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Battlestar Galactica Hosted At the UN 252

Posted by timothy
from the bizarro-world-doesn't-quite-begin dept.
TheDopp writes "The United Nations hosted the cast and crew of Battlestar Galactica Tuesday evening in New York. Clips of the show were shown as discussion points during the event, touching on the morality of Suicide Bombers in war, Abortion and the use of torture on enemies of the state. At one point during the event an attendee mentions 'the "Old Man" launched into a passionate speech about casting off the idea of race as a cultural determinant, and said we were one race, the human race. His voice echoed throughout the chamber growing louder until — I kid you not — he was yelling, "So Say We All," and the crowd answered right back. Hell, even I yelled it, I was in the fraking United Nations with Adama, the gods themselves could not have stopped this moment.' The full video of the event is located on the UN website."
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Battlestar Galactica Hosted At the UN

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  • Video (Score:5, Informative)

    by Imagix (695350) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:03PM (#27259855)
    RealMedia? People still use RealMedia?
  • Quick....! (Score:4, Funny)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:05PM (#27259897) Homepage Journal
    Someone send in some Cylons!!!
  • Did they mention (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:16PM (#27260089) Homepage

    That the whole story is essentially one 4 season long dissertation on the "wages of sin" and even "generational sin?" The recurring sins of sloth and bigotry finally keep coming back to haunt the human race. Sloth lead to two of the colonies being treated horribly until the Cylons could be created as a worker class. The Cylons eventually realized that they were slaves and revolted, and that pattern has repeated itself at least once already.

    In a dark, twisted way, the series is more religious and conservative than the original one. A lot of fans of the original hate that because it's more like a Hobbesian/Calvinist take on human nature, sin, God's judgment, etc. with the human race not being portrayed as noble, but having its own sins come back to haunt it. As a Christian, I find it a very refreshing show in that it has a brutally realistic take on human nature, sin and other factors that are usually ignored by people looking to create a simplistic "good guys in white, bad guys in black" kind of moral dichotomy.

    • Good guys in tan jackets, bad guys in chrome!

      Of course, there were the really good guys who glowed white.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by elrous0 (869638) *

        "Good guys in tan jackets"

        No one with hair like that could have been called in any way "good."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by khallow (566160)
      No offense, but I found the moralizing tiresome and contrived. Too many dumb moral lessons like "racism == bad" or "there are no good guys in the world". A lot of random garbage apparently intended to confuse the audience and/or inject a simulation of moral ambiguity, eg, the five hidden cylons.

      A common subplot is the cardboard character that has a surprising revelation and turns into a different cardboard character.

      My take is that while the new series does have a little more moral depth to it than th
      • I don't know where you had the "racism == bad" lesson. If anything the story with the doctor was more of "racism == persistent." And just because you believe/pretend it's not there, doesn't mean it's not. It also shows that if you ignore the warning signs you are complacent.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        You should have watched The Last Frakkin' Special on Monday night. Ronald Moore made it clear that no one was totally good or bad. Everyone in the series had their good points along with their bad. It's the way I've been watching the show since the first season when I saw that Gaius Baltar was neither good or bad.

        I don't actually see much moralizing in the show. To me it's just a bunch of people trying to make do with a very difficult situation. And then out of nowhere people die for no good reason!

        • BINGO! You've got exactly my interpretation which means you're probably right. The show is great precisely because it is realistic in the sense that their problems, like real-world problems, never have an elegant solution that'll please everyone and make everything all better.

      • Racism == bad is just a dumb moral lesson? Sloth and bigotry aren't common real-world problems? Gosh. I must live on the wrong planet.
  • Hey, finally a story that matches my sig!! Too bad it has to appear in idle, which sullies everything that it touches by association. :( (and is there any reason the comment box is suddenly appearing small?)

    Events like this give me hope, because it is proof that people want to get together and be united, we don't have to have a common 'enemy' in order to make ourselves feel good. The fervor shown at this meeting sounds as great as that at any religious meeting, and it was in favor of everyone being toget
  • by Hordeking (1237940) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:22PM (#27260183)
    Seriously. Why do actors and actresses who pretend to be politicans and soldiers for tv and movies get more influence over "real world" politics like the UN than I do? Does the US constitution even have a sovereignty clause that forbids allowing foreign sovereignty (for instance, by the UN), or is that just an interpretation? I can't find one, but I'm at work (and posting on /., yeah I know)
    • by MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:33PM (#27260323)

      Seriously. Why do actors and actresses who pretend to be politicans and soldiers for tv and movies get more influence over "real world" politics like the UN than I do?

      Um, because Slashdot wouldn't have a story on its front page if you were to visit the UN?

      • by genner (694963) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:12PM (#27260875)

        Seriously. Why do actors and actresses who pretend to be politicans and soldiers for tv and movies get more influence over "real world" politics like the UN than I do?

        Um, because Slashdot wouldn't have a story on its front page if you were to visit the UN?

        Oh I guarantee I would make the news if I visted the UN....which is why they won't invite me.

    • by qbzzt (11136)

      Why do actors and actresses who pretend to be politicans and soldiers for tv and movies get more influence over "real world" politics like the UN than I do?

      Because they look better than you. Seriously, a large part of politics is about PR - and actors are useful for that.

      Does the US constitution even have a sovereignty clause that forbids allowing foreign sovereignty (for instance, by the UN), or is that just an interpretation?

      The fact that the constitution is the supreme law of the land. This means that no

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The fact that the constitution is the supreme law of the land. This means that no treaty has the power to modify it.

        Theoretically. The document itself has become more and more symbolic over time and it's been less held as "law of the land." It's been used more for political maneuvering among all three branches. That is inevitably what happens when you have a "Living Constitution" interpretation and not a strict "constructionist" one where any changes must be ratified, because you can just claim that yo
        • by jmorris42 (1458) *

          > When you're not held to a constant literal meaning of law, then the law simply
          > means whatever the interpreter wants it to mean and whatever
          > they can get away with through that interpretation.

          Or more simply, we exchanged the Rule of Law for the Rule of Men.

          • Is that more a good thing or a bad thing?
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by jmorris42 (1458) *

              > Is that more a good thing or a bad thing?

              If you have to ask.....

              The idea that the Rule of Law had to prevail over the Rule of Men was probably the highest achievement of the Western system of thought. None of the rest is possible to keep without it. It is one of the central ideas encoded in the Arthur legends it goes back so far and is embedded so deep in our culture. It required generations of control over government schools to produce a population clueless enough to renounce that inheritance.

              • OK, I generally agree with you. I'm not sure there was some conspiracy over "government schools" brainwashing students, but yes, "rule of men" is not something I'm quite fond of.

                The reason I asked is because I'm sure some people rather like the idea of "rule of men." It sounds so populist.

                Of course, I went through a public school civics class like everyone else. The instructor, a democrat, didn't very much like my joke of blurting out "terrorists in the White House" to a friend as a joke and would not ev

                • It's not just politicians that get the royal treatment. Have you paid any attention to the way people treat and think of Hollyweird celebrities? That's a real aristocracy. As sad as it was we would never have heard of Natasha Richardson's accident had she not been a famous actress. Lindsay Lohan would just be another dim-bulb if not for her acting.

                  I guess if people don't have a real aristocracy they create one.

                  And people say the South lost the war.

          • Men write the Laws. What's the difference?

            • by jmorris42 (1458) *

              > Men write the Laws. What's the difference?

              For the readers educated in government schools.... Some might get some of this eventually.

              The difference is night and day. In the Rule of Men whatever the current President/King/Emperor/etc says is Law. This is basically what we now have, Constituition be damned, if The Supremes say it it is Law and they aren't bound by any external force or agreement. And we have been conditioned to accept this as legitimate justice.

              With the Rule of Law the laws are writte

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by el_gordo101 (643167)

        Because they look better than you. Seriously, a large part of politics is about PR - and actors are useful for that.

        Then why Edward James Olmos? He's a fine actor, but he looks like someone set his face on fire and then put it out with a pitchfork.

    • by BorgCopyeditor (590345) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:53PM (#27260607)

      Because if you shouted "So say we all," it would sound silly.

      When EJO shouts it, people want--no, need--to obey.

      • by genner (694963)

        Because if you shouted "So say we all," it would sound silly.

        When EJO shouts it, people want--no, need--to obey.

        Yeah, otherwise you might get a strongly worded letter from them.

    • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:13PM (#27260889) Journal
      I'm unsure that politicians and soldiers are more qualified. People did not applaud an actor. They applauded a beautiful idea told by a great orator. That is no acting, that is what politics is since the word exists.
      • by smoker2 (750216)
        mod parent up
      • by eepok (545733) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @05:20PM (#27261805) Homepage

        Indeed. Whether a political philosophy or better understanding about our living society comes from someone who was voted into bureaucratical power or someone who "merely" has cultural influence bestowed by science fiction, that philosophy and that understanding is significant on its own. They were not applauding "Adama" nor were they applauding Olmos. They applauded a proper philosophy about the being of man in the halls of a building that has been trying to make such strong assertions for decades-- if ever so impotently.

        The people that made this entire event happen understood that, beyond all things, old people want to stay in power but they do not change. Society changes. And the only way society changes is by the growth and further education of the youth that will replace our now-ignorant elders. They understood that we as adults have been so very flawed and that our kids need to know our mistakes and errors lest they be doomed to repeat them.

    • I know it's not directly tied to your post, but your words immediately got me thinking about Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who is the chief medical correspondent on CNN and was a nominee for US Surgeon General. He's a very well-spoken professional and is not shy about sharing his opinions on medical issues such as universal coverage and embryonic cell research.

    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:34PM (#27261169) Homepage Journal

      Seriously. Why do actors and actresses who pretend to be politicans and soldiers for tv and movies get more influence over "real world" politics like the UN than I do?

      Because they have an audience larger than the population of many UN member states. Seriously.

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      Why do actors and actresses who pretend to be politicans and soldiers for tv and movies get more influence over "real world" politics like the UN than I do?

      There's a lot of smart, well spoken people with good ideas. Nobody has ever heard of them. People have heard of the actors from various shows, even though actors are, as a population, stupid, narcissistic, and shortsighted.

    • Does the US constitution even have a sovereignty clause that forbids allowing foreign sovereignty (for instance, by the UN), or is that just an interpretation?

      If the US weren't sovereign, what the Constitution says wouldn't matter because the sovereign entity could override it. It does say this, though:

      This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land;

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:26PM (#27260237)

    Jason Nesmith: Mathesar, there's no such person as Captain Taggart. My name is Jason Nesmith. I'm an actor. We're all actors.
    Sarris: He doesn't understand. Explain as you would a child.
    Jason Nesmith: We, uh, we pretended.
    [On Malthesar's blank look]
    Jason Nesmith: We lied.
    Jason Nesmith: I'm not a commander. There's no "National Space Exploration Administration." We don't have a ship.
    Mathesar: [looking at TV screen] But there it is...
    Jason Nesmith: [gesturing with his fingers] The ship is that big.
    Mathesar: But inside, I see many rooms.
    Jason Nesmith: You've seen plywood sets that look like the inside. Our beryllium sphere is... is wire with plaster around it. And our digital conveyor is... it's Christmas tree lights. It's a decoration. It's all fake. Just like me.
    Mathesar: But why...?
    Jason Nesmith: It's difficult to explain. On our planet, we, uh... we pretend to... to entertain. Mathesar, I am so sorry. God, I am so sorry.

  • by PK Tech Guy (1310715) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @03:51PM (#27260585)
    can pass a resolution to stop SciFi from becoming Syfy.
    • by sammyo (166904)

      If they were actually cool and clever the new tag would be

                Very Dynamic

    • by JustNiz (692889)

      Yeah what IS that about anyway?
      Just because most teenage texters can't spell, why inflict it on the rest of the world? If you want to shorten SCI-FI even further, Whats wrong with the existing (and shorter than SyFy) convention of using "SF" anyway?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Y.A.A.P. (1252040)

      Er, why would you want to stop a good thing from happening?

      With the current SciFi channel changing their name to Syfy, there's a chance that someone who wants to make a real science fiction channel could finally come along and use the name 'SciFi'. You know, a channel that wouldn't air pro-wrestling, "reality" shows, and an unending stream of movies featuring giant snakes...

  • I watched the clip on youtube and maybe I missed something, but Olmos seems to be making a big deal about a little thing. He claims that race does not equal culture and that the word race has been misapplied to culture to justify the killing of other humans because "you can't kill your own race."

    I don't think it makes one iota of difference whether you think the term "race" applies to a group of shared ideals and customs or a set of common chromosomes. People will always come up with a way to portray thei

    • Isn't that, you know, kind of the overarching theme of the show? The dehumanizing of your enemies to the point where no atrocity is unacceptable because the enemy is not just different, but fundamentally inferior to you.

      Maybe Olmos doesn't get it completely, but the writters of the show clearly set out to make the point from the beginning. Even the noblest characters in the show do horrible things and only very slowly realize that cylons are human in every way that matters.

  • Even after 10 years, RealMedia still buffers and stutters and looks terrible.
    Can someone please post a link to teh full 2 hour BSG UN discussion?

  • Usually folks tend to turn to religion and mystic stuff, when their whole existence is in total disorder. But the UN looking at a science fiction series for advice?

    We're doomed.

    Are there any rockets scheduled to leave the Earth real soon? Now I know what motivated that bat on the space shuttle.

    • Oh come now. It wasn't like EJO and Ron Moore were deciding international policy. It was a freaking -- excuse me, "frakking" -- public forum, a roundtable discussion, an intellectual wankoff at worst and a thought-provoking dialog at best. If it makes you feel any better, the same kind of talks are held at the UN all the time, and they even feature real life experts in sociology and stuff.

      It's just nice for a change to see somebody speaking whom I might actually know of.

      Besides, BSG constantly tells stor

  • by Murpster (1274988) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:29PM (#27261107)
    Lorne Greene is dead, so there's no way Adama was just at the UN.
  • by sammyo (166904) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:32PM (#27261141) Journal

    It's TV show, it is not how the real world works... oh, wait

    It's the UN, it is not how the real world works.

  • This is disturbing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maynard (3337) <[j.maynard.gelinas] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:48PM (#27261379) Journal

    Battlestar Galactica is a television show. It's a fine enough show I guess, but it is not worthy of wasting the time of a body that meets ostensibly to diplomatically resolve real world conflicts, forge various international agreements, and - at times - deploy troops for peacekeeping. That television show is fantasy. What's going on at Darfur is the real thing.

    WTF?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by the_raptor (652941)

      Only the UN security council really does anything that involves military interventions. And this wasn't the general assembly let alone the security council.

      And actually the main job of the UN is to dick around and make it look like international law and treaties aren't made in shady backroom deals.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by initialE (758110)

      What's going on in the UN is, for the most part, also fantasy.

  • Hippocrite? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by doug141 (863552) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @04:57PM (#27261507)

    If I understand him, the word "race" can't be used as a "cultural determinant" UNLESS you are blaming something on "the caucasian race", like he does at 1:42 in the video on youtube.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sasayaki (1096761)

      He was clearly being sarcastic when he said that. If he was writing it, he would have written it thusly;

      The... "caucasian"... race, wanted to etc.

      It was quite clear to me.

  • by greymond (539980) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @05:05PM (#27261613) Homepage Journal

    why the UN is never taken seriously by anyone, anywhere, at anytime about anything.

  • I like the Stross version of the post-Singularity UN in the 24th century [google.com]:

    "Once, the fringe anarchists used to think the UN was some kind of quasi-fascist world government. Back in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, when strong government was in fashion because the whole planetary civilization was suffering from future shock, because it was approaching a Singularity. After that passed, though--well, there weren't a lot of viable authoritarian governments left, and the more rigid they were, the less we

  • White race... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by irving47 (73147) on Friday March 20, 2009 @12:59AM (#27265139) Homepage

    The white race started racism 600 years ago? That little pearl of wisdom pretty much invalidated the whole clip for me. I may have been a geeky Trek fanboy years ago, but just because I really enjoy BSG doesn't mean I'm going to swallow THAT.

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