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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief

 

it's the breathing that's taking all this work

i'm extremely happy that i started watching bsg when i did. i've been consistently wowed by nearly every episode of this season - mostly because, while it's solid scifi, the poignant commentary about humanity and our society's way of dealing with problems gets my brain churning every week.

the finale was no different, examining mob justice / revenge on a hated member of society. a synopsis of the plot is available on the wikipedia entry - read it over right quick if you aren't familiar with the storyline. go ahead. i'll wait.

cool? alright. so at the end of season two, the remnants of the human race colonize a planet, and shortly afterwards the cylons attack the colony and demand the humans' surrender - or they'll destroy the planet from orbit. the president, gaius baltar, a brilliant doctor that helped the cylons wipe out the human race, throws up the white flag ... and from then on, aids the cylons as they run the colony like a death camp. eventually the humans rebel, abandon the colony and escape the cylons, leaving president baltar on the planet.

later in season three, baltar shows back up and is imprisoned by the humans. there is near universal hatred for this man who sold out his entire species, collaborated with the cylons, allowing them to slaughter thousands... they plan to put him on trial for war crimes. it's difficult not to despise this character.

so as they've built up to the trial they've begun to question whether baltar will receive justice. can he? everyone, including most of the judges and lawyers, already believe he's guilty. the new president wants to toss him out of the airlock. so will his trial be nothing but theater?

up until the finale, it didn't bother me. so he doesn't get justice - screw him, he doesn't deserve it. but during the trial the question kept coming up - what would you have done in his position? the cylons hold a gun to your head, tell you to sign an order for execution for a hundred people. do you tell them to get bent, on principle, and they kill you as well as the people on the list? knowing that you're simply the legitimate human face on their occupation? do you allow thousands to die - or all of humanity?

lee "apollo" adama goes from a staunch anti-baltar military officer to a lawyer for his defense in the span of a few episodes... during the trial, he makes this speech:

did the defendant make mistakes? sure, he did. serious mistakes. but did he actually commit any crimes, did he commit treason? no. it was an impossible situation - when the cylons arrived, what could he possibly do? what could anyone have done? ask yourself - what would you have done? if he had refused to surrender, the cylons would have probably nuked the planet right then and there. so did he appear to cooperate with the cylons? sure. so did hundreds of others. what's the difference between him and them?

the president issued a blanket pardon. they were all forgiven - no questions asked. colonel tigh - he used suicide bombers to kill dozens of people. forgiven. lieutenant agathon, chief tyrol, they murdered an officer on the Pegasus - forgiven. the admiral - instituted a military coup-de-tat against the president - forgiven! and me... well, where do i begin?

i shot down a civilian passenger ship, the Olympic carrier, over a thousand people on board - forgiven. i raised my weapon to a superior officer, committed an act of mutiny - forgiven. and then on the very day when Baltar surrendered to those cylons, i, as commander of Pegasus, jumped away, i left everybody on that planet, alone, undefended for months... i even tried to persuade the admiral never to return - to abandon you all there for good. if i had my way nobody would have made it off that planet. i'm the coward. i'm the traitor. i'm forgiven.

i can see we're very forgiving of mistakes. we make our own laws now, our own justice, and we've been pretty creative to find ways to let people off the hook for everything from theft to murder, and we've had to. because we're not a civilization anymore. we're a gang. we're on the run and we have to fight to survive. we have to break rules, we have to bend laws, we have to improvise! but not this time, no. not for gaius baltar. no, you, you have to die. you have to die because, well, we don't like you very much. because you're arrogant, because you're weak, because you're a coward.

and we, the mob, want to throw you out the airlock because you didn't stand up to the cylons, and get yourself killed in the process - that's justice. you should have been killed back on New Caprica, but since you had the temerity to live we're going to execute you now. that's justice.

this case is built on emotion, on anger, bitterness, vengeance - but most of all it's built on shame. the shame of what we did to ourselves back on that planet. it's about the guilt of those of us who ran away. and we're trying to dump all that guilt and all that shame on one man, and then flush him out the airlock and hope that that just gets rid of it all. so we can live with ourselves. but that won't work. that's not justice - not to me.
it's human nature for the mob mentality to take over... when a few of us get together we can turn on an individual and become judge, jury and executioner in the space of a few minutes. we are capable of some incredibly ugly stuff - and i really believe that for most of us that urge isn't too far below the surface.

this is true not just for people on a fictional spaceship, but for us. for me.

 

for this post

 
Blogger B-Call Says:

TROGDAR!

 
 
Blogger Bragg Says:

"Thanks for watching the KISS forum, stay tuned for the Battlestar Galactica Forum....

Welcome to the Battlestar Galactica Forum"

I love you.

It's a lot silly how when we are wronged, our first instinct is to form a mob. We find all the people who will support us, tell them how we were wronged, then allow it to escalate from there.

 

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