[Originally posted on June 15, 2008.]
I’ve been spending a lot of time waiting for that epiphany. That perfect thought that would lead to my first posting. It never came.
Mind you I have lots of opinions, but I none rose to the level of hotness to get me to actually make that first post. But maybe that’s just the way it is for most people – lots of thoughts, but not going ahead and putting them put there for the world to read.
Then there are the bloggers, which I guess I am one now, who always have an opinion or always have a need to share everything about their lives.
I guess now, at 12:28am on Sunday, June 15, 2008 is as good a time as any to write that first post.
I watched the mid-season finale of Battlestar Galactica last night and was blown away. For years I’ve been preaching to my friends that it was the best show on television – and some were actually converted – but last night had an episode that kept me on the edge of my couch all night and at the end left me gasping for air and pissed that the Sci Fi channel is waiting until 2009 to show the final episodes.
I’m not going to talk about the whole episode or what the series has done for years leading up to this episode, but I want to talk about the ending. What remained of humanity, along with the allies of the moment Cylon companions, found Earth – what the humans had been searching for for years while the Cylons tried to hunt them down and complete the genocide they had begun. But not the Earth they, nor the viewer had envisioned.
They found a post-nuclear apocalyptic Earth.
Now I’m going to assume for this post that it was our Earth, but I have my doubts. We never really did see any clear continental outlines on this Earth as they were approaching, which we saw at the end of the last season. And when they were down on the planet there was no scene a la Charlton Heston at the end of the original Planet of the Apes seeing a partially destroyed Statue of Liberty. But I could swear they were looking across the river at a destroyed Manhattan with a mangled Brooklyn Bridge in the foreground. Or this is all a major psyche out from the producers of BSG. (Visit a recap of the episode at ew.com.) Anyway…
What I’ve been thinking about was this post-apocalyptic Earth and more and more a lot of what we see in pop culture is a fairly pessimistic view of where this planet is heading. I remember growing up during the cold war when we really did think that nuclear annihilation was a very real possibility. There was a plant that designed the nuclear detonators for our nukes just down the road and the joke was that if there ever were a nuclear war we wouldn’t even know it because we would be one of the first things targeted. During freshman year there was The Day After, with the idea that some people would survive but not for very long.
But the Soviet Union fell, the Russians became our friends, and the world started to feel a little bit safer. The late 80s and into the 90s were a pretty happy period. Lots of fun movies, fun songs, shiny happy people. Very little thought of a post-apocalyptic future. Don’t get me wrong there was still lots of future dystopia fiction, but how many of us thought that would really come to pass.
Then came 9/11, Bush, Iraq, the rise of a new angry Russia, a falling economy, and an Air Force that seems to have trouble keeping track of our nuclear weapons, and all of a sudden that Earth that the survivors on BSG discovered feels like it could really be our Earth. That scared me.
Then I watched the When We Left Earth on Discovery tonight and I actually felt better. This series looks back at the space race from the Mercury missions to the present day. The episodes I watched were all about those first Mercury and Gemini missions. Missions carried on at the height of the Cold War, when it could have actually turned hot very easily, but we humans actually were pulling together and doing some remarkable things. Think about it. Ten years from the first manned flight to landing a man on the Moon. Amazing.
So a show of fiction and show of fact, both based in space, both showing what can happen on this planet for good and bad.