Saturday, March 31, 2007

sans pitié

Jason alerts me to a site called Television Without Pity, and points me to a very well-written (and very long) review of the season finale of "Battlestar Galactica." As always: geeks only. But fans of hipster prose will enjoy the review for its snap, its gleeful jumble of ancient and modern cultural references, and its nimble wit. The review reminds me that a lot of English majors are (or want to be) amateur psychologists and comparative religionists-- people who weave celestial archetypes and terrestrial tropes rather self-consciously into their examination of human nature. Or, at least, human nature as it appears in prose and on screen.

Although Jason had mentioned that the reviewer's name was Jacob, I somehow missed this. As I read the review, which Jason had quoted in the email, I began to assume the writer was female. Partway through the review, it became obvious the writer was male, which was a "whafuck?" moment for me. I need to run the review's prose through a gender analyzer.

I like the review's take on the best moment of that episode:

This whole season has been just one question: when we preserve humanity, what are we preserving? When they take away everything that makes you, when your entire self is taken apart in the unfolding, when the angel shows you the door and begs you to walk through, you have only one choice. It shines bright as five stars, and burns twice as hot: "My name is Saul Tigh. I am an officer in the Colonial Fleet. Whatever else I am, whatever else it means, that's the man I want to be. And if I die today, that's the man I'll be."

My only complaint about the review (does snark on snark constitute metasnark?) is that, in his haste to get it written, the writer is sometimes unclear about which character said what. On occasion the oversight is outright misleading-- not tragic if you've seen the episode more than once and can mentally reassign quotes to the proper people, but potentially irksome for folks who either missed the episode or saw it only once. That's a very minor complaint, though, and to focus on it would be unjust to the rest of the review, which is artfully engaging.

Go check it out!

UPDATE: The Gender Genie had no trouble seeing this was written by a man. The score:

Words: 11088
Female Score: 13596
Male Score: 17190
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

The Genie scored it fairly close, though. My most recent long entry on BSG scored this way:

Words: 1548
Female Score: 1774
Male Score: 2660
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!


1 comment:

Jason said...

Don't worry, it took me 2-3 weeks to figure out that Jacob is a gay man (click the link on his name at the top of the page); I assumed it might have been a female writing under a nom de plume, esp. after first reading the reviews of the Algae Planet episodes from earlier this season (aka, the Top Gun Greasy Biceps World).

Glad to see I'm not the only one with some seriously fucked up gaydar here.