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Explaining the Death Star - Input Junkie
April 28th, 2011
01:22 pm

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Explaining the Death Star
The Death Star was an effort to control an Empire while not spending enough money to actually administer it.

I suggest that it may have also been an attempt to not have to think about boring things like bureaucracy and maintaining alliances.

In any case, this may suggest a reason for the Death Star having that single point of failure which is so necessary for a satisfying eucatastrophe-- it was designed on the cheap. The contracts were written by people who didn't think out what they wanted. And I'd like to think that there was deliberate sabotage involved.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/480295.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:whswhs
Date:April 28th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
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It's actually a lot like the Legalist approach to government in China. I've thought for a long time that the Star Wars historical timeline more closely resembles the early Chinese empire than anything else, with the Jedi in the role of xia.
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From:richardthinks
Date:April 28th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC)
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bingo. Although these days I'm looking at a bunch of roleplaying settings and seeing China.

I wonder if there's ever been a large polity ruled by a continually fleeing monarch, like Ming the Merciless/General Grievous. Babur springs to mind, maybe Timur could qualify.
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From:sodyera
Date:April 28th, 2011 06:55 pm (UTC)
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In the case of the Old Republic, you're starting with a very large multicultural organisation funded by an apparently inexhaustible membership, the majority of which had to have voted to allow a primarily humanoid-centric military. Then this body conducted a majority vote to allow a humanoid-centric Empire take over governmental functions Everywhere in (their) known space. This alone would form the basis of internal dissatisfaction on many levels and among many non-humanoid species.

Yet the military contractors for their most fearsome and most complicated weapon was AI and insectoid cultures designing for, again, a primarily humanoid military brought up with a concept of superior numbers and technology, and therefore invulnerability. These were some of the same basic historical precepts that could be traced to the construction of the "Unsinkable" Titanic. I can't help but see quotes of the 19th Century British Empire all over the place. The argument, therefore, might not be for sabotage but rather hubris.
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From:richardthinks
Date:April 28th, 2011 07:07 pm (UTC)
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Yes on all counts. Although I think it's pretty much a given that when you govern from the seat of your doomsday machine you are not focused on governing well.

We also know from Death Star #2 that the Emperor is keen on rushing things second time around, so I'm guessing the problems are not merely contingent. I'm tempted to call his style "Bushian."

As a side issue, Sanjar, last of the Great Seljuks, seems to have bankrupted his shrinking empire putting down brushfire rebellions with force: it's a classic pattern of loss of legitimacy. I'm thinking either the Death Star is a response to just such a precedent (it's presumably cheap to run once it's built, so you don't have to keep expending resources on every rebellion) or it's a desperate response to the massive loss of previously reliable support. Given the Empire has been around for about as long as Luke's lifetime (17 years?) and it was founded on unprecedented military spending, I'm guessing what we're seeing here is a late stage symptom of an economic death spiral.
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From:ckd
Date:April 28th, 2011 08:02 pm (UTC)
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I think my favorite of the comments on that was the one alleging that the Death Star was meant to blow up as a form of insurance fraud.
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From:agrumer
Date:April 28th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
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Another problem the Empire has is that the Emperor, and his right-hand man, seem more concerned with lining up Luke as a successor than with actually governing. Remember that exchange between Darth Vader and Governor Tarkin in the original movie? ("The Jedi are extinct, their fire has gone out of the universe. You, my friend, are all that's left of their religion.") I used to read that as Tarkin being ignorant about the importance of the Force, and the Jedi-Sith conflict, but now I'm inclined to read it as "Forget all that mystical stuff -- we've got an empire to administer, here!"
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From:captain_button
Date:April 29th, 2011 02:48 am (UTC)
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My first thought on reading that earlier today is that it wasn't considering the other side of the equation. How much money was Alderaan providing to the Rebel Alliance? What about recruits, weapons components, support and manufacturing technology, other support resources?

And less tangible things like intelligence, influence, diplomatic cover, etc.

Blow the planet up and the Rebel Alliance loses all that, making thing easier for the Imperial Forces.

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From:captain_button
Date:April 29th, 2011 02:51 am (UTC)
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Inevitable interface bitching: I can't edit my comments? Grrr!
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From:whswhs
Date:April 29th, 2011 04:51 am (UTC)
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Sure you can. Select the entire text of the comment. Copy. Delete the comment. In the same place, insert a new comment. Paste. Then you have a text you can edit. Of course, you'll have to restore italics and bold and crossrefs and all that, but I don't see that in the two comments just above. . . .

Yes, I know it's a bit roundabout, but I've done it more than once.
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From:captain_button
Date:April 30th, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
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Yes, but then the LJ owner gets multiple copies if they have the "email me comments" turned on.

I suppose non-editability it may be necessary to prevent trolls trying to revise comment history.
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From:nancylebov
Date:April 30th, 2011 01:48 am (UTC)
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If you have a paid account, you can edit your comments. I don't know how that affects email notifications, though it seems plausible to me that the person you're commenting to gets all the versions.
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From:captain_button
Date:April 30th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
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Ok, that makes sense. I paid once, but it has long since expired.
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