besides, it’s the past, when great wars were fought constantly.

But the thing that really bothers me about KOTOR are the Rakata. Apparently, these bunch of squigly aliens created a massive, galaxy-wide empire, called the “Infinite Empire” because they were just that pretentious, which was powered not by technology, but by the Force. And oh yeah, they completely enslaved pretty much all of the galaxy, particularly Humans, Rodians, Wookiees, Mon Calamari (and thus Quarren), Selkath, Duros, you name it, they probably enslaved it. Unfortunately, internal tensions, a virulent plague that affected only the Rakata, and a massive slave uprising ended the Infinite Empire and later gave way to the Republic.

Now this all sounds fine and dandy, right? Well, the problem with this is that the Empire is believed to have broken down roughly 200 years before the Republic was formed, yet there is absolutely no knowledge of the Infinite Empire whatsoever. It does not factor into the Republic’s formation, it was completely and utterly unknown ~17,000 years later, and more to the point, the Republic had to rediscover hyperdrive. What gives? On Earth, we had one guy walk around in the desert for a few years talking about peace and love and joy, and we still remember him 2,000 years later. You would think an Empire would be remembered some 200 years after it fell.

It just doesn’t fit with the rest of continuity. And you can’t toss out TotJ in order to benefit KOTOR; the latter only survives on the former, because it’s an outgrowth. KOTOR definitely has the Star Wars feel, but it just doesn’t make sense from a history standpoint. That of the Old Republic growing organically from a few systems in the Core gradually developing technology and eventually hyperdrive, before meeting each other and deciding “You know, maybe its better to work together than against each other.” And you don’t have to worry about information loss to boot.

And besides, the Rakata are fugly as all hell. I’d rather kiss a Wookiee than look at one of them.

The offspring of Admiral Ackbar and Jar-Jar
Why Chewie, why did you have to die and leave me with THIS?

Knights of the Old Republic II: Electric Boogaloo

Can I gripe now? Yes? Sweet, thanks.

So basically KOTOR II continues the story of KOTOR in a slightly different way. Now players are in the shoes of the Jedi Exile, who is called upon to essentially rebuild the entire Jedi Order when it gets nearly exterminated by the Sith–or are they just generic darksiders, I can never tell. Yes, this is the “real” First Jedi Purge I was talking about earlier.

The problem here is the problem that the stuff from the “Next Generation” above faces–it cheapens and invalidates what happened during the main story. The Jedi Purge from the Galactic Empire’s time seems a lot less significant when you append the “Second” to it. (It’s also a lot less significant when you realize that a lot of Jedi survived, but hey, how else are you going to have a story?)

The good news, though, is that I don’t have to actually waste any energy on it. Y’see, KOTOR II was so unimaginably bad, everyone hates it. It kind of doesn’t exist. Thank the Maker.

Aww...
This does make Darth Nihilus very sad, however.

The Old Republic

Here’s where things get screwy.

In this upcoming MMORPG, a Cold War is going on, between the Old Republic and–you guessed it–the real Sith Empire. As it turns out, what Revan created was a “fake” Sith Empire, and he wanted to conquer the Old Republic and make it stronger so it could resist the real Sith Empire, turning to evil to save the galaxy.

Am I the only one who finds that to be the dumbest strategy ever? Right…turn to the dark side in order to fight the dark side, and blow up the galaxy to save it. Kinda misses the point there, bub.

So TOR pretty much invalidates all of KOTOR and KOTOR II, and pushes a great Galactic War right up next to all these other wars, moving so fast that the galaxy cannot possibly recuperate from any of them. It’s just continual fighting, bing bang boom.

And then you have to ask yourself “what is this Sith we’re fighting?” Are they really the Sith from Tales of the Jedi and even the Trilogies? I’m not sure. Although the history I swear by does say that the Sith came back from time to time, the timing of these incidents seems to be really…well, it seems to be rather ill-thought.

You may say that, “Well, in real life, we have wars all the time,” but the problem with your statement is that’s real life. This is fiction. Moreover, it’s “mythical” fiction. We’re supposed to have big time spans where nothing happens and then something pivotal occurs and then later brings peace for another thousand years or so. This just doesn’t fit.

And besides, a “Cold War?” No, the Sith would have wiped out everybody in the Republic and conquered it, not just conquer half and be content with it. Puhleeze, these guys are posers. Not real “Sith” at all.

Every Saga Has A Beginning…

The Force Unleashed

You, on dark side
Continuity! NOOOO! What have I done?

I’m sorry. I really don’t give two creds if this was the centerpiece of a big multimedia project that was apparently blessed by George Lucas and pushed vehemently by LFL. I don’t care if it has awesome gameplay, or great visuals, or good characters (which I actually doubt), or a rockin` soundtrack. TFU is a bunch of crap and everybody knows it.

The entire story is that Darth Vader has a secret dark side apprentice he doesn’t tell anyone about (gee, where have I heard that before?) and whom he and Emperor Palpatine use to create the Rebel Alliance. You heard me: the entire Rebel Alliance is in fact a wickedly sinister plan by Palpatine to gather all of the enemies of the New Order together and squash them all at once. Except that, you know, it kinda gets out of hand, people get excited, and the next thing you know, your pretty Death Star has been smashed to bits, and you’ve just run up a huge credit card bill.

I refuse. I absolutely refuse to accept that the Rebel Alliance, the good guys, was actually a plan hatched by Emperor Palpatine to reinforce his already iron grip on the galaxy. No. This is the story of young freedom fighters recognizing the evil before them and joining together to fight that evil, not the story of some 190-year old crackpot pensioner’s plan to consolidate his hold over the galaxy and just having trouble keeping the youngins’ in line. Again, no.

I mean, would Luke or Han have fought for the Alliance if they realized it was really something that Palpatine came up with? Would Leia, or Mon Mothma, or Ackbar, or Antilles, or any number of other Rebels? Doubtful. Even if they did, it would have utterly shattered their self-image, at least briefly, before they rose again to fight. But it wouldn’t be the same sort of fighting, now would it? They would start to doubt themselves, doubt whether their fight is really meaningful. Maybe the Empire is right after all….But it’s not. Star Wars is not really intricate, or full of doubting. No, it’s black and white, good vs. evil. It’s pretty darn simple. Sure, there’s a little doubting when you get to when “Is this act going to bring me over to the Dark Side?” but resolutions are still pretty swift.

In a way, TFU is even more damaging than anything the NJO or LotF or FotJ has done, for while those mess up stuff farther down the line, and destroy the spirit of Star Wars, TFU strikes at the very core of the story. Okay, so it doesn’t kill off Luke Skywalker when he’s twelve, but it’s pretty damn close. It cheapens everything about the trilogies themselves, in a way that is far, far more direct than any of these other travesties. It is the epitome of travesties here.

Sorry, TFU just doesn’t work. It has no place within the Star Wars mythos. It should not just be removed from continuity, it should be shot from a cannon into hyperspace, where it will never return, and all the copies of the game should be burned, and the people who came up with it should be fired. And the name of the protagonist should be erased from everyone’s minds.

Oh, and as an afterthought, that part where you have to use the Force to pull down a Star Destroyer from out of orbit? Fun, maybe, but that is too over the top for Star Wars. That’s the equivalent to jumping the shark in this universe.

The Problem With Star Wars

Oh god...
This post has been...fascinating.

It’s the Jedi.

Star Wars focuses almost entirely on Force-users, whether they be Jedi, or Sith, or something else. And that’s where the problem lies; in a universe as deep and rich as this, you would think there were other stories to tell. But aside from the X-Wing series, they barely scratch the surface. They simply refuse to entertain the possibility.

And that’s a real shame. Because they focus so singly on Force-users, they have missed out on all the variety out there, they’ve both elevated Jedi to godhood and also made them stale, and they’ve set into a rut of repetitive stories. It’s the same cycle repeating itself over and over again, and last time I checked, Star Wars was not into the cyclical history that Battlestar Galactica championed. Maybe I’m wrong.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with Jedi-oriented stories. After all, both the Prequel and Original Trilogies focus on the Jedi. The Jedi Academy trilogy focused on Luke rebuilding the Order, and the Young Jedi Knights series was about the next generation of Jedi accepting the mantle of defenders of the Republic and of peace and goodness everywhere. There’s definitely a place for them. There’s just not a place everywhere.

They can do a lot more than the struggle of dark side temptation and possible redemption. There are a lot more genres and subjects in science fiction: military science fiction (although they have their share of that), exploration, what it means to be human (or alive), or even just finding one’s place in the galaxy, particularly if one isn’t a Jedi.

So they just need to back off Jedi and Force-users a bit and focus on something else. Variety is the spice of life, and judging from the blandness that they’re offering us, we need a great deal of it.

How I’d Fix Star Wars Continuity

I’m basically two minds on this. I have one which preserves a great deal of the Expanded Universe, and another which preserves far less.

So for the first idea, which preserves most of the EU: All of the works I focused on above, those with their own sections, just cut. Get rid of them. This ends the “story” at around 24 ABY (After Battle of Yavin), after the next generation of Jedi Knights have become full Knights and are becoming adults. It allows Luke’s destiny to remain fulfilled. It also tidies up the pre-TPM era, going back for at least 5,000 years, giving us a much more elegant history to work with and admire. At the same time, however, it preserves most of what we know as “Star Wars.” We have roughly the same story to work with, what really drives the galaxy.

In addition, I would also remove most of the kids novels–including that “Galaxy of Fear” nonsense and Mission to Mount Yoda, but only because they were terribly written and contradicted by pretty much everything that followed anyways. And most of the games too, aside from the Dark Forces and Jedi Knight series, because Kyle Katarn is just Chuck Norris with a lightsaber, and that’s too awesome for words.

(As for that Clone Wars cartoon…The Flanneled One or not, screw it.)

Now, you have Plan A, which keeps most of the EU. Ready for Plan B? It’s really simple.

If it’s not in the movies, junk it.

You heard me.

If its not in Episodes I-VI, ignore it.

At first, this seems a bit…extreme. You’re basically destroying the entire EU, and cutting off all the backstory and surrounding “fluff” that insulates and gives some context to the movies. But on the other hand…they’re not Star Wars. They’re not made by The Flanneled One. They’re something else, made by other people. Fine stories in their own right, but not Star Wars. At least not proper.

And once you realize this, suddenly you are free! No more worrying about the EU and how this intersects with that and what not. The chains that hold you back dissolve, and you’re in a whole new world, one that is exiting and wild as far as the eye can see. So much could happen here that we don’t know about! This is particularly good for RPG players, who now have a sandbox that is so large and vast they couldn’t have enough to do in it even if they wanted to. They’d be playing until Doomsday in order to fill it all up.

Part of me likes this “nuclear option.” The EU has unfortunately become very large, very unwieldy, muddled, contradictory, and just utterly sad when you incorporate the most recent developments. And eliminating all of it frees up one’s mind to create a “shadow history” that makes more sense.

But on the other hand, there are a lot of things I like, notably from the period 4 ABY — 24 ABY. I couldn’t let them go. So I don’t know. For now, I’ll stick with Plan A. I like that better.

But Whose Story Is It?

The entirety of this post is based on the assumption that I actually have a right to determine what is or what isn’t Star Wars. But then the question must be asked: Who died and made me George Lucas?

Nearly every scifi, fantasy, and superhero story has a complicated continuity, with some fans accepting some parts and other fans different parts. But what gives these fans the right to determine what is and isn’t the story? It’s not like they’ve written it. They’re just the fans. They’re the consumers.

Part of me says they don’t. The writer writes the story, and if writes a bad one, nobody will read it, but if he writes a good one, they’ll pick it up; but ultimately, it is still his (or her) story. No one else’s. The writer is god, the writer has full control.

Yet another part of me goes to my libertarian philosophy and says, “Wait. A transaction only works if all parties agree to it, and what is the acceptance of continuity but a sort of transaction?” (Yeah, I think that part of me is smoking dope too.) “And if one party doesn’t agree, then it has the right to not consent to the transaction and not take part of it. It can reject that part of continuity.”

And you know…I think that part of me is on to something. For if the fans didn’t consent, it would die. It would shrivel up and people wouldn’t have anything to enjoy, and the writer certainly wouldn’t invest any more effort into it. So there needs to be some sort of consensus between writer and fan there.

But it’s a very complicated question. It’s related to the topic of fanfiction (which I will tackle with a rancor much later) but it’s its own can of worms. And it’s not one that I can really figure out on my own. For now, I will accept that it is George Lucas’ work, and I respect that, but I will not entertain things that abuse his story and aren’t created by him; those I feel do abuse the story and are created by him, well, we’ll just say they happened in passing and move on.