Rough Book

random musings of just another computer nerd

Tag: democracy

The Battlestar Galactica Series Finale was Frakking Awesome, ok?

I know the finale was broadcast last weekend, but I didn’t get to see it until a few days ago. If you haven’t seen it yet (or if you haven’t seen the series at all and are planning to start), don’t read any further because there are spoilers!

The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica earned itself a place in my list of “All-time favorite Sci-Fi shows” (alongside Star Trek: TNG, Star Trek: DS9, Stargate SG-1, X-Files, and Doctor Who (2004)) pretty much after the first season. During its run it was arguably “the best show on television”. Although the series faltered a tiny bit during the 3rd season, I have never seen such a well-written show with fully-fleshed out characters, a gripping story line, complex existential, religious, militaristic, and moral themes, and gritty, exciting action. The success and superior quality of the show is further supported by the fact that it attracted an audience that traditionally doesn’t watch Sci-Fi. In fact, many of my friends who don’t usually watch Sci-Fi (to the extent that some of them actually dislike it) instantly liked the show despite its obvious Sci-Fi underpinnings. The themes of the show were especially valid in a post-9/11 world. Here is a (by no means comprehensive) list of issues that the series tried to address:

  • The effectiveness of armed insurgency or suicide bombing
  • Personal safety (or the illusion thereof) at the expense of personal freedom
  • Civilian versus Military rule
  • The importance of wearing the uniform, military service, and upholding the oath you swear when you sign up (an aspect that particularly appealed to me)
  • Divine intervention, divine providence, fate, and destiny
  • An examination of the human condition in the direst of circumstances (when the survival of humanity is at stake)
  • An attempt to answer the question of what it means to be Human

The series had a message that was so pertinent and so valid, that the cast was invited to a summit at the UN. To quote Robert Orr, the Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Planning, “You’ve got people thinking about issues that we try and get people thinking about every day.”

Ok, now that I’ve done more than enough gushing about the show, let me go onto the finale. I know that this subject has already been beaten to death since the finale aired, but I want to put in my two cents. The finale was frakking awesome ok? A lot of people are complaining that the finale didn’t address every single question that they had, and that there are some loose ends. Some of them are even complaining that the finale was a little too long, and even that the enter finale was a cop-out resolved by deus ex machina. Ok, they’re entitled to their opinion… but really? Yes, there were some deus ex machina moments (like Starbuck realizing that the opening strains to Watchtower were actually FTL co-ordinates to our Earth) that require a leap of faith. But that’s the point. I mean, what explanation were you expecting for Head Six and Head Baltar? Are they angels or demons? Schizophrenic hallucinations? No one really knows, and that’s fine. The point is that there we don’t know everything and that there isn’t an answer for everything.

You could make the argument that the writers had too grandiose of a vision, and that they had too many plot points, leading to some that were apparently unresolved. But again, it’s a matter of opinion, and it is quite subjective. For example, consider Kara Thrace. What is she? An angel? I don’t know, and I’m fine with that. She was apparently born with a destiny and with a task to perform. From the series you can tell that all her life she has been searching for a purpose. Her entire life has been an existential crisis and a search for relevance and validation. This search is finally realized when she finally leads Humanity to a permanent home.

The weakest part, arguably, of the finale was after they find our Earth. The surviving population is apparently content to leave behind all their advanced technology and start a pastoral life on Earth. This didn’t completely sit well with me. I found it a little hard to believe. One could argue that the human population on the ships haven’t really been leading a good life for the past four years. They have essentially been refugees the whole time. I guess you could argue that wouldn’t want any reminders of those difficult four years and would want to start completely anew. But I still have a hard time believing that the entire population would agree to that. In fact, when it became obvious that they had arrived on a pre-historic (150,000 years ago to be exact) Earth, I imagined that the population would probably split into two camps: one hanging on the the advanced technology, and another abandoning it completely. There would presumably be no contact between the two, and the technological group, to minimize their impact on Earth’s indigenous population would perhaps retreat to an island that subsequently gets destroyed by a natural disaster. It seems like a neater conclusion to the story. But this wasn’t the case, and even still, I don’t think it ruins the overall message of the finale or the series.

Then you have the final few minutes where we find out that the colonials landed on an Earth 150,000 years in our past. Though the finale could have ended with the scene where Admiral Adama sits on the hill beside President Laura Roslyn’s grave, talking to her while looking at the sunset, I think the final sequence presents a clearer message about the cyclical nature of human history, and about death and rebirth. I also liked how they pointed out Hera’s significance to Humanity and Cylons in the end, when it is revealed that she is Mitochondrial Eve. Finally, I also liked the conversation between Head Six and Head Baltar at the end where they compare our current civilization to the past human civilizations on old Earth, Kobol, and the Twelve Colonies (playing into the whole “cylical nature of history”/”death-rebirth” concept) but also note that there is always a chance that humanity won’t chose a self-destructive path again. I know that some people found the ending montage of the robots to be a little cheesy, but I think it was pertinent in the sense that humanity has always advanced faster in technology than in social maturity (Lee Adama talks about the same thing during the finale) and that we really need to be careful. With that, the series finally ended on a cautionary, though optimistic note.

Well, that’s my two cents on the series finale. If I had to condense that into two words, I’d say it like I said before: Frakking Awesome!

Being a part of history…

Being part of a historically significant event is not something everyone can claim, and this is why I feel so privileged to be part of one today. This was the very first election I voted in since I got my citizenship last year, and I can’t find words to describe my pride in being a part of the greatest democracy on earth, and also being part of a historically significant moment in this nation’s history. 232 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, this nation gets its first African-American President.

I just heard McCain’s speech where he conceded the election to Obama. I’ve always admired Senator McCain; his (pre-campaign) moderate views have always appealed to me. I was quite touched when I heard his speech, especially on his emphasis on how all of us need to rally together as Americans (in spite of repeated booings from the audience, which he asked them to stop) behind President-elect Obama. His core message was that in spite of all our differing views and opinions, the one thing we have in common is that we are all Americans and as such we all have to work together to take this country through the difficult times it is facing.

This campaign has been a long and hard one, but at the end of it all I think we can all say that this election has been a shining example of the best system of governance in the world – democracy. I’m looking forward to the future with a lot of hope. The next four years are going to be full of change. I hope it is a change for the better and I think we can make it so if we all rally behind the President as Americans, because it’s not the President that makes America a great nation. Americans make America a great nation.

Update:
I just heard Obama’s victory speech. I wonder… will children be learning about it in school a hundred years from now? I think they will and they should be, because what I heard was that America has not lost its way. It is still a shining beacon of democracy to the world. This election just proved it.

Laloo Prasad Yadav is a retard

India is the world’s largest democracy, and Indian politics is interesting. It’s amazing that anything actually gets done. The government is a bureaucracy-choked mass and moves like drunk tortoise wading through tar, whereas at other times it surprises everyone by flashing by like a hyperactive cheetah on speed. But anyway, that is another issue.

A fucking retardIndia has some amazing politicians, but it also has some real rotten ones – ones that abuse the system. I’d like you to take a look at the picture at the right. Look at that face. Personally, I think it would look much better with a baseball (or cricket) bat being smashed against it, or even better, with a spear through it. That man right there is Laloo Prasad Yadav. This stinking pile of crap has an entry in Wikipedia – so go ahead and read it to get the backstory on him. He is one of India’s most infamous and reviled politicians. Anyway, you might be wondering what instigated this rant on my part. Well, this morning, I read this article from ExpressIndia. Here are some snippets from it:

Laloo a pain in the neck for UPA

Posted online: Friday, May 13, 2005 at 0920 hours IST
Updated: Friday, May 13, 2005 at 1234 hours IST

New Delhi, May 13: Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav has turned out to be an all around grief for the Congress-led UPA government and for India as a whole with his shenanigans making institutions of democracy crash to a virtual standstill.

… institution to come under assault was the Election Commission whose two commissioners B.B. Tandon and N. Gopalaswami were deliberately targeted by Laloo…

After Laloo’s accusations Prime Minister officially backed the Election Commission saying it was an institution to be respected. But, this in turn made Laloo see red and the entity that he attacked next was that of the Prime Minister.

Laloo went to the extent of defying the PM when he met Manmohan Singh and still asked for the heads of both the commissioners, thereby taking the fight straight to the top. HE did the unthinkable in a Parliamentary democracy by defying the PM.

His presence has overshadowed the state of Bihar too. His ability to retain power here, whether as Chief Minister, married to CM or even merely as head of RJD, has ensured that Bihar remains a troubled state.

Also, as Railway Minister, when the Sabarmati Express crashed in Gujarat, Laloo at once turned all the attention away from the accident by targeting Modi. His car was stoned and he blamed Gujarat CM Narendra Modi for instigating it.

In short, what is clear from Laloo’s actions is that he will take any and all steps to save his skin.

Laloo Prasad Yadav, for India, is like ozone layer [sic], he has caused a huge hole that is making the UPA government to burn out. Is the same happening to India? What we are looking at, on a national scale, is the gradual Biharisation of India.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what this man is doing to India. He is a retard. Retarded dumb-shits like these make me really, really angry. Personally, I would like to see him in front of a firing squad. Perhaps that’s too extreme. How about solitary confinement for the rest of his life? That would be good too. It is beyond me how such an obviously corrupt and pathetic man (who is barely literate) can become the Railway Minister. But as they say… “It happens only in India”. I hope he suffers an accident or something soon. Like slip on a banana peel and hit his head and go into a coma… for a long, long time. Am I going to hell for wishing all this on him? Nah… I will be doing the world a favour.

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