February 26, 2007

Battlestar Galactica, February 25

I haven't blogged about "Battlestar Galactica" recently mainly because, in a nutshell, it's been too damn ridiculous. Last night's episode didn't really change things much, I'm sorry to say.

Here we are -- yet again -- in an absolute life or death situation, and the few surviving humans are ... going on strike ... because they haven't had a day off? Because working conditions are brutal?? The show's writers once again have attempted to demonstrate that they're "with it" -- they're "connected" with modern-day issues and concerns (in this case, growing social inequality, poor working conditions, child labor) yet they always seem to fail to grasp that the situation in which they themselves have placed ... themselves doesn't quite make for a believable (nay, feasible) yarn.

First, what does it say about the fleet's command that they haven't instituted a reasonable -- meaning flexible working schedule, adequate maintenance, etc. -- for vital services like fuel processing?? So it actually (hypothetically) gets to the point where survivors get SO disgruntled that they want to ... strike? Aside from the practical questions as to how Adama and Roslin would never let that happen (probably THE most vital resource for the fleet -- FUEL -- is given half-assed consideration??), would people running for their very lives, whose existence could be snuffed out at any moment, be so concerned about long work days -- enough that they'd refuse to process the very means which allows them to survive?

Second, how the frak are the people that were so royally screwed over by Baltar on New Caprica now following his snuck-out-of-prison memoirs, which is essentially is an interstellar version of "The Communist Manifesto"? The "former farmer" who ruled like a spoiled dictator on New Caprica surrounded in luxury (thanks to his Cylon benefactors) is now ... a galactic Che Guevara?? Sheesh.

Third, what the frak sort of Colonial government did the 12 Colonies really have?? We are led (made, actually) to believe that a civilization that has colonized a dozen planets and developed faster-than-light propulsion, hadn't already successfully dealt with classism? Social and economic inequality? This is extremely difficult to grasp. Planet Earth cannot even organize a one world government due largely to these vices, yet a human civilization that governed eleven more worlds somehow also could not. I don't buy it. This stretches credibility to the extreme.

In addition, Baltar's claims from his jail cell about how his world was somehow "backward" because it was the "food basket" planet rings hollow. Do Americans consider people who live in Iowa, Kansas or Nebraska as "backward"? Hardly. And in times of crisis, Americans of all social stripes come together against the common threat. If Americans can do this during, say, World War II, it begs the question as to why an interstellar civilization cannot when they're facing not just war, but extinction.

Adama's and Roslin's "tough" attitudes ultimately ring hollow as they gave in to every demand the "disgruntled" population had made. Adama tells Tyrol that he'll have his wife shot if he doesn't call an end to the strike. Tyrol complies, and Adama promptly gives him (and the strikers) everything they wanted. Hey Bill -- sooner or later people will be hip to your game. That they haven't already shows how lame the writing has become on the so-called "Best Show on TV." One can certainly posit that the writers are demonstrating the flexibility of the fleet's leadership in ever-changing circumstances. Phooey. Adama is supposed to be a grizzled veteran commander, and that he didn't adequately plan for vital services like fuel (by keeping its workers fairly happy) is not only unrealistic, but insulting to the [supposedly] smart viewership the show enjoys.

Posted by Hube at February 26, 2007 04:42 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I have some thoughts here:

http://www.millennialstar.org/ index.php/2007/02/26/battlestar_galactica_and_the_cold_equati

one quote: "But instead, the ending felt forced, as though Moore and company refused to accept the logical conclusion of the premise of this episode and the entire series."

Posted by: Ivan Wolfe at February 26, 2007 06:45 PM

My own thoughts on the episode are here. While I agree it strained credibility, I find a couple of your counter-arguments even more difficult to believe. To respond to these:

Why should a scientifically-advanced society necessarily have "solved" the class problem? Our most technically sophisticated societies now are all class-ridden, to a greater or lesser degree. To be successful an empire merely need be stable, not egalitarian.

Why should we believe Adama and Roslin couldn't have possibly let this happen? It's not like they don't have enough to do as it is! History is full of leaders whose inattention to the details of problems right in front of their faces has cost them dearly. Why did Napoleon III declare war on Germany? Why did Chamberlain think that Hitler would settle for Czechoslovakia? Why did Bush think the Iraqis would greet the U.S. as liberators?

To another of your points, I would also offer that there are plenty of people from the East and West Coasts who think of people from Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa as backward, and plenty of people of from Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa who think that people from the East and West Coasts regard them thusly.

Posted by: saf at February 26, 2007 08:15 PM

For the record, I'm tired of the show too. Long live Heroes.

Posted by: The Unabrewer at February 27, 2007 02:30 AM


To address your points:

1. First, note that when I'm making comparisons, I'm careful to show how we've more or less solved certain problems NOW in which "Galactica" STILL seems mired. While you may think that an interstellar civilization that has colonized a dozen worlds would have class and social status hassles that we ourselves struggle to solve, I think THAT is what's "even more difficult to believe." The social cohesion and stability needed for such an undertaking would be something that we cannot begin to yet grasp.

2. Why should we believe Adama and Roslin couldn't have possibly let this happen?

Simple. Adama and Roslin have ONE priority: The survival of humanity. To that end, what are the top priorities? Let's see ... FUEL and FOOD. Fuel to keep going (and running from the Cylons) and food to live, obviously. That's it in a nutshell. Period. Everything else is secondary or tertiary.

3. I would also offer that there are plenty of people from the East and West Coasts who think of people from Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa as backward, and plenty of people of from Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa who think that people from the East and West Coasts regard them thusly.

Define "plenty." But the fact remains that people on the coasts don't shit all over the breadbasket inhabitants like Baltar was intimating that was what happened on the agricultural worlds. And, again, whatever feelings people have about each other are diminished to the Nth degree when there is a dire threat to the country, let alone when actual survival is at stake. It's ludicrous to believe that an interstellar civilization would not do the same.

Posted by: Hube at February 27, 2007 03:30 PM