ANOTHER LOOK AT STARGATE UNIVERSE
First, before I begin, I just want to say that, as I type this, I am listening to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance and loving it.
I haven’t decided yet if the images she crafts are parody and/or satire. However, even if her visual marketing is a bit repulsive, her music is unexpectedly very good.
Second, I want to mention Sarah Palin.
Her mere mention in this blog boosts my traffic tremendously. Palin is at the heart of many google searches that lead the hapless, and unsuspecting, Internet surfer to this page – second only to searches for smiley faces.
Don’t ask me why, but thousands upon thousands of you out there access this blog using terms like “smiley,” “smiley face,” “smily face,” “evil smiley” and “evil smiley face.” If you are reading this, then the odds are you got here looking for an evil smiley face.
As for you who out there who found my page using google searches centering on Sarah Palin – and there are more of you every day – please take my word for it that you won’t find any nude pictures of Palin here.
Nor will you find any photos or discussions or any jokes even remotely related to any of the following apparently popular search terms:
Sarah Palin feet
Sarah Palin feets
Sarah Palin shoes
Sarah Palin Girl Scout
Sarah Palin Girl Scout Hat
Sarah Palin bullet bra
Sarah Palin donkey
Sarah Palin naughty nurse
Sarah Palin dog collar
Sarah Palin smoking
Sarah Palin smoking cigarettes
Sarah Palin cheerleader
Sarah Palin cheer leader
Sarah Palin dominatrix
Sarah Palin dominetrix
Sarah Palin dominutrix
Sarah Palin Navajo sweat lodge
Sarah Palin sweet lodge
Sarah Palin colonoscopy
Sarah Palin nasal passage
Sarah Palin sexy
Sarah Palin sexy cyborg
These are not all of the search terms related to Sarah Palin that have lead people to this blog, but they are some of the most troubling ones.
Who are you people? Do you live anywhere near me? Because if you do, I am moving the hell away. ”Sarah Palin nasal passage?” “Sarah Palin sexy cyborg?” What on earth is going on? Are you out of your piggy little minds?
Look, let’s cut to the chase: if photos of anything even remotely related to any of those search terms existed, then I would have posted them. But there aren’t any – at least not yet. I fully expect that, once her political star sinks, as it surely will, she will attempt to cash in on her name and reignite her celebrity by “accidentally” posting a sex tape or nude pics the way Carrie Prejean did.
The lure of easy money is the greatest weakness from which white trash suffers.
I am utterly convinced that the continuing revelations about Carrie Prejean’s multiple sex tapes (self-shot) and porno pics are part of a liberal conspiracy to discredit attractive but stupid right wing ultra Christian women who hate homosexuals.
But I digress. I am really here to talk about Stargate Universe. I am a new participant on a blog hosted by the Brisbane Times and authored by John Birmingham, author of Without Warning and the Axis of Time series – all of which I enjoyed, have reread and highly recommend.
John’s blog is called The Geek and you can find it by going here. The Geek is devoted to issues designed to appeal to everyone’s inner nerd – i.e., questions centering on computers, technology and, lately, science fiction. If you want to see what the Geek is all about, just sample the sparkling discussion by clicking here.
Most recently in the Geek John has expressed his appreciation for Stargate Universe, a new series on the SyFi cable network. Thus far I’ve based my criticism on the show’s lack of sexy space chicks.
But John’s recent opinion, the comments from some of his regular visitors, and the undeniable fact that the last SG-U episode was really very good, has forced me to get serious and explain why I am critical of the show. What follows expands on the comment I left at the Geek.
To better explain why I haven’t liked SG-U until this last episode requires a short history of popular science fiction. In the beginning, science fiction was part of “high culture,” written by amazingly proficient writers like Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, Edwin Abbott Abbott and H.G. Wells (“the Early Masters”).
It wasn’t even called science fiction; it was, instead, referred to as “scientific romance.” Then, in the late 1920’s in New York City, science fiction crept into pulp magazines and became popularized. Lots of people read it, but, as literature, it was rubbish and even the best SF writers were, compared with the Early Masters, uneducated amateur hacks. But, like circus geeks who dream of playing Carnegie Hall, these pulp fiction hacks dreamed of critical recognition.
This desire for critical recognition for science fiction started a slow climb towards legitimacy – which required writers to display proficiency as well as imagination. Harlan Ellison was and still is part of this effort.
Unlike most science fiction writers of his time, Ellison began his career writing in the mainstream. In the 1950’s he wrote about youth gangs. In the 1960’s he wrote erotica. In the 1960’s he began selling scripts for science fiction television programs like Star Trek and The Outer Limits. These scripts were remarkably well written (Star Trek – The City on the Edge of Forever; The Outer Limits – Demon With the Glass Hand) and stood out as perhaps the best episodes of those series, garnering legitimate critical acclaim.
In the 1970’s Ellison became one of the leaders in the movement to legitimize science fiction. His own stories injected more mature themes into the genre – resulting in critical and commercial success. His short story A Boy and His Dog – culminating with the hero and his pet eating the heroine – was produced as a movie.
Ellison’s efforts to improve science fiction were inventive. Way before the rest of the world became aware how language colors perception, Ellison attempted to remove the stigma associated with science fiction by insisting I be referred to only as “speculative fiction.”
Ellison was part of a movement that raised the bar on what to expect from science fiction. These efforts brought big benefits: over the years that followed, Sci Fi writers slowly died out and have been replaced by writers who incidentally employ science fiction concepts and constructs. This is not a trivial change. Writers today – such as John Birmingham – are writers first, serious about the craft of writing. Science fiction concepts and constructs are devices used to help tell the story.
Before the reform movement described above, it used to be the other way around: science fiction concepts and constructs took precedent over story. For example, more often than not, any given science fiction story focused on space ships, ray guns and, yes, space chicks.
The story itself was incidental to these factors. So now we come to Stargate Universe. This new program results from the desire to legitimize science fiction and focus on story and not on ray guns or space chicks.
That is SG-U’s strength, but it is also its weakness, because, in their efforts to inject real drama into science fiction, the SG-U writers and producers have forgotten who their audience is.
There is nothing wrong with well-written drama. What I saw last night on SG-U wasn’t melodramatic and wasn’t soap opera. It was well written, well directed drama. But those responsible for SG-U have forgotten that guys who grew up thrilled by space chicks and space battles make up SG-U’s audience.
Even the recent reinvention of Battlestar Galactica sprinkled amazing drama with the occasional amazing space battle – AND it included the occasional space chick.
That’s what kept us watching our television screens while really well written, well acted and well-directed drama took place.
Bertolt Brecht believed that literature and art should educate the viewer. I believe that SG-U’s writers and producers are trying to educate the fan boys into appreciating drama. Or they have decided that BSG did the educating and now was the time to make the final transition from pop culture back to high culture. Either way, those responsible for SG-U were and are wrong. The fan boys still want space battles and space chicks. Drama is fine – especially if it is well written – but please remember who your audience is. BSG succeeded because it emphasized story but never became dull. You can do it, too.