NYET!!! This Skiffy Contravenes Party Doctrine!

2.18.2006
Ore : 9:08 AM

Oh lordy. Once more into the breach -- and by breach I mean Roy Edroso territory. I can only imagine the Rock & Roll High School head-exploding that went on at Chez Goldberg last night. While he stops short of artistic Lysenkoism, he has to attack the show on the premise that Hollywood isn't a serious enough venue for the treatment of abortion -- as if NRO is. Please.

A digressive word on Goldberg the Pundit: Jonah is the intellectual equivalent of a mylar balloon. His whole purpose is to shore up think tank-spawned sophistries, to forward trojan horse philosophies and policy points, and to provide rationalizations and post hoc justifications for the worst behaviors of our ruling class. He is no more a deep thinker than George Clooney or Jane Fonda, or me or Nancy Pelosi -- or, for that, matter Michael Medved or that crazy 12 Galaxies street protester guy.

That said, where better to deal with such issues as abortion and euthenasia and child abuse and STDs and religion and, hell, nutrition, than in our popular art? That is precisely where our most controversial issues have been masticated and digested throughout human history -- and, it can be argued, where they must be.


But again I digress -- ideology is not the point. The point, with which Le Pantload apparently needs to be beaten as though it's a car aerial, is art. What art entails, what it requires, and what we force on it and it, in turn, forces upon us. And in televised fiction, drama is all (and BSG aspires not merely to passable drama, but to superlative drama -- whether it fully realizes those aspirations is a debate for later).

Art needs confusion and chaos and squidgy feelings that you can't fit into a box. It has bad guys who do the right things (if for the wrong reasons), and bad guys who redeem themselves. It has good guys who fail spectacularly and sometimes make decisions completely inapposite with their established characters. It needs in-between guys who just muddle through, and who sometimes don't fuck up -- that being the best they can do.

Ideology is not the point. Characters are. You create verisimilitudinous and compelling characters against a passably believable background, and everything else follows.

To wit: ten years ago, I might have merely been disappointed in Roslin's sudden unwillingness to stand by her convictions, and left it at that -- still compelled by the drama, but somewhat soured on her character. More specifically, I would have applauded the psychological realness, but her light would have dimmed a little.

Today's me is more sympathetic.

This episode found Roslin realizing just what it was she lost during the previous week's (previous month's, by the show's reckoning) hostage tragedy. Had she, instead of the slick, savvy poll-watcher with a cellphone, her beloved Billy, she would have been slapped with a reality check. Despite his nebbishy behavior, he never failed to call her on her bullshit. He was her compass, her rudder, and her anchor, like some sort of nautical Socratic Swiss-army aide thing. He was her flame, and now he's extinguished. Were he still alive, I could imagine his end of their exchange as soon as this situation came up: "Madame President, you say you've been fighting for a woman's right to control her body your whole life. But we lived in a wealthy, powerful, advanced, and egalitarian society. Now we're just getting by with the scraps we could save. My point is this: maybe your fight wasn't all that much, because it didn't need to be. Now it does.

"Madame President, there's one other person you might want to consult during your decision-making process: Captain Thrace." He may have reminded her what it really was they were fighting: an enemy that trammels human women, hooks them up to machines to turn them into captive baby factories churning out fertilized ova until their bodies simply stop.

And you know what? When Starbuck encountered one of the women, the latter was not concerned with what her priest would think; rather, she wanted to die.

Were Billy still alive, Roslin would not have to watch Baltar betray her and steal her thunder by saying the right thing (if for the wrong reason); Billy would have saved her from that.

And that's the strength of the drama, the art: that I can imagine him, a dead, second-banana character, saying and thinking all that.

This was not a tale of abortion. It was (in part) a tale of a lonely, unsure woman in a precarious position dealing with the aching echoes of final, irrevocable loss. It was minutely carved, yet surprisingly resonant, tragedy. It was not a party line.

Think about it Jonah, and try to be more sanguine about these things.

P.S. He promises to yammer on about it even more in an update where one of his readers sort of takes him to task for his obtuseness. Looks like we got a loooong day ahead of us, ladies and gents...

posted by teh l4m3 at 9:08 AM | Permalink |

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Comments for NYET!!! This Skiffy Contravenes Party Doctrine!
I'm glad you are on this. BG doesn't relly fit into 3b! except for sci-fi cheezecake, but you know my thought: I can't wait for Col. Tigh to shoot someone in the face on a hunting trip. I thought they played last night perfectly- the whole point is how do things change when the fate of the human race is ACTUALLY at stake as opposed to the actual bullshit. Any compromise they even think about making, th epoint is pretty clear that there is no way those compromises should even be considered in cases less dire.

Um, but you guys have the BSG banner & stuff... Oh well, whatever.

I hate to have to keep dropping by Der Korner, but it looks like Jonah G. ain't gonna touch it again tonight... Ah well...

Has there ever been a lazier pundit in the universe than Doughy Pantload? He's constantly begging others to do his research for him, and the only knowledge actually in his brain comes from TV.

He is the archetype of the Keyboard Kommando with the Cheeto-stained fingers.

Sometimes I think than rather than give birth to a child, Lucianne molded a homonculus out of cat semen, eye of newt, Little Debbie snack cakes, and other unholy ingredients...

Mmmmmmmm, homunculus.

Everytime I even mention BG, Geenie C. is all "I don't care how good you say it is, it's just a little too...[does the Spock thing with fingers] for me"

And that is the real reason Three Bulls! is not a stinky boy den of Sci-Fi nerdburger.

Ha, ha. Whipped.

Never mind the effing politics, Teh. I saw pretty much what you saw. Great drama. Anyhow, I was more intrigued by a character (Starbuck) whose emotional and psychological wheels have all but come off, but who gets it all together when she has the chance to shoot down some raiders. It reminded me of something a friend of mine said about dating fighter pilots, and how those lads are able to compartmentalize their conscious lives in order to fly insanely complex machines and drop bombs on people they'll never see. Just a thought.

BTW, did Jonah and the gang completely drum Rod Dreher out of the Corner coven for his environmentalist apostasy?

CS: Very true. And that was some good stuff, too. I didn't comment on the Kara/Lee/Commander-Mechanic-guy what'shisface because then my post would have been twice as long. I would have had to abandon my doughy punching bag.

ass: I haven't seen him on lately -- they may have taken him to the Belmont Club's secret underground inquisition chambers to be dipped in boiling oil. Not sure though...

So I finally so this episode last night. I know this shameful lack of Friday night viewing calls into question my status as a nerd, but I fled the F. I was with a female of the species. However, I realize that this further calls my reputation into question and I beg your forgiveness.

That being said, why isn't Commander Adama, hereafter referred to as Comm. Appolo, shitting his pants? The last three commanders of the Pegasus have all met rather poor ends. Admittedly, the third was doing the job he was trained to do and making exactly the hard choices commanders must make in science fiction (ST:TNG had an episode and the second ST movie), but I thought commanders were supposed to order subordinates to go save the ship and die in the process, so they could continue to fix the rest of the ship? What the hell do I know? I just sit on my butt and make decisions in my head. It's a good day if I can figure out what pants to wear in under 2 minutes.

"...but I fled the F..."

That was supposed to be "but I plead the F."

sqidogr: An alien breed of canine from the same planet as the day of the tentacle aliens.

Goddam. I drop a bomb like that and it sinks like a turd in the North Atlantic.

qolfy: the new golf channel for teh g4yz.

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