A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

They Love Him in Georgia

I am donning my armor against terrible disappointment. I am girding my loins – girding my loins, I tell you – to once again do battle with the simpering, whimpering enemy of sane and reasoned political thought: Hollywood liberalism. Yes, I am getting ready to face nothing less than the leftist, anti-war venom that George Lucas has apparently injected into Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

As I do, I can’t help but recall the scene in Tbilisi last week:

Georgians Greet President Bush (AP Photo) Posted by Hello

You see all those hundreds of thousands of people? They are non-Americans, and they are cheering President George W. Bush. On the surface it seems strange: In Eastern Europe, predominantly peopled by our Cold War-era enemies, President Bush and his policies are far more popular than in Western Europe (which is presumably peopled by our allies). In France, a nation we rescued from the vilest regime the planet has ever known, they burn him in effigy. In Georgia, a country sworn to America’s destruction just a couple decades ago, they turn out by the thousands to shower adulation upon him (aside from someone who seems to have a weak arm and shitty explosives). What’s up with that?

Here’s the Earth-shattering secret: The Georgians know what real tyranny is like.

Unlike France, or West Germany, or the rest of Europe that we saved from the Nazis, Georgia actually lived under the boot of oppression for the better part of a century. Gulags and bread lines and jackbooted thugs knocking on doors at 3 am are still fresh in the Georgian collective mind. They remember murderous sociopaths like Joseph Stalin and stone-hearted dictators like Nikita Kruschev, so accusations of tyranny aimed at democratically-elected leaders like President Bush fall kind of flat. They’ve actually lived in a police state, so Noam Chomsky and Gore Vidal will have a hard time selling them the illusion of one here in the US.

They love George W. Bush in Georgia because they know, despite all the seething vitriol the left keeps spewing, that he is anything but a dictator. But in Hollywood, where style is king and substance has been forgotten by everyone except Joss Whedon, they love pretending they have an evil empire to fight. So Lucas chops quotes from early post-9/11 speeches and peppers them, entirely out of context, into the dialog of his archetypical tyrant. It’s one of the most limp-wristed swings the Hollywood left has taken at the President yet: You won the election, you’re making the decisions that matter, and you’re the one history will remember as a man of honor and determination. But I’ll criticize you good in my movie!

I’m going to try very hard to enjoy Revenge of the Sith despite Lucas’ messy attempt at a political statement. If nothing else, I’m sure it’ll be fun on the level of lightsaber duels and Natalie Portman in midriff-bearing outfits; those things rescued The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, after all. Hell, just watching Hayden Christensen getting kicked into a volcano will be worth the eight bucks. And when I leave the theater, President Bush will still be in charge of things here in the real world – much to the delight of both myself and the good citizens of Georgia – while the once-admired creator of Star Wars exercises political control over only his make-believe universe.

Oh, and one last, unrelated thought for George "Jar Jar Binks is a brilliant character!" Lucas: Han shot first, you jackass.