You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

PopPolitics: What ‘Star Wars’ Says About the 2016 Election

Cass Sunstein was a White House official — sometimes called the “regulatory scar” — before returning to the life of a law professor.

But he’s also written a new book, “The World According to Star Wars,” that combines his fandom of the franchise with scholarly instinct, as he tries to answer the question of why the movie series has endured so long and by so many.

On Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM, Sunstein explains how the sensation of “Star Wars” sheds light on what makes for a a movie or TV hit, a music superstar or even a presidential candidate and what does not.

He doesn’t put too much stock in the idea of perfect timing.

“Whether it is ‘Star Wars’ or Donald Trump or Taylor Swift or ‘Game of Thrones’ or the environmental movement or the women’s movement — we often overrate explanations that say, ‘The time was right for it.” Those are pleasing explanations, but they are often evidence free. They are extremely speculative and they often have the feature of a fairy tale. That is, we like to say that some book or some movie, it just hit the culture at exactly the right time. That may sound good, but there is no particular reason to believe that it is true.”

Instead, he said that “what tends to be underrated is the role of cascade effects and early serendipity, which marks someone or some thing as a winner, when with a small twist of fate, they could have been big losers.” In other words, the presidential primary process, starting in smaller states and building to larger contests, is conducive to building a “cascade” for a candidate.

He also says that “Star Wars” lore says something about how authoritarian regimes gain appeal in the face of threat.

“I do think it is so, whenever the country faces risks, either internal or external, the idea of allowing the executive to have emperor-like authority has some appeal,” he says. “So whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, if you like the guy who is in charge, there’s just too much squabbling in the legislature, we have to let the commander in chief command. And that can be right under some circumstances. But as George Lucas, and Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison all agree, there’s also some real danger here.”

Listen below:

More Biz

  • Here’s How Much Money 10 Artists

    Here’s How Much Money 10 Artists Are Owed by PledgeMusic

    For eight years, PledgeMusic was a success story: A direct-to-fan platform where artists worked directly with their audiences to fund their albums, tours and all stripes of merchandise, with fans able to purchase everything from custom guitar picks to private concerts. Yet last June, Variety broke the news that the company is struggling to pay [...]

  • Korea's CJ CGV Switches Turkey CEOs

    Korea's CJ CGV Switches Turkey CEOs as It Battles With Local Industry

    Yeun Seung-ro has been appointed as CEO of CGV Mars Entertainment, the Korean-owned company that operates Turkey’s largest cinema chain. He replaces Kwak Dong Won, another veteran of the CJ-CGV group. The change of personnel may reflect two ongoing battles within the Turkish film industry. CJ-CGV, which bought Mars for some $650 million in 2016. [...]

  • China Video Streaming Giant iQIYI Loses

    Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

    Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production. Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up CEO Resigned After Son Was Accused of Sexual Assault

    Time’s Up has announced in a statement posted to Instagram that its former president and CEO Lisa Borders, who resigned Feb. 18, did so after her son was accused of sexual assault in a “private forum.” “Within 24 hours, Lisa made the decision to resign as President and CEO of Time’s Up and we agreed [...]

  • Louis Tomlinson Signs With Arista (EXCLUSIVE)

    Louis Tomlinson Signs With Arista (EXCLUSIVE)

    One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson has signed with Arista, sources tell Variety. While the singer was formerly linked with Epic Records in 2017, he is signed directly to Simon Cowell’s Syco label and will move within the Sony Music family to Arista. Tomlinson teased a new single on Feb. 2, posting on Twitter, “Just heard the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett's Bail Set at $100,000, Must Surrender Passport

    UPDATED: A Chicago judge set a $100,000 bond for Jussie Smollett on Thursday, as the “Empire” actor made his first court appearance. Smollett faces one felony count of filing a false police report. Police allege that Smollett staged a Jan. 29 attack, telling detectives that he was accosted by two men who used racial and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content