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A New Hope?

Rewatching Star Wars is an odd experience.

It's surprisingly dirty, grimey and grotty.

It doesn't introduce the hero until about 15 minutes in.

Loads of the first reel is one-sided bickering, followed by silent wandering around in the desert.

Han is really very seedy... and a murderer.

Leia is a sarcastic, bossy, combative dominatrix; a far cry from the sexual-harassment-victim / soppy-girlfriend she later became.

The tone suddenly veers from deadly serious to comic/quippy as soon as the Falcon arrives at the Death Star.

The Stormtroopers hang around and chat.

The Rebels are an unprepossessing bunch - skinny, scrawny, tubby, greasy-haired, snaggletoothed, etc.

The droids are CLEARLY slaves to the humans.

The Sandpeople are CLEARLY evil Arabs.

The backstory as explained by Ben is much better than anything in the sequels, let alone the prequels: Ben and Annakin go and become Jedis, their protege Darth kills Annakin, Ben buggers off home. Clear, simple and emotionally resonant.

Darth is clearly a first name and is clearly NOT Luke's dad, no more than Leia is Luke's sister.  Luke and Leia clearly fancy each other.

The funny thing is that, if we take the prequel canon as applying to ...

Strange Matters


There is something very gothic about Doctor Who, in the hauntological sense.  I mean that the show keeps on doing monsters that represent, in various ways, 'the return of the repressed', monsters that represent buried anxieties, or anxieties that we have attempted to bury.  But the monsters tend to be steadfastly material in quite straightforward ways... and to embody material, social, historical nightmares (fascism is a big one that immediately suggests itself).

It's important to stress that this isn't a contradiction, as such.  Indeed, in many ways, it's 'business as usual' for the gothic.  You can't get more hauntological than vampires, but they tend to be interpreted as representing deeply materialist concerns, from veneral disease to monopoly capitalism (and, these days, teen romance... which is about as materialist as anything gets).  However, while they may represent material, social, historical anxieties, vampires are not straightforwardly material.  They are, like most classic gothic/hauntological monsters, profoundly spectral - or at least ab-physical.  They dissolve in sunlight, cast no reflection, can appear and disappear at will, can physically transform into bats or wolves, can reverse physical time by becoming young again after feasting, can defy gravity by crawling down ...

Eyepatch on the Left?

Perhaps the most interesting thing about 'Inferno' (interesting to me anyway) is the way that the fascist world of the Brigade Leader is distinguished by only a very few differences – mainly in terms of attitude and levels of state violence – from the ‘democratic’ capitalist world of the Brigadier and 70s Britain. There are more similarities than differences. There’s very little to distinguish a state-funded project in a ‘democratic’ world and one in a fascist world; very little distance between the basic jobs of a Brigade Leader and a Brigadier. The people behave differently but the essential structure of society is the same, albeit with very different levels of official repression. This reflects – probably accidentally, if we’re honest - the fact that fascism is not a fundamentally different form of economic system but a different way of running a capitalist state.

Actually, I’ve been calling them “fascists”… but the casual reference to the execution of the royal family, the fact that the Brigade Leader is a member of something called the “Republican Security Force” (the Nazis planned to reinstall Edward VIII as their puppet monarch when they took over Britain, not set up a ‘republic’), the Orwellian poster and ...

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