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Battlestar Galactica's Last Days

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the starbuck-freaks-me-out dept.

799

bowman9991 writes "If your country was invaded and occupied by a foreign power, would you blow yourself up to fight back? If someone pointed a gun at your head and threatened to pull the trigger if you refused to sign a document you knew would lead to a hundred deaths (and you signed!), would that make you ultimately responsible? Does superior technology give you the moral right to impose your will on a technologically inferior culture? You wouldn't expect a mainstream television show to tackle such philosophically loaded questions, certainly not a show based on cheesy science fiction from the '70s, but if you've watched Battlestar Galactica since it was re-imagined in 2003, there has been no escape. The final fourth season is nearly over, and when the final episode airs, television will never be the same again. SFFMedia illustrates how Battlestar Galactica exposes the moral dilemmas, outrages, and questionable believes of the present as effectively (but more entertainingly) than any documentary or news program. It's not hard to see parallels in the CIA and US military's use of interrogation techniques in Bush's War on Terror, the effects of labeling one race as 'the enemy,' the crackdown on free speech, or the use of suicide bombers in Iraq."

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First Post! (5, Funny)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26547997)

My superior technology gives me the moral right to impose my will on a technologically inferior culture called Slashdot!

Re:First Post! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548101)

My superior technology gives me the moral right to impose my will on a technologically inferior culture called Slashdot!

Looks like Taco's created yet another account...

Re:First Post! (1)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548269)

I resent that!

(yes I know you weren't talking about me)

Battlestar analogies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548007)

"If your country was invaded and occupied by a foreign power, would you blow yourself up to fight back?"
If my country were invaded and occupied by a foreign power, I would ensure that I obey the cease-fires and give peace a chance, and not hide like a coward amongst my own women and children as I target the enemy's women and children.

"If someone pointed a gun at your head and threatened to pull the trigger if you refused to sign a document you knew would lead to a hundred deaths (and you signed!), would that make you ultimately responsible?"
Sure, I'd sign the cease-fire, even though it would lead to 100 deaths because the Islamic savages don't abide by treaties and cease-fires anyway. I wouldn't be responsible for the other side breaking the pact.

"Does superior technology give you the moral right to impose your will on a technologically inferior culture?"
It's not about being technologically inferior, it's about being culturally inferior. Grow up kids, quit kicking Israel in the shins! If the islamic savages choose to behave like deviant youth then the only thing they will understand is a spanking. So yes, it does.

"You wouldn't expect a mainstream television show to tackle such philosophically loaded questions"
You wouldn't expect Slashdot to post such philosophically loaded articles. Unless they're about Linux vs. Windows :)

Re:Battlestar analogies (0, Offtopic)

richieb (3277) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548071)

It's not about being technologically inferior, it's about being culturally inferior. Grow up kids, quit kicking Israel in the shins! If the islamic savages choose to behave like deviant youth then the only thing they will understand is a spanking. So yes, it does.

Funny. I thought the article was alluding to Iraq.

Re:Battlestar analogies (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548223)

yeah, ain't it funny how peoples consiousnesses react to ambiguous stories.

hat's off to BSG for getting us to actually think and pointing out the conclusion jumpers.

Re:Battlestar analogies (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548095)

If my country were invaded and occupied by a foreign power, I would ensure that I obey the cease-fires and give peace a chance, and not hide like a coward amongst my own women and children as I target the enemy's women and children.

Collaborator.

Re:Battlestar analogies (5, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548297)

Sure, I'd sign the cease-fire, even though it would lead to 100 deaths because the Islamic savages don't abide by treaties and cease-fires anyway. I wouldn't be responsible for the other side breaking the pact.

I think the operative comparison would be to Jewish collaborators throughout occupied Europe in WW2, who were forced, sometimes at gunpoint, sometimes with mere words, to compile lists of people to be shipped for "resettlement," form police forces of their own people to round them up, etc.

It's not about being technologically inferior, it's about being culturally inferior. Grow up kids, quit kicking Israel in the shins! If the islamic savages choose to behave like deviant youth then the only thing they will understand is a spanking.

Yes, everybody knows that all you need to do is "teach people a lesson," and if only the "shin-kickers" would get out of the way, the little peoples of the Earth would learn their lesson faster. After all, it worked for Germany in 1914 when the inferior and decadent cultures of France and Russia dared to oppose them, or Austria when immature Serbia tried to oppose them, or France when the barbaric Algerians opposed them, or England when the Mesopotamian Arabs and Afghans opposed them, and on and on. The "lesson" is that "uncultured" people probably have as much a right to live as anyone else, and the only "lesson" you teach from the barrel of a gun is that gun-barrels are for teaching lessons.

This troll is an imperialist, of a hundred-year-old vintage, but the ideas STILL have remarkable currency and need to be deconstructed, as BSG does.

Tackle? (5, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548025)

BSG doesn't so much tackle moral questions as sort of run past them.

Re:Tackle? (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548275)

I have to agree. One of the more frustrating aspects of the show is that the characters very rarely grow a sufficiently large backbone to Do the Right Thing(TM). And then it's pretty much only because they're forced to do so. Using a corporate environment as an analog, my company would have bitten the dust long ago if every employee kept secrets like they do in BSG. The fact that the Cylons didn't manage to wipe them out in the first season is purely an artifact of it being fiction.

Of course, there are plenty of situations where the secrets would be justified. e.g. If you know you're a cylon, do you really want to expose that amongst a ship full of cylon-haters? But some of the stuff is just plain ridiculous. Take Baltar as an example. By keeping his involvement with the destruction of the colonies a secret, he's basically accepting responsibility for his actions. Yet his character never accepts responsibility for his actions! A real individual like that would have carefully controlled the release of that information, being careful to spin it as something out of his control. Blame the cylons. Blame the dead government. Blame everybody, but make sure that it's not something that can come back and bite you in the ass.

I still like many aspects of the show, but the characterizations just get weird sometimes. And as you said, they end up blowing by the moral quandaries rather than taking the Star Trek approach of tackling them head-on.

Re:Tackle? (5, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548463)

Yeah, that's called "realism." People in real life often rarely grow sufficiently large backbones to "do the right thing" either, particularly when they're threatened and running for their lives.

And, as for secrets, is there any one of us who doesn't carry a TON of those around with them? Do you wake up every day and tell your wife that she's become a fat, bitter shrew and that you don't want to be married to her anymore because you want to go find a cute younger woman who isn't a fat, bitter shrew? Do you tell your kids that you're disappointed that they're not as smart or handsome as you'd hoped they'd be? Do you tell your boss he's a fucking idiot and that you think you could do a better job than him? Do you tell you mother that you don't want to visit her or call her because you're too different from her now to have anything to talk about? Do you tell yourself that you're not the hero of the story, just another loser in a world full of losers?

...I'm sorry, what were we talking about again?

Re:Tackle? (-1, Flamebait)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548719)

Yeah, that's called "realism." People in real life often rarely grow sufficiently large backbones to "do the right thing" either, particularly when they're threatened and running for their lives.

That's what they want you to think. That's what they want you to normalize. Except, of course, that it isn't true. If you don't think so, look at your national enemies. They grew a big enough backbone to stand up to you, despite the fact that you're war criminals who drop nukes on cities.

Maybe it's because your citizenry are morally bankrupt after being transfixed by Hollywood illusions...

Re:Tackle? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548731)

yes, I told my wife that she had become a bitter, fat shrew, but then I could not tell the kids I was disappointed in them because she took them. She got the house in the divorce, so I moved in with my Mom. Things were a little tense when I told her that I did not want to be there because we had nothing in common, but that did not last long. When I told my boss that he was an ass, I got fired, and when I was unable to pay the court appointed alimony, I was sent to prison, so there was no need for me to see her anymore. I still continue to tell the truth and not keep secrets hidden, that is why I will honestly say that my cellmate, Mark, has the biggest dick I have ever seen and it hurts, but I would still not change anything.

Re:Tackle? (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548763)

Yeah, that's called "realism." People in real life often rarely grow sufficiently large backbones to "do the right thing" either, particularly when they're threatened and running for their lives.

Sorry, I don't buy it. I watch the show and think of analogous situations in my own life. Humans are social creatures, many of whom have trouble with secrets. Somebody tends to speak up in nearly any situation. Whether anyone listens to them or not is another matter, but very few secrets are maintained. Yet everyone in BSG has the necessary personality traits to keep even the smallest of secrets. That's realistic?

Like frak'n hell! :-P

And, as for secrets, is there any one of us who doesn't carry a TON of those around with them?

I think you're confusing secrets kept for privacy reasons with the types of secrets kept in BSG. My work is not secret. If I screw up on the job, trying to keep that a secret is eventually going to bite me in the ass. Instead, if I screw up, it's important to admit that I screwed up so that I can control the potential recrimination. If the environment is so poor that mistakes are overreacted to, then it's time to get out of that environment because it isn't going to be lasting much longer.

Same with the example of Baltar's situation. He screwed up, but he didn't screw up badly. By withholding the information, he managed to ensure his recrimination at a later date. Someone like the character portrayed on the series is smarter than that. He would have talked it up from the get-go, releasing bits and pieces in a favorable light. Then when Roselin "remembered" him being with the six, no one (including Roselin) would have been able to find personal fault there. Particularly not without finding fault with themselves for working alongside the likes of Sharon.

Do you wake up every day and tell your wife that she's become a fat, bitter shrew and that you don't want to be married to her anymore because you want to go find a cute younger woman who isn't a fat, bitter shrew? Do you tell your kids that you're disappointed that they're not as smart or handsome as you'd hoped they'd be? Do you tell your boss he's a fucking idiot and that you think you could do a better job than him? Do you tell you mother that you don't want to visit her or call her because you're too different from her now to have anything to talk about? Do you tell yourself that you're not the hero of the story, just another loser in a world full of losers?

This honestly comes across more like you've got personal problems than secrets. And in the real world, the types of people who hold these opinions very often voice them very loudly. After all, a divorce is the ideal outcome in the first situation, obviously you feel your kids should be doing something different in the second situation (so why NOT tell them?), the fourth suggests you're trying to cut off communications with your family anyway (even if you don't say it, you'll say it without saying it), and the last is just a plain bizarre example. (Depression maybe?)

As for the third example, this one is the closest to the truth. Except that we generally don't say anything out of politeness and fear for our jobs. That doesn't mean that we don't still make it clear as a bell. Human communication isn't always done with words.

Re:Tackle? (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548547)

One of the more frustrating aspects of the show is that the characters very rarely grow a sufficiently large backbone to Do the Right Thing(TM). And then it's pretty much only because they're forced to do so.

So you're saying it's realistic?

A real individual like that would have carefully controlled the release of that information, being careful to spin it as something out of his control.

Now that seems unrealistic to me-- a world where people take on their problems, admit their mistakes (even with spin), and avoid having their past actions bite them in the ass.

I like that BSG *doesn't* necessarily wrap everything up in a neat little package. Everyone sees a problem, nobody can agree on what to do about it, time passes, nothing gets done, and then it ends up blowing up in everyone's face later down the line. Or not. Sometimes that stuff just passes by and never gets resolved. That sounds much more like the world we live in, rather than having some all-wise character give you a moral to the story at the end of each episode.

Re:Tackle? (5, Insightful)

Bemopolis (698691) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548587)

Take Baltar as an example. By keeping his involvement with the destruction of the colonies a secret, he's basically accepting responsibility for his actions. Yet his character never accepts responsibility for his actions! A real individual like that would have carefully controlled the release of that information, being careful to spin it as something out of his control.

Ttrapped in space with the remains of humanity, each of which has suffered a devastating loss, has easy access to guns, and is looking for someone to blame. Saying "I did it" and hoping no one offs you before you get to "...but".

BRILLIANT PLAN, GENIUS.

Re:Tackle? (1)

fotbr (855184) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548623)

blah blah blah ... the Star Trek approach of tackling them head-on.

Ok, I like almost all of the Star Trek franchises, but ... really? The closest they came to tackling moral quandries was Picard looking distressed for his "I'm going to ignore the prime directive" monologues. Yes, Star Trek touched on topics that were edgy for its time. But they didn't really tackle any moral quandries. Star Trek looked at them, brushed past them, and moved on.

Re:Tackle? (1)

plams (744927) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548683)

Isn't that the major point of the show? Humanity being flawed as hell? You're stating personal opinions of the show, not actual flaws of it.

Re:Tackle? Indeed ... (1)

Herschel Cohen (568) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548759)

RE: Blame the cylons. Blame the dead government. Blame everybody

Reminds me of a president we had.

the inheritor of star trek (5, Informative)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548349)

In case no one noticed, is the topic post simply forgetting Star Trek. It to "ran past" the issues but it did present them. It should not be neccessary to recite examples but it seems like it is required.

Hmmm a man who's half black feels he has the moral right to enslave a man who is half white.

An integrated crew, and even a miscegenating kiss?

A prime directive that , to rephrase it a lot, basically said other cultural values are equal valid as your own technologically advance society, hung out before the audience every week.

The futility of doomesday logic?

Even the trouble with tribbles had a message that Russians and Americans still have common desires and interests.

On the otherhand this was what early science fiction was about. Long before Andy Warhol and crew got the idea of decontextualization as the means to seeing things as they are, science fiction was mainly about seeing what happens when you transplant a cultural norm into a different society, usually by means of a technological story telling device.

it was not all techno whiz larry niven (who later on also started contemplative sci fi with the Mote in gods eye) or space opera flash gordon.

think about flowers for algernon, or the canticle for lebowitz, the lathe of heaven, farenheight 451.... Or for you young kids, Ghost in the shell.

Star trek was designed to grab the flash gordon audience and show them a short 1 hour play about moral issues under heavy syrup.

Galactica is in this tradition, not in the tradition of "Buck rogers" or star wars.

Re:Tackle? (5, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548497)

I wouldn't say they run past them. There were a few where they dedicated the whole episode to a moral question and how some really had no perfect solution.

Others had entire seasons (or the entire story) to deal with: the occupation, what is "alive", is mass-deception OK, etc.

The conditions and rebellion on New Caprica were done well (which lasted 1/2 a season) and "Baltar becoming a cult-like leader of a monotheistic religion" has played out pretty well.

Other small 1-episode shots that were done well:

The forced medication episode was another:

  • What happens when the beliefs of a few, risk the lives of the whole?
  • A group of people contracted a disease that was easily treatable, but refused medicine on religious grounds.
  • So the disease spread like wildfire amongst them, while exposing the rest of the fleet.
  • With medicine a scarce resource like in the show you'd want to stop an outbreak before it got out of control, which they made impossible.

The whole "inherited jobs" and "labor issue on the refinery ship" was one that stood out.

  • With so few people available it became a big question of who worka which job
  • Travel between the specialized ships (mining, refinery, fuel, etc) was limited. People just "lived" there, raised a family, and showed them the trade on the ship.
  • Would new people get trained? Or would it just turn into a cast system? Would anyone without the last name Adama ever run the fleet?
  • And even the sympathetic protagonist's seemingly ideal solution was flawed. People got roped into jobs they weren't fit for.
  • Should working with farm machinery for a summer abroad qualify you into working on dangerous machinery at the refinery?

Treating the black and grey markets was interesting.

  • In the context of the show, the black market kept the fleet running.
  • They weren't trying to make the survivors seem like a close-knit extended family like the original series: you didn't get something for nothing.
  • But then you look at the darker aspects of the market and you have to wonder where you draw the line. What is going too far? Should it exist at all?

How do you treat POWs

Re:Tackle? (3, Informative)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548541)

Exactly. On one hand I am grateful to BSG for showing the general public that science fiction is not just about lightsabers and klingons, on the other hand, I would do the same observation as for the Matrix movie(s) : the questions, the ideas that seem so new to people who discover them on video-screens have been there in SF books for many, many years. BSG is deeper than most SF shows out there but it is still incredibly shallow when compared to the books that inspired its ideas more than 30 years ago.

SF literature is a field where some philosophical questions are asked that can not be asked in any other context. And compared to recent books, the moral dilemmas of BSG are quite laughably easy to solve.

Re:Tackle? (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548707)

I agree.. Though BSG is my favorite show, it does have some flaws. Sometimes it's ok, even necessary, to make a judgment even if it puts you on the wrong side of history. War is not always evil. Killing is not always evil. In fact, someone could argue that non-violence and respect for feelings is weakness.

I enjoy that they do acknowledge the issues though.

But they killed of Dualla. That's just WRONG.

Maybe she'll turn out to be another Cylon and she did it to be resurrected elsewhere...

I know the ending (2, Funny)

Awperator (783768) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548049)

Battlestar clearly parallels events in today's society. The cylons will elect Simon to be their new leader and Cavil will retire/get boxed while the rest of the cylons sing "na na na na"

My theory of the show (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548557)

In the end it will come down to the Adam-a family being the biblical adam--the origin of man. Somehow the human race will struggle to some new planet and start over shore of their technology but in paradise. Till they are once again expelled as a consequence of their seeking knowledge -- that is biblical "know" and carnal knowledge's purpose is the creation of new life--that is cylons with independent will.

The ultimate irony is that endure the rigors of space and the time it takes will require sturdier carriers of the seed. Namley the hybrids are the next generation of humans.

A few pure cylons will stay behind on the radiated planet since they are immune to radiation.

It will turn out the mechanical cylons sis not create the wetware human like cylons as is generally assumed. after all where are the missing links? No instead it will turn out that when the mechanized ones that are created by the tranpslanted human hybrids encouter the left behind cylons they will be enslaved by them and then return to conquer the hybrid humans.

starting the whole story over.

The Cylons have a Plan (5, Insightful)

russlar (1122455) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548059)

The writers don't know what it is.

Re:The Cylons have a Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548279)

Their plan is to create a new model, call it Obama, and elect it to be president.

Re:The Cylons have a Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548285)

Did they get J.J. on the team then?

Oh come on. (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548085)

The final fourth season is nearly over, and when the final episode airs, television will never be the same again.

I'm sure it's a good show, but get real here. Television will be pretty much the same after BSG than it was before BSG.

Re:Oh come on. (2, Funny)

exley (221867) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548153)

Well, you are certainly entitled to your believes.

Re:Oh come on. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548239)

What exactly do you expect to change, and why? It's not like TV hasn't asked tough questions before.

Re:Oh come on. (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548315)

Woosh.

Re:Oh come on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548317)

What exactly do you expect to change, and why?

Spellings?

Answers (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548097)

If your country was invaded and occupied by a foreign power, would you blow yourself up to fight back?

Some Iraqis thought so. I personally prefer the Red Dawn scenario, but to each their own.

If someone pointed a gun at your head and threatened to pull the trigger if you refused to sign a document you knew would lead to a hundred deaths (and you signed!), would that make you ultimately responsible?

Technically, yes. Even though you signed the document under duress, you could have refused to sign it knowing you would be killed for not doing so. Ultimately, it is the person with the gun who is responsible.

Does superior technology give you the moral right to impose your will on a technologically inferior culture?

No, but that didn't stop the European (and now American) powers from doing so anyway.

Re:Answers (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548293)

"Does superior technology give you the moral right to impose your will on a technologically inferior culture? "

Yes. It's immoral to let your group die out at the expense of another.

Doubly so when talking about your entire species, which is what the post is really asking.

Re:Answers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548413)

If someone pointed a gun at your head and threatened to pull the trigger if you refused to sign a document you knew would lead to a hundred deaths (and you signed!), would that make you ultimately responsible?

Technically, yes. Even though you signed the document under duress, you could have refused to sign it knowing you would be killed for not doing so. Ultimately, it is the person with the gun who is responsible.

You contradict yourself.

Re:Answers (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548667)

Technically, yes. Even though you signed the document under duress, you could have refused to sign it knowing you would be killed for not doing so. Ultimately, it is the person with the gun who is responsible.

Not to invoke the ghost of Godwin here, but many Nazi leaders were prosecuted using this premise in Nuremberg, even though they argued that they had to do the things they did or face retribution. There's even a special word for this in German that I forget at the moment (Führer's defense or something like that).

To play devil's advocate here, considering how evil the Nazi regime was perceived to be, shouldn't that defense have worked wonders for them, especially since they had so many corpses of higher-ups to lay blame on that could not argue back? Yet it didn't.

In reality, defendant's arguments in cases like these are, historically, as valid as the victorious parties in the preceding conflict allow them to be. That, and how useful the defendant happens to be to the victors. Just ask von Braun and friends.

Hmm minor word-o (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548103)

I guess it is meant to read "questionable beliefs" not "questionable believes".

Re:Hmm minor word-o (2, Funny)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548213)

Everyone in my office beliefs you are correct, and we have nothing to loose by saying so.

It's not as good as it was (4, Interesting)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548107)

In the beginning I really liked the show. It had a good mix of action, technology and drama. However, the last few seasons have been fairly "meh" for me because it has turned almost completely into a soap opera. Don't get me wrong, the soap opera stuff is OK but now there very little of the original mix that attracted me in the first place. It's just not the same show that it started out as.

Re:It's not as good as it was (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548163)

Things that stay the same tend to get boring.

Re:It's not as good as it was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548425)

It's about the formula rather than the content. Successful shows keep the same formula but change the content to keep things from getting boring.

BSG changed the formula and if it were released right now with the current formula it would not be as popular as it was. In fact it probably would have been axed after the first season.

Re:It's not as good as it was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548409)

agreed. dont get me wrong its still a great show but god damn the first season was great.

Re:It's not as good as it was (2, Insightful)

flitty (981864) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548635)

The end of the good mix for me seemed to be the Sub-Atmosphere Jump of Galactica (at the beginning of Season 2?) That was the end of the really good action scenes. There has been action since then, but it all seemed to be tangential to the story, rather than the driving force it was during the first season. Now i'm finishing up the series just to see how they wrap it all up. I think they've found a good time to end the show. A fifth season (or spinoff... you're kidding me, right?) would be too much and doomed to failure. It's gone off the rails at times (All along the watchtower sing-a-long? Really?) but considering how decent the show has been for the majority of it's run compared to most sci-fi series that run this long, it's forgivable.

With the current configuration (truce between the two sides) has been a bore and they really need something to happen to get stuff to happen outside the halls of the ship.

Al Jazeera (1)

PyroMosh (287149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548109)

The ad that Slashdot is choosing to serve with this story is for Al Jazeera. Am I the only one that thinks that's kind of funny?

Re:Al Jazeera (5, Insightful)

MadCow42 (243108) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548337)

>> The ad that Slashdot is choosing to serve with this story is for Al Jazeera. Am I the only one that thinks that's kind of funny?

Funny in what way? Al Jazeera is a normal, reputable news source in the Middle East. It's no more (and no less) a propaganda or terrorism hub than USA Today, Fox News or the New York Times. Just because it's in the Middle East doesn't make it "evil".

Go read it some time... it'll give you a good balance to offset the propaganda you're being spoon fed daily here.

MadCow.

Re:Al Jazeera (2, Interesting)

PyroMosh (287149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548481)

I *do* read it. It's a great source for getting a different prespective, and it's much, much better written than Pravda is.

I just find it funny that whatever software Slashdot uses to choose ad serves decided to pick Al-Jazeera in a story that mentions suicide bombers. I just have to think that that's not coincidental.

It's like whatever software runs the ads decided $suicidebombers --> $middleeast --> $al-jazeera which is funny, if a bit disturbing.

Re:Al Jazeera (1, Troll)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548543)

it'll give you a good balance to offset the propaganda you're being spoon fed daily here.

Being spoon-fed more propaganda is not exactly an advantageous counter balance.

Al-Jazeera is the Fox News of the Middle East, specifically where the US or Israel are concerned. A good 1/2 of all Americans consider Fox to be "reputable", but that doesn't make it particularly so.

Just because some news network in a different part of the world reports on things differently from yours doesn't mean it's "better" or "right". It's just different.

Re:Al Jazeera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548735)

Al Jazeera is a normal, reputable news source in the Middle East. It's no more (and no less) a propaganda or terrorism hub than USA Today, Fox News or the New York Times. Just because it's in the Middle East doesn't make it "evil".

Go read it some time... it'll give you a good balance to offset the propaganda you're being spoon fed daily here.

I'd rather get my news from Joseph Goebbels. The Judenhass would be far more sedate.

Re:Al Jazeera (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548473)

> The ad that Slashdot is choosing to serve with this story is for Al Jazeera.
> Am I the only one that thinks that's kind of funny?

No, it's totally appropriate. The problem with BDS is it caused too many unstable people to go all the way from opposing their own country's policies/leader to outright being on the side of the fracking barbarians. (to add a little ontopic humor) In any sane world Al Jazeera would be on the list of terror supporting entities and doing business with them would get you sent to prison. Here in bizarro world they are heros who speak 'truth to power.'

And this gets to why I never watched a single episode of BSG's reboot. It had hollywierd politics all over it from day one of the prerelease PR campaign. And just from the ads it was obvious it had as little to do with the origional work as the new writers could manage. So I had the question I have for all these remakes that aren't: If you hated the origional that much why didn't you just write something new?

Ok, a remake could have lost the stupid robot dog/dagit and few would have cared. But recasting Starbuck as a female? Good way to totally reimagine the central relationship at the core of the story in the unholy names of political correctness and throwing T&A at teenage fanbois (of the sort of whacked off to six of nine) who probably ain't the core audience of a politicized (and from a couple of reviews, more plot driven than blowing crap up with lots of CGI) show like BSG in the first place. Then they totally lose the origional concept of the Cylons? Just start over and call it something else.

Go away! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548151)

Sorry I have to type more in my comment.
Could start a rant but why!

Is this... (4, Insightful)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548171)

Is this an article or an add? I'm not quite sure...

The SID was incremented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548411)

So I guess it was an add.

Re:Is this... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548495)

I belief its a add.

Re:Is this... (0, Troll)

tmosley (996283) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548617)

If it's an add, how do we subtract?

Re:Is this... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548749)

I'll respond because someone decided to mod you up: no, it's not an ad(vertisement). It's an article by someone who really likes the show. What's the difference? One's paid for, the other not. How do I know this? I don't. I'm making an educated guess. Does it matter? No.

Let me rephrase that last part: no, it doesn't matter if you know how to a) read past advertisement bullshit, and b) can discuss ideas without discussing who said what. If you can't - well, then the last bit obviously matters. But you are mature enough to differentiate between an idea and the person who puts it out there, can't you?

Another dilemma (4, Funny)

mseeger (40923) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548195)

Hi,

BG (season 4.5) exposes another more significant dilemma for me: Imagine you're a resident of a third world country (e.g. Germany or UK) and even capable and willing to pay for your favorite TV series. Would you wait months or years for it to acess it legaly or just download it immediately from the asinus electronicus? What if your wife is even more anxious to see it than you? Having a gun put against you head can not be compared to the pressure applied to one in such a case.

Hard choices :-)

Yours, Martin

Re:Another dilemma (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548311)

Imagine you're a resident of a third world country (e.g. Germany or UK)

or Canada

Re:Another dilemma (-1, Offtopic)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548377)

Imagine you're a resident of a third world country (e.g. Germany or UK)
Imagine you received a first world education then you would know that e.g. is latin for "for example" and you would know that the UK was a first world nation, and Germany could either be 1st world(West Germany and post unification Germany) or 2nd world(East Germany), but never a 3rd world nation. HTH

Re:Another dilemma (2, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548447)

What are you talking about? He's using "e.g." perfectly correctly.

Re:Another dilemma (4, Funny)

notnAP (846325) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548517)

Any nation whose citizens do not have readily available access to BSG is, IMHO, a third world nation.

Re:Another dilemma (4, Funny)

mseeger (40923) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548525)

My education is sufficent to use irony by exaggeration :-).

Re:Another dilemma (1)

DeepHurtn! (773713) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548537)

Your sarcasm metre is broken, and your snark level is set too high.

Re:Another dilemma (1)

Anonymous Conrad (600139) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548573)

He was defining civilisation as how quickly the nation gets to see the new BSG.

Re:Another dilemma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548583)

Whoosh

Re:Another dilemma (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548609)

I think that might have been a joke, though perhaps not one of the "funny" variety.

Re:Another dilemma (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548665)

You must need to be hit in the head with a 2x4 to get a point or lack skills to see subtle hints of humor. I took his statement to mean that any country that limits access to current video for legal sale must have third world overtones of government.

Sadly, I think it is less the burden of countries like Germany or the UK that create the limitations, but the greed mongering whores of the USA that create the roadblocks.

One suggestion may be to stop taking things so literal and enjoy the nuance of color now and then. Just remember to have a good day.

How is This New to SciFi? (4, Insightful)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548201)

but if you've watched Battlestar Galactica since it was re-imagined in 2003, there has been no escape.

That's... hyperbolic. I haven't seen an episode of the fourth season yet, nor do I plan to. I just lost interest when I started feeling like the writers didn't know where they were really heading.

So I'm clearly... well, not hostile, but indifferent... to the show, but it should be noted that this "story" is nonsense. SciFi shows have been doing this for, literally, decades. Tackling moral issues of the day was the point of The Twlight Zone and Star Trek (TOS). More recently, Babylon 5 earned a pretty solid reputation for discussing (and very definitely not answering) moral conundra. Even Deep Space Nine (where BSG producer Ron Moore once worked) did a pretty good job with the same thing.

So I suppose if your point is "BSG continues the tradition", then fine. But the tone of the summary and article very much make it sound like this is revolutionary.

Re:How is This New to SciFi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548339)

My experience has been just about the same. And, I agree that BSG was not the first to address such issues. Anyone ever heard of Babylon 5? I quite enjoyed that series too...

Re:How is This New to SciFi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548663)

The third season really did feel lost. I think you might be pleasantly surprised by the 4th, though. Give it a shot?

No way! (4, Insightful)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548203)

Next thing you know, they'll be a non sci-fi show [wikipedia.org] about these very issues. It might even get decent ratings!

I hope the DVD/Blu-Ray Disc collection is cheap... (2, Interesting)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548221)

Battlestar Galactica is one of those series that I'm sure I would enjoy if I watched it as rapidly as possible. Commercial free and at my own leisure.

Watching LOST is painful due to the seemingly infinite periods of time between seasons. Guess what I'll be doing tonight...

But hopefully BSG can have a cheap DVD or BD bundle for the entire series for people who enjoy sci-fi but didn't follow the series across its run.

Re:I hope the DVD/Blu-Ray Disc collection is cheap (1)

Cheeko (165493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548471)

I agree, though I'm hooked on BSG at this point. It was just before season 3 started and a friend gave me all of the first 2 seasons as rips. I watched like 1-3 episodes a night for a couple of weeks, and by the time I finished those I had a couple of eps in season 3 to watch. (note, I've since purchased the DVDs for all those eps, but the DVDs weren't out at the time, the net was the only way to get caught up).

Viewing it commercial free in that format was great, you really got sucked in and didn't want to stop watching, and I would go right to the next episode. I've told friends who want to get into it that their best bet is to wait till its over an d get all the DVDs.

Similarly I've yet to get into Lost simply because I don't want to wait between episodes and deal with commercials. I just will wait till the show end and get the DVDs then.

As it stands even when I watch BSG now I DVR it on Friday and then get around to watching it commercial free some time Sunday or later in the week.

I was skeptical back in 2003 (5, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548233)

I was a kid when the original BSG was on in the late 70's, and so remember it fondly (I can still remember how sad I and other kids were when they cancelled it). And when I heard they were bringing it back as a miniseries, I was skeptical to say the least. My first thought was "Jesus, can't Hollywood come up with ANYTHING original anymore?" and my second thought (after hearing that Starbuck and Boomer would be female) was "Oh great, and they've made it politically correct too, even better." At that point, I vowed I would never waste my time on it.

Then a funny thing happened. I was flipping around and caught a bit of the miniseries, a way into the first night (just after the nukes hit). It was the scene where Helo and Boomer put down on Caprica for repairs and are faced with a mob fleeing for their lives. It was one of the most powerful and dramatic scenes I had ever seen on television. The contrast with the original, where the colonials seemed to forget that their entire civilization had been wiped out almost immediately after it happened, was just stunning. And the obvious connection to 9-11 was immediate and visceral (I don't think this series could have been made before 9-11, certainly not with this kind of gritty realism).

From that point on, I wasn't a skeptic.

And just when I thought I had seen the best it could offer, along comes the first season and it somehow managed to get even BETTER. The premiere episode of that season ("33") was absolutely brilliant, "Hand of God" was touching and dramatic, and "Kobol's Last Gleaming" bordered on an almost mystical experience (the opening to that two-parter has to be the harshest montage to ever grace a television screen).

Now, the series has had its ups and downs since then. They've never again equalled the quality of the miniseries and first season, IMHO (though individual episodes like "Flight of the Phoenix" have come close). But even at its worst, this is still the best thing on television.

This skeptic will miss you greatly. Nothing else even comes close.

Some easy answers to those questions. (2, Interesting)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548243)

Blow myself up - No that's just stupid as that limits the number of enemy i can kill. My objective is not to die for my country/planet but to make the other bastard die for his.

gun at my head to sign - I'd sign, after all it's self presevation, and no I wouldn't be responsible (in my mind) as they forced me to sign, so they were going to do it anyway.

Re:Some easy answers to those questions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548467)

if they were going to it any way why legitimise their actions?

Re:Some easy answers to those questions. (2, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548615)

Because you can't do much to undermine them if you are dead.

Re:Some easy answers to those questions. (4, Interesting)

Jherico (39763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548523)

My objective is not to die for my country/planet but to make the other bastard die for his.

Sure, if you're a soldier fighting in a standard 'symmetric' war. On the other hand, the kill ratio in Iraq for coalition forces is 100:1 (1 coalition soldier dead for every 100 enemy combatants). Numbers like that make suicide bombing start to look pretty appealing.

Re:Some easy answers to those questions. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548699)

Agreed, blowing yourself up for your country is pointless. If everyone blew themselves up for their country, there would be no country left, and even if it did exist, you'd have eliminated all of the bravest, most committed people.

There's one reason why suicide bombers are a fixture in the Middle East, their situation sucks. Young men have no future, and due to polygamy, even have trouble finding a wife. They're willing to blow themselves up because they think their country *sucks* and they want to go to heaven. There's a point where you look at your life and are convinced that nothing will come of it, so much so that the bogus 70-odd virgins story actually starts to look like a reasonable alternative.

As for the gun to the head, no one accepts an order signed under duress to be binding. Its not like you get a choice in whether they live or die.

That said, I think you would have to be careful about how comfortable with your situation you became. If you started signing decrees without the actual threat being made, you could be getting into a bad position. Sign the decrees, but make it very clear that you are doing it because they are holding a gun, and that you'd cease doing it as soon as they didn't.

The only real issue is whether your countrymen will believe you or not when your side wins and they ask you why you signed the decree. Depending on their mood at the time, it might be wise to take a bullet to the head, instead of being strung up by piano wire if you can't prove it was under duress.

Re:Some easy answers to those questions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548727)

So you're a wannabe toughguy (1st sentence) and a coward (2nd sentence).

It seems funny to me how often these two mindsets juxtapose.

not called serenity (1, Informative)

deander2 (26173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548265)

Joss Whedon, creator of the classic science fiction western series Serenity, declared, "it's so passionate, textured, complex, subversive and challenging that it dwarfs everything on TV."

the series was called firefly [wikipedia.org] . the movie was called serenity.

A victim of it's own hype? (-1, Redundant)

Chris_Jefferson (581445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548295)

I watched the first six or so episodes of BSG, decided it was a bit dull, and stopped.

Now, my figures may be way off, but it looks to me like the last episode of BSG pulled in less than 2 million viewers, unlike Chuck, a fun show I'm currently enjoying, which pulled in around 6 million. (Do correct me if I'm way off).

BSG is a show with a very vocal audience, who enjoy discussing and dissecting every issue all over the internet, despite my best attempts to avoid them. However, I'm not sure it's actually that fun to watch. It certainly wasn't at first.

Who is the fifth cylon? I really couldn't care less. I don't hate BSG, but just to put some perspective on things, for most people it isn't that big.

Re:A victim of it's own hype? (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548737)

Apples to Oranges. Chuck is a broadcast show, BSG is a cable show. From what I've seen of it, Chuck is mostly a "stupid fun" type of show (which is fine, I like those sometimes, too), and thus more accessible to a broad audiance.

In so far as "TV will never be the same", the summary was too far into hyperbole. But I also don't choose what I watch based on viewership numbers.

There was a season 3? (1, Insightful)

Phoenixhawk (1188721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548305)

Seriously, when it went from Battlestar to sci-fi version of general hospital, myself and most people I know pretty much moved on.

Re:There was a season 3? (1)

Phoenixhawk (1188721) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548331)

I hear there is going to be a season 5 sponsored by Degree Deodorant

Re:There was a season 3? (4, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548757)

I love you idiots whining about how it got too soapy as it went along. It was always like that, you just didn't notice at first.

Oh, and comparing it to General Hospital is low, man. BSG is far far better than that. Think Dallas.

Re:There was a season 3? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548777)

sci-fi version of general hospital

THE CAMERA MUST SHAKE AT ALL TIMES

Wow. Sorry about that. That's been happening more frequently for some reason...

Indeed, serial sci-fi and in particular BSG is drama on spaceships. Nothing really sci-fi about it. I've watched one episode. After 45 minutes of drama they arrived on the surface of some planet, shot at each other with "futuristic" looking pistols, and then resumed the drama. Not compelling.

Special effects are costly and requires involving technical people in production. Why bother? You can pull off a few seasons and get your message out to the suckers watching with very few actual sci-fi scenes.

From the "story":

It's not hard to see parallels in the CIA and US military's use of interrogation techniques...blah blah

It is not hard to see parallels between BSG plots and popular lefty talking points. These "parallels" are rather easy to spot, in fact. Yet, for some reason, pointing them out to others constitutes wit.

Been there Done that... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548393)

Gene Roddenberry had been using parallelism and morale dilemmas in his show for decades. As a matter of fact, I thought the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica is even more cheesy than the first. Whats up with this camera guy, does he have Parkinsons or something? No, I do not deny Star Trek can be cheesy either but at least it doesn't make me feel dumber for having watched it.

Er, really? (3, Insightful)

Knara (9377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548397)

I could never get into this series, and (as evidenced by many a post here) even people who used to be into it eventually fell away due to the Lost effect (the realization that the writers didn't have a pre-planned plot arc). To me, it always felt like "what if the FX channel did a 'Babylon 5'-esque series while re-using a 70's franchise?"

I don't think this is as influential a series (or event) as TFA (or the poster) claims it to be.

what is the climate like on your planet? (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548407)

Instead of assuming the Cylons are using their technological superiority to enforce their view why not consider...

both specie know faster than light travel, how much superior can you get if you can break that? I guess you can throw in the ability to transmit memories across space

how about the fact that we are now only learning, everything isn't what it seems to be.

While I could occasionally see some parallels to exaggerated actions of Bush and Co that exaggeration was so extreme at times that it bordered on ludicrous. If anything BSG jumped the shark one too many times that too much has become both silly and interesting at the same time. Every time they introduce a new interesting angle they lose with the previously mentioned shark jumping explanation

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the most recent episode but I loathe seeing the explanation of Starbucks corpse and crashed viper. While I love the story twist I have little to no faith in them pulling it off anymore.

Honestly past 2.5 all I got was an impression of angst expressed improperly in some story arcs. In other words they tried to portray the Cylons as Bush and Co yet at the same time Roslyn had her supposed Bush and Co events. Yet neither really worked because they were always exaggerated beyond the point of belief.

If I could tie what the story is portraying to something in real life it would not be Bush and Co. It would be Hamas versus Israel versus Fatah. Both sides being victims of stupid hard headed actions and ideology, throw in some religion where if God did come back down neither side would recognize him because they would be to wrapped up in proving they are right.

I think I know what the problem is.... (5, Funny)

wpiman (739077) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548429)

Poor product placements. [milkandcookies.com] No doubt the reason this show is being canceled.

You've got to be kidding... (5, Insightful)

cmdahler (1428601) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548437)

when the final episode airs, television will never be the same again.

This is just about the most ridiculous thing I've seen on Slashdot in a very long time. If one were to poll the public on this subject, I'm quite sure a substantial number of people wouldn't have ever heard of the SciFi channel to begin with, let alone have a clue that there's some obscure show called BSG on there or be able to remotely describe what the show is about. Nor would they give a flying rat's ass. The Sopranos, now that's a show that had a measurable impact on TV. Regardless of the quality of the show, BSG is going to fade right back into the obscurity from whence it came, with only mom's-basement-dwelling geeks remembering the first thing about it.

Re:You've got to be kidding... (2, Interesting)

bFusion (1433853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548661)

Another good example is Firefly. Lots of people loved it, it was a fantastic (if not short-lived) series. But it didn't really change the quality of the tripe generally shown on TV.

No, no and no. (2, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548451)

Next question.

really? (5, Informative)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548489)

who says sci-fi is too preachy?

Oh, and Muslim isn't a race, fucktard.

I wouldn't be surprised if BSG re-imagined played (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548539)

A subtle/background role in changes in direction for the USA. I bet the now deceased (previous) administration secretly (to the public) and openly (behind closed doors) loathed BSG, but convinced themselves there was some advantage (such as re-re-re-downloading themselves back into power come Jan 20, 2009) to not ringing up some execs on the West Coast.... But, maybe baby Hera nixed that?

Label a RACE as the enemy? (1)

torstenvl (769732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548579)

When has the U.S. done that in recent memory?

It hasn't. Dunno if you've noticed, but lots of Arab countries are our allies in the GWOT.

Galactica stopped being entertaining months ago (3, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#26548597)

Episode 4.11 was more depressing than, I dunno, being at work. Seriously, this is entertainment?

Rhetorical criticism mini-rant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548681)

You're saying that TV will never be the same after this show goes away, when what you mean is that it will become more the same. In either case, you're wrong, thankfully there will always be other good shows at some point.

It sounds like a good series, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26548723)

If only they could hold a camera steady enough for long enough to not give me a headache, I might actually be able to watch the series. I really do want to watch it, but every time I've tried I've ended up with a headache within the first few minutes and have to stop it.

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