About the Battlestar Galactica 9/23/05 episode:
That rape scene from Friday night's Battlestar Galactica kept bugging me. It didn't harrow me, or "disturb" me – it provoked a lot of questions.
"She" is a machine – though capable of emotions, thought, and getting pregnant (this copy of Boomer IS pregnant by a human soldier, Helo). So what if they rape her? Especially since her kind is hell-bent on annihilating the human species? Why is any method of extracting useful information from her, wrong? Isn't it like torturing your car, or your lawn mower?
Ahh…that gets us closer to the answer.
Let's say that all the apparently human responses she showed during the rape (screaming, fighting, crying) really are just pre-programmed computer behaviors.
If you torture your lawn mower, it's not a crime. There's no law, legal or moral, against torturing your lawn mower. But what kind of person tortures their lawn mower?
And even if that asshole viewed the Boomer/Caprica copy as a machine, when it was giving off all those human-like signals of terror and horror and revulsion and pain, what kind of person wouldn't have an instinctive sympathetic response to that? Either a total sociopath, or a psychotic. Either actually evil, or helplessly sick. Or – if not one of those, then someone who knows perfectly well right from wrong but who has thrown all moral framework away in favor of indulging his fantasies of hatred and revenge.
But, say he's raping a machine. Isn't it a victimless non-crime?
Maybe a non-crime, but not victimless. He's distancing himself from the best parts of himself. He's crossing a line that he may not be able to cross back to regain his own humanity. And when (in the BG universe) there are only a few tens of thousands of human beings left, and they are threatened with extinction by millions of machines – isn't he really, by opting out of humanity, committing a crime against humanity?
And doesn't this resonate interestingly with the real USA right now?