No, I’m not talking about the suppression of the Bush war memo from July 2002. I’m talking about the reason that a movie almost everyone agrees to be a disappointing special-effects reel with leaden dialogue, improbable plotting, and formulaic directing will nonetheless make zillions of dollars in gate receipts.
It occurred to me as Margaret was compiling another catena of continuity problems, contradictions, and confusions, that the reason the movies will do well has much to do with George Lucas’s capacity to propose a compelling ideology much more than a believable cosmos or a well-engineered motion-picture franchise. I’ve read several times that Lucas actually believes in the myth he’s telling, and that assent provides the only reason I can possibly acknowledge for being able to bear looking at the most recent three movies. For a true believer, there are good reasons that Darth Vader doesn’t recognize C3PO and R2-D2 when he sees them in The Empire Strikes Back; there are good reasons that the apparently “liberated” proletariat must be kept under constant heavily-armed surveillance; there are good reasons that “full employment” includes large numbers of long-term unemployed workers, or that the public rationale for a massively destructive war keeps changing.
If you buy the ideology, the contradictions dwindle to irrelevance, and the glories of the cause you espouse far outweigh the incoherences your cause engenders. Star Wars doesn’t need to make sense, because Luke Skywalker’s triumphant torpedo shot justifies it.
(Might this also apply to church politics?)