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Go Back   Dirk's Works > Dirk Benedict: The Man, the Myth, the Legend > The Books

The Books A place to talk about Dirk's two autobiographies "Confessions of a Kamikaze Cowboy" and "And Then We Went Fishing" as well as Dirk penned articles and future writings.

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Old 01-15-2005, 05:43 PM   #1
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Default "Lost In Castration"

This was a piece that Dirk wrote back in May 2004 for "Dreamwatch" magazine. These are his insights on the topic of his "Starbuck" being changed to a female for the new Scifi version.
It seems to be circulating once again on the net, so I am posting it here.
This article, in my opinion, is superb. It has however garnered both praise and criticism.
You decide.

------------------------------------

Starbuck: Lost in Castration

Once upon a time, in what used to be a far away land called Hollywood
but is now a state of mind and everywhere, a young actor was handed a
script and asked to bring to life a character called Starbuck. I am
that actor. The script was called Battlestar Galactica.

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 vigourous resistance. A charming
womaniser? The "Suits" (Network Executives) hated it. A cigar
(fumerello) smoker? The Suits hated it. A reluctant hero who found
humour in the bleakest of situations? The Suits hated it. All this
negative feedback convinced me I was on the right track.

Starbuck was meant to be a loveable rogue. It was best for the show,
best for the character and the best that I could do. The Suits didn't
think so. "One more cigar and he's fired,"they told Glen Larson, the
creator of the show. "We want Starbuck to appeal to the female
audience for crying out loud!" You see, the Suits knew women were
turned off by men who smoked cigars. Especially young men. (How
they "knew" this was never revealed.) And they didn't stop there. "If
Dirk doesn't quit playing every scene with a girl like he wants to
get her in bed, he's fired!" This was, well, it was blatant
heterosexuality. Treating women like "sex objects". I thought it was
flirting. Never mind. They wouldn't have it.

I wouldn't have it any other way, or rather Starbuck wouldn't. So we
persevered, Starbuck and I. The show, as the saying goes, went on and
the rest is history – for, lo and behold, women from all over the
world sent me boxes of cigars, phone numbers, dinner requests,
marriage proposals... The Suits were not impressed. They would have
there way, which is what Suits do best, and after one season of
puffing and flirting and gambling, Starbuck, that loveable scoundrel,
was indeed fired. Which is to say Battlestar Galactica was cancelled.
Starbuck however, would not stay cancelled, but simply morphed into
another flirting, cigar-smoking, blatant heterosexual called Faceman
Another show, another set of Suits and, of course, if the A-Team
movie rumours prove correct, another remake.

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.

Witness the "re-imagined" Battlestar Galactica. It's bleak,
miserable, despairing, angry and confused. Which is to say, it
reflects, in microcosm, the complete change in the politics and mores
of today's world as opposed to the world of yesterday. The world of
Lorne Greene (Adama) and Fred Astaire (Starbuck's Poppa), and Dirk
Benedict (Starbuck). I would guess Lorne is glad he's in that Big
Bonanza in the sky and well out of it. Starbuck, alas, has not been
so lucky. He's not been left to pass quietly into that trivial world
of cancelled TV characters.

"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
unimagined 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 our civilisation.
One would assume. Indeed, let us not say who are he guys and who are
the bad. That is being "judgemental". And that kind of (simplistic)
thinking went out with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and
Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne and, well the original Battlestar
Galactica.

In the bleak and miserable, "re-imagined" world of Battlestar
Galactica, things are never that simple. Maybe the Cylons are not
evil and alien but in fact enlightened and evolved? Let us not judge
them so harshly. Maybe it is they who deserve to live and Adama, and
his human ilk who deserves to die? And what a way to go! For the re-
imagined terrorists (Cylons) are not mechanical robots void of soul,
of sexuality, but rather humanoid six-foot-tall former lingerie
models who f**k you to death. (Poor old Starbuck, you were imagined
to early. Think of the fun you could have had `fighting' with these
thong-clad aliens! In the spirit of such soft-core sci-fi porn I
think a more re-imaginative title would have been F**cked by A Cylon.
(Apologies to Touched by An Angel.)

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.

One can quickly surmise what a problem the original Starbuck created
for the re-imaginators. Starbuck was all charm and humour and
flirting without an angry bone in his womanising body. Yes, he was
definitely `female driven', but not in the politically correct ways
of Re-imagined Television. What to do, wondered the Re-imaginators?
Keep him as he was, with a twinkle in his eye, a stogie in his mouth,
a girl in every galaxy? This could not be. He would stick out like,
well like a jock strap in a drawer of thongs. Starbuck refused to be
re-imagined. It became the Great Dilemma. How to have your Starbuck
and delete him too?

The best minds in the world of un-imagination doubled their intake of
Double Soy Lattes as they gathered in their smoke-free offices to
curse the day this chauvinistic Viper Pilot was allowed to be. But
never under estimate the power of the un-imaginative mind when it
encounters an obstacle (character) it subconsciously loathes. "Re-
inspiration" struck. 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!"

I'm not sure if a cigar in the mouth of Stardoe resonates in the same
way it did in the mouth of Starbuck. Perhaps. Perhaps it "resonates"
more. Perhaps that's the point. I'm not sure. What I am sure of is
this…

Women are from Venus. Men are from Mars. Hamlet does not scan as
Hamletta. Nor does Han Solo as Han 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.

I am also sure that Show Business has been morphing for many decades
now and has finally become Biz Business. The creative artists have
lost and the Suits have won. Suits. Administrators. Technocrats.
Metro-sexual money-men (and women) who create formulas to guarantee
profit margins. Because movies and television shows are not made to
enlighten or even entertain but simply to make money. They will tell
you it is (still) about story and character but all it is really
about is efficiency. About The Formula. Because Harvard Business
School Technocrats run Hollywood and what Technocrats know is what
must be removed from all business is Risk. And I tell you life, real
life, is all about risk. I tell you that without risk you have no
creativity, no art. I tell you that without risk you have Remakes.
You have Charlie's Angels, The Saint, Mission Impossible, The A-Team
(coming soon) Battlestar Galactica. All risk-free brand names,
franchises.

For you see, TV Shows (and movies) are made and sold according to the
same business formula as hamburger franchises. So that it matters not
if the `best' hamburger, what matters is that you `think' it is the
best. And you do think it's the best, because you have been told to;
because all of your favourite celebrities are seen munching it on TV.
The big money is not spent on making the hamburger or the television
show, but on the marketing of the hamburger/show. (One 60-second
commercial can cost more than it does to film a one-hour episode.) It
matters not to Suits if it is Starbuck or Stardoe, if the Cylons are
robots or lingerie models, if the show is full of optimism and
morality or pessimism and amorality. What matters is that it is
marketed well, so that all you people out there in TV land know that
you must see this show. And after you see it, you are told that you
should like it. That it is new and bold and sleek and sexy and best
of all… it is Re-imagined!

So grab a Coke from the fridge (not the Classic Coke, but the re-
imagined kind with fewer calories) and send out for a McDonald's
Hamburger (the re-imagined one with fewer carbs) and tune in to
Stardoe and Cylon #6 (or was it #69?) and Enjoy The Show.

And if you don't enjoy the show, or the hamburger and coke, it's not
the fault of those re-imaginative technocrats that brought them to
you. It is your fault. You and your individual instincts, tastes,
judgement. Your refusal to let go of the memory of the show that once
was. You just don't know what is good for you. But stay tuned. After
another 13 episodes (and millions of dollar of marketing), you will
see the light. You, your instincts, your judgement, are wrong.
McDonald's is the best hamburger on the planet, Coca-Cola the best
drink. Stardoe is the best Viper Pilot in the Galaxy. And Battlestar
Galactica, contrary to what your memory tells you, never existed
before the Re-imagination of 2003.

I disagree. But perhaps, you had to be there.

Dirk Benedict, writing in Dreamwatch, May 2004
 
Old 01-15-2005, 09:58 PM   #2
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At the risk of being shot down in flames I wholeheartedly agree with Dirk and his views.

I can't think of one tv show today where the good guys are actually good. They all seem to have dark sides to them.

I loved both Starbuck and Faceman, they were loveable and didn't have a mean bone in their bodies.

There can only be on Starbuck for me and he was certainly a man.

Julia
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Old 01-16-2005, 03:26 PM   #3
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AT the risk of being shot down in flames myself, I know better then to eat this bait and fall into that trap.
 
Old 01-16-2005, 05:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmic_candy
AT the risk of being shot down in flames myself, I know better then to eat this bait and fall into that trap.
Then why bother replying at all? :roll:
 
Old 01-17-2005, 07:21 PM   #5
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Old 01-17-2005, 07:44 PM   #6
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Decades,

I enjoyed reading your post. You made some very sound points
 
Old 01-18-2005, 01:56 PM   #7
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sorry. still ain't trying to take your bait. and your attempts to make it more tempting are futile. Every Dirkette worth her salt knows what happens when you disagree with something Dirk says.
 
Old 01-18-2005, 02:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmic_candy
sorry. still ain't trying to take your bait. and your attempts to make it more tempting are futile. Every Dirkette worth her salt knows what happens when you disagree with something Dirk says.
This thread is not "bait". It's a discussion thread and if you have nothing constructive to contribute to the topic, I suggest you move on to something else. :roll:
 
Old 01-18-2005, 06:15 PM   #9
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Actually I have a lot to say about Dirk's article. There are things I agree with in it wholeheartedly and want to tell him, "Right on!", and parts that I would argue with because he misses some points. However, I have seen the way anybody who disagrees with Dirk is treated, so what do you expect me to think?
I was shocked to see the opposing view encouraged, and I don't believe it ito be sincere.
I've seen people write were they disagree with Dirk in respectable terms, and get bashed by the other fans for it quite cruelly just for stating their opinion even if they were careful with their wording.
So, excuse me if I am suspicous here.
 
Old 01-18-2005, 06:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmic_candy
Actually I have a lot to say about Dirk's article. There are things I agree with in it wholeheartedly and want to tell him, "Right on!", and parts that I would argue with because he misses some points
Then say them! That's the whole POINT of this thread.



Quote:
However, I have seen the way anybody who disagrees with Dirk is treated, so what do you expect me to think?
And I've seen how people who disagree with Dirk treat those who DO.


Quote:
I was shocked to see the opposing view encouraged, and I don't believe it ito be sincere.
Believe what you want.


Quote:
I've seen people write were they disagree with Dirk in respectable terms, and get bashed by the other fans for it quite cruelly just for stating their opinion even if they were careful with their wording.
So, excuse me if I am suspicous here.
And I've seen *people* bash the man himself while they're disagreeing with him so excuse ME for being suspicious.

This is the same diatribe, just a different handle.
It's starting to drone.
 
Old 01-19-2005, 01:48 AM   #11
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Actually, there are things in the article I disagree with as well.

*BUT* that'd be MY opinion, not anyone elses, including Dirk.

That article is Dirk's opinions, and his alone.

Tracy knows this. And she's never came after me, even though I was webmastering the other dudes websites at the time!

This forum is here to discuss the various aspects of Dirk as well as meet other people.

This is not a place to come looking to "get" people, or to slam people, or to attack people.

Everyone has an opinion, and that's cool. But attacks will not be tolerated.

Not only is that a forum policy, but that is my personal policy as well.
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Old 01-19-2005, 01:54 AM   #12
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And *who* made that forum policy??
 
Old 01-19-2005, 01:56 AM   #13
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By Your Command
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"If not for the original Battlestar Galactica series, then there would be no new show."
"If not for the original ST series, then there would be no ST movies, TNG, DS9, Voyager or 'Enterprise'."
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"Respect the past. It brought you the present."
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Old 01-19-2005, 07:33 PM   #14
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Well then, I 'll give my opinion since you have STATED that disagreeing with Dirk is okay. (trust me when I say there' s been problems with that before).
First of all, I do think the piece is one of the best written comments on the entire state of dramitic television today.
TOS fans are complaining that the new series just rips off other sci-fi genres. Dirk, with his insider's knowledge as to how the industry works, describes it much better especially with his comparison to a fast-food formula: if it made money before, try it again. Who cares what it's fan base want. I won't continue with this point because Dirk has already worded it so very well in the article.
I do agree with him that I don't like the changes. They make it not Galactica to me, and all the things that I like about Galactica are gone. And yes, Starbuck becoming Stardoe upsets me enough to not watch the series, but I have different reasons for being upset then Dirk.
I mean, why would one change the most popular character on the show? Let's face it, he was a big draw. By all means not the only one, but he was one of the big ones. Espcecially since from what I here, an optimistic character like STarbuck seems to be needed in the dark new series.
I would have created a similar female character and had her interact with STarbuck. The two would have bounced off each other's personalities like McCoy and Spock. I think it could have worked. (Imagine one of them saving the other's life...)
That said, I take from the tone of the article, that Dirk doesn't seem to like strong female leads that kick butt at all. With his "Han Sally" comment, he doesn't seem to appreciate that type of character as well.
I can appreciate that type of character, and Alien's Ripley had a big impact on me as a little girl because she was the first one I ever saw and I was in awe.
I think that type of female character has a place in BSG, but not replacing Starbuck.
Dirk has made statements blaming the Feminist movement (which is way way way older then 40 years. It goes back in the US at least 80 or 90 years with the right to vote, and has orgins even earlier elsewhere). I understand that Stardoe wasn't even created by a woman, but a man. His name was Ron Moore. If he ain't a guy, somebody better let me know.
 
Old 01-19-2005, 07:48 PM   #15
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What I got out of that portion regarding strong women roles was this-

Changing the sex of a strong male character doesn't work.

He never mentioned, and thus never trashed, Ripley, or even Sheba.

If a strong role was *originally* written for a female, like Ripley, I don't think he has a problem with that.

Where I see the problem he has is when an opposite sex *tries to take over* the other ones role/position., ie if I did hard labor in a construction site, and a woman came in and took over my job, can she do it as well? I doubt it. Because she is not physically built for that.

Can a man bear a child, taking over the womans role? No. He is not built for that.

What he is pointing out is that women *are* trying to take the positions they are not built for, and men are doing the same. It's a role reversal.

Dunno if you ever heard of this before, but a number of years ago, a man got an operation so he could bear children!

It wasn't because he was homosexual. It was because he felt he should be able to do what a woman does (and a woman had taken over his job at work. This was his way of getting even *L*)

That operation failed, because, as I said before- A man is not built for that.

I don't personally agre with the sentiments, but I do see where he is coming from.
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Old 01-20-2005, 02:23 PM   #16
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Old 01-20-2005, 08:39 PM   #17
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I agree with many of your points, Darrell, and they were well said. But Dirk used Stardoe as another excuse to rant against women, and in truth, Stardoe taking over the male role was executed by a male, Ron Moore. (If it had been a woman who did this, I'd feel like you do. And I still think it'd be wrong).
Also, a side point, there are big and strong women. The culture ignores them as invisible. There are small and weak men. They get eaten. but that's just a side note there.
I agree the character should not have been changed, but I agree for different reasons.
I find this facet interesting. Agreeing for different reasons.
 
Old 01-20-2005, 08:46 PM   #18
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Decades, I wanted to say that I absolutely found your post very insightful and well written. It gives the reader a lot to think about.
I myself don't like the direction the feminist movement has taken, starting with the dosmestic violence laws that portray women as weak. I feel the same for sexual harrassment laws.
I could go on about speicifics with this topic, but it's a digression from the original thread.
And as I stated before, there were aspects of the article I agreed with.
One friend refered to Dirk's take on Hollywood as merely him airing his grievences. I told him who better to air them then someone that worked in the industry? Besides, we all have grievences about our jobs. It's only normal.
Ever since I found out that Hollywood had very little to do with artistic creativity, I lost interest in it. I think Dirk words what happened to that creativity very very well and I cheered him on every time I read that article.
 
Old 01-20-2005, 08:53 PM   #19
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Hey, Darrell,
I should mention, since I grew up in a family of conspiracy junkies, that the legend of the man who tried to get pregnant actually had a child. some believe to be true like bigfoot and UFO etc.
there are even those strange grainy photos of the pregnant man.
what happened to the man and child, I heard many stories.
One either believes them, or they don't.
I first read about it in a Russian science magazine from the 40's. It was really creepy. the child was not concieved in the male body. It was implanted and made to see if it could survive and grow to full term.
Unfortunetly, my friend never finished translating it for me so I don't know how the experiment ended. (this magazine would have fueled many an x-file)
Just thought I'd share this tidbit of useless trivia.
 
Old 01-20-2005, 10:04 PM   #20
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I can see why Dirk is so upset about Starbuck now being a woman and as a woman, I didn't feel his intention was to flame strong women or women in general. I honestly believe his feelings were directed at the technocrats of TV today.

Starbuck was written specifically for Dirk back in 1977 by Glen Larson. It was meant to be a role for a man and the qualities that made Starbuck were drawn from Dirk himself out of the meeting Dirk had with Glen. So in a sense, Starbuck was a big part of Dirk.

Then Dirk is told that Universal didn't want him to play Starbuck and he had to go through a long screen test process in order to win the part ( that was written FOR him by the creator of the damn show ). His "type" of maleness was rejected by the technocrats THEN and it was rejected by them NOW. He's had a long row to hoe.

I think if another strong woman had of been cast as a different character instead of re-sexing Starbuck into a woman alot of people would have found that made more sense.
 
Old 01-20-2005, 10:53 PM   #21
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Regarding Moore (a male) creating "Stardoe"... that's not quite correct.

It was a woman in charge that wanted major changes- Bonnie Hammer
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Old 01-21-2005, 04:10 AM   #22
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I haven't gotten to read a lot of Dirk's articles, and unfortunately have not yet gotten a copy of "Fishing", so I'm not about to act like some kind of authority on his views. Nor am I any kind of officianado of Galactica. However, I have noticed a difference between what Dirk himself has written and what others have written in interviews with him (both professionals and fans). And the difference is that, although many of the same ideas come through, the interviews have one advantage - they state "how" he is saying these things. It's almost as though it's two different people entirely. On the one hand, there is the sometimes harsh and cynical writer; on the other, there is a charming and intelligent speaker. (Not implying AT ALL that his writings are not intelligent!). Personally, I find the difference to be a problem of the written word. It is so easy to misinterpret the feelings behind the words when one doesn't hear the inflections or see the facial expressions. I've just gotten to the point where, when I read something that seems overly harsh or chauvinistic, I try to think about what others who have actually met and spoken with the man have had to say, and recognize that possibly I am misinterpreting things. Not to mention having my own prejudices/experiences tainting the flow of thought...

Of course, I may be all wet, too. Someday I may actually get to a convention and get to talk to him myself, and then I'll know.
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Old 01-21-2005, 08:00 AM   #23
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You're definatly not wet

At anyrate, you bring up some VERY valid points.

An interviewer might put in "With a big grin on his face, So-and-so said..."

An author writting an article about himself or his own views tends to forget those little things like that.
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:18 AM   #24
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Default Roles and such.

If you look at how movies are reviewed by snobs and suits you can see just what they want of people. They want people to think not as they do but as they say. For instance not to get off the topic and BSG or Dirk Benedict look for the reviews of Lord of the Rings vs. The Maxtrix. What is the first thing they bring up? Race, what is the first thing they'd accuse someone else of if they did the same thing, racism, bigotry, blah blah blah. These drones who conjure this up make me think now after having seen this non-sense go on for the past 13 or so years have my mind saying, these people are not happy with their lives, but it goes even further than their personally not feeling happy.

Sure the technocrats have good jobs, wealth far beyond what I have and more than likely beyond what Dirk Benedict himself has. But they are truelly not happy people unless they are making other people more miserable than they are. I think for some reason they have it in their head that happiness is not how much you have or how you feel but how you can tear into the other person and lower them down below you. And I believe Dirk even made illusions to this in lost in the castration where something that is suspost to be uplifting is turned into the complete opposite a microcosm of what society has become of disfunction and utter self gradification at the expense of everyone else. If they can't make people happy they'll make them in various levels of misery, loneliness and dispare. It's no wonder why suicide rates are at the levels they are today, don't be happy someone might call you nasty names. Don't look at that person they might claim sexual harrassment on you, or worse. This world has truely become sick and if you do make mention of it truth doesn't exactly earn you many friends expecially from the quarter that demands strict adherents no matter what. Matter of fact that quarter has the thinnest of all skins and will shreak the loudest and be heard the most. Yes Dirk has every right to be ticked about what turned into BSG, but Dirk has very little say because this is David vs. Goliath and in this round David was denied use of slings or rocks in this reimagined David vs. Goliath.

I guess PC doesn't stand for political correctness or politically correct, I think it stands for proto-cylons and we're rapidly as a people becoming that without giving much thought to it.
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Old 02-10-2005, 10:34 AM   #25
cylon_trooper
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Default Re: Narrations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Decades
"Dirk has made statements blaming the Feminist movement (which is way way way older then 40 years. It goes back in the US at least 80 or 90 years with the right to vote, and has origins even earlier elsewhere).

The 1960's marked a radical change for Women's Rights. The new feminists vociferously denigrated the male, the important role of motherhood and attached monetary considerations as the guiding principle against a stable home and family.


Much of the feminist leadership promoted their Yin and Yang imbalances as role models of equilibrium.

Some documentation has emerged which leads many to suspect this new aggressive feminism had it's roots in government itself. Previously, Income taxation was against a husband's salary solely with deductions given for wife and dependent children. Post 1960's feminism brought into government double income families and double income taxation. The collection and taxation rates for states also dramatically increased. The marriage penalty tax was just recently revised.


Margaret Mead was a leading Women's Rights advocate and she voiced her concerns many times over before her death in 1978 about the new feminist agenda which modelled short term gains over long term dysfunction.

www.legacy98.org/move-hist.html
Correct me if i'm wrong but wasn't one of those dysfunctional feminists responsible for the death of the artist Andy Worhol? I wonder if anyone who expouses this afeminine ideology of feminism feels proud of that?
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