Canceling the beast
Star Wars, Redemption and picking a book subtitle
Apologies for the radio silence this month. It’s been a couple of weeks since my last broadcast, podcast, or post. I’m within the final 60 days of the deadline for my book manuscript, How The Force Can Fix The World, and it’s been somewhere on the spectrum of all-consuming. Right now I’m battling the blank pages to complete a chapter on Redemption, and lessons we need to take away from Star Wars to rediscover it in our own lives & world.
I’ll share some thoughts on that below. But first….
I’ve been doing back and forth with my publisher about a subtitle for the book. How The Force Can Fix The World:__________________, every good non-fiction book has to have a good subtitle right?
Originally I conceived it as “Star Wars as a Guide to Personal Growth and Political Reconciliation.” Go figure, it’s been deemed too dense and wordy. Me and my damn words! They’re probably right though. You gotta trust people with expertise when you have the privilege of working alongside them, and I trust my publisher in this case.
We’re looking at three options:
A) Lessons on Hope and Happiness from a Galaxy Far, Far Away
B) Lessons on Life, Liberty and Happiness from a Galaxy Far, Far Away
C) Lessons on Hope and Unity from a Galaxy Far, Far Away
What do you think?? Respond via email or leave a comment to tell me what you think. Or propose an option D that I haven’t considered.
Fun fact: I have received the cover art for the book. More on THAT…soon
CANCELING THE BEAST
I’ve been trying to finish this chapter on Redemption. Star Wars revolves around redemptive stories where villains, mired in the Dark Side, find their way back to the Light. In our own world, the culture has gotten to be uncomfortable with these somewhat simplistic stories and character arcs where sin is absolved so easily. Darth Vader does one good thing and he becomes a Force Ghost in the end….Kylo Ren decides to throw his red lightsaber into the sea…only after murdering his own father and aiding in the killing of millions of innocents.
I get why that frustrates people. You’ve heard a lot about this thing called “cancel culture” in recent years. Only more so as time goes on. Why? Is it so the Republican Party can raise money every quarter off Dr. Suess books being shelved permanently or wiggle out of impeaching a Republican president (in GOP mailers they referred to impeachment as cancel culture)?
I’d say no. They’re tapping into a real thing, a real fear that is permeating the culture. It started over a decade ago when the internet took off and social media came on the scene. Stories began popping up of people being fired or roasted online for ill-advised posts, Halloween costume photos, or dated but legitimately racist comments. Now it’s almost a daily thing. The most current trending story is the hiring and then shut down of Alexi McHammond as Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue.
How The Force Can Fix The World is still trying to figure out the answer to this cancel culture problem, and how to tackle this issue of fostering redemption as societal virtue. I argue that Christianity used to provide a common understanding of this value. I also am looking into Star Wars lore regarding Force Ghosts and how they come to be. The Clone Wars animated series actually holds the answer to this, and I’m working hard to get this woven into the chapter in a coherent way.
My belief is that this story arc, in which Yoda discovers the key to immortality in the final episodes of Clone Wars season 6, holds the answer. It’s that we have lost touch with the reality of our own darkness. And I direct accountability for that at both conservatives who fail to recognize the gravity and impact of America’s Founding sin, and also to progressives who are trying to litigate that failure by advancing a social media form of Puritanism that pins the sin on everyone while offering no way for it to absolved.
So! I once again ask you….could you leave a comment and tell me a little bit about what YOU think of “cancel culture”, societal redemption, and why we’re in this feverish moment? I’d love to hear from you, and hopefully, inform some of my thinking on where this chapter could go.
And to close……a new episode of my show is out today
In this one, we get into why the Republican Party has thrown out the idea of small government and limited spending. Along the way we talk about Universal Basic Income and also a kind of funny controversy around The Falcon & The Winter Soldier.
It’s me, Stephen Kent! I’m the curator of Politicize Me, host of “Right Now” and the Beltway Banthas Podcast + forthcoming author of ‘How The Force Can Fix The World’ (Hachette-Center Street). You can follow me on Twitter @Stephen_Kent89.