It seems that my Internet arch-enemy, the Lex Luthor to my Superman, the Newman to my Seinfeld, the indefatigable, indomitable and incomprehensible Languatron, has written a book: “Universal Studios vs. Battlestar Galactica: How Universal Studios Mismanaged This Property To Utter Oblivion.”
Actually, to call it a “book” is to be generous, both in terms of quality and quantity. It’s less than 30,000 words in total, and while the author boasts of its formidable 100-page length, he achieves triple-digit page numbering by squeezing his margins by an extra inch and leaving the first three pages blank. As for the content, it’s essentially a “Greatest Hits” collection of everything he’s posted on the Internet for the past eight years, which is succinctly summarized by the book’s unwieldy title. The other 29,987 words of the pamphlet are spent repeating the thesis ad nauseum and disparaging anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with it.
Now there may be a few lost souls reading this who wonder who this Languatron fellow is. The answer is that he’s Andrew Fullen, a short order cook from Chicago who has also written a few other self-published works in his own name. I actually blew the $2.50 necessary to buy one of those, too – “Netherworld,” a collection of short stories, which reads like pedestrian Encyclopedia Brown fan fiction translated verbatim from its original Flemish.
Languatron first appeared on the scene circa 1999 on a few Battlestar Galactica bulletin boards, most notably the official SciFi board devoted to the original series rather than the dismal remake which debuted in 2003. He even had an article posted at BattlestarGalactica.com under his own name, which, sadly, is no longer online.
Yet somewhere around Thanksgiving 2000, Langy began to publicly pray for divine justice to be heaped out on his enemies, calling down fire and brimstone to destroy Sci-Fi channel’s upper management. It was also about this time where he began identifying those who disagreed with him, even innocuously, as lackeys of Universal Studios. It then became impossible to have a discussion with him. He dismissed even those who were sympathetic to his general thesis as corporate shills secretly hired to destroy him.
All of these traits are on display in this book, which bemoans Universal Studios’ role in destroying Battlestar Galactica for inscrutable reasons. According to Languatron, this movie studio has devoted all of its considerable resources not to film and television production, but rather to “hating” the original Galactica TV series, which has been out of production since 1979. Lest you think I exaggerate, I offer this brief excerpt, with my own emphasis added:
Universal Studios is extremely proficient at hating the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series. The very infrastructure of their entire corporation has been built upon this sad fact. They also have infinite satellite components revolving around their corporation to assist them in hating this series. This includes gullible journalists, industry insiders, studio peers, above the line producing personnel, and actors.
Not to mention caterers, gaffers, botanists, bee wranglers, Farsi instructors, lithographers, trumpeters, carnival barkers, liposuctionists, and vending machines.
This strikes me as a ridiculous assertion, as I always assumed “hating” is an activity that does not require corporate governance. Languatron provides no concrete explanation as to how this works, but he does offer a theory. Apparently, George Lucas’ failed lawsuit against Galactica in its initial run forced Universal to create a “shadow mechanism” that would derail any attempt to revive Galactica faithfully.
What is the exact form of this shadow mechanism? How does it work? Well, I must start off by stating that it does indeed exist, is in operation in full force as it always has… It is a mechanism that slowly creeps over the day to day operations of Universal Studios and makes it’s presence known when historically, attempts to revive the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series have reached a certain point. There is a comfort zone where this mechanism will allow revival attempts to chug along. When revival attempts get beyond the comfort zone, that’s when the mechanism moves in and shuts everything down.
The reader searches in vain for an intricate mechanical description of this ruthlessly efficient shadow mechanism, which one assumes is some sort of elaborate Rube Goldberg contraption with lots of gears and pulleys. Sadly, one is left to wonder how Languatron has the confidence to make such brash assertions with absolutely no supporting evidence. “How does it work?” he asks himself, and then answers by saying “it exists,” and that’s answer enough.
All is not lost, however. We do get an elaborate description of a second, more sinister “sister” shadow mechanism:
This brings us to another shadow mechanism that Universal Studios oversees. Sort of the “sister mechanism” to the one that operates within the studio itself. This one exercises mass censorship and control over the Internet of any information which casts Universal Studios and their handling of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica series in a bad light. It’s a shadow mechanism that exercises absolute authority over certain Internet bulletin boards (www.Cylon.org, www.Scifi.com/Galactica, www.Stallioncornell.com/board) and absolute authority over journalists who post on-line articles.
Languatron has an interesting choice of enemies. Of the three boards Languatron cites as exercising Stalinistic control over the entire World Wide Web, two of them are decidedly pro-1978 Galactica and vigorously opposed to the recent remake, which both boards, along with Languatron, refer to as GINO, or Galactica In Name Only. Yet Languatron cannot seem to fathom the possibility that one can loathe GINO and still think Languatron is a jerk.
To read this diatribe is to enter a parallel world where the rules of logic are identical to those in the “Burn the Witch” skit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In that film, a group of villagers bring a woman dressed as witch before Sir Bedevere, who then proceeds to lead them through a series of deranged logical syllogisms to determine whether or not the woman is guilty of witchcraft. The logic he employs is as follows:
1. Witches burn. Wood burns. Therefore, witches are made of wood.
2. Wood floats in water. Ducks float in water. Therefore, wood weighs the same as a duck.
3. If the woman weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood, and therefore, she’s a witch.
Witness, then, Languatron’s similar reasoning.
1. Universal Studios hates Battlestar Galactica. I, Languatron, love Battlestar Galactica. Therefore, Universal Studios is my enemy.
2. Dozens of people on the Internet are my enemies. Universal Studios is my enemy. Therefore, all of my Internet enemies work for Universal Studios.
3. Everyone I meet on the Internet hates me. Therefore, Universal Studios must be in complete control of the Internet.
And thus we see that Languatron spends all of his time on the Internet burning witches made of wood.
Nothing in this book steps off from the treadmill Lang has been running on for the past decade or so on sundry Internet billboards. The same wild-eyed theories with no evidence are recycled along with a liberal dose of personal invective. (I admit to taking sick pleasure in Languatron’s promise, in his final chapter, to “kick [my] ass to the Moon” if he ever meets me. One struggles to recall Woodward and Bernstein making similar threats to their journalistic subjects.) For the newcomer to the whole Lang experience, there may be some goofy fun in encountering a truly warped perspective for the first time. For me, a battle-hardened Lang veteran, I found the experience tedious. The only relief to be found was in his brazen contempt for the English language, as evidenced by these unvarnished excerpts, along with my editorial comments in brackets:
“Way to go Universal, you dolt!!”
[I think he meant “way to go, Universal Studios, you dolts!!” but his original sentence is open to so many more interpretations. Can a dolt truly go universal?]
“You can get the Toys-R-Us wind up version of Richard Hatch by the way, by sending in three box tops from specially marked boxes of Fruity & Cocoa Pebbles breakfast cereal.”
[One could probably, by the way, go to Toys-R-Us and just buy Richard Hatch in person.]
“The Bermuda Triangle of Death houses the existence of Ronald D. Moore’s GINO series in the most sinister way.”
[It presumably rents the existence of other television shows in semi-serious ways.]
“No form of art is being expressed by Edward James Olmos’s bad acting, and no profound subliminal statement is being uttered. ”
[I choose to believe that uttering subliminal statements is a form of art.]
“Ronald D. Moore is a man, an unremarkable man. Like all other television producers who go through it, Ronald D. Moore has made a television series that flopped.”
[Go through what? Maybe “it” was unremarkable, too.]
“Ronald D. Moore fit’s the bill quite nicely, doesn’t he?”
[“Fit’s?” Meaning what? “Fit is?” Something that belongs to Fit?]
“How is that for an effective cult, huh?”
You get the idea.
Anyway, the book is available for download here. Languatron is reportedly using the proceeds of his book sales to frequent strip clubs. What he doesn’t know is that we Universal executives have already planted our agents in all of the clubs he frequents.
How’s that for a con’spiracy, huh?