Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Huge Dirk

Yeah, I know. It's only Wednesday and here I am already writing about Big Hollywood. Personally, I think my restraint has been amazing. They've thrown so much at me and I've simply let it all go. You had James Hudnall's piece on all TeH Aw3som3 advances in technology. For instance, did you know that there are now paper thin monitors and that you can download e-books? YEAH, SO DID I. For that matter, so did everybody else on the planet except for James Hudnall who had decided to inform the world about stuff they already knew. I also let Tim Slagle slide when he wrote yet another piece lamenting the fact that Republicans would have a permanent majority if they could only manage to make some decent comedy because, as I've written before, there's nothing funnier than comedy that exists to push a radical agenda. Debbie Schlussel chastising Hollywood for making movies about savage Negros also got a by from me as did Don "Biggest Head in Rightwing Punditry" Surber's article where he bravely went after a 16 year old girl. I've been proud of myself lately both for the fact that I was able to resist the urge to write about Big Hollywood and because I've been cutting fat and sugar from my diet and eating more fruit and vegetables. Today, though, I once again visit Andrew Breitbart's Rightwing Hollycaust which means later on I'll probably deep fry some ice cream, dip it in chocolate and gulp it down in one bite.

What brought me back? Simple. They published the stupidest thing ever written. You may be thinking that someone must have written something with a title like "Great Farts Throughout History" or maybe Don Surber went one step further and accused Malia Obama of being a jihadist. Nope, those would be like War And Peace compared to what I'm talking about. Let the word go forth that on January 19 in the year of Our Lord 2009, Big Hollywood published what is both the Stupidest Thing Ever Written and the Stupidest Thing That Ever Will Be Written.
"Lt. Starbuck...Lost In Castration" by Dirk Benedict. Oh Lord, where to begin? When this showed up in my RSS reader, I wanted to have sex with it. That's how incredible it was. I knew this would stand out as a classic of stupidity. It's fitting on this historical day to say I knew I was witnessing a moment in history, something I would tell my grandkids about.

Dirk Benedict, of course, played Starbuck in the original incarnation of Battlestar Galactica, a show whose current incarnation on the Sci-Fi Channel is an example of how good television can be. The original 1979 version that starred Dirk Benedict? Not so much. To be fair, it was made at a time when television networks strove for mediocrity and conformity, the result of which is that the first BSG is a mediocre and conformist show. Also, if you knew nothing about that show and were told it was about a group of retarded people, you would probably believe it. It was a horrible, mind-bogglingly stupid show and very few people would try to argue that the original was better than the current incarnation. One of those people is Dirk Benedict and, unfortunately for him, Big Hollywood gave Benedict a forum to let the world know this.

First, he spends four paragraphs bitching about "The Suits":
Fortunately, I was young, my imagination fertile and adrenal glands strong, because bringing Starbuck to life was over the dead imaginations of a lot of Network Executives. Every character trait I struggled to give him was met with vigorous resistance. A charming womanizer? The “Suits” (Network Executives) hated it. A cigar (fumerello) smoker? The Suits hated it. A reluctant hero who found humor in the bleakest of situations? The Suits hated it. All this negative feedback convinced me I was on the right track.
Benedict was so thoroughly on the right track that Battlestar Galactica was canceled after one season. Now that Dirk Benedict has become the first person ever to inform us about network executives' lack of imagination, he figures now is the time to come out as a rightwing misogynist:
There was a time, I know I was there, when men were men, women were women and sometimes a cigar was just a good smoke. But 40 years of feminism have taken their toll. The war against masculinity has been won. Everything has turned into its opposite, so that what was once flirting and smoking is now sexual harassment and criminal. And everyone is more lonely and miserable as a result.
And this, folks, is why he's on Big Hollywood. But hey, there are plenty of places where you can read about the sad plight of the Y chromosome. What I really love about this article, what makes it The Stupidest Thing Ever Written, is when Benedict, the guy from the shitty BSG, starts criticizing the current, awesome BSG:
“Re-imagining”, they call it. “Un-imagining” is more accurate. To take what once was and twist it into what never was intended. So that a television show based on hope, spiritual faith and family is un-imagined and regurgitated as a show of despair, sexual violence and family dysfunction. To better reflect the times of ambiguous morality in which we live, one would assume. A show in which the aliens (Cylons) are justified in their desire to destroy human civilization, one would assume. Indeed, let us not say who the good guys are and who the bad are. That is being “judgmental,” taking sides, and that kind of (simplistic) thinking went out with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and Kathryn Hepburn and John Wayne and, well, the original “Battlestar Galactica.”
To sum up, Mr. One Season thinks that he's in a position to lecture the current stewards of the BSG legend. He's managed to blow the cigar smoke off his computer screen long enough to tell Ron Moore and the other current producers that they should have kept all the crap that people hated back in 1979 which, I guess, would include the stupid dialogue, vapid characters and boring plots. First off, there's still plenty of "hope" and "spiritual faith" in BSG. Hell, the humans still worship those stupid Lords of Kobol that Benedict and the rest of the folks in Battlestar:Ponderosa did. Their entire journey has been guided by the faith their President has in ancient religious prophecies. And no Benedict, you dumbass, the death and destruction brought on by the Cylons is not "justified". What's important in terms of plot and character development is that the Cylons believe that they are justified. In fact, the Cylons fully embrace the concept of Exceptionalism. They believe that their race is allowed to do things that the humans are not allowed to do. If the humans do something brutal or petty or vengeful to them, the Cylons see it as an example of a deficiency in human character and not as a result of being pissed off that the Cylons destroyed 12 of their worlds and billions of their people. This actually makes the Cylons into interesting three dimensional characters and not just jerks in metal suits who shoot guns and say, "By your command." After all this, Benedict manages to pull off the neat trick of combining his chick-hate with his belief that smoking a cigar makes you a complex character:
One thing is certain. In the new un-imagined, re-imagined world of “Battlestar Galactica” everything is female driven. The male characters, from Adama on down, are confused, weak and wracked with indecision, while the female characters are decisive, bold, angry as hell, puffing cigars (gasp!) and not about to take it any more.
This was written by either someone who has never seen BSG or someone who's too busy trying to figure out why he can't pick up college girls by blowing cigar smoke in their faces while saying, "Remember me? I was Faceman in The A-Team," to have actually paid attention to what he was watching. There is not a character on the current BSG, be they man, woman, human or Cylon, that hasn't experienced times of weakness and confusion, wondering what the hell they would do next. What's really annoying Benedict is that the women in 1979 served one purpose in the show, that being to fight over who gets to blow Starbuck. Now they are fully formed, complex characters who get as much screen time as the men. One of these characters is Kara Thrace, a fighter pilot who is the ultimate target of Benedict's derision. The reason for this is that Kara Thrace is also known by her call sign, Starbuck.
Starbuck would go the way of most men in today’s society. Starbuck would become “Stardoe.” What the Suits of yesteryear had been incapable of doing to Starbuck 25 years ago was accomplished quicker than you can say orchiectomy. Much quicker, as in, “Frak! Gonads Gone!”

And the word went out to all the Suits in all the smoke-free offices throughout the land of Un-imagination, “Starbuck is dead. Long live Stardoe!”
Yep, Starbuck is now a woman and, because he's a manly man's man, Dirk Benedict has his panties all in a bunch over that. Dirkie-kins rants incoherently for several paragraphs about this. His rambling thinking goes from the "natural" roles of men and women (Quote:Men hand out cigars. Women “hand out” babies. And thus the world for thousands of years has gone’ round), Metro-sexual money men*, remakes, television formulas, and marketing campaigns. Benedict's ultimate point here seems to be that we don't really like the new BSG. Instead, we've been brainwashed into thinking it's good by the guys who sell Big Macs and such and, if it wasn't for them, we'd all be clamoring for a new Starbuck series starring Dirk Benedict and a group of sexy, young women who are perfectly happy to light Starbuck's cigars when they're not doing things that cause him to pretty much sit around in a pool of his own semen. Oh, there'd be Cylons too, I guess. What he doesn't explain is why, instead of sponsoring Starbuck Is Awesome, the show we all secretly want, they go to the trouble of using their evil brainwashing powers to convince us all that we'd rather watch the Starbuck Has Boobs show that's currently on.

The only purpose this whole article serves is to give you the ability to answer the question, "Hey, do you have any idea what might happen if an actor who hates women discovers that a character he used to play is now being played by a woman?" All you need do now is keep the link to this article in your pocket and just hand it to anyone who asks you that question. For the fact that he was willing to both look like a whiny little prick as well as President-For-Life of the He-Man Woman-Haters Club, we all owe Dirk Benedict a debt for writing the Stupidest Thing Ever Written.

This all reminds me of 1990 when Tim Burton's Batman movie came out and Adam West, Batman from the 1960s TV show, publicly bitched about the fact that Michael Keaton had been cast to play the title character and not him. This makes me think of the Heroes movie we'll see in 2025 that will cause Hayden Panetierre to write that not only is she no longer allowed to play the high school cheerleader, Claire, but that Claire is now a German shepherd. All that now allows me to say: All of this has happened before, all of this shall happen again.

*A good way to tell you are reading a conservative website is that they are the only ones who still use the term "Metro-sexual".


Michael Clear said...

I wish I'd thought of what might happen if the old Starbuck tried to pick up the new Starbuck. Under most circumstances she'd laugh her ass off at his arrogant, foppish advances. He might get her into bed like Baltar did, when she's drunk and depressed, but even then I can see him blowing it by throwing a fit when she tried to get on top, after which she's kick him out of bed and shove hit lit cigar up his ass.

Steve said...

I watched Battlestar Galactica on television as a child and I wanted to disagree with you, but I couldn't.

A few years ago I saw the show again, as an adult and I was astonished by how bad it way. Then I got off my high horse and watched the reimagined series. It was much better.

Dirk Benedict has an inflated impression about the old show and his creativity in contributing to the Starbuck character. Swaggering cigar smoking rouge with a heart of gold heros weren't exactly new to the entertainment industry by the 1970s.

I also agree with you about both the male and female characters in the new BSG being alternately weak as well as strong. The commander Adama character is still the ultimate patriarch/alpha male figure.

The new BSG does portray women being more butch then most women in reality would want to be or could be. However the characters are *military* people, cyborgs, from another culture and the show is science fiction to begin with.

I think at the root of his essay is Benedict feeling threatened that his image of his successful past is being threatened.

It is a shame, Richard Hatch got on board and got a place in the new show. Benedict could have gotten the same instead of being a has been trash talking from the sidelines.

Sorry Dirk, I still love you from my childhood, but I'm calling it like I see it.

Michael Clear said...

The commander Adama character is still the ultimate patriarch/alpha male figure.

Yep, and yet even he, the guy who able to remain calm and strong as the Colonies were being nuked and billions died, broke down completely when he discovered that his best friend was a Cylon. He pulled himself together, of course, but it's a good example of what I was talking about.