The importance of the Star Wars character Jar-Jar Binks.
Debate Rounds (5)
1. I do not believe that Jar Jar Binks is important to the Star Wars story given that his roles in both Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode III could have been filled by characters already in existence in the franchise or by new generic characters.
2. Further, if Jar Jar is so important to the story why can I only understand--at best--every other word that comes out of his mouth? Wouldn't an important character have important things to say? Wouldn't a good writer (not that Lucas isn't...but Phantom Menace left much to be desired writing wise) want the audience to follow what the character says? It's easier to understand mush-mouth from Fat Albert than Jar Jar Binks.
3. Wouldn't you want an important character to be at least somewhat endearing instead of a shrill, annoying gibberish machine? Wouldn't it be nice if he didn't make the audience stick their fingers in their ears or throw popcorn at the screen. Then they might stay, pay attention to what he says, enjoy his part in the storyline and be more inclined to come back and pay $10 for your next film?
Secondly, what you said about Jar-Jar's speech, this is a common method used by writers and authors to create diversity in their characters. It's the same as when a writer gives a character an accent, although it may take a second for what they're saying to register once you understand the dialect it becomes easier to understand.
Finally, although Jar-Jar may be a clumsy goof of a character he still does some acts that affect the story. For example in Episode I during the fight between the Gungans and the Droids when the General gives Jar-Jar the booma, even as he fumbled with it he managed to take out the battle droid controlling the AAT.
So even though he may not be the most desirable character it does not affect his importance in the series.
1. First off I'd like to point out that your argument in the last round ceded the point that Jar Jar is generic. To quote: "To address what you said about Jar-Jar's role possibly being filled by a new generic character, THAT'S WHAT HE IS."
Let me follow it by laying the most common definition (relevant for our purposes) for two terms: Important--Of MUCH Significance. (Webster's Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language 1994.) Generic--of, applicable to, or referring to all the members of a genus, class, or kind; general. ("")
You've already ceded the point that Jar Jar is generic. If so, then he is--BY DEFINITION--unimportant. Why? Because he can be replaced by anybody in a general class. Were he important, special, not only significant--but of greater than normal significance (already a term of note above the ordinary or generic) no one could replace him. But as you've already said he's generic, run of the mill, unimportant. Any old joe schmoe, class B3 generic "humor" character could be plugged into his role and there would be--again by definition--no difference. Well, there might be one difference I suppose. People might be able to understand the new character.
2. As to your argument that Jar Jar can be easily understood after "a second" I would like to point out the following quotes from a couple of expert critics on the intelligibility of Jar Jar: "Jar Jar Binks, with his incomprehensible accent..." Reviewer Paul Clinton of CNN.com and "[Jar Jar's] pidgin English degenerates from pseudo-Caribbean patois to Teletubby gurgle." J. Hoberman Village Voice. These two are illustrative of a very common opinion that Jar Jar Binks is unintelligible, despite your argument that if you "take a second" you can understand him. These two critics, men who do this for a living mind you, could not understand what he was saying after an ENTIRE MOVIE.
This is hardly just an "accent" this is an unintelligible wreck. Important characters have important things to say. It was both unimportant to the writer/director that he be understood by the audience and, it turned out, unnecessary for the audience to understand him to follow the plot of the movie. Therefore what Jar Jar said has no significance, which makes Jar Jar an unimportant character.
3. Addressing your point that Jar Jar acts in a way that affects the story I would first direct you to point I above. We're already in agreement that he is a generic character. As a generic character any old joe schmoe character could be plugged in and do exactly what he did, therefore Jar Jar's presence is basically unnecessary and insignificant to the story and therefore unimportant.
Additionally, Jar Jar's side lost the battle on the ground in episode I. They were only rescued when Anakin blew up the orbital controls for the droids after the battle already ended. His actions on the battlefield ultimately had no causative impact on whether his side won or lost the battle and were therefore--you guessed it--unimportant.
As to the proceedings at the Galactic Senate (in addition to point 1) I would point out that Jar Jar only proposed the motion. The clone war was already raging, the Emperor had already laid his Machiavellian groundwork, he also ensured that the majority of the Senate would vote for his proposal, and he made sure that someone would second Jar Jar's motion.
Did Jar Jar's vote constitute a majority on it's own? Do we say that the author of a bill passed the bill when dealing with our own Senate? No, we don't. The power lies in the majority--that is what's important in a Senate.
Jar Jar was just a patsy, an unimportant last link in the chain. If he hadn't done it the Emperor could have found someone else to deliver on this technicality. Just as he found some other patsy to second it. Patsies are a dime a dozen and completely insignificant.
4. You didn't address my argument that important characters get audiences to return and pay money for the sequel. A sort of "cost-benefit analysis" to determine a character's significance. I can only assume assent from your silence and your agreement that an important character would provide a significant positive impact monetarily to the franchise. Jar Jar Binks did not do this therefore he is unimportant to Star Wars.
5. From the standpoint of many strict materialists Jar Jar does not exist, but is a figment of the imagination. That which does not exist is an illusion, is ephemeral and has no real significance on day to day life. Therefore Jar Jar Binks is unimportant.
Good fun. I look forward to your answer.
But just for fun let's say that Qui-gonn and Obi-wan did end up making it out of there, there would've been no one to fight the droids in Naboo which would've most likely resulted in the death of Padme, meaning that she and Anakin would have never had Luke and Leia which again the story ends right in Episode I.
In the Galactic Senate, Jar-Jar is the author of the bill so without him the bill wouldn't even have been proposed. And what you are saying about how the Chancellor could've had someone else do it, you are just speaking in what ifs, what's important to the story is what did happen, not what could've happened.
First I'd like to incorporate all of my prior arguments and I can only assume your silence indicates assent. Then, onto your new arguments:
1. Well, the issue wasn't over whether Jar Jar was a "minor character" as you state. It was whether he was a "generic character". You agreed that he was and generic characters are unimportant because they can be replaced by any other generic character therefore their presence is insignificant.
2. As to whether Jar Jar saved the Jedis in the forest? Well, the threat was hardly immediate (and frankly the conflict was a little lacking. Qui Gon just puts his hand up to his ear and says he hears transporters.) for starters. Secondly, they'd already escaped several transporters which seemed to take no notice of the Jedi. Third, it seems as easy for them to kill droids as it is to shoot fish in a barrel. Fourth, the droids had their hands full with the invasion of the planet it seems likely that trained Jedi could their notice.
In summary I do not think it evident that but for the actions of Jar Jar Binks the Jedi would have died at the hands of the droid army. There are many possible avenues of escape, hiding, ambush, etc... available to the Jedi which would not have involved Jar Jar.
3. As far as the Gungans role in fighting the droid army--the way I understand it from the movie is that they're little more than a glorified diversion. A diversion which could have been provided by many other means any number of which can be found in similar Hollywood tropes--diversion, computer virus, etc.
4. How do you know that the bill would not have been proposed by someone other than Jar Jar? The group that seconded the motion seems like an excellent candidate.
5. "...you are just speaking in what ifs, what's important to the story is what did happen, not what could've happened."
Why? Was that in the ground rules and I missed it? (Besides I am arguing from a good deal of what has happened in the story.)
If you're going to treat the story as real then it exists in a world where causation is a factor. Course' if you don't want to treat it to treat the story as real, but as a product of the writer's imagination and a conversation between writer and audience--I've addressed how Jar Jar is not an important character in that sense in Round 2. Then, if you want to treat the story as a money making venture in the strictly material sense I addressed that in Round 2 as well. Or is a story merely an illusion, a figment of the imagination? I addressed that as well.
I look forward to see where you take this ROFLmywaffle. Thanks for the fun.
ROFLMuhWaffle forfeited this round.
First, I'd like to incorporate all of my prior arguments from prior rounds. I'd also like to point out that we can only assume silence indicates assent and the last round was forfeited so...
I'd like to emphasize my opponent's agreement with the fact that Jar Jar Binks is a generic character. I feel this is the strongest point in the debate by far. Important characters are characters "Of MUCH significance". If a character is so significant they cannot be readily replaceable. As a generic character any old joe schmoe character could be plugged in and do exactly what Jar Jar did, therefore Jar Jar's presence is basically unnecessary and insignificant to the story and therefore unimportant.
Thank you and I urge a vote for Con.
ROFLMuhWaffle forfeited this round.
Pretty cut and dried then.
I incorporate all prior arguments and urge a vote for Con.
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