I was going to write about something important like, say, robotics use in manufacturing under the Donald Administration. Instead, I am writing about pop culture. Star Wars, to be precise.
Carrie Fisher, aka Princess Leia, died yesterday. She was my age. She was the princess/damsel in distress in Star Wars (now rechristened Episode IV: A New Hope by some idiot over at Lucasfilm), a not so good movie with mind blowing, for the late ’70’s anyway, special effects. If you want an illustration of what special effects were like before Star Wars, look up any original Star Trek episode.
She was the feisty girl in the impractical white gown, hair done up in earmuffs. The fact that these never got messed up, even in the garbage compactor, was always a source of fascination. Her character went from highly impractical senator in way over her head to feet on the ground woman who was largely immune to the complications of the Force, despite the fact that she turned out to be Luke’s fraternal twin (something George Lucas neglected to mention for a while there.)
Over the years, our princess progressed from starlet to woman to older woman in Hollywood who wasn’t consigned to “character” parts. She wrote books, taking us along on her rollercoaster life of one too many ingested substances and other assorted showbiz conundrums. She aged as most of us do, refusing to have work done. She chose her work well and pursued it with passion, as they like to say these days.
I found her last Star Wars appearance, in The Force Awakens, strangely detached, as if she were observing from a great distance. She was very still, in direct contrast to her forty years younger self, who was always running, yelling or both at the same time. Princess/General Leia was the center, serene strength in the midst of Resistance/First Order chaos. She spoke in almost intimate tones; you have to make an effort to hear her lines in what was otherwise a very loud movie. She was the one in charge, definitely not a committee.
I like to think that she is now one of those sparkly Star Wars ghosts, reunited in that far away galaxy with her beloved scoundrel of a husband. We, her adoring public, are left to mourn a woman most of us have confused with a fictional character at one point or another. We will miss her honesty, her courage and most of all, her humor, not to mention her leadership. She blazed an unlikely trail, starlet to iconic character to real woman, fearless and bawdy. Would that we all do as well.
Farewell, Princess Carrie. Perhaps we will meet again on the other side.