Dirk Benedict pissed that Starbuck’s a woman

// 21 January 2009

starbuck.jpgDirk Benedict played Starbuck in the original Battlestar Galactica TV show, which aired in the ’70s.

He doesn’t share my opinion that Katee Sackhoff’s performance as Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace is one of the best things about the remake.

On the Big Hollywood blog, Benedict rants about the decision to make Starbuck a woman in the remake, and in general about how feminism has ruined everything, and wasn’t it better when “men were men and women were women”. Sigh.

He actually headlines the post: “Lt. Starbuck … Lost In Castration.”

Here’s an excerpt:

The best minds in the world of un-imagination doubled their intake of Double Soy Latte’s as they gathered in their smoke-free offices to curse the day that this chauvinistic Viper Pilot was allowed to be. But never under-estimate the power of the un-imaginative mind when it encounters an obstacle (character) it subconsciously loathes. ”Re-inspiration” struck. Starbuck would go the way of most men in today’s society. Starbuck would become “Stardoe.” What the Suits of yesteryear had been incapable of doing to Starbuck 25 years ago was accomplished quicker than you can say orchiectomy. Much quicker, as in, “Frak! Gonads Gone!”

And the word went out to all the Suits in all the smoke-free offices throughout the land of Un-imagination, “Starbuck is dead. Long live Stardoe!”

I’m not sure if a cigar in the mouth of Stardoe resonates in the same way it did in the mouth of Starbuck. Perhaps. Perhaps it “resonates” more. Perhaps that’s the point. I’m not sure. What I am sure of is this…

Women are from Venus. Men are from Mars. Hamlet does not scan as Hamletta. Nor does Hans Solo as Hans Sally. Faceman is not the same as Facewoman. Nor does a Stardoe a Starbuck make. Men hand out cigars. Women “hand out” babies. And thus the world for thousands of years has gone’ round.

I’m sure I don’t need to spell out for readers exactly what’s wrong with what Benedict says. Maybe it’s a good sign, though, in a weird way – if Starbuck’s character has Benedict so riled, that’s because the writers are doing something right.

(The new) Battlestar Galactica is not perfect, by any means. (The Feminist SF blog pointed out an issue with the latest episode just the other day.) There are some problematic things about Starbuck’s character, too. But it does a lot of interesting things as well; interesting things that people like Benedict – who believe men are meant to smoke cigars while women churn out babies – find threatening to their world view.

Comments From You

Leigh // Posted 21 January 2009 at 11:18 am

Benedict- You just made my list.

Anna // Posted 21 January 2009 at 12:58 pm

I particularly like the way he thinks everyone is “more lonely and miserable” for banning sexual harassment. What a genius.

Lindsey // Posted 21 January 2009 at 2:48 pm

Ha! In that guy’s face.

Starbuck is an awesome character, there is so much more to her than most female sci-fi characters who either seem to smile wryly or look disapprovingly at whatever the male counterparts are doing that week.

Andrew Bowden // Posted 21 January 2009 at 2:56 pm

Yep, Katee Sackhoff’s portrayal of the character is one of the things that has defined the re-imaging of BSG and made it what it is – especially that almost mad glint she often has in her eyes.

I wonder if there’s an element of jealousy in all this, or even fear – fear that the “original” will be forgotten and that he’ll lose his place in history.

Or perhaps it really is that he’s just an anachronism of another age who can’t accept that the world has changed and will keep on changing.

Rachel // Posted 21 January 2009 at 5:37 pm

He fails on so many levels.

But apart from the obvious anti-[just about everything], has anybody else noticed that he’s completely wrong about the “gonads” thing? Since “gonads” actually refer to ovaries as well as testicles, and it seems unlikely that he’s checked into her medical history to the extent that he can say for certain whether hers are missing…..

George // Posted 21 January 2009 at 5:40 pm

“Men hand out cigars. Women “hand out” babies.”

Eh? Does he mean something along the lines of, “Care for a baby, my friend?”

Oops, my mistake, he’s just being a misogynist.

kez // Posted 21 January 2009 at 6:22 pm

“Hand out” babies, what a stupid phrase!

Actually, we generally tend to keep them rather than hand them out to all and sundry. That’s usually the point of having them.

dj shiva // Posted 21 January 2009 at 6:24 pm

dirk is just pissed that a kick ass female will go down in history as “starbuck”, while he has been relegated to the dustbin of sci fi history.

and after comments like these, if he is remembered at all, it will be for having been a complete jerk.

Kuja // Posted 21 January 2009 at 8:10 pm

The most disconcerting thing about his comments is that I know plenty of people who will read them and agree that it’s “political correctness gone mad!” I second the opinion that he’s probably scared of being upstaged – he’s not likely to approve of any actor in this role, because whoever they were, they’d still be his replacement, gender aside.

Feminist Avatar // Posted 22 January 2009 at 12:24 am

But, he does make you think… Hamletta… now that could be a really interesting rewrite.

Kez // Posted 22 January 2009 at 12:34 pm

Oh dear, another washed-up ex-celebrity throwing his dummy out of the pram. What a shame.

Redheadinred // Posted 25 January 2009 at 7:55 am

I notice how the entire focus is on the ‘castration’, as if the character has been somehow reduced by having no penis. Yet again,the idea that being a woman just means the absence of a dick, not the presence of anything else.

Scott // Posted 16 March 2009 at 4:54 am

The original Starbuck was just another version of the tired old stereotypical womanizing spaceship Captain (ie.. James Kirk, Han Solo). The new female Starbuck character is so much more interesting.

Kam // Posted 17 March 2009 at 8:20 pm

Katee Sackhoff kicks butt as Starbuck… I think the new BSG is definitely much more believable and utilizes the current issues in an interesting plot. Dirk Benedict is just a sad old man trying to capture some kind of publicity (even negative) and 15 minutes of fame by being a jerk.

Anne Onne // Posted 18 March 2009 at 10:50 am

Heh, revisiting this post, I’m struck anew at how repetitive and childish he is (hahaha Stardoe! Let’s repeat that a few times! Oooo cigars!)

Also, he thinks people creating a faceted complex female character are unimaginative. For changing from the ‘chauvinistic womaniser of a man’s man’ cliche. He also prefers the laughably simplistic idea of ‘good guys’ vs ‘bad guys’, and the idea that the aliens are just out to destroy for the hell of it. Newsflash, this was NEVER good writing, and always made for very simple entertainment. Sometimes, the past really is better left in the past.

Oh, and apparently the ‘war against masculinity has been won’. Wow, I missed a memo. Fess up, which of y’all forgot to tell me that our Matriarchical overladies have taken over and castrated all the men? Oh, wait. It really takes someone with absolutely no observational skills to not notice that most of the mainstream media features plenty of his favourite manly man tropes. Seriously, if you want chauvinism, I think you’ll find it aplenty.

But of course it’s not enough for people like him that there are always plenty of unaplogetically misogynist shows around, they should all be like that! They really can’t stand the fact that a show might have several strong, complex female characters, and where the focus won’t be on yet another ‘loveable rogue’ fucking his way through hundreds of women.

But this from a comment on his site particularly hit me. I think it really sums up the mindset of a lot of people:

[I don’t like] ‘The moral ambiguity.The very real fear that the ‘good guys’ (sorta, I guess) that I was rooting for would, in the end, be exposed as the villains.’

Because of course the real world is a place of moral certainties, where it’s us and them, the people/things we need to destroy at all costs. Uhuh. I’m starting to see how we got the world into the mess it’s in. This may be talking about entertainment, but the fact that adults find anything more sophisticated or realistic than ‘good guys beat the crap out of bad guys’ scary is very problematic. Given that so much wrong in the world is carried out under the guise of ‘we’re the good guys!’ this is deeply worring, because it shows how some people really, really don’t want to think about whether life really is good vs. evil, and really want to believe that other people out there are the ‘bad guys’. Refusal to accept that life isn’t clear cut is worrying, because it’s beliefs in moral certainties and our superiority that lead us to other and harm people. Wanting a happy ending now and again is perfectly normal, but it says something about us as a whole if people want nothing more.

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