Thursday, December 24, 2009


We’re here in north Texas with SWMBO’s brother Morris William and his family, watching a swath of winter weather blow through. Snow and sleet may become a part of the picture, gladdening the hearts of those Dentonites and Fort Worthies that wished for a white Christmas while making miserable anyone who actually has to get out and travel.

On the tube, Spike is showing Star Wars. Having come to the party a bit late, I have no idea whether they’re showing the latter-day, digitally altered Greedo-Shot-First-Or-At-Least-Simultaneously version, or the grittier, less-polished original that was showing in the theatres the year She Who Must Be Obeyed and I tied the knot. That was back before they subtitled this movie “Chapter IV - A New Hope.” Then, it was the only hope.

Star Wars set the moviegoing world on fire, back then, much as Avatar seems to be doing today. Myself, I have not yet seen Dances with Wolves (in Blueface) yet, but it’s on the agenda for the week.

There seem to be a lot of people touting Avatar as the sort of cinematic breakthrough that, once upon a time, Star Wars was. Maybe yes, maybe no. I find it difficult to compare a high-tech hyperstravaganza upon which was spent some $350-400 million and which features a politically charged backstory about the (big-E) Environment and Noble Savages, with a (relatively) low-budget space opera that somehow, through the recycling of 1930’s movie serial tropes, caught the imagination of the world.


Meanwhile, as I watch Star Wars and reminisce about that summer long ago, that summer when I embarked (to mix a Spacey Metaphor) on my own personal mission to explore new worlds where I had never been before (Marriage! Children!!!), that summer when the adventures of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Cinnabon-Hair Leia, and Darth Vader were fresh, shiny, and new, I find myself asking myself a lot of ridiculous questions. Backstory questions.

Grand Moff Tarkin, f’rinstance.

Did he have to take a civil service exam to get his job? Was he a Lesser Moff for a few years, waiting for his boss to get kicked upstairs or assigned to an administrative post somewhere else? When he was in elementary school and the other kids wanted to be firemen, or ballerinas, or Emperor, did he secretly think to himself, “I wanna be a Moff when I grow up. And not just any crappy low-pay-grade Moff, either - I wanna be a Grand Moff”?

Just curious...

Update: A White Christmas indeed. We have about three inches on the ground here, and it’ll be a cold night. Travel is likely to be problematic during the morning hours, at least: the concept of “snow-plow” seems not to have penetrated to this part of Texas. And salt is something you put on a beef brisket before you smoke it.

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