“Behold the field in which my Fucks once grew,
I have not one that I can give to you.
I may grow more here in a month or two,
And then, I’ll give you all a fond Fuck You.”
“Behold the field in which my Fucks once grew,
I have not one that I can give to you.
I may grow more here in a month or two,
And then, I’ll give you all a fond Fuck You.”
A modest suggestion for those who believe Disney is championing diversity in Star Wars for ideological reasons:
I’m talking about those of you who believe that there is some nefarious feminist agenda or enforced diversity conspiracy at the heart of the Star Wars franchise. And I want to focus on those of you who feel it is acceptable to harass or threaten actors, producers, or fans because of your beliefs. However, if you are one of those people who sincerely believe that harassment and threats will change how these movies are produced, I think you’re too far gone to get this so just move along.
Here is a more logical reason that Disney and other film companies are engaging in and embracing diversity in their IPs.
Hang on to your jockstraps, boys.
Does that sound cynical? I’m asking because most of you seem like you know cynicism pretty well.
Do you think Disney didn’t know about Harvey Weinstein’s open secret of abuses? Or Bill Cosby? Do you think they run a factory of child stars because they want every kid to achieve his or her dream of childhood stardom?
While the end result is refreshingly progressive, it wouldn’t happen if that end result wasn’t profitable. It’s not like Disney is forcing people to buy products. They know the market has changed and are responding to it.
Let me say that again.
Disney is not driving social change.
It is responding to changes in the marketplace.
So, you may be right that Disney is taking the brand in a different direction than you’d like but – sunflowers – the market is completely different than 1977 or 1983 or 1999 or 2005.
It isn’t so profitable telling stories or selling toys just for boys. The proof is in the numbers.
But let’s talk about the 1,200-pound bantha in the room, kids.
Star Wars is a brand built around merchandising and is a highly profitable IP in that regard. The brand is so tangled up in your childhood nostalgia that you don’t notice. In fact, you forgive and forget every stupid creative choice and revision made to the films because it is too important to lose.
It is populist space opera that has its place, but was designed to sell you stuffed Ewok toys and plastic spaceships and little effigies of your heroes because Saint George knew you would buy them and make him incredibly, ridiculously wealthy.
He knew you would buy the Special Edition films. He knew you would get over the changes to the Holy Trilogy and buy tickets to the prequels that were SO bad in SO many ways because it was Star Wars. You forgave everything Saint George did to alter the memories of your precious childhood.
Oh sure, you bitched about it, and it made you feel like a free-thinking fan. But did you leave the Church of Saint George over it? No. Because your need for the love those films inspired in you overwhelms your sense of self or perhaps all sense. And if you ever sent or shared a hateful message to a working actor over a fucking movie role, I suggest you have more issues than just a lack of sense.
The pod races. The shitty dialogue. The clunky stories. The revisionist effects and sequences. The plot holes. This is not classic cinema. George Lucas wanted to make Flash Gordon, couldn’t get the rights and decided, “Fuck it, I’ll make my own cultural phenomenon and keep all the licensing rights!”
And you forgave because you couldn’t walk away from the trough. Except. Now it is different. Now, you have an excuse to bitch even louder because Saint George is out and the Evil Mouse House is in charge with their dastardly social engineering plots and enthusiasm for writing icky girls with cooties and DARE TO GIVE THEM POWER!
Suddenly, after six films, cartoon series, books, and abominable television series, Kathleen Kennedy is the devil, girl power is ruining life, a black hero is superfluous, and Star Wars is off the rails.
Get the hell over yourself.
Come on. You didn’t scream about Luke ending his story like a punk, but somehow Rose Tico is terrible? Poe Dameron disobeying a direct order and commencing a battle that killed hundreds, wasting valuable military assets is okay…but Vice Admiral Holdo was too much for you? Do you even listen to yourselves when you issue a “Call to Arms” over a piece of pop culture entertainment? In terms of our world today, it is pathetic a thing to make your mission, but even in the realm of entertainment criticism, it is still profoundly silly.
It is a movie. Actors put themselves out there every day to be judged by the public. Producers and artists do their best in a bureaucratic and market-driven profession to please every last mouth-breather looking to have their belly tickled. They work long hours on set, they do long junkets to promote their movies, dance like monkeys on talk shows for your amusement, and all they ask is you give them a fair review. That’s the job.
That professionalism should nullify anyone’s armchair tantrum or gesture of hate. But, no. You all had to go dark and embrace your hate. There is no world, no life, no circumstance where that makes you better or stronger than those who actually got off the bench to make the things you enjoy.
Yes, even if it sucks.
The problem with Star Wars is not diversity. The problem with Star Wars is that you have voluntarily surrendered yourself to a brand that has only wanted one thing since 1977 – your money. It sold you on characters and situations that were just as much tied to merchandise as Transformers or GI Joe.
You think you’re leading some holy crusade to preserve the purity of something that was never pure; a piece of entertainment desired to amuse and distract you from the challenges of real life. It was never meant as modern mythology as its stories had already been told in other, better films and books. Star Wars is a part of your childhood and your life. You’ve shared the movies with your friends, your, family, and your kids. But if it moves you to enjoy taunting people or threatening them because of what it is becoming then you are the one with a very big problem.
I implore you to reconsider your life choices rather than distract yourself with corporate conspiracy theories
Something in your life went wrong, so wrong that you have replaced part of your life with a movie intended to sell you toys.
That is a sad, sad reality.
Because you’ve been duped.
Want to escape the pattern? I have your answer. You just need to know about the secret Star Wars chase figure hidden somewhere on the Dark Web and issued as one of every 25,000 Star Wars figures: Episode IX’s big villain called “D’oh Egress.”
There has been a generational shift in fandom. There has also been a great change from what was once insular and private to inclusive and shared. And its scares the hell out of some who see that change as dangerous or frightening.
While I was growing up, girls didn’t typically run with the nerd herd. When a girl showed an interest in comics or sci-fi, it was like spotting a rabid unicorn – astonishing and a little scary. Of course, I grew up in the suburbs in a time where gender roles were well defined. As the 80s turned into the 90s, this began to change. But not everywhere and not all fans were so willing to change.
Many groups I’ve played in included a few boys who I can picture growing up into Incel types bitching about how pop culture is “raping” their childhoods.
I’d like to think most of them grew up and out of their fear of women, but I also know a lot of people who peaked in high school who hate how the world passed them by half their lifetime ago.
Some see diversity in fandom as proof of its noblest qualities. Others see it as an invasion of their sanctuary or the desecration of their holy sites and rites by infidels who didn’t suffer long or hard enough to earn entry. I’m afraid, the latter group is a lost cause. You can no more win an ideological war with them than you can win a war on “Terror.”
To them, Star Wars will always be “The Adventures of Luke Skywalker” and the end of his story in the new trilogy will always be seen as a way to destroy that saga in favor of something unnecessarily foreign and inferior.
And if “girls” want to step into their world, there will always be angry boys hiding behind their keyboards really to do the only thing they have ever been able to do their entire lives.
Complain and rage against the ether.
As a white male who experienced the commercialization of fandom over the decades, I admit being surprised by how things have changed. Back in the 80s and even into the 90s I never would have expected to see women – adult, professional women with families – choosing to build costumes around characters they love and spend time making people happy. I never thought there were so many people of color who would openly roll up characters for a tabletop RPG. I didn’t expect the shift in pop culture to represent more than just the traditional “hero/damsel” tropes. It surprises me, but it means those of us who were outcasts when we loved those things were not so alone after all.
So, while we can do nothing about the last block of resistance, know that those clownshoe jackasses don’t speak for me or my generation or my gender. They are the outliers, the voice of The Lie. The bullied have become the bullies. And they should know better.
Eleanor Roosevelt had a saying that went something like “Only you can allow someone to pee on your squee.” Just because someone says something doesn’t make it true and only you can decide if an opinion deserves the kind of attention that lends it validation. Best leave these zealots of the Othodox Church of Holy Fandom where they’ve been all this time – alone and isolated.
“Frank Toccin is here for his nine o’clock.”
“Good. Send him in.” He opens a folder on his desk and stands. “Frank! Good to see you, man!”
“Mr. Sinclair. Thanks for seeing me.”
“No worries, Frank. Thanks for working with our schedule. You gotta know things are just BLOWING UP around here these days, but I wanted to make sure we saw you ASAFP. Please, have a seat. Coffee? We know how you like it. No? Okay. Let’s get to it. You seen eager to put everything behind you.”
“No kidding. That last news cycle was…”
“Okay. So. Here’s our record of your account. Pre-revelation ‘Q-score’ was strong – strongest in four quarters, in fact. No doubt that was because of the B.O. on last summer’s third biggest hit and the buzz for ‘Allen’s Gaunlet’ for the OSCARs this year. Your foundation had 82% of the Elite Artists Agency in attendance and you took in an impressive four humanitarian awards in 2017. Well done.”
“Thank you, Mr. Sinclair, I like to think…”
“And so, you hit a wall with the allegations of this Murder Club of yours. That’s a bit of a puzzler.”
“(sigh) Yeah. It was a long…”
“Save it for your lawyers, Frankie-angel. Let’s see here. So as of this morning, your Q-Score dropped sixty-two percent, which isn’t bad for a director in a scandal. No one gives a fuck about a director unless they’re picking up hardware or fucking a dog on live TV. Gareth Powell did that and we handled that case, by the way. So, chin up, Frankie. New day and all that. You had three humanitarian awards revoked and I would be perfectly ERECT to see the volume of news coverage parroting your name across the world. You were the punch line of every late-night comedy host in the market. TMZ has already hinted at four other claims of murder-death-kill by ex-participants and we know there’s money heading that way to secure video statements. The police are cooperating in the usual fashion – that is, waiting for us to tell them what to do.”
“Pardon me, Mr. Sinclair…what are you gonna do? I’m quite anxious to know. Sir.”
“Frankie. Let’s speak real to one another, okay? Your global box office from 1993 to 1997 was the biggest we’d ever seen from an independent producer-director. It was astonishing and opened up a whole new revenue stream for mainstream companies to pretend to be like you – reckless indies without a care for BO. It put us in those little shitty festivals you’re now dominating. Plus, it was the 1990s when people didn’t care – morally, I mean – about important people abusing positions of power. Fuck, Bill Clinton’s little weed and BJ parties in the Oval Office should have been the biggest thing to blow up ever, but not even the Starr investigation would defy us when we told them to shut the fuck up and sit the fuck down. You were on FIRE then, my brother. $2.7 BILLION. BILL-yun in B.O. over that period. You had skin in toys, laundry care, and dildos – THAT’S how broad a market you brought us in those days. So when you decided to start your little sex camp in Indonesia, we covered it up for you.”
“And I still thank you for…”
“When you started dating that 14-year-old girl you called a ‘soul mate’ in Phuket, we helped you adjust your world view and come back to us. We helped you, didn’t we, Frankie?”
“Yeah. Yeah, Mr. Sinclair. You did.”
“Your personal worth is just shy of a billion dollars based on three golden hits, a summer film franchise, two holiday film franchises, thirteen industry awards, and you even stared earning honorary degrees! Kudos, man…though for how long, we’ll see. You still have respectable merchandising and buzz. Cameras still follow you around. We really turned you from another abusive, perverted white man of privilege into a good, yet cryptic man with an edge…a man of mystery and singular vision, but with a heart of gold. That was the whole point of our 2001 PowerPoint presentation on your re-invention. You cried at that meeting, I remember.”
“Yeah. And I really hope you can help me again.”
“Frankie. It is one thing to pay off a bunch of poor Indonesian kids and women. We disappeared everyone else we had to. We put your childhood friend – wasshisname -…”
“- Billy-fucking-Peterson in jail as the mastermind and practically made you the hero of that story. We did good work. And what did we get out of it?”
“I think you…”
“Creative bullshit, Frankie. I mean, you made some of the most memorable films of the ’90s and took home a few dozen more awards in the oughts, but none of their B.O. would crack a cold February Top 10 if Uwe Boll and Kevin Smith were the big releases. I mean, you went Terry Malic to the extreme.”
“Not fair, Mr. Sinclair. I kept on the major franchises. My boxofficemojo cumulative gross is nearly $4 billion.”
“As a legacy producer. You and Stan Lee can share war stories at ComiCon over that shit. What did you build and produce new since ’97? Nada. You make kinky rom-coms that aren’t funny so you call them ‘art films.’ You get asked on ‘The View’ to talk about feelings to women who now want to cut off your dick and feed it to pigs. You come to me, after going all Woody Allen with your bullshit knowing full well that being my $3 million-a-year critical darling does not cover the same kind of criminal bullshit that $3 billion box office bitch made almost a protection of one’s investment.”
“I, um, see.”
“(sigh) But you’re our boy, Frankie. We got a history. Tell me what you did.”
“Well. What the media is saying isn’t true…”
“The media reports what sells, and I don’t give a fuck what they say. I can change that. Remember how we, like, own all the prime-time entertainment shows and most of the major “gotcha” web sites? We let TMZ exist at our leisure. So, shut the fuck up about the media and tell me the truth. And remember, I probably know more than you do.”
“I started an actor’s forum for young men and women in Los Angeles. It was to focus on future action stars.”
“Do another take and this time, don’t fucking bullshit me. I’ve got a 14-year-old Disney child star-turned-serial-rapist waiting to talk to me.”
“o-Okay. My ex-wife and I started a swinger’s club in the L.A. underground. We started it in 2002 as a casual gathering – kind of a hedonist club.”
“A ‘hedonist club’?”
“Yeah. There was staged BDSM events and open scenes, but it was all above board, I swear. We even had this awesome nightclub – you know it, you were there a few times! About, um, 2010 or so, some of us broke off into this private concern where we just were a little more…rambunctious with our submissive members. Eventually, though, you can’t find people willing to be THAT submissive, even in LA, so we started inviting people in and… paid them to bleed. Eventually, we started a sort of street clean-up program designed to clear the homeless from the city. We just thought we would, you know, give back. One of our founding members owns a few scrap yards and a quarry so we were able to free the city of about…oh I don’t know…a hundred people each year? We’d all get together, drink some wine and treat these people with the utmost respect. I swear, they ate better that night than probably their whole lives. We brought in hookers and got them feeling good, man, and, wow. They felt like kings and queens. Even when we started stringing them up and gutting them, some of them thanked us. Some of us started bringing home personal tributes…”
“That’s what they were. It went both ways. They thought it was tribute to them, but we knew they were, uhm, not.”
“How so, Frankie?”
“We both know these people out there. They fuckin’ scream their heads off over people we work with, right? We know those people. We’ve watched them eat sloppy joes in a cafeteria. We walk in after they take sloppy shits, right? They’re just people but those fucking idiots think we’re the new modern GODS, right? So, when we’ve spent a say cleaning up and treating these dumb fuckers to the best day of their lives, we let them think we’re there for them, not the other way-round.”
“I see where you’re going and know where you’re landing, Frankie. Go on.”
“After a while, some of us created special basement rooms where we just bring home this weak-minded underpass trash and give their shitty lives meaning for an hour before we released them from their lives.”
“Did the larger group know about these private concerns?”
“In general, but after a while, the larger group was more a drag. When you can bring home a fan or one of those hot little starlets with no self-esteem, you can just do whatever you want. Sometimes, it isn’t even about killing them. It can be about altering their minds so they go home to Buttfuck, Utah and join a church choir or some shit.”
“It’s just what we’ve been doing here, right? I mean, they’re just people and we’re the god-damned business. How many decades have we just fucked or fucked over whoever we want because the end of the process is a billion-dollar project? Do you know how many business relationships I built from those Tribute events? I brought in Travis Wurther to take over the Star Dust franchise. I secured an international distribution network for films that usually go nowhere after South by Southwest. I opened doors for this industry in those events, Mr. Sinclair. They profited Hollywood. The fucking Hollywood Press went nuts over all that stuff. We brought ‘culture back to Hollywood’ they said.”
“Because that’s what we fucking told them to say, Frank.”
“(sigh) I mean, I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your dick inside a man while you’re crushing his skull, but I do know how I might spin that for the man I knew back in the 1990s. You? Frank, in Hollywood, you’re the drunk uncle sleeping on my couch. You bring a little bit of light and laughter to the visit, but you’re asking more than you contribute to the industry.”
“What are you saying, Mr. Sinclair?”
“I’m saying, Frankie, that with every other scandal in mitigation right now, yours is not one we can make go away. Not entirely. You made deals with other quasi-powerful parties and we have to handle them, too. They will fall just as you will. How far THEY fall will be based on how much we need them. You had two actors in your little club – the A-Listers who won their OSCARs their first year out for their screenplay – THEY have to live on because they are tied to multi-BILLION-dollar projects. We’re gonna protect them, Frankie, just like we protected you in Indonesia.”
“And how are you gonna protect me?”
“Don’t worry. We’re not going to Billy Peterson you. We know you’re weak and have too many secrets.”
“Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, E! News Now…the big ones, are going to run a story tomorrow night that will be the result of a six-month internal investigation. It’s really just a narrative I had three interns write up this morning at Starbucks. Want to hear it?”
“Good. Once upon a time there was a murder cult in Los Angeles run by a German financier named Travis Wurther. He may have had ties to the Russians, we don’t know. Anyway…’award-winning director Franklin Toccin was implicated as a member of Wurther’s murder cult where a dozen Los Angelinos were abducted, drugged and murdered over 8 years in secret cult rituals. Upon learning of this revelation, Toccin’s ex-wife, Dorothy, apparently committed suicide and Toccin, himself…remains at large. Toccin, who was once implicated in a 1990s sex cult, is thought to be at-large in that region of the world. Interpol has re-opened the investigation into the cult upon receiving new evidence that Toccin and Wurther were both in league to create that cult long before the L.A. murders took place.’”
“Actors Shane DeMost and Bannon Arnsten, close associates of Toccin -and OSCAR winning writers of their smash debut film ‘Happy Bill Benton’ recorded their shock and disgust at the evidence. Several witnesses and accomplices are coming forward and who knows what they will say.”
“You sure got a tight grip on those chair arms, Frankie. Look, this has never been about being moral or personal or just. This is about US…the business. You thought you were invincible. I get it. But, it’s really about us. You, my friend, are our tribute. I’m giving you passage to Indonesia. If you survive the trip, I suggest staying low. I hear Wurther’s Q-Scores were a little higher and his meeting with me is about an hour from now. Good day, sir.”