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grover2000

A grey, not evil Empire?

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Ep IV was pretty clearly "Empire=Nazis" even to my then 7-year-old mind.

 

I will admit to being mildly surprised that apparently some people didn't notice.

 

Don't be. Most people have moved beyond that simplistic view. It makes for some much more interesting storytelling.

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FWIW, on the difference between Star Wars and 40k...

 

Star Wars has a lot more cultural cachet than 40k.

 

The white house responds to petitions that they build a Death Star.

 

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/secure-resources-and-funding-and-begin-construction-death-star-2016/wlfKzFkN

 

It is rare that a BBC comedy goes by without someone making a Star Wars joke.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5iRmPBve80

 

So being much higher profile, with anywhere toys are sold probably stocking Star Wars merch, the message it sends is just more important.

 

Secondly, 40k is supposed to be transgressive. The fact that your Mum wouldn't like it was much of the appeal. I used to keep my White Dwarfs under the bed.

 

Thirdly, I still think 40k is a cautionary tale. The Imperium are not role models. It is fun to dream of a dark future where there is only war, but I don't think many people would think the Imperium is something to try to emulate in real life.

 

And finally since 40k exists, it is my go to setting for those times when I want to pretend to be a facist.

Edited by ErikB

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Ep IV was pretty clearly "Empire=Nazis" even to my then 7-year-old mind.

 

I will admit to being mildly surprised that apparently some people didn't notice.

 

Don't be. Most people have moved beyond that simplistic view. It makes for some much more interesting storytelling.

 

 

I know, right? I thought most people moved beyond such black-and-white, simplistic storytelling once they hit their later teenage years.

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Again, FWIW, I honestly think you would have a harder time putting aside the cynicism and telling a simple tale of good vs. evil.

No I think most, if not all of us, can remember the fairy-tales of our youth quite well if we want to. We've just grown to want more substance to our stories. Simple black and white stories have their place, even now, but are not usually enough to sustain the attention of many people. Hence the reason many delve deeper into the motives and motivations of all characters good and bad. Seems that some people, though, are unable to move on from those simplistic fairy-tales. Edited by mouthymerc

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"When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

-C.S. Lewis

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Again, FWIW, I honestly think you would have a harder time putting aside the cynicism and telling a simple tale of good vs. evil.

No I think most, if not all of us, can remember the fairy-tales of our youth quite well if we want to. We've just grown to want more substance to our stories. Simple black and white stories have their place, even now, but are not usually enough to sustain the attention of many people. Hence the reason many delve deeper into the motives and motivations of all characters good and bad. Seems that some people, though, are unable to move on from those simplistic fairy-tales.

 

I know I, for one, prefer more nuanced storytelling, where things are more grey and murky, rather than one side being black and the other white. I found it cliched when I was 11 back with the rerelease of the original film in 1997, and that hasn't changed. I like the setting, but I like to think that I shouldn't be restricted by Lucas' relatively limited morality in my own games.

 

The fact my players agree just makes it even better.

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"When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

-C.S. Lewis

 

Seriously? You want to try and pull this card? Pretty sure the fact that we are in this hobby kind of denotes that we haven't put away childish things. Oh and I don't know any kid that ever read fairy-tales in secret. **** I hate this stupid quote.

 

SimonPeggGeek.jpg

 

More apt I think.

 

hajJB.jpg

just because.

Edited by mouthymerc

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<Empire Poppin, Rebels Droppin>

This is the thing. Star Wars wasn't conceived as a setting like Warmachine or World of Warcraft where there are a variety of factions and everyone picks the one that they find most aesthetically and ideologically pleasing and then proceeds to have fun calling each other names for the side they picked (For the Horde!).

It has clearly defined good guys, and clearly defined bad guys with almost no redeeming features.

The problem with trying to rework it in to a setting where all sides can be picked is that you will then end up with a company as large and powerful as Disney making what amounts to pro-Nazi propaganda in order to energise the Empire fanbase in the same way that the Flames of War guys are effectively in the business of selling Nazi merch.
 

MINT15_GALE_FORCE_NINE_FOR_FLAMES_OF_WAR

 

Nice Afrika Korps themed dice tin there. I think there are T-Shirts, so you can show your allegiance to your faction.

 

In essence, I don't think the world will be made better by Disney deciding to dedicate themselves to explaining to a generation of kids why Nazis are awesome through the medium of Star Wars.

Edited by ErikB

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Star Wars was never concieved as a game. So as the mediums change, so do views of what is popular.

 

And just so we are clear, liking the Empire, an entirely fiction organization/government/military, does not mean one likes or agrees with Nazis. Most people, if not everyone else, already realize this. Are you now suggesting all those talented people dressing up for cons, especially those of the 501st, are somehow Nazi-lovers because they enjoy dressing as stormtroopers or othe Empire themed characters?

 

I would say that you should drop this absurd and extreme line of thinking as you only hurt any credibility you may have, but I'm sure that most people already know enough not to take you seriously.

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And just so we are clear, liking the Empire ... does not mean one likes or agrees with Nazis.

 

It kinda does though.

 

If you identify with the Empire, who are pretty much Nazis with the serial numbers filed off, then...

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If you identify with the Empire, who are pretty much Nazis with the serial numbers filed off, then...

 

Not true.  If anything it's the other way around.  The Empire just have the Nazi serial numbers on them, but nothing else really (let's not forget where the super-weapon in WWII actually came from). 

 

It's pretty accepted that Lucas used the trappings of cinema Nazis (gray uniforms over brown, BRITISH accents, etc.) were used to simplify the characterization/archetypication of the Empire so they can be associated with villainy.  However, they weren't Nazis. it's a very spurious and disengenuous argument to make unless you can make the correlation match.

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If you identify with the Empire, who are pretty much Nazis with the serial numbers filed off, then...

 

Not true.  If anything it's the other way around.  The Empire just have the Nazi serial numbers on them, but nothing else really (let's not forget where the super-weapon in WWII actually came from). 

 

It's pretty accepted that Lucas used the trappings of cinema Nazis (gray uniforms over brown, BRITISH accents, etc.) were used to simplify the characterization/archetypication of the Empire so they can be associated with villainy.  However, they weren't Nazis. it's a very spurious and disengenuous argument to make unless you can make the correlation match.

 

 

Funny, but Lucas approved of the backstory that the Empire enslaved Wookies back in the Han Solo trilogy days.

Funny, but Lucas approved the Empire discriminating against all non-humans from early on.

 

Aliens ≅ Jews, Communists, and Gypsies.

Wookies ≅ Militant Polish Jews.

 

The empire is more than a passing similarity with Nazi Germany. Lucas has even said so. 

 

Keep wallowing in that river, denial....

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Let's play this game, shall we?

 

Have you been to Iraq? Have you been to Afghanistan? I have.

 

Do you know why people sympathize with the Empire? Do you know why people think they're "cool?" It's because despite George Lucas' simplistic morality tale, despite the pretense of black-and-white morality, the Galactic Empire really is the 'good guys.' The Rebel Alliance is a group of terrorists bent on overthrowing the legally elected government of the galaxy. Their ranks are filled with traitors, murderers, and thieves the likes of Bria Tharen, not "heroes" as you may have been told. They're the kinds of people who blow up Imperial convoys, then shoot the first responders as they try to rescue the victims of the first attack. Yes, a typical mission in X-Wing or X-Wing Alliance would literally involve ambushing a convoy.

 

Let's make real-world comparisons. Let's talk about World War Two.

 

The good guys? The United States? We're all about the Tarkin Doctrine. We firebombed Dresden and Tokyo to punish people for being in enemy countries. We make and use superweapons. When the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, it was as much a message to the Soviet Union not to screw with us as it was a means to end the war. (Happy anniversary, by the way.) The fact of the matter is, until August 29th, 1949, the United States believed that all future wars would be fought and won by dropping atomic bombs on enemy cities until the beligerent country surrendered, even going so far as "killing a nation." Sound familiar?

 

You don't like COMPNOR? We put our own citizens in "internment" camps because we thought they might pose a threat. A President that suspended habeas corpus and declared martial law is revered as one of the greatest leaders our nation has ever had. You don't like assassination programs? That's a shame, because the good guys have had one for quite a while, ever since they decided that they needed to kill a little-known dictator by the name of Adolf Hitler. Perhaps you've heard of Operation Foxley.

 

But Star Wars isn't about World War Two. In fact, Star Wars was conceived and filmed during the waning years of the Vietnam War. Do you seriously believe that the Ewoks are anything more than little, furry Viet Cong? They're definitely not American GI's.

 

Star Wars, at its core, is not a happy tale of good triumphing over evil, nor is it the simplistic morality play that people seem to treat it as. No, at its core, Star Wars is a story about an impressionable youth with no future who was kidnapped from his father (the rightful custodian) at birth, and lied to and maniuplated his entire life by an aunt and uncle who made a habit of dealing in stolen property.

 

Luke gets caught up with a religious extremist who through numerous lies and mistruths ("from a certain point of view") convinces him to join a movement to overthrow the government by force. They go to a bar to meet up with a drug-runner (and murderer) to book illegal passage (presumably Obi-Wan was on a no-fly list) to Alderaan, a known state sponsor of terrorism. When they realized that Alderaan could no longer harbor terrorists, they don Imperial uniforms and shoot their way through a military installation Nidal Malik Hassan style.

 

After "escaping" the authorities once again, Luke and company meet up with a terror cell who plan to destroy that same military installation with the use of flying craft. At least one of them literally flies his spacecraft into the Death Star in a suicide run. In a terrorist act unprecedented in Imperial history, Luke then procedes to kill over a million people- including noncombat and support personnel- because the voices in his head told him to. But that's OK, because they were just "little Eichmans," right?

 

You know why everyone is tired of petulant whining about space Nazis and drone strikes? It's because the Rebels look a lot more like the bad guys than the good guys. It's because regardless of whether anyone wants to admit it, we've got a lot more in common with the Empire than Obi-Wan bin Laden. When you resemble the Empire more than the Rebellion- and have for the last seventy or eighty years, you get tired of being called the "bad guy." The fact that Ewoks are "cute" as they're stabbing people to death with crude, pointy sticks probably says a lot more about the politics of George Lucas than it does about how "evil" the Empire is.  

 

And was anyone on Alderaan really innocent? After all, with the amount of money Bail Organa was funneling into the Alliance To Restore The Calipha- I mean, Rebpublic, every man, woman, and child who ever paid taxes to Alderaan's government contributed to terrorism in some way. Yes, a few billion died on Alderaan, but who knows how many countless billions of innocents would have been killed had Alderaan continued to funnel arms and funds into various rebel groups. What if they had managed to give the rebels a Separatist manufactured superweapon? We all know how many of them are unaccounted for after the Separatist collapse. Better to drive the rebels out of the Core Worlds and fight them on Endor or Hoth than on Coruscant or Corellia.

 

And while you whine and rant about specism, detention facilities and assassination programs as old or older than the Empire, the fact of the matter is- those naked wookiee pyramids on Avatar Orbital Platform probably saved lives. Believe it or not, using a probe droid to sniff out a rebel cell is preferable to sending in troopers and having them come back missing arms or legs- or worse, not coming back at all. Do you want to write the parents of those stormtroopers and tell them that their son or daughter died because General Veers had the option of using a probe droid and decided not to? Because you know what? I've got a lot more respect for the guy who wants to understand the mindset of Space-Erwin Rommel than the guy obsessed with being Space-Al Qaeda.

 

But maybe this is satire intended to demonstrate he absurdity of the "Space Nazi" comparisons and I'm just playing Devil's Advocate.

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Funny, but Lucas approved of the backstory that the Empire enslaved Wookies back in the Han Solo trilogy days.

Funny, but Lucas approved the Empire discriminating against all non-humans from early on.

 

Aliens ≅ Jews, Communists, and Gypsies.

Wookies ≅ Militant Polish Jews.

Nationalism + Militarism says you're wrong (and maybe a bit too Euro-Centric) about the analogy as it ignores the Japanese subjugation of the Chinese and Polynesian Islands AND US detainment of Asian Americans, continued social discrimination of blacks. Should I even touch upon the Russians who are notorious for both ideogogical Imperialism AND xenophobia?

And again, the US developed and dropped the A-Bomb, not Nazi Germany.

Imperialist nation states are notorious for touting the same things being equated(strictly) to the Empire.

 

The empire is more than a passing similarity with Nazi Germany

The Empire only has as much similarity to Nazi Germany as when it doesn't. Just like Jedi are as much samurai as when they aren't.

 

Lucas has even said so.

As far as I recall he only went for trappings (Making of Star Wars), not philosophy or practice. If you have a quote, please post it.

Edited by NeoSamurai

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Interesting thing happened yesterday, I attended a 7yr olds birthday party as a special guest, I was a fully kitted out stormtrooper (I am part of the UK Garrison of the 501st), and the kids loved me. They wanted to know where I worked, was darth vader a bad boss etc.

Not once did they run and hide because the nasty man was coming to get them. Admitedly they have had more exposure to the 'good' clones than the latter stormtroopers but so had many of the citizens of the galactic empire and kids growing up in the Core worlds after the Clone Wars would view the Empire as a prosperous government that brought stability and stopped the attacks on their cities, until those nasty Rebels started blowing things up and forcing taxes to rise to cover additional security costs.

To sum up; I didn't bring peace, security or sanctions but I did bring cake. Join the dark side as we have cake........

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Cake for me please!

 

More seriously - let's revisit the OP - it wasn't about the Empire actually being the good guys. There was still acknowledgement that the Empire was responsible for many evil acts. It's just that not everyone saw the Empire as a bad thing, and not all imperials were bad.

 

IMHO, that's far more interesting than "imperials always bad, rebels always good".

 

What I don't advocate is taking the opposite stance and saying "imperials all good, rebels all bad". That's just as problematic, I would say more so given the plight of Alderann and Kashyyyk - I have no intention of playing in a setting where they were "good" acts.

 

This means, for me, either accepting that there is something rotten within the empire itself, or retconning the events so that they didn't happen (or that someone else was responsible - unlikely).

 

But this average imperial citizen who doesn't know the truth and just wants peace, or that imperial customs officer who's trying to stop people ruining their lives with spice? Yeah, that's a bit more interesting than Darth Nastyguy and his faceless stormtrooper minions. Maybe it means thinking twice before falling back on fighting as your only instrument of social change.

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Wow , good and evil is a point of view really. Now go back and reflect when Star Wars was written. Not off of Iraq and Afghanistan but viet nam with most male minded peoples heroes zre ar hetypes outof WW II. It seemslucas wanted an easy black and white worldview, do what you like in your universe. Creepily though U.S. is fedling a lot more Imperial isn't it!?!?!?!?!

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A less 'dark' Empire is quite possible. It's an organisation built on the principle of security at all costs. If you're living in the core worlds after the Clone War you might actualy be in favor of the Empire. There's law and order so on human populated worlds it's pretty much business as usual. The news is probably filtered and 'spun' in order to put a pro-Empire bent on things. In a post 911 world I suppose it's easier to understand how the Empire works with the current 'War on Terror'.

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One idea that came to my mind after reading a whole bunch of EU books, especially the New Jedi Order is that Emperor Palpatine knew of the incoming invasion from the extragalactic invaders that were slowly approaching and it was one of the reasons why he advanced Thrawn as high as he did and sent him to the edge of space for whatever the supposed reasons were, and why he committed the genocide of the Jedi and wanted to bring the Galaxy together under a single, unified government... because maybe he knew that if the Galaxy was united when the Vong showed up it would have been easier to combat and fight them.

 

 

Doesn't fit. Palpatine allowed too many things to be done which were either minor benefits too his government vastly outweighed by the resentment they caused, or of no benefit to preparing for an invasion at all yet led to massive resentment. The slavery and speciesism are the big ones. Slavery is a horribly inefficient means of procuring labor, not counting the ethical horror of it, and costs as much if not more than hiring workers when you factor in things like having to keep guards on the laborers, restraints, and keep an eye out for sabotage. And speciesism does nothing to aid a government or military. It in fact hinders them by keeping qualified members of groups that are discriminated against from fulfilling their full potential in the government's service as well as being a rallying point for agitators. Also if the Death Star was really intended for use against the Vong Palpatine would have kept it far from the public eye so it would be a total surprise when it first hit the Vong rather than risking their agents hearing about it and having time to develop a countermeasure. There would have been a handful of rebels no matter what but without the destruction of Alderaan, some of the other massacres the Empire pulled, the slavery, and the speciesism it would have never been a real threat, or more than am excuse to continue building up the Imperial military without sparking a widespread panic.

 

But while the upper ranks of the Empire were rotten as can be a lot of the common soldiers either saw the Empire as the lesser of evils compared to the chaos of the Clone Wars or the corruption of the Republic.

 

ErikB's problem is he seems to think every Imperial soldier, officer, or official must be out to slaughter bystanders, harm the innocent, and enslave any aliens they see. Even if you hold to the Empire-Nazis comparison while the Nazi government was evil as can be nowhere near every German soldier or officer in WW II went to war wanting to become butchers and anyone who seriously thinks that all World War II German soldiers were eager to see innocents slaughtered en masse has no real knowledge of history.

 

 

Can you have a grey, not evil Empire without it being Nazi apologia?

 

Indeed, I would suggest that discussing why Nazis were not all that bad is pretty much the definition of being a Nazi apologist.

Not with the visual trappings that Lucas has pinned to it.

 

Ep IV was pretty clearly "Empire=Nazis" even to my then 7-year-old mind. Of course, that was shaped in no small part to Hogan's Heroes reruns.

 

And Hogans Heroes is as close to a Gray Nazi Reich as I've seen without endorsing Nazism. The "Nice Nazis" like Sgt Shultz are presented as inept but nice, and the competent ones as blinded by their own ideology.

 

 

 

 

Honestly I think Shultz was one of, if not the, most competent German characters on the show. It wasn't that he couldn't stop Hogan and the others he chose not to stop them, probably because he didn't like the Nazi regime. I believe at the end of the pilot episode he actually asks Hogan to take him along if Hogan ever decides to escape and there are several times he knows Hogan's band is up to something but deliberately keeps himself in the dark about their plans as much as he can.

Edited by RogueCorona

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And just so we are clear, liking the Empire ... does not mean one likes or agrees with Nazis.

 

It kinda does though.

 

If you identify with the Empire, who are pretty much Nazis with the serial numbers filed off, then...

I know all those games of Monopoly I played have me seriously itching to evict little old ladies from their houses so I can build hotels.

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Lucas wasn't looking to make an allegory on current events or Platoon in outer space. He was looking to make an old time sci fi pulp adventure that he could take his kids to and to re-energize the genre and inspire others to do the same.

 

It's best to just keep that in the context as well, if we start applying real world rationalisation to faster-than-light travel, space wizards, laser swords and weird aliens... it kind of misses the point completely of the movie genre being 'fantastic'.

 

At a slightly more languid pace that RPG's progress at, we're not trying to condense content and create an understanding of 'sides', good vs evil and definative reasons in a 120min screening. So I think there's plenty of room as well for people to explore the more detailed and complicated aspects of a galaxy being ruled by a totalitarian government.

 

As a rebel, do people see you as the French Resistance or Independence fighter of 1776?

Or has the massive, modern and state controlled media managed to make you look like Al-Quaeda or a Somalian Pirate?

 

I'm guessing the latter, so there's room for things being biased, grey and probably most definately some black-white elements too

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