Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Some Things I Learned in the 2010s

Baby Yoda

Before I begin, let's get this out of the way. There's pretty good reason to think the current decade doesn't actually end until December 31, 2020. About 20 years ago I was one of those people who insisted that the new millennium didn't begin until Jan. 1, 2001. But I'm less insistent about decades. Maybe it's because ending the 2010s a year early doesn't seem so bad, given everything that's happened in the last half of the decade.

Whatever the case, here are just some of the many things I've learned in the 2010s.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

The Rise of Skywalker: Non-Spoilery Questions

I have now seen Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker twice. But it’s way too early to post a proper review. In the past I’ve posted non-spoilery thoughts on the new trilogy (see here and here) and then spoilery posts later: see herehere, and here. But this time I had the idea to do a non-spoilery review consisting of questions that I was asking before, during, and after the movie. Some of these questions are answered in the movie. Some of them were prompted by the movie. Many are meta-questions about fandom’s relationship with the movie. There are even a few philosophical bits! I'm not sure how it will go, but I've got a good feeling about this.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Last Jedi is the Most Philosophically Interesting Star Wars Film

“This is not going to go the way you think.”

- Luke Skywalker

The Last Jedi is the most philosophically interesting Star Wars film.

I’m not saying it’s the best Star Wars film. Or a perfect film. I think I will go with the majority of Star Wars fans and stick with The Empire Strikes Back as my favorite (also maybe not perfect, but then what is?).

Yet I think The Last Jedi is the most philosophically interesting of all the films. So far, anyway. I suppose J. J. Abrams could surprise me when I see The Rise of Skywalker for the first time in a few days, but as David Barr Kirtley said on his podcast The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy, while Abrams knows a lot about making movies, The Last Jedi writer and director Rian Johnson actually has something to say.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Death, Daoism, and Dragons: The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin

It's hard to put into words what a book like Ursula K. Le Guin's The Farthest Shore does to the reader. Is it a fantasy story for adults and children alike? Is it a Daoist parable? Is it a meditation on death? Short answer: yes. Someday I will read these books again, and then maybe I will discover the true name of a more adequate review. For now, let this review suffice.