Conservatism holds itself out as devoted to the preservation of what is best in our culture. That the definition of "our culture" has broadened considerably, even in conservative circles, is evidenced by Jonathan Last of The Weekly Standard, who blasts the liberties taken by George Lucas in the new DVD Edition of the original Star Wars Trilogy. Wickedness and revisionism are afoot:
These changes, counterproductive as they are, should be endurable. After all, George Lucas created these movies. He has the right to wreck them if he wants. But Lucas isn't just putting out newer, flawed versions. He is embarked on a campaign to create The One True Version of the Star Wars mythology. You see, every time Lucas tinkers with one of his movies, the changes becomes the official version. The older versions are then quietly and efficiently erased from the public record.
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In a few years the original versions of the Star Wars trilogy will be vanished completely. Many filmmakers put out director's cuts of their movies, which are sold alongside the theatrical versions. George Lucas, on the other hand, is so obsessed with airbrushing history that at the end of the day, only Jar-Jar Binks will be left seated on the couch with Lenin.
Some readers will necessarily reject Last's opinions, given that he is a notorious apologist for the Dark Side.
UPDATE 10/6/04: Like Homer, I nod, but in this case it is to express agreement. Greg Perry raises the level of the discourse with a kind link to this post and with a discussion of a point I thought about, but never incorporated here: the value of having all of the versions of a given work available, even if only one is deemed "finished" by its author.
As I suggested above, George Lucas is well within the bounds of his authorial rights, but I think he is harming his own long-term reputation as a creator even more than he is annoying his fans.
And while we're speaking of Greg: I haven't spent much time at all on any serious consideration of poetry here lately, but I have kept up my reading of others' poetry weblogs. I tend to agree with Mike Snider that Greg and Henry Gould have been particularly strong lately. I disagree with Mike's loss of enthusiasm for Wallace Stevens, though: as good as Frost was, I'm a die-hard Stevens man. But then, Stevens was an insurance lawyer, too.