Some years ago, I watched a great documentary called Berkeley in the Sixties that used all manner of archival footage to help explain how a bunch of middle class white kids got radical. In particular, a 1964 speech given by then 21-year-old student named Mario Savio has always stuck with me. The money quote:
“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious — makes you so sick at heart that you cannot take part. You cannot even passively take part. And youâ€™ve got to put your bodies on the gears and upon the wheels and levers, upon all of the apparatus and you have to make it stop and you have got to indicate to the people who run and own it, that unless you are free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”
So it was quite a shock as I watched last night’s season-ending episode of Battlestar Galactica to hear nearly those exact words uttered by one of the characters. Just what BSG writer/producer Ron Moore is doing citing radical left-wing 60s speeches in his show is a topic for another post, or maybe another blog.
The thing that I’m particularly amazed by at this moment is that when I heard the quote on BSG last night, I couldn’t quite place it — couldn’t remember who said it or where I had heard it before. I just vividly remembered hearing the original (Savio had pretty distinctive NY accent). But a quick Google search led me not only to the transcript, but to the actual video itself (it’s in Real video format so you need the Real player). Scroll ahead to just after the 3 minute mark to see Savio. How cool is that. And Savio’s delivery is about a million times more passionate than that of Chief Tyrol (actor Aaron Douglas) on BSG.