You know who else liked instinct?

What a surprise—Michael Moorcock didn’t like Star Wars either when it came out:

This sort of implicit paternalism is seen in high relief in the currently popular Star Wars series which also presents a somewhat disturbing anti-rationalism in its quasi-religious ‘Force’ which unites the Jedi Knights (are we back to Wellsian ‘samurai’ again?) and upon whose power they can draw, like some holy brotherhood, some band of Knights Templar. Star Wars is a pure example of the genre (in that it is a compendium of other people’s ideas) in its implicit structure — quasi-children, fighting for a paternalistic authority, win through in the end and stand bashfully before the princess while medals are placed around their necks.

Star Wars carries the paternalistic messages of almost all generic adventure fiction (may the Force never arrive on your doorstep at three o’clock in the morning) and has all the right characters. it raises ‘instinct’ above reason (a fundamental to Nazi doctrine) and promotes a kind of sentimental romanticism attractive to the young and idealistic while protective of existing institutions.

Look, buddy, if you’re going to bag on Star Wars, you have to be doing it for the right reason.

Star Wars, alongside Lord of the Rings, makes two genre-defining things that Moorcock hates (that is, considers “crypto-Stalinist”) which are are orders of magnitude more popular than Moorcock’s own writing. Oh, also “C. S. Lewis, Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov and the rest.” I’m starting to detect a pattern.

Update: Moorcock (or the article transcriber) spells “Tolkien” incorrectly throughout his essay. So maybe he’s talking about a totally different Tolkien. Er, “Tolkein.”

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2 Comments

  1. Doug says:

    Given that the page you’re linking to says “by Micheal Moorcock”, I feel comfortable putting the typoes down to the transcriber. Whatever his other oddities, I’m pretty certain Moorcock can spell his own first name.

  2. Andy says:

    Heh, I imagine you are right, Doug. Isn’t there some internet maxim to the effect of “Those who complain about other people’s typos invariably spell something incorrectly in their complaint”?

    More on topic, though, I wonder if Moorcock’s views have mellowed a bit over the years. These rants are decades old and I wonder if he holds the same views now, or if some of the harshness has faded.

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