From: Jms at B5
Date: 2/27/1996 8:29:00 PM
Here's something to consider in this.
It's easy -- safe and reassuring -- to dismiss Nightwatch and the whole
political climate on Earth at this time as referring to Nazi germany...SS,
Stormtroopers, informers...but if we know our history, it shows that this is
not so isolated as we might think. If we say it was just the Nazis, then
it's a non-repeatable phenomenon, we needn't worry about it again.
But, of course, it does happen again...it did, and it will, to varying
degrees. Go back to the Inquisition, and forward to Joe McCarthy and the
House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) which destroyed lives and
reputations based on association, past history, social contacts and party
affiliations (the items specified by Musante to the EA folks in Nightwatch).
Stalin and to a lesser extent Lenin would have been right at home in
Nightwatch. Several of the leaders speaking for parties in the ruins of what
was once Yugoslavia would also fit.
It's easy, and safe, for us to say, "Oh, we would never do that, only THEY
did that." But the "they" in this ARE the we on the other side...and "we"
have done it, are doing it now, and will continue to do it. Only when we
*know* the history of such things, when we recognize the rhetoric of control,
when we oppose blacklisting and scapegoating and dead-catting do we help to
assure that they *won't* arise again. Remember the quote: "Those who do not
remember history are condemned to repeat it."
There's a great deal of generalized historical and political metaphor in the
show, never one-to-one because that's too easy, but disguised in one form or
another, transumted. The Centauri Republic isn't a real republic by any
stretch of the imagination...any more than the Roman Republic from which it
draws some of its political structure, particularly the Centarum, the ruling
body. There's a great deal of Japanese political and social structure to the
Minbari, in their culture and art and some of their philosophy. You can find
parallels to the story in World War II, and the bible, among a few dozen
Too little of TV these days is *about* anything...it's all context, no
subtext. This show is about a lot of things...but never in the mode of
telling you what to think. We'll ask *that* you think, that you consider the
world around you, and your place in it...but defining that is your business,