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September 03, 2002 - Image 54

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-03

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10D - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition

A LONG, LONG TIME AGO ...
THE SAGA UNDER SCRUTINY
BY JEFF DICKERSON - DAILY ARTS EDITOR
EPISODE I: CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE REBEL ALLIANCE

Scenes of space battles between Rebel X-Wings and
Imperial Tie Fighters have been imprinted on the minds of
our entertainment savvy generation. Simultaneously, these
sci-fi images cater to the white majority while ignoring
minority interests.
The numerous characters in the "Star Wars" universe are
ruled by the human species, more specifically white males.
Two of the main characters of the saga, Luke Skywalker and
Han Solo, epitomize the image of a narrative genre severely
lacking in social diversity.
The grandiose award ceremony following the Battle of
Yavin illustrates the problem at hand. Hundreds of mili-

tant rebels stand-at attention, not a non-white face in the
crowd, applauding the medals given to space crackers
Luke and Han.
After the glaring omittance of minorities in "A New
Hope," creator George Lucas wisely put a minority in a sup-
porting role for the next installment, "The Empire Strikes
Back." Billy Dee Williams played Lando Calrissian, a space-
age pimp with a suave mustache and flowing blue cape. His
ghetto was the picturesque Cloud City, a sterilized villa filled
to the brim with Ugnaughts and ethnic security guards.
Calrissian never grew out of the supporting moniker. His
appearance in "Return of the Jedi" may seemed to have
expanded the role of the man, yet he
- --- - i still served a supplemental position in
ghtlife I the Rebel Alliance even with his
[ acquired title of General.
ipecia 1 Never was racism more evident than
$'' .00 Q 1in "Return of the Jedi" during the cli-
mactic space battle. The first rebels to
Show tis coupon 'perish are an Asian, an African-Ameri-
1 can and a husky pilot. Meanwhile, the
'to o t'100 1 Caucasian pilots slay numerous Imperi-
your next [ al ships with some fancy flying. Is this
Vst to me i how the rebels define equality?
Billiards I There is only one way to kill a white
person in "Star Wars" without offend-
EPISODE II:
I i When it comes to music in the "Star
j Wars" universe, few if any musical
tussbus. acts get any recognition. Songs are
- " ". scattered far from one another between

ing the ticket paying majority - slap on white body armor
and snazzy looking helmets and call them Stormtroopers. In
doing so, Lucas makes the audience comfortable by labeling
these unnamed soldiers "the enemy."
The societal turmoil of humans in "Star Wars" are incon-
sequential when compared to the ills faced by non-human
characters. Prior to entering the Mos Eisley Cantina, white
knight Obi-Wan Kenobi declares "You will never find a
more wretched hive of scum and villainy." As the characters
enter the seedy bar, a pan reveals the eclectic montage of
bizarre aliens. The proclamation reveals the Jedi Master's
lack of appreciation for the Cantina regulars, most of who
are non-human.
Wicket, Chief Chirpa, Logray and the rest of the tree-
dwelling Ewoks are relegated to throwing spears at Imperial
scouts in the forests of Endor. Their assistance is paramount
in the battle against the Empire, yet Rebel humans look
down on the furry creatures as a primitive species.
Perhaps the most disturbing relationship in the "Star
Wars" saga is between the stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy
looking, nerf herder Han Solo and his devoted accomplice
Chewbacca. The epic master-slave relationship highlights the
superiority of humans in the "Star Wars" universe. Close
analysis of the award ceremony reveals Chewbacca, although-
standing alongside Han and Luke in front of the uniformed
mass, does not receive the honorary medal bestowed on his

Lando and Han pretend to be friends.
friends. Civil rights tossed right outside the Millennium Fal-
con window.
Going further down the civil liberties ladder, droids have
few if any rights in the universe fought between the Rebel
Alliance and the Empire. To illustrate this theory, we must go
back to the Cantina on Tatooine. "We don't serve their
kind," utters the bartender as C-3PO and R2-D2 come in
with their human counterparts. If the aliens are "scum and
villainy" what does that make droids?
The Rebel Alliance is no better than the evil Empire it so
vehemently opposes. Until Asian pilots earn medals, Chew-
bacca gains his freedom and R2-D2 can enter the Mos Eisley
Cantina unoccosted, civil rights in the Rebel Alliance will
remain a galaxy far, far away.

JIZZ WAILERS VS. THE CANTINA BAND

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space battles and lightsaber show-
downs. From the four films in the epic
science fiction series, only two bands
get any screen time, The Modal Nodes
(commonly refered to as the Cantina
band) and The Max Rebo Band. While
the bands get similar screen time, one
band's musical talent gets overshadow
by the other's pop sensibilities.
The first music introduced in the
saga is found at the halfway point of
"A New Hope" in the Mos Eisley Can-
tina. The Modal Nodes, a seven mem-
ber garage act (Figrin D'an, Doikk
Na'ts, Ickabel G'ont, Nalen Cheel,
Tedn Dahai, Tech M'or and Lirin
Car'n) entertain the mass of humans,
hammerheads, jawas and a host of oth-
ers. Their postmodern jazz-inflected
songs often go unnoticed with the
commotion in the seedy bar, neverthe-
less, the band plays on.
Unfortunately the dynamic musical
compositions of the Modal Nodes was
long forgotten by the time "Return of

the Jedi" hit theaters. As the ambigu-
ous droid duo R2-D2 and C-3PO enter
Jabba's baroque-style palace, a trifecta
of pop savvy creatures, known simply
as The Max Rebo Band sits quietly
before their rousing set. This would be
the end of the brilliant act, The Modal
Nodes and the genesis of the mass-
marketed-over-played-radio-garbage
that is The Max Rebo band.
Irony is no stranger to those in the
"Star Wars" universe. The Modal
Nodes first started their illustrious
musical career in Jabba's Palace, only to
be replaced shamefully by The Max
Rebo Band. The band of Bith musicians
was a part of the Intergalactic Federa-
tion of Musicians, but some gambling
debts by group leader Figrin D'an
forced the troupe to seek other econom-
ic opportunities. After playing some
wedding gigs, the Modal Nodes were
long gone from the desert wasteland of
Tatooine and their Hutt employer.
The story behind how Figrin D'an

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and the Modal Nodes ended up in the
Mos Eisley Cantina has become some-
what of a myth. Rumor has it when
Jabba learned of the band whoring
themselves out for weddings and other
special events, he put a bounty on their
heads. Fleeing the the most wretched
hive of scum and villainy where they
could lay low, the band became a
lounge act in the busy spaceport.
Jabba needed to find a quick fix for
his lack of musical accompaniment,
thus Max Rebo, Droopy McCool and
Sy Snootles became staples of the
crime lord's lavish surroundings.
Max Rebo is the highly derivative
leader of the eponymous Max Rebo
Band. The blueish-hued-flop-eared-
red-ball-j ett-keyboard-playing-alien
led bandmates Droopy McCool and Sy
Snootles as part of a group called Evar
Orbus and his Galactic Jizz Wailers.
Their sound could best be compared to
early Bob Marley & The Wailers
meets post Here Come the Warm Jets
Brian Eno.
Soon after the group had its first
hit single with the techno-induced
"Lapti Nek," the group renamed
itself and met up with their future
employer Jabba the Hutt. After a
successful 90-day trial period, the
slug-like crime boss gave Max Rebo
and his two jizz-wailing associates a
lifetime contract.
Back on Tatooine, The Modal
Nodes were content playing their
Birth of Cool-esque set lists without
the fame and fortune achieved by their
successors. Sadly, the talented musi-
cians will be nothing more than a
lounge act in a universe unwilling to
accept musical revolution.
For every hit single produced by the
Max Rebo band, the more gifted musi-
cians such- as Figrin D'an and the
Modal Nodes will get shoved aside in
favor of mass-produced chorus heavy
songs. Perhaps with the fiery death of
The Max Rebo Band on Jabba's sail
barge (courtesy of Luke Skywalker
and company), the trend of over-com-
mercialized music will die with it.

E

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www.aahom.org

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