Star Wars and Gone With The Wind

Given that the Star Wars franchise seems to have degenerated into yet another vehicle for the transmission of political-correctness, it seems a little ironic that the newest installment of the series will revolve around the one character with an undeniable connection to the South — Han Solo.  George Lucas’s wisecracking smuggler borrowed some of his best lines from the cynical and witty blockade runner Rhett Butler of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind, and  as such hardly seems an appropriate icon for a 21st-Century Hollywood that wholeheartedly supports the ongoing purge of all things Southern.

The Butler connection is to be found in one especially charged exchange in Mitchell’s novel.  Pleased for once with Captain Butler, high society belle Scarlett O’Hara informs the roguish man that he is likable, when he isn’t “acting like a varmint”:

He laughed again and held the palm of her hand against his hard cheek.

“I think you like me because I am a varmint. You’ve known so few dyed-in-the-wool varmints in your sheltered life that my very difference holds a quaint charm for you.”

This was not what she had anticipated and she tried again without success to pull her hand free.

“That’s not true! I like nice men–men you can depend on to always be gentlemanly.”

No one who has read Mitchell’s famous novel can see The Empire Strikes Back without noticing a virtually identical scene wherein Captain Solo flirts with haughty Rebel leader Princess Leia.  From there, it is obvious that the two roguish heroes have in common.  After all, both are initially too cool to support the cause, yet have a change of heart and decide to enlist at the eleventh hour.

Needless to say, this is one dimension of the Star Wars adventure that is unlikely to get much attention.  The inconvenient truth is that whatever exciting and compelling elements are to be found in popular culture can often be traced to sources that the entertainment industry has repudiated long, long ago.

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