Thursday, November 1, 2012

A trilogy of second thoughts: Romney vs. Muppets, Star Wars, and YOU on a post-election panel

I’m gathering people for a Monday, Nov. 12 (9:30pm) Dionysium in Williamsburg at which we’ll hear a panel of politically-engaged folk’s reactions to the election, come what may – and I’d particularly like to hear from leftists and Obama supporters willing to reflect upon the past four years. 

I will moderate in evenhanded fashion and would love to hear from you now if you can be there then.


Most of the professional libertarians I’ve seen surveyed appear to be voting for Gary Johnson (as am I), but the libertarian masses (small as they are) appear to be going for Romney at a rate of about 70%.  Before the ostensibly-purer libertarians condemn them for doing so, I suppose there is one last, terrifying qualm worth mentioning (and I admit it’s terrifying): What if we look back decades from now and say that Romney, utterly lame as he is, was the best candidate free market advocates ever had a chance of electing president in this century? 

A horrible fate to be sure, but if he loses and is succeeded by, say, Huckabee or Santorum, we may well miss him.  That doesn’t make him great.  That doesn’t mean I’m voting for him (I vowed not to way back when he was condemning Rick Perry for criticizing Social Security).  It does mean that we potential spoilers have to weigh potentially high stakes.  I’m still voting for Johnson, though (along with about 14% of libertarians, at last count, taking a paltry 7% of the libertarian vote from each major-party candidate).  We could yet make history, of some sort. 

But mark my words, GOP, if Romney loses and you draw (or pretend to draw) the foolish lesson that Romney was simply too econ-oriented – and then someone like Gary Johnson runs again on the LP ticket while a true statist like Santorum or Huckabee or McCain or Bush runs on the GOP ticket, you’ll lose far more libertarians than you did this time (they really are getting impatient).  And thus you’ll risk losing the election again.


One of many issues Romney hasn’t quite handled right is the whole “Big Bird” flap.  He could so easily have said that Big Bird would flourish in the wild without government subsidies, but instead he made it sound like no subsidies means no Sesame Street, reinforcing the socialist view of it all (which he likely half-shares, despite attempts to paint him as a laissez-faire radical). 

But the resultant Million Muppet March slated for this Saturday in retaliation has already suffered one setback: The Muppets, like Star Wars, are owned by Disney and neither Disney nor ostensibly-neutral public broadcasting are interested in being dragged into the presidential campaign.  And so, though you may not have heard, the Million Muppet March has quietly (and lamely) been renamed the Million Puppet March.  It just won’t be the same, which is just as well. 

As for Star Wars: here’s my reasoning for why they should set the (quite possibly lame yet again) new trilogy decades after the previous films:

Spinoff comics and novels have covered events through about 134 years after Return of the Jedi.  I’d say add another fifty years or so to the setting of the new films to avoid messing with all the characters from the existing Expanded Universe material (while still allowing the possibility of a superannuated Luke and Leia having cameos).  I’d also change the opening tagline to reflect the new time setting: Make it “Right now, in a galaxy far, far away...” 

And I’d depict a galaxy that, while still very much the stuff of fantasy rather than hard sf, does not merely have characters who occupy similar slots to the irreplaceable icons of the older films but instead extrapolates from the world(s) in which those earlier characters lived to create a new mix-and-match period in fictional history. 

•Perhaps the Jedi have blended into the general population, for instance, so that everyone now has some measure of telekinetic or clairvoyant power. 
•Perhaps droids and humanoids have blended so that much of the population is cyborgs.  Perhaps – more ominously – artificial worlds resembling the Death Star are now commonplace. 
•Perhaps hyperspace technology has advanced to the point that travel between the stars is as easy and fast as transporting to a planet's surface in Star Trek. 
•Perhaps contact with galaxies beyond the Alliance's home is now common. 

And perhaps decades of peace have made the people of the Alliance comfortable with letting multiple political entities exist within that home galaxy (it is quite large, after all, and there are philosophical and political differences among the characters).  There might even be a purely-ceremonial Emperor after all this time.  Or is he purely ceremonial?  And let's see the Jawas trading on multiple worlds.  They've earned their slice of the pie, as surely as Lucas.

1 comment:

Thane Eichenauer said...

I am 45 years old and have long since given up hope that any given generic elected official either Republican or Democrat had any strong attachment to the idea of the free market. This election cycle I am particularly disappointed in Paul Ryan and his lack of willingness to defend his past support of Ayn Rand's written works. As Yaron Brook and Don Watkins point out in Free Market Revolution if you start out by agreeing that altruism is good and selfishness is bad you are left defining your positions in terms that boil down to "Democrat Light" which is why past Republican Party political surges have left the US with more government rather than less government.