Friday, October 27, 2006

Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?

Most of you know I'm a huge fan of the new incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, finding it a huge leap forward in every way over it's predecessor from the 70's. Glen Larson's original series was an amalgamation of a bunch of different religious views and sci-fi stories all coddled together around the central theme of the necessity of a benevolent military dictator to save us from ourselves and our silly democratic ways. Indeed - if there was any message that show felt necessary to repeat over and over it was that democratically elected leaders will always make the wrong choices and put our society in mortal danger.

The new show is just and blatant in it's politics but it's joyfully difficult to pigeonhole just exactly where those politics lie. The producers and writers of the new BG seem to delight in challenging our preconceptions and forcing us to ask questions about our beliefs in the best tradition of science fiction.

So it's more than a little surprising to me that this new incarnation has a good proportion of conservative fans who've recently been turned off by events in the third season which have centered around an insurgency by the human protagonists.

I find it difficult to get my head around the idea that conservatives could be fans of this show. BSG thrives on the biggest conservative bugaboo of all: moral ambiguity. There isn't a single one of it's many characters, including the show's cylon villains, that's drawn one dimensionally. There are no easy answers to the situations that face the characters on the show. Problems which often times mirror those we face in our own society such as terrorism, the origins of conflict, genocide, abortion, religon and guerilla war are all fair game for the Battlestar scribes. It's not a simple show to watch intellectually and conservatives are nothing if not intellectually simple.

I can't imagine that conservatives would come away from an episode in which a cylon prisoner is tortured or another female cylon prisoner nearly raped by her military interogator captors without challenging their own beliefs on the treatment of prisoners issue as intended by the show's creators. I can't help but wonder if they cheered those scenes rather than were revulsed.

In fact the only way I can imagine that a conservative would be a fan of Battlestar Galactica would be that they simply didn't "get" the show. It's funny that now that the third season has started and the message of moral ambiguity has become even more pronounced that the coins are finally starting to come off. But they've never been the sharpest dagget in the frakkin' pack to begin with.

51 comments:

Don Snabulus said...

While I think that most people have a certain line imposed on their intellect (both libs and cons) that is uncomfortable to cross, I think the new season of BG is grappling with issues which are a bit hard to bear for those who thought that everyone should automagically fold in the bright light of US intervention abroad.

That is clearly not the case...and whatever moral capital our US governments have garnered in the 2 generations since WWII have been flushed down the toilet by the boy who thought he was king.

Our credit card is maxxed out and things are about to change and there is little we can do about it. All the writers of BG are doing is mirroring how history plays out under conditions where an occupying force tries to impose its will.

Overdroid said...

I love how one of them viewed stealing an election as a good thing if it was done for the right reason. I remember watching that episode and agonizing over what I would do in that situation, and what was right or wrong. This guy just says go ahead and crap on democracy as long as we get who we want in office. Perfect.

And another guy views the Cylons as Muslims. Completely unaware of the massive clues and plot twists the writers have strewn throughout the series to make these bad guys hard to pigeonhole as just "bad guys." This show is too smart for some people.

Dean Wormer said...

I guess there's a certain subjectivity to art with the best art often leading to all sorts of different interpretations depending on just who is doing the interpreting.

So in that sense I guess it's a complement cons like the show.

BTW- Don does it offend you when I toss around the word "conservative" as a perjorative?

Don Snabulus said...

It would if I thought you were referring to someone like Tom McCall or Mark Hatfield (before he went senile), but since those kind of people are gone from public office, I understand exactly what you are talking about.

Overdroid said...

I generally use the term Neocon. It's a little more specific to me, and there is a distinction between a Republican and a Conservative, and a Neocon. But not between any of those and a Jackass. So I guess you could just use Jackass.

Dean Wormer said...

Or "wanker" works well in a pinch.

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