Friday, February 11, 2005

 

Litmus

Tonight's Galactica was perhaps an appropriate episode to air as we hear obituaries to the author of The Crucible, Arthur Miller. As anyone who has taken an English class over the last twenty or thirty years should probably know, The Crucible was written in reaction to the 1950s hunt for communists, and as such that play is as meaningful as ever with concerns about terrorism.

And this week's Galactica had a "witch hunt" as well.

Now, it's a little bit strange for Galactica to say that they also have "witch hunts", since the origin of that phrase would be particularly based in American history. But I take it as part of the conceit of the program that we're having those sorts of idioms translated from whatever sort of Kobolian language that they should "really" be speaking; our language is filled with phrases and expressions that have a historical context, frequently ones we don't even consciously know.

And I'm willing to forgive a lot since it's hardly a secret that this new Galactica is a classic example of the use of science fiction as a way to go through the issues of today.

And one of the things that's nice about the series is that it's not simple -- often times a series that has a social or political message is very obvious and simplistic. I don't really see that in the new Galactica -- yes, the Cylons are bad -- but also frequently, "good" people are guilty of errors in judgment; sometimes serious ones that can cost lives.

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