Mario Savio and Battlestar Galactica

    5 September 2007, early morning

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus — and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all! — Mario Savio, Sit-in Address on the Steps of Sproul Hall, December 2nd 1964

Mario Savio was a student leader at Berkeley during the 60s involved in the free-speech movement. He sounds like an amazing fellow. I learned of him from watching Battlestar Galactica of all things. In the season finale for Season 2 of the show, Lay Down Your Burdens, Chief Tyrol gives this stunning speech to his workers — It’s a really great scene. It turns out the speech just paraphrases some of the things Savio said in his speech on the steps of Sproul Hall.

Tyrol’s union speech is an almost word for word quote of Mario Savio’s address during the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in 1964. According to Ron Moore and David Eick in the podcast, they even got permission from Savio’s widow to use it (even though, due to the way copyright laws work from back then, they could have just used it without permission, they felt they should get it). As a result, it’s even listed in the credits: “Mario Savio speech excerpted courtesy of: Lynne Hollander Savio”. Actor Aaron Douglas (Chief Tyrol) actually studied film of Savio, so all of the hand gestures Tyrol makes when he gives the speech are gestures that Savio actually used.

Battlestar Galactica is by far one of the most interesting shows on television. I am dying to see season 3. (Television Executives: There are lots of reasons people pirate television. Off the top of my head, waiting months and months and months for a DVD set would be one reason.)

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Comments

  1. Television Executives: There are lots of reasons people pirate television. Of the top of my head, waiting months and months and months for a DVD set would be one reason.

    Amen. I’ve been aching for BSG and The Wire for a while now.

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