Corporation of Disney Versus Sole Proprietorship of George Lucas: Why the new Star Wars is so terrible

With all the accolades given to the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens I take a bit of pride in being one of the very few to point out the obvious problems with it, and the gross neglect it represents on not only American culture, but international civilization.  Star Wars has a responsibility provided to it by its half century long quest to play that part with the human race, so when it takes that role for granted, it is the job of people like me to point it out.  Anybody can do such a thing after others have already jumped on the bandwagon.  Presently, The Force Awakens is the fastest movie to hit $1 billion in global sales and it’s still moving along at a respectable rate.  By every box-office measure, The Force Awakens is a glorious success.  Yet I’m saying that it’s not successful, which to some may appear baffling.  Here’s why, Star Wars surrendered what it was to become something that it isn’t and that deduction can be reduced to a very simple social understanding of how things work outside of a mother’s womb.  To get the gist of what’s wrong with The Force Awakens watch the very interesting reviews shown below. Watch them all, they tell the whole story.  I’ll go a step further in my explanation, but it’s a good place to begin.

One of the most difficult things a job creator can do is make decisions to eliminate the jobs of the people who count on you.  It is excessively hard—I think it’s one of the hardest things a human mind does in a capitalist society—because a means to a living is the sustenance used to survive from day-to-day.  George Lucas wanted to retire at 70 years old but he had all these employees that he felt responsible for, so he went looking for a way to keep them all busy so that he could retire in good conscience feeling he did what was right by them.  He sold his company to Disney hoping that it was the closest company to his own methods that would respect his former property and do well for an entirely new generation.   I was a supporter of it, until I saw the results. It would have done more people more good to just leave Star Wars alone and laid-off all the Lucasfilm employees.  Laying off 2000 Lucasfilm employees would have been painful, but the results have been worse.  Because in destroying Star Wars, it has taken away the good meaning it has possessed to literally hundreds of millions of people who now consider it something of a religion.

When the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney took place, many proclaimed that it was a sale to the dark side, but they said so without really understanding why.  Corporations have a tendency to be viewed as evil, while individuals are given great latitude for forgiveness.  This is the heart of the problem.  As a fan of unlimited capitalism, I should be very supportive of corporations—which I am in that they provide jobs and great products to a free marketplace.  But, they are often very socialist in their nature and their employees bring that mentality with them to the voting booth. For instance, a worker at P&G or GE works in an environment that does not promote personal growth and individuality—they work in very team oriented environments where the greater good of the company is often the focus.  This is a standard in most corporations—so when Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton expresses the values of socialism most voters are already receptive to it because they live that life within the corporate world.  Corporations are collective based organizations that are often top-heavy and loaded with too much management at the back of the train defined by the Metaphysics of Quality.  Not enough people at the front providing leadership, and too many in the back which slows down the train from true productivity.  To hide this problem, corporations hire lobbyists to work K-Street in Washington on their behalf to prevent competition, so that the corporation can stay alive longer at the expense of more capitalist invention.

I’m not a fan of corporations, but I am a fan of the people who lead them, individuals like George Lucas, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and the original Walt Disney—among many others.  To me, once those strong leaders leave their corporations, everyone who follows are second handers.  This is why I am a fan of people like Carl Icahn who is the original corporate raider—who defined the term, “hostile takeover” by purchasing the stock of failing corporations and inserting new management with real leadership to make a sizable profit.  The introduction of competition to the corporate world makes everyone better and more honest and is needed in a capitalist society.  Without that behavior, you only get degrees of socialism which is terrible because it forces people to behave as collective entities proving detrimental to individual integrity.

Star Wars was always about the power of the individual, Luke Skywalker being the only hope for the Force to overthrow the emperor, Han Solo to always be functioning just outside the organized systems of the rebellion long enough to save everyone, and Obi-Wan residing in a desert all alone as the last of his kind to preserve goodness for a new generation.  Even the robot Artoo Detoo functions as a rogue individualist often breaking protocol to do what he thinks is right as C3PO representing the corporate world of doing as programmed berates him for comic relief.  In The Empire Strikes Back when Luke senses that Han and Leia are being tortured on Cloud City Yoda tells the young Jedi that he must stay and not be lured into a trap if he honors what they fight for.  The designation is clear, the relief of collective pain is not more important than the value of an individual who alone has the power to save the galaxy.  That is powerful stuff and why I along with millions of others have been a fan of Star Wars for over three decades.

The Force Awakens is a corporate movie made by the second handers of George Lucas and Walt Disney.  They are corporate minds who think in terms of sacrifice and the greater good before individual integrity, just as any corporation resents the individualist–those who do what they want in the corner cubical, and does not socialize during lunch with others and doesn’t follow orders from their superiors.  Rey the strong female who is obviously Jaina Solo from the Expanded Universe miraculously knows how to do everything which is a problem that many people have with the film upon viewing.  Many are willing to suspend their disbelief because the female hero is such a strong and compelling character that viewers are willing to overlook the problem initially.  The dilemma is that the characters in The Force Awakens are just along for the ride.  The Force is the hero of this movie and all the characters are subservient to it.  Rey is the victim of the sword that finds her, not because she finds it—her role is a passive participation in the adventure which is a direct violation of the “Hero’s Journey” that all Star Wars movies embody to some degree.  The Force uses her to get through impossible situations like flying the Falcon and fighting Kylo Ren at the end of the film.  She doesn’t survive them because she is an active participant.   She’s just “going with the flow,” and yielding to a mysterious Force that is guiding her actions.  Those are aspects of Star Wars that have always been weak, easily overshadowed by the efforts of Han Solo.

In the original films The Force was something to be listened to, but according to Obi-Wan, it also obeyed your commands—as an individual.  In The Force Awakens The Force is doing all the heavy lifting which is a corporate view of what Obi-Wan said in the film A New Hope, “there is no such thing as luck.”  This indicates that all the heroics of Han Solo in the past movies were not because of his skill as an individual pilot, or a decision that was made at a key time, but was due to The Force working through him.  This cheapens Star Wars considerably into a religion instead of a myth building tool to encourage people to follow their personal bliss.  It is the difference between a company run by a strong individual, and a corporation ran by a board of directors and a CEO as their representative.  One is an individual enterprise; the other is a collective based entity.

In time, once the fun of a new Star Wars movie fades, the impact that the films had will fade considerably as they will lose their meaning due to this corporate interpretation of The Force as opposed to the one that George Lucas nurtured.  The corporation puts up memos on a bulletin board and expects everyone to be appeased and to serve the needs of the collective entity—no matter who it is.  A company ran by a strong individual personally speaks to everyone and gives them guidance in developing their own individuality for the good of the company. It is a slight distinction that makes all the difference in the world regarding the end result.  Clearly George Lucas understands that distinction, and Disney as an organization collectively based, does not.  That is why The Force Awakens is a failure even though on paper immediately it appears successful.  Its mythology has been tampered with and is now changed forever—for the worse.  The message is one now of collectivism as opposed to individuality and that makes it very dangerous—and vile.

Now you should understand dear reader why you felt that The Force Awakens was a bad movie, but didn’t quite know how or why. It looked like Star Wars, sounded like Star Wars, had the same characters as the original Star Wars—but it wasn’t Star Wars.  It turned the overall message away from the rebellion of freedom fighters fighting for an individualized galactic republic and put the emphasis on collectivism and the reach and authority of corporations and the eventual tenacity to grind away everything that stands in their way.  And there isn’t much anybody can do about it but wait for some unseen Force to tell us what to do.  To those broken by corporate socialism into waiting for permission to use the rest room or get their vacations approved by a superior, they love Rey in the film because it’s all they can hope for in their lives after being beaten by collectivism for many years into no other option but to hope that they’ll win the lottery or gain an inheritance to earn their freedom from the grind.  But for hard-core Star Wars fans, Han Solo was the self-determined individual who functioned heroically not due to special powers or hooky religions—but by his own actions.  And in The Force Awakens, they killed off that character—for the “greater good.”  The message couldn’t have been clearer from the corporation known as Disney.

Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman


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Hercules was a Murderer and Homosexual: The fault of mythic heroes rooted in sacrifice

I have not yet seen the new film about Hercules by Dwayne Johnson but its release does bring up an interesting issue which needs to be addressed. Hercules was a failed hero—in spite of the world believing that he was the highest human beings had to offer. Hercules was a murderer and in the end sacrificed himself much the way Christ would many years later paving the way for a culture the world over obsessed with the notion of sacrifice as opposed to creation. The basic premise of Hercules if looked at beyond his extraordinary Paul Bunyan type of mythic folklore feats was that he was a troubled man easily manipulated by hidden spirits—in this case his jealous step mother Hera. Hercules killed and destroyed others and no matter how strong he was—his only way to divine settlement was through sacrifice. The constant resurrection of the Hercules myth as a superhero of human civilization is faulty and built on a terrible weakness imposed on history—the notion that sacrifice is the highest strength that even Hercules would eventually discover and that the moral to his story is that all who follow him may someday reach the same destination. The Hercules story is simply a prequel to Christ—both have a similar ending and the adventures leading up to that ultimate decision were extraordinary and laced with miracles. But it is the motive of Hercules to begin with which should bring great trepidation to all listeners of the old Greek tale of a half man-half god—created by a love affair through his father Zeus, the early prototype for Yahweh.

After killing his music tutor Linus with a lyre, Hercules was sent to tend cattle on a mountain by his foster father Amphitryon. Here, according to an allegorical parable, “The Choice of Heracles”, invented by the sophist Prodicus (c. 400 BCE) and reported in Xenophon‘s Memorabilia 2.1.21–34, he was visited by two nymphs—Pleasure and Virtue—who offered him a choice between a pleasant and easy life or a severe but glorious life: he chose the latter. This was part of a pattern of “ethicizing” Heracles over the 5th century BCE.[15]

Later in Thebes, Hercules married King Creon‘s daughter, Megara. In a fit of madness, induced by Hera—Zeus’ jealous wife, Heracles killed his children by Megara. After his madness had been cured with hellebore by Antikyreus, the founder of Antikyra,[16] he realized what he had done and fled to the Oracle of Delphi. The story at this point differs somewhat depending on various translations, in some stories Hercules also killed Megara bathing in the blood of his family. In others Heracles gave his wife, Megara, at the age of thirty three, to his nephew Iolaus, then only sixteen years old[4] – ostensibly because the sight of her reminded him of his murder of their three children. In either version, Hercules was a haunted man prone to murder and far from being a pillar of strength. Even with all his great strength, he failed to secure his family from the forces of the gods—which clearly promotes the ideal that no man can stand against the unseen forces of Mt Olympus.

Unbeknownst to him, the Oracle was guided by Hera. He was directed to serve King Eurystheus for ten years and perform any task Eurystheus required of him. Eurystheus decided to give Heracles ten labours, but after completing them, Heracles was cheated by Eurystheus when he added two more, resulting in the Twelve Labors of Heracles.

Hercules was the Roman name for the Greek divine hero Heracles. The Romans adapted the Greek hero’s iconography and myths for their literature and art under the name Hercules. In later Western art and literature and in popular culture, Hercules is more commonly used than Heracles as the name of the hero. Hercules was a multifaceted figure with contradictory characteristics, which enabled later artists and writers to pick and choose how to represent him.[1] This article provides an introduction to representations of Hercules in the later tradition.

Hercules is known for his many adventures, which took him to the far reaches of the Greco-Roman world. One cycle of these adventures became canonical as the “Twelve Labours,” but the list has variations. Driven mad by Hera, Heracles slew his own family. To expiate the crime, Heracles was required to carry out ten labors set by his archenemy, Eurystheus, who had become king in Heracles’ place. If he succeeded, he would be purified of his sin and, as myth says, he would be granted immortality. Heracles accomplished these tasks, but Eurystheus did not accept the cleansing of the Augean stables because Heracles was going to accept pay for the labor. Neither did he accept the killing of the Lernaean Hydra as Heracles’ nephew, Iolaus, had helped him burn the stumps of the heads. Eurysteus set two more tasks (fetching the Golden Apples of Hesperides and capturing Cerberus), which Heracles performed successfully, bringing the total number of tasks up to twelve.

One traditional order of the labours is found in the Bibliotheca as follows:[2]

  1. Slay the Nemean Lion.
  2. Slay the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra.
  3. Capture the Golden Hind of Artemis.
  4. Capture the Erymanthian Boar.
  5. Clean the Augean stables in a single day.
  6. Slay the Stymphalian Birds.
  7. Capture the Cretan Bull.
  8. Steal the Mares of Diomedes.
  9. Obtain the girdle of Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.
  10. Obtain the cattle of the monster Geryon.
  11. Steal the apples of the Hesperides.
  12. Capture and bring back Cerberus.

This is described in Ovid‘s Metamorphoses Book IX. Having wrestled and defeated Achelous, god of the Acheloos river, Heracles takes Deianira as his wife. Travelling to Tiryns, a centaur, Nessus, offers to help Deianira across a fast flowing river while Heracles swims it. However, Nessus is true to the archetype of the mischievous centaur and tries to steal Deianira away while Heracles is still in the water. Angry, Heracles shoots him with his arrows dipped in the poisonous blood of the Lernaean Hydra. Thinking of revenge, Nessus gives Deianira his blood-soaked tunic before he dies, telling her it will “excite the love of her husband”.[54]

Several years later, rumor tells Deianira that she has a rival for the love of Heracles. Deianira, remembering Nessus’ words, gives Heracles the bloodstained shirt. Lichas, the herald, delivers the shirt to Heracles. However, it is still covered in the Hydra’s blood from Heracles’ arrows, and this poisons him, tearing his skin and exposing his bones. Before he dies, Heracles throws Lichas into the sea, thinking he was the one who poisoned him (according to several versions, Lichas turns to stone, becoming a rock standing in the sea, named for him). Heracles then uproots several trees and builds a funeral pyre, which Poeas, father of Philoctetes, lights. As his body burns, only his immortal side is left. Through Zeus’ apotheosis, Heracles rises to Olympus as he dies.

In addition to the life of Hercules he was not only a womanizing adulterer but a homosexual. Heracles had a number of male lovers. Plutarch, in his Eroticos, maintains that Heracles’ male lovers were beyond counting. Of these, the one most closely linked to Heracles is the Theban Iolaus. According to a myth thought to be of ancient origins, Iolaus was Heracles’ charioteer and squire. Heracles in the end helped Iolaus find a wife. Plutarch reports that down to his own time, male couples would go to Iolaus’s tomb in Thebes to swear an oath of loyalty to the hero and to each other.[20][21]

One of Heracles’ male lovers, and one represented in ancient as well as modern art, is Hylas. Though it is of more recent vintage (dated to the 3rd century) than that with Iolaus, it had themes of mentoring in the ways of a warrior and help finding a wife in the end. However it should be noted that there is nothing whatever in Apollonius’s account that suggests that Hylas was a sexual lover as opposed to a companion and servant.[22]

Another reputed male lover of Heracles is Elacatas, who was honored in Sparta with a sanctuary and yearly games, Elacatea. The myth of their love is an ancient one.[23]

Abdera‘s eponymous hero, Abderus, was another of Heracles’ lovers. He was said to have been entrusted with—and slain by—the carnivorous mares of Thracian Diomedes. Heracles founded the city of Abdera in Thrace in his memory, where he was honored with athletic games.[24]

Another myth is that of Iphitus.[25]

Another story is the one of his love for Nireus, who was “the most beautiful man who came beneath Ilion” (Iliad, 673). But Ptolemy adds that certain authors made Nireus out to be a son of Heracles.[26]

Pausanias makes mention of Sostratus, a youth of Dyme, Achaea, as a lover of Heracles. Sostratus was said to have died young and to have been buried by Heracles outside the city. The tomb was still there in historical times, and the inhabitants of Dyme honored Sostratus as a hero.[27] The youth seems to have also been referred to as Polystratus.

There is also a series of lovers who are either later inventions or purely literary conceits. Among these are Admetus, who assisted in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar;[28] Adonis;[29] Corythus;[29] and Nestor, who was said to have been loved for his wisdom. His role as lover was perhaps to explain why he was the only son of Neleus to be spared by the hero.[30]

A scholiast on Argonautica lists the following male lovers of Heracles: “Hylas, Philoctetes, Diomus, Perithoas, and Phrix, after whom a city in Libya was named”.[31] Diomus is also mentioned by Stephanus of Byzantium as the eponym of the deme Diomeia of the Attic phyle Aegeis: Heracles is said to have fallen in love with Diomus when he was received as guest by Diomus’ father Collytus.[32] Perithoas and Phrix are otherwise unknown, and so is the version that suggests a sexual relationship between Heracles and Philoctetes.

Clearly the continued attempt to perpetuate the Hercules myth by contemporary society—frustrated by the pacifism of Christianity is to point them into the direction of the very flawed personality of Hercules. It should be no wonder then that men to this very day are confused as to how to act—as the heroes that history has pointed them to are men such as Hercules—men of strength who could create the rocks of Gibraltar, bed thousands of women and men, and still be considered a hero even though they killed their entire family.

The power of myth is far stronger than the rule of law—it is what people believe deep inside and what types of religions that they will seek to support that belief system which shapes society. Myth is what creates that belief system—it is the epistemology of philosophy. When Hercules is held as the highest form of man, then these are the parameters that mankind sets for themselves. If the Hercules story did not evolve into the Christ story which has then become the largest religion on planet earth and shaped the minds of most every human being that has ever breathed—then the faults of the story could be dismissed. But even after thousands of years, there is still a desire to resurrect such a flawed character as Hercules as the finest example of what a human being can be—which is pretty pathetic.

Hercules was nothing more than a sexually obsessed murderer easily manipulated by the forces of Mt Olympus—the spirit world—who ultimately killed himself to be free of its grip. And to this very day, human beings still believe wrongly that sacrifice is the way to heaven instead of higher virtues associated with production, enterprise, and genuine goodness.

When a guy in a bar on a business trip far from home is encountered by a woman also on a business trip far from home with a few drinks in her decide they want to play with each other sexually, the man might go through his list of heroes in his mind who helped shape his thoughts and think of Hercules. Even Disney has made a hero of the old Greek protagonist—so the modern references are there as most superheroes can point back to the old Greek myths for their origins. The man about to bed the woman might think of his wife back home and justify that Hercules did it, and so can he. After all, isn’t death awaiting all of us at some point—so all we must do is do some little appeasement to the gods and all will be forgiven—so why not bed the drunk woman in the bar?” And so the saga goes, and thus one more case of adultery, and the path to yet another destroyed family ensues where little kids lose hope that the men of their life can provide role models and that the state is all anyone can depend on. And those who run the state reside on Mt Olympus and live like gods and must be appeased with sacrifice. So long as those things happen, life is a free for all ending in death and resurrection—no matter how great the sins are. After all, Hercules killed his family and to atone for it he did many heroic deeds which serviced ultimately all of society and in the end sacrificed himself so that he could become a member of Olympus with the other gods and live happily ever after.

Our society needs new heroes to fill the void of mythic storytelling. Hercules was a loser, and not the type of character that should set the standard of behavior for our entire society. But as of now—he is—and Hollywood yet again is resurrecting him as a way to keep the old beliefs intact for a new generation. And what that generation will find if they follow Hercules is a pyre of wood at the end of their life and nothing else. Sacrificial redemption is the only value of such a society and the ultimate failure of the ancient past that is relevant to our modern times through art and myth. Hercules was a fallen hero who should be rejected, not honored, and points to the deep need that the human race has for better characters far more powerful than Hercules–and far more dependable.

Rich Hoffman