Super-preservation

RE: The saving of mass cultural artifacts within corporate archives

When George Lucas sold his Lucasfilm to Disney, including all the rights to the characters and movies themselves, for $4 billion, he was tossing the baton with the fire to the strong runner behind him. Long after Lucas passes his wearisome existence, Disney will be still there, strong and thrumming, collecting big bucks at the theme parks and cruise ship, and sheltered under its big tent will be the Star Wars ideas and memes.

George cherrypicked from The Hero With A Thousand Faces to get the basic idea of what an adventurer is and how he earns his name. Disney is a kind of kids’ version of the same thing. With the addition of Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm the movie studio has two Hero-plumbing sources to draw upon that aren’t strictly for kids. That is, they’re simple like kids’ stuff, but adults can watch it too without feeling like a goof.

If you want your idea, your product, your life-gift, to be cast in amber, and preserved for all time, give it to a major corporation. When corporations came into being in the late 1800s they gained enormous staying power. Before, it was iffy if an organization would live or die. The Hudson’s Bay Company (“The Bay”) in Canada was one that did live, turning from a network of fur-trading forts with the Indians to a retail selling outfit selling plaid and soft negligees (and putting everything for females in easy access, confining men’s stuff far far away and at a massive inconvenience). Du Pont survived before the dawn of Corporativeness enshrined it. But the purposeful act of legally freezing-into-harmony corporate-type organizations made it desireable to join them because they weren’t going anywhere. (Steve Ballmer, billionaire formerly of Microsoft, was getting his Master’s Degree in business at Stanford — one of thousands of the elite who hunger for and thirst for a place in the corporations. The only reason Ballmer bailed was because Gates offered him a better deal.)

But back to Lucasfilm. They have built a Star Wars town at Disneyland, or are in the process of building such. I’m sure it will expand as time goes on. It should prove the most popular part of the holiday amusement site.

There was a reason Star Wars was always more popular than Star Trek. Star Wars celebrated ass-kickingness as a pure thing of value itself. It slotted neatly into Disney’s child-ideas world. Because Star Wars, for all its adult notions, eschews the complex and enters Disney’s world of simple ideas, fit for children. When Anakin holds the two light swords over Count Dooku’s head and Anakin looks perturbed, eyes moving and mouth opening, and Dooku raises one eyebrow, signalling — that’s pure Disney in the action sense. The simplicity itself? The simple lesson: The old passing away and making room for the new. There are lots of childlike — but excitingly violent with full-range colors and screen motions — notions like that.

In the end, George Lucas carefully put his trophy high on the shelf of other trophies where it will never fall and where he can be proud of what he’s done . . . with a few billion in his pocket besides.

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