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Andrei in the office


Andrei's Universe

One man's journey from infinity to nothingness

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Andrei in the office

Standing the test of time... A quarter century

In 1983 my grandparents remembered World War II although none of them had been directly touched by it. I suppose I was lucky not to have relatives that were in Germany or the surrounding countries at that time.

You may find it odd for me to be discussing WWII in conjunction with such a random year.

1983 was muchly a year like any other with highs, lows, attractions, news, entertainment.

Annie closed on Broadway, Maragaret Thatcher wins the Prime Ministry of England by a landslide, Sally Ride becomes the first woman into space. Guion Bluford becomes the first African-America in space. The Nintendo was introduced. IBM made a personal computer. And the first version of Microsoft Word is released. (Hello eventual employment.) Regan proclaims that starting the following year, MLK day will be a national holiday. The UN states that the Soviet Union needs to stop occupying Afghanistan. "Thriller" is broadcast for the first time.

Yes, Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was arrested and charged with war crimes. But that's really minor.

"Flashdance" and "Return of the Jedi" are box office smashes.

But nowhere on the 1983 calendar is a simple Television Miniseries.

The show was simply called, "V" (And for you younger whipper snappers out there) this one didn't directly involve Guy Fawkes.)

The basic plot to V is that one day aliens come to earth from a dying world. They need resources from Earth and will trade scientific advancement for the assistance. But soon the visiting aliens start establishing youth support groups and releasing information how scientists are covertly undermining their efforts. Scientists are asked to register with government agencies. Friends are told to report suspicious neighbors that have scientists in the families. People are ostracized, beaten, and shunned... merely for affiliation.

If it's not obvious by now. "V" was a retelling of the growth of the third reich and how it allowed Germany to be subsumed in ethnocentrism while turning a blind eye to racial genocide.

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."
- Pastor Martin Niemoller

"V" is a strong reminder about what I believe is true science fiction. Using the fantastic and implausible to show the human story at its most realistic. Joss Whedon likened the werewolf character of Oz to the ferocity of male pubescence pointing out that even the quietest and most cerebral boy could have an uncontrollable and ferocious side that makes him very cautious and afraid to interact.

So, here I sit a quarter of a century later. Only 2 months off from the original broadcast date. The styles are dated. The hero looks like a Mark Hammil knockoff. The effects... not as bad as I thought they'd be... not as scary as I remember them as a 15 year old. But I remember the awkward 15 year old in the show who was a grandson of a holocaust survivor dotingly going off to join the youth group. I remember the concern at watching people pick sides in the atrocities. I remember families turning against each other.

Twenty-Five years later, "V" stands the test of time to be a story to remind us of how easily we can be blinded by media, culture, and especially peer pressure through inactivity. It shows the determination of the human spirit on a quest for truth. It poignantly begins with a simple black slate with white writing dedicating itself to the freedom fighters of our past.

"V" (The original series) definitely warrants a re-watching or for some of you a first watch. It's is moving, stunningly acted, and most importantly a piece of history that no matter how told... should never be forgotten.

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I was about six years old the first time I saw that movie. I have seen it again since then, and if the opportunity arose I wouldn't hesitate to watch it a third time. I'll never forget my six-year-old horror at the senseless ostracizing and subterfuge, or more importantly the gullibility and naivete of the humans. Remembering how stirring the movie was the first time was what made me seek it out a second time later in life.

Actually, I thought Marc Singer was more of a Kevin Bacon knockoff... or was it the other way around?

Anyway, it's interesting how different people pick up different things from a movie. I never noticed the WWII analogy myself until you pointed it out. (And by way of comparison, we didn't defeat the Germans with germs... ;-) The whole UFO subculture at the time seemed to be big into the idea that reptilian aliens were the bad guys, and Sirius was a prime target for their origin. So in that respect, V was no different from say "Men in Black" in echoing a subset of popular culture at the time.

I remember thinking I was soooo smart because I figured out that the alien glyph looked almost exactly like a swastika.

I should look it back up again... if nothing else to see Robert Englund in a role that doesn't involve Freddie Krueger.

Are you saying you didn't like the whole series spinoff :-)

Btw: Sally Ride was the first 'American' woman in space, I think she was the third woman.

This will blow your mind - at work on Friday one of the people on my team celebrated his 25th Anniversary at MS! You should see the size of his service award!

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