Pop Will Eat Itself

It’s a familiar pattern: visionary figure is eventually harried out of his position — expelled, really; bought out or pushed out — as leader and creator by purist fanboys.

“Purity Control” was a brilliant name for an alien MacGuffin in the X-Files because it’s also, as a concept and mindset, the kernel of fascism. Maintaining purity is by definition reactionary and totalitarian and delusional, because nothing can be pure — not even Ivory soap, which is 56/100% “other.” And therefore it’s doomed to (often violent) failure.

The same process happens in pop culture. Here’s poor George Lucas, who’s anything but poor in the literal sense after the four billion dollar sale of his franchise to Disney, openly bitter about the way he was besieged for years by fanboys who felt that the creative direction of Star Wars wasn’t true to the real Star Wars story and aesthetic, under his — the creator’s — control:

Watching the above reminded me of something Eddie Vedder said years ago about hardcore “ideological” fan(atic)s:

VEDDER:….[Laughs] Yeah, to them I’m the Antichrist. I think when Jello [Biafra] got his leg broken and beat up by those punkers in San Francisco — they were calling him a sellout and kicking him in the head — I think that was almost liberating. I said, “I don’t give a fuck anymore. If they’re fucking kicking Jello, how can I worry about what anybody thinks? How can I expect to still have someone’s respect on that end?” That guy lost his empire, his future, battling that censorship thing [over the H.R. Geiger poster for Frankenchrist]. He ran for mayor. You couldn’t write a movie script with a more ethical antihero. And yet here he is getting the shit kicked out of him.

You were rich, Mr. Lucas; now you’re rich and free.