Perhaps, because I had read Joseph Campbell and had delved a bit into the ideas of Jung, I didn’t find the original Star Wars movie inspiring.
In fact, it seemed disposable, retrograde junk food for the mind(less).
Yes, it was “escapist” fare, and therein lies its toxicity. When Star Wars premiered in the late 1970s, U.S. culture was attempting to escape the unnerving revelations of the 1960s, for example, the abuse and limits of imperial power and the legacy of the nation’s systemic racism.
The U.S. citizenry could not abide the birth of new societal realities, including the imperative to dismantle White supremacy and abandon the pursuit of U.S. hegemony — thus, in the realm of the collective unconscious where movies hold powerful dominion, the U.S. public eschewed, thus wrought the demise of complex, human based movies and engendered the rise of simplistic, good versus evil banality i.e., celluloid, hyperkinetic colossuses, perpetually punctuated by consequence-devoid, adrenaline-injecting (hollow) action sequences.
Concurrent to the ascendancy of Star Wars, disco, for a time, would thrum into oblivion innovative music, and Ronald Reagan’s Star War-grade good versus evil platitudes would impress the doltish and denial-ridden — as the real evil empire, the U.S. empire, would, convinced of its Jedi-like goodness, embrace imperium sans reflection and remorse.
As was the case with Ronald Reagan and George Bush’s outrages against common sense and common decency, when Democrats enter the Executive Branch, Donald Trump’s outrageous campaign declarations will be normalized and codified into law, and rank and file Democrat hypocrites and denialists will become the policies apologists e.g., Wall Street and corporate crimes, drone murders and other acts of the empire’s perpetual War Machine, and trespasses against human rights and civil liberties.
Reagan trafficked in racist demagoguery against Welfare recipients but Team Clinton codified his mean-spirited talk into the punitive legislation cynically termed Welfare Reform as Obama has doubled down on the worst of Bush/Cheney.
How can one predict what a future Democratic president’s agenda will entail? Hint: Take note of which Republican declarations Democratic partisans are fuming in self-righteous outrage against at present.
Illustration by Dan Booth. Not to be reproduced without permission.