Viv and I saw Star Wars Ep. III tonight after a wander about the Pike Place Market Festival. In short, my opinion is on the median – much better than the other two recent films, not the greatest SF film I have ever seen, a few scenes that were quite successful on any terms.

I’m sure everyone in the world got the Frankenstein quote, a few got the at-least two 2001 quotes, and some may have made the Close Encounters samples. But why is it that as of this writing (pre-Google though it is) I have not read of one person pointing out the typo – practically a Freudian slip – in the title crawl?

We read of “War!” et cetera. Apparently, General Greivous has sneakily kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine from the very heart of the “capital” of the Republic.

Who knew that the old sneakerino was being kept in Scrooge McDuck’s money vault?

Seriously, this totally disrupted my enjoyment of the film. Film is an art in which insane attention to detail and insane control freaks are often mistaken for one another and encouraged to reach for the outer limits of sanity. George Lucas’ final word in commercial cinema is apparently to be misspelled in ignorance. It’s a fitting testament to one of the means whereby democracy perishes to applause.

The homonym, of course, is well chosen, as it’s capital to which essentially all the failings of the prior two films can be laid, and of course, it’s capital to which the failings of our own great nation’s system of checks and balances ever owes its’ tottersome state.

As I am certain one or two of you may be wondering what the rumpus is about: “capital” is large concentrations of currency, with a significance of power, while “capitol” is the geographical center of political power. I live in an optimistically-named neighboorhood, Capitol Hill. The misspelling is common enough that it is immortalized upon several signs that welcome persons to this neighborhood. the mispelling is so well-ingrained, in fact, that I wonder if we aren’t witnessing a socially-mandated spelling shift. As money corrodes democratic expression, the perceptual gap between “capitol” and “capital” fades softly to nil.

I should note that “captial” employed as an ejaculatory statement also means “excellent” or “satisfactory;” such use carries a whiff of anachronism.

4 thoughts on “Episode III: Capital!

  1. “Capital” in this title crawl context refers not to money but to “a city which serves as a seat of government.”

    “Capitol” refers to the Congress building.

    The Capitol Hill neighborhood signs are correctly spelled.

    (and “its” needs no apostrophe)

  2. My impression is that capital is the main city where a government does its business and that a capitol is the building where a legislature meets. It’s an interesting double meaning regardless.

  3. Certainly in the UK ‘Capitol’ only appears in the (Concise Oxford) dictionary in relation to the Roman Temple of Jupiter.

    Capital is used for City as well as Money.

    Given that Lucas has used a lot of actors from the UK, maybe they taught him how to spell?


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