BSG at the UN: Wow, That Actually Worked!

Geek Culture

We mentioned the then-impending appearance of the producers and primary stars of Battlestar Galactica at the United Nations a few days ago. Well, the panel discussion took place Tuesday night, and, while unfortunately nobody from GeekDad was invited, I’ve seen enough of the video and read enough accounts of it to have formed an opinion: It rocked!

While it was an undeniably weird idea, it nonetheless worked out remarkably well. While I still would like to know where the idea came from, it does make sense when you really consider it: Most of the best science fiction on television has worked precisely because it has been based on ideas and conflicts that exist in today’s world, and BSG is a prime example. So why shouldn’t people who’ve been working on addressing the issues of the present in a fictional setting have a reasonable chance of providing insight on how to address the issues in reality?

They showed clips from the show and talked about some of the more controversial plot turns the show has taken, from the outlawing of abortion aboard Galactica to Tigh’s speech about why suicide bombings were useful and necessary in the resistance on New Caprica. When you think about it, the show has really covered an awful lot of tough, tough issues.

The best accounts of the evening that I’ve found came from io9 and Entertainment Weekly. You can also download a video (in RealPlayer format, alas) of the entire summit here. I wish I could’ve been there if only for the part described thusly by EW:

When one of the UN’s representatives talked about how part of their mandate was to safeguard the human rights of everyone, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, and station, Olmos got a little heated. "You never should’ve invited me here," he said, before blasting the UN for continuing to use race as a term of separation, of division among peoples. His voice rose, steadily, as if years of social activism was coming to a head on this night. Then, directing his attention to the high schoolers: "Adults will never be able to stop using the word
‘race’ as a cultural determinant….There is only one race: the human race. SO SAY WE ALL!"

I swear to you, everyone in that chamber shouted it right back at him. Because the Admiral asked us to.

And Mary McDonnell leaned over and gently wiped a tear from Olmos’ cheek.

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