Star Wars Memories

Will at the movies.

Originally uploaded by steven_d_krause.

So, yesterday we all went to see it. You know, the movie, the last one. It.

Here are some thoughts on Revenge of the Sith in no particular order:

  • We pulled Will out of school Friday morning in order to see this. At first, I felt guilty about taking the kid out of school to see a movie. But then one of my neighbors put some perspective on it for me: 10 years from now, there’s no way Will will remember what he did in school that day. But he will remember the day his mom and dad got him out of school to go see Revenge of the Sith.
  • I tried to take this picture of Will in the theater next to the posters for the movie and I was quickly QUICKLY told to put the camera away. So this is a shot of Will after the screening.
  • We all liked it quite a bit, and I think in some ways, it was the best of the series. Sure, the dialog is hokey and the acting a bit stiff in places, but I thought the way that this movie sets up the last three movies (oh wait– the first three movies, which are not the last three movies or episodes; er, ah… well, nevermind) is effective and clever, and the fight scenes and special effects are spectacular. It’s dark and relatively violent, but it didn’t phase Will even a bit. Which isn’t surprising since he saw the much more violent Lord of the Rings movies in the theater, too.
  • There’s all this junk about internet piracy and this movie and how it’s ruining Hollywood because folks are downloading movies. But the folks at Boing Boing have pointed out (and will continue to point out, I’m guessing) is that this is a movie that is going to make $150 million in the theaters this weekend. And I’m here to tell ya that the geeks who are downloading a crappy copy of the movie from a file sharing system are the same ones who are going to see it in the theater four or five times.
  • Personally, I think Hollywood has a different problem. Movies like Revenge of the Sith really need to be seen in a theater to be full appreciated: the big screen, the big sound system, etc. But with DVDs and even not big screen but decent TVs nowadays, there’s no reason to go to the theater. For example, we watch Connie and Carla last night, a movie that my mother would have called “cute.â€? It was cute, but there would be absolutely no reason to see it in the theater.
  • Last but far from least, it does not take a sophisticated literary/political theorist to see the political allegory in this movie. In brief, “the empireâ€? is created as the result of the senate giving the chancellor extraordinary powers because of the fear caused by a state of war. The Sith, the opposite of the Jedi, are powerful because they are greedy, materialistic, and think for themselves. This entry from the blog Daily Kos pretty much sums it up for me. So it seems fitting to me that this movie premieres on the weekend that the Senate is talking about the “nuclear optionâ€? of ending the filibuster for judicial nominees, which will make debate in the Senate less relevant and will weaken the minority even more than it has been by this administration.

The problems of Social Security reform explained in a handy flash presentation

Check out the winning entry to a contest for creating the best Flash presentation about the problems of Bush’s plans for social security. Part of the PAC. Needless to say, you need Flash to view this.

There were a couple of really interesting points in this thing, but I think the best one is about the cap. Social Security is 6.2% of your salary for the first $90K, for up to something like $6,000 a year. The implication of this is that for folks who make more than $90K, especially people who make a lot more than $90K, they pay a lot less of a percentage of their salary for Social Security than, say, me.

Filibuster against Frist

It’s been a while since I’ve checked out Jacob’s blog; I hope he keeps it up when he moves up to UM-Flint.

Anyway, he had a pretty interesting link there, Filibuster Frist @ Princeton University. It’s a protest against the senate majority leader and his threat to use the so-called “nuclear option” when it comes to filibusters against judges. Current events has this about Bush’s yet to be confirmed judges for various federal courts, but the real fight here is for the future Supreme Court appointments.

Two interesting facts about the Tennessee senator, heart surgeon, and possible future presidential candidate: Frist was a member of the 1974 Princeton graduating class, and the protest is taking place in front of the Frist Campus Center, a building sponsored by the senator’s family.

I can see the campaign slogan now:

Bill Frist: country doctor for president. Jeesh.

Bush at Calvin College: two random thoughts

While surfing around this morning, I came across a pseudo-blog at the Washington Post called “White House Briefing,” and I read Friday’s story about W. being the commencement speaker at Calvin College this spring. The writer, Dan Froomkin, answers the question “why Calvin College?” by pointing out that Calvin is “a highly regarded center of evangelical intellectual thought.” I suppose that’s true, but Calvin is also in Grand Rapids, which is smack-dab in the middle of Michigan “Bush Country.”

Anyway, two unrelated thoughts occur to me this morning. First, I’m pretty sure Calvin didn’t so much invite Bush to come speak, and I don’t think it was the result of Republican alumni per se; I’m pretty sure what happened is the White House said to the folks at Calvin “hey, guess what? W. is going to give your commencement speech.” That’s pretty much what happened here at EMU five or six years ago when Bill Clinton was the commencement speaker. As I understood the process back then, EMU was pretty much told Clinton was going to be speaking; it wasn’t so much that anybody at EMU asked him to come.

Second, I have a very different memory of Calvin College. This must be close to 20 years ago now, but my friend Troy and I had a mutual friend of ours from Cedar Falls named Ann (just friends, btw) who ended up going to Calvin College. I don’t remember Ann as being particularly religious– she was one of the “theater kids” at my high school– so I don’t know why she ended up out at Calvin, and I honestly have no idea why Troy and I would have shlepped all the way from Iowa out to Grand Rapids (other than just to go on a roadtrip), but shlep we did. I don’t remember a lot of evangelical intellectualism on our visit; instead, I remember meeting Ann’s friends who partied their asses off, seemingly 24 hours a day.

Of course, as I think about it, maybe there is a relationship to college age drunkenness, evangelical intellectualism, and W.: maybe Calvin (and other religious colleges) is considered such a “religious center” because, through an environment that fosters debauchery of the youth, it’s really building students who have something to repent for. I mean, isn’t that what made W. into an evangelical Christian, a youth of cocaine and drunk driving? It’s a kind of reverse psychology thing.