When it comes to the old Star Trek vs. Star Wars debate, I fall on the Trek side (truth be told, I prefer MCU overall, but that’s an entirely different blog post). I like the overall optimism of Star Trek. It feels more real and science-based, whereas Star Wars feels more like fantasy. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s simply not what I prefer. That being said, nearly every Wars movie I’ve seen has some good qualities. Even the prequels had new ideas and concepts (even if they didn’t quite “gel” in the end). No Wars movies were outright bad to me. Rogue One, Empire Strikes Back, Mandalorian, and Last Jedi are the best in my opinion (I know Mandalorian isn’t technically a movie, stop yelling at me). Everything else labelled Star Wars is entertaining and has redeeming qualities of some kind in my eyes.
Not Rise of Skywalker. It was dumb. It’s the only Star Wars movie I thought was dumb. It’s so dumb I can’t muster a better descriptor than “dumb.” If I were an actual Star Wars fan I would be livid over what Disney made here. If something like Rise of Skywalker was done to Star Trek or the MCU, fiery hatred would be seething out from my every pore for all eternity. I would shout my unbridled anger and pain from the highest mountaintops for the world to hear until I forgot what words were. It’s wildly inconsistent, sloppy, nonsensical, derivative, and dumb, dumb, dumb.
It was so dumb, I almost wrote a version of the above for my first ever movie review on Letterboxd (a great social network for movie lovers, follow me on there, yeah?). I ended up instead rating it 2 and 1/2 stars (out of 5). But one friend of mine gave it 4 and 1/2 stars on that site. I couldn’t understand why. Or how. Every other friend I’ve spoken to about Rise of Skywalker has shared (some version of) my disappointment of the film (some not so strongly, some more so).
I talked to my friend about his feelings about the film. I asked him why he liked it. He said quite earnestly, he simply loves Star Wars. I pointed out the various story and filmmaking elements I strongly disagreed with and asked his thoughts about those raised points. He responded that he was satisfied there’s new Star Wars media to consume, regardless of the quality. To him, none of it is bad because it is Star Wars. As much as I like Star Trek (and the MCU even more), I’m not automatically enamoured with every entry in either series simply because it’s part of the series. There are some bad Star Trek and MCU movies and TV episodes. Some are really bad. And some are outright dumb.
What the fuck does any of this have to do with the mad orange ape-clown in the White House? The Star Wars mindset my friend has is analogous with the majority of Trump supporters (for the record, he is not himself a Trump supporter – he might like dumb stuff but nothing that dumb). The ape-clown’s supporters accept and love everything he does en masse because Trump is the one doing them. And that is absolutely terrifying. The blind adoration of any person or entity is mind-boggling and frightening to me and any rational, thinking person.
Trump says he’s anti-war, anti-interventionist, and wants to usher the United States into isolationism and they cheer. He brings us to the brink of war and interferes in the affairs of other nations and they cheer. He said (while campaigning) he’d rarely go golfing (and definitely not go golfing as often as Obama did) and they cheer. He golfs (at the time of this blog post) over 200 times and they cheer. He says he’s against prejudice and racial/religious hatred and they cheer. He says derogatory, defaming comments about people of different religious and racial backgrounds and they cheer. Says he’s against “Socialism.” He signs an $867 billion farm bill that reeks of “Socialism.” Anything that falls out of his orange-powdered lips is cause for celebration amongst his most devoted. These aren’t contradictions or lies, they’re part of the overall “Trump” package they adore.
What is something that you believe the president has done well? pic.twitter.com/UlFeaOtTVR
— Vic Berger IV (@VicBergerIV) January 10, 2020
But it’s not just his Cheeto-worshipping followers that concern me. Nearly every one of the “adults in the room” that were with Trump in the beginning has been fired or resigned, leaving only sycophants as his counsel. Warmongers and white nationalists and End Times zealots. Many of which are very smart and understand manipulation intimately. They might act idiotic on the television, but most of them know exactly what they’re doing. Same with the ape-clown in chief. Sure, he’s batty, he lies, he don’t understand words good, but he is a master manipulator and has surrounded himself with similarly talented people. Ones who do what he wants them to because it fulfils their goals. Ones who manipulate him, because it fulfills their goals.
And no matter how obvious it is, no matter what any measured, rational person says or proves, the ape-clown’s supporters will keep on supporting. There’s nothing he can say that will drive them away. There’s nothing that can be said about him that will drive them away. Many worship him, truly worship him.
Some see Trump as a messiah (if not the Messiah). Some see him as the bringer of the End Times. I fear, with the faithful’s continued support and the aid of his trusty Yes Men, they might not be wrong about him ushering in an actual apocalypse. But hey, as the world burns and a mad orange ape-clown as the match, at least we’ve got a dumb Star Wars movie to entertain us in the meantime.