Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Of Power and Pizza

A few weeks ago I sat on the living room couch and watched Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed, a History Channel documentary on the entire Star Wars series, with my oldest daughter. This was great because Devra, who’ll be off to college in a month, not only tolerated my presence in the living room with her as she watched, but also allowed me to make comments without her shushing me down.

But as we got to the part where they talked about the lust for power that both Anakin and Senator Palpatine shared, I was taken back to a question I had asked back in 1980, when I first saw Superman II. I could understand Lex Luthor wanting to be filthy rich from real estate in the first movie, but I just didn’t understand the lust for power held by General Zod and his companions. To me, it boiled down to one very simple thing:
Once you know that you don’t have to clean up your room, that you don’t have to go to work in the morning, and that you can have a sausage pizza delivered to you any time you want it, what’s the big deal?
I mean really, what’s the point of being able to rule the world, or the universe for that matter, after a few simple desires are taken care of? Where’s the thrill in being able to crush Mrs Rosenzweig for making you stay after school for something you said under your breath to a sub 46 years ago? Where’s the joy in making everyone in France declare that you, and not Jerry Lewis, are a genius?

What does that kind of power get you personally?

Does it get you the girl?

If you’ve seen the entire Star Wars cycle, then you already know the answer to this. If you haven’t, well then I’ll give a small part of the story away, and tell you that the more power he got, the farther Anakin moved himself from Padme, as she was repulsed by what she saw him turning into.

And, as the genie alluded to in Aladdin, you can’t force someone to fall in love with you.

That girl next door who always thought you were a jerk, and wouldn’t give you the time of day? Well now she’ll just think you’re a jerk with power. She’ll give you the time of day, but she won’t like it, and she won’t like you.

And the girls it does get you…well, can you say “Lady Macbeth?” They don’t want you, they want access to the power.

Which brings me back to the question of “What’s the point?”

Maybe the problem is that I’m just too nice of a guy, and that’s why I don’t get it. I don’t have any enemies I want to destroy. There are no people I want to silence because they disagree with me. To be sure, there are people who have made my life miserable; stick around and I’ll give you a list of the ones who’ve done it lately; but I don’t want to destroy or silence them. I just want them to leave me alone, and to listen to me. I suppose that if I ruled the world I could say, “Let’s try it my way and see what happens,” and they’d have to listen.

But having armies at my command to do whatever I wanted? Nah. Doesn’t interest me. I guess I just wasn’t meant to rule the world.

But that pizza’s sounding pretty good right about now.

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