June 7, 2002

Hail Bail!

Today, the Department of G.E.E.K. brings to you the most underappreciated, yet quite possibly most fascinating, compelling, and haunting aspect of George Lucas' 2002 summer blockbuster, Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones. I am referring, of course, to the mysterious item worn around the neck of Senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) throughout the entire film.

Despite many hours of research on Star Wars fan sites, both official and unofficial, I have been unable to find an official source describing the precise nature, purpose, or raison de etre of the pale blue neck doily. All I've been able to determine conclusively is that it is a pale shade of blue, appears to be crocheted or knitted, and exudes a peculiar hypnotic effect.

I'm not referring to its effect in the Star Wars universe, mind you. I'm referring to its hypnotic effect on the actual viewing audience. Whenever the Hypno-Ruffle was on screen, I literally could not see anything else. My vision narrowed to a small field, entirely encompassed by these peculiar ringlets between Bail Organa's chin and chest.

I was so captivated by the eternal riddle of What The Fuck Was Around That Guy's Throat, in fact, that after the movie was over, I realized that not only had I not noticed that Jimmy Smits was even in the film, I'd never actually gazed upon his face. Instead, burned upon my very retinas was the afterimage of rolls of loosely-packed, cerulean blue yarn.

So if we assume, as we safely can, that the Mesmodoily was placed in the movie by Lucas to distract the audience from, say, the script (c.f. the preternaturally hard, tungsten-carbide nipples of both Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman), then what purpose does it serve within the wide framework of the modern mythology that is the beloved Star Wars universe?

NOTE: What follows is mere rampant speculation. As such, I would certainly not encourage quoting the following out of context, submitting it to Ain't It Cool News, and seeing how far it gets and how many people proclaim they are the first to respond to it in the Talkback. That would be wrong.

I began with the practical. Considering the possessor of the Space Cravat is none other than Senator Bail Organa, surrogate father to famed brother-snogger and gaffer-tape fetishist Leia Organa, a number of possibilities suggested themselves. Perhaps, in Episode III, the infant Leia is born, and must be whisked away to Alderaan. But how to sneak her off planet? Since the forces of evil will not be fooled a second time by the "travel as a really well-dressed refugee being guarded by a Jedi" ruse, I surmised that perhaps the infant Leia is smuggled off Coruscant hidden within the folds of the Organian Neckerchief of State.

In a moment of unnatural clarity, part of me tried to convince the rest of me that the Fashion Egregiousness's purpose was simply to "keep the senator's neck warm across a wide variety of species-centric climates", but I dismissed that as the futile ravings of a sane man. This is the Star Wars universe, which, over the course of five movies, two cartoons, countless videogames, stacks of remaindered tie-in novels, and a Holiday Special, has never been that simple.

And then it struck me. The final piece of the puzzle. We know, or can infer, that the Empire can keep its legions of cloned Stormtroopers under control because of genetic manipulation to make them obedient and docile. The same, however, is not true of the officer corps, which, despite all being pale, snooty British people with a penchant for spectacular failure, are not, in fact, clones.

The empire's officers are kept in line through fear. Specifically, fear of the Deadly Telekinetic Neck Choke, delivered by Darth Vader, the ultimate personification of evil/pasty grey bald guy/petulant teen/pod-racing, protocol-obsessed droid-builder. His mastery over the Dark Side of the Force is so complete that he can strangle you from across the room with the power of his mind... or is it?

A close examintion of the first trilogy reveals a startling fact. Darth Vader only telekinetically chokes Imperial officers. When faced with a Rebel at the beginning of Star Wars, Vader chokes him by physically lifting him off the ground. From this, we can imply that Vader has installed some kind of means by which he can remotely strangle his officers when they inevitably fuck things up.

Ergo, logic dictates that the item we all mistook for a sumptuary faux pas in Episode II is in fact a rare specimen of Alderaanian Nek-Nek. The Nek-Nek is a blue, fuzzy, rectangular creature that, when exposed to heat, gives off a pleasant, massaging vibration akin to the purr of a cat. High-ranking Alderaanians are given Nek-Neks to keep their stress levels down during times of strife. This explains why, despite being in the background of major, galaxy-shaking events in Episode II, Bail Organa does somewhere between diddly and squat. He's being soothed by his Nek-Nek.

Presumably, sometime in Episode III, in between bouts of uberwhining, Anakin Skywalker learns of the Nek-Nek's properties, and as part of his rise to evil and power, rips the Nek-Nek from Bail Organa's throat, sends it to that cloning planet, and has them modify it so that rather than being blue, fuzzy, and vibrating, it besomes smooth, gray, and constricting.

Cloned Nek-Nek's are thus incorporated into the collars of Imperial officer uniforms, awaiting the merest Force command from their lord and master to immediately tighten and choke the life out of their unfortunate wearer.

Obviously, those who find the recent Star Wars films less than completely intellectually satisfying are simply not willing to exercise their brains and put all the pieces together into the coherent whole Lucas obviously intended back when he was making Corvette Summer.