Monday, June 29, 2009

More on Star Wars

Here's a thought experiment. Suppose the Washowski  brothers decided now, in the year 2009, that The Matrix should have a subtitle, like Reloaded and Revolutions do.

They decide to call it The Matrix: Revelations because there's were the nature of the Matrix is revealed among other things.

Would you refer to The Matrix as "Revelations"? That should tell you everything you need to know about Star Wars vs. A New Hope.

P.S. I just want to mention one good example that illustrates my point:

Halo: Combat Evolved is usually called Halo, despite the potential for confusion with Halo 2 and Halo 3. We could call it Combat Evolved, esp. with Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach coming out soon, but we don't. Why? Probably because its a terrible name and there was no need to use it until 2004 but why change then since its clear Halo 2 is "Halo 2" and Halo is "Halo."

Generation R

I was reading the New York Times and came across this article.

I didn't know whether to laugh or sigh, so let me just quote the best line:

". . . millions of young Americans are facing the reality that manufacturing will no longer serve as a conveyor belt to the middle class."

The article is written as if this is a revelation. The tone gives a sense that those $28 an hour jobs were a right, not a gift they should have known wouldn't last much longer.

But there is a silver lineing in everything. This article is a good demonstration of how people respond to incentives: "Since the recession began, enrollment at [the local community college] has jumped 14 percent, largely because many laid-off workers have returned to school and because the uninviting job market has pushed many high school grads into college."

That being said, we can probably find better incentives than depressingly low wages at Wal-Mart and the grants administered through our arcane financial aid system.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


I named this blog "A New Hope" because of one my pet peeves.

I HATE it when people refer to Star Wars as "A New Hope."

It's disrespectful to the franchise. It's tantamount to saying Greedo did shoot first. It's the only way of saying "I'm not a fan of this franchise" in less than 12 parsecs.

I don't exactly understand the psychology of it, but there seem to be two classes of "ANH" people: loons and everyday people. One "ANH" guy I know is an everyday joe sci-fi nerd. You wouldn't think anything is wrong with him until you say "let's watch Star Wars" and he says "which one?" If I wanted to watch Empire I'd say "Empire," if I wanted to cry I'd say "Episode 2." Unfortunately some readers might think its a sensible question to ask--but try another context. If I said "let's watch Jurassic Park" would you know what movie I'm talking about? What about if I said "Jaws"? Would you ask which JP, which Jaws? Probably not.

But that guy is probably an exception to the rule. Another friend is a more typical ANHer: he thinks Twix candy bars are cookies and "Episode 3 > Star Wars." That tells you everything you need to know about his respect for the film and, more importantly, his IQ.

Still, wasn't Star Wars always called "Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope"?

Nope. The "Episode IV" and "A New Hope" were added to the scroll in one of infamous revisions 4 years after the film was made.

But doesn't it make sense to say "A New Hope" for consistency since we say "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi"? NO! By that logic we should just be saying "Episode V" and "Episode VI" to be consistent with the new movies--a terrible thing since we usually want to forget they exist.

Now, I will admit, a lot of my argument so far has been sophistry and ad homenim attacks, so for the record: the most important reason no one should ever say "A New Hope": It's a bad title. It's terrible. It's the worst of the six--by a wide margin.

Now you know where I stand: on this blog, Star Wars is a movie and A New Hope, if anything, is this blog.