Sunday, January 11, 2009

Undermining the Genre

I've often bemoaned Battlestar Galactica's modern-to-us medicine in the midst of far-advanced science and technology clearly evident week after week. Seems a bit ridiculous and a bit of a conceit that works against the underpinnings of the genre itself. Almost as if the show wanted to create something science fictional but grabbed at the obvious trappings instead of building a world from the ground up.

I encountered the same thing in a most unexpected source yesterday: a YellowBook commercial. We see a futuristic setting in which a woman is discovering (through an embarrasing video phonecall) that her man is cheating on her. She disconnects and starts doing a neat physically interactive search through the YellowBook to find a pawn shop. She brings in a very tricked out futuristic guitar (clearly her ex's) to the pawn shop to get her revenge and walks away with a huge smile on her face and...a stack of dollar bills? In one sense, I get that it's clearly short hand to show us that YellowBook can find what you need for both financial gains and emotional satisfaction. But it just took the wind out of their futuristic setting's sails.

I have the same problem with romance novels that, in the denouement or the big climax when the hero and heroine finally reveal to each other their love, the hero goes all possessive of the heroine and says, "Mine." It comes off as undermining the entire concept of what romance is (to me): loving another person as a person, not as a possession or object. But, given that "Mine" is often something romance heroes say of their lady loves, I think I might be in the minority of women in my interpretation of the genre (or, in my interpretation of what love is).

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