Friday, March 21, 2014
Starbuck: Lost in Castration
The following is an excerpt from an article by Dirk Benedict decrying the sad PC state of affairs in mass media science fiction and (I feel.) the way things are in the entertainment industry in general. The article, written in the early years of the last decade, is to me, even more topical now than then.
The whole article can be read here.
Starbuck: Lost in Castration (excerpt)
There was a time – I know I was there – when men were men, women were women and sometimes a cigar was just a good smoke. But 40 years of feminism have taken their toll. The war against masculinity has been won. Everything has turned into its opposite, so that what was once flirting and smoking is now sexual harassment and criminal. And everyone is more lonely and miserable as a result.
Witness the "re-imagined" Battlestar Galactica. It's bleak, miserable, despairing, angry and confused. Which is to say, it reflects, in microcosm, the complete change in the politics and mores of today's world as opposed to the world of yesterday. The world of Lorne Greene (Adama) and Fred Astaire (Starbuck's Poppa), and Dirk Benedict (Starbuck). I would guess Lorne is glad he's in that Big Bonanza in the sky and well out of it. Starbuck, alas, has not been so lucky. He's not been left to pass quietly into that trivial world of cancelled TV characters.
"Re-imagining", they call it. "un-imagining" is more accurate. To take what once was and twist it into what never was intended. So that a television show based on hope, spiritual faith, and family is unimagined and regurgitated as a show of despair, sexual violence and family dysfunction. To better reflect the times of ambiguous morality in which we live, one would assume. A show in which the aliens (Cylons) are justified in their desire to destroy our civilisation. One would assume. Indeed, let us not say who are the good guys and who are the bad. That is being "judgemental". And that kind of (simplistic) thinking went out with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne and, well the original Battlestar Galactica.
In the bleak and miserable, "re-imagined" world of Battlestar Galactica, things are never that simple. Maybe the Cylons are not evil and alien but in fact enlightened and evolved? Let us not judge them so harshly. Maybe it is they who deserve to live and Adama, and his human ilk who deserves to die? And what a way to go! For the re- imagined terrorists (Cylons) are not mechanical robots void of soul, of sexuality, but rather humanoid six-foot-tall former lingerie models who f**k you to death. (Poor old Starbuck, you were imagined too early. Think of the fun you could have had `fighting' with these thong-clad aliens! In the spirit of such soft-core sci-fi porn I think a more re-imaginative title would have been F**cked by A Cylon. (Apologies to Touched by An Angel.)
One thing is certain. In the new un-imagined, re-imagined world of Battlestar Galactica everything is female driven. The male characters, from Adama on down, are confused, weak, and wracked with indecision while the female characters are decisive, bold, angry as hell, puffing cigars (gasp) and not about to take it any more.
One can quickly surmise what a problem the original Starbuck created for the re-imaginators. Starbuck was all charm and humour and flirting without an angry bone in his womanising body. Yes, he was definitely `female driven', but not in the politically correct ways of Re-imagined Television. What to do, wondered the Re-imaginators? Keep him as he was, with a twinkle in his eye, a stogie in his mouth, a girl in every galaxy? This could not be. He would stick out like, well like a jock strap in a drawer of thongs. Starbuck refused to be re-imagined. It became the Great Dilemma. How to have your Starbuck and delete him too?
The best minds in the world of un-imagination doubled their intake of Double Soy Lattes as they gathered in their smoke-free offices to curse the day this chauvinistic Viper Pilot was allowed to be. But never under estimate the power of the un-imaginative mind when it encounters an obstacle (character) it subconsciously loathes. "Re- inspiration" struck. Starbuck would go the way of most men in today's society. Starbuck would become "Stardoe". What the Suits of yesteryear had been incapable of doing to Starbuck 25 years ago was accomplished quicker than you can say orchiectomy. Much quicker. As in, "Frak! Gonads Gone!" And the word went out to all the Suits in all the smoke-free offices throughout the land of Un- imagination, "Starbuck is dead. Long live Stardoe!"
I'm not sure if a cigar in the mouth of Stardoe resonates in the same way it did in the mouth of Starbuck. Perhaps. Perhaps it "resonates" more. Perhaps that's the point. I'm not sure. What I am sure of is this…
Women are from Venus. Men are from Mars. Hamlet does not scan as Hamletta. Nor does Han Solo as Han Sally. Faceman is not the same as Facewoman. Nor does a Stardoe a Starbuck make. Men hand out cigars. Women `hand out' babies. And thus the world, for thousands of years, has gone round.
Whole article here.
Mr. Benedicts' web site here.
Wikipedia article on Dirk Benedict here.
Wikipedia article on Battlestar Galactica here. The real one. Not that abortion from 2004.
Go to Jays' Tee Vee blog main page here.