Geek Girls Rule! #74 – Growing old Gracefully: Not just for women anymore.

Ok, by now you’ve all seen this:  Lt. Starbuck… Lost in Castration.  Yeah, I know.  It’s been making the rounds ever since the new BSG started.  Dirk Benedict has his knickers in a wad because the new Starbuck is a girl.  ZOMG! NOES!!!!  I was trying to ignore this, but apparently he’s recently reposted it at Big Hollywood, where old asshats too conservative for the Scientologists to deal with go to shoot what’s left of their careers loudly in the foot. 

This is really disappointing to me on so many levels.  For starters, I am old enough that I watched the original Battlestar in first run.  I had a huge crush on Dirk Benedict as a young girl.  In the late 70s Scholastic had a magazine you could order through the weekly book club thing they did, called Bananas.  And one of those issues had a Dirk Benedict as Starbuck poster.  I think it’s still in a box at my mom and dad’s somewhere.  It lived on my bedroom wall until such a time as Duran Duran and Motley Crue supplanted Dirk Benedict in my daydreams.  I loved him in “Scavenger Hunt,” a fantastically goofy movie about “Milton Bradley’s” heirs competing for his fortune in a scavenger hunt, per his will.  I ADORED the A-Team. 

But this is like a slap in the face, this misogynist screed using the updating of a show and a character as an excuse to spew this hateful crap.  The original BSG was bad.  It was poorly written, played for laughs, no pathos.  I loved it, yes, but I was eight.  The new show is not just a transformation of a relatively shallow show into something new, but an entire re-invention.  It barely shares a skeletal structure with the original.  Mr. Benedict is pissed because they’ve “castrated” HIS Starbuck by turning him into a her, that they’ve castrated the entire show by having strong female characters.  “Men hand out cigars. Women “hand out” babies,” is one of the least offensive things he says.  I am deeply saddened that I once harbored a crush on this hateful boor.

I have news for you, Mr. Benedict.  A lot of those young girls, like myself, who daydreamed about you when they should have been paying attention in class, we didn’t just want to date Starbuck.  A lot of us wanted to BE Starbuck.  My daydreams about that character didn’t involve me sitting around on the big ship waiting for him to come back to me.  In my daydreams, I was the first female fighter pilot, out there fighting the cylons with him. 

I know I cannot be alone in this.

I LOVE the new Starbuck.  Kara Thrace (played by Katee Sackhoff) is awesome.  I wish I’d had her as a role model when I was that age.  Hell, I fantasize about being her NOW.  I don’t know that I’d let kids as young as I was when I saw the original watch the new one.  I mean, “33” scared the hell out of me, and made me cry.  But apparently young girls are watching the show, and writing her fan mail.  And I’m glad.  I’m glad that they don’t have to imagine they’re the ONLY female fighter pilot.  I’m glad that their fandom comes with a place for them built into it, instead of them having to imagine a way they could be the exception. 

That, and as I’ve said before, when we were watching the miniseries, and the scene where she punches the Colonel happened, the Mister looked over at me and said, “Honey, she’s you!”   I don’t think they’ve written her as a “man with tits” as so many have complained.  And maybe I’m biased, because I’ve been hit with the “man with tits” label so many times in my actual life.  But I find her realistic, engaging, a nuanced and complex character.  She breaks the trope of female heroes by having had something happen to someone she loved, instead of to her.  I find her guilt over his death, in all its manifestations, very real.

And seriously, Mr. Benedict’s screed sounds more like a cry of “I could still play that role!” than a legitimate beef.  And I think most of the people who’ve read it feel the way I do about it.  You are not Starbuck, Mr. Benedict.  You are an actor who happened to play that character for a season.  In making Starbuck a woman they have not castrated, or even attempted to castrate, you.  Had they left Starbuck male, you still wouldn’t have been tapped for the role.  You’ve aged out of it.  What would you have railed against then?  And quite frankly, this screed has probably ruined any chance you might have had to cameo on the show at all.  Seriously, Dirk, growing old gracefully?  It isn’t just for women anymore.

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15 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #74 – Growing old Gracefully: Not just for women anymore.

  1. I managed to not have seen or heard of this screed of his before. My comment on his blog today was: What a whiny, self serving, load of hooey!” That was a much edited version of what I was thinking.

    I too had a crush on him and Richard Hatch and I too daydreamed of being the woman fighter pilot – the exception to the rule. I loved the movie Scavenger Hunt and had almost forgotten about it until you mentioned it here. I loved the original BSG and I also loved the A-Team. I was 11.

    When I first heard that some of the old characters were now women I wasn’t sure how I felt about it – but that was before I realized they were completely re-doing the story. Much as I can was nostalgic about the original series I have not brought myself to spend the money to have it on DVD because I know it’s likely better left to memory. It was a product of it’s time.

    The female characters on the new show are strong women – real characters with the merits and flaws that all people have and that make them more interesting than any of the women characters in the original series – sad to say but true.

    It’s sad that I’m going to have to add Mr. Benedict to the list of actors that I used to love and can no longer respect. Really, that was the worst case of misogynistic ass-hattery that I’ve seen in a long, long, time.

  2. Is he still going off about that? They offered him a role (Zarek). The thing has been wrapped, and is he just trying to drum up controversy, so he can get more work?

  3. WHAT?! That’s so TOTALLY a 180 from 4 years ago, when he went to COMICON with the new Starbuck (Katie Sackoff) and they SMOKED CIGARS together and joked about “what will the women who had a crush on YOU do with ME?” stuff.

    I know he was originally less-than-thrilled…but he’s in PROMO SPOTs from the miniseries and the 1st season being all smiley and cool about it.

    BAH.

    I’m not sure if the article is simply referencing old material, or if someone’s convinced him that NOW – 8 weeks from the END of the whole SHOW – is the right time to start it anew.

    Bah.

    I love them BOTH. Even as a fag, I have a huge crush on Katie. And I used to have one on Dirk, before he turned into my *dad*. Ew.

  4. He originally posted this right after that that, nearly four years ago. He’s just recently reposted it on Big Hollywood. I think someone’s knickers are firmly wadded.

    I may have to create the Geek Girls Rule Golden Knickers Award in his honor.

  5. Ooo! Alex, will you help me shop for gold lamee panties that I can have silk screened with “The Geek Girls Rule Golden Knickers Award: Wad these?”

  6. Urgh. My mother used to babysit him. My great grandfather would mow his mom’s lawn when it got overgrown. She was a widow (for reasons I won’t go into) and did an admirable job of raising her kids alone.

    His attitude is strangely typical of what men used to think like back in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. (Which was the only place where Sssssss! ran for more than a week.) Well, perhaps some still do. It’s a pretty weird little town.

  7. I can confidently say that this attitude persists in many parts of Eastern Washington and Idaho for sure.

    As entertaining as working in a bookstore in Wenatchee, WA was, I did nearly strangle the 100th person who told me I should read what Rush Limbaugh had to say, because he was a wise man…

  8. Right now, on Dirk’s own official website, his fans, called the Dirkette Mafia, are claiming that those of us who don’t agree with his sexist BS have a reading comprehension problem.

  9. Actually, Dirk wrote pretty extensively about why his mom’s a widow in his second book And then We Went Fishing….
    The book is a great read (except for his chapter against Birth control and family planning and it’s why women can’t get men….) and shows how screwed up he really is.
    It also talks about two blows to the head he had that cost him his memory temporarily and kept him out of the military. Explains a lot.

  10. I think I’ll just hold on to my memories of the very pretty man he was when I was 8, and leave it at that.

    Sigh.

  11. I liked the A-Team but have never been a big fan of Dirk Benedict (I often wonder what Face would have been like had Tim Dugan kept the part – I suspect they dumped him because he was taller than the guy playing B.A. and it just looked odd). I thought him a tolerably good actor and not as annoying as a lot of guys who played his kind of roles but that’s about it. And after reading his first autobiography I figured he was right in there with George Peppard pestering the lady who played “Amy.”

    I did think he had more savvy than to publish something this rediculous, but OTOH, maybe that’s because it’s been so long since I read his book. 😉

    The war against masculinity has been won.

    That kind of sums it up right there, doesn’t it? No recognition of the abuses women have dealt with or the reasons feminism has made the advances it has made – nope, feminism isn’t about justice, it’s about “destroying masculinity.” Good thing for me hubby didn’t get that memo, since I’m right fond of his masculinity…

    Also, no post on Dirk Benedict should neglect his greatest role – where his first line (and practically his only line for about half the movie, even though he’s on the screen more often than not) is, “Give me a hamburger – RARE.” Some terrific stuntwork, too. RUCKUS, I salute you. The commentary on the DVD is a hoot, too. The guy may be a hopeless sexist, but he can also be pretty funny.

    Still, I’m glad I’ve always been able to see a character as a separate being from the actor playing the role, so I won’t be reminded of this stupid article every time I see the guy’s work.

  12. Well, I’m far to young to remember either of his shows from the original. I saw the original BSG once on TV, and liked a couple of the books in a really campy way, but I only know BSG from the new series. I don’t like it- too dark for me, but thought Starbuck worked in the setting. Now I only watched up to the episode where Startbuck cuts her way into the biological cylon-ship thing, which was way to gross for me, so I can’t tell if all the male characters get weak after that point but neither Adama or Apollo seemed all that weak to me.

    So I must say Mr Benidict: you are an idiot, and I’m ashamed to share a gender with you.

    P.S. Damn you for ruining the A-Team for me. Yes it was a horrible, awful show. I stilled loved it years after I was smarth enough to see how horribly bad and awful it was.

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