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'Star Wars,' meet culture wars, the fan-time menace

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

Has "Star Wars" become too politically correct?

The question has been raised before, as George Lucas' 40-year-old franchise has become more racially and gender diverse in its casting. The web is abuzz with, among others, thin-skinned conservative critics who detect what they see as increasingly unsubtle liberal political messages.

Of course, as a long-time fan, I know that criticizing "Star Wars" movies is part of the fun of watching them. We are like boxing fans who shout our advice at the fighters in the ring, only to feel frustrated when they don't take it.

Criticisms surrounding the latest offering, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," have raised alarms, as they appear to oppose what I think is one of the franchise's strengths: the racial and gender diversity of the cast.

Early signs of unrest appeared on the Rotten Tomatoes movie review website in the wide divide between the approval of professional critics (91 percent as the New Year's Day holiday weekend began) and the audience score (only 51 percent).

A shadowy self-described alt-right group calling itself "Down With Disney's Treatment of Franchises and Fanboys" in a Facebook page claimed responsibility for flooding Rotten Tomatoes with negative reviews.

 

Huffington Post quoted a "moderator" for the alt-right group who did not want his name revealed as saying the group has been using bots to bring down the film's Rotten Tomatoes user score. Rotten Tomatoes denies that, but what I find more unsettling is the group's promotion of what looks to me like their own version of political correctness, even as they criticize the "PC" of those who disagree with them.

According to HuffPo, the group is upset with "Star Wars" for "introducing more female characters into the franchise's universe" and putting such manly heroes as Poe Dameron (the star fighter corps pilot played by Oscar Isaac) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in danger of being "turned gay."

Men should be "reinstated as rulers of society," the "moderator" reportedly said, adding that's why he voted for President Donald Trump.

Although the "moderator" would not give HuffPo his name, the website said, his sentiments closely resemble those of alt-right leader Richard Spencer. He infamously organized the notorious Tiki torchlight march in Charlottesville, Va., last August that began a weekend of racially charged clashes and one woman's death.

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(c) 2017 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

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