I’m Anglo-America, and I didn’t see the latest Star Wars film. But Neo-America did:
“The Rise of Skywalker,” released last week, is a muddled and aimless homage to previous films in the series. Its countless callbacks to the older films feel like an effort to “make ‘Star Wars’ great again,” though it does manage to deliver a few liberal-sounding messages. Call it the Joe Biden of “Star Wars” movies.
The reviewer, Annalee Newitz, is a “49-50” year old whose preferred pronoun is “they.” She’s in a relationship with a man disguised as a woman named Charlie Jane. The op-ed quickly veers into polarized U.S. politics. Apparently the Russians are heavily involved in Star Wars criticism as well. This is not your grandmother’s media criticism and social commentary, bigots.
Despite the freedom to be an appalling freak, the Neo-American finds the current American mythos unsatisfying.
Maybe the unresolved outrage set off by “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker” is a sign that this franchise needs to make way for a new set of stories. Americans’ trust in government is being ripped apart by scandal and a looming impeachment trial. We desperately need a new American mythology to fit the 21st century realities of a majority-minority nation dealing with planet-wide threats like climate change.
The American mythos formerly included Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, Rip Van Winkle, and actual persons Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone.
There is a whole rich mythical genre of folk tales, songs, poetry and novels of early America. There have been a lot of wars, a Great Depression, a space race, and natural disasters that a volk-ish people could mine for new mythologies if they were so inclined. But a diverse polity cannot agree on its mythos, much less its actual history and heroes. So its mythmakers generate these convoluted, tepid stories completely unmoored from anything “American,” or any other real place for that matter.
Having destroyed heritage America, the destroyers find the thin gruel of neo-America unsatisfying, so they whine like a spoiled toddler over his broken toy.
I don’t know what to tell them or anybody; not every broken thing can be fixed.