“THE GOATMILK DEBATES” will be an ongoing series featuring two debaters tackling an interesting or controversial question in a unique, irreverant manner.
Each debater makes their opening argument. They can elect to post a rebuttal.
The winner will be decided by the online audience and judged according to the strength of their argument.
The motion: “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy is Superior to The Star Wars Movies”
For the motion: Willow Wilson. Click here to read her opening argument.
Against the motion: Omer M. Mozaffar
OMER MOZAFFAR – AGAINST THE MOTION -“THE STAR WARS MOVIES ARE SUPERIOR TO LOTR TRILOGY”
Friends, Fanboys, Jedi Council Members, lend me your ears. I come to bury Star Wars, not praise it.
The Dark Side that men embrace lives long after them. The good is often found deep within their midichlorian bones. So, let it be with Star Wars.
The noble Willow Wilson has surely told you that Star Wars was ambitious. And if it were so, it was a general grievous fault. And grievously had Star Wars answered it. For if we were left alone with “A New Hope” alone, we would imagine it to be written in an imagined world. That we have “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” leads us to wonder how one man with his 1950s hair style –- George Lucas — could write such ambrosia for the eyes and ears. That we have also half of “Return of the Jedi” leads us into a type of bliss that would yield nothing less than insanity from ecstasy.
The best of medications need often be tempered with other medications to prevent unwanted side effects. That is why we needed the Ewoks. That is why we needed Jar Jar Binks. That is why we needed An Ewok Adventure, Ewoks: Battle for Endor, and that is why we needed the Star Wars Holiday Special. That is why we needed the Prequels: without the Star Wars Prequels, without the Ewoks, without the Wookie Christmas, we would have all lost our minds spinning like Dervishes toward the Death Star. The original 2.5 movies of the original trilogy would be rejected as heretical hocus pocus, for they were too great to be looked at as anything save sorcery and soothsaying. The Ewoks saved not only Endor, but they also saved ourselves from ourselves.
I stand here under the leave of Wajahat Ali, Willow Wilson and the rest. For Willow Wilson is an honorable woman. So are they all, all honorable. The honorable Willow Wilson speaks to us in praise of Middle Earth, where we find the greatest threat coming from, of all possible things, a giant killer eyeball. This nasty eyeball demon stares at people and they lose all their power. If that is not enough, that nasty eyeball demon — heretofore referred to as “Ned” — somehow draws power from a ring. Let me make sure, dear fellow Jedi, that you understand this point correctly. Ned was once a man of mild disposition named Mairon (sounds like “moron”). But, he converted religions, and changed his named to Sauron (sounds worse than “moron”). You would think that if someone converts that he would take on a really happy name; not in Middle Earth. As you can tell from the sour disposition of his new name, Ned fell into the same path of a few too many converts: he became a disgruntled militant. And it is here that we find one of the important lessons of the Lard of the Rings series of books and movies: if you are to convert religions, use two eyes, and smile.
And, let us speak of this ring. Ned manages to create a ring that is so powerful that all others of Middle Earth are unable to stop him. Ned manages to control more and more of Middle Earth as long as the Ring of Power exists. But, when he possesses the Ring (heretofore capitalized so as to make it seem more spooky) and wears it on his finger (back when he had fingers), he now possesses more power than a broken Death Star. So what does he do? What does Ned do when he possesses the most powerful force in all twenty square miles of Middle Earth? Ned resorts to sword fights. And loses. It seems to me that he is far more powerful without the Ring than with the Ring. Without the Ring he is the menacing Ned, killer eyeball. With the Ring, he is a bumbling swordsman rejected by the Three Stooges. And it is here that we find another of the important lessons of the Lard of the Ringsseries of books and movies: if you possess the-most-powerful-force-in-all-twenty-square-miles-of-Middle Earth, and you decide to do some fencing, you don’t wear the-most-powerful-force-in-all-twenty-square-miles-of-Middle Earth on your finger! But, perhaps the underlying message here of Lard of the Rings is simply that it opposes marriage. It reminds us of that joke -– which is a joke in this part of the Earth — that there are no less than three rings in a marriage: engagement ring, wedding ring, and suffering. I shudder to think what the other rings mean!
Friends, I stand here under the leave of Frodo and the rest. For Frodo is an honorable man. So are they all, these Hobbits –- Frodo, Cheeto, Dorito, and Clyde –- all honorable men. Somehow, this Ring –- that has the power to mesmerize all who step near it -– escapes all in Middle Earth and lands in the hands of one Mr. Sméagol, who after being fired from a lucrative Weight Watchers contract, develops an addiction to the Ring. Again, this new addiction was tantamount to a conversion, and our Mr. Sméagol had to change his name to Gollum, and likewise changed his costume so as to resemble an aging withered former Child Movie Star. And, as is to be expected, Mr. Gollum himself loses the Ring to one Mr. Frito Baggins (aka Bilbo), whose own portly contents –- once shaken by the Ring –- seem to lose their mass and settle.
Mr. Frito is kind enough to hand the Ring to his nephew. Very kind. His nephew is throwing him a giant birthday party, and Mr. Frito returns the favor by charging him to save the universe (or at least all twenty square miles of Middle Earth) against the killer eyeball, Ned. And, to make matters worse, Mr. Frito then runs away. And it is here that we find another of the important lessons of theLard of the Rings series of books and movies: if your crazy-eyed crazy-haired eccentric bachelor uncle named “Bilbo” lives by himself at the dark corner of the street, you do not accept any birthday goody bags from him. Do not under any circumstances accept any gifts from a lonely man named “Bilbo.”
But it is here that we also have the central message of Lard of the Rings: the world is yours to pollute and corrupt with your petty vanities, and this world is yours to leave to someone else to clean up, while you run away. And, considering that Frodo and his gang succeeded in destroying the Ring (and somehow automatically killing its maker Ned, the killer eye), Lard of the Rings teaches us that it is perfectly appropriate to make the world into your mess. The key that Lard of the Ringsteaches all the Frodos of the world –- who happen to be dressed barefoot in sweatshop overalls –- is that in Middle Earth, they too can make something of their lives as the world’s custodians.
Let us not forget the other hero of Lard of the Rings. Aragorn himself inherited the mess caused by his own ancestor and himself ran away. Rather than save the planet — or all twenty square miles… — he chose to live as a Night Ranger singing at suburban American summer festivals. When exposed he, along with Bilbo Baggins, the Elves, Dwarfs, Neo-cons, Humans, and Wizards dumps the worldwide mess onto little innocent sweatshop-employed Frodo. And when Frodo does save the world, what is he given? He is not made into the king; that is what we are to do with our heroes, right? Rather, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) keeps the throne and sings him a song. Viggo Mortensen was not even in the remake of “We are the World;” even Vince Vaughn was part of that. Viggo Mortensen expresses his gratitude by singing and then sends Frodo away.
But we are not here to read about Lard of the Rings. We are here to read about Star Wars.
Come I to speak in Star Wars‘ funeral. We might say that Star Wars was my friend: faithful and just to me. But, Aragorn would say that it was ambitious. And Aragorn is an honorable man. He has brought many captives home to Middle Earth. Whose ransoms did his general coffers fill? Middle Earth seems to have quite the abundance of White People. And, on this note, we should mention that *all* the colored people in the movie are Ned’s fellow villains. Even our fairy wizard, Gandalf the Grey, decided he needed an additional coating of whiteness. The exception might be the killer trees –- the Ents –- British accents reveal that they are probably having their own issues with identity and colonization. It is rather interesting that despite their excessive assimilation, they are not fully “gents” but “ents.” At least Star Wars has Lando Calrissian, Mace Windu, that one Rebel Fighter in “Return of the Jedi” and a host of cute little furry and squishy animal-people of assorted colors and accents. In fact, if we rearrange the letters that make up the names Lando Calrissian and Mace Windu, we would get “Barack Hussein Obama,” more or less. Star Wars is post-racial, well more thanLard of the Rings.
But friends, did this Star Wars seem ambitious? When the poor have cried, Star Wars had wept. Ambition should be made of sterner stuff. While Lard of the Rings explores the vast expanse of all twenty square miles of Middle Earth, Star Wars spreads across galaxies. While the ultra villain ofLard of the Rings was Ned the killer eye, his sidekick Saruman (sounds like “Sorrow Man”), hyperventilating Orcs, and a host of other putrid nasties, the ultra villain of Star Wars was the Emperor with Sidekick Darth Vader. Yes, there was that Count Dooki (aka Dooku) whose role in the saga was to again help us keep our feet grounded. It is interesting that Count Dooki looked so much like Saruman. Perhaps some Lard of the Rings fangirl hacked into the Star Wars Hard Drives and implanted Count Dooki. And, yes, there was Darth Maul who, with bad skin, bad teeth and double lightsaber was more of a Cirque du Soleil set piece than a Sith, but the main purpose of the Prequels as discussed above was to bring us down to earth, and not send us further into space. If “The Phantom Menace” was even remotely a good film, our collective heads would have exploded.
Yet Darth Vader says he was ambitious. And Darth Vader, as we saw in the end is an honorable man. You did see that in the second Death Star. He so often suffered under that glossy black crown that he did finally refuse. And that is the central message of Star Wars: whether from nature or nurture we might make choices that cause horrendous amounts of suffering to ourselves, our loved ones and all others, there is even in the worst of situations, there is always hope for redemption.
Yet Darth Vader says he was ambitious. And, sure, he is an honorable man. I speak not to disprove, however, what Willow Wilson spoke. But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love Star Warsonce, not without cause: What cause withholds you then, to mourn for it? Star Wars clearly benefited from Lard of the Rings, taking the best from it and expanding on it, and leaving out the absurdities, most of them. Some of them. A few of them.
At the end of the day, what is the barren thick-accented stressed-syllable-heavy Middle Earth of Lard of the Rings but the rough draft of Jar Jar Binks’ honeymoon plans.
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts.
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me.
My heart is in the coffin there with Star Wars.
And I must pause till it come back to me.
Read Willow Wilson’s defense of Lord of the Rings and scathing critique of Star Wars here.