Thursday, March 06, 2008

It's all about freedom

Sometimes a line from a movie transcends the silver screen and becomes a proverb. In Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), when the Galactic Empire captures Princess Leia Organa, they tortured her in order to get the location of Rebel Alliance's secret base. Admiral Tarkin then says: "Princess Leia, before your execution, you will join me at a ceremony that will make this battle station operational. No star system will dare oppose the Emperor now." Her answer is now a legendary movie quote:
"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." (Princess Leia Organa)
This quote has been used, since then, as a proverb about freedom. When a government (or company) implements policies to supress or reduce freedom, people and customers start to circumvent these policies. There's a lot of webpages using this proverb in different contexts. A few examples:

Hollander Space uses the quote in an article about the "indecency test" used by FCC in order to fine broadcasters. He mentions a civil suit filed by four television networks (Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC) at the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York, where the Court decided against the government.

Bad Coffee uses it in an article about the leaking of the seventh book of Harry Potter's saga (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows), despite of extreme security measures taken by the publisher.

Michael Lambert, in his blog called Ponderings of an Itinerate Programmer, mentions Leia's words in his post about the fight between consumers and two "evil empires": RIAA and MPAA. Both entities are suing consumers with charges of movie and music piracy over the Internet. Jeff Kirvin also uses the very same quote in another article on the subject. This quote is considered an "obligatory quote" at Slashdot when RIAA and MPAA are mentioned.

An article on Storm Pilot website uses the quote as an advice for IT professionals when dealing with customers. The goal is to hide the excitement of a new prospect and the desperation for money: do NOT call the customer every day about a proposal you made.

Microsoft is also compared to the Galactic Empire using this quote. Danifer ran an article about Windows Vista and complained about Microsoft Mail: I’m extremely disappointed with Microsoft’s attempt to rule the email world by programming an application that refuses to play nicely with others. I’m reminded of Princess Leia’s quote from Star Wars “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.” The author migrated to Thunderbird, from Mozilla.

John T. Kennedy wrote a piece about online gambling ban and said: "The good news about this law is that the online gambling market isn’t going away. Entrepreneurs are not going to abandon the vast profits that have already been demonstrated. Internet markets are going to route around such legal obstacles. This law, if it is enforced, will spur efficient black markets like nothing ever has." John used the quote in a comment posted later.

Even an article about Russia used Leia's words. Ben and Alice comment a story about the Russian ban of Georgian and Moldovan wine and food imports, published by Moscow Times back in 2006. They quote Princess Leia just after quoting the original article: "The Kremlin is consciously and systematically carrying out a policy of isolating itself across the former Soviet Union. The more pressure it puts on former Soviet republics, the more it hurries them into the arms of the West".

This is one of my favorite movie quotes. When you "tighten the grip", reducing the freedom of the people, the inevitable outcome is a failure. As soon as people get less freedom, they start to "slip through your fingers": if it's a country, many will try to escape; if it's a company, customers will look for competitors; if it's a market, the goods will be delivered by smugglers.

It's all about freedom.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good stuff! Geeky, yes, but good! :)

Alexsander said...

Thanks!