Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

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Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-07-05 03:38am

Video link



Lindsay Ellis(known for her fame as the Nostalgia Chick) did a video exploring the ideology of the First Order, and Star Wars and it's relationship to fascism.

What are your thoughts? Is the Galactic Empire and First Order, in Disney canon, not Legends canon, fascist? And if so, what does this mean, considering that Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, and other evil characters are on T-shirts, toys, coffee mugs, etc.? Is this responsible, or not?

Discuss.
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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by Gandalf » 2018-07-05 05:36am

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-07-05 03:38am
What are your thoughts? Is the Galactic Empire and First Order, in Disney canon, not Legends canon, fascist?
Yes.
And if so, what does this mean, considering that Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, and other evil characters are on T-shirts, toys, coffee mugs, etc.? Is this responsible, or not?

Discuss.
Don't forget the Clonetroopers. They're probably worth a mint on their own. I imagine that's why they wound up with weird brain chips, just because nobody wants to really address the ugly side of SW merch.

But I just assumed that their sheer marketability was a rational effect of a society which worships its military, and a film which can't show their full horrors. When we see the Stormtroopers fight, it's never them at their worst. They're missing the heroes wildly, or shooting other soldier guys. We don't see them massacre Jawas, or burn the Lars homestead. It's just well dressed villains being none too threatening on screen.
"Oh no, oh yeah, tell me how can it be so fair
That we dying younger hiding from the police man over there
Just for breathing in the air they wanna leave me in the chair
Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

- A.B. Original, Report to the Mist

"I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."
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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-05 04:38pm

Gandalf wrote:
2018-07-05 05:36am
FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-07-05 03:38am
What are your thoughts? Is the Galactic Empire and First Order, in Disney canon, not Legends canon, fascist?
Yes.
And if so, what does this mean, considering that Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, and other evil characters are on T-shirts, toys, coffee mugs, etc.? Is this responsible, or not?

Discuss.
Don't forget the Clonetroopers. They're probably worth a mint on their own. I imagine that's why they wound up with weird brain chips, just because nobody wants to really address the ugly side of SW merch.

But I just assumed that their sheer marketability was a rational effect of a society which worships its military, and a film which can't show their full horrors. When we see the Stormtroopers fight, it's never them at their worst. They're missing the heroes wildly, or shooting other soldier guys. We don't see them massacre Jawas, or burn the Lars homestead. It's just well dressed villains being none too threatening on screen.
We do see the aftermath of them doing those things, though, and honestly, I still find the burned corpses of Owen and Beru to be probably the most disturbing visual in the Star Wars films. I actually think that when it came to showing the villains' atrocities, A New Hope probably pulled its punches the least of any Star Wars film.

But yeah, there's a lot of really creepy shit in the Star Wars universe which gets largely glossed over to keep the films "family friendly". Like the fact that droids and clone troopers are both essentially slaves. Or that the Jedi Order used child soldiers.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-05 04:38pm

The Empire/First Order being evil is mostly a plot/background thing. Its characters and artifacts on the other hand are extremely toyetic and easily promoted. Star Wars is pretty much the ur-example of film merchandising, and as such they're going to carefully leave the real atrocities for stuff that only fans will really get into, like the books, comics, commentary online, and whatnot. The Death Star blowing up Alderaan is pretty much the worst example of the Empire's atrocities onscreen; everything else is pretty small beans, at least until you get to Rogue One and they blow up a chunk of Jedha. Battles and such aren't "atrocities" to most people, they're just war, and the combatants are assumed to be more or less fighting voluntarily.

The only movie I can honestly think of to really dive into the underbelly of what's going on in Star Wars thus far is Solo. And after how that went, I don't think they're going to start thinking about it too much anytime soon.
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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by Civil War Man » 2018-07-05 04:48pm

I thought the whole thing with the Stormtrooper Recruitment Drive in Disneyland was particularly disturbing. Considering that the sequel-era Stormtroopers are explicitly established to be conscripts who were kidnapped and brainwashed as children, they were basically entertaining the kids with the fun and whimsy of Space Boko Haram. I know that the Empire was merchandised to Hell and back under LucasFilm, but so was everything else. Meanwhile, some of those merchandise shots had nothing but First Order paraphernalia. Is Disney also putting out tons of Resistance/Jedi swag, or is what was shown actually representative of their merchandising? Because if it's the latter, they are taking Star Wars down a really dark path.

Regarding the First Order ideology, I think she has a good point in that the First Order doesn't really have an ideology beyond "We think the Empire was super cool," which makes them more like Neo-Nazis who are fascist because their idols were fascist, as opposed to being fascist because they legitimately believe in a fascist ideology.

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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-05 04:57pm

Civil War Man wrote:
2018-07-05 04:48pm
I thought the whole thing with the Stormtrooper Recruitment Drive in Disneyland was particularly disturbing. Considering that the sequel-era Stormtroopers are explicitly established to be conscripts who were kidnapped and brainwashed as children, they were basically entertaining the kids with the fun and whimsy of Space Boko Haram. I know that the Empire was merchandised to Hell and back under LucasFilm, but so was everything else. Meanwhile, some of those merchandise shots had nothing but First Order paraphernalia. Is Disney also putting out tons of Resistance/Jedi swag, or is what was shown actually representative of their merchandising? Because if it's the latter, they are taking Star Wars down a really dark path.
A cynical or paranoid person might look at the direction of American politics right now, and conclude that Disney has decided that appealing to fascism is good business. But there are plenty of examples you can point to that go the other way (Kylo Ren being deliberately characterized as a pathetic man-child, the increased diversity in casting, etc.). My guess is that the creative team and the marketing team are on different pages and have different agendas, as is often the case.
Regarding the First Order ideology, I think she has a good point in that the First Order doesn't really have an ideology beyond "We think the Empire was super cool," which makes them more like Neo-Nazis who are fascist because their idols were fascist, as opposed to being fascist because they legitimately believe in a fascist ideology.
Snoke seems to be a sort of Dark Side philosopher from what little we see of him, but I doubt a lot of the troops have more of an ideology than "Playing with big guns is cool" (Hux just seems to like power period) or "They'll shoot me if I don't follow orders".

Kylo Ren certainly seems like the sort of person you're describing.

I will say that I like Kylo Ren as a character in large part because he's a deconstruction of the usual "bad ass" Dark Sider. He is physically a dangerous threat and not incompetent when he can get past his emotional issues and focus on what he's doing (particularly TLJ), which you need to have a credible villain in this sort of film. But we're shown again and again that he is ultimately an insecure, pathetic man. And I think that's a healthy and timely antidote to the frequent portrayal of tyrants and murderers as "cool bad asses". That's a difficult balance to achieve, and I think they've done it fairly well in the ST, overall.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-05 06:02pm

I would suggest that whatever they're doing at the parks probably has little to do with the films, as the parks are a separate business that basically apply amusement-park notions underneath the general label of Star Wars. If it wasn't Star Wars, they'd be asking kids to choose between Iron Man and Captain America. Same shtick as the old Dixie Stampede restaurants had where they asked people to choose between 'North' and 'South' at the dinner theater (they're now just "Dolly Parton's Stampede", have ditched the Civil War stuff, and ask people to pick between "red" and "blue" or something similarly inoffensive IIRC).
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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-20 10:20pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-07-05 06:02pm
I would suggest that whatever they're doing at the parks probably has little to do with the films, as the parks are a separate business that basically apply amusement-park notions underneath the general label of Star Wars. If it wasn't Star Wars, they'd be asking kids to choose between Iron Man and Captain America. Same shtick as the old Dixie Stampede restaurants had where they asked people to choose between 'North' and 'South' at the dinner theater (they're now just "Dolly Parton's Stampede", have ditched the Civil War stuff, and ask people to pick between "red" and "blue" or something similarly inoffensive IIRC).
I largely agree, though I'm not sure I'd use "red" and "blue" as an example of an inoffensive, uncontroversial choice. :wink: Seeing as those are Republican and Democratic party colors, and will probably take the place of the blue and the grey if we ever have another civil war.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by Gandalf » 2018-07-20 11:12pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-05 04:57pm
A cynical or paranoid person might look at the direction of American politics right now, and conclude that Disney has decided that appealing to fascism is good business. But there are plenty of examples you can point to that go the other way (Kylo Ren being deliberately characterized as a pathetic man-child, the increased diversity in casting, etc.). My guess is that the creative team and the marketing team are on different pages and have different agendas, as is often the case.
I think it's probably as simple as the idea that a lot of children like to play soldier, and that the SW universe has plenty of stuff from which to choose. Unfortunately the Rebels/Resistance look a little silly, and the Space SS have all of the cool and easily merchable gear. Then when Clone Wars became a thing during the US' most recent run of soldier worship, Disney had a brand new property worth some decent money.
"Oh no, oh yeah, tell me how can it be so fair
That we dying younger hiding from the police man over there
Just for breathing in the air they wanna leave me in the chair
Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

- A.B. Original, Report to the Mist

"I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."
- George Carlin

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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-07-20 11:14pm

Gandalf wrote:
2018-07-20 11:12pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-05 04:57pm
A cynical or paranoid person might look at the direction of American politics right now, and conclude that Disney has decided that appealing to fascism is good business. But there are plenty of examples you can point to that go the other way (Kylo Ren being deliberately characterized as a pathetic man-child, the increased diversity in casting, etc.). My guess is that the creative team and the marketing team are on different pages and have different agendas, as is often the case.
I think it's probably as simple as the idea that a lot of children like to play soldier, and that the SW universe has plenty of stuff from which to choose. Unfortunately the Rebels/Resistance look a little silly, and the Space SS have all of the cool and easily merchable gear. Then when Clone Wars became a thing during the US' most recent run of soldier worship, Disney had a brand new property worth some decent money.
Why is it that the Rebels/Resistance are less... "cool"? I mean, okay, the Rebel infantry helmet is kind of dreary, and the uniforms a little bland, but I genuinely like the Rebel/Resistance pilot uniforms (more than the Imperial/First Order Tie pilot uniforms).
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by Gandalf » 2018-07-21 12:06am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-07-20 11:14pm
Why is it that the Rebels/Resistance are less... "cool"? I mean, okay, the Rebel infantry helmet is kind of dreary, and the uniforms a little bland, but I genuinely like the Rebel/Resistance pilot uniforms (more than the Imperial/First Order Tie pilot uniforms).
Imperial deign projects power. Their lines are clean, their people uniformed, and their strength comes from that. Even their music cues are strong and martial. Their colour schemes are largely monochromatic.
"Oh no, oh yeah, tell me how can it be so fair
That we dying younger hiding from the police man over there
Just for breathing in the air they wanna leave me in the chair
Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

- A.B. Original, Report to the Mist

"I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."
- George Carlin

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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by Galvatron » 2018-07-21 12:32am

Cool masks too.

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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by Gandalf » 2018-07-21 11:57am

Galvatron wrote:
2018-07-21 12:32am
Cool masks too.
That's true. Stormtroopers never look scared.
"Oh no, oh yeah, tell me how can it be so fair
That we dying younger hiding from the police man over there
Just for breathing in the air they wanna leave me in the chair
Electric shocking body rocking beat streeting me to death"

- A.B. Original, Report to the Mist

"I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."
- George Carlin

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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-07-21 01:45pm

Gandalf wrote:
2018-07-21 11:57am
Galvatron wrote:
2018-07-21 12:32am
Cool masks too.
That's true. Stormtroopers never look scared.
And as far as Disney goes, infinitely merchandisiable. Take stormtrooper mask, vacuformed cheap plastic, spray paint various logos, sell the Extra Special Super Edition (TM) for a hundred fifty bucks, put in the store by the ride and performance, watch little Timmy throw a massive fit and guilt his parents into buying him all kinds of crap so the kid can run around in a plastic mask for five minutes.

Seriously, Star Wars is probably one of the easiest universes ever to merchandisize...
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.

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Re: Disney and Star Wars Fascism marketability

Post by Galvatron » 2018-07-21 05:42pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-07-21 01:45pm
Seriously, Star Wars is probably one of the easiest universes ever to merchandisize...
You'd think so, but their merch is collecting dust on store shelves these days. It's depressing.


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