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Angry Young Languatron

(Editorial note: Perhaps this is boring you. But I’m enjoying writing it. So off I go, knowing that comments will not be thick on the ground.)

When I entered the Battlestar Galactica discussion, I didn’t use my real name, of course. I didn’t want these people to know who I was or where I lived. But I, like everyone else on the Internet, had a fiery opinion that I needed to share, so I did it under the pseudonym that had served me so well back in my college days.

Stallion Cornell made his first appearance on the SciFi.com Galactica bulletin board on September 15, 1999, on a particularly boring day of not working. Here’s the gist of what I said. (It’s surprisingly restrained as I look back on it all these years later.)

Before I get flamed by Hatch supporters, let me establish my bona fides at the outset.

I was 10 when Galactica hit the airwaves, and I’ve loved it all my life. I grew up in Southern California, and I toured the Buck Rogers set the year after Galactica was canned. They still had the original Galactica model in storage, and they let me see it. It was the thrill of my pre-pubescent life. I even watched Galactica 1980 religiously, hoping for a few scraps of the old show I loved amidst the steaming poo of Superscouts and Wolfman Jack. I remember watching the theatrical release of the pilot at the old Valley Circle Cinema in Woodland Hills, CA – in Sensurround! (Anyone else remember that? It involved turning up the speakers loud enough to be able to feel the reverb – a low-tech THX.)

I have nothing but respect for Richard Hatch and his efforts. I haven’t seen the trailer, but I’ve devoured all the still photos at battlestargalactica.com. Mr. Hatch has certainly demonstrated an affection for the show that makes him a great warrior for the cause.

So why the concerns? Two reasons – Richard Hatch’s Galactica books: Armageddon and Warhawk. All the trailer info I’ve seen indicates that Hatch’s new project is based on his execrable novels, which all but the most rabid fan should recognize are fundamentally flawed.

I would hope that Hatch would recognize his limitations and seek additional input from writers and authors who can complement his vision. If he does, he’ll hit it out of the park. If he gets too caught up in a Quixotic ego trip, he may transfer the problems of Armageddon and Warhawk to the screen and do irreparable damage to his efforts.

See? It could have been whole lot nastier! I did manage to work the word “execrable” in there, though.

I was flamed instantly. “Stallion Cornell is an ass,” said a guy named BSGDan. That was one of the more printable responses. Having tried – and failed – to engage in rational discussion, I went back to lurking. I soon discovered that the dominant personality on this board had no tolerance for opposing points of view.

His name was Languatron. He was large and in charge. And kind of nuts, too.

Here’s an example of his early work.

I just filed a complaint against Universal Studios with the
National Consumer Complaint Center on the Internet. I
stated that the Galactica DVD is falsely advertised as being
a Widescreen release when in fact it is not. I stated that
the whole purpose of a Widescreen release is to allow you
to see the entire frame of the movie, just as you would
while sitting in the movie theater. I then urged that the
Galactica DVD be recalled from store shelves on the grounds
of false advertising. If any of you would like to file
a complaint against Universal Studios as well. Go to
“Yahoo”, type in consumer complaints, and the National
Consumer Complaint Center will be listed. After I submitted
my complaint, a message stated that it would be forwarded
to the appropriate Federal Agancy.

–       Languatron, “Complaint Filed/Universal Studios,” www.scifi.com, 8/11/2000

There is no word on what finally became of this particular complaint. I remember, as I’m sure you do, the public outcry about the false advertising surrounding the DVD release of the original Battlestar Galactica television pilot. I remember the fiery editorials, the scathing televised debates, and, of course, the famous Galactica DVD riots of 2003/2004. The Internet’s National Consumer Complaint Center was under fire from all quarters, and everyone took sides. I, personally, became a conscientious objector and watched old reruns of Columbo instead.

What? This doesn’t strike a chord with you?

Well, if you don’t remember such things, you were probably living in the real world at the time, where nobody either knew or cared whether or not a DVD release surrounding a long-dead TV show was, or was not, in proper widescreen format.  You also live in a world where the only reference to a National Consumer Complaint Center you can find on Google is a website with the subheading, “PUSAT KHIDMAT ADUAN PENGGUNA NASIONAL.” Although, here in the real world, I’m sure that upon receipt of Languatron’s complaint, the Pengguna Nasional was truly up in arms.

This message is representative of much of Languatron’s earlier work, and I recognize that I’m being somewhat harsh in my mockery thereof. The writing style here is strident, yes, but it’s not insane. It’s more the work of a focused, belligerent crank than a full-fledged loon. It’s also doesn’t demonstrate the contempt for standard conventions of grammar and punctuation that would characterize much of Languatron’s portfolio in the years to come. Yes, there’s a period where there should be a comma; inappropriate words are capitalized, and “agency” is misspelled, but these are but quibbles.  The guy who wrote this may be stuck on topics that interest few others, but there’s no real indication that he’s incapable of intelligent discourse, or that he’s as loony as he would soon prove to be.

Sadly, yes, there’s more to come…

Enter the Languatron
Loon Lang

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  1. I am really enjoying this. Never watched an episode of Battlestar Gallactica in my life, though! I’m a sci-fi fan, but confine my interest to the occasional book — not much of a TV watcher.