Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I find your lack of faith disturbing.

Funny thing. There isn't any paper in the star wars canon. It’s true, look it up.

That doesn’t stop Penny Arcade artist Mike 'Gabe' Krahulik from wondering what their political cartoons might be like though.
Okay, granted, I don't know if this really counts as a 'proper' political cartoon. It’s a satire, after all, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t layers to it, by gum!

Let’s start out by looking at the context of the image itself. It was posted in Gabe's blog at on June 7th 2010. Supposedly the idea just kind hit him in the middle of the night. Gabe's a pretty big Star Wars fan, and he's more than familiar with the extended continuity, so I trust that he knows what he's talking about with regards to the politics of star wars at least.

Of course that’s not the context the image itself presents. No, it presents itself as part of the fictional Coruscant Gazette, by a droid by the name of R2N5.

Okay, so the comic itself. There are layers here. First layer, the surface. It’s the Death star blowing up a planet. The death star is labeled 'wasteful military spending', the beam is labelled 'imperial aggression' and the planet getting blown up is labeled 'galactic stability'.
So what can we take from that? Well, clearly R2N5 is trying to tell us that the death star is emblematic of how the empire's over-the-top military spending and eagerness to bring their weapons to bear is a threat to galactic stability.

But that's not what it's actually about. We need to kick the level of abstraction up a level here.

On a higher level what Gabe is trying to say here is that what we see and take for granted in a movie is not necessarily the end all be all of the situation. Yes, the Empire in star wars was evil, but it’s still a galactic empire. It has good people working for it. It has to consider politics. Darth Vader can't be everywhere, force choking everyone who disagrees with him. No matter how we, the viewers see the Empire, it still has to raise money to build its death star, it still has citizens who are unhappy with the way things are being run, writing political commentary in the newspapers.
There are two sides in every story, in other words, and just because the media portrays people a certain way, regardless of how accurate that portrayal may be, doesn’t mean that there aren't others who see things a bit differently.

What was to Luke Skywalker an evil empire, was, to the people of Coruscant, basically the bush administration.

Also, R2N5, assumedly a member of the R2 series, would be an astromech droid.  So just try to imagine R2-D2 with a paintbrush. Hilarious.

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