Thursday, 21 October 2010

Stargate Universe

Staying at my mother’s place outside Fot near to Budapest we have been contemplating the issue of Americannes of contemporary Hungarian society. There is probably a lot more to it than our surface examinations make us realise this but there are some aspects that probably resemble a hint of reality.

Such would be the desperation of central European societies to truly belong to so called Western Europe, culturally, politically and economically while there is also a desperation to retain a distinctive character that is – here for instance – Hungarian. All this manifest in what we may call the European integration, the great project of pan-europeannes spearheaded by the very entity of the European Union. An entity that is inherently corporatist (as there is no public space within the EU for pubic politics, the people per se).

We were driving everywhere from my mother’s big house and big garden, a relatively isolated rural suburb because the nearest bus stop one would have found 2kms away walking on a dirt road under the beating sun pushing the buggy in fine sand. Once we got to the road we soon could reach the ring road and a fine numbers of malls and mega markets. Once we have drown on the highway to get an ice-cream. It felt what I would have imagined feels like living in a North American suburb.

How Stargate Universe does come into this? No, we didn’t find a stargate in the sand between the highway and the house. The issue is more subtle about societies’ desperate attempts to retain cohesion of some sort through nationalism whatever the price may be and propaganda enhancing such projects.

The bunch of SG personnel, civilian and military for months has been desperately trying to survive as castaways on the ancient starship Destiny millions of light-years from Earth, no hope of ever returning home. An interesting scenario of a small community, yet an entire society being born, an excellent set up to deliver what good sci-fi produces; a critical view of today’s society.

The intriguing enterprise took on somewhat of an action genre when the Lucian Alliance sent a team of warriors to take control of the ship. They are humans too but a ruthless syndicate concerned with power and profits nothing else, not allied with earth. They took over the ship and dropped of most of the SG crew on a planet where they would not have survived long but with some cunning plan the ones remaining on Destiny got them back and the ‘good guys’ won of course. Now they were left with the trouble of what to do with the band of warriors unworthy of their trust. They selected a handful handsome and clever ones to take on while dropped of the rest on another uninhabited planet capable to support human life (somewhat). However Destiny’s crew could not share any equipment with them so they were left with nothing but the clothes they were.

All this is well somehow; one could under certain circumstances justify acts incomprehensible otherwise. The starship travels on and episodes pass. Most undisturbing though is the lack of follow up. Nobody spares another word for those most probably left to die. As if they weren’t human beings or never existed. As if they deserved a treatment was unfair on them. As if the SG crew is morally right to call such judgments just because they had a the moral high ground (originally) as somewhat peaceful explorers and scientists. Thus the how presents us with propaganda: if against ‘us’ you are not one of us, we are people so you aren’t.
A similar story is the over hyped issue of building a Islam cultural centre in downtown New-York. Some argues it shouldn’t be allowed because it isn’t like a Christian centre would be allowed to be built downtown Riyadh. Which argument may be misinformed anyway but that is beside the point. Taking the moral high ground than arguing that our morally inferior opponents deserve the same treatment as they morally inferiorly would subject ‘us’ to really does destroy that moral high in fact it exposes that it never really existed. Best example of such propaganda is ‘24’ where the main character has to torture people in order to be able to save the day. He laments about it for a couple of minutes that has a good torture. Putting the same morality on screen doesn’t make SGU propaganda but what does is the lack of dialogue and debate. There appears to be consensus and the issue is of the topic thus propaganda is born. Probably completely unwillingly and unknowingly but nevertheless.

And how shall I turn this toward Szeged? The recent Local Council elections.
The governing party in the country is called ‘Fidesz MPP and KDNP’ or something like that, and this is just the shorthand! Now Fid rules the parliament with a vengeance and the democratic process has become almost less a façade than it used to (in post democratic states). After the local elections they are happy holders of majority of council seats in most local councils especially so in bigger towns and there may only be 2 bigger settlements where the major is in opposition to the central gov. Szeged is one of this place. The people have voted wrong. In another town, Esztergom the council is contemplating on stripping the new major of pretty much all her rights as a major because she is also in opposition to Fidesz, the people voted wring there too. Ruthless logic of exclusion, supporting propaganda provided above.
I wonder sometimes, if I watch TV I should not bother think about what I see… anyone else?

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