Tag Archives: sga wraith

Stargate Infinity vs Stargate Atlantis DVD Commentaries

Along with many of the tie-in books, the SGA DVD commentaries need to be cleaned up, to be socially responsible and to keep up with other fandoms and Stargate Infinity. Yes, Stargate Infinity. The very Stargate Infinity that is supposed to be “just for kids,” but adults can’t seem to learn from.

Stargate Infinity taught against judging others by appearances in many episodes, especially “Phobia,” in which one team member shoots and almost kills someone. She has to stand trial for it and own up to her actions. By contrast, the Stargate Atlantis commentary on “First Contact” and “The Lost Tribe” has remarks about judging a character’s appearance. The commenters later laugh it up when said character, who is part of a peace-making mission, gets shot after a third party causes a disastrous misunderstanding. In Stargate Infinity, the spider-like being survives. In Stargate Atlantis, one can assume the human-hybrid Wraith survives because a different Wraith survived a similar wound in “Travellers” and/or that he was given the Gift of Life.

In real life, actions can’t be so easily undone. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking and the comments on camera feed of police interacting with unarmed citizens in increasingly-militarized places come to mind. The message needs to be a clear, consistent, and resounding one of not judging others by their appearances, which Stargate Infinity presents.

As with the books, I gave up on the commentaries. The only others I tried were for “Outsiders” and the comments focused on the Balarians with bad analogies and no accountability for how the Wraith were being genocided. My time is much better spent reading fanfics from people who want peace for everyone, of all races.

The lessons in Stargate Infinity are for everyone, of all ages, and it would do some adults a world of good to do a serious watch/rewatch and to align their actions with the knowledge they claim they already have.

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You know you are writing a Wraithy or scifi fanfic when…

… you keep having to add words to your spell checker, just to clear off all those red underlines!!!

Stargate, retrovirused, mindfeel, lifeforce, hivemate, all the names of your characters, etc. 🙂

The joys of Wraithy writing. 😀

Racist and Speciesist Hierarchies of Animal Analogies in Science Fiction

“We’re just cattle [sic]* to them.” –AU McKay to Sheppard in Stargate Atlantis episode “Vegas”

Just as with Keller talking over Todd in “Infection,” here is another white Westerner on SGA trying to define another galaxy’s culture they hardly know, with us/them whitesplaining, this time while also simultaneously asserting anthropocentric speciesism on Earth. Cows have become what critical theorist scholars refer to as “the absent referent” in comparing inequitable treatment, used as metaphors while also being placed into a human-centered hierarchy imposing categories of “uses” on others. The character McKay himself, in this reality, said baby cows taken from the dairy industry and whose bodies are kept shackled and anemic are “delicious,” in spite of having a sister who does not eat fellow animals. The addition of the qualifier “just” (as in “only” or “merely”) amplifies the colonialist overwriting of Wraith culture as well as tries to further diminish cows in the contrived, human-centered hierarchy. Humans should not be needlessly harming anyone of any species and analogies about harming fellow animals should not exist.

Speciesism correlates positively with racism, sexism, and homophobia and correlates negatively with empathy and open-mindedness. Many anti-Wraith xenophobic people frequently repeat McKay’s speciesist line and they also say that the Wraith race should be genocided. This shows intersectionalism and how oppressions overlap, i.e. racist xenophobia against the fictional Wraith race and speciesism against real-life fellow animal Earthlings. Outgrouping and objectification are toxic! People who recite this quote are never very rational and often make up scenes, too, because needless violence and bigotry have nothing to stand on.

The Wraith haters who cite this quote are looking to enforce both racism and an anthropocentric and speciesist world view: 1) against fellow animal Earthlings, to try to justify continuing to commodify and kill them for palate entertainment and 2) against a scifi race, to uphold a false sense of anthropocentric superiority in the face of a technologically-advanced and physically stronger fictional culture capable of interstellar space flight, to try to justify their genocide (and especially to try to deny to Wraith fans the hints of interracial relationships and mutual respect and affection between humans and the Wraith, as human-hybrids, mentioned in “Common Ground” when John gets the Gift of Life and seen on “The Hive” with Neera and other humans in soft and pretty clothes and Wraithy hair wraps being lovingly touched by the Queen).

The humans-as-cows analogy doesn’t make any sense from the Wraith point of view either. Wraith cannot take lifeforce from any animals other than humans (or fellow Wraith, as human hybrids). There was no evidence of cows in Pegasus, so that would be an anachronism. The Wraith do not artificially breed/inseminate humans, mutilate them, or take milk meant for human babies (Google the video “Dairy is Scary”). If Wraith treated humans the way many humans treat cows, we would literally be in deep crap. Cows are peaceful social mammals and the Wraith do not see most humans as peaceful. The Wraith would rather blow themselves up than to be captured alive by humans. But, many Wraith also work with humans, on individual and hive levels. They give their close human worshippers (a label for any humans associated with the Wraith) the Gift of Life, as they do for their Wraith brothers, as Todd did for John. Several hives fought alongside the New Lanteans against the Asurans, even though New Lanteans were the ones who had compelled the Asurans to attack in the first place. And, Todd’s crew are more willing to do something to help, while most people spouting the cow analogy are less likely to leave fellow animals alone, in spite of being such an easy switch and better for health and the environment too.

Clinging to the false analogy that the human-hybrid Wraith see non-hybrid humans as cows is a self-serving, ineffective attempt to try justify real-life, human-made violence and it is unacceptable. Such analogies only highlight that the human race needs to clean up their collective act to remove needless violence.

(*The word “cattle” gets the notation [sic] because the speciesist term itself denotes and condones placement of others in a human-centered hierarchy, as property/use/commodification, as capital, just as live”stock” does. Fellow animals are someONE not something.)

Duration Neglect and a Peak-End Effect in Judging Characters and Races

First impressions of characters are powerful. But, so are their peak moments and end moments, which influence overall judgement of how the audience evaluates the lives of characters.

Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, reflects on a storyline: “On my way home from the opera, I wondered: Why do we care so much about those last 10 minutes? I quickly realized that I did not care at all about the length of Violetta’s life. […] A story is about significant events and memorable moments, not about time passing. Duration neglect is normal in a story, and the ending often defines its character.”

He goes on to say that other psychologists have found through experiments, including controlling for age, that duration neglect and the peak-end rule governed evaluations of experiences, such as vacations, and other peoples’ entire lives.

The Stargate character Michael Kenmore is a good example of these cognitive biases. His life is largely defined by sympathizers of his first impressions of being a confused and betrayed victim of kidnapping and experimentation and by haters for his peak-end of having done the same kidnapping and bodily alterations to others and having taken over the city of Atlantis. (Note: by ending, I mean the last time he was shown on screen, not died, as I do not believe the fall killed him and he was slated to come back in a season 6.)

Largely erased is Michael’s life before he was captured by the New Lanteans, which could have been hundreds or thousands of years. By his showing a desire to belong and to get along with the New Lanteans, before he found out he had been experimented on, his demeanor may have been one who did not rock the boat and who wanted to be a team player. But, the most recent few years of his life, as seen by the audience, as victim and/or victimizer, is what is remembered about him. Likewise, Michael’s entire Wraith culture came from 10,000 years of peace; yet, most SGA viewers only think about and judge the most recent 5 years, which is the aftermath of alien human invasion and the resulting Wraith starvation and civil war.

As authors, taking into account first, peak, and end impressions of our characters and how we choose to structure how to reveal information about them in time counts a lot!

***More scifi/fantasy examples: how Darth Vader’s life was presented in pieces in Star Wars and how flashbacks about Snape’s past in Harry Potter became memories about him which stuck.

Here Come the Complex Characters: Genius and Survivor Michael

Michael

The Atlantis expedition has no one to blame but themselves for kidnapping Michael and altering his body without his permission.

In this “there, fixed it” series, we’ll be taking a look at the greatest heroes of the Stargate franchise. In this installment, it’s the hybrid scientist who couldn’t catch a break, known as Michael Kenmore.

Race: Wraith, then human, then Wraith/human hybrid… but, Wraith are already human hybrids to begin with, so Michael is just at a different point on the hybrid spectrum closer to human now.

Claim to Fame: After being experimented on multiple times by the Atlantis expedition and rejected by his own people, Michael struck out on his own and created an army of hybrids– to be able to belong, to survive, and to wage war against both humans and Wraith and conquer the Pegasus Galaxy–else, he would always be persecuted.

Signature Move: Being vengeful, because neither humans nor Wraith trust or like him (but his faithful worshippers love him just the same).

Most Heroic Deed: Taking over and trying to blow up Atlantis after securing some of the infant Torren Emmagan’s DNA in an attempt to perfect his hybrids.

Fate: Last seen when Teyla Emmagan kicked him off a ledge. But, his body was never found, Spike showed how Wraith survive falls, and Taina showed how Wraith can hold their breath, withstand high water pressure, and gracefully swim in stylish clothing. Michael is most likely alive and would have appeared in season 6 per the plans shared on Joe’s blog.

There. Fixed it. 🙂

(Note: Yes, Michael is a divisive character, even among Wraith fans, and I do not condone most of the stuff he did, including doing to others what the Lanteans had done to him (kidnapping/changing their bodies), so keeping the Good Guy header for him would have been controversial. But his side of the story needs to be considered for this fix-it series and both humans and Wraith dropped the ball in accepting him after he had been retrovirused. The fact he persevered, all alone for years, and built so much, is amazing. How many of us could have survived such odds? What Michael needs is a redemption arc. In a season 6, Michael was going to take over Atlantis and turn most of the humans into hybrids. I would have liked to have seen that happen (poetic justice for the Lanteans) and for something to happen to force Michael to relinquish control over the Lanteans, having to work together to survive a protracted danger and learn to live with one another after each party altered the bodies of the other. Michael would be forced to get to know the Lanteans as he guided them as they learned how to deal with their newfound Wraith abilities and come to renounce his past ways and controlling others for being a true leader who cares about the fates of the lives entrusted to him.)

Here Come the Good Guys: Wraith Keeper

In this “there, fixed it” series, we’ll be taking a look at the greatest heroes of the Stargate franchise. In this installment, it’s the Queen who clued us into the fabulous news of the Wraith, the Wraith Keeper Sally.

Race: Wraith.

Claim to Fame: The leader of the first group of Wraith encountered by the Atlantis Expedition, the Wraith Keeper kept watch over her friends and family and interrogated the alien invader humans from another galaxy.

Signature Move: Getting excited when thinking about Earth. MOAR!

Most Heroic Deed: Interrogating alien invader Colonel Sumner whose group showed up with Ancient technology, from a past war that had lasted 100 years, and threatened her friends and family once again.

Fate: Killed by John Sheppard when he impaled her with a Wraith rifle. But! Wraith can give the Gift of Life, as Ronon had been healed from a fatal stab wound and brought back to life, and, especially as a Queen, she was most likely Gifted shortly after the Lanteans departed.

There. Fixed it. 🙂

(Note: Yes, Sally’s interrogation style was heavy-handed, much more so then Queen Betty’s, but it is hypocritical to give John a free hero’s pass for shooting a defenseless, imprisoned Bob during an interrogation and mocking Steve’s prolonged starvation. One could argue John’s style was worse, because he doesn’t need lifeforce to heal a gunshot wound as Sally did, Sumner’s condition was reversible whereas Bob’s was not, and Ford told John he was going too far and John persisted. If John is a hero for looking to save his people, then so is Sally for doing the same.)

Here Come the Good Guys: Vegas Wraith Spike

Spike

Spike

What’s more awesome than a Wraith in outer space? A Wraith on Earth.

In this “there, fixed it” series, we’ll be taking a look at the greatest heroes of the Stargate franchise. In this installment, it’s the alternate reality Wraith who reached Earth and settled in Las Vegas.

Race:  Wraith.

Claim to Fame:  Living incognito as a high-stakes poker player in Las Vegas and assembling a long-range space communication device, cobbled-together Earth and Wraith tech, McGuyver-style.

Signature Move: Rocking the punk/metal look, nicely filling in his jeans, and being topless, showing off his spine and tattoos, making the worshippers squee and leaving the haters jealous.

Most Awesome Deed:  Signaling the Wraith to Earth, across realities.

Fate:  Allegedly killed by an airstrike after being located by Detective John Sheppard. But, Spike had secret, underground tunnels like Greg. 😉

There. Fixed it. 🙂