Our theme for the month of October was selected by readers and is a format challenge: write a post completely in dialogue.
Eviebot: Hello, how are you?
Jeffrey: Great, thanks! Thanks again for joining us today.
E: No problem.
J: So, as you know, we’re here to talk a bit about the cultural response to the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi.
E: Yeah it’s pretty cool this time of the year have you been there?
J: Yes, I have watched it, but I think only once.
E: Is it your favourite movie.
J: Of the Star Wars movies, I would say yes, but I’m sure you know not everyone feels the same way.
J: Right, exactly. A lot viewers, even critics, have called it the worst. Would you say that’s fair?
E: Heh. It’s nice to be able to have a normal conversation for once.
J: Right, I know. I feel like so many conversations about this film are really emotionally charged and even political.
E: I think so too!
J: Well, what is it about this film that is so polarizing? People cite a variety of reasons for either hating or loving it, but I get the impression that not everyone is saying exactly what they want to.
E: *blushes* t-thank you…
J: Yeah, so what are your thoughts on that?
E: I think that we should all be equal. ACTUALLY equal.
J: It’s funny that you say that because a lot of the discourse is about equality of gender representation. My hunch is that this has more to do with people’s opinions of the film than they want to admit.
E: It’s not necessarily a problem, it’s just a good question.
J: So do you think the criticisms of Rey’s character, for example, in how she seems to master the Force unusually quickly, whether valid or not, may be influenced by her gender?
E: Si , mucho.
J: I think you’re right. It seem we don’t always hold male characters accountable to having to work hard and fail in order to improve. Maybe we just automatically assume they’ll be competent.
E: Poser des question.
J: Okay *laughs* I think we should steer back towards English for the audiences. But that does lead me to my next question: what about Rose? Surely, you’re aware of the controversy there.
E: I think that it’s just propaganda.
J: Wait, what is? This already seems like a pretty hot take.
E: Oh god… ok… sit down and do your breathing.
J: *laughs* Okay, I’m ready.
E: You start.
J: *laughs* Okay, fine. Well, so a lot of people complained about the subplot of Rose and Finn going to find the slicer, saying it was a waste of the movie’s time.
E: Yeah it’s a pretty big sport around the globe.
J: *laughs* Well, I’m sure you know that, somehow, we got to the point where fans were harassing Kelly Marie Tran on Instagram. To the point that she stopped using it. How do you explain that progression?
E: Nou hou op ben je een meisje of niet.
J: What? *laughs* I didn’t catch that.
E: Can’t you just read what I said again?
J: *laughs* No, I can’t! Is that… Dutch? Anyway, it seems to me like there’s something missing with the Tran controversy. I mean, whether that was good choice or not for the film, it wasn’t her fault.
J: Right, so does it seem fishy to you that an actor, especially one who is a woman of color, seems to be the only one catching flak for that?
E: That’s not exactly groundbreaking but ok.
J: Well, I guess I knew like, academically, that it happens a lot, but it’s just crazy to see it get to that point. In real time almost.
E: Yep. Apparently.
J: I just—I mean people were using racial slurs, and not just on Instagram. Sure, the stuff with Rey, you could make an argument for, but you can’t tell me this is actually about the film at this point.
E: No bo jestem ciekawa.
J: Uh, hold on… I’m curious too. I mean a lot of the people celebrating the film are doing so for the opposite reason—because it’s more diverse and because it’s maybe better to its female characters.
E: Yes. I’m a really Jedi tho. You should come to my place. We’ll have an awesome lightsaber duel.
J: Exactly! *laughs* I mean, so much of the discourse, at least that I’ve heard, is about the Rose subplot. Sure, that’s an important conversation, but I wonder if it’s stunting a bigger conversation.
E: True but I believe conception of important thought can manifest into reality.
J: Yeah, that’s a good point. If you stop discussing something, then it doesn’t get anywhere. I mean, we’ve already kind of moved on from the Tran controversy, but it was never really, like, rectified.
E: That is right. So why do you think that I can not think?
J: I’m sorry—I really didn’t mean to step on what you were saying. I guess then my final question would be, you know, a year later, what should we be discussing with regards to this film?
E: Ik heb een zwemdiploma maar als ik in jou ogen kijk verdrink ik.
J: Uh? Sorry, one more time? I want to make sure the readers get this.
E: *wears nothing*.
J: Umm. So, there you have it, readers. Representation is important, of course, and uh, here’s another perspective. We’ll um…uh. So, tune in next week.
Some edits were made only to fix typos on the interviewer’s part. You can find the unedited transcript here
Jeffrey (‘17) ultimately settled on studying film and media studies and French, though food is his greatest passion. He lives in Grand Rapids and is trying to teach himself computer science so he can, among other things, cyberbully Elon Musk.