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Mad Season -- "Wake Up"

Welcome to the weekly open thread for policy discussions by DK Elections regulars. While the main Daily Kos Elections blog, an official subsite of Daily Kos, is strictly a policy free zone for discussions of politics and elections only, it can sometimes be hard not to bring up policy issues when talking about particular candidates or topics. In addition, some of us might like to have a thoughtful discussion with other regular commenters at DKE on issues of policy when most of what we usually talk about pertains to elections. Thus, this open thread and the new group blog Daily Kos Elections: Policy will provide a forum to talk about issues without derailing DKE Live Digests for those who just want election coverage and debate. Feel free to follow this group and if you would like to publish a diary to the group blog page, just PM me about becoming a contributor.

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Comment Preferences

  •  BSG. Was it great or was it great?? Lol (0+ / 0-)
    •  I loved seasons 1-3 but I just thought 4 was bad (0+ / 0-)

      But I also never liked the President Rosalyn character to begin with; I just didn't find her convincing at all. But really the whole "it's religion!" answer seems to kind of beat you over the head in season 4 whereas it had taken a more nuanced path before that. It almost felt like the show got canceled so they changed the ending sort of thing.

      •  Really I actually liked Roslin a lot. (0+ / 0-)

        But I don't think they ever said it was religion. It might have taken that form because most cylons and humans seemed to believe in a higher power....and they couldn't explain the things they had witnessed. But remember Baltar's last speech:

        "I see angels, angels in this very room. Now, I may be mad, but that doesn't mean that I'm not right. Because there's another force at work here. There always has been. It's undeniable. We've all experienced it. Everyone in this room has witnessed events that they can't fathom, let alone explain by rational means. Puzzles deciphered in prophecy. Dreams given to a chosen few. Our loved ones, dead, risen. Wheather we want to call that "God" or "gods" or some sublime inspiration or a divine force we can't know or understand, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. It's here. It exists, and our two destinies are entwined in its force."
        What is the angel he sees? to the religious it might be a messenger of god, but to a scientist it might be the patterns in DNA. I think the point they made was that there are things in this universe that cannot be explained to humans; there will be aspects of the universe and existence that we will never know or understand. In fact, for me, it almost represented a knock to religion -- in that we are so inclined to classify what is unknown or mysterious as a product of divine power. Remember the theme of a cyclical nature to the universe: All of this has happened before, all of this will happen again. It was always framed as can we break the cycle of creating artificial intelligence or letting our technology take control of our existence, losing the bonds that bring human relationships and existence together. But one could also say that we need to break the cycle of superstition that plagues our species. Maybe it is the superstition of humans and cylons that led them to such calamity?

        I know we always like to have answers to something as simple as "What/who is Starbuck?" But after watching the series probably at least 6 times, I've come to understand that her identity or existence is irrelevant. Maybe she is an illusion to the people who know her? Maybe she is a cylon unaccounted for? maybe she is the creation of a divine figure? but in the end what we have learned from Starbuck is so much greater. That was always a theme between human and cylon -- for being so different, they were quite similar...maybe that applies to Starbuck too? Whatever she is, she was a part of reality and her significance doesn't change.

        I mean I get your frustration. I was somewhat disappointed the first time I saw it. I really didn't think the transition from 3 to 4 season was as well crafted out as it should have been, and I found the ending to be....interesting...

        anyways that's a small rant about it lol but I would highly recommend re-watching it.

        •  Problems with this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Skaje

          (1) There's no ambiguity on the topic of God by the end. "He doesn't like to be called that," which was I think the last line of the show. Also, the mechanics of the finale were such that the only explanation was the existence of a god essentially like the Jewish/Christian God. The whole thing about Starbuck remembering the piano keys her father pushed being the coordinates to input to get to Earth at that moment was when the show's ambiguity about religion went to die. It's possible to create a dramatic narrative which has a Biblical God in it. The show Kings did a good job of it. But you have to delineate what role God plays--the clockmaker of Thomas Jefferson? The micromanager of modern evangelicalism? The detached but interested deity of some Jewish traditions? It matters to the story which one, but Ron Moore didn't know. Finding out in the last episode that, not only does God certainly exist in the universe, but that at least one major plot point and possibly the whole show was His whim is a bit deflating.

          (2) I'm fine with dramatic ambiguity in many cases. But with Starbuck there was clearly no plan. Ron Moore saying, "She's whatever you want her to be," seemed to me like admitting there was no specific intent, she was just what the script needed her to be. Which...no thank you. It's an inappropriate use of ambiguity to kill off, then resurrect a character by mysterious means, and then never say what that was all about. It saps investment if you do not establish rules to your universe, and people can do literally anything. (See also: Heroes)

          Later BSG had a lot of good ideas to work with. They were not executed well.

          •  Funny bc the last line is quite ambiguous to me (0+ / 0-)

            It's pretty much saying, God isn't what we think it is. The line reeks of intended irony, and I have a feeling we are taking it all too literally...and in a sense repeating the "cycle." The show however is much more suggestive of a sort of pantheism; the universe is constructed by some force that the characters have spent the whole series trying to explain with gods or god or whatever. And thus, we are left wondering who is someone like Starbuck (yes it might have been an accident by all acounts, but it is a sort of poetic irony, is it not? -- and we don't know that Moore didn't intend that).  I even think your quote of Moore is somewhat in line with my argument about perception. For someone who needs an explanation for this improbable journey of a small band of humans across the universe, Starbuck might be a God or angel or whatever....but for others, she could represent the exact fact that we are just material products of reality.

            You can reduce the last line to Abrahamic monotheism, if that's the easiest way to explain it, but I think it neglects the larger point Baltar made about perception (when dealing with Cavil in the last episode)....or even yet the inability to perceive. Starbuck on a really simple level seems like a divine creation, but maybe we are physically unable to comprehend what she is...maybe we are poorly evolved creatures relative to what she is. Does her peculiar knowledge of that song mean we are all witnessing a divine suspension of reality?...possibly, but possibly not. Notice in that last scene, Caprica Six mentions the law of averages...but for once, could this journey be the coincidence that has possibly broken the cycle of our universe that has repeated trillions of times? The series is giving us one answer for sure: some things can't be explained.

            I don't want to say your wrong or that I'm right -- but I certainly think the notion of God being the answer for all our questions in the series is not as clear cut as it might seem to you on face value. For me, I took away a very different meaning, that just because we can't explain things, doesn't mean that we mean we should accept any explanation.

      •  Religion was an Achilles heel (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stephen Wolf, Skaje

        for the series. Moore & Eich clearly didn't know much about the subject. I firmly do not believe they knew whether or not God really existed in their universe for much of the run, and since they eventually decided God did exist in the BSGverse, it sapped a lot of the tension out of the series retroactively. Their constant improvising method for writing the series worked out for them for quite a while, but they drew themselves into traps later on that could have been avoided by foresight. The damning thing is, there was no reason for them to just flat out say that God did everything. They could have kept up the same ambiguity. "Perhaps a divine hand was at work in putting us near this planet that's perfectly suited to us." Woulda been much better.

        I personally think the series was at its best from the miniseries until the Pegasus arc. Those episodes were amazing, the high point of the series, and one which really deepened the themes by concretizing the abstract debates between security and freedom. To see the results that came from making different choices--and to take Cain seriously rather than just making her a strawman--was breathtaking. Up to and including that point, the series was consistent, fast-moving, well-structured and provocative. Then right after that, we got episodes about

        - Roslyn's bureaucratic career
        - The black market in the fleet
        - Some Dog Day Afternoon retread
        - The unremarkable Pegasus episode with John Heard that felt like Moore & Eick just shrugging and giving us some action for a change.
        - Scar, which was actually not bad
        - And a well-written, well-structured episode called Downloaded which was good in itself, but contained the seeds of BSG's ultimate downfall by ultimately draining all the menace and danger out of the Cylons, and making them an immature race with hearts in the right place.

        Just think about the list though. BSG before that had been consistent, week-in, week-out, we had certain kinds of stories. Cylon danger. Sabotage. Desperate fight for survival. Suddenly it was all over the place, expanding the focus, bloating out. Some series can get away with that, like The Wire, but not BSG. I simply didn't care about Adama's dead wife or racist doctors or boxing matches or any of it. I mean, the show had some scattered successes during the rest of the series, and I know there are people who prefer the later seasons where the show seems to shoot at targets with a shotgun rather than a sniper rifle. But not me.

      •  Season 4 was hit or miss (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        levlg

        But the Coup episodes from that season where two of my favorite from the series.

  •  AP calls defeat for I-522 (0+ / 0-)

    I am surprised to see I-522 fail, especially by a greater than 9 point margin as of tonight. While I voted no on the issue, I expected it would pass just from talking to people and never really running into anyone with strong feelings against it.

    I would assume the Yes campaign's biggest blunder was thinking they could focus on Seattle. Here in SW Washington for example, there was nothing from them. I saw 1 ad on TV. That was it. But I would see daily No ads and get No fliers in the mail. I know the Yes side was outspent by the No side, but that doesn't mean they didn't have any resources. Because of this, the measure is only passing in 4 out of 39 counties.

    http://vote.wa.gov/...

    Age 25, conservative Republican, WA-03 (represented by wonderful Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler)

    by KyleinWA on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 09:59:20 PM PST

    •  Thank God (0+ / 0-)

      The proponents of this liked to talk about "science," but the simple matter of fact is that science doesn't have any hard conclusions as of yet about the damned stuff, and until that moment we should leave good enough alone. If the preponderance of evidence eventually shows that they're absolutely horrible for you, sure, label them, but not until that moment and even then... idk.

      23 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

      by wwmiv on Mon Nov 11, 2013 at 01:21:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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