The Null Device

Spiderman, Jedi and celibacy

Apparently the message of recent films such as Spider-Man and the latest Star Wars is that celibacy is a heroic virtue, and bootywhang is the root of all evil. Which the author considers surprising, given the traditional belief that Hollywood is a den of hot-tub hedonists whose ultra-permissive liberal ideology infuses everything they touch.

(I'd say that "Hollywood liberalism" is a myth. Hollywood is a set of commercial ventures, far beyond human scale, and dealing in whatever rakes in the most profits; i.e., having a bias towards crowd-pleasing populism, which, by its very nature, sticks to familiar and conservative beliefs and motifs. For every oversexed flower-child auteur, there are dozens of accountants, script doctors, market researchers, lawyers and other components of the studio apparatus to keep them in check, and keep things profitable.)

There are 5 comments on "Spiderman, Jedi and celibacy":

Posted by: David Golding Thu Jun 6 09:33:59 2002

The Jedi don't have a vow of celibacy. The Jedi eschew commitment. There's easily a facile Slate article on how AOTC is all about the the dark path of marriage versus life-giving bachelorhood. (Plus backed up by George, who, incidentally, is somewhat seperate from the Hollywood machine.) And Spidey does eventually get the girl... Nevermind...

Posted by: Toby Fri Jun 7 12:03:07 2002

Nonetheless, David, ol' George seems rather evasive when it comes to sex etc. Don't overlook this Salon article:

"They are oddly like a teen couple from an early '50s movie, vaguely impelled by thoughts of sex, but unaware of the words, the actions or the hopes that might be available to them. Thus, immediately, they start talking about love and marriage -- those classic parental alternatives to desire and pleasure. "

Posted by: David Golding Mon Jun 10 02:41:45 2002

I could make a better article out of a potato.

Posted by: Toby Mon Jun 10 15:24:03 2002

Well David, it seems you might be right about the issue being "commitment":,4120,726266,00.html

"A superhero comes with an inbuilt aversion to commitment. How can he or she ever become close to another person when this unwieldy secret is constantly there, impeding the flow of everyday life? ... This explains why superheroes don't get into relationships: it's just too complicated. And that, in turn, explains why so many superhero fans are teenage males, a group not generally concerned with commitment or consequences."

There's also another revealing Guardian interview in which Lucas says he prefers the "silent movie" past, of Saturday serials and melodrama, to modern film's messy flesh-and-blood Method actors:,6737,716449,00.html

"The universe that Lucas created for Star Wars is vastly sophisticated, but the characters are for the most part folksy vehicles for the delivery of quaint moral

Posted by: David Golding Wed Jun 12 12:01:49 2002

All of the articles you've cited are written from a certain position for a certain audience. Many truths we cling to rely on a certain point of view. I'm still finding them hard to relate to. For instance, I know Peter Parker gets the girl, as do many superheroes. An understanding of cinema that's hung up about Stanislavski is a poorer understanding than one that isn't. Getting back to Lucas's alleged evasiveness: (Though I do note that Lucas changes his story about all sorts of things in interviews.)