So, with Laura, a paper for the conference on bsg planned for end of the month. My notetaking has been so frakking slow I cannot tell you, but parts of the plot now seem to show up on Draidis. So say we all. (Mere notes, sorry, see other Sci Fi bits in labels for more):
The Eigteenth Brumaire of Gaius Balthar
Repetition is the key to both the opening of Marx’s great text The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Boneparte and the back story to BSG, this has happened before and it will happen again. We are cylons, we forget we are, we build cylons, we repeat the forgetting…
Things repeat themselves, says Hegel, but Marx adds that he forgot to say the second time round it happens as farce. Hence Gaius, the comical hero of the new Battlestar Galactica remake (3 series done, the final one starts again in Jan).
So, I think this gives us an opportunity to demonstrate how a dexterous analysis from Marx’s text can make sense of the changing fortunes/opportunisms of both Gaius Balthar and the Mentat Roslin. And deploying this reading of bsg might then further show how the nuances of Marx’s class analysis in his book from 1852 – no simple binary plottings – can help us make sense of the convoluted violences of our lives today – in 2007.
But there should be no simple reading-off from the text to ‘correlated’ examples from the real, or vice-versa. The search for one-to-one correspondences is forlorn, the borg are not Intel or Microsoft – though its helpful to sometimes see that resistance is not useless (Picard as open source/or Shakespeare)
We project contemporary anxieties into stories, into space, into the future (Feuerbach critique of religion here?). Our constructions of what we do and desire are played out as farce. Gaius is our faulty and insufficient image – a pale mechanism through which greater hopes than his declared intentions are filtered. Gaius himself is cylon (how did he survive the original nuclear destruction of Planet Caprica if not – he just forgets, this little nephew, that he is reborn).
So, its not so much a questiion of who represents who in bsg. Sure, there are elections and unions (both yellow) and so on, but the potatoes in a sack are the (number declining) ‘people’ in the fleet – represented only by Galactica, or in the figures of Starbuck etc. There is a confusion here, analysed so well by Gayatri Spivak, between darstellung and vertreten (two words in German for one – in English). In Gaius we have the (farcical) representative of the people (their president, because they cannot represent themselves), and the picture of them (their number, they must be represented).
Though suddenly reading CLR James on Moby Dick I am not sure that Adama isn’t really Ahab. As all captains are.
Can we plot the co-ordinates of bsg, 18th Brumaire and Melville’s novel…