Tuesday assorted links


2. The basic problems of extending the Star Wars saga are: (1) the need to keep the rebels and Empire in perpetual balance so that the story can go on forever; and 2) the world-building is not well thought out, which grows more apparent with each new movie.

Both true. It went from space opera to soap opera.

Even the first one wasn't that well thought out. If you drill down there are massive plot holes and ridiculous world-building elements in every movie. But you'd be missing the point. These are kids movies, or movies for adults that like fun, unrealistic adventures. I got hooked on the first trilogy because I was a kid. Now I watch as an adult, but I don't get mad at the silly and implausible stuff I didn't notice as a kid. Plus it's fun to go with my kids and see it anew through their eyes.

Point 1. is fair but isn't episode IX going to be the last one in the main 'saga'? They will still do movies in that universe but won't they be like Rogue One or the Han Solo movie coming out, spinoff type things?

I like forward to standing in line Christmas Eve to see Chewbacca: Fart in a Stiff Wind in December of 2023 or thereabouts.

LOL me too! Then in 2024 Yoda: Rises The Master Does and 2025 Yoda II: Boogaloo Electric

+1, though I still wish that Rian Johnson was chosen to direct Ep. 7 with lose reigns so that we didn't just get a re-hash of Ep. 4, though I have to admit that Ep. 7 was still fun with likable new characters.

Will it ever become plain opera?

It's not opera, but there's singing in it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_Holiday_Special

I wouldn't recommend actually watching this, it can induce vomiting and strokes.

Rayward's posts, Clyde has suggested to Zelig on more than one occasion, have subverted the verisimilitude of silhouettes, raising the guise of a dead ocean's corpse.


Having sat through Andre Previn's "Brief Encounter", endured various works by Jake Hegge, Carlisle Floyd, etc.. (For some godawful reason most of my season ticket experience has been in the weirdly symbiotic cities of Houston and San Francisco) I can only say that a Star Wars Opera might be an improvement on a lot of modern opera, pace John Adams (and as much as it kills me to say Philip Glass), as it would at least have an opera suitable plot. Of course that would get murdered too considering my experience with the wretched "Simon Bolivar" that they put on in Norfolk some years ago.

"improvement on a lot of modern opera, pace John Adams (and as much as it kills me to say Philip Glass), as it would at least have an opera suitable plot"

Yes, it would.


Definitely not an expert on Star Wars. However, I do remember playing KotOR when it came out, as well as the Outcast series.

Seems like they had done a pretty good job of world building that was internally consistent and relatively compelling. I think Disney trashed the entire “EU” or whatever its name is.

I’d watch a trilogy about Revan. The storyline is about 1000x more compelling than the current TFA/TLJ garbage.

The Expanded Universe that was built by the books and games has far superior world building. The plots of the games are coherent. I find it odd that the excuse for horrible movies is that they are targeted at children when the games, which are presumably also targeted at children, are so much better. Even the Jedi Knight series of games was better at telling a story. Jedi Knight Dark Forces 2 was a great story, and it was just a FPS.

Books being better than the movies has is an old complaint not limited to Star Wars, but it's gotten so bad I haven't bothered to see the last few. The books came up with new opposition, new thoughts on the Force, and great characters. The movies just took the old plots, burned a few new holes in them, and covered it over with some PC. They just don't bother telling an interesting story.

The EU had a completely new war where the Empire and the Republic are constantly shifting from enemies to allies depending on the situation. It got past the Empire/Rebel interaction the movies are stuck on. There is a lot more grey in motivations and the Force, but now that Disney has ended the EU that is basically done.

I'll play KOTOR3 when it comes out, but I probably won't watch another movie.

Problem (1) wasn't a need. It was a choice made by the people who made Episode 8. They could have literally imagined any kind of compelling conflict they wanted within the Star Wars universe, and they decided to play it somewhat safe by giving us a re-hashed version of Episode 4 but with new characters.

It was fun. I liked the new characters. But it also tied the hands of those making Episodes 8 and 9 to be about a few rebels vs. the Empire ruled by an evil force user. Given the initial premises set up in Episode 7, I think Rian Johnson did really well.

This take basically corresponds with mine for the most part: https://www.theringer.com/2017/12/20/16799168/star-wars-the-last-jedi-empire-strikes-back-similarities

#4 Actually, I was only tod about it here.

Star Wars movie is awful. And not because the fan theories were not addressed.

I left the theater not caring about what happened next. This movie had NO connection to any that came before it. Empire Strikes Back made Star Wars a better movie, this one ruined all the good stuff in Episode 7.

It's like the write had never seen star wars.

Yep, women and Blacks (including women who are Blacks) get the right to vote. Get over it already.

#4 is exactly why people shouldn't trust the media. They run with a story and headline designed to mislead, correct it quietly (if at all) when people have forgotten about it, and then manufacture the next outrage.

#4 Not surprised. When I first saw this story go by (couple of days ago?), I just assumed it was being misreported, if not made up from whole cloth.

Its unfortunate, but the bulk of the media has managed to destroy their credibility. I now assume systematic bad faith from their reporters and editors, and a considerable amount of plain incompetence.

WP: “Democracy Dies in Darkness ... and somebody has to turn out the lights."

@#4 - WaPo got it right. Read the entire Y. Levin story, in particular the parts below. Levin is not rebutting the WaPo story, just amplifying it. Essentially he says the Post got it right, but for different reasons than offered by the Post. That's just Levin spin, no different from WaPo spin, but the facts remain, words are and continue to be banned for "style" reasons, but why it is "style" and not something else is open to the reader. - RL

PS--I find a lot of WaPo haters just hate DC. As a long-time DC resident who got rich from DC real estate as the Federal government expanded post-WWII, all I can say is: "Snap you". Pay your taxes, prole, and go back to your cubicle, hater, and work hard until May of every year (or is it June now?) to pay your taxes. Part of those taxes stay in DC and help our local economy grow. It's no mystery why seven or so of the top ten richest counties in the USA are found in and around DC. God's will, y'all, doing God's work.

From Levin's story:
I was pretty startled by the story myself, and it sent me reaching out to a number of officials at HHS and its sub-agencies for an explanation. These conversations have left me persuaded that the impression created by the Post’s story is not accurate.

First, the budget office at HHS sent the various divisions of the department a style guide to use in their budget-proposal language and “congressional justification” documents for the coming year. That style guide, which sets out a standard style for everything from capitalization of the titles of key offices to some commonly disputed points of grammar and punctuation, also sets out some words to be avoided. These, I am told, are avoided because they are frequently misused or regularly overused in departmental documents (make of that what you will) and they include three terms on the Post’s list: “vulnerable,” “diversity,” and “entitlement

In other words, what happened regarding these other terms (“transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based”) was not that retrograde Republicans ordered career CDC officials not to use these terms but that career CDC officials assumed retrograde Republicans would be triggered by such words and, in an effort to avoid having such Republicans cut their budgets, reasoned they might be best avoided.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/454752/cdc-did-not-ban-words-yuval-levin

No, the WP didn't get the story correct. They implied that there was a top down push to ban certain words, when in reality a guideline suggested that certain words were over used and should only be used when appropriate. That's a completely different context.

Why am I not surprised that it was the Washington Post that published the misleading story? Glad I dropped my subscription a year ago.
BTW I don't follow Fox news either.

WaPo needs to replace ''Democracy dies in darkness" with "Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!"

Democracy dies with thunderous applause.

Eventually, Paraguay won.

The Paraguayans got to continue to be Paraguayans.

The Brazilians were stuck with being Brazilians.

Such is life in the Western Hemisphere

do you want to know the truth, "truth seeker"? God loves you. He wants you to understand the world you live in with the compassionate truth of those who care about others.
Good luck, my young friend: I too would love to live in Ohio.

How many people know this stock phrase, "thunderous applause", is a translation from the Chinese official media to describe the Politburo? Do you? Do they use this stock phrase in Brazil too?

Too right.

Lavo Jato:


"1. Update on Chinese credit and social ranking schemes."

Hari Seldon and future pyschohistorians rejoice!

One should not play lightly with those systems. Hari Seldon used the tax code to undermine a junta. Such is life in the Empire.

1. Update on Chinese credit and social ranking schemes.

If my credit history is computable ,then it is computable by my device, not the government's. My smart phone is secure, it is in my hand, it is an honest cash card and can determined my spending history, and report it accurately without giving my name.

Get it? The reason we give all our personal information to data thieves is simple, government will not allow our mart phones to have protected, secure and counterfeit proof code. Rich wealthy people ate the acception. Tjeya re allowed to have a secure device.

Cass Sunstein apparently missed the prequels. I suppose that was a smart move, but it should temper his Lucas worship. I also admire Lucas and consider him one of the four titans of modern pop culture (along with Lee/Kirby, The Beatles, and Walt Disney). But Lucas was also the guy who drew a moustache on his Mona Lisa, which required a lot of work by Disney to erase.

The real genius of Star Wars is the John Williams music and the astonishing visuals/designs. After a couple of films, they actually had to rely on the story, with mixed results.

I think the sad part is that they had the story.

Lucas, in my unprofessional opinion, is a great narrative/story creator. He’s a big picture dude. When the rubber meets the road you want a detail oriented, brilliant person to storyboard the whole thing out and rewrite the dialogue. To clean up the big picture’s idea and make it reality. Let’s be clear: the second person is more skilled.

Unfortunately, this second person was his ex wife. And they apparently did not have a storybook marriage.

By the time the prequels started Lucas thought he was a genius at dialogue writing and script writing. He should have just been the broad picture dude. Anakin is a compelling story, they just let Lucas ruin it. The story is good, the execution was vomit inducing.

And now we have trash. Expensive trash.

I still wonder what would have happened if Lucas had accepted Spielberg's offer to direct parts of the prequels. Lucas's stories and Spielberg's direction might have made for great film-making.

Except that very combination produced Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull :-)

#2: Neither Douthat or Sunstein are dreaming about getting a "Last Jedi" toy for Christmas. Their position is father or grandfather that pays for toys. Why judge a child/teenager movie with adult's eyes?

How do you know? Disney probably sells more of those toys to adults than to children (or adults acting at their behalf). As a Literature Nobel Prize Winner pointed out, "the times, they are changing". I, myself, miss a simpler time, when adults were dults and children were children. It is creepy to notice that most Youtube comments on Star Wars/ Cartoons/Comics/etc. are probably people old enough to remember Bush I's Administration (or, in Brazil, Mr. Sarney's ). I say, grow up, freaks!!

Your weak opinion aside, there is plenty of good art out there regarding the one topic you pointed out: Adulthood has changed. Generation X has grown up and rejected what their parents considered adulthood, Then in Millennials we see yet another level of rejection of what genders are supposed to do, and what they are supposed to like.

I don't know if this is good or bad for society, and I don't think anyone does. What I know is that this will continue to happen regardless.of what I think.

AHHH! Don't open it! Half the value is original NIB!

"Why judge a child/teenager movie with adult’s eyes?"

The original Star Wars trilogy were not child/teenager movies. They were more akin to a spaghetti western than to a children's story. I'll grant you that the Ewoks in the third movie was pretty much pandering to children and the movie would have been much better if they had use Wookie's instead. But Ewoks were a fairly small part of the three movies.

#4 - The article wants very badly to expose China's scary new system (cue the reflexive use of "Orwellian" and "terrifying"), but instead winds up showing that their credit system is not much different than the USA (the NYT magazine had a story a few years ago about all the online activity that negatively affects your credit score, like checking your bank statements at 3 in the morning). Plus the article's main source seems to be a serial scofflaw, who laments how his credit score reflects his shady credit history.

In the US your credit score is reduced if you have friends the government does not like or if you say something they government objects to on the internet?

Basic economic reasoning suggests that if there were an easier, cheaper way to tell which employees would be good, at least some companies would have discovered it by now.

Seems like kind of a selective invocation of efficiency by the dude who thinks even bellybutton lint could be improved via additional government spending.

I have seen Noah make the exact opposite argument in a twitter discussion with Russ Roberts. Basically saying that every company starts with someone pointing out the $20 bill that has been laying on the sidewalk.

I am not a fan of Noah Smith. He comes off as a walking rationalization machine with a special penchant for presenting his views as morally superior to his opponents.

From the reviews I have read, both enthusiastic and otherwise, the new Star Wars movies in the mainline seem to not be trying to break any new ground- really, the plot described seems to be a complete rehash of the first 3 movies. As horrid as they were, the prequels were telling a different story. After the prequels, I vowed to never watch another Star Wars movie. I am more convinced this might have been a good decision.

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Logically, the phrase "evidence based" covers many meanings. Perhaps the researchers p-hacked their way through the garden of forking paths until they found a correlation. Perhaps they pre-registered a double-blind, randomised, controlled trial and are now reporting the primary endpoint computed exactly the way they promised in the pre-registration.

Practically, if you've done a randomised intervention and thus have a strong claim to having discovered a causal connection, you make sure every-body knows it. You say "evidence based" when you are claiming that wet streets cause rain, based on a correlation, and are trying to hide your shame.

2. Political dynasties are relics. https://www.nationalreview.com/article/445653/chelsea-clinton-media-coverage-fawning-undeserved
Look to the future, Ross.

3. Depending on student's area of study, both have valid points. Mike Rowe has interesting thoughts on the merits of college.

4. Self censor and self selection. A snowflake ornament from Breitbart could accompany each report that contains one of these words. https://store.breitbart.com/products/precious-snowflake-ornament

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