We might be witnessing one of the most clever viral marketing schemes of all time. Could there be method behind the madness surrounding the casting of Star Wars Episode VII?
Lucasfilm, now a subsidiary of Disney, dropped their big casting announcement on Tuesday. Along with “the Big Three” of the original trilogy – Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford – the cast of new characters included several men and only one woman, the virtually unknown Daisy Ridley. By Wednesday, Movieplot was reporting on a wave of anti-patriarchal indignation rolling across social media. A sample:
Eliza Thompson at Cosmopolitan wrote:
There is absolutely no reason why there can’t be new characters added to account for the lack of women in the original trilogy and the newer trilogy.
Annalee Newitz at IO9 quite elegantly wrote:
Myths are powerful things, because we learn who we are by telling stories. When are we going to let little girls and kids of diverse races have fantasies as powerful as those given to white boys?
Here’s the rub. Wednesday also saw a second announcement from Lucasfilm indicating that a second female cast member was yet to be revealed. This proves noteworthy not just in light of the backlash over too few women in the cast, but because previous casting rumors indicated a very different direction than Daisy Ridley. The Huffington Post expounds:
Daisy Ridley appears to have nabbed the role that at one point had Lupita Nyong’o in talks with director J.J. Abrams, as she and Carrie Fisher are the only actresses announced for the movie. More recently, British newcomer Maisie Richardson-Sellers was also reportedly tied to the part, which was described as a “young black or mixed-race woman who may be a descendent of Jedi Knight Ben Kenobi.”
What if HuffPo has it wrong? What if the role Ridley secured was different than the one Nyong’o and Richardson-Sellers were considered for? With “Star Wars Day” approaching on May 4th, are we about to see confirmation of a young black woman in the next Star Wars?
If so, this could be one of the most brilliant viral marketing moves seen in a while. It would have been preconceived to exploit the knee-jerk reactions of progressive culture warriors. Intentionally release news of a male dominant cast. Get the headlines from the announcement. Foster buzz from social backlash. Then announce a black female cast member days later, on a Sunday no less, and dominate Monday with a fresh set of headlines. If someone’s doing this on purpose, they’re a Jedi master of earned media.
Director J.J. Abrams is well known for playing elaborate tricks on fans as part of his marketing of projects. Could he be the force binding this scheme together?
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: They haven’t broken any laws. Yet their bank accounts are being closed arbitrarily. Have porn stars become the latest cultural pariahs to be targeted by the Department of Justice for unequal treatment under the law?
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: Police operating undercover in Madison and Pittsburg fought back against the societal scourge of rides across town. Targeting drivers of the Uber and Lyft ride-sharing services, they issued citations during the “sting.” Should individuals need permission from the state to offer their services in trade?
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: Republicans described as relatively “mainstream and conservative” have ousted liberty activists from state party leadership in Iowa. Has the rebellion been fully routed?
As a black man active in Republican politics, I find it noteworthy that I never feel excluded or stigmatized by other Republicans on account of my race. Race never comes up at a Tea Party meeting, or a Republican political convention, or when socializing with my conservative and libertarian cohort. On the contrary, all my encounters with race-obsessed individuals have been with self-professed liberals who treat me like a freak show exhibit.
Leftists demand an explanation for my politics. How is it possible that a black man could be a Tea Partier? How is it possible that a black man could vote Republican? What’s wrong? What’s the angle? What secret deficiency or corruption explains this oddity? The curiosity is racist in and of itself, because it proceeds from an assumption about how people “like me” ought to think.
Then I see the vile treatment of personages like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In the wake of the court’s recent verdict upholding Michigan voters’ choice to ban state-mandated racial discrimination (euphemistically called affirmative action), Thomas became the target of viciously racist comments from supporters of “progressive” policy.
Most recently, we learn that long-time Democrat Party contributor and Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling faces compelling accusations of racism. Prior to TMZ reporting on obtained audio which seems to record Sterling making blatantly racist remarks to his girlfriend, the NBA owner was slated to received a lifetime achievement award from the NAACP in May. Presumably, he would have accepted it eagerly.
How do we reconcile this? Why would a racist who doesn’t want his girlfriend publicly associating with black men support a political party which claims to represent the best interests of black people? How can a racist be seen by the NAACP to merit recognition for a lifetime of philanthropic achievement?
Psychological projection is “a defense mechanism that involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people.” When I encounter people convinced that blacks labor under the weight of insurmountable racism, I suspect they harbor bigotry of their own. They may not express it quite like Donald Sterling, but their worldview brims with the soft bigotry of low expectations.
Editor’s Note: For years now Walter Hudson has been a perpetual inspiration and a joy to edit. His articles, lists, blog posts, and now podcasts dance across the fault lines of politics, culture, and religion with an always encouraging sense of optimism and clarity. See this compilation today here of his most recent podcasts: Ready For An Argument? 15 of Walter Hudson’s Fightin’ Words Podcasts Not To Miss. Also follow him on Twitter here. For more of of his work check out this collection of PJ Lifestyle’s Top 50 List Articles of 2013, which includes several more Hudson hits. This selection of 10 articles here showcases some of Walter’s most popular and engaging pieces. Please consider adding Walter to your list of #ReadEverythingTheyWrite writers. He’s been on mine for some time now…
- Dave Swindle
1. March 2, 2012:
2. May 9, 2013:
3. April 18, 2013:
4. July 17, 2012:
5. July 6, 2013:
6. July 13, 2013:
7. January 29, 2013:
8. January 31, 2012
9. September 2, 2013:
10. March 7, 2013:
Editor’s Note: Check out Walter Hudson’s podcast Monday-Friday here at PJ Lifestyle and stop by on weekends to get caught up on any you may have missed. Each Saturday we’ll expand this compilation updating it with the newest episodes. What would you like to hear Walter discuss in future podcasts? Please leave you suggestions in the comments.
While growing up, I had the good fortune to live in two consecutive homes that were each a block away from their town’s respective libraries. From fourth grade through junior high, I had easy access to books, tapes, videos, and even video games available for check out. I spent a lot of time in the library, browsing and grazing, checking out volumes piled higher than I could ever read in the time allotted.
Among those many books were the Star Wars novels of Timothy Zahn. Now known as “the Thrawn trilogy,” they began with 1991′s Heir to the Empire. Set several years after Return of the Jedi, the Thrawn trilogy continued the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo as they fought the remnant of a collapsing Empire and confronted a new disturbance in the Force.
Zahn’s novels triggered an explosion of new Star Wars fiction spanning books, comics, video games, and more. In 1996, collaborators went so far as to develop a “movie without the movie” called Shadows of the Empire. The idea was to create merchandise around a story as if promoting a film. There was a Shadows novel, a video game, and even a fully orchestrated soundtrack for a film which was never actually produced. The story connected the events of The Empire Strikes Back with Return of the Jedi.
In later years, the timeline of this Expanded Universe became jam packed with stories detailing the fates of “the Big Three” along with their friends and offspring. Jacen and Jaina Solo, twin children of Han and Leia, joined their brother Anakin and their nephew Ben Skywalker on perilous and transformative adventures which spanned several stories across many mediums.
So when Disney acquired the Star Wars brand in 2012 and announced plans to produce Episodes VII, VIII, and IX set in a time period well covered by the Expanded Universe, obvious questions emerged. How would they work around the existing stories? How would they present the offspring of Luke, Han, and Leia? How would they tell consequential new stories without trampling upon established lore?
Lucasfilm has finally provided an answer, and it comes in the form of a soft-reboot. Precedent can be found (perhaps not coincidentally) in J.J. Abrams previous major sci-fi refurbish – Star Trek.
With Trek, Abrams and his writing team devised a way to have their cake and eat it too. They used the plot devices of time-travel and parallel universes to effectively reset the Star Trek universe, enabling future stories to take creative new directions without adhering religiously to established canon.
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: By what magic do actions which would incriminate an individual or private group suddenly become legitimate when performed by government? Taxation. Eminent domain. Mandates. Regulations. What makes any of it okay?
In the above clip, Star Trek superstar William Shatner tells Jesse Ventura that Hilary Clinton could bring people together as president of the United States “so that something could be accomplished.” Shatner claims that the “fundamentalists on both ends are not where it’s at.” Instead, he points to the mushy middle of “compromise,” heralding Clinton as the leader who can get us there.
There’s a reason why the rhetoric of compromise reigns among those favoring increased government control of individual lives. If the goal is to increase control, any compromise between increasing it a lot and not increasing it at all will resolve in increasing it some. If the goal is raising taxes, any compromise between raising them a lot or not raising them at all will result in a raising them some. If the goal is increased spending… you get the point.
Obamacare emerged as a compromise between the “fundamentalist” Left, as Shatner might refer to them, and a conviction against socialized healthcare. Instead of single payer, which the radical Left would have preferred, we got a mixed system of profound cronyism designed to morally and financially bankrupt the healthcare industry as a step toward single payer. Yay for compromise! Funny how one side gets what they want, just to a lesser extent or at a slower rate.
How about it? Is Shatner right? Should compromise for the sake of accomplishing something be our goal? Or have we reached a point beyond which compromise is reasonable?
Side note: how would Kirk vote?
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: An interview with Minnesota State House candidate Matthew Kowalski on his unique approach to policy. Instead of an “issues page,” his campaign website highlights “THE issue.” Which overarching concern eclipses all others?
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: The Supreme Court recently upheld a Michigan law banning the practice of affirmative action in public universities. The dissenting opinion authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor reveals a twisted worldview which seeks “equal protection” through racial discrimination.
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn engaged host Larry King on a recent episode of Politicking, answering questions regarding Obamacare and the Paycheck Fairness Act. Her answers were strong, but missed an opportunity to dispute false premises. Republicans must dare to be truly different.
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: Presenting to a Tea Party group in Minnesota, Minority Liberty Alliance president Walter Hudson explains why every human being can rightfully claim minority status.
Editor’s Note: A goal for weekends this year has been to start highlighting and promoting some of PJ Lifestyle’s tremendously talented writers. See this collection here of our Top 50 List Articles of 2013 to get a broad overview.
Now we’re going to begin focusing more on individual writers. The first in this series is my friend Walter Hudson, a gifted jack-of-all-trades writer-podcaster-political-activist-culture-warrior who continually challenges and inspires me. I included five of Walter’s list articles in the top 50 list but there are many more pieces of his in other styles and mediums those who are new to his work should read. In addition to these five I’ll select five more that showcase some of his core themes for volume one of his greatest hits collection. But to get started, I invite you to check out these installments of Walter’s addictive podcast that were featured the past two weeks at PJ Lifestyle.
Get caught up each weekend on the podcasts you may have missed as these expanding compilations grow when new episodes are recorded and released. Over the coming weeks Walter is going to continue to build on and explore these and more themes in his own monologues and in dialogues with more guests. If you have any feedback or ideas for subjects you’d like Walter to explore please leave your suggestions in the comments.
- Dave Swindle
On Tax Day, I dared to wonder what happiness I might pursue with the money I earn but never see. I asked readers to join me in the exercise and imagine what they might do with the money they lost to taxes last year. Reader Mike Mahoney added this insightful comment:
I would probably wind up spending it on protection, roads, litigation services. If one looks at tax receipts and the portion of the budget that is enumerated as a power to do things in the constitution you’ll note a similarity. The rest is all done on borrowed money. So, if I didn’t pay taxes I would still pay.
Mike lands a fair point. Government certainly provides a value. In the absence of particular government services, we would need to pursue alternatives, thus incurring expense.
Of course, in that case, we could choose to pay as we saw fit, and would benefit from the cost and quality controls of the market. Whether we would pay as much for the same services under a private model is an open question. (I think it safe to bet we’d pay significantly less.) However, we know the percentage of our income spent on such services would decrease as we earned more, instead of increasing as it does today. Market-driven prices are rarely progressive.
You don’t pay more for groceries or fuel just because you earn more. So why should you pay more for the services provided by government, particularly if you prove less likely to use them?
An unspoken assumption which may inform Mike’s comment is that a world without taxes means anarchy. But that’s not necessarily the case. Dr. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute here briefly explains how government could raise revenue without coercive taxation:
Imagine the effect such an arrangement would have upon our incentives to produce and improve the lives of ourselves and others through trade. The sky would be the limit.
See Part I here
See Part II here
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: What Is “The Right” Anyway?: Part III, concluding a discussion with PJ Media associate editor David Swindle on the distinctions within the right-wing coalition. Can we sort out our differences? If so, how?
See Part I here
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: What Is “The Right” Anyway?: Part II, continuing a discussion with PJ Media associate editor David Swindle on the importance of accurately navigating ideological territory, we consider whether anarchy is “right-wing?”
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: A discussion with PJ Media associate editor David Swindle on the use of “the Right” as a political identifier. Who are we talking about? Who is and is not part of “the Right?”
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: Sunday’s murderous shootings in Kansas City have been labelled hate crimes. What makes an offense a hate crime? Should government seek to end racism by prosecuting it?
As the father of a young family, I have taken a fanatical interest in my household finances. Curious whether I could squeeze more juice out of our budgetary lemon, I took a look at our monthly expenses as a percentage of our take-home income.
To my astonishment, I found that 84% of our take-home income goes to essential expenses. By “essential,” I mean items which cannot be cancelled or reduced. These are things like rent, fuel, insurance, and groceries. We already minimize these expenses as much as possible.
To my further astonishment, I found that all of the elective expenses in our monthly budget, things like Netflix, hosting my websites, and maintaining a subscription to Star Wars: The Old Republic, total up to a mere 3% of my take-home income. If I really cut to the bone and went without my entertainments and hobbies, I would hardly save enough to speak of. This proves problematic, because I have outstanding liabilities which must eventually be met, not to mention things which I would like to save for – including stuff like retirement.
I hold down three jobs. My wife has two. So we’re not exactly slacking. Be that as it may, I figure we need to conjure up a way to bring home a certain amount more per month in order to advance beyond treading water to actually getting somewhere.
As it turns out, I already earn more than I figure I need. The only problem is that I don’t get to keep it. It gets confiscated before I ever see it and sent to state and federal government.
If I could actually use what I rightfully earned last year, I would be able to pay off every outstanding bill. I would be able to replace my aging laptop with a decent machine that could get me through the next five years. And I would have enough left over to put a serious dent in my auto or student loans.
How about you? What could you do with the money you lost to government last year? What happiness could you pursue? What values could you secure? Leave a comment below.
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Steve Israel, appearing with Candy Crowley on CNN, says significant elements of the Republican base “are animated by racism.” Rather than argue which party proves more racist, let’s consider which policies lend racism its power.
A just society punishes actions which violate individual rights, like Sunday’s ghastly shootings at Jewish community centers in Kansas City. An unjust society allows, endorses, or even perpetrates violations of rights, as Nazi Germany did. Rather than a world without racism, a utopian ideal futilely sought after through the police of thought, we should seek public policy which condemns any action which violates rights, regardless of its motivation.
Last week saw a feminist uproar over comments made by actress Kirsten Dunst in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK. Expressing her personal opinion that men and women have distinct roles within relationships, and that she prefers to live accordingly, Dunst provoked the ire of many proclaimed champions of woman’s rights. US Weekly reports:
The 31-year-old cover girl has a more traditional view when it comes to relationships between men and women.
“I feel like the feminine has been a little undervalued,” she told the magazine. “We all have to get our own jobs and make our own money, but staying at home, nurturing, being the mother, cooking – it’s a valuable thing my mom created.”
“Kirsten Dunst is not paid to write gender theory so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that she’s kind of dumb about it,” Jezebel writer Erin Gloria Ryan wrote.
Gender theory? All Dunst did was express her personal preference. Since when did personal preferences become subject to expert review?
An appeal to authority and ad hominem notwithstanding, Ryan’s response betrays the real objective of her so-called “feminism.” Rather than protect the right of each woman to pursue her individually conceived values, the Jezebel brand of feminism seeks to subjugate women under “gender theory,” whether they individually assent to it or not.
Dunst expressed what makes her happy. But “feminists” like Ryan don’t want women like Dunst to be happy. They’d rather drag their fellow women through a cultural inquisition, hoping to extract the false confession that a man’s love and provision prove somehow exploitative.
On today’s Fightin Words podcast: PJ Media’s Bonnie Ramthun joins the program to discuss her recent piece “The Rise of the Robot Employee.” As the Left moves to raise the minimum wage, robots become less expensive than human workers.