It’s hard to come up with an original title for a story 24 hours old.
Disney bought Lucasfilm. There are so many reactions to this that within minutes of word hitting the Internet, the traffic made hurricane Sandy seem like a Spring shower. The funniest reaction I came across was easily, “Disney is going to merchandise Star Wars like crazy. It’s going to ruin it!” I really hope that was in jest. Yes, merchandising is a big Disney practice, which is why we have Cars 2 and Monsters University and not Incredibles 2 WHICH EVERYONE WANTS. However, if I were Disney looking at Lucasfilm for purchase, I would say $4 billion of the $4.05 billion price tag was the Star Wars property and its merchandising behemoth that has been around since the first crawl.
If you grew up in the 70s and 80s, chances are good that you were a fan of Star Wars. I didn’t mind the first re-release, I thought some of the additions were pretty cool. They weren’t obnoxious and helped create that other-worldly feel. Then Phantom Menace came out. Other than Darth Maul and Liam Neeson, I can’t find anything redeemable about that film. From that point on it was pretty clear Lucas had lost it long ago.
Disney announced yesterday that the sequels that were talked of when the prequels were announced are finally being made with the first slated for release in 2015. There was mention of films coming out every 1-3 years, depending on the source, after that, but I can’t tell if that meant films 7-9 in the series or more to come once those are in the can. There is more than enough Star Wars lore to make more films with sources coming from books and comics. (Personally, I want to see Luke wrestle with the Dark Side, but I hear it’ll be about Han and Leia’s kids.) The best bit of news, as far as the films are concerned, is that Lucas won’t write or direct them. Even Star Wars fans that became estranged from the franchise due to the prequels should be cheering about that. Yeah, he’ll be around as consultant, but that’s just a title. Everyone is anxious to hear who takes the helm of this juggernaut, but hopefully whoever made the brilliant move to bring in Joss Whedon to direct The Avengers is pulling the strings on that one (unless that was Marvel’s call, then there’s reason to panic).
There has been buzz about a live-action television show for the past few years and Disney certainly has the power to bring that to reality. They have a series based on S.H.I.E.L.D from The Avengers franchise coming down the pipeline. I’m not sure what the plans were for the animated Clone Wars series, but I’m sure whatever ties Cartoon Network has to it can be bought up so Disney can air it on their Disney XD station along with their Marvel animated series.
Dark Horse Comics may be getting screwed the most in this deal. They’ve had a great relationship with Star Wars for over 20 years now and Disney’s pet Marvel could throw an adamantium wrench in the works. It’s hard to say what will happen at this point. I have problems with Marvel Comics anyway, so I’m pulling for Dark Horse in this.*
Overall, this is a big plus for Star Wars and other Lucas properties (keep crystal skulls away). Disney has had a long-standing relationship with Star Wars in their theme parks and due to a few uber fans I follow on Twitter, I know just enough about Star Wars Weekends to be able to include them in this. Worst case scenario, Disney decides to take the most annoying ride in existence, It’s a Small World, and replicate it as an Ewok themed “Yub Nub” abomination.
Quite often very little changes when a company buys another. It allows one to add the other to their net value, or they take a loss and get a tax break. Is it disturbing that Disney has it’s fingers in so many pies in the entertainment industry and is one of a handful of corporations that control all media in this country? Fuck yes. But, I’m going to let someone more knowledgeable tackle that. One day, a millennium from now, Lucasfilm may have no value whatsoever and Disney decides to kill it off. But who cares? We’ll all be dead anyway.
I’ve read How We Decide. It’s very good pop-sci writing. I was excited to see him enlist at the New Yorker. And I am glad that these articles seem to seek context on what seems to be a strangely unethical, or at least careless, decision.
The Sam Harris (another respectable pop-sci writer) link will let you download his book Lying for free through the end of the week.
This American Life has retracted Mike Daisey’s story about the Foxconn Factory. It’s been a couple of days since the retraction, but I have only now had a chance to sit down and listen to the story. You must listen to this podcast, even if you didn’t hear the original. This retraction salvages This American Life as a respectable journalistic source, and disgraces Mike Daisey. It’s really important to hear why.
This is a head-on collision between journalism and fiction. It demands a close examination in the declaration between journalism and fiction, which happens to be a favorite subject of mine to discuss.
This American Life has done an exquisite job of taking responsibility for the story, and they have meticulously highlighted and corrected the mistakes. The purpose of journalism is to report the facts of an event or situation, unaltered, in such a way that they inform the public as an unbiased source. The staff at This American Life should be applauded for their dedication to responsible journalism.
But Mike Daisey is not a journalist. He is a fiction writer and a performer who was asked to agree to the standards of good journalism. Fiction is the opposite of journalism. By definition fiction is not true. That is why this event is tricky. I would argue that all fiction must contain truth in order for it to resonate with another person, but the events of the piece do not have to have occurred so long as they facilitate the underlying truth of the story.
Daisey’s performance piece operates under a covert implication that his performance is highly fictionalized even though it is presented as journalism.
That is why what Mike Daisey has done is despicable, and why I think his reputation is damaged beyond salvage. This American Life did not have to be forced to correct their story when the facts came to light, whereas Mike Daisey toured the country, lying everywhere he went, in front of millions of people, to untold numbers of journalists. He attracted the attention of large journalism companies, and falsely attacked the reputation of Foxconn and Apple.
Though conditions at the factory are terrible, and even though Apple and Foxconn should be held responsible for those conditions, Apple and Foxconn cannot be expected to account for Mike Daisey’s fiction. Just like every scientist has to separate themselves from those who falsify scientific reports to prove global warming, from now on, every journalist who reports on working conditions will have to shake free of Mike Daisey’s mendacity. He has damaged journalism. He’s not even a journalist. Worse than that, he has damaged the crusade against working conditions at Foxconn, which was why he wrote his piece in the first place.
He has also damaged his reputation as a fiction writer. Plenty of people will still go to see his show, but it will no longer facilitate the underlying truth of his story because there is no way to know which parts are true and which have been fabricated. He is only slightly more trustworthy than a tabloid newspaper.
Mike Daisey has also compromised the integrity of This American Life. This American Life has retracted this story quickly, meticulously, and, as far as I can tell, accurately. That is why This American Life should continue to be a respectable journalistic source, but they had to dedicate an entire episode worth of effort to compensate for the damage that Mike Daisey has done, and they will forever have to account for that.
Here’s an amazing RadioLab episode titled Deception where a fellow named Paul Eckman defines a lie as “a deliberate choice to mislead a target without any notification.”
If you’re mislead about dangers, you take real risks to avoid imaginary ones, and that includes what you vote for.
Related to Kosmo’s post:
I’ve been haunted every year by a certain Valentine’s Day memory of my obnoxious Catholic upbringing.
In one of my classes or perhaps during a “special break time,” (the only non-religious class in grade school was Math, but Math was invariably taught by a nun) I was force-shown a hokey christian allegory of “romantic love via love of Jeezo Crust” that falsely attributed Valentine’s Day to a Catholic martyr (there are 14 martyrs by the name Valentine) who was handed red paper hearts by his supporters on the walk to his execution.
Isn’t that the worst thing ever?
All I wanted was to get Katie Bunch to kiss me on my face and tell all the other boys that I was the cutest, and the opprobriously celibate, dusty lipped nuns force-taught us that the tradition of giving “valentines” to your loved ones is somehow related to bidding them goodbye on their way to a torturous, political murder.
I found this movie on Amazon, and apparently there’s some time travel involved that I don’t remember.
Just look at the fucking cover.
Now I’d like to draw your attention to the very first comment on the site:
I used to show this to the sixth graders I taught. Four years ago I moved to China had a group of Asian ladies watch it… they too enjoyed it. It shows what true love is… sacrifical.
Hope you order it and enjoy it as much as I have over the years.
True love = sacrificial. Can I sue my parents and my grade school? Why has no one thought of that before?
This lady is probably not one of my teachers, but it’s substantive proof that if you go to China, you’re bound to run into a group of Asian ladies.
Here’s the accompanying Wired article.