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My favorite Faux Space Family begins its trek across wherever. Let's talk about:

- 33
- Water
- Bastille Day

Jacob never recapped this season, so there's a dearth of pith and wisdom out there and I feel like we can fix that. (Plus, "dearth of pith"? That was fun to say.)

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marymary
Nov. 24th, 2006 05:50 am (UTC)
Water
I thought I'd kick off a discussion of "Water". Feel free to post more on "33" and stuff, but I think the four of us active here have seen at least through "Water" so we might as well dive in. :)

Sorry, this first post is going to be long.
Lee tells Bill he’s been thinking about the Olympic Carrier.
Bill: “That was three days ago.”
Lee: “As leaders, don’t we have a responsibility to question ourselves?”
Bill: “A man takes responsibility for his actions, right or wrong. He accepts the consequences and lives with them, every day.”

Having watched from the beginning until now, I am a fan of Commander Adama. But this incredible exchange really illustrates the early father/son struggle for them.
• Bill’s first comment, “three days ago” minimizes Lee’s concern; he’s basically calling him a wimp for whining about it. “It” being the possible killing of over 1000 civilians. You know, whatever.
• Bill’s comment, starting with “A man takes responsibility….” IMO, when someone starts a statement that way, it’s completely loaded. The “man” in question is the speaker. He’s the real man, make no mistake. The speaker is therefore putting the listener, the other, in the role of “not a man” --- the one who needs to be schooled on what it is to be a man. The unbelievable hubris of one person defining himself as the very prototype for his sex, and defining the other as less than that --- I can’t tell you how I much I hate that.
• What’s even more incredible is that Bill’s criterion for manhood is being met by Lee, by his question. Lee is saying that they should examine their actions --- to be responsible, to become better as leaders. That is taking responsibility for his actions. Blaming his actions on the order or the situation would be deflecting that responsibility.
• I think it’s really touching the way Lee phrases the question. “As leaders, don’t we have the responsibility…” He’s defining himself as part of Bill’s dynasty, which speaks to Bill’s whole purpose in life. He’s validating Bill’s role as the head of this dynasty --- the position, the very mind-set which Lee believes ended his brother’s life. (Lee believes that Bill couldn’t accept that Zach wasn’t destined for a life in the military, like the rest of his family.) So Lee has stopped blaming Bill for Zach’s death, it seems. And the question also places Lee as willing student to Bill. He’s no longer challenging his father, but seeking to learn from him at a time when he (Lee) is really struggling with something.

Even sweeter is the bookend to this, at the end of the episode. Roslin opens the subject, without anything from Lee.

Roslin: “I know what a hard thing that is to live with, for all of us.”
Lee: “A man… (he repeats almost the same thing that Bill said to him)”
Roslin: “But a leader remembers and learns from his mistakes.”

Maybe not surprisingly, Lee repeats nearly the same thing that Bill said to him. But Roslin says to Lee what Lee had said to his father in the first place. That leaders have a responsibility to question themselves. Roslin heals the wound, brings Lee back to his original, correct, feeling on this. Roslin is the typical mother --- concerned about his feelings, reaching out without being prompted, healing him. Watch for these “mom and dad” scenes with Roslin/Adama. They don’t always play the same way, but there are family roles to be filled on BG. Roslin and Adama are the parents; Lee, Kara, Sharon, Billy etc. are the children and the siblings to each other.
tomfoolery815
Nov. 24th, 2006 07:00 am (UTC)
Re: Water
I agree and disagree. I'm about to draw a TWW comparison; I know I keep doing that, but I haven't liked too many shows this much.

The “man” in question is the speaker. He’s the real man, make no mistake. The speaker is therefore putting the listener, the other, in the role of “not a man” --- the one who needs to be schooled on what it is to be a man.
Definitely. Bill is definitely saying to Lee "You are deficient in manhood here." But that is a role that fathers believe they play for their sons: Defining manhood. Bill's ignoring the fact that Lee already is an adult.

The unbelievable hubris of one person defining himself as the very prototype for his sex, and defining the other as less than that --- I can’t tell you how I much I hate that.
I'm not sure it's always as hubristic as that. I think, sometimes, it's more "my father taught this to me, and his father taught it to him." That's how I see it in the case of Bill and Lee. Bill may even think that he hasn't taught Lee this particular lesson; maybe fathers never stop thinking of their role in these terms. Clearly Bill thinks Lee still needs this schooling.

There is, I think, a difference when a man does the "A man ..." bit to a peer. I'm thinking of Matt and Ricky on last Monday's "Studio 60," and Leo to Jed in "Let Bartlet be Bartlet" (Charlie goes anyway "... because a man stands up.") When peers do it, it's more "You know the standard of manhood I'm talking about." When it's peers as opposed to father/son, there's no disadvantageous position. There's still an implicit challenge, but it's "you know" rather than "it appears you don't know."

Plus, a man also is free to disagree with the other man's definition of manhood. It's not as if any of this is written down anywhere. Sometimes a man stands up by saying to the other man "You're wrong."

And the question also places Lee as willing student to Bill.
True. Which, to me, says Lee is willing to attend more of Professor Bill's Manhood Lectures. It doesn't necessarily mean he's going to practice manhood the same way. His willingness to listen to Laura shows his willingness to not practice leadership exactly as his father would.

(There's a scene in "Hero" that connects to this topic nicely.)
marymary
Nov. 24th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Water
I understand that fathers consider it part of their role to define manhood for their sons. And I think Bill's version is realistic. The version of a good father would be more like, "You are a man that I'm proud of, and here's why." Or "It's ok for a man to question himself. How can I help you?" Here, Bill is 1) belittling Lee for his question, 2) distancing himself from Lee by differentiating them on this "manhood" thing, 3) discouraging further openness from Lee.

To me, the "man" thing always has a tinge of macho to it, unless it's being said as a joke (in which case I very much appreciate it :). It not only differentiates the speaker from "others", but from women. If "a man" is strong, or "a man" leads by example...what is "a woman"?

Which, to me, says Lee is willing to attend more of Professor Bill's Manhood Lectures.

Sadly, even though the question was asked before the little smacknown he got, he is. Lee, over the course of the series, is more open to his father than his father deserves. And, like I said, I am a fan of Bill. Just not in this particular area. But he has gotten much, much better through the time they've spent together. Just not here, in "Water".
tomfoolery815
Nov. 26th, 2006 02:34 am (UTC)
Re: Water
If "a man" is strong, or "a man" leads by example...what is "a woman"?
No argument here. The obvious implication is that women are not strong, not decisive. And we've all known plenty of strong, decisive women -- and weak, indecisive men -- to know what a load a crap the obvious implication is.

It's what still disturbs me in the moment near the end of Season 1 of SN, when Dan has divulged the Casey/Sally/Gordon triangle, that Casey calls Dan "a woman." Because it implies that Dan's actions are womanly and therefore beneath him.

When a man is compared to a boy, I'm much less troubled. I think it's appropriate to call someone on immature behavior. Likewise when a man is accused of being a girl; that particular insult is, I believe, much more about an accusation of immaturity, with a dash of humor. I don't think the ugliness of dubbing females the "inferior gender" carries through in most instances.
tomfoolery815
Nov. 24th, 2006 07:12 am (UTC)
Re: Water
(I don't have a Lee icon; I'll just have to go back to the Chief.) :-)

Roslin: “But a leader remembers and learns from his mistakes.”
I liked this a lot. Especially "I don't have a desk yet, but I have a pocket." It reminded me of Jed going out to Dover AFB at the end of "The War at Home," insofar as it's an acceptance of responsibility: I had a difficult decision to make, I made the best one I could, but it was not without human consequences.

I know I like Laura's answer better than I like Bill's. There seems to be a little too much John Wayne in Bill's; he says "live with it," but it feels a little like "shit happens." I know it's not completely that, but it is somewhat, I think. Laura's is much more "Those are actual human beings that my decision affected. I cannot forget that. This slip of paper will help me remember." Having that in her pocket means Laura won't ever forget that actual lives are involved in these monumental decisions.
marymary
Nov. 24th, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Water
"Those are actual human beings that my decision affected. I cannot forget that. This slip of paper will help me remember." Having that in her pocket means Laura won't ever forget that actual lives are involved in these monumental decisions.

Yes. Which is what "a man" should do, don't you think. :)
tomfoolery815
Nov. 24th, 2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Water
Yes, I do think so. :-)
marymary
Nov. 24th, 2006 05:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Water
Your post makes me think of Laura's and Bill's positions as a dichotomy --- of parenting, of government, of responsibility. Like Bill is the military/dictator's vision --- don't question, stay strong, never waver. Laura's is, not surprisingly, the view of democracy --- our strength lies in our flexibility and our willingness to question ourselves and our government. As the series progresses, the way these two sides work (on the fleet, on the government, and on Lee) becomes more interesting.
tomfoolery815
Nov. 25th, 2006 05:11 am (UTC)
Re: Water
No wonder I prefer Laura to Bill. I still want to get Jed Bartlet a third term. :-)
ok_with_that
Nov. 25th, 2006 05:19 am (UTC)
Re: Water
Like Bill is the military/dictator's vision --- don't question, stay strong, never waver.

I've been thinking about this all day. Am I crazy because I half-want to see Bill have a bit of a breakdown? He's working so hard, to repress so much, it seems to me...

(I watched through Act of Contrition this afternoon. So much to think about, to discuss... Forgive me for watching the Bobby cast on Larry King first? ;)
tomfoolery815
Nov. 25th, 2006 06:32 am (UTC)
Re: Water
(I watched through Act of Contrition this afternoon. So much to think about, to discuss... Forgive me for watching the Bobby cast on Larry King first? ;)
I didn't hear anything after "I watched through 'Act of Contrition.' " ;-) Considering what you did instead? You're excused, my dear. :-)
ok_with_that
Nov. 25th, 2006 06:40 am (UTC)
Re: Water
....and now Anderson Cooper is interviewing Whoopi, Billy and Robin over Comic Relief: New Orleans, Iraq... I've been sucked in. ;)

Whoopi is a BSG fan. She said so.

Anderson had no idea what a Ferenghi might be.
marymary
Nov. 25th, 2006 04:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Water

: )

Um, right... Bill.

Am I crazy because I half-want to see Bill have a bit of a breakdown? He's working so hard, to repress so much, it seems to me...

He does go through a lot of changes. I think at this point in the story, we're establishing who he is --- kind of default position Bill.

(sorry for the edit, C. My italics ended up very confusing.)
amycurl
Jun. 4th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Water
I think of it less of a dichotomy, and more of a yin/yang, where there is some overlap. Maybe the two of them start out as more of a true dichotomy, of truly opposing dualism. But I think...and I'm getting some of this even now...that they end more yin/yang. Black and white, male and female, searching for balance. Because balance makes it whole. :-)
marymary
Jun. 4th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Water
Yeah, I think that's a much better way to describe it! Right now there's so much push/pull and friction and yin/yang sounds so harmonious. But you're right, they're moving toward yin/yang --- that's definitely where they end up. Good one!