Three Years of Hell to Become the Devil: Outgeeking Bainbridge

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Outgeeking Bainbridge

Now, I'd never take on Professor Bainbridge when it comes to wine: I haven't the taste buds. And on corporate law? More fool me to challenge the guy who authors textbooks. But outgeeking? There we're on more equal ground. And I'm afraid that his accusation that George Lucas has sold the soul of Star Wars to the Democrats just rings hollow.

Basically, the good Professor is upset because:

...Lucas betrayed the basic story arc of the Star Wars mythology in order to score these cheap political points. In the original trilogy, Luke struggled against the absolutism of Obi-Wan and Yoda. It was Luke who insisted that there was still good in Vader, which Yoda and Obi-Wan rejected.

The betrayal in question is in having Obi-Wan say to Anakin, after the latter has muttered some you're-for-me-or-against-me line, "Only a Sith thinks in absolutes."

Now, I've not seen the movie yet, and to the best of my knowledge, neither has Prof. Bainbridge, but to my mind his internal critique doesn't hold up. Bainbridge spends a great deal of time talking about how an older (presumably wiser) Obi-Wan was still doctrinaire and absolutist in his consideration of the Force. But if we consider this Obi-Wan to be less mature than Alec Guinness (and who wouldn't), then the plot still hangs together. Obi-wan may just be full of it. And there's no "betrayal" for "cheap political points" so long as the elder Jedi isn't doing anything more than the lightsaber equivalent of Godwin's Law: you know the conversation's over (and someone's limbs are about to go) when somebody mentions the Sith.

So why are so many assuming that Old Kenobi needs to be taken seriously? It seems that the New York Times found political meaning in the film:

"This is how liberty dies - to thunderous applause," Padm observes as senators, their fears and dreams of glory deftly manipulated by Palpatine, vote to give him sweeping new powers. "Revenge of the Sith" is about how a republic dismantles its own democratic principles, about how politics becomes militarized, about how a Manichaean ideology undermines the rational exercise of power. Mr. Lucas is clearly jabbing his light saber in the direction of some real-world political leaders. At one point, Darth Vader, already deep in the thrall of the dark side and echoing the words of George W. Bush, hisses at Obi-Wan, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy." Obi-Wan's response is likely to surface as a bumper sticker during the next election campaign: "Only a Sith thinks in absolutes." You may applaud this editorializing, or you may find it overwrought, but give Mr. Lucas his due. For decades he has been blamed (unjustly) for helping to lead American movies away from their early-70's engagement with political matters, and he deserves credit for trying to bring them back.

Dear goodness, we can only hope. I mean, if Democrats can't do better than Lucas's tin-ear for dialogue for their political bumper stickers, then I suspect the Republicans will get the geek vote. But now the New York Times has done the impossible: it's made me curious about the final Star Wars film.

Let's face it: Lucas is about as subtle as a chainsaw running through a screen door, at least when it comes to dialogue. I'd expect that even if Chewbacca were mouthing Bush-lite rhetoric, you wouldn't need to be Han Solo to figure out the reference. On the other hand, the New York Times could probably scan Beowulf and find hidden anti-Bush meanings.

So who is it? Is George L. taking on George B.? Or is this all a figment of the Times' fevered fantasies? Sadly, I'll have to see the film to find out, because when it comes to a conflict between the Lucas lack of subtext and the Greying Lady's determination to find same, we reach a level of difficulty almost equal to that of the Great Sci Fi Paradox: What happens when a bunch of clueless red-shirts, guaranteed to survive less than three minutes after a beamdown, meets a platoon of Imperial Stormtroopers, who can't hit a barn from inside it?


This article on a Cannes press conference might save you the trouble of going to the movie.
A wise man once pointed out that "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar", and I think someone needs to remind Prof. Bainbridge that sometimes a trashy sci-fi B flick is just a trashy sci-fi B flick.....
The "wise man" was Freud, on the sometimes-noninterpretation-of-dreams. Less well known is his debt to Kipling. The original line went something like "Wine is only wine, but a cigar is a smoke."
I've noticed that people who are absolutist often think that they are nuanced. (Often because they know other people on their own side who are even more extreme, or have unexpressed feelings which are much nastier.)
TTP: I know it was Freud; I was under the impression that the quote was familiar enough that nobody (at least nobody well educated enough to be follwoing a first person narrative of American legal education) needed to be told who said it. :-)
Oh, perhaps I've underestimated folks. I was under the impression that a lot of people didn't know the source. Eh. Also I was trolling for the exact phrasing of the Kipling quote.
"Now, I've not seen the movie yet, and to the best of my knowledge, neither has Prof. Bainbridge..." And thus continues the conservative tradition of critiquing movies without having seen them. :)
If you notice, Dave, the above isn't a critique of a movie, but a series of questions about it. And having now seen the movie, if you want to carry water for Lucas's dialogue, I hope your back's pretty strong.

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Giveaway: Canvas Print for Travel Photos

We’re coming up on our year anniversary this month of our return from our around the world trip. Though nearly twelve months have passed since our days on the road, our global adventures don’t seem that far away.

Our Home Old Town Chicago Giveaway: Canvas Print for Travel Photos

Remnants of our travels surround us. In the historic neighborhood of Old Town just north of downtown Chicago, we’ve created a home for ourselves in the form of a travelers’ den. A hand-carved chess set from Zambia sits on our coffee table, a tea set from Burma at the foot of our ottoman and a wooden shelf from northern Thailand is lined with guidebooks. A montage of black and white portraits of the orphans in Zambia puts our days in check and a world map suspended above a well-worn sofa, inspires adventures to come…Here, we feel at home.

While we dream up our next travel adventure, we’ve been trying to figure out just what to do with the 25,000 photos we captured from our journey. Enter: Easy Canvas. Easy Canvas Prints is a canvas creator that turns your photos into art. We were thrilled when they recently contacted us to do a review of their canvas prints and offer a giveaway to our readers.

Our Canvas Print

Easy Canvas 2 e1322943800207 Giveaway: Canvas Print for Travel Photos

Thumbing through thousands of photos from our travels, it was hard to decide which photo to choose. We wanted something simple yet memorable. With the red-robed, stoic Masai Warrior against the great, green earth of the Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania, this photo stood out.

We were thrilled to receive the 16 x 20 canvas print from Easy Canvas and were really happy with how it turned out. Because it’s on canvas, it looks and feels more like a painting of a photo than an actual photo. For the photograph we picked it turned out to be a good fit.

Canvas Print 1 e1322944161777 Giveaway: Canvas Print for Travel Photos

There are several ways you can customize your print. You can select the border wrap (depth) of .75″ or 1.5″ and you can choose the side of the canvas as either solid color, an image wrap or mirror wrap. We selected the .75″ and image wrap and were extremely pleased with the results.

Reader Giveaway

Now it’s your turn. In time for the holidays, we’re offering a giveaway for a free 16 x 20 print. If you’re looking for a great gift for a traveler friend or just looking for a creative way to display one of your favorite travel photographs, it’s easy to enter. Simply leave a comment below (or on our Facebook page) describing the photo you’d like to turn into a canvas. Feel free to share a description or link to the photo and we’ll select our favorite photograph as the winner of the contest. If you’re looking to make some more of your own prints, “Like” Easy Canvas on Facebook and they’ll give you 50 percent off your next print.

This contest is limited to readers in the US or at least those that have a shipping address in the US. It will run for a week and we’ll announce the winner next Monday, December 12.

Our print and this giveaway are sponsored by Easy Canvas Prints. However, the review of this product is our own opinion.

pixel Giveaway: Canvas Print for Travel Photos

Comments (11)

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  1. roundwego says:

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner! The canvas print giveaway contest has now ended and now comes the hard part – choosing a winner. It was difficult to pick just one after seeing so many great travel photos, but what would a contest be without a winner?

    So, the winner is…@Wendy. Congrats, Wendy! Your picture of La Jolla really stood out with the beautiful sky in the background and the sunlit-green in the forefront. It will make a terrific canvas print.

    Thanks to everyone for entering!

  2. Eric says:

    I hope I’m not too late. I just saw this contest and think it’s great. Here are a handful of photos that captured something special about my visit to each place. Seeing any of them on a canvas would be wonderful. I’m a bit new to the travel community and can’t wait to start displaying mementos from my excursions!
    Eric´s last [type] ..Where are they now… and where have they been?

  3. roundwego says:

    @Wendy – La Jolla is spectacular. Some times I wonder why I would live anywhere other than there. Very vivid – thanks for sharing.

    @Jill – really like the blue hue of the photo. From photos I’ve seen of Morocco, it seems like a photographer’s heaven.

    @Keith – I’m contemplating a Scotch right now after seeing the photo.

    @David – I love how in the subcontinent they make Buddhas as big as amusement parks. Then, I think, they must really laugh at our churches in the West. Cool pictures – thanks for sharing.

  4. jill says:

    Beautiful canvas print (and house)!!

    Here’s a recent pic from Chefchaouen, Morocco that I think would look good on canvas:
    jill´s last [type] ..From 2 to 1 – the conversion to a solo traveller

  5. Scott says:

    Hey guys, while am a bit of a novice in the photo department (planning on this changing next year), this was my favorite shot from my recent trip to Mexico City, and I would love to see it on a canvas.
    Scott´s last [type] ..My Dia De Los Meurtos in Mexico

  6. Keith says:

    I love the look of canvas, so it’s really cool to see a service that makes photos in canvas prints. If I won, I’d want this photo of the Machrie Moor standing stones on canvas. It really captures the mystical beauty of Scotland.
    Keith´s last [type] ..To Staffa and the Treshnish Isles: Crossing the Sea with Turus Mara

  7. Meredith L. says:

    P.S. I know the shot only exposes a slice of the falls, but that’s the whole point. Sometimes we’re so focused on the big show that we neglect to see what else is in front of us. I had to pause and look around to notice the rainbow. Life is the falls, but it’s also everything that happens when we’re not planning, it’s about the rainbows we never expected. Now wouldn’t this look delicious on a canvas in my bedroom?
    Meredith L.´s last [type] ..Morning Love Letter (November 30, 2011)

  8. Meredith L. says:

    I spent 13 months living in Buenos Aires, Argentina back in 2008. Here is a shot from the world famous Iguazu Falls in Argentina. The strength of the falls humbled me, I was surrendered into the glory of everything that was around me and everything that I could become when I just knew (and know) there was and continues to be a plan greater and more miraculous than my own. This photo reminds me of that surrender. Thanks!–f-Yv6mFViYUK3PIjqkwmcRwA?feat=directlink
    Meredith L.´s last [type] ..Morning Love Letter (November 30, 2011)

  9. roundwego says:

    Hi Wendy – Thanks for stopping by. Great photo from La Jolla. It’s a favorite place of ours. Many thanks for sharing!

  10. Wendy says:

    What a great canvas you have! I love how the red stands out against the green background. I’ve been wanting to create a canvas print for a while, but am so undecided on which photograph to use. One of my choices is this:

    It was taken in La Jolla a couple of years ago. I can still remember the November sun and the smell of the Pacific Ocean.