Saturday, April 01, 2006

Deconstructing Star Wars

The core elements of the Star Wars movies are typical of fantasy stories (I'm talking the classic Star Wars):

The reluctant farmboy is called to adventure, guided by a mystic wizard with a ragtag group of friends and their noble steed to infiltrate a spooky fortress and rescue a perfect princess from the sinister clutches of a real bad dude.

George Lucas blew our minds by putting a futuristic spin on things and it is my assertion that he was heavily influenced by a crappy warehouse environment. When I, myself, am working in a crappy warehouse I see many things that I recognize from the Star Wars films.

Starting with all the smooth polished floors, the similarities between the technology in the ship hangers and warehouse equipment: lasers, how my "tug" is like a speeder-bike, how you can put a cart on the (fork)lift and raise it two feet and it looks like it's floating as Luke's speeder does. If you've ever seen those robotic arms they use for welding, it would be easy to evolve that thought into a droid. The "trash compactor" scene could easily have been the influence of a warehouse environment. Where else, but a warehouse, could you possibly find a general populace made up of guys that look and sound like wookies or that has a "Star Wars"-level of people missing limbs? And who among us has never had a boss that bears a striking resemblance to Jabba the Hut?

Can't you just imagine George Lucas and a coworker slacking off out behind a warehouse with George waving around one of those long flourescent light tubes and saying, "Ernie, watch as I bring balance to the universe with my Sabre of Light!"

And then his friend, Ernie (who is missing his front teeth and his left hand), says, "But firth you'll have to vanquith me, the darth lord!"

George says, "Very well. Prepare to be smitten as you've never been smitten before, Darth."

And then Ernie says, "But, Lucath... I'm your father."

And then George says, "Wait wait, I need to write this down."

Maybe that is difficult to picture but that is only because the dialogue I wrote is twice as good as any Lucas ever did. But I think you get the idea. It practically writes itself if you think about it, just like "Back to the Future" was penned by some electronics student. C'mon, Flux Capacitor? Did he open a book on soldering and randomly point at words to come up with that one? And I'm sure "the fourth dimension" (time) was a daily topic in his "Math for Guys Who Like Drawing Lightning Bolts" class.

So there you have it, the best deconstruction since that movie "Shakespeare In Love." I have no evidence of any of these connections. It's pure speculation but it still makes me feel better that my crappy job may have me on a path like that of Lucas.

For educational purposes I tried to find a clear and concise definition of "Deconstruction" but I don't think one exists (so the word "deconstruction" is a perfect example of its own definition: basically, that no one can agree what it means). Here is one of the more straight-forward definitions I found on Google:

Deconstruction is a complex concept that is based on the limitations of language to express one meaning for a word. Such considerations as the context, biases in the speaker, power (economic and/or political) change over time and thus meanings and interpretations change over time. Deconstructionists thus state the impossibility of a single signification, representation and/or reality that all will agree is true.

Kind of like the way people read the Bible.

If you ask me, using this as a method to analyze literature seems to take you away from the story and what the writer DOES successfully communicate to you just for the sake of knit-picking the differences between the social conditions of the writer and you, whoever-you-are.


slimysculpin said...

Awethome, the lithping darth lord.

Seen this?

Native Minnow said...

George Lucas may not be able to write good dialogue, but I still thought the Star Wars movies were the coolest thing EVER when I was a kid.