My rambling thoughts on BSG after a full series run-through

Discussion in 'Battlestar Galactica & Caprica' started by sonak, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    Except the showrunners said publicly they intended it as a 9/11 allegory.

    I don't know why you guys are arguing, honestly. Ron Moore wasn't exactly quiet about this. It's not that it was meant just as a direct allegory of the 9/11 attacks, either, but the things we dealt with after it, as a culture, like the limits of freedom, dealing with a "hidden" enemy, and things like that. Much of it was thematic rather than direct transposition of events into a fictional universe (though there was some of that.)
     
  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Totally.

    As the show went on it had the "ripped from the headlines" vibe going on with issues like Abu Ghraib, which if not fallout from 9/11 then I don't know what the fuck it was.
     
  3. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Precisely, there are so many other events and "wars" throughout history that can be pointed at just as legitimately, and most of them moreso.

    To slap the "It's a 9/11 Parallel" label on it, IMHO, is just catering to folks who don't know any better and actually believe 9/11 was the worst and ultimate event, ever, and I gotta believe Ron Moore is far too intelligent/knowledgeable to be in the camp that believes that
     
  4. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Abu Ghraib? What in the world had any parallel to Abu Ghraib? Are you talking about Admiral Caine's Captive Six? I have no clue how that is in any way common to Abu Ghraib?
     
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    If you literally "have no clue" then I'm going to just bow out of this conversation. Thank you.
     
  6. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Admiral's Lover, who turns out to be spy, which pisses the Admiral off so bad, she locks up her former lover, and lets her men rape her, no secrecy, it's just right out there open.

    As opposed to a whole prison full of enemies, captured on the battlefield, secretly being tortured and degraded by mercenaries (not the Actual Military, but, paid Contractors) who were doing it in secret, flashing pictures to folks, and The Government was actively covering it up.

    Those two situations have less in common to each other then the NuBSG situation would have to A Man getting dumped by his girlfriend, and then holding her hostage and taking revenge on her.
     
  7. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In the pilot episode we find that Cylon spines light up during sex. But we also find out that you can't distinguish Cylons and humans despite the peanut bulbs in their vertebrae! It was undeniable from the first that the Cylons were not characters in any rational sense.

    The suicide bombings; the United Flight 93 allegory in "33" the explicit threat that the hijacked prison ship posed (by being crashed in a suicide attack a la 9/11); the use of subversion instead of straightforward military attacks (no Islamic government has attacked the US since the days of the Barbary pirates, if I remember correctly); the emphasis on the religious motivation; the monotheism (orthodox Muslims hold that Trinitarianism, the predominant Christian theology, as well as some doctrines about Mary are equivalent to polytheism); Colonial society is portrayed as a secular one---not even the priestess was devoted to a particular god or goddess in this supposedly polytheistic society!---making the Colonials effectively religiously pluralistic, i.e., "free" and "democratic," just like US; the absolute refusal to countenance any discussion of any motive for the attacks other than innate and uncaused malignity: All these things indicate that the Cylons were essentially Muslims in a 9/11 series.

    There is no clear divide between religious and racial bigotry. The anti-Semitic tradition in the majority Christianity appears to be the reason all Muslims are so commonly equated only to Arabs, and anti-Semtism is notoriously both racial and religious (and when Jews are identified as Communist plutocrats, politically conservative.) If you don't see any equation of Cylons with Muslims, I suppose that you won't be offended by the new BSG (although its writing flaws offer cause for boredom.) However, it is really hard to understand how it can be unacceptable for someone to be offended by the series when they do so that equation.

    Even by the end, when the blatant magical thinking has taken over rational plotting, the Hand of God pushing the corpse to annihilate the Cylons expresses the His judgment on the Cylons=Muslims. It was never in the cards that the supposed realism of the series would result in humanity's mere escape, much less its annihilation. As a 9/11 series, it had to end in the defeat of the Cylons=Muslims, and as such, the guilt-free wish fulfillment is having God do it Himself. (But we got to daydream a little about doing it ourselves, heh heh.)

    Again, if the 9/11 aspect went over your head, I'm sure that the series was just badly/weirdly written. Again, considering how judgmental people can be about mere bad writing, refusing to accept that people can reject a show for racism is really bizarre. The new BSG was however highly praised for its topical relevance. Indeed, only that and the hot chicks/hot sex were ever singled out for praise. For many people I think it's the 9/11 aspect that gives the otherwise rather drab yet pompous tone of the show a weight that made it tolerable.

    PS
    Yes, the premises of the show incorporated a wildly right-wing view of current events, which safely limited every pretense of neutrality and even-handedness and openness to dissenting opinion. But it has nothing to do with intelligence or knowledge, it has to do with moral integrity, and I have no reason to rate Moore's integrity very highly. And by the way, the Abu Ghraib episode was "Flesh and Bone." Since this turned out to be an episode about a Cylon psychologically torturing sweet Starbuck while feeling no pain itself we have an excellent example of how reactionary the show's take on current events really was. Everybody knew that stuff worse than Abu Ghraib was going on before the pictures surfaced and most either didn't care or even approved. The scandal was that the pictures meant people had to talk about it. The new BSG offered a bunch of BS as its contribution to the so-called debate.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  8. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There was boatloads of straight up, concentrated military attacks by the Cylon Government, spies and subversion are used in any war/conflict, so, that in itself, doesn't lend to the "War Against Terror", when you also have the Straight Forward Military Attacks by the enemy. Subversion and spies was only one tactic, not, the only tactic.

    Not really sure how you can equate Christianity to Polytheism. Polytheism is multiple Gods, Christianity is a Single God. 9/11 and the War on Terrorism wasn't/isn't Our Gods versus your God, it was/is Our God versus your God. Plus, in NuBSG, it apparently wasn't the Colonials Multiple Gods that won the Day, it was The Cylon's "One True God", so how does that work out? Is that supposed to mean Allah betrayed his followers and supported the Colonials who never worshipped him?
     
  9. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    So it seems your argument is because BSG does not map 100% directly to 9/11 and the "war on terror," that means Ron Moore never said the show drew from those events and used them to inform the issues explored.

    Glad we have that cleared up.
     
  10. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, I'm saying since the examples provided are exact opposites, or have almost nothing in common, the show didn't succeed in producing those allegories/parallels.

    I've already said I DO NOT QUESTION the legitimacy of the claim that Ron Moore said these things, I question the success in the end Product of making those parallels.

    And yes, I understand Allegory, which needs something in common, and isn't achieved with exact opposites
     
  11. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    I was never arguing whether or not the show "successfully" allegorized 9/11, but whether it was intended as one, so you have been arguing against a phantom from the start, here.
     
  12. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    OK, truce.

    But, my first post on this did specify "I don't know if it was their intent, but, it sure didn't show up on the screen as successfully done"
     
  13. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "Trinitarian" means "three" and it means "one" according to context. If that seems somewhat deceitful, don't blame me.
     
  14. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yea, The Father, The Son, and the Holy Ghost are One, I don't understand how you relate that to Polytheism?

    This is no different a concept then a small Company having a single person in charge of Security, Maintenance and Scrap Services
     
  15. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Orthodox Muslims hold that Three does not actually equal One, which is exactly where it relates to polytheism. (But don't forget about Isis, er, Mary the Queen of Heaven.) The belief that three equals three is one part of Islam that seems to be a reasonable position.

    But I've suddenly realized you're just funning. Joke's on me!:guffaw:
     
  16. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As far as looking for any crack in your argument to debate against, yea...I'm funnin' you, it's not that important to me. But, my actual argument that the Holy Trinity is One, I actually do accept, and I have never heard of that Muslim Interpretation, so thanks for that.

    But, it still Brings up the fact, that Six's "One True God" manipulated events to Save the Humans in the end, so, both the Polytheists, and the "Muslim" Cylons, got screwed, since it was the "Muslim" Cylon "One True God" that delivered The Humans (Who worshiped Poly-Gods") to their Promised Land and Smited (Smote?) Cavill and his followers :eek:
     
  17. Mars

    Mars Commander Red Shirt

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    How could it end any other way? The outcome was preordained by the fact that the series was set in our own past.
     
  18. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just as the Jewish god Yahweh (also transliterated from the Hebrew as Jehovah) is held by Christians to be the same god as the Trinity, Muslims hold Allah to be the same god worshipped by both Jews and Christians, except their teachings from Muhammad have not been corrupted.

    Christian Arabs call God "Allah" in Arabic, because in Arabic, "Allah" means the same thing as we English-speakers mean when we say "God." Christians for a long time agreed that Islam was not a heathen religion but a heresy, a corrupted form of worship of God. References to an "Abrahamic" god still point to the theological identity of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim god, whose names in Hebrew, English and Arabic are variously Yahweh, God and Allah. (Except of course when the Jewish god is called Elohim, which is actually plural. We might say in English, the Gods.)

    Protestants look forward to God killing all the Jews who haven't converted to Jesus-worship as well as following the Law. The Cylon God turning out to be a formally plural (but really singular) Gods and smiting his false worshippers the Cylons really is very much the same thing.

    My experience has been that writers and producers who want to mess around with Big Ideas without bothering to actually think just end up artlessly regurgitating crude, nasty ideas, even ones that give the lie to every humane belief they thought they possessed. When the ideas are about religion, it is essential to take a critical view. Remember, "critical" does not just mean "negative." It means as objective and complete and comparative as possible.

    The series absolutely refused to take the religious issues it raised at all seriously, just as 9/11 didn't inspire anything but blanket condemnation of Islam and Muslims personally. I would say for about the same reasons. But even in the later stages, when losing the war in Iraq made the 9/11 story much less useful for making the shananigans seem meaningful, the series refused to take its own issues seriously.

    I think it's because they had weird ideas about "respecting" religion. They may have called it allowing the viewer to make his or her own choice. Or they may have even boasted of being intellectually superior in their ability to see shades of grey (or substitute other dimwitted cliche of your choice.) I believe we should just put it down to moral cowardice. If you try to be honest about fictional situtation, your viewers will always be able to draw their own conclusions.
     
  19. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

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    I still maintain that one of the loose ends of the show was the unknown number of base ships dotted around space when the big base blew up. How many base ships were there?
     
  20. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell Comfortably Numb Premium Member

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    I think we are supposed to assume they were irrelevant, because the Colony was destroyed, Cavil was dead, and so the Cylons had no leadership and no home base. They also didn't know where the "new" Earth was.
     

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