First of all, I’m going to get this as a tattoo:
Second, if I read one more pseudo-conservative “I AM NOT A CYLON” post wanking away about how the Cylons don’t deserve our sympathy because they wiped out humanity so we should have all the clearance we want to rape and beat and genocide their shiny metal asses, I’ll scream, I swear I will.
It’s not about them and what they did. What you are willing to do in war is not and never was about your enemies. If you’re going in with the intention that you’ll murder and rape and kill and do whatever, you’ll do that regardless of how your enemies behave. You’ll do that regardless of the level of justification they provide, because if they don’t provide the proper justification, you’ll find some come hell or high water. And it’s not some stunning act of bravery to be benevolent towards an enemy that acts with some semblance of honor, to adhere to some fucked-uply balanced sense of fairness. All that requires is a spreadsheet and a calculator. Bravery entails not responding to savagery with more savagery.
It isn’t about whether they deserve genocide. It’s about whether you can commit genocide. Not even whether you should, whether youcan. Is it within you to do such a thing? Can you carry that for the rest of your life? Can you lay that down among your burdens? And I humbly submit that every 101st Fighting Keyboarder shouting in the bar about how yeah, give him a chance and he’d do some genocidelike you’ve never seen, motherfucker, that guy would shit his pants and run the first time he stared down a gunsight. Barroom bravado is a long and time-honored tradition among assholes, but I get offended when it’s applied to my pop culture, so if you’re annoyed by the twinges of recognition you get from a story like this and want to lash out at the writers because they made you remember where you left your conscience, just stick to the stuff you understand, go play some Halo or something, and shut the fuck up.
Sympathizing with the Cylons is not the point.
It’s a kindergarten motherfucking sense of entitled, playground morality that assumes just because A is an asshole, B is blameless. It’s possible for B to grow the fuck up and act in accordance with a stable morality, instead of leveraging their evil based on some kind of flimsy “Mommy, he started it” excuse. At the end of the day, A is not your problem, because A is not your responsibility. Your behavior is your problem, and what you did to excuse it, because you are the person in charge of you. There are a lot of unanswerable questions here, but that is not one of them, and somebody should have told these motherfuckers when they were younger, because now they are grown up and I am ashamed for them. Your personhood doesn’t go in the closet until things get easier — that’s like the one thing I disagreed with Tigh about, down on New Caprica — it’s there all the time. You can’t write your bullshit self a hall pass to be “your worst” or commit atrocities right up until the very second that things get perfect and awesome, at which point like a wonderful jackpot prize you get to be who you are “at your best,” and how one of these days, you’ll get to be that you. As soon as nothing bad ever happens, nobody ever calls you an asshole, and everything is perfect and quiet and still. I’m not saying don’t “wipe ’em out,” I’m saying be really damn sure you know why you’re doing it, because that’s the only question that matters. Fucking…be better. It’s the easiest thing of the world.
My leftbreast, I would give, to be able to write like that boy.
Now click “Read More” for the spoilers.
Short things: Roslin in green is almost as gorgeous as Starbuck in the cockpit. Loved seeing Starbuck get some screen time doing something right for a change. And I think it validates my theory that Starbuck and Tigh are having offscreen May/December survivorist rage!sex that she went to him first, plus I don’t think she’s speaking to any of the other men on the ship. Lee’s faith in his father seemed sudden, given how he’s usually so eager to believe the worst of his dad. Major squick to the Baltar/Six/Threesome, because I can’t stomach the thought of one woman touching that greaseball, much less two. Three’s vision quest was fun, but I couldn’t help but think how it would have beenso much cooler if I was really high. Please, Ronald Moore, don’t turn this show into Battlestar 2001: A Cylon Odyssey, because … just don’t, okay?
Now, oh Lords of Kobol, is this one ever going to set the three fanboys who weren’t already pissed into fits of apoplexia. The people who’ve never read Arthurian legends, the people who don’t get that the way wars usually begin is because somebody gets scared or screws up or misreads a signal or fires when he’s not supposed to or just plain trips and falls on something. Those people are gonna lose it, and say the whole thing’s an anti-American parable about how we provoked 9/11 and isn’t it typical of liberal Hollywood, and I’m gonna have to bust up the barfights. Why, God? Why?
I’m starting to think the whole theme of this season is that nobody really knows the consequences of his actions in war. That we do these things, based on orders, based on instinct, based on perfectly good and reasonable and carefully-considered evidence, and they ripple out around us and by the time they hit the shore, Adama’s a warmonger and the Cylons had to attack. And I think Laura had the right approach: that the only answer to that is to continue to be who you are in the moment you’re in, be who is needed, be the right person in the right place at the right time.
Because doing penance isn’t about not fucking up. It’s not about stopping the destruction, it’s about starting to rebuild. It’s about living your life in such a way that it gives testimony to those you wronged, that it says to them, not in words but in actions, I carry you with me today. Apologies aren’t enough. You have to live differently. You have to carry that. It’s not about good guys and bad guys, and who did what that was worse than what somebody else did (and fuck you, Tigh, for throwing gasoline on that fire and then jumping in when you realized how badly you’d screwed up, not like that’s a first for you or anything) or whether there was an order or if somebody acted in the best interests of the whatever. That’s justification designed for people who are on the outside of the actions taken. That’s all it is.