DEFEND YOUR MOVES OFF-SEASON 2020 #5!!!!!
As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Watch this shit right here:
The fucking brand is dead, you guys.
Ivanka goddamn Trump out here talkin about Joseph fucking Campbell - doing MY SCHTICK. Fuck this.
We’re probly never gonna finish the Ultimate Star Wars Theory now. The page still exists, so intrepid DYM Scholars can still surf over to DefendYourMoves.com/star-wars if they're so inclined, but the banner link has been indefinitely removed.
We had a bit of extra web traffic this weekend. We’re pretty sure most of it is coming from google searches for “[star wars] + [Joseph Campbell]” which is just the most depressing thing ever. And that’s saying something cause we’ve been exceedingly depressed lately.
The Star Wars Theory wasn’t really ever intended to be a tome to Jospeh Campbell. Theres something much deeper to Mythopoeia than just a formula for Hollywood scripts. There's a metaphysical, or rather super-psychological, reason why myths are meaningful. To be honest we’re still not sure what exactly it is though. Although we’re not too too upset about possibly never figuring it out, cause Karl Jung never really figured it out either. So far, like Jung, we are fairly certain that whatever the “reason” is behind Mythopoeia, it likely ties into other subjective psychological phenomena and we know it has something to do with the number “3”. Thats still about all we got.
LIFE GOES ON
It is difficult to put aside a project we’ve spent most of our adult life thinking about. But as it turns out there’s another idea we’ve been thinking about for over twenty years that’s gaining a lot of traction in these streets:
DYM Readers know we’ve always taken a radical anti-racist stance here on this site. We whole heartedly support the Black Lives Matter movement, but what’s much closer to our heart is the “Fuck the Police” movement.
Now, before anybody starts thinking that bullshit about “there's some good cops”, let us be clear. What we’re saying is:
Fuck the Police as a staff, a label, and as a motherfuckin crew. And if you wanna be down with the police then fuck you too. Fuck the Fraternal Order of Police. Fuck the Police Union. Fuck Cops
Every other year there’s a motherfucker trying to blow up a Teacher’s Union because they’re “too powerful”. Meanwhile Police departments account for as much as 40% of their cities’ annual budgets, largely due to the work of their unions' lobbyists.
On top of that, thanks to the Patriot Act, they also receive federal funds and military grade weapons (including chemical weapons banned from military use by the Geneva Convention) AND are given “permission to search a home or business without the owner's or the occupant's consent or knowledge.” Cops kill over 1,000 people a year in the USA, but on average only about 80 officers per year are charged with manslaughter or murder and only about 35% of those are ever convicted. And the goddamn Supreme Court won't even hear police brutality cases right now.
In NYC, the police are pretty much the only people legally allowed to carry guns, which makes it real awkward when they overtly threaten their Mayor’s life.
Here at DYM we’re about as pro-union as they come, it's hard to argue that ANY union is really "too powerful" but FUCK THIS SHIT, for real.
We never thought we’d see the day where “Defund the Police” could be a legitimate and accepted policy proposal, but here we are. Color us heartened.
We don’t mean to belabor the police funding issue at the expense of the message from Black Lives Matter, though. In fact, it’s important for everybody to remember that the history of Police in this country IS a history of institutionalized racism.
But don’t take our word for it - let’s let the cops tell it themselves:
Take this article from The National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington DC discussing early police forces in the pre-civil war South. As early as 1703 plantation owners had created a fairly organized law enforcement system, established for the sole purpose of catching and returning run-away slaves.
The "Slave Patrols" operated for over 150 years across the Southern states. The article describes Slave Patrols as the forebears of modern Police, with tactics and organizational modus operandi that were directly inherited by American municipal Police departments. “Typically, slave patrol routines included enforcing curfews, checking travelers for a permission pass, catching those assembling without permission, and preventing any form of organized resistance.” After the Civil War, slave patrols were formally disbanded with many members re-organizing under the fledgling Ku Klux Klan. To this day the KKK maintains an uncomfortably close relationship with many urban police departments.
Other former Slave Patrolmen had the opportunity to join some of the first modern municipal Police Departments which had begun to form in Northern cities. The colonies originally had rudimentary mechanisms of law enforcement borrowed from the British - local constables managing a group of volunteer “night watchmen” who patrolled their own neighborhoods. These groups were informal, but also largely ineffective especially as cities grew larger.
Northern cities made due without organized police forces until the mid-1800s, but History will tell of the absolute necessity of municipal Police in the North as widespread crime and violence took hold of Philadelphia, Boston and New York in the 1830s and 40s. The year 1834 was called the “year of the riots” in New York City.
Although that’s not to say that these new Police forces were any more noble or high-minded than their Southern counterparts. According to this Police Academy textbook “Community Policing: A Contemporary Perspective”, there were a few particular incidents that helped spur the public’s demand for organized city Police in the North:
“A series of so-called Negro riots” in Philadelphia in 1842, an 1837 riot in Boston where “15,000 Irish citizens and firemen clashed”, and of course the “Native American riots” in Philadelphia which “lasted for 3 months” in 1844. Once again the primary foundational duty of Police departments has always been to criminalize and subdue immigrants and people of color.
WHERE WERE WE? OH YEA, STAR WARS.
This history stuff is all very important, cause this shit is really coming to a head right about now, but we’re rambling. The point we really wanted to make here is just that it’s entirely inappropriate for public figures to be discussing Mythopoeia in this particular moment.
Still, we have to admit that there is something undeniably Cambellian about all this. Not just the pandemic, broadly speaking, although that’s part of it.
The Coronavirus pandemic largely entered the American consciousness on February 22 when the WHO sent an international panel of experts to Wuhan, China to investigate the SARS-COV-2 outbreak. It didn’t take long after that for the majority of the US to begin to take notice. Over the next month the virus infected a still untold number of Americans and overwhelmed healthcare resources in our biggest cities. After two more months many of us settled into the malaise of social distancing.
But, by this count, the “new normal” way of life in American cities ended up lasting exactly 84 days (or THREE lunar cycles), as May 26 saw another untold number of people collectively eschewing social distancing in order to confront this nation’s oldest established norm.
But we’re not gonna talk about that anymore here, cause the fucking brand is dead now.
Joseph Campbell was a paternalistic euro-centrist.
If we’re gonna be out here asking for basic social equality between the races (and even more-so between the sexes) then we have to admit that Joseph Campbell may have been as much a part of the problem as any 20th century American intellectual.
We’re pretty comfortable calling Campbell "a paternalistic euro-centrist" now because he himself came to realize this late in life. His last two published works, The Mythic Image and Goddesses, take a much more humble and inquisitive look at indigenous traditions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and The Americas, especially agrarian and matriarchal societies. The mythologies of these be-colonized societies are all but forgotten to Western history, but Campbell also takes on a more thorough study of the daily lives and cultural heritage of ancient societies. He discovers that the hidden meanings in myths are often inexorably bound with specific cultural rituals and traditions. In many cultures a mythical allegory cannot be understood without the audience participating in a ceremonial rite of passage. There are universal life lessons, but they are interpreted from within a community’s particular way of life.
Campbell admits he was unable to decipher these ancient riddles simply because we are too far removed from the place and time where the myths were originally told. These books don’t exactly upend the thesis of Hero With A Thousand Faces, but they do show how narrow-minded a fixation on the Hero's Journey in-and-of-itself can be.
It is as if to say that the significance of these stories isn’t found at the end of the quest, and it's not found along the way either.
At times the reader can sense Campbell’s regret when faced with this realization. In Hero With A Thousand Faces, Campbell seemed to have been questing for a proverbial Rosetta Stone (or perhaps a Fountain of Youth), with which he could unlock ancient stories so that they might live forever. But his final book - the unfinished Goddesses - arguably demonstrates the exact opposite:
that there is truth to the cliche that says “stories are alive,” but consequently they are just as mortal as the people who tell them.
SO YOU'RE SAYING STAR WARS IS DEAD?
Yup, it's deader than Nancy Reagan.
A long time ago we had planned to write a whole lot more about Goddesses this month. We had June marked on the calendar for a Star Wars deep-dive cause we figured it’d take a good six months to digest Episode IX and finish reading the novelization version. At one point we held out hope that there’d be some artful matriarchal themes in The Rise of Skywalker, furthering the themes from The Last Jedi. Perhaps, we foolishly thought, we’ll even see Rey complete something closer to Maureen Murdock’s “Heroine’s Journey”. But alas.
We just finished the book last week and initially we were inclined to just not say anything about it at all on account of our “don’t say anything bad about Star Wars” policy.
Now we got MAGA motherfuckers clicking all on our links cause stupid ass Ivanka read a fucking reddit post. Fortunately we’re in the mood to burn some shit down this month so we’re gonna tell yall what we really think about the new Star Wars: It’s dogshit.
The Rise of Skywalker novelization is by far the worst Star Wars book we’ve ever read. These novelizations tend to be better, storytelling-wise, than the movies. They’re generally less condensed, and often contain lots of internal monologue and revealing narrative insights that either would be difficult to capture visually or simply get edited out for expediency. The tragedy of this book is that it adheres so closely to the movie script that it only serves to make the stitching around the plot holes that much more visible. There are a few “deleted scenes” which are nice - there’s baby Ben Solo snuggling his “Uncle Chewie” and a visit to Vader’s Castle which is now home to the walking metaphor known as "The Oracle". There’s also a brief explanation of exactly how the Emperor survived after Return of the Jedi (he made clones of himself and possessed one of them like Darth Bane), and who Rey’s father is (also a clone), but even that only raises more questions about how Rey ended up on Jakku, and about pretty much all of Palpatine’s choices after Jedi.
Another thing we’re still confused about is how Rey had to go to the old Death Star to find the “wayfinder” which would give her directions to the Emperor’s liar on Exogol, even though they already had Ochi’s ship and his droid, and Ochi’s only job was to fly to Exogol. Then for some reason the droid doesn’t have a map, but does have pretty much all the rest of the info they’re gonna need to attack the Emperor's fleet which wouldn't have even existed at the time Ochi died. The book makes no effort to explain things like this, it just states that they happened.
The narration is totally irresponsible and unaccountable.
The movie is very fast paced. Sometimes when they cut quickly between scenes we find characters all of a sudden in a new locale without any explanation of how they got there. Not a huge deal, movies are like that sometimes, you can’t show everything. But that’s the entire point of a movie novelization - the book should fill in these kinds of narrative gaps.
This book simply cannot be bothered to make that kind of effort:
Speaking of awful narration, what the fuck is this scene even supposed to be?
Overall, the storytelling in the book remains just as nonsensical as it seems in the film, but somehow the dialogue is even worse. Like Poe Dameron doing a bad Leslie Nielsen routine after finding out his girlfriend is dead.
“Yes way, Poe,” she said, becoming visibly frustrated.
“A blast from fucking a Star Destroyer.”
HAVE A GREAT SUMMER EVERYBODY!!!!!