#May the Force Be With Her
In 2016 The Force was weak. To end the year with the death of Carrie Fisher is unalterable proof that the Universe is indeed a relentlessly cruel entity. Although in many ways the actress herself seemed at times desperately in need of rescue, the beloved character she plays in the Star Wars films filled us with joy and hope, provided a simple and clear division between good and evil and continues to fool us into believing that in the end goodness and purity of heart will conquer evil. I am intentionally avoiding any surfing of the internet for details about Fisher’s life because I know the sentiments I am about to convey are shared by many. I want to write this as if I live in a vacuum so that the feelings, although probably universal, are from my own point of view alone, expressed as I would express them and not purloined from superior writers and thinkers. I doubt, however, that someone who has been alive for the last 30 plus years will have been able to shield themselves from any analysis of the Star Wars films and the characters associated with them.
Like many of my friends and family, I wish I could relocate to a galaxy far, far away. A long time ago would also be acceptable because this distant galaxy does not seem like the kind of place in which people seem inclined to pull head coverings off of people as a show of disdain for their religions or spirituality. The Jawa and Jedi seem to have little fear of having their hoods thrust off by a violent racist or being asked not to wear a hooded robe at all because it sends the wrong message. Sometimes you get your head blown off in a cantina, sure, but that’s over a personal transgression and not a political statement.
This galaxy in which we situate Carrie Fisher transported me as a child into a place where not only were handheld ray-guns commonplace, but they were prominently wielded by a princess. This world was full of diversity. That thing we used to say, “I don’t care if he’s black, white, blue or purple…” when we were trying to look like we weren’t in the least bit racist; so incredibly and powerfully not racist, in fact, that even technicolor aliens would be treated with dignity and respect, or people experiencing discoloration due to decomposition. In Carrie Fisher’s - Princess Leia’s world, beings really are literally every color of the rainbow. Appearance is not indicative of gender. One can only imagine the vast array of religions and spirituality being practiced in this conglomeration of life forms. It is full of problems and violence, too, but even as a little tomboy I could tell the scary weird looking bad guys from the scary weird looking good guys. It was uncomplicated. No one had supplied the Empire with weapons then grimaced in horror as they blew Alderaan, which looks just like earth, out of the cosmos.
Carrie Fisher passed away on December 27 and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, died the next day. This passing of Fisher’s mother, while a tremendous kick in the pants, also struck me as an act of defiance. As the pustule-encrusted tentacles of 2016 dragged her worshipfulness down into its stinking bowels, mom leapt in after her, punching and kicking at the tightening, rubbery arms as they embraced her. As she plunged into the putrid maw of the filthy beast that was 2016, one can take some solace in the fact that they cobbled together some kind of mother/daughter pipe bomb and as the clock struck midnight on what was the last hideously deformed day of 2016, it exploded, hurling slimy chunks of intestine and bitter gore across the universe, inadvertently splashing the soundboard during Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve performance causing a short circuit, then vaporizing without a trace as 2017 victoriously made its entrance.
Good riddance 2016. Welcome 2017: A New Hope.