Moral relativist Palpatine is easily the most interesting Palpatine.

It’s unfortunate that Lucas couldn’t follow through with this angle Because Bush.

Artistically, we’re in for a long four years.


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7 Responses to “Good is a point of view”

  1. James K says:

    I don’t think Bush is the reason, the Force was clearly Manichean back as far as Empire Strikes Back.

    If you want a more morally complex version of a Light vs Dark conflict, i can recommend Sergei Lukyanenko’s Night Watch series.

    • trumwill says:

      The Good vs Evil has always been there, but where Bush interfered was in Part III where Obi-Wan said that only the Sith believe in absolutes. In a story about good and evil, those are absolutes! Or a rough approximation of that. And it was Palpatine who wanted to blur the distinctions and go relativistic.

      I’m convinced that was inspired by the contemporary political environment. A rebuke of Bush’s Axis of Evil and such. Lucas almost said as much, at one point.

      But it completely stepped on what had been built before. It was far more interesting when Palpatine was trying to use moral ambiguity and relativism to justify his allegiance to darkness.

      • James K says:

        Yeah, that “only the Sith believe in absolutes” line was pretty dumb, especially since its self-refuting.

      • RTod says:

        Having just seen the movie again this weekend, I didn’t think that Palpatine was a relativist. I thought that scene was more along the lines of those old folktales, where the Devil uses lies to get people to do immoral things they would not have otherwise considered. I’m not sure it’s meant to be taken as Palpatine offering a philosophy/point of view he believes in.

        • trumwill says:

          The devil is something I’ve thought about. It reminds me somewhat of the Pacino speech in Devil’s Advocate, though somewhat more subtle. To me, though, the argument relies on the notion that one philosophy is as good as another. That the good are bad and the bad are good.

          So I think Palpatine does believe it. That there is no value distinction between good and evil. The evil is good, the good is evil. It all depends on how you look at it. And, as it happens, there’s more to be gained by the latter. Which, I think, is also true of the Devil (both of folklore and Pacino).

        • RTod says:

          I’m not sure I agree with you. He does a lot of BSDI in the first half, when he’s still putting his pieces in place on the board and essentially hiding who he is. But he very much changes after Anakin cut’s off Windu’s arm, which seems to be the last pice of the puzzle he’s trying to construct.

          After that, when he’s out of the closet as it were, he doesn’t really talk in terms of both sides being viable choices. He speaks of the Jedi and the Light Side with great contempt, disdain almost dripping from his words.

  2. Jaybird says:

    There are some small comforts to be found. The genre that involves a bad guy who is a CEO-type who everybody thinks is good except for the protagonist is one of the genres that I kind of enjoy.

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