A columnist of heart and mind

A columnist of heart and mind
Interviewing the animals at Children's Fairyland in Oakland. L-R: Bobo the sheep, Gideon the miniature donkey, me, Tumbleweed Tommy the miniature donkey, Juan the alpaca, Coco the pony

Sunday, November 4, 2012

May The Force Be With You

Did you hear that George Lucas sold Lucasfilm last week to Disney, which plans to make three new Star Wars films?
My only question is: Why?
Oh yeah, the money, of course. But I was looking for an artistic reason for more Star Wars movies, and I can't come up with any.
To tell the truth, Lucas should have quit after making the first three. But he got obsessed with his own creation and became the ultimate Star Wars nerd himself, producing three "prequels," as ponderous as the first three were fast-moving, to explain how Darth Vader became Darth Vader.
So here's a tip to future generations, who will be seeing the Star Wars saga for the first time: Do NOT watch them in the order Lucas has numbered them. Instead, watch them in the order he made them.
That way, you'll experience the thrill that comes when Han Solo pushes the button and sends the Millennium Falcon into hyperspace for the first time .
More importantly, if you already know how Darth Vader became Darth Vader, you spoil the whole story.
The original  "Star Wars" trilogy is so much more than just an oldtime Saturday matinee cliffhanger on steroids, although it's that, too.
It's an age-old myth that the late mythologist Joseph Campbell called "the hero's journey," in which a hero ventures forth from the everyday world into a region of supernatural wonder, learns his or her true destiny, wins a great victory and saves the world.
This journey is repeated over and over in the stories we most like to tell ourselves, from Odysseus and Beowulf to Frodo and Harry Potter.
In this story, the hero is Luke Skywalker, and at the heart of his journey is his discovery of the shocking truth about his father and how he comes to terms with it. Everything else follows from that.
And the truth is shocking, but the emotional wallop is much greater if it comes as much of a surprise to the audience as it does to Luke.
But if you already know, where's the surprise? The whole thing becomes anti-climactic. Lucas the obsessive Star Wars nerd should have trusted Lucas the storyteller.
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Finally, I'm happy to report that Sterling the kitten has finally found his forever home. But all the columns I wrote about him had nothing to do with it. (So much for the power of the press.)
Sterling, who is the brother of my two kittens, was adopted by Eric and Emily Blossom of Berkeley, whose previous cat, Scottie, died last May, about the time Sterling was born.
Eric happened to stop by Berkeley Dog & Cat Hospital, where Sterling was on display in the waiting room window, to buy some special veterinary food for his dog, Laya.
Boing! Laya took one look at Sterling. Sterling took one look at Laya. And it was love at first sight.
Being no fool, Eric said to himself, "Well, I guess this is the cat."  And he adopted Sterling on the spot.
I talked to Emily a few days later, and she tells me Laya and Sterling have been as thick as thieves ever since.
Only one thing: His name isn't Sterling anymore. It's Ralph.
No problem. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.