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Narsham
Jun 5, 2008


SlothfulCobra posted:

Babylon 5 is not a show that speculates on future slang or the evolution of language, and it's ridiculous to use that as a defense.

Without a better sense of your specific objections to the characterization or dialogue, it's difficult to engage at any level more specific. I agree that they aren't well-written (or well performed), but their dialogue does fit into the broader tendency of B5 to work more like a stage production than a hyper-realistic "hand-held camera" style of show that purports to be showing us real people who act and speak like real people.

It's possible to change the vocabulary without introducing "future slang." And it is unquestionably the case that the show does try to consider the different forms that "future criminality" might take, from the ways in which Down Below and the criminals operating there are presented from the drug and weapons smugglers who operate in a different way entirely. There are many problems with how the show presents those situations, and arguably none of the "criminal B5" stuff really works except as an allegory for planetary homelessness and neglect, but I personally wouldn't put "vocabulary" on my top 5 list of complaints about that and I'm not sure it'd make the top 10.

My top 5:
1. It's unclear how a criminal underground on the station actually manages to handle their money. I don't expect JMS to anticipate Bitcoin, but despite B5 very much not being a Star Trek "we don't use money anymore" setting, it's unclear how, say, a fence would function on the station and the closest to plausible we see, Morden using gems to bribe security, seems improbable because how do you convert gems to credits on-station? There must be systems in place to deal with the differing monetary systems of all these aliens, as well; while we see a bar and a strip club and a casino and even a post office, we never get the merest whiff of a bank. Cash only, I guess? But even that's limited on a space station unless B5 can mint its own. (This gets oddly ignored after they go independent, too, although "how do we pay for things" does come up.)

2. How do the lurkers eat and drink? We see shady bars in that part of the station: how do these operate? Do they have official sanction and approval? Because while I'm fine with the "everyone can breathe" element given that oxygen is generated by plants in the central cylinder, water and especially food have to be metered and monitored. And it's a space station, so cutting off water or air to a specific part of the station shouldn't just be possible, it should be a required safety feature. Franklin's "free clinic" is mentioned, so perhaps there's the space equivalent of a soup kitchen in Brown sector. But it seems like the broad stroke of "corruption" suffices in the show to account for all of this.

3. Given the expected resource scarcity on B5--it is unclear how much the station is capable of manufacturing things, especially replacement parts--the amount of junk we see lying around Brown sector seems improbable. Maybe this is just a matter of the scale of the B5 project and the fact that junk isn't being recycled and can't otherwise be easily disposed of.

4. Where's the muscle coming to replace losses for all these gangs? One guy gets offed on Earth, and there's dozens more where that came from. But every being on B5 had to either pay to come there, or be brought there by someone else who paid. Unless there's far more one-way traffic and making a living on the station is harder than it looks, finding this many drifters who are capable of operating as muscle seems improbable, and you'd expect more diversity instead of always seeing central-casting style "tough guys" plus a scattering of aliens.

5. Garibaldi is in charge of station security. Think about everything we learn about him and his personality. Then think about everything we see about the wide range of "underworld" criminals on the station. Either Garibaldi is being held in check by his superiors to prevent him from doing a sweep involving mass arrests and accidental spacings, or something arbitrary is going on. I might barely believe that Garibaldi allows a few crime-lords to function on the station because he feels he can work with them and they can keep other criminal activity in check themselves, but he has a long record of going off half-cocked and ruining his career prospects by overreacting to a situation out of his own sense of idealism and paranoia. Maybe he's just too busy with the crises of the week? But you'd expect regular clean-up sweeps of Down Below and you'd think it would be hard to replace criminal assets on-station afterward (see 4).

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Absurd Alhazred
Mar 27, 2010

:rip:


Narsham posted:

Crime in B5

You've probably given more thought to crime than JMS has. The truth is it's there as fluff and color. Maybe it would have been different had he decided he wanted to write a crime novel in space - in that case station security, alien diplomacy, and the military would be fluff and color, and as undeveloped as this. Or maybe if he just had a couple of Important Criminal Characters. I guess the Fabiopaths in Season 5 count, sort of.

Rappaport
Oct 2, 2013


Narsham posted:

4. Where's the muscle coming to replace losses for all these gangs? One guy gets offed on Earth, and there's dozens more where that came from. But every being on B5 had to either pay to come there, or be brought there by someone else who paid. Unless there's far more one-way traffic and making a living on the station is harder than it looks, finding this many drifters who are capable of operating as muscle seems improbable, and you'd expect more diversity instead of always seeing central-casting style "tough guys" plus a scattering of aliens.

I'm almost certain that some episode that features lurkers mentions that people buy one-way tickets to Babylon 5 with all their savings, hoping to strike it rich there, and get stranded because they didn't hit the proverbial jack-pot and wind up as homeless people. That said, either I can't recall it or it isn't stated what the big pay-day is supposed to be that these people are betting their lives on, so this doesn't actually address your criticism, just adds another layer of hand-waving on top of it :v:

Farmer Crack-Ass
Jan 2, 2001

~this is me posting irl~


I'm pretty sure Garibaldi at one point wished he had free reign to clear out Down Below and got shut down, but here's the problem with sweeping Down Below; what do they do with all the people they round up? Mass murder isn't an option. They're not setup for long-term imprisonment, nor is that really desirable anyway. And Earth apparently refuses to take prisoners from B5; the whole plot of The Quality of Mercy hinges on Earth refusing to take a convicted murderer.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Farmer Crack-rear end posted:

I'm pretty sure Garibaldi at one point wished he had free reign to clear out Down Below and got shut down, but here's the problem with sweeping Down Below; what do they do with all the people they round up? Mass murder isn't an option. They're not setup for long-term imprisonment, nor is that really desirable anyway. And Earth apparently refuses to take prisoners from B5; the whole plot of The Quality of Mercy hinges on Earth refusing to take a convicted murderer.

I'm sure Zathras would appreciate the help. :getin:

Vavrek
Mar 2, 2013

I like your style hombre, but this is no laughing matter. Assault on a police officer. Theft of police property. Illegal possession of a firearm. FIVE counts of attempted murder. That comes to... 29 dollars and 40 cents. Cash, cheque, or credit card?


:allears:

Chevy Slyme
May 2, 2004

We're Gonna Run.

We're Gonna Crawl.

Kick Down Every Wall.


Farmer Crack-rear end posted:

I'm pretty sure Garibaldi at one point wished he had free reign to clear out Down Below and got shut down, but here's the problem with sweeping Down Below; what do they do with all the people they round up? Mass murder isn't an option. They're not setup for long-term imprisonment, nor is that really desirable anyway. And Earth apparently refuses to take prisoners from B5; the whole plot of The Quality of Mercy hinges on Earth refusing to take a convicted murderer.

“Electric Bleachers”

Farmer Crack-Ass
Jan 2, 2001

~this is me posting irl~


Yeah I've heard that story too but Garibaldi did not think that literally everyone in Down Below deserved execution

McSpanky
Jan 16, 2005








Give them all jobs, in security :getin:

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011



I think there were a few episodes where Garibaldi had some sentimentality for some lurkers, although the only thing that sticks out to me is the crazed war veteran who he stood up for.

It might be interesting to see Babylon 5 have some overworked social workers trying and failing to sort out problems with the lurkers and even trying to help them book passage to Earth (which also wouldn't want to take them), but otherwise, I think the down-below economy is just an extension of the rest of the station's economy with commerce going through. The whole station is supposed to basically be a city, with people stopping there on the way to somewhere else to trade, or running businesses to benefit from tourists coming to the station to see what the galaxy has to offer, and that just kind a trickles down to the people who all they can do are odd jobs or grifting or even just begging.

Narsham posted:

Without a better sense of your specific objections to the characterization or dialogue, it's difficult to engage at any level more specific. I agree that they aren't well-written (or well performed), but their dialogue does fit into the broader tendency of B5 to work more like a stage production than a hyper-realistic "hand-held camera" style of show that purports to be showing us real people who act and speak like real people.

It's possible to change the vocabulary without introducing "future slang." And it is unquestionably the case that the show does try to consider the different forms that "future criminality" might take, from the ways in which Down Below and the criminals operating there are presented from the drug and weapons smugglers who operate in a different way entirely.

I think the biggest way I could describe JMS's issues with vocabulary/lexicon is that he kind of defaults too readily to vaguer terms and talking about "the good guys", but I'm not sure how else I would describe it.

Narsham posted:

1. It's unclear how a criminal underground on the station actually manages to handle their money. I don't expect JMS to anticipate Bitcoin, but despite B5 very much not being a Star Trek "we don't use money anymore" setting, it's unclear how, say, a fence would function on the station and the closest to plausible we see, Morden using gems to bribe security, seems improbable because how do you convert gems to credits on-station? There must be systems in place to deal with the differing monetary systems of all these aliens, as well; while we see a bar and a strip club and a casino and even a post office, we never get the merest whiff of a bank. Cash only, I guess? But even that's limited on a space station unless B5 can mint its own. (This gets oddly ignored after they go independent, too, although "how do we pay for things" does come up.)

This is a thing I think about a lot, because while it's easy to see how the way people having money has changed and the way it's been going, less and less people use physical currency and some people are even trying to move away from cards. But the main problem is none of that actually works offline, and the one thing most sci-fi universes seem to agree on is that there's not going to be instantaneous communication with distant worlds, or at least it's not going to be easy and cheap. I think Bitcoin also requires an online connection.

They talk a lot about using "credits", which the only way I can figure that works is if people send money transfers to a station account that they can use on-station, which definitely doesn't work well for doing illegal things. I think there's even a bit when they track criminals by their bank records.

The other alternative is just bringing back physical currency, and there's definitely that in Babylon 5. I think it's even implied that they have coinage instead paper currency. There's a number of times when people use little brown sack props as money. If you want to be able to use currency to trade with cultures without relying on currency exchange rates, you may even just go all the way back to regulated amounts of valuable minerals.

Zorak of Michigan
Jun 10, 2006

Waiting for his chance

SlothfulCobra posted:

I think the biggest way I could describe JMS's issues with vocabulary/lexicon is that he kind of defaults too readily to vaguer terms and talking about "the good guys", but I'm not sure how else I would describe it.
...
The other alternative is just bringing back physical currency, and there's definitely that in Babylon 5. I think it's even implied that they have coinage instead paper currency. There's a number of times when people use little brown sack props as money. If you want to be able to use currency to trade with cultures without relying on currency exchange rates, you may even just go all the way back to regulated amounts of valuable minerals.

"Resources" is the word that drives me nuts. People need resources, B5 has resources, nobody ever says what they are.

Re the little sacks of money, I thought those were usually casino chips, since they took be used most often to settle gambling debts or demonstrate winnings.

Farmer Crack-Ass
Jan 2, 2001

~this is me posting irl~


Londo gave Garibaldi a bunch of physical Centauri ducats when he was on the run in Survivors.

CainFortea
Oct 15, 2004




ultrafilter posted:

Which one are you thinking of? All that comes to mind for me is Bureau 13 from season 2.

The only one I can think of is Ironheart.

MrL_JaKiri
Sep 23, 2003

A bracing glass of carrot juice!


Zorak of Michigan posted:

The one that really bothers me was from season 4, where they're about to lead the fleet into battle, and then Delenn shows him the Minbari communication and control system, which he clearly hasn't seen before. It's the largest fleet ever assembled, going into battle against a superior force, and yet they've never shown their commander how their comms work? My old paintball team wouldn't have made that mistake.

That's in S3, Shadow Dancing. Lower key engagement than Into the Fire.

Zaroff
Nov 10, 2009

Nothing in the world can stop me now!

CainFortea posted:

The only one I can think of is Ironheart.

What about Kosh’s recording of Talia, which Garibaldi remembered about when she was exposed, and was never mentioned again?

CainFortea
Oct 15, 2004




Zaroff posted:

What about Kosh’s recording of Talia, which Garibaldi remembered about when she was exposed, and was never mentioned again?

You could make an argument for that.

I just felt it was more about the act of recording showing how the vorlons don't trust telepaths. What happens to the recording isn't really a dropped plot beat.

Zorak of Michigan
Jun 10, 2006

Waiting for his chance

MrL_JaKiri posted:

That's in S3, Shadow Dancing. Lower key engagement than Into the Fire.

I am both wrong and not convinced that I'm wrong!

Jedit
Dec 10, 2011

Proudly supporting vanilla legends 1994-2014



Zaroff posted:

What about Kosh’s recording of Talia, which Garibaldi remembered about when she was exposed, and was never mentioned again?

That's the one I was thinking of.

Narsham
Jun 5, 2008


I was thinking of the whole Talia line, so the Ironheart gift, the connection to Psi Corps experimentation, the VCR and attached plot to reconstruct her original personality after the second was triggered, and presumably a later role occupied by Lyta instead.

Unclear how the relationship to Ivanova would have affected the storyline. I could see at least a small chance that the whole Byron/Lyta story would have been Talia/Ivanova instead, although presumably with a different ending.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011



Still goin' through my rewatch. Season 4 is dense with storylines and content.

Garibaldi turning on Sheridan is a sad story, but even without the mind control angle, it reminds me a lot of how in the last few years, sometimes people just awaken a dark side that was hiding within them, or get some kind of brainworm into their head out of nowhere, and all of a sudden they're prioritizing values that just alienate them from former friends. It just happens sometimes. Also while Garibaldi is leaving some of his values behind, Garibaldi being on such a power trip he feels he can just break the laws he used to uphold with impunity after resigning feels like the same Garibaldi that tried shooting up the post office to get his his pepperoni without paying postage.

Delenn's surrender I didn't quite remember. I remembered the new Grey Council and thought she was going to pull the trick of surrendering to the Worker Caste instead of the Warrior Caste, but surrendering and then demanding that the leader of the Warrior Caste submit to an ancient pre-Valen ritual of self-destruction, emasculating him in front of the entirety of Minbar and being forced to swallow his words from before while Delenn suffers proudly is a hell of a thing. It's a really cool moment. Neroon sacrificing himself to save Delenn (who might've been planning to die anyways) and swearing himself to the Religious Caste with his last breath is a neat moment, but I kinda wish he stuck around to be a point of reference to check in with about how Minbar is doing.

Bester is a clever little worm, checking up on Garibaldi and recruiting Lyta at the same time. Not the first guy to ask for her body in the show, but the first to get it. He really makes sense when you think of him as just being into eugenics and doing what he thinks is best for his genotype against the flatscans. Didn't realize that Zack and Lyta had become friends at that point, but it's a nice touch that he has to be the one giving her the bad news. Zack doesn't go on the same kind of power trips that Garibaldi did.

The bit about Earth now firing on civilian vehicles and that being the final straw feels oddly relevant now. With a lot of this, I wonder how it would be if Sinclair stayed the captain in the show. Sinclair would definitely be better at speaking of the crimes of Earth in a grim tone, which Sheridan is awkward with, but I feel like he'd be weaker at trying to appeal to the consciences of the Earth captains. I totally forgot that Dr. Kelso from Scrubs was the warfleet leader, and the chief perpetrator of warcrimes, but he's perfect for it. He'd be good for an evil Sith lord in Star Wars too.

The whole way that Sheridan builds his strategy around sorting out who's doing the warcrimes in the middle of a fight and goading ship captains into defecting and mutinying is...weird, and it's definitely JMS trying to make up things on the fly and not really based in anything historical, but I can buy the general principle as being an important part of how a space civil war would work. Might've made more sense if Sheridan hadn't waited so long to turn on Clarke and if it didn't feel like half a year since the defecting Earth ships failed in their fight and things were still "hot" from Clarke's insurrection. The way Sheridan studiously tries to sort out warcrimes also seems like it justifies saying that a captain who was a "loyalist" to Clarke can still have a clean record.

And then there's Londo, at his most humble, trying to put himself in front of G'kar as something that just can't be ignored, and not even an enemy anymore. G'kar just wants to leave it all behind, but Londo is forcing the point, because they can't be true diplomats if they are unwilling to acknowledge the other. It's such a complicated moment.

The "Voice of the Resistance" sounds kinda cringey to me now with the people who have been calling themselves "the resistance", and the logo sure doesn't help. The general principle is valid though.



I do really like the Proxima III graphic though.



CGI Minbar also looks really good.

Vitruvian Manic
Dec 4, 2021

by Fluffdaddy


The French Resistance and Radio Free Europe would be the touchstones JMS was going for. I'm not really sure what the #resistance was going for but you have to place it within the context of the times. JMS could see the future in many, many ways. Including cringe liberals co-opting the French Resistance and Radio Free Europe.

But he was novel in doing so even if it is played out now.

Narsham
Jun 5, 2008


Neroon’s arc really proves how a great performance and a writer who can weave a secondary character’s story arc into a larger show with skill can produce something powerful. He appears in five episodes. Only five! That’s only three episodes to set up for his turn at the end of the Minbari Civil War arc. And it’s such brilliant efficiency: his grudging respect for Sinclair in Legacies coupled with his contempt for Delenn, personally; his uneasy realization in Grey 17 is Missing about Marcus’ willingness to die for Delenn coupled with his evident concern about whether she will wield that power responsibly; his veiled contempt for his own caste’s leader in his final appearance. All thematically of a piece. Great stuff.

MikusR
Jan 5, 2008


SlothfulCobra posted:

With a lot of this, I wonder how it would be if Sinclair stayed the captain in the show.
I wonder if Garibaldi still would be the one who gives him up.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





MikusR posted:

I wonder if Garibaldi still would be the one who gives him up.

Likely so. "Hello old friend" doing it would hit pretty hard.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011



I'm not sure. I think Garibaldi and Ivanova switched roles after the captain switched, so Ivanova would've been the one regularly butting heads with the captain.

Then again, there was also that future vision where Garibaldi was going on a suicidal charge into the enemy. Maybe he could've even died and be turned into a zombie agent.

Narsham
Jun 5, 2008


SlothfulCobra posted:

I'm not sure. I think Garibaldi and Ivanova switched roles after the captain switched, so Ivanova would've been the one regularly butting heads with the captain.

Then again, there was also that future vision where Garibaldi was going on a suicidal charge into the enemy. Maybe he could've even died and be turned into a zombie agent.

The only zombie Garibaldi I can imagine is slowly shuffling down a corridor while groaning, “Haaaaaaiiiiirrrr! Haaaaaiiiiiirrrrr!”

F.D. Signifier
Jul 18, 2004


Melman v2

Gnome de plume posted:

The art's about what you'd expect form a 90s licensed comic, mostly on-model, one issue however:



It's like they didn't know when to stop drawing it

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011







His head isn't even that much bigger than the female character.

SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011



I feel like Intersections in Real Time is a cool episode, but it highlights a lot of how the show's depiction of fascism wasn't prescient, and actually was about recalling a lot of historical examples. Most strongly, the anti-communist McCarthy hearings. Sure America would turn to torture in the future, but the Guantanamo torture had nothing to do with forcing public confessions. They actually tried to hide the extent of what was going on. I think some other authoritarian states got more into forcing public confessions, but I don't really know many details. I think the US's torture program might've even started from a guy doing experiments to train people to resist being made to do false confessions under torture (and then he just kept finding new reasons to do torture).

There's even the way that the Drazi prisoner is "executed" by depicting the interrogation center as having a dodgy electrical grid because they were using The Chair.

MikusR
Jan 5, 2008


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9xMd0ln_rE&t=73s
At 1:13 you can hear the original voice of Delenn with the filter.

Data Graham
Dec 28, 2009

📈📊🍪😋





Ah yes, the Galadriel/Dalek plugin

Grand Fromage
Jan 30, 2006

L-l-look at you bar-bartender, a-a pa-pathetic creature of meat and bone, un-underestimating my l-l-liver's ability to metab-meTABolize t-toxins. How can you p-poison a perfect, immortal alcohOLIC?




Yikes. It was a neat idea but I'm glad they didn't go with it.

Narsham
Jun 5, 2008


Data Graham posted:

Ah yes, the Galadriel/Dalek plugin

All shall listen to her, and despair.

alexandriao
Jul 20, 2019

"What're quantum mechanics?"
"I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose."


SlothfulCobra posted:

Garibaldi turning on Sheridan is a sad story, but even without the mind control angle, it reminds me a lot of how in the last few years, sometimes people just awaken a dark side that was hiding within them, or get some kind of brainworm into their head out of nowhere, and all of a sudden they're prioritizing values that just alienate them from former friends. It just happens sometimes. Also while Garibaldi is leaving some of his values behind, Garibaldi being on such a power trip he feels he can just break the laws he used to uphold with impunity after resigning feels like the same Garibaldi that tried shooting up the post office to get his his pepperoni without paying postage.

Didn't realize that Zack and Lyta had become friends at that point, but it's a nice touch that he has to be the one giving her the bad news. Zack doesn't go on the same kind of power trips that Garibaldi did.

I'll go so far to say that, while Zack was actively drawn into fascism and Garabaldi wasn't, Zack is objectively a better person than Garabaldi in a lot of ways

I get the feel that if Garabaldi had free reign to manage the station as he wanted it would literally be a little fascist station lol

Alhazred
Feb 16, 2011






Zack needs someone to remind him that "fascism is bad indeed". If he didn't have Sheridan or any other he would have stand back or even helped while Babylon 5 became fascist.

CainFortea
Oct 15, 2004




I always figured Zack just really didn't know what fascism was. He was uncomfortable with Nightwatch and stuff, but he didn't really examine the obvious path the future would take in those regards. It was an extra bump to his pay in exchange for wearing an arm band and saying some stupid poo poo.

Zack was tricked.

Most of the nasty poo poo Garibaldi did he did with eyes wide open. (or he was mind controlled but i'm not counting that)

alexandriao
Jul 20, 2019

"What're quantum mechanics?"
"I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose."


CainFortea posted:

I always figured Zack just really didn't know what fascism was. He was uncomfortable with Nightwatch and stuff, but he didn't really examine the obvious path the future would take in those regards. It was an extra bump to his pay in exchange for wearing an arm band and saying some stupid poo poo.

Zack was tricked.

Most of the nasty poo poo Garibaldi did he did with eyes wide open. (or he was mind controlled but i'm not counting that)

This. Zack's entire fascism plot is going "Something feels off... but i need the money" (He explicitly says "I don't realy care for it, but what's a few extra credits for what I'm doing anyway?")

and then later on,

"Something feels off... but this man is shouting at me and scaring me and I'm afraid of standing out and being hurt"

alexandriao
Jul 20, 2019

"What're quantum mechanics?"
"I don't know. People who repair quantums, I suppose."


Garabaldi is a shithead who would happily space people if it reduced crime, the only reason he disliked fascism was because it wasn't his style of fascism, and he's paranoid about government of any sort

Zack's a big softie who didn't really think too hard much about it at the start, and then was pretty clearly uncomfortable with the entire thing, and only staying there because there was a big mean guy shouting at him and he thought he was going to be next to be strung up

The fascism plot was better for including Zack, because it's a really good demonstration of how well-meaning people get drafted in and end up doing war crimes on people

It's a really good underline of the overarching themes of the show - even good people can do bad things (or, there are no good or bad people, only good and bad principles)

alexandriao fucked around with this message at 17:06 on Apr 24, 2022

Super Deuce
May 25, 2006
TOILETS
Oh, I like the smell of my own dumps.

The Zack fascism thing is frustrating because nobody was like, “Hey Zack, this is fascism. Maybe don’t do that. Here is a 20th century history book.”

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SlothfulCobra
Mar 27, 2011



Zack is just kind of a weird loser. He wound up as Garibaldi's second in command after the previous second in command shot Garibaldi in the back to make sure the president's assassination went off without a hitch, and Garibaldi just never really trusted Zack enough to tell him anything that was going on. Including the specifics about why Clarke wasn't to be trusted.

So when Nightwatch comes along offering some extra cash, Zack sure likes having a little extra money. Everybody in the command staff kept getting angry at him for being with Nightwatch, but none of them would ever say much about why, they just wanted him to know better without any real prompting or explanations. Nightwatch was also jumping through hoops to be as nice as possible to Zack because they saw him as a useful idiot even if he lacked the philosophy. He was never fully onboard for the xenophobia or the coup, but it wasn't until the very last moment that the command staff approached him directly to even give him an opportunity to do the right thing.

alexandriao posted:

Garabaldi is a shithead who would happily space people if it reduced crime, the only reason he disliked fascism was because it wasn't his style of fascism, and he's paranoid about government of any sort

This is really at the core of a lot of the way the show depicts fascism. It may seem prescient in a few ways, but JMS never predicted Trump or the jingoism over the Iraq War or how Reagan's bizarre anti-government angle would metastasize into the modern republican party. He never even really tried. JMS's fascism is more inspired by Nazi Germany simmering over the way that WW1 went badly, but even more by the Red Scare and HUAC. There's less rallying around open violence and more accusations of disloyalty to Earth. There's also a weird fixation on getting accused traitors to publicly accuse other people. I don't think that's a thing at all in current politics.

And since Nightwatch has specifically been established as a way to find and entrench supporters for a Clarke coup instead of as an open political movement, they put a lot of work into buttering up and seducing high-level staff instead of being direct. I guess that's more like how scientology tries to recruit celebrities?

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