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Starbuck strikes back: the gender politics of "Battlestar Galactica"

Posted by Christopher Shea  January 21, 2009 12:57 PM

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Starbuck old and Starbuck new

Dirk Benedict, who played Starbuck on the original "Battlestar Galactica" series, is not at all happy with the changes the creators of the reimagined version have wrought. He's been complaining about the newer series for years, but, now, with the show's final season underway on the Sci-Fi Network, he has re-aired his grievances at Big Hollywood, a new site for Hollywood conservatives.

What does the original Starbuck balk at? First, the addition of moral ambiguity into the tale of humans on the run from a race of hyper-advanced robots. It's not always clear on the show that humanity entirely deserves to survive; in this, Benedict detects the moral equivalence of quisling lefties. Then there are the robots who look like humans and, worse, sleep with them -- a scenario Benedict says should be left to porn films. But most of all Benedict is unhappy that his beloved cigar-chomping, authority-flouting, flirtatious Starbuck was tranformed into a cigar-chomping, authority-flouting, sexually active (it's cable this time) woman. For, as Benedict, who also played a character nicknamed "Faceman" on "The A-Team," puts it:

Women are from Venus. Men are from Mars. Hamlet does not scan as Hamletta. Nor does Hans Solo as Hans Sally. Faceman is not the same as Facewoman. Nor does a Stardoe a Starbuck make. Men hand out cigars. Women "hand out" babies. And thus the world for thousands of years has gone 'round.

Science fiction brings to life the barely imaginable, but there's a tacit agreement with viewers (or readers) that it will obey basic rules of plausibility. For Benedict, a tough female fighter pilot whose first priority isn't "handing out" babies breaks the artistic covenant, and sci-fi becomes dreamland.

Via a typo-cursed Matthew Yglesias

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6 comments so far...
  1. He's exactly right: my understanding of the birds and the bees is that men give you a cigar and then you give them a baby. In what kind of crazy future world could women control their reproduction? Do you think they can just take some kind of magic pill? God will out. Baltar backs me up on this.

    Posted by Romie January 22, 09 01:20 PM
  1. He's just whining because the new Starbuck could easily kick his misogynistic ass. Of course, I'm a female who isn't at all interested in "handing out babies" so my life as a female scientist is also completely implausible as well. Hmm.

    Posted by Hilary January 23, 09 05:14 PM
  1. Who the hell is Hans Solo? Did he marry Princess Gretel?

    Posted by Ken Wheaton January 30, 09 11:45 AM
  1. in other news, Cesar Romero says no one will ever portray The Joker as well as him.

    Posted by E.T. January 30, 09 11:56 AM
  1. *sigh* And I used to ~like~ Dirk Benedict.

    Posted by Dy January 30, 09 12:50 PM
  1. Harrison Ford and Robert Duncan McNeil played badass flyboys too, and I've never heard of either of them complaining about Princess Leia or B'Elanna Torres being more interested in handing out knuckle sandwiches instead of babies. Always smoking that large cigar...wonder if Dirk was compensating for something? XD

    Posted by Rachel February 3, 09 09:55 PM
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