Message: I care
Saturday, April 18, 2015
Politics is such a hideous word. It uglifies everything, witness “office politics.”
It’s the dirty, smelly public restroom of our shared experience. We need it, but nobody really wants to go in there. Well, normal people, at least.
But we live with politics like a rash that just won’t clear up. Maybe that’s because political messaging actually works. At least 51 percent of the electorate thinks so every four years.
For some candidates, politics are natural, like breathing – Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan come to mind. With Hillary Clinton, she may as well be reading her political message aloud off notecards.
See how relatable she is! She’s just like you. At least for the next week or so until she moves on to the next message.
Never mind that waiting in line or carrying our own luggage are things all of us do every day without even thinking about it, but for Hillary, they’re unusual enough to be newsworthy. That’s why they come off as awkward as a first date with me.
The security footage looks more like she’s robbing the Chipotle than picking up lunch there. Her so-called Scooby Van looks like something you’d use to cart Darth Vader around.
These stunts are aimed at covering her weaknesses, but to anyone paying attention, the messaging actually exposes them. They wouldn’t be going to such lengths to show Hillary being just plain folks if she had been doing that effortlessly all along.
After several days of watching Hillary go after the presidency like an Alien facehugger, maybe all I can think about is politics. But the Star Wars franchise is undergoing some populist Hillary-level political messaging and reinvention this week, albeit a little more deftly.
Like Hillary’s campaign(s), the Star Wars prequels came with excellent, popular pedigree, were well-financed and were guaranteed a certain level of success even without really even trying.
But, toward that end, Hillary and the prequels – which would be a good band name, come to think of it – had/have a certain “going through the motions” vibe about them.
I recall actually being relieved when the end credits for “Return of the Sith” rolled. That feeling of “I’ll never have to sit through another terrible Star Wars movie.”
The implicit and explicit message of the new trailer is that the Star Wars you love is back. X-Wings skimming over a lake! The Millennium Falcon dodging TIE Fighters! Explosions! Storm Troopers! Lightsabers!
The line “Chewie, we’re home,” – a tad sentimental, perhaps – reads on several levels.
What’s notable about the prequels is how un-“Star Wars-like they were. The prequels were about politics and cities and offices and talking and talking and talking – people on the inside, literally and figuratively.
The first trilogy was about people on the outside. The movies took place on the fringes – out-of-the-way planets, secret bases, in exile on a swamp planet.
George Lucas even famously cribbed his Old West imagery for the “Luke returns to the burning homestead” scene from “The Searchers,” perhaps the definitive movie about finding and building a home – or failing to – on the frontier.
Judging from the new trailer, this new Star Wars gets this. It couldn’t be clearer that this is a new Star Wars. The prequels are drifting away with the rest of the garbage.
And, like Hillary, the Disney folks are going out of their way to drive their message home.
Considering the brutal SNL cold open last week, Hillary has a long way to go. Considering the number of folks jizzing themselves over the latest teaser trailer, the Disney folks are nailing it.
Star Wars is home.