The Force Awakens is finally here

About ten hours ago, the lights came up in the Cinemark Theatre. Kira and I had run directly from a holiday party to a midnight showing of The Force Awakens (I report being the only suited and bow-tied gentleman in the audience). I can’t imagine anyone who comes across this blog has not seen the movie yet, but in case they have not, I’ll abstain from spoilers. It did not live up to the hype for me — I thought the film was good, but overall uneven. That opinion may change on reflection or further viewings, but it’s definitely a notch below A New Hope and Empire. Keeping with the times, though, we’ll kick off links with two Star Wars-related pieces:

Luke Skywalker: ISIS posterboy
The story of how Luke Skywalker was radicalized to jihad and became the galaxy's most notable terrorist.

Building the Star Wars universe
Shared universes are all the rage now — Marvel, DC, Harry Potter, Alien, Terminator — you name the franchise and they’re doing everything they can to build an entire web of interconnected narratives. Star Wars did this first and best, precisely because there was no plan. References to off-screen events were meant to create immersion (cf. Obi-Wan’s reference to the Clone Wars early on in A New Hope). Star Wars has always led in creating extensive backstories for even the most minor of characters, and it’s part of why it was so enjoyable to grow up alongside.

The Paris climate agreement is pointless
I’m no climate change denier (it’s real), but this is another example of the Obama administration settling for the best deal it could get, and presenting it as though it is a generation-defining achievement. 

Going easy on ISIS
Just like our approach with ISIS. The President would have you believe we’re waging the most assertive, aggressive campaign against ISIS that any government has done in modern times. The sad truth is that we’re not taking ISIS seriously, still, and the administration does not seem to have the desire to. We pay a lot of lip service to knocking down the Islamic State, but when it comes down to it, we’re biding our time and hoping the problem goes away — or that someone else comes into office to deal with it instead.