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Do you know you can watch star wars????
May 10, 2017
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I have never seen Star Wars. Yes, it’s true. I have not watched a single one of George Lucas’s immensely popular, fanatically followed science fiction films. Not even five minutes of one of them. My Star Wars knowledge is limited to short clips that exist in the pop culture ether—and what I picked up from Mel Brooks’s spoof Spaceballs, which, after all, is a classic.

I understand that my Star Wars ignorance might make me an anomaly, but really, I’m not alone. A number of people like myself were born well over a decade after the original trilogy premiered in 1977, which made us too young to have enjoyed Harrison Ford as hunky Han Solo and to understand the idea behind the Force. Also, by the time the prequel saga came out in 1999, it was so critically panned that my teenage self couldn’t drum up the interest or time commitment to watch the original three in order to understand what might be going on in these new movies starring Natalie Portman. Hence my Star Wars illiteracy.

But now a new era of Star Wars films is about to begin, starting with next week’s release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and suddenly I have a bad case of FOMO. After all, Lupita Nyong’o and Adam Driver are in this movie, so it must be good, right? But how do Star Wars newcomers even begin to catch up on everything they’ve missed? In what order should one watch these movies? And is it really necessary to catch up on all of them? After consulting with various Star Wars fanatics, here, I bring you the ultimate Star Wars binge-watching guide.

If you want to watch them in chronological order:
Some people caution against watching the Star Wars films in chronological order because a few essential plot twists would be revealed early on. But unless you’ve been living under a rock all these years, even the most clueless Star Wars viewer knows that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s dad. Start watching the series from Episode I: The Phantom Menace and make your way up to Episode VI: Return of the Jedi to understand why Anakin Skywalker crossed over to the dark side and became his son’s nemesis.

Viewing order: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Episode IV: A New Hope, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
If you want to watch them as they were originally released:
Most people didn’t really appreciate the prequel saga, which is why loyal Star Wars fans suggest watching the series in the order they originally came out in movie theaters. Their reasoning is that the plots of the original three are vastly superior than the origin story of Anakin Skywalker in the prequel series. Plus, watching the advanced special effects of the prequel movies first might make the SFX in the late-’70s, early-’80s films seem more jarring than they should.

Viewing order: IV, V, VI, I, II, III

If you want to listen to the die-hard fans:
Star Wars superfan Rod Hilton suggested earlier this week a unique way of watching the franchise on his blog, Absolutely No Machete Juggling, which has since gathered steam. Called the “Machete Order,” Hilton argues that there’s no need to ever see Episode I of the series, as it’s irrelevant to the larger story. He also suggests once the big twist of Empire Strikes Back is revealed (that Darth Vader is Luke’s father), viewers should rewind back to the prequel series to get a better idea of why Vader crossed over to the dark side. Then, they should end their binge-watch with Return of the Jedi to conclude the series and leave them perfectly set up for The Force Awakens, which picks up after the events of Return of the Jedi.

Viewing order: IV, V, II, III, VI

If you only want to see one movie:
If you don’t want to spend an entire weekend binge-watching the six films, then hands down, most Star Wars connoisseurs suggest watching Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back to get a general idea of the universe and characters of George Lucas’s space saga. It’s widely regarded as the masterpiece of the series and it also introduces the wise and powerful Jedi Master Yoda.
If you don’t really care for science fiction and just want to enjoy a love triangle:
If you could care less about lightsabers, Jedis, and Ewoks, watch the very first movie, Episode IV: A New Hope, which, yes, features a wealth of science fiction action, but also spends the most time exploring the vaguely incestuous love triangle between Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia, Harrison Ford’s bad-boy Han Solo, and Mark Hamill’s heroic Luke Skywalker.

24 hours of love, lightsabers, and Star Wars in New York City.

Let’s say you grew up watching the Star Wars trilogy, then had children sometime after 1999, when George Lucas started releasing the prequels.

When your kids are old enough, what order should they watch the films in? The order they were released — Star Wars (A New Hope) (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983), then The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005)? Or the order the events happened in the Star Wars universe: Phantom Menace (I), Attack of the Clones (II), Revenge of the Sith (III), New Hope (IV), Empire Strikes Back (V), and Return of the Jedi (VI)?

Rod Hilton, a computer programmer in Colorado, has given this a lot of thought, and he probably has the best solution. His (correct) instinct is to start with New Hope (IV), because if you start with Phantom Menace (I) you lose the essential shock of learning Luke’s parentage in Empire Strikes Back. But he also wants to end on a high note — so, none of the prequels. Here’s Hilton’s “Machete Order,” named after his blog, Absolutely No Machete Juggling:
Let’s say you grew up watching the Star Wars trilogy, then had children sometime after 1999, when George Lucas started releasing the prequels.

When your kids are old enough, what order should they watch the films in? The order they were released — Star Wars (A New Hope) (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983), then The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002), and Revenge of the Sith (2005)? Or the order the events happened in the Star Wars universe: Phantom Menace (I), Attack of the Clones (II), Revenge of the Sith (III), New Hope (IV), Empire Strikes Back (V), and Return of the Jedi (VI)?

Rod Hilton, a computer programmer in Colorado, has given this a lot of thought, and he probably has the best solution. His (correct) instinct is to start with New Hope (IV), because if you start with Phantom Menace (I) you lose the essential shock of learning Luke’s parentage in Empire Strikes Back. But he also wants to end on a high note — so, none of the prequels. Here’s Hilton’s “Machete Order,” named after his blog, Absolutely No Machete Juggling:
Next time you want to introduce someone to Star Wars for the first time, watch the films with them in this order: IV, V, II, III, VI.

Notice something? Yeah, Episode I is gone. Episodes II and III aren’t exactly Shakespeare, but standing next to the complete and utter trainwreck that is Episode I, they sure look like it. At least, III does anyway. Episode I is a failure on every possible level. The acting, writing, directing, and special effects are all atrocious, and the movie is just plain boring. Luckily, George Lucas has done everyone a favor by making the content of Episode I completely irrelevant to the rest of the series. [No Machete Juggling]

Read Hilton’s admittedly “amazingly long blog post” for his longer rationale and alternative viewing orders. Luckily, when the final three movies of the series come out (Episodes VII, VIII, and IX), they will be last under both chronologies. Assuming, of course, that they’re worth watching at all.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday argued that there is no need for a special prosecutor or an independent commission to investigate President Trump’s ties to Russia. On the Senate floor, McConnell said that because there are already ongoing investigations by the Senate and the FBI, adding another investigation would only muddy the waters. “Today we’ll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation, which could only serve to impede the current work being done to not only discover what the Russians may have done [but] also to let this body and the national security community develop countermeasures and war-fighting doctrine to see that it doesn’t occur again,” he said.

McConnell also stood by Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey. He shook his head at Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who have responded with outrage to Comey’s unexpected ouster Tuesday evening. McConnell noted that Democrats themselves had “repeatedly and sharply criticized” Comey. “Last year the current Democratic leader said it appeared to be an appalling act, one that he said goes against the tradition of prosecutors at every level of government,” McConnell said, referring to Schumer’s comments about Comey’s decision on the Hillary Clinton email investigation weeks before Election Day. “And the prior Democratic leader, when asked if James Comey should resign given his conduct of the investigation, he replied, ‘Of course. Yes.'”

McConnell declared that “partisan calls” should not delay the work of the Senate Intelligence Committee because “too much is at stake.” While Democrats have overwhelmingly led the call, Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Richard Burr (N.C.), who is leading the Senate’s investigation, have also joined the push for an independent investigation.
Nobody can be blamed for missing the news that the director of the U.S. Census Bureau, John H. Thompson, is leaving the Trump administration. He announced his resignation Tuesday, in the midst of the fallout that President Trump had fired FBI Director James Comey.

This’ll likely get buried today but the US Census director quit. The census is a hugely important part of democracy. https://t.co/M0HViR0BWV

— Mike Ananny (@ananny) May 9, 2017

Thompson has served as director since 2013. His departure comes amid arguments over funding for the 2020 count; the Trump administration’s budget has been deemed insufficient. Additionally, last week Thompson revealed that the cost of a sophisticated new electronic data collection system has skyrocketed nearly 50 percent.

The Census Bureau’s director just resigned. Here’s the challenge his agency is facing ahead of the 2020 count. https://t.co/RTN1Lmi0OG pic.twitter.com/AIJ4Zlc1oe

— Ben Casselman (@bencasselman) May 10, 2017

Still, the resignation came as a surprise, especially as Thompson had been due to retire in December anyway. “I saw him as recently as two weeks ago, he was feeling very good about where things were, so I must say that this comes as a surprise, and a sad surprise, that he would feel he needed to do this,” Kenneth Prewitt, the director for the 2000 Census, told The Washington Post. “He’s a very, very competent man.”

Prewitt additionally worried about the void Thompson leaves behind. “That system is fragile, and it wouldn’t take much to damage it severely,” he told Science. “My real fear is that they don’t care enough to do a good job with the 2020 census. And then after doing a bad job, they decide to let the private sector take over.
Rest easy, America: President Trump is “small potatoes compared to Nazi Germany.” At a town hall Tuesday night shortly after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, House Freedom Caucus member Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) attempted to soothe his constituents by pointing to a moment in history that was worse than Trump’s presidency. “America has overcome amazing challenges that Donald Trump, as frightening as he is to some people, small potatoes compared to Nazi Germany,” Garrett said.

When constituents met that remark with jeers, Garrett doubled down. “So he’s worse?” Garrett said, literally asking the crowd if they’d rank America’s commander-in-chief as greater cause for alarm than the Third Reich. Garrett pointed out people were worried about former President Barack Obama too, and promised that, no matter what, “this great nation will continue to move forward by virtue of the collective of American people.”

Feel better now?
Since President Trump abruptly axed FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) came up with another way Comey could still be involved in the investigation of Trump’s ties to Russian election meddling. King suggested that Comey could be “named to head the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation of Trump-Russia ties,” The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman reported.

Of course, if Trump really fired Comey because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation as Trump has claimed, then this wouldn’t bother him one bit. But, King pointed out in an interview with NPR, the White House’s explanation for the ouster “doesn’t add up.”
After firing FBI Director James Comey during an active investigation into the White House’s possible ties to Russia, President Trump has only one item on his docket for Wednesday: a closed-door meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Which is … a choice you can make.

But when Lavrov rolled up to the State Department for a meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ahead of his Oval Office huddle, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell managed to get a response to her shouted question, “Does the Comey firing cast a shadow over your talks, gentlemen?”

Lavrov looked at her with a straight face and asked, “Was he fired? You’re kidding. You’re kidding.” He then rolled his eyes and marched out of the room:

“Was he fired? You are kidding!” – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov asked in US about ex-FBI chief James Comeyhttps://t.co/IrFi991lJz pic.twitter.com/xbEnYQJJsC

— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 10, 2017

Many interpreted Lavrov’s snide remark literally — but let this be a warning to us all to never underestimate a Russian leader’s witheringly dry, sarcastic sense of humor.
On Tuesday night, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) tried to imagine what would be happening right about now if the tables were turned, and Hillary Clinton had won the presidency and then fired the director of the FBI. “If this were Hillary Clinton, the Republicans would be trying to impeach her right now,” he said during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, just hours after President Trump unexpectedly fired FBI Director James Comey.

Cummings to @maddow: “If this were Hillary Clinton, the Republicans would be trying to impeach her right now.” https://t.co/n2hOMOiIYP

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 10, 2017

Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, called Tuesday night for “immediate emergency hearings” on Comey’s firing. “The White House was already covering up for [former national security adviser] Michael Flynn by refusing to provide a single document to Congress, and now the president fired the one independent person who was doing the most to investigate President Trump and his [2016] campaign over allegations of coordination with Russia,” Cummings said in a statement.

Trump has cited Comey’s handling of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as his reason for Comey’s abrupt dismissal.
Anderson Cooper expressed his frustration with spin master Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday evening when he attempted to press her about President Trump’s whiplash-inducing flip-flop on FBI Director James Comey. “So now your White House is saying what [Comey] did was wrong but previously, as a candidate, Donald Trump was saying it was the right thing,” Cooper said, after playing a montage of clips showing Candidate Trump praising Comey during the campaign.

“You’re conflating two things that don’t belong together,” Conway replied. “Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I was on your show often last fall saying we were going to win Michigan and how we were going to do it. So that was fun.”

Cooper does not even try to hide his annoyance about her abrupt change in subject:

This @andersoncooper eyeroll when Conway, asked about Comey’s firing, changes the topic to winning Michigan. pic.twitter.com/c2gl4ykARl

— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) May 10, 2017

Let’s see that one more time. Jeva Lange

this anderson cooper eyeroll at kellyanne conway is… choice pic.twitter.com/ZWHcvD2XDU

— tc (@chillmage) May 10, 2017.

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