Playing with the controls: Tati's Play Time; Lucas' Star Wars
At the gap: M. Hulot; the Skywalker twins
What is a Sith?
What does the term Sith mean as it is used on this blog?
Beyond their place in the fictional universe of Star Wars, the Sith are a narrative element of a film made by a particular group of people in a particular time and place. Therefore the Sith have a very real social and political context. And it is this very real world idea that I am referring to in this blog:
Lucas and his crew were young Americans working together at the end of the Vietnam War and in the shadow of Watergate. In the parlance of that era’s youth, the Sith are “The Man.” They stand in for the corrupt authorities of the day as seen by the young people of the day. Lucas describes them as “Nixonian gangsters.”
And like Nixon, the Sith perfectly represent a particular strain of American authority: Cold Warriors. Not just the violence and paranoia of America’s anti-communist foreign policy, but their repressive and absolutist domestic policies: “Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the communist party?”
Even the world building efforts of the cold warriors were perfectly embodied by Lucas and his crew. The top-down Utopian art, architecture and urbanism of the Cold Warriors were elegantly re-imaged as the Deathstar.
The Sith are characterized by the same traits that identify the Cold Warriors: they want control; they use a fear of chaos to squash any and all dissent. Their solutions are over simplified and deny the importance of disorder and spontaneity.
In politics Richard Nixon was a Sith.
In art Clement Greenberg was a Sith.
In Architecture La Corbusier was a Sith.
In the realm of urban planning Robert Moses was a Sith.
Are Sith creatures of the 1960's and 1970's?
No. The decade long rule of NeoCons was an unmitigated Sith disaster and puristic and absolutist mindsets survive in architecture, art and urbanism under every imaginable rubric.
What is a Jedi?
What does it mean when I use the term Jedi on this blog?
Just as the Sith have a real world context (see above FAQ) so do the Jedi. But just because I believe the Sith were inspired Cold Warrior anti-communists and Modernists, I do not mean to say that the Jedi were Post-Modernists and communists.
In politics Martin Luther King was a Jedi.
In art Robert Smithson was a Jedi.
In architecture Rem Koolhaas is a Jedi.
The critic of Modernist urbanism Jane Jacobs was a Jedi.
Are Jedi just in the past?
No that’s what this blog is for: to celebrate the courage of dissenters.