Yes, And #12: On the Importance of Saying Less
as well as the weekly recommendations...
This week’s edition features: a meditation on saying less AS WELL AS five curated recommendations.
🎧 ALSO PLEASE NOTE: And if you prefer to listen over reading, click it here to listen to the essay below and be sure to subscribe to this newsletter’s podcast feed for narrations and other audio content.🎧
✍🏻 Yes and…A Mini-Essay: Say Less
One of the better seasons of TV last year came in the form of Andor, the TV spin-off origin story of Cassian Andor prior to the events of Rogue One.
PLEASE DON’T GO. Stay with me as I’m not typically a Star Wars guy and I watch stuff like The Mandalorian partially out of interest but primarily because it feels like a cultural touchstone I have to stay current with, so this isn’t going to be a Fanboy Nerd Alert Deep Dive on how the Knights of Ren relate to theories about Snoke.
Andor, however, was different than almost all other Star Wars content because it was so singular. It wasn’t obsessed with the Skywalkers or Darth Vader or whether or not a girl could do the force.
This singularity of focus was also evidenced by the unsubtle absence of executive notes and canonical fingerprinting typically saturating Star Wars storytelling.
Case in point, there’s this narrative rabbit trail we follow with Cassian Andor and it revolves around him being imprisoned in a place that isn’t like Shawshank or even Alcatraz. This prison is remotely placed in the middle of the damn ocean and it is meant to be a depot of desolation and solitude. The labor is constant, the floors can literally kill you, and there is no time for your mind to wander or hope because the only priority is doing your work so that you can serve your time and get out.
Here, Andor meets Kino Loy, played by Andy Serkis. Though Kino is a prisoner, he pretty much runs things among the prisoners and he does so because he wants to keep a low profile, do his time, and get out of there.
However, things come to a head when all the imprisoned characters realize that there is no getting out of there. Unfortunately for them, their sentences are just mirages and there is no attempt being made to rehabilitate them. Instead, they are meant to exist as meat puppet cogs in a wheel that builds weapons for the empire and they will continue doing so until they die or are transferred elsewhere to do the same.
Obviously, this loss of hope is striking and inspires the prisoners to rebel and eventually they take over the prison. From here, all they have to do is swim to freedom.
Instead of being allowed to share in this joy among all our imprisoned protagonists, Andor and Kino included, we the audience gets a knife into our emotional stomaches as Kino Loy reveals that he cannot swim.
Though I am a member of the millennial generation, I wear this distinction with pride and I do so because I know history will EVENTUALLY (lol) consider us with nuance given that we were the generation who grew up in perfect tandem to the internet.