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Battlestar Galactica poll, essays and finale
Mar 19, 2009  

We’ve been very interested in the biopolitical content of Battlestar Galactica (BSG) which concludes its final season tomorrow night, Friday March 20. Ben Scarlato has written an excellent series of biopolitical reflections on every BSG episode of this last season, and then we did a talk together on the bioethics of the show for the Hartford Ethics Group.  In our recently concluded IEET poll you all were very divided about whether the show reflected more bioconservative or transhumanist themes, or whether we would just have to wait for the conclusion to make an assessment.

53 of you responded to the poll.

BTW, make sure to read io9’s report about this awesome meeting at the United Nations between human rights activists and the actors and writers of BSG. The addressed a lot of same things Ben and I did at our session in Hartford, the ethics of banning abortion for utilitarian reasons, of suicide bombing of civilians in pursuit of a just cause, and of torturing prisoners, especially prisoners with knowledge of looming apocalyptic and genocidal violence:

At one point the discussion lit a fire under the Admiral, and the talk of human rights turned personal for Edward James Olmos. The “Old Man” launched into a passionate speech about casting off the idea of race as a cultural determinant, and said we were one race, the human race. His voice echoed throughout the chamber growing louder until - I kid you not - he was yelling, “So Say We All,” and the crowd answered right back. Hell, even I yelled it, I was in the fraking United Nations with Adama, the gods themselves could not have stopped this moment. It was surreal - the entire audience turned into one massive optimistic/role-playing/saddened goosebump, because who knows when we’ll ever hear those words again? And then we were doubly geeked out when, as if on cue, Mary McDonnell turned to Olmos and put her hand on his cheek. But the real chills came from realizing that this treasured television show had actually opened up the lines of communication between the audience and the United Nations. BSG has made people think about the troubling deeds happening in darkened rooms in the present day, not just on a spaceship in the future.

What a cool example of the importance of the biopolitics of popular culture in reflecting and shaping our world.

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