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Who Hates Whom: Well-Armed Fanatics, Intractable Conflicts, and Various Things Blowing Up A Woefully Incomplete Guide by Bob Harris

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Home » Archives » June 2007 » Gray Matters
[Previous entry: "Overseeing Your Underpinnings"] [Next entry: "Warning: This Post Contains an Unavoidable Swear"]

06/18/2007: Gray Matters

You know one of the amazing things about Battlestar Galactica? There is no one character who always manages to do the right thing. There are characters who try, but they don't always succeed. And the right path isn't always obvious, and outcomes are unpredictable. Even the bad guy is really only disastrously selfish, not evil. Even the robots are human. This gives the writers lots of opportunities to write the very best kind of fights. The kind where both sides are right.

On the surface, this might seem like a lessening of conflict, but it really isn't. It's more like a-- like a realification of it. Both sides in a real conflict are always working from a place of incomplete knowledge, simply because none of us knows the future. And we all hold opinions based on our own subtle list of priorities which may not be at all the same as the person we're arguing with. Even the good guys can differ -- do you do the right thing, or the smart thing? Real fights are complex and painful and wonderful. If you've got a fight in your script, try putting some wrong on the right side and some right on the wrong side. Let both sides shine. It's an antidote to unseemly moustache-twirling and unbearable saintliness.

Human nature can be glorious and it can be very very dark. I direct you to this for some words from Joss on humanity, its failings and its potential. Please check it out. It's important stuff. (Thanks to reader Samantha for calling my attention to this.)

Lunch: salad with warm chicken pieces


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June 2007

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