October 09, 2006

BSG Controversy - Open Thread

Hmmm. Thought I'd start a new thread for this since it's generating such strong opinion.

There are a couple of different points of view as to whether or not there is an "Iraq Metaphor" going on with Battlestar Galactica. You can see some of the comments from the last post: here.

My own impressions are that the writers left it open to interpretation. If you see the similarities, then they're there. However, I tend to agree with RightWingProf that the Cylon occupation is more analogous to occupied France during WWII. If there is any analogy at all. My own opinion is the Ronald D. Moore and Co. have been fairly even-handed to date and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the date.

At most, I think they are addressing issues that people can relate to - many of them are controversial. This drives ratings and makes it a much more interesting show. But I don't detect a particular bias promoting one point of view or the other. It's more of a glimpse into the overall human condition.

Feel free to discuss. Please keep it civil!

More discussion over at MidnightBlue and RightWingNation.

If I find opinion on the web, I'll post it here as an update.

UPDATE:
That was quick. Jonah Goldberg of National Review plans a column on the subject or at least some commentary at The Corner within the next twenty-four hours.

UPDATE II:
I listened to the Ron Moore podcast of Friday's episode on iTunes.

Here's the skinny:
Moore (and his wife who is a co-writer) commented on the setting of occupied New Caprica. While they acknowledged that there are elements of Iraq in the storyline they also said that they are mixed in with parallels of other occupations - such as France in WWII, the West Bank, colonial America. All of the writers, he said, are very familiar with many aspects of human history - not just recent history.

He said he's been asked quite a bit about Iraq and he explained that he was not intending to make any political statements about current events, rather he was drawing on many different elements to create situations within which the characters react to in different ways. For example, what would Chief Tyrol do here or how would Tigh respond to this or Laura Roslin, etc. etc.

As to the inclusion of a "suicide mission", they are trying to "ratchet up" the events on New Caprica because they are leading to a major clash that will coincide with the return of Galactica. The Cylons reaction to it is important in pushing them and the humans on a sort of "collision course".

Essentially, next week's episode is a major event and these two episodes combined are meant for the audience to fully absorb the situation that leads up to it.

There was other stuff but the only other item of note regarding the New Caprica Police graduation ceremony and Duck's suicide bombing is to show that shocking things like that really happen. And rather than just hearing about it on the news, Moore wanted to present the grisly details and horrific aftermath of such an act. He was nervous that the network (Sci-Fi, which is owned by NBC) would object to showing it so graphically but he said they were actually very supportive.

Could Moore be full of crap about all this? Sure, but I'll give the benefit of the doubt here.

UPDATE III:
Jonah Goldberg (finally) weighes in. His take: Yes, it was blatant Iraq, but...

RightWingProf even gets a link!

UPDATE IV:
Was reminded by a comment on a thread at HotAir.com that this isn't the first time we've seen a suicide bombing on BSG. In season one, one of the Doral Cylons blew himself up on Galactica killing three people. Not as devastating as the one from this season, but still...

Interesting. The episode was titled "Litmus". Cylons as insurgents, maybe? I don't remember the Left get all huffy over that one.

Posted by: Gary at 11:45 AM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 678 words, total size 5 kb.

1 I did a little something on the whole flare-up... I think that anyone who claims the show, or either side within the show, are all one thing or another is blind to the basic building block of BSG since the first moment of the first miniseries; Shades of grey. It's all shades of grey. There is no good and bad in this world, there is only bad and how the individual (human or cylon) reacts to it.

Posted by: JimK at October 09, 2006 01:00 PM (f9+5H)

2 I will have to read your BSG posts after we watch the premiere tonight, Gary. Couldn't watch it last night. Can't wait!

Posted by: Starbuck at October 09, 2006 03:40 PM (ZMwFa)

3 For writers that are well-versed in many aspects of human history - I found it quite telling that several of the Cylons and leading Colonial characters spoke lines that were rippped from the drama that is Iraq. For example: Brother Cavil noted that the colonials didn't welcome the Cylons arrriving in New Caprica with open arms...how many times have libs used the same argument about the Iraqi's welcoming the troops into Baghdad. Brother Cavil also mentions "lets instill fear in the hearts and minds" of the NC settlers. Gee..I wonder were the writers got that verse from?? In LDYB2: President Baltar comments that there hasn't been a Cylon attack on his watch - right before the Cylons do attack NC... Oh yes, I could go on and on with other examples of the course of this series. However, I think I made my point with these examples. There has always been a subtle undertone of political commentary on the show - but this new season 3 opener has taken that undertone to a new level. I have to give credit to Ron Moore for crafting this show to be so very layered, it certainly makes for interesting commentary, and blog posts. I will continue to watch the show, as long as the don't kill off Kara. Someone has to comfort Lee after he divorces dee....

Posted by: Skye at October 09, 2006 08:52 PM (6vZ0D)

4 I'm getting this huge spike in readers, so I looked at my stats to see where they're coming from. Jonah Goldberg linked to my article in his National Review article on BSG. Wow. I feel like I've arrived.

Posted by: rightwingprof at October 10, 2006 12:25 PM (o7KrD)

5 Congrats!!

Posted by: Gary at October 10, 2006 12:31 PM (QoxB+)

6 He said he's been asked quite a bit about Iraq and he explained that he was not intending to make any political statements about current events, rather he was drawing on many different elements to create situations within which the characters react to in different ways. I don't really doubt that (much); but I find it similar to how liberals in general can never seem to see their own biases creep in. Like liberal journalists who think that what they are saying is objective, absent of colored partisanship. I do think that they are not making any clear-cut stance on the real-world war in Iraq. Just trying to place their characters in similar situations, and make the audience think. But I think you can see the subtle undertone, of how the writers might think about actual events in Iraq. That said, I can still enjoy the show. Because even if it was clearly fueled by a liberal paradigm for Iraq, in the BSG world, it works. Because they've fabricated the reality, so the response to dealing with that reality- or in pointing out what the right course of action should be, even when not taken, makes sense. It's like Star Trek, where in their universe, their moral choices make sense. You appreciate it on its own terms. I hope I'm making sense. Skyebuck...you'd be frakkin' awesome if you could find that Ron Moore quote where his liberal bent is clearly visible. And spot-on for the lines you pointed out.

Posted by: wordsmith at October 10, 2006 12:58 PM (nrGCx)

7 I do think that they are not making any clear-cut stance on the real-world war in Iraq. Take out "not" from that sentence. It happens when you don't proof-read.

Posted by: wordsmith at October 10, 2006 01:07 PM (nrGCx)

8 Sloppy, sloppy. I always suspected you were just an "apprentice" Wordsmith.

Posted by: Gary at October 10, 2006 02:15 PM (QoxB+)

9 I've seen the first two hours twice now, and on the second viewing, I've noticed more WW2 references. I think a closer comparion would be the Warsaw Ghetto.

Posted by: Barry Johnson at October 10, 2006 04:32 PM (S2Ldc)

10 David Eick, executive producer, assures the fanbase that the political undertones will remain unchanged: "We're trying to mirror a more grounded reality, not a heightened reality," Eick says. "I think there's a political savvy to this show, an unflinching approach to the issues of the day and an unapologetic irreverence." This quote from David Eik can be found and my old, old blog Midnightblue Found it, Word: Midnightblue And I quote: "I certainly have my own political views and it would be disingenuous at best to say that there's some kind of firewall between my beliefs and those portrayed on the show. I'm the head writer -- my views and thoughts are on life are on display every week, including my political predilections. However, I don't see the show as a platform to advance my political belief system or my own views on morality. These are the debates that I hope you have among yourselves, your families, your friends. I want the show to provoke you into thinking about the times you live in and the choices that are being made all around you every day. In a time when the President of the United States actually asserts that he has the power to arrest without warrant and detain indefinitely without charge or appeal, any citizen (indeed any person on the face of the Earth) simply by designating them as an "illegal combatant," we should all be engaged in a vigorous and energetic debate about who we are as a people and as human beings and exactly how we do intend to respond to the very real threat posed to this nation and to the foundations of liberal democracy posed by people capable of, and willing to, fly airplanes into buildings. I hope this show makes you think. I hope this show makes you question the moral choices that are being made in your name and by your representatives. "

Posted by: Skye at October 10, 2006 10:16 PM (/qf75)

11 Sloppy, sloppy. I always suspected you were just an "apprentice" Wordsmith. Well, I still have much to learn, Blogfather. In a time when the President of the United States actually asserts that he has the power to arrest without warrant and detain indefinitely without charge or appeal, any citizen (indeed any person on the face of the Earth) simply by designating them as an "illegal combatant," Thanks skyebuck!

Posted by: wordsmith at October 10, 2006 11:41 PM (nrGCx)

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