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05-31-1999, 01:16 AM
I finally saw the new Star Wars flick today, and considering it was after all a war movie, the violence was noticeably unnoticeable. Even during the land war scenes it was just about impossible to see anything even remotely humanoid being killed. In one scene where a character is stabbed through the heart by a light-saber (and even a few moments later when we see the body again), there is no blood in the vicinity of the wound. I donít see it as a ratings issue, because there were severed bloody appendages in both of the first two movies, and they were both PG. By going to such lengths to keep blood & gore out of his film, do you think George Lucas has taken sides in the argument that violence in the media incites violence in children?

05-31-1999, 01:29 AM
Well, the latest Star Wars flick was in production too long to have been affected by the latest bout of anti-violence. Without having seen the movie, my guess would be that Lucas was more interested in portraying a heroic, good vs evil conflict than a bona fide war movie. Besides, who's to say exactly what a light saber does to the body? Except for the guy who's going to tell me scientfically what a light saber does, of course ;)

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"I guess it is possible for one person to make a difference, although most of the time they probably shouldn't."

05-31-1999, 04:19 AM
If a light saber can melt blast doors, I'm guessing that it would cauterize a wound the instant it was made--thus bloodless wounds. But this isn't new to Star Wars. When Luke Skywalker got his hand cut off in The Empire Strikes Back he didn't bleed. So Lucas has been doing it that way since 1980, it's not a reaction to anything new.

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Jim Petty
A Snappy message should appear here

05-31-1999, 04:30 AM
I agree with Jimpy... I havent seen the new film yet, but on a side note I have a question relating to that - when Obi Wan was killed in Star Wars by Darth Vader he was sliced through the middle if I remember right. Why did Obi completely disappear? Wouldnt it stand to reason if he was cut in half, for his two parts to hit the floor and not vaporize? (or something like that) Was there any explanation for that, besides maybe mystical jedi powers that allows one to vaporize when killed?

05-31-1999, 05:54 AM
The lightsabers are principly plasma based wands of energy that are surrounded by a protective something so as to not instantly burn the face off the user when he lights it up. At least, that was the explanation made by a engineer on a show I saw recently. She also explained that in theory a lightsaber is scientifically sound, just not practical since we are unsure how to build one.

As to when we can get one? She stated that if we totally shifted all our scientific reasearch into building them..maybe about 20 years. Hmm...I can;t think of a better way my taxes can go than to have a lightsaber.

As to why Obi Wan disappeared. Well go spritual with me and you can say that Obi Wan, a hard nosed follower of the force "ascended" to the next level because of his mastery of the semantics of the force (like Yoda when he died). Quin did not because he was the supposed rebel of the Jedi council refusing to be on it for something or another and having problems with other members decisions. So he did not have the true nature of the Force to carry him to the next level. Woo...can I spout the BS or what?

Or maybe Lucas was too cheap back then or wants to use Quin for something else later. Who knows with him.

05-31-1999, 05:57 AM
By going to such lengths to keep blood & gore out of his film, do you think George Lucas has taken sides in the argument that violence in the media incites violence in children? Lucas has done nothing but maintain the status quo. Hollywood rarely, if ever, accurately portrays the amount of blood produced by mayhem, gunshot wounds or any other type of physical violence. It's a messy business, that, and not a pretty picture the public at large wants to see. Gratuitous violence is fine with us, as long as it does not produce liquids - and the same goes for our taste in movie sex.

Imho, the removal of the immediate effects of violence trivializes it and sends exactly the wrong message.. but I certainly would not insist Lucas have his 'droids spewing lubricating fluids all over the landscape, either.

05-31-1999, 08:54 AM
Light sabers seem to be a little erratic in their behaviour. In STAR WARS, when Ben Kenobi cuts off the guys arm, there is blood (although not much). In EMPIRE, Luke's hand is decapitated (so to speak) by Vader's light saber, with no blood, the laser presumably cauterizing. In PHANTOM MENACE, the guy who is stabbed through has clear burn marks on the clothing on his back, presumably the laser cauterized... ditto the other death by light saber a few moments later, no blood.

Maybe it depends whether the light saber is on full strenght or just on stun?

But remember that Ben Kenobi does call the light saber a more elegant weapon.

05-31-1999, 09:00 AM
I forgot to add, in STAR WARS, Ben Kenobi is clearly NOT killed by the light saber: he disincorporates a few seconds before the light saber blade hits his empty clothes.

Yoda seems to sort of disincorporate similarly in RETURN OF THE JEDI. So this would appear to be something that Jedis can do. The death of Annakin, and the deaths by light saber in PHANTOM MENACE, do not involve this "vanishing."

I think I've seen these movies too often.

05-31-1999, 11:20 AM
Th's a book out by Jeanne Cavelos titled "The Science of Star Wars". Prety good read if you're interested in that sort of thing.
Also, check this out as well:
http://www.synicon.com.au/sw/ls/sabres.htm
This guy, arguably, has too much time on his hands. But he's done a pretty good job of examining the numerous sources of 'how Star Wars works', with links to other sites and publications as well.
Enjoy!

<FONT COLOR="GREEN">ExTank</FONT>
"An elegant weapon, from a more civilized age."

05-31-1999, 12:05 PM
Why did Obi completely disappear?Keep in mind that Lucas sees his idea of "the Force" as something of a distilation of the various religious traditions of this galaxy (that we know about anyway). From this perspective, the scenes of Ben and Yoda dissapearing are not totally baseless. Although I can't think of any religious traditions about people disapearing per se when killed, Jesus's body supposedly assended into heaven after the resurection. According to the Catholic Church, the same thing happened to Mary at her death. Both of these were no doubt influenced by similiar OT stories referring to Enoch (Gen. 5:24) and Elijah (IIK. 2:11), the latter of whom ascended in a whirlwind. Obviously, the idea is that if you're really holy, God won't leave your body just lying around to decay like some lesser mortal.

It's also worth noting that in Star Wars, Ben chose to die, and Yoda was at least prepared for it to happen. Qui Gong, Vader, and Maul were all struck down. That might affect it. Or maybe they just weren't as "Force-ful."

05-31-1999, 12:11 PM
Oh, yeah--with regards to the OP, I thought it was pretty silly, too, that in the whole Gungun battle, you never saw a single one get shot. It makes me wonder if the droids were really trying. It seems like with that many people to shoot at, you'd actually have to aim pretty well to avoid hitting any of them! They should have been wiped out! At least in Jedi we got to see one stinkin' Ewok die. Personally, I think there should be a sequal to all the movies, in which the Gunguns and the Ewoks have a war and both species are totally destroyed. Painfully.

05-31-1999, 12:13 PM
I think the disappearing jedi isn't Biblical, but from science fiction origins. Heinlein's STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND, as I recall, gives the Martians the power to discorporate, suicidally dissolve themselves into the cosmic wossname.

05-31-1999, 04:57 PM
You all talk about how Vader, Maul, and Qui were struck down unlike Yoda and Obi-wan who crossed over... but didn't Luke see Anakin along with Yoda and Obi-Wan at the end of Jedi?
[QUOTE}Keep in mind that Lucas sees his idea of "the Force" as something of a distilation of the various religious traditions of this galaxy [/QUOTE]
Is it just me, or was anyone else annoyed by the metachlorion explanation in Episode I? It kind of ruined the mystical nature of the Force by breaking it down into a biochemical phenomenon.

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"[He] beat his fist down upon the table and hurt his hand and became so
further enraged... that he beat his fist down upon the table even harder and
hurt his hand some more." -- Joseph Heller's Catch-22

05-31-1999, 05:09 PM
Is it just me, or was anyone else annoyed by the metachlorion explanation in Episode I? It kind of ruined the mystical nature of the Force by breaking it down into a biochemical phenomenon.

No, you're not the only one...I hope that Lucas will explain away the phenonmenon as a legend or as a localized event, since Episodes IV-VI made no mention of it.

Oh, and as to Obi-Wan's disappearance...it seems that Vader was just as surprised as we were (he pokes at the clothing with his foot for a moment). Maybe Anakin didn't vanish at his death because he didn't know how.

05-31-1999, 06:15 PM
- - - I haven't yet seen it but several resasonable, intelligent people who aren't Star Wars freaks say that the production is disappointing in several respects.
- Also, the Star Wars freaks at work say the same thing as Heath said - in the Star Wars books, what happens to somebody when they are killed has to do with if they are good Jedi, neutral Jedi or Dark Side. There's a couple characters that die in ways other than these, but saying why would spoil the story.

05-31-1999, 06:45 PM
I don't know about the consistency of Jedis' deaths, but it seems to me that in ANH, Kenobi knew he was going to disincorporate upon Vader's death blow.

At the beginning of their battle, he tells Vader somthing like, "Strike me down now, and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

Seems he knew what was going to happen ...

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~ Complacency is far more dangerous than outrage ~

05-31-1999, 08:55 PM
Is it just me, or was anyone else annoyed by the metachlorion explanation in Episode I? It kind of ruined the mystical nature of the Force by breaking it down into a biochemical phenomenon.}}

That was one of the most bothersome things about the movie. (That, and Jar-Jar Binks, or whatever the hell his name is.) If they had this metachlorion thing in the Episodes 4-6, they probably would have figured out Leia was a Jedi. But mainly, I was bothered because this wonderful, mysterious Force became a genetic phenomenon.
I guess the movie could never have lived up to all the hype. I still went and saw it. I may see it again. And I'll buy it on tape, just to have it. There were some enjoyable things, like Darth Maul.


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Neil

". . .they could as easily have been carrying euphoniums and wearing war paint for all the notice their quarry would have taken of them."
-Douglas Adams, "Life, the Universe, and Everything"

05-31-1999, 10:20 PM
I wouldn't have minded Jar-Jar if they had given her (him?) it subtitles.

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Mastery is not perfection but a journey, and the true master must be willing to try and fail and try again

05-31-1999, 11:24 PM
While were on the subject of Episode 1, has anybody else noticed some (probably unintended) racial steriotypes represented in the aliens. Jar Jar's people seem like some kind of pre-civil rights idea of "step'n'fetchit" black folks. The greedy, economically emperious Trade Federation species had noticably asian accents. And the junk dealer could have played Shylock at the Globe.

05-31-1999, 11:57 PM
If we can get over the fact that all of these different species are even speaking English to begin with, I suppose sprinkling in a few accents is only one more tiny step in the same direction. I noticed the Asian accent almost immediately, as did my Vietnamese friend. He was not offended, but thought that most people probably would be. We did wonder why Queen Amidala was wearing what appeared to be ceremonial Japanese headdress & Geisha face paint throughout the movie, I suggested it was an attempt at making the character a quickly identifiable exotic figure of royalty.

I was most annoyed at the excessive use of current day slang, I mean- moolah? Really.

06-01-1999, 12:48 AM
Shoulda started another thread for "Star Wars Ethnicity"....

Jar Jar's people seem like some kind of pre-civil rights idea of "step'n'fetchit" black folks.

I got into this at work with some people-- please tell me that I'm not the only one who saw Jar-Jar's accent and mannerisms as Jamaican (or, at least, as Hollywood's stereotype of a Jamaican).

We did wonder why Queen Amidala was wearing what appeared to be ceremonial Japanese headdress & Geisha face paint throughout the movie, I suggested it was an attempt at making the character a quickly identifiable exotic figure of royalty.

She kinda reminded me of a princess from India.

06-01-1999, 12:56 AM
Jar Jar and his kin had ears that could easily be mistaken for Jamaican dreadlocks. I also noticed that their army marched in the victory parade like so many 1970s Blacksploitation flik pimps.

06-01-1999, 09:00 AM
Jar Jar's people seem like some kind of pre-civil rights idea of "step'n'fetchit" black folks.

Yeah, except not one of them sounded noticeably "black" (whatever that means), and they appeared to be pretty technologically advanced. Seems to me people are taking their own racial prejudice with them, and projecting it onto characters who, we shall note, are not human beings.

Jar Jar and his kin had ears that could easily be mistaken for Jamaican dreadlocks.

Err . . . yeah, maybe if you were looking really hard for ridiculous things to bitch about.
I also noticed that their army marched in the victory parade like so many 1970s Blacksploitation flik pimps. [/quote]

Uh, you do know those are supposed to be aliens, and not people, right? You did notice the muscular, flexible necks, which would probably bob like that out of biological necessity when walking, like camels or giraffes, right? You did notice that the characters who really were black-skinned humans were the head of the Queen's army and the head of the Jedi council, right?

06-01-1999, 09:15 AM
Any one of the "racial" or "ethnic" accents would have been OK, I think it was the preponderance of use of stereo-type accents that put me off. And notice that the earlier films didn't need to do that -- the lobster-guy in JEDI speaks like an alien, but not with an indentifiable accent. Similarly, Jabba in JEDI and Greedo in STAR WARS; recognizing that they're subtitled, but still, they speak "alien", not simply Japanese-accented English.

06-01-1999, 09:37 AM
According to the "Making Of . . ." book that ties into the film, the voices for the Trade Federation aliens were based on tapes of foreign-born people speaking English. IOW, people for whom English was not their first language speaking it. Like, say, aliens.

06-01-1999, 09:48 AM
Phil - I assure you that a person does not have to be racially prejudice to recognize racial stereo-types. I'm sure what ended up on the screen was probably not intentional, but it is an indicator of how little thought was put into how the aliens might be perceived. Jar Jar calling the white guy "Master" every couple minutes didn't help.

As for the black characters, well, you tell me how important either of them (because there were only two) were to the story. I hope Samuel L. Jackson returns in the future movies, otherwise Lucas has wasted the talents of one our greatest actors in a completely superflous role.

Granted, I had been clued into these details (by a black friend, racial prejudice on his part, no doubt?) before seeing the film and may have been on the look out for them. Still - I am surprised they weren't first noticed by the producers.

06-01-1999, 11:35 AM
Phil - I assure you that a person does not have to be racially prejudice to recognize racial stereo-types. I'm sure what ended up on the screen was probably not intentional, but it is an indicator of how little thought was put into how the aliens might be perceived.

Why does everyone assume that nonhumans are black, that's what I want to know? Like I said, it's the viewer's own predisposition being projected onto the movie. I've heard this "Steppin Fetchit" thing repeatedly, and it seem to me like a meme that has wormed its way quickly into public opinion, but which has no basis in fact.

The Gungan speech doesn't sound remotely Jamaican, although white people who don't really know what Jamaicans sound like might think so (and I bet black voiceover actor Ahmed Best knows the difference).

Jar Jar calling the white guy "Master" every couple minutes didn't help.

I guarantee you that not once does Jar Jar call anybody in the movie "Master." Not once. And if he did, you get a shiny new dime. (FTR, I've seen the movie five times, so I'm certain I'm correct.) This is exactly what I'm talking about--you've decided that Jar Jar is a negative racial stereotype, so your mind starts filling in things that don't even exist in order to justify your own predisposition. "Calling the white guy 'Master'"--give me a break. Never happens, not once.

He does refer to the Gungan leader as "Boss Nass," which is apparently his title and name. (And, BTW, it's been pointed out that Jar Jar walks alot like Shaggy from the "Scooby Doo" cartoons.)

The white Obi-Wan Kenobi does refer to Qui-Gon Jinn as "Master," and so does Yoda for that matter. "Master" is the Jedi level after "Knight."

As for the black characters, well, you tell me how important either of them (because there were only two) were to the story.

Yeah, the head of the army isn't at all important.

I hope Samuel L. Jackson returns in the future movies, otherwise Lucas has wasted the talents of one our greatest actors in a completely superflous role.

He asked to be in the movie and to work with Yoda. He didn't ask for a starring role. Ever heard of a cameo?

Granted, I had been clued into these details (by a black friend, racial prejudice on his part, no doubt?) before seeing the film and may have been on the look out for them.

Do you think so? Again, why the assumption that the Jar Jar character, a nonhuman, is supposed to be black? Or even "black"?

Still - I am surprised they weren't first noticed by the producers.

Maybe they know the difference between an imaginary alien and a human. I wonder how much of an issue this would be if Jar Jar's voice artist wasn't black?

06-01-1999, 02:12 PM
Long ago in this thread, ExTank said:Th's a book out by Jeanne Cavelos titled "The Science of Star Wars". Prety good read if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Gack! Actually, it was a horrible book. I read it thinking it would be pretty good (I liked "The Physics of Star Trek" and "Beyond Star Trek" by Lawrence Krauss, and hoped Cavelos would put out a similar book), but I just got more and more annoyed as I read it. Heck, by the end of it she isn't even dealing with science any more, just speculations based on debunked parapsychological experiments. Some of the "experts" she cites are ridiculous (though they are mixed in with some pretty good ones, so it's sometimes hard for the reader to tell who they should pay attention to if they aren't already familiar with these folks).

I could go on, but I think I've gotten my thoughts on it across. :)

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On the other subject in this thread:
PapaBear -- pldennison is right; JarJar never calls Qui Gon "master." Perhaps you misunderstand the way he says "me," which is "messa" (he also says "you" as "youssa").

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"Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand."
-- Neil Peart, RUSH, "Witch Hunt"

06-01-1999, 02:14 PM
Guess you liked the movie, huh, Phil?

So did I. I broached the subject because I (and plenty of other people) could see stereo-types being perpetuated in many of the characters. I'm sure my perceptions were colored by what I had heard before seeing the movie. Your correction on the "master" thing has me wondering if I would have noticed this stuff if I had seen the movie before hearing other people's take on it. That is why I asked. To preclude having to answer a "what stereo-types?" post, I gave some examples. Your inference that I am in some way projecting my own racial prejudices onto the screen got my hackles up, and I probably clung to the stereo-type thesis even more tightly than I otherwise would, because of that.

If I was Lucas I would have certainly been more carefull about how I portrayed the aliens. Wheather you like it or not, as far as SF symbolism is concerned, Extraterestrials=other races or nationalities.

As to casting; S.L. Jackson's cameo is simply distracting, and adds nothing to the film. The general may be important to his army but he aint all that important to the story.

I don't think Lucas is a racist, I just don't think he's alert to many of the societal equations people will make between this great mythology and the real world.

06-01-1999, 02:28 PM
If I was Lucas I would have certainly been more carefull about how I portrayed the aliens. Wheather you like it or not, as far as SF symbolism is concerned, Extraterestrials=other races or nationalities.

To an extent, sure, but not always. I think the hem and haw being made over the Gungans in this movie is much ado about nothing. Frankly, the characters are portrayed as having a much better organization and army than the human characters who inhabit the same planet. I certainly don't think they're intended to stand for any particular race or nationality; "Star Wars" isn't that kind of "social-commentary" SF.

In the event, I wonder how much these points would be raised if Jar Jar had been voiced by notable white slapstick comedian Jerry Lewis, or, better yet, with his broken English, Roberto Benigini?

06-01-1999, 02:34 PM
For the record - I had no idea that Jar Jar was voiced by a black actor. I assumed he was done by the same white guy who did Roger Rabbit.

06-01-1999, 03:51 PM
I must bring up a quibble here. Various people have said (here and in other threads) something along the lines of "if you see a stereotype, it's your own prejudices".

This is not neccesarily so, but it does have some basis in reality. More like, it's based on prejudices AND ignorance. If you don't interact with people of different cultures to impress in your mind that there is no "typical" example of a given race. Instead, you are left with the examples you do see most often in film and tv - the stereotype. That's the whole definition of stereotype. It's the conventional portrayal of a given thing.

The interesting thing is that you often become most aware of stereotypes when you become more familiar with a culture and realize how different it can be from the stereotype.

Now, there are differnent parts of a complete stereotyped racial character. You mainly have a) what they look like, b) how they talk and c) how they act (physically).

So, to many people, they feel that Lucas has combined a certain part of a stereotype (how people talk in the case of the psuedoasians) with the otherwise alien features of how they look and/or act. I definitely saw this with the psuedoasians (can't remember their race, so I'll have to stick to this name). I also saw similarities with Jar Jar's speech to some black speech stereotypes. If not for this similarity, I don't think the "pimp walk" stereotype would have really entered into most people's minds.

Anyway, enough of a diversion. I'm just trying to clear some things up which I think have been muddled.

06-01-1999, 11:32 PM
Having seen Star Wars just once (each movie once, I mean, including the new one) I didn't really notice any kind of stereotyping. I noticed a variety of accents, but figured that was done to show this is one species, this is another, etc. As for Jar Jar, the way he walked looked more like the product of computer-animation (I really think that computer-animation creates very odd looking movement) and the way he talked seemed modeled after Stefanie from Full House. (For example, "How rude!" and other annoying expressions.) I don't think noticing stereotypes means you are prejudiced (just the opposite, those who are prejudiced tend to believe stereotypes, and would accept them as true representations of how "certain people" act) but I do think some people (those who ahd been tipped off before seeing the movie) were probably looking for stereotyping.

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Cave Canem. Beware the Dog.

06-02-1999, 01:32 AM
I hesitate to call it racist, but I think there's some definite stereotyping going on. The lead characters (both heroes and villians) somehow manage perfect English, no matter what their race. The low-life, on the other hand, all speak with heavy accents -- accents which, by the way, have been used in movies over time to indicate ignorance (comic or otherwise), venality and other character flaws.

And for everyone who thinks the characters aren't really stereotypes because they aren't human, go back and take a good look at the crows in Dumbo.

06-02-1999, 06:14 AM
Sorry, but I still think anyone who watches the movie and says, "This obviously nonhuman character walks oddly, talks funny, and acts silly--he must be representing black people!" is throwing their own preconceptions, predispositions, and prejudices at the screen. The animators who handled the character said they were going for a "Buster Keaton-type" activity. Buster Keaton, we will note, was not black. It's a slapstick character--why assume it represents a racial minority?

06-02-1999, 02:24 PM
If I may poke a sharp stick at the hornet's nest...

Forgive me but Qui-Gong & Obi-Wan talked, walked & looked awfully Caucasian to me. Am I projecting Caucasian stereotypes onto the screen? That's a ridiculous assertion to make, since the obvious response is So what if they are? What's wrong with them being cast as a Caucasian race?

By the same token, what's so horrible in suggesting that certain racial tags were used for the Trade Federation aliens, Gungans or any other species? As I think I said earlier, my friend & me perceived the similarities & appreciated them. The Gungans were portrayed as a brave, proud species willing to overcome the prejudices of their own planet & unite with an enemy species for a common goal. What's wrong with being cast in that light?

BTW, a review at sidewalk.com suggests that Jar-Jar resembles something "half-platypus, half-effeminate Rastifarian".

06-02-1999, 02:31 PM
pldennison:

Sorry, but I still think anyone who watches the movie and says, "This obviously nonhuman character walks oddly, talks funny, and acts silly--he must be representing black people!" is throwing their own preconceptions, predispositions, and prejudices at the screen.


Hey Phil, what about the crows in Dumbo? This has already been mentioned, but it appears you skipped it.

06-02-1999, 02:33 PM
If the intent was to base Jar Jar on Buster Keaton, then those responsible failed miserably.

No, Buster Keaton wasn't black. Nor did he talk, or make any exagerated facial expressions.

Buster Keaton, indeed! I think it's time for someone to visit their neighborhood video store.

06-02-1999, 02:50 PM
Sorry, but I still think anyone who watches the movie and says, "This obviously nonhuman character walks oddly, talks funny, and acts silly--he must be representing black people!" is throwing their own preconceptions, predispositions, and prejudices at the screen.
---------------------------------------------

Hey Phil, what about the crows in Dumbo? This has already been mentioned, but it appears you skipped it.

I thought I pretty clearly implied above that I was referring specifically to "The Phantom Menace" and the Jar Jar character. If you missed it, I can maybe draw pictures or something.

I don't think there's any question that the crows in "Dumbo" were meant to represent the prevailing conception of black people. I also don't think that the Gungans in general or Jar Jar specifically were meant to represent black people. "Star Wars" has never engaged in that sort of representational use of aliens.

No, Buster Keaton wasn't black. Nor did he talk, or make any exagerated facial expressions.

Buster Keaton didn't make exaggerated facial expressions? Does "deadpan" count?

06-02-1999, 03:02 PM
"Deadpan" is the exact oposite of exagerated facial expresions. I'd hardly describe Jar Jar as "The Great Stone Face"!

Really. I mean it. Check Buster Keaton out on video. Even if it doesn't make my point for me, it's still great stuff.

06-02-1999, 04:18 PM
Jar Jar's people seem like some kind of pre-civil rights idea of "step'n'fetchit" black folks. The greedy, economically emperious Trade Federation species had noticably asian accents. And the junk dealer
could have played Shylock at the Globe.

Jar Jar Binks on screen image was greatly influenced by the way Ahmad Best performed. Best, who is black, was hired to be on screen then erased when the computer generated Jar Jar was inserted. His manerisms, which were not always scripted, came form his years of working in Stomp were recreated in CG. The voice is also Best's. The language was designed by studying how people who know just barely enough English to get by tend to speak.

How the Trade Federation spoke was based on a detailed study on how people who learned English as a second language and have mostly mastered it tend to speak. The association of their voices with Asian voices is retrofitting at best.

Watto was designed to be a low end used car dealer type character and he was designed to be somewhat sterotypical, however his voice, per se, isn't sterotypical of any one people.

This whole argument seems vastly overblown to me. But it isn't new. Francis Ford Coppola (who's daughter Sophia is in The Phantom Menace now that I think of it) was hounded by accusations that he was anti-Italian for the Godfather movies despite the fact that he, Mario Puzo and just about everyone else associated with the movie was Italian. Ahmad Best, who is black, added a great deal to the character of Jar Jar Binks. That doesn't make it racist.

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Jim Petty
A Snappy message should appear here

06-02-1999, 06:19 PM
I began reading this thread yesterday. This morning, there was an article in the paper about people claiming Jar Jar was a racist stereotype. The trade federation people were mentioned, too. I don't really need to repeat much from the article, as it had pretty much the same stuff we've gone over here. However, the article mentioned something to the effect that people had seen Arab and Italian stereotpes. The article didn't go into detail on this. Anyone know what that's referring to?
As a side note, the article mentions a site called JarJarMustDie.com
I'll check that out in a few minutes.

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Neil

". . .they could as easily have been carrying euphoniums and wearing war paint for all the notice their quarry would have taken of them."
-Douglas Adams, "Life, the Universe, and Everything"

06-02-1999, 06:53 PM
The lead characters (both heroes and villians) somehow manage perfect English, no matter what their race.

What about Yoda? What flavor of perfect English is he speaking?!?!

Listening not, I think you are.

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TT

"Equal Opportunity means everybody has the same chance at being incompetent."
--Dr. Lawrence J. Peter

06-02-1999, 08:42 PM
What about racial stereotypes in Star Trek? The black subserviant Uhura, the Japanese computer user Sulu? Hell, I'm offended that the American boy in Titanic had to gamble his way onto the boat, and that he was an underachieving drifter. For crying out loud people, if you want to find something to be offended about in any movie, t.v. show, (really anything in popular culture) you probably can.

06-03-1999, 09:35 AM
I'm offended that I have not been singled out to be offended!

(Oh, and Neil -- the Arab or Italian offense is supposedly Watto, Anakin's owner [though I've also heard that he is supposed to be Jewish -- I wish people would make up their minds!].)

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"Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand."
-- Neil Peart, RUSH, "Witch Hunt"

06-03-1999, 11:23 AM
After seeing the movie 3 times, and a 4th time tonight, I feel qualified to comment:
As for Qui-Gon not fading away, your death has to be accepted for that to happen. I'm sure he would have rather not died so he could see Anakin through. The older Anakin didn't fade away for the same reason. However, he and Qui-Gon still become "one with the Force" but it's delayed.
Now the stereotypes... Jamaican Jar-Jar? I still don't see it. And the voice doesn't match the ways I've heard real and stereotyped Jamaicans talk. And the ears/dreadlocks thing is silly... are we going to say every floppy eared character ever is a jamaican stereotype now? BTW, the Jamaicans I've talked to speak better english than most americans.
On to Watto... well, he definitely fits the stereotype of a sleaze-ball. I've seen people say he's Italian, Jewish and Arabic. This alone should show that Watto isn't a racial stereotype at all. The only reason people see these races is because, in more offensive films, sleaze-balls tended to be Italian, Jewish or Arabic. Watto exhibits nothing particular to any of these races, however.
The Trade Federation Viceroys... I admit, I thought this somewhat offensive at first. But really... their grammar is perfect, and so's their pronounciation (They don't say "Queen Amidara" or anything blatantly moronic like that) It just has a Chinese twang to it. Of course, anytime you twist around English a little, people will try to associate it with some region or country, no matter what.

06-03-1999, 12:30 PM
This morning, there was an article in the paper about people claiming Jar Jar was a racist stereotype...
I saw that article to. It represented how the news media operates. Twenty some paragraphs of people saying Jar Jar is a racist stereotype followed by one paragraph of a Lucas representative denying it without going into any details of the denial--all of which I have outlined above. My information, in case you're interested, comes from the book The Making of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

I noticed that the people in the article say that Jar Jar should be eliminated from the next movies and that Samual Jackson and other blacks should be given a bigger role. This is interestin in that Lucas has stated that Jar Jar, and the Gungains in general, play no role in the next movie and will be visible in, at best, a cameo. And the Jackson will have a bigger part. Now these critics in the paper will be taking credit for something that was going to happen anyways. If I were Lucas, I'd throw Jar Jar in the movie just to annoy them.

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Jim Petty
A Snappy message should appear here

06-04-1999, 02:12 PM
I don't know if there are rules against copying text from one MB to another, but this appeared on in a Mr. Cranky forum and I thought it was hilarious (and so appropriate to this discussion) that I had to share. May the copyright gods have mercy on my soul.

From www.mrcranky.com (http://www.mrcranky.com) :

Lucas Announces new Episode 2 characters!

Posted by: bw@hatemail.com (blitzwing)

BEWARE *SPOILERS BELOW*

In a stunning move, Star Wars mastermind George Lucas has released a revealing sneak peek at several new characters created in anticipation of Episode 2: The Next One.

Following the tradition of Jar Jar Binks, a character with a distinct Caribbean heritage, Lucas says his ILM creative team has drawn each of the new characters from other "hilarious world cultures." He explained, "Considering the success of cheesy racial stereotypes in my past films, it was only natural to expand the Star Wars universe to offend as many racial and ethnic groups as possible."

The first new character, Whitey Bigfro, is envisioned by Lucas as an outcast member of the Waspasoids, a wealthy species of albino cave-dwellers. Early in episode 2, Bigfro develops a bizarre obsession for Jar Jar Binks, and quickly begins to copy Gungan slang, fashion and music. 90210's Brian Austin Green has already been cast in the role.

Lucas plans to use a combination of live-action and CGI to create the next character, Vinnie the Hutt, Capo de Capo of all Hutts in the entire galaxy. ILM sources reveal that Jabba's gargantuan Godfather made his first millions by muscling his way into the sex-droid racket and then consolidated his power by seizing control of the lucrative Wookie casino cartel. The sources go on to describe Vinnie as "a 20 ton behemoth who maintains his enormous girth through a steady diet of Ewok ravioli." Lucas has considered offering the role to Oscar-winning actor Marlon Brando, but the director worries that "even current computer graphics technology may not be able to make [Brando] look thin enough [to play a Hutt]."

Another new character is the "hygenically challenged spice dealer" Paco Bell, who hails from what Lucas described as "the seedy East side of Coruscant." He added "The rebellion initially recruits Paco to smuggle illegal 'aliens' over Republic borders. However the situation becomes much more complicated when one of his passengers wins billions in the Imperial lottery." When asked about possible casting options, Lucas responded "Imagine Erik Estrada in a Han Solo outfit."

The next character is Polska Kelbazza - clumsily inept Imperial Admiral. Lucas had little to say about this chracter other than "he's most notable for ordering a screen door be installed on every Imperial Star Destroyer." Lucas hints that Kelbazza may also be responsible for designing the ventillation shaft that enabled Luke Skywalker to destroy the Death Star with a single shot. Lucas says he's leaning toward casting Rodney Dangerfield as the Admiral, but only if the famous comedian can "develop the British accent required of all Imperial officers."

The final new TNO personality is Dirk Starflamer, the first openly gay non-droid, non-Jar Jar character in the Star Wars universe. Lucas had originally planned to include this flamboyant Jedi, who weilds a purple triangular-shaped light saber, in the original film. But due to the oppresive attitude at the time towards homosexuality in children's movies, he was forced to abandon the character. Early unsubstantiated reports indicate that in TNO's climactic final scene, Starflamer shockingly reveals that he is Anakin's long-lost father. 20th-Century Fox had singled the role down to two possible actors: Tom Hanks, in a reprisal of his Academy Award winning role in 'Philadephia', and Kevin Spacey, a well-known closeted Hollywood homosexual. But both actors were rejected by Lucas for being "nowhere near queer enough."

When asked why Lucas would release such surprisingly candid information about a film series that has in the past been shrouded in secrecy, insiders speculated that toy manufacturers may have ordered the move. "The merchandisers desperately want to start the building the hype early for [the blockbuster sequel]" revealed a source who wishes to remain anonymous.

"That's utterly ridiculous, I have total creative control. I would never sell out my fans. The marketing guys have no influence whatsoever," insisted Lucas, as he hurried to board his private jet on route to a "totally unrelated" meeting with Pepsico executives.

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"I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it," Jack Handy

06-04-1999, 04:14 PM
>>So, to many people, they feel that Lucas has combined a certain part of a stereotype (how people talk in the case of the psuedoasians) with the otherwise alien features of how they look and/or act. I definitely saw this with the psuedoasians (can't remember their race, so I'll have to stick to this name). I also saw similarities with Jar Jar's speech to some black speech stereotypes. If not for this similarity, I don't think the "pimp walk" stereotype would have really entered into most people's minds.<<

Is Jar Jar's speech somewhat similar to black stereotyped speech? Possibly.

Does that mean that Jar Jar is a parody of blacks or of black stereotypes? No.

Frankly, I'm amazed that no one has yet spotted the (to me) obvious connection here. Ask yourself a simple question: Why is "stereotypical" black speech what it is?

Answer: Because a group of comedians who wanted to portray the classic buffoon characters in the early parts of this century chose to make those characters black.

What is Jar Jar? A classic buffoon character.

Simple, no?

Someone entirely different wrote:
>>(Oh, and Neil -- the Arab or Italian offense is supposedly Watto, Anakin's owner [though I've also heard that heis supposed to be Jewish -- I wish people would make up their minds!].)<<

Ever read _The Murders in the Rue Morgue_?

-Bob

06-05-1999, 09:00 PM
Actually, if I may put in my take on Jar Jar Binks' way of talking, I hadn't made the Jamaican/Caribbean/black connection at all when I saw the movie. I thought it just sounded like baby talk. In fact, I was embarrassed because it sounds like the way I talk to my pets, "Yousa good kitty. Mesa wuv kitty. Yousa good Jimmy-puddy. Mesa wuv Jimmy-puddy." Am I part Gungan?

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"I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it," Jack Handy