Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Imagination Police

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



The Star Wars Travesty

A friend recently told me of the Star Wars “Expanded Universe”-killing move of Disney.

In two paragraphs:

Back in the day while Lucasfilm did their Lucasfilm work, be it Star Wars movies or games or whatever, the fans created their own Star Wars “Expanded Universe” (EU) of side stories, characters, etc. This is to say that fans created books, artwork, and so forth, sent them in for approval, and then (assuming approval) the works were officially licensed as part of the Star Wars collection. (Note that they were important but not considered “Canon” as are the movies.)

My friend then told me, however, that after purchasing the Lucasfilm rights, Disney announced that any Star Wars-related material not portrayed within the first 6 films was, effectively, garbage. In other words, all the artistic works—books, comics, artwork, and whatever else—as related to the fan-created EU of Star Wars were officially made null and void, meaningless, useless, kaput.

As anyone knows who has ever had an awesome idea and had it manifested (to any extent) only to have it utterly squashed; as anyone knows who has ever enjoyed the feeling, the experience of being a part themselves of such ideas and, likewise, felt the squashing as though a piece of them was stolen away, Star Wars fans felt, and continue to feel, that a part of the fabric of their existence has been stolen forever.

The Imagination Police

There’s a certain word I’d used a moment ago to describe Disney’s announcement of the “End.” This word was, officially.

…fan-created EU… [was] officially made null and void, meaningless, useless, kaput.

Officially.

Chew on that for a minute. But don’t swallow. You probably already have, but don’t. Gullible people swallow. You still chewing? Did whatever scrap it is you’re chewing on release any insights to you yet? No? Then keep chewing. Pardon the pun, but yes, this is a Chewie situation. You need to stay focused. Concentrate. Chew.

...

Get it yet?

If you are a Star Wars EU fan who feels that something vital has been deceitfully taken from you, particularly if you find yourself miserable and complaining about it yet not taking any action, I ask you this:

Why are you accepting as fact the idea that the Universe you and others have created in your own collective imagination—in a way, a most enthralling astral experience—as never having happened? This idea coming from a corporation no less! A corporation!

Can’t you still see all those vivid characters and environments and scenes in your mind’s eye? Aren’t your shelves filled with all those EU books and comics?

And yet you still give Disney exactly what they want.

They said: We’re the boss, now! and then punched you in the gut. Are you really going to stand there and say: Thank you, sir! May I have another!?”

What strikes me as more heart-breaking and gut-wrenching than Disney’s emptiness is that people, grown men and women, would submit to Disney’s emptiness believing that: Yes, it’s true. The EU is dead. Disney did it officially.

You know what Chewie would say about this?

“Raguaa, muu waaar hugaa.”

Which translates as: “Officially, my hairy ass.”

Which Path Will You Choose?

So the question comes down to: Which path will you choose?

I can only imagine that, although some fans are likely gone for good or only hanging on loosely, countless others, though they will remain disgusted and complain, will still go see the movies, will still buy the video games, will still get the toys for themselves or their kids.

Which is exactly what Disney is, quite literally, banking on—that people will feed the mouth that bites them.

Disturbed Star Wars fans… What if the hundreds of thousands of you don’t go to the movies? What if the hundreds of thousands of you don’t buy the DVD’s, games, and other merchandise?

What if the hundreds of thousands of you don’t submit to this dishonor of human creation?

Your money is your vote. Are you going to agree with Disney that you are not the master of your imagination? That your collective life creations truly no longer exist?

Or will you stand up and continue creating?

Because if the Star Wars movies and related products were to utterly tank, Disney would take the hint. They may be big, but they’re no bigger than the dollars the average you and me put in their wallet.

If you want your Expanded Universe back, you have to demand it… But first you have to realize that it never truly left. Not only is it sitting on your shelves in print and DVD (or VHS, whatever that is…), but it’s within you and it’s within every other Star Wars fan.

Unless you choose to believe the “official” statement. Then, yeah—it’s dead.

It’s your call.

It’s Everywhere

For sure, this kind of tragedy doesn’t end with Star Wars. It’s everywhere.

We’ve got Big Religion telling us who’s saved and who’s going to hell, yet no savior has thus far come and people are suffering like mad. We’ve got Big Government passing ever more laws and forever hiking taxes, yet solutions are always out of reach. We’ve got Big Medical and Big Pharma demanding preemptive screenings and endless medications, yet the multitudes are sick as ever. We’ve got Big Education telling us who we are, what we’re doing here, and how to think and live, yet these service-only-to-Big-Business-and-consumerism ways provide little sense of satisfaction for individuals. We’ve got guiding groups like the USDA telling us the “One Right Way” to eat, yet following every new edition of the Food Pyramid/My Plate the skyrockets that are the metabolic disease and cancer rates sharpen even further. We’ve got Big Security agencies with the most advanced spying and data collecting technologies in the world, yet terrorist events have become a dime a dozen affair, all of them “unforeseen.”

This may be the “official” story, folks, but it’s complete garbage.

Left and right, people are getting sick and dying, losing jobs, going homeless, being victim to child labor and abuse, having their rights and privacy taken away, and we keep paying for more of it.

Thank you, sir! May I have another!?

How long are we going to sit around paying to be manipulated by the tyranny that is Big Everything?

How long are we going to deny our imaginations, our creations, our artistic works—the very things that make us uniquely human and slaves to none?

The Star Wars Expanded Universe happened. Life happened. Artistic expression happened.

Indeed, they’re still happening. To you. And to me.

It’s time to remember that we don’t have to forget.

Post Script

If you need more clarity on the situation, go read/watch: 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Equilibrium.

Your art is resistance. Your resistance is art.

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