Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why soccer is stupid

Soccer. Football. Call it what you will. Loathe it, despise it or just plain detest it, it is truly a game only an insane world could love.

And here are some reasons why:

1. It is boring.

Paralysed by a total lack of scores, stultified by the tedious monotony of endless ball passing, soccer's moribundity is matched only by the boredom of the spectators, who must relieve their own agony by brutally bashing each other, setting stadiums alight, assassinating referees and testing the human limits of alcohol consumption. The only sport where you know what the final score will before the beginning of the game, soccer is testimony to the powers of human endurance, a monument to imbecility almost greater than the Iraq War. The fatal flaw, supreme above all its other faults, will always be the scorelessness. It is the Achilles Heel, the sad dreadful reality underlying all the highlights and desperate, sagging commercials. And it leads inescapably to the next reason why soccer is awful.

2. It lacks reliability.

Because of the low (read neglible) scores, soccer lacks the statistical validity to actually qualify as a sport. In a pastime where the underdogs upset the champions so regularly, it is impossible to quantify which team is better on a given day. With a score (if you are lucky) of 1-0, a replay of the game is almost as likely, statistically, to result in victory for the other team. The better team cannot actually be determined from the game. This alone should be argument enough for the abolition of the sport.

The lack of reliability in soccer compares fatally with sports such as cricket, where over 5 days the better team will, pretty generally, come out on top. Of course, soccer players do display some skills, which makes them all the more pitiful (if that were possible) when their skills are not recognised by their sport.

3. It lacks validity

A soccer game is rarely a true measure of the playing skills of both sides. As well as there being very few points scored, those 'goals' that do occur usually come from penalty shots, corners etc. These opportunities rarely result from skill and are usually the outcome of luck or, even more frustratingly, from deliberate attempts to cheat the system through diving, forcing a penalty etc. Even worse, as so many games end with no score at all, we are left with the ludicrous practice of a 'penalty shootout', each incidence of which must surely stir thought 0f rebellion in even the most thuggish and unthinking soccer fan, who must be aware, on some level, that their very humanity, the essence of their soul, is compromised by the assertion of their mouths that this is a valid way to finish a competitive sporting activity.

4. It's degrading

As if penalty shootouts were not ignobling enough, soccer players have invented the dive. Scared babies crying for their mommies after they fall over. Over powdered dolly-boys crying wolf after every real or imagined offence. This loathsome, slimy practice would, in a civilized world, be punishable by whipping. Its continual practice in soccer reflects more tellingly upon its culture than anything else. How is it possible for a real human being, an individual with any developed sense of justice or humanity, to still respect themselves after having been witness to it? The very thought of it is degrading to everthing that is human within us. This sad, diseased and pathetic habit reflects so poorly on its practicioners and the spectators who submit to it that the sum value of global culture is reduced substantially; it compares so disfavourably to real sports which value endurance or the tolerance of pain such as rugby or cricket that the mere existence of soccer brings shame upon the world. How could such a sport exist on the same globe as Ricky Ponting playing on after being cut open by a Pommy bouncer, or Jonah Lomu running onto the field missing both kidneys, hundreds of bones, and a leg?

5. It enables Australia to disempower less privileged countries.

As if being the greatest sporting nation in the world were not already enough, and among the top few nations, despite our small size, in cricket, rugby, rugby league, swimming and hockey, there is a determined push to make Australia a soccer world power. Thank God, this push has not as yet been successful. If it were, Australia's success would be at the expense of such worthy cultural and economic rivals as Uruguay or Iraq. Personally, I think Iraq has enough to worry about without losing a World Cup spot because Australia suddenly got satellite TV and realised that the rest of the world was kicking a white ball and pretending to fall over, and decided that if the rest of the world could do that, Australia had to as well. Talk about cultural cringe! All the other sports not enough, dearie? Still doesn't make up for not having any Nobel Prize in Literature winners apart from a dense and unreadable Patrick White? It all comes back to being convicts and the Poms never forgetting doesn't it? So we have to beat them at their own game now that they have given up on the cricket. Too bad it has to be at the expense of countries like Uraguay, who don't have rugby or swimming or rising house prices to succour them, who fight malnutrition and rabies and dictatorships and hordes of flesh-eating zombies- Hey! Why not take away the only thing they're good at as well!

6. It's UnAustralian

Yes this is a big one to put out there but there is no doubt about it. Australian values are irrepairably undermined by soccer culture. Valued Australian traits such as honesty and fairness, destroyed by the dive. The understatement and reserve so typical of our character, exploded by the ostentatious and demeaning displays of triumph when the ball finally goes in- where is your modesty, young man? Our national character traditionally had a healthy distaste for excessive display- true worth did not need to be advertised.
Ethnic and national rivalries brought into a country that prides itself on its tolerance- riot anybody?

7. It's dehumanising

Soccer prides itself on avoiding the use of human abilities. Hands- the quintessential human appendage- are actually prohibited from use. (Soccer fans claim this is why it's called football, which raises the question: what sport is the goalkeeper playing?). With no hands comes no hand-eye-coordination and no opposable thumbs. Very little human activity at all in fact. Added to this is the notable lack of the higher human mental qualities- nobility, sportsmanship and honesty; you are left with a brutal, animalistic, and illogical sport whose only redeeming feature and the source of its popularity is that it costs nothing and requires no equipment to play.

I believe I have conclusively shown soccer for what it is. A tedious, grim sport which measures neither the skill of it players nor of its teams. A brutal, nefarious and dishonest pastime whose continued existence not only degrades humanity as a whole but in paticular demeans Australia.

I await your response

Thursday, July 05, 2007

On Monogamy

Monogamy- it has never come naturally to me.

A pernicious, dehumanising and degrading practice.

Pernicious because its false promise destroys lives. It's promoted as an ideal, so when humans fail to 'achieve' it, individuals can suffer guilt, embarrassment and criticism.

It's dehumanising because it's so anti-human. Humans are anything but monogamous by nature (although there seems to be a wide spectrum of behaviour). Before the cultural mixing that came with European colonisation, 75% of human societies were polygynous (male partners had multiple female partners) Of course it goes without saying European societies were also polygynous, they just hid it more effectively. Human males are significantly larger than human females, a pattern found across polygynous species, as competition among males rewards those who are brawnier. The degree of polygyny is dependent on size difference, so in deer for example the dominant stage will have dozens of does while in humans males tend to be 'somewhat monogamous', but inclined to wander.
Sex is what humans do best. We do it more often than other species, usually for longer, and we are one of very few species that does it for fun (the fantastic bonobo chimp seems to be the other species). It's extremely human, and, god knows, having the same partner all the time really puts a dampener on things.

Keeping our natural urges in check is the thing that makes it degrading. To constantly restrain yourself, for fear of being labelled 'sleazy' or a 'slut', is about as degrading as you can get.

Down with monogamy!

What about alternatives? Do we have to do away with marriage altogether?

Well, marriage is, of course, a ridiculous, absurd and atavistic insitution. Look at all the horrors that result from its evil: Divorce. Extramarital affairs. Unhappy marriages. Housewives.

It also correlates strongly with death, in that most people who die are or have been married!

Why can't we have contracts? Let's say you sign up for 7 years, the proverbial itch. If, in the unlikely even you still want to be together after that time, you can sign up for another 7. Couples wishing to get married for life should be reminded that even in jail life is only 20 years. They should receive counselling where divorce rates are frequently mentioned. Compulsory biology classes will also be part of the counselling.

If you still want to get married, ask yourself this: Do you want a marriage like your parents'? Because that is what you are going to get, like it or not. Human ageing, genetics and twenty years of hell make this inevitable.

Perhaps even better that the contract is the polygamous marriage. What is this rubbish with two people walking down the aisle together? Two? Two??? What an arbitrary, limiting, inhuman, disgraceful idea! Have you ever seen two people happy in a marriage thirty years down the track? Is it even legal? If it is, it should be banned. Let's have three people down the aisle. Two women and a man. Or...two men and a woman. I've known several women who would never be happy with just one man for the rest of their lives. Balanced, smart women with healthy sex drives who just can't imagine the idea. Or three men, or three women. What about four?

Interesting, it is religion where polygamy still survives. Far be it to defend religious practices, but they seem to be onto something here, apart from the obvious sexist attitudes (let's liberate Islam and have four husbands for every woman!)

Down with monogamy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Shades of Madness

I have a good friend, a close friend. He shall, of course, for the purposes of this article, remain anonymous.

He's married now, having a baby soon. His wife is a good lass, one of the best you could hope for in this city, a more or less sane combination of intelligence, common sense and education.

A couple of months ago, while they were expecting a baby and going through preparation frenzy, I popped over to discover various paint samples in squares spread over the inside walls. Apparently you put up these samples to see what they look like, and then choose the one you like the most. Then you paint over the other samples and paint the whole room or the whole section your chosen colour.

To do this is probably not simple. You need to go to the paint shop, choose several likely looking shades, buy them, take them home, put them up in these sample squares, meditate or contemplate until your choice comes to you, and then paint over (or take down?) the old ones.
If you were putting up samples of different colours I would understand more. But these are shades, with minute, if at all noticeable, differences.

A quick visit to www.dulux.co.uk revealed a mad, hidden cultlike world. A world of extraordinary pretentiousness and no hint of self-awareness. A world where there are 168 shades of blue alone. Where a dirty mix of pinks, labelled Rococco, comes with this description:

The key to this look is that it is both feminine and strong, much like Madame de Pompadour who was an astute, highly political woman as well as being a seductive, charming beauty. Roccoco is certainly not delicate for delicate's sake. It's a thoughtful, intelligent take on this era's extravagant past- it invites an element of modern urbanisation.

I'm guessing that not many men are buying paints.

This is the description for Feminine Edge:

Sophisticated and strong. The 'single girl in the city' is both worldly and confident. The elegant mix of contemporary, dark tones with pink, fleshy neutrals equals pretty with attitude.

Yep, you guessed it, pink again. There is a lot of pink in this world. And the world of paint samples is a world where nobody is aware of the irony of pink being described as feminist. Pink, the universal colour of woman's sexual subjugation and disempowerment. The colour of cute, the colour of helplessness. Transformed into 'sophisticated and strong'.

Which is what this is really all about. Transformation, subversion. Paint samples are being marketed to women who once were empowered and idealistic...and single. Housewives get to live out their fantasies of 'Dramatic Romance' and 'Aristocrat' with paint styles of the same name. It's this imagery that sells different shades that cannot actually be differentiated with the human eye. Different shades of blue, essentially all the same, have names like Venetian Crystal and Sapphire Springs.

Not that there aren't different kinds of blue at all. Obviously, there is light blue and dark blue. Obsessive compulsives, doped up on paranoia-inducing marijuana and ritalin, could come up with sky blue or steel blue. But Sapphire Springs? Forgive me if I am forced to bite off my own head and eat it. People who buy this paint are buying the name.

But perhaps I am bullshitting.

Perhaps the real reason I find these paint shades disturbing is something that is a lot closer to me and my insecurities. It is hard to put into words, but perhaps it seems extremely presumptuous to me. The act presumes so many things, presumes the agents have solved a bewildering array of questions, demonstrating almost a hubris.

Putting aside the weird and simpering House and Garden world of paint shades and samples, is is it right to paint walls at all? The walls in Lindsay's house already had paint on them. People who own walls have a legal right to paint them, but is it necessary? Should we have paint?

Should we have walls?

Should we have houses?

Could we not live more conveniently and sustainably in canvas tents? Or in warm underground caverns? Or in treehouses? I'm not sure, may be not. But I'm not aware that these questions have even been asked. It certainly hasn't been demonstrated to me that brick houses with solid walls are better. Neverthless, painting them presumes that their existence has been justified. I find this a large presumption, one that is not easily accepted without question.

I understand of course that we must live. We must work day to day, save money, accumulate assets, play the game of society and pretend the myriad things we must pretend. But to me this is all out of a spirit of necessity, acts of compromise in the hope that better and more truthful times lie ahead. I live with the knowledge of my own hypocrisy, but I also know that there is little choice.

But to invest the time, money and psychic energy to put paint samples on your walls represents an extraordinary acceptance of urban society, a complacency with the pedantic and arbitrary modern styles of interior decorating that, to me at least, indicates that you have given up. You have taken your profits and left the game. You don't have time to change the world if your priority this week is Pebble Drift or Royal Regatta.

And this is what worries me most of all. Because my friends are a success. They represent to me all that is possible in the combination of modern society, with all its fakeness and compromise, with individual thought and desire for change. But I suspect that they will not understand my view here, will suggest that what I am speaking in sophistries.

Which is a worry.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Not impressed with Princess Diana

Recently I saw the British film 'The Queen'. It was well-acted, an accurate portrayal, perhaps, of the Royal Family, but I was left wondering how happy the Queen would be with the subject matter of the film. I am guessing that she would prefer it if other movies about her are made at some stage, and that the only cinematic representation of her life did not revolve around her relationship with a dead bimbo.

While she was alive I more or less held Princess Diana in contempt, and her sudden death did little to change my opinion. To me, she had always been a symbol of undeserved wealth and fame, a triumph of both the vacuous cult of celebrity and the hereditary cult of royal privilege. I mistakenly thought that other people shared my view, and I have a vivid memory of walking into my class of Vietnamese and Lebanese migrants and raising my arms in trimph as I announced 'The Stupid Cow is dead!' The students' reactions made it clear that I had completely misjudged people's reactions- I get the feeling the Queen made the same mistake.

It is still very difficult for me to rationalise public respect for Diana, let alone adoration.

Notoriously thick from an early age, she failed her O-levels twice. Born not so much with a silver spoon in her mouth so much as a whole goddamn cutlery set, she auctioned off her virginity, Jane Austen-style, to the highest bidder, and was lucky enough to score the jackpot, Prince Charles himself, a man with whom she had almost nothing in common. She allowed herself to be portrayed as a victim in this marriage, the young and foolish girl married off to a man with a lover on the side and in-laws from hell. But if she had any real reservations, walking into a life of world-wide fame and perpetual wealth and glamour, she didn't voice them. She deserves no pity regard ing her marriage; it didn't look to me as if she was being dragged down the aisle.

If she was hard done by in the sense that her husband was seeing Camilla, she soon got her revenge by sleeping with every man in England except Lord Nelson at Trafalgar Square. The list of men identified as her lovers include Barry Mannakee, David Waterhouse, James Gilbey, Oliver Hoare, Dr Hasnet Khan, Bryan Adams, Will Carling and Dodi Fayed. Apparently they buried her in a Y-shaped coffin.

Despite all this and her divorce (or perhaps because of), she was unfailingly popular with the public. Apparently much of her reputation rests with her charity work, a very curious phenomenon indeed. In 1987 she was photographed- shock of shocks and horror of horrors-

holding hand with an AIDS patient,

which some people at the time seemed to think rather honourable or admirable. Her motives were so obviously selfless that future secret and unannounced visits to AIDS hospices invariably were widely covered in the media. Meanwhile her work for the banning of landmines was similarly self-serving and manipulative. There were pictures of her touring a minefield wearing a flak jacket and helmet, long after, of course, the mine had actually been cleared by professional mine-clearers. Even the most fervent supporter of Diana admits that she had almost zero influence in the campaign against the use of landmines until after her death! At which time, supposedly, Britain and several other countries signed a treaty banning landmines. Those who trumpet this fact usually forget to note that the largest users and producers of landmines (the USA, China, Pakistan, North Korea etc) have failed completely to ratify the treaty.

In the last few years of her life however, Diana devoted herself wholeheartedly to those activities for which she had a natural talent: bad mouthing her ex-husband on TV, being glamorous, and sucking cocks on multi-million dollar yachts. Her senseless death was nothing more than the natural conclusion, the culmination of a wasted, senseless life.

I find it incredible that a thinking person could view her death as a tragedy. The silly cow was cavorting with her playboy billionnaire boyfriend in the back seat of a sportscar, swilling champers, seatbeltless and unthinking, while the driver, pissed as a newt and tripping off his dial, careless of speed limits and disdainful of safe driving, steered into a pylon and did all of us a favour.

In this context it is painfully obvious that public response to her death was not a response to Diana the person, the dull silly bimbo, or even to her life, a misled and gruesome joke. Something else is happening here. Something weird and perhaps inexplicable.

It has always been clear to me that any thinking person, anybody truly concerned with the betterment of the humanity's lot, could not support the existence of the royal family. How could they exist? What sad, parasitic culmination of the mindless and useless class system could this be? The ultimate pinnacle of hereditary privilege, responsible for countless and justified revolutions in hundreds of political systems in global history.

The royal family is both protection for and culmination of the iniquitous and pernicious class system which, to this day, permeates Bristish, and, to a lesser extent, all Anglo-Saxon society like a cancer. Take away the royals, and the whole sorry system will collapse. No more public schools, hereditary privilege, snobby accents, kinky repressed Tory MPs whipping each others' botties with bit of wet lettuce. All that will slowly decay if you take away the royals, which is of course what should be done. The French had it right after all: Off With Their Heads, the whole sorry bloody lot of them.

The absurdity and abhorrence of the royal family is understood, if only unconsciously, by every British person. The working classes feel it the most, because they are the largest victims of the class sytem; and in a seeming paradox, it was the lesser-educated, the unthinking, the shallow, who loved Diana the most and reacted with such inane panic at her death.

The conclusion is obvious. Diana's sacrificial death represents, at some deeper level, not only the sacrifice that the royal family makes in being royal (and do you think Prince William is due for a happy life?), but the sacrifice the public makes in supporting this parasitic atavistic snobbery in the first place. Those who wept for Diana wept for themselves, she was the sacrificial lamb for the absurdities inherent in the monarchical system. The tears were selfish tears. They wept for themselves, for the poor, pitiful, deluded and exploited fools that they must know, on some level, that they are.

Diana's failure is our own. Her failure is the failure of those who loved her most. Her weakness was theirs. The poorer, the more blighted, the more atavistic, the shallower, the more banal you are, the more likely you were to identify with and join the demented millions who wept at her funeral.

She also falls into that large category of 'more successful in death than in life' celebrities. She is the Jimmy Hendrix, the Kurt Kobain of the royal family. Her death provides infinitely more significance and satisfaction to history than her life. It has made her glorious and has given her purity and abilities she never had in life.

Monday, January 15, 2007

I like gays

Homos. Queers. Fags.

I like them. I can hardly say a word against them. Unlike heteros.

Gays don't bash people. They don't bully kids at high school.

They don't get drunk at cricket matches and hurl racial abuse at my Japanese girlfriend.

They don't have fights on trains after football matches and molest young women.

They don't start riots at Cronulla beaches.

They don't start wars, bomb countries or send troops to Iraq.

I suspect, without evidence apart from the anecdotal, that gays are better educated, more sophisticated, and more socially skilled than the average hetero.

It's even true to say I've hardly met a gay man I haven't liked. Only once was I the acquaintance of a gay man who was unpopular, the widely-despised bully at Uniworld. As there were several gay men in the office, one woman observed 'There are three gay guys here, and they are all so different.'
Which caused Justin to sardonically remark, 'Just like normal people.'

Meanwhile the number of gay men who have positively influenced my life is substantial. I cannot shake the idea that they are friendlier, funnier and more reliable than straights.

I cannot become gay, but if the world were free of homophobia I would wish it. Fergus and others have urged me to try, but I do not believe what is sometimes said, that everybody can be gay or bisexual. My attraction to women is monumental, compulsive, irresistable, even if it is sometimes destructive. But if I could become gay, I would consider it. Gay sex is a candy shop.

I'm not sure how I feel about lesbians. Bisexual women I have known and loved, but women who are solely attracted to women seem to me, at times, dismissive of men. Disdainful. I wonder if they would like a world without men. I think it remarkable that while many gay men have heterosexual female friends, faghags, lesbians seem to have few male heterosexual friends. I have wondered about that, thinking that something is there that needs explaining. Just what is going on there? Can you imagine a group of lesbians welcoming a masculine, ocker man into their circle of warmth and friendship, in the same way that gay men welcome feminine women, Sex in the City style?

But I still like gays.

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Hard Truth: Japan is Dying

Japan is doomed. It's partly a problem that other develped countries are facing, but partly a consequence of decades of inflexibility, racism and formality.

The agent of Japan's death is simple: depopulation.

The fertility rate in Japan is 1.29. That is 1.29 children per woman, whereas demographers consider replacement fertility to be about 2.1. All developed countries have lowering fertility rates, and its a problem of varying degrees. The liberation of women, higher age of marriage, the cost of raising and educating children, all contribute towards low fertility. Japan suffers more than most (only Italy's fertility rate is lower) but it's a country-killer especially in Japan because

Japan refuses to take immigrants.

Immigration is the lifeblood of America, Canada, Australia and Europe. It keeps the economy, culture and pension systems alive in those countries. It provides young people (who have babies) and workers that both produce goods and consume them. Immigration causes some problems and the process is rarely completely smooth. But the target cultures are immeasurably enriched. New ideas, languages, cultures, food, all serve to enliven and stimulate the host country.

Japan is desperately in need of new ideas, culture, and languages, not to mention babies.

It is ironic that the need for immigration in Japan is in almost direct reverse proportion to its likelihood of getting it.

Japan's government, police and bureacracy are all deeply racist and xenophobic. Restrictions on foreigners are extreme; foreigners (labelled 'aliens') have to carry foreign identification cards at all times, and are routinely discrinated against in employment, housing and the law. The process of obtaining permanent residency (e.g. for spouses of Japanese citizens) is fiendishly and purposefully complex. Public conservatism and reluctance to accept foreigners is exacerbated by sensationalist and one-sided media reports of "foreign gangs". Foreign workers find it increasingly difficult to stay on as years go by, and even Westerners, who hold a certain charm and fascination for the Japanese, are expected to leave after a few years. Meanwhile Japanese hold the Chinese and other Asian people in open contempt. Many Japanese do not consider themselves Asian, but rather 'Japanese'.

This (partly imaginary) homogeneity is partly the root cause of the problem. Only Japanese are (or can be) Japanese. And Japan is only for the Japanese. The idea, more or less accepted in countries like Canada or Australia, that you can become Australian or Canadian by living there for a long time or at least by being born there, is alien to Japan. If you don't have Japanese blood, you can't be Japanese. That simple. They also expect other nationalities to be similiar. All Americans are blond and blue eyed, for example. Many Japanese were confused, for example, when I told them many Australians are Asians. For the Japanese, even living there for many generations will not make you one of them. Koreans, whose ancestors were kidnapped and brought to Japan centuries ago, who look like and sound like Japanese, who no longer speak Korean, must carry Korean identification cards.

If excluding foreigners from the country was not dangerous enough, Japanese culture and government policy make it unlikely that the demographic crisis will be solved from the inside. The fertility is set to decline even further. Fewer women choose to marry, fewer couples have children, fewer children are being born to those couples who decide to have them. For Japan's powerful, professional and independent women, a life as a housewife is increasingly unattractive; and women are rarely expected to work after marriage.

And who wants to marry anyway? Japanese people are about as romantic as cement, sex is so unpopular that sex rates are the lowest in the developed world, and the typical marriage has about as much passion as a bank account. Sex within marriage is reportedly so rare that it must be planned around yearly holidays, while men typically (and, from my experience, without much objection from their wives) go outside the marriage for sex, to host bars and 'soaplands', where their money can buy what their personality can't otherwise obtain for them. Meanwhile women learn the lessson that only men want sex, and women are paid for it in one way or another. My girlfriend seemed honestly surprised that I expected her to enjoy sex, apparently 'women don't enjoy sex', and the idea that women in the West can enjoy it and even seek it out took her by suprise.

This is the background for kaso, rural depopulation. Combined with the natural drift of population from the country to the city, the result is demographic disaster in the countryside. Some prefectures have upwards of 70% of residents over 70. The Japanese countryside is rapidly becoming a collection of nursing homes with attached nursing residence and collections of rice farms being farmed by over 70 year old couples.

This leaves many areas completely overserviced in terms of, for example, education. There are primary schools in Minami Osumi Cho, where I was living, with 6 or 7 students. I attended a beggining of year opening ceremony with two students entering the first grade. Meanwhile, the 6th grade had 8. A rapidly shrinking school with more staff than students.

Things are hardly likely to change. The government recently exhorted Japanese women to "pay attention to their duties and not be so selfish". Couples can't hold hands in public, and many men remain so sexually immature they are virgins in their thirties and forties. Both men and women lack flirting skills, while the costs of marrying and raising children are extreme ($350 for a school backpack, anyone?)

The end result is not good. The latest statistics suggest that the population peaked last year; it will decline slightly this year, and will go down steadily...forever.

Unless they take migrants.

Battlestar Galactica is Crap

It was with great anticipation that I finally got hold of the first season DVD and whacked it into my player, relishing the thought of hours of enjoyment.

But, let's be honest: It's complete crapola. It could be one underlying theme or approach that makes it crap, but I can't quite put my finger on this 'unifying crapness', so I'll just list my complaints and see how that goes.

1. My biggest complaint, the game killer, is that there are no Cylons. That's right. Battlestar Galactica has no Cylons. Oh, individual CG Cylons turn up every second episode for about 3.5 seconds. But that's it. No laser fights. No interrogations by terrifying androids. No Terminator-style battle scenes.

2. What they do have is human cylons. That's right, robots that look like humans, even think they are humans. There is one particularly irritating human cylon woman who may or may not be real, who may or may not be helpful, who may or may not be getting it on with this human scientist. Like some cheap Fatal Attraction situation, deliberately designed to be vague and frustrating. She ain't that pretty either. These human cylons are supposed to take the place of the real thing, but all I hear is blah blah blah, blah blah blah, we couldn't afford cylons. And if you have no cylons, you have no contest.

3. There are no battles. You will watch 3 episodes before you see spacecraft do anything. You can watch five hours in vain to see a cylon spacecraft destroyed. There are no dogfights, heroic last stands, grim fightbacks, or victories of any kind. Instead you get endless anxiety without resolution.

4. It's not about anything. The classic angst and fear that is tapped into so successfully by the original series or Terminator, or even the Cybermen of Doctor Who, the idea of man versus robot, is entirely absent. The theme of good versus evil, done so well by, say, Star Wars, is not even attempted. Instead you get human drama and politics. Like some kind of West Wing combined with Futurama. But without the future, because...

5. It's not even science fiction. If it's set in the future, the future must look like Washington about the time of the Watergate scandal. Apart from an occasional CG scene, it's about as futuristic as Top Gun. There are no automatic doors, food dispensers, transport beams, personal communicators, holo decks, androids, not even any robots or aliens! Instead it all looks depressingly late-2oth century. Empty coffee cups on tables. Paper everywhere. Communication by radio. Books! The human president appears to work in an aircraft cabin, everybody else sits in the passenger seats! Where is the shiny out-0f-worldness of Star Trek, the cool metallica and technology of Alien?

6. It's barely fiction. Plots inspired by modern life. Terrorism, who can we trust? How much democracy should we have? How can we find the traitors in our midst? Society versus the individual. The needs of the many versus the needs of the few. An entire episode was spent dealing with prisoner's rights! Not a cylon within lightyears! God, what is this crap? I don't need to see this in science fiction, it's like a BBC documentary!

7. It could have been so good. It could have been a new V. Now that was science fiction. Good versus evil. Heroism, glory, guts, sacrifce, freaky aliens. Or it could have been like Starship Troopers. Now there was a movie. Hot chicks with nice boobies and shining eyes who take showers with the troops and make frantic love to them in between battles. Huge battle scenes with lots of death and victory. The heroic quest, against a backdrop of an epic clash of Good and Evil.

Instead it's Crap.