Friday, August 21, 2009

Straight out of Star Wars

As a fiction writer, I'm acutely aware of the palette of plotlines used time and again to create the novels and stories we have come to know and love over the course of time. Some will say there's nothing original to write about anymore. As an author, all one can do is try to tell an old story in a new way. Put your own spin on it if you will. One of my favorite bits exemplifying this comes (not surprisingly) from a TV show where Stewie, in Family Guy says ... Nice little narrative? Beginning, middle, and end? Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends? At the end your main character is richer from the experience? Yeah? Yeah?

We all know that art imitates life, and that quite often real life can be much more entertaining than anything even the best of story tellers can make up. Take for instance the news surrounding Tom Ridge, former Secretary of the already ambiguous Department of Homeland Security, and the revelations he reveals in his upcoming book "The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege ... and How We Can Be Safe Again," due to be released on September 1. In it he claims he was pressured by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and former Attorney General John Ashcroft to raise the terror alert shortly before the 2004 presidential election. Subsequently, then President Bush's approval rating demonstrated a significant increase. In fact, it seems pretty obvious that a major contributing factor to Dubyah's reelection was the nation's unease in the area of national security. Now let's think, where have we heard this story before? Oh yeah, Star Wars. Remember Senator Palpatine (who,in case no one has noticed looks a hell of a lot like Joe Lieberman), whose rise to Ruler of the Galactic Empire was orchestrated by the perceived threat from the evil Trade Alliance?

I admit, it's hard to come up with a good original story, but good god, you'd think these old white guys who've been in the game for so long could come up with something a little more original.

No comments: