Saturday, July 11, 2009

James Callis Quote of the Week: The Gaius Baltar Award for Moral Cowardice

From the awesome Onion AV Club interview. It's from 2008, quite long, and if you haven't read it, read it now. In-depth, with long James quotes, just beautiful. (Also he references to Shakespeare, Plato and Chaucer within the same interview. Which amuses me a little.)

I might pick another quote from this interview another time, but for a little light relief, I really liked this:

"I think that there should be a Gaius Baltar Award for Moral Cowardice given out to people every year. And this man—it's just, seriously, reading it, I was like, "Christ, this guy is Gaius Baltar!" He's a schoolteacher. The earthquake hits. And he said, "Stay still, everybody, you'll be fine," and just ran! He ran for his life, without any of the kids who he's supposed to be looking after. And the miracle of it is that the earthquake didn't touch his school in the same way. He went back to the class, and they're all alive, thank God. And they were like, "But teacher, why did you run away?" And his replies are just extraordinary. It's like, "I'm not a brave man. I am a coward. And in situations like this, it's every man for himself. I don't really feel very guilty, because I didn't cause the earthquake, and quite frankly, if it had been my own mother sat next to me, I would have left her as well."
Hee! I love the idea of that award. Who would be the first to get it? Moral cowardice might be Gaius' most dominant characteristic (or at least the one that he exhibits the most on the show).
As a news story, that's really pretty shocking, and could have ended horribly. But that's human nature - is it personality or attitude? Gaius, at least, would have felt guilty and tortured about not being the great, admirable person he thought he was. So I feel like he's above that teacher in that sense.

I think there's a similar reference to that in the 2005 TV Guide interview. Let's see:

It's fair to say Gaius is amoral. He's compassionate, he has a conscience, he suffers from remorse, but that's not really morality. His weakness is not standing up for anything, he's always trying to sidestep.
He may be painfully aware of not being a hero, but he doesn't really work to redeem himself - until the very end, when he did stand up for something. He could have left with the cult, but he stayed to fight; he admitted he didn't truly believe in what he preached. He even stood up to Cavil and protected Hera. So maybe that's the biggest personal growth Gaius had: growing a moral spine.

I still think that award is an awesome idea though.

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