Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Repost: Eric Geller's take on Star Wars politics

Eric Geller shared with me an article that he wrote for the official Star Wars blog last Election Day. I thought I'd repost it here in case anybody didn't get to read it (maybe because you were too busy voting...). It's a great analysis of the path from democracy to despotism in that Galaxy Far, Far Away. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Facebook page!

As you can tell, I've spend a bit of time cleaning the site up and adding features. There's also a new Facebook page. So, if you want to get updates about politics in a Galaxy Far, Far Away on your Facebook account, "like" the Poli-Sci Jedi Facebook page!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

J.J. Abrams to direct Episode VII - what does it mean for the story?

According to MTV, J.J. Abrams has been selected as the director for Star War Episode VII. What does this mean?

From a technical side, Abrams is a superb director. In both Star Trek and Super 8, he was able to craft tightly edited stories special effects bonanzas with compelling acting. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that, in terms of acting and special effects, Star Trek was the best of the 11 Star Trek films thus far. Super 8 had some incredible child actors, including Elle Fanning. It takes a skilled director to work all of these pieces into a coherent film.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Your source for the Force: RebelForce Radio

I'm just giving a shoutout to RebelForce Radio, the new home of the ForceCast. The podcast is co-produced and co-hosted by Jason and Jimmy Mac and they cover pretty much anything related to Star Wars. One of my favorite episodes from the ForceCast was their interview with Lord of the Rings actor Sean Astin (a.k.a. Sam Gamgee). Astin was interested in talking about the politics of the Galaxy Far, Far Away and, of course, we are too. Astin also mentioned Aung San Suu Kyi, officially combining my three favorite things (Star Wars, Tolkien, and Burma). Also, the RebelForce Radio Clone Wars roundtables are essential listening for Clone Wars fans. So definitely check them out!

Why I want a book about Jar Jar Binks (!!!)

Meesa gonna be presidente!
I might be the only Star Wars fan to admit this, but I would absolutely love a book or short story about Jar Jar Binks.

No, this isn't a joke. April 1st isn't here... yet.

In the Prequel Trilogy, Jar Jar had potential to serve as a unique commentary on the absurdity of politics. In interviews, the actor who played Binks, Ahmed Best, has claimed that the character was supposed to show how he started as a naive politician and ultimately became a victim of the system.* Think Mr. Smith goes to Washington... and is successfully manipulated by Senator Paine.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Sith throughout history

I was recently rereading portions of Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, the classic account of the trial of Nazi SS-Obersturmbannf├╝hrer Adolf Eichmann. One of the tragedies of the book - and indeed, all of Nazi Germany - is how such apparently civilized men could engage in such evil. While reading, I noticed a quote that should sound familiar to Star Wars fans:

"[I, Eichmann,] may have been wrong all down the line, but one thing is beyond dispute: the man [Hitler] was able to work his way up from lance corporal in the German Army to F├╝hrer of a people of almost eighty million. . . . His success alone proved to me that I should subordinate myself to this man."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Is Leia an action hero or a political hero?

Wow, I'm actually posting something new! I apologize that The Chancellor's Suite hasn't been very active, but such is life as a Ph.D. student (and unfortunately I'm not writing a dissertation about Star Wars).

However, I've recently become involved in a heated discussion over at the ClubJade.net comment section and upon further reflection I thought that it would make for a perfect post on The Chancellor's Suite. For those of you who haven't heard, this week Dark Horse released a new comic series simply titled "Star Wars" by Brian Wood. The series is an attempt to attract fans who love the Original Trilogy but don't necessarily follow the entire Star Wars Expanded Universe. The first issue takes place a few months after the events of A New Hope as Luke and Leia look for a site for a new Rebel base.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Name change - Welcome to Poli-Sci Jedi

I decided to rename and rebrand the site "The Poli-Sci Jedi". It's more appropriate, don't you think? The site's official mascot is K'Kruhk. Why - because at the end of the current Star Wars timeline, he is a member of the ruling triumvirate, and thus he IS a Poli-Sci Jedi. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Review of Scoundels

NOTE: This is my book review of the new book Scoundrels, originally posted on Amazon.com. I loved the book. One of the reasons I liked it is because we finally get to see Black Sun act like a mafia, as opposed to a bunch of street thugs. The book doesn't explicitly cover politics, but in the book Black Sun does use blackmail to coerce government officials. Anyways, I thought I'd repost the review here.

Obviously, Scoundrels was Timothy Zahn's attempt at combining an Ocean's 11 caper with the Star Wars saga. What I hadn't appreciated before reading the book was just how serious Zahn was about this. There have been several Star Wars books this year that try to break into the espionage/thriller genre, such as Annihilation: Star Wars (The Old Republic) and Mercy Kill: Star Wars (X-Wing), but at the end of the day they feel like rehashed Star Wars. By contrast, Scoundrels is something new. It takes the best of Star Wars with the best of the espionage/thriller genre to create something that really feels fresh.

Here are some of my initial thoughts. Note, I try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, meaning that I try not to reveal anything critical beyond the first three chapters.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

White House won't fund the Death Star

The White House (as in, the real, Earthbound White House where our president lives) responded to a petition asking the president to construct a Death Star. The petition was obviously a joke, but I thought the White House response was brilliant. It combines Star Wars humor with an appeal for greater investment in math and science. Here's the response in full: