Thursday, March 26, 2009

1978: The Meaning of Feldercarb

I was a child when Battlestar Galactica premiered in the fall of 1978. It was my favorite thing to watch and set lasting precedents for the type of science fiction I enjoy now.

To love as a child is glorious; the object of such uncritical devotion is observed without pause from eye to heart, blooming into the brain's deepest chambers with lasting effect. What are the chances that something so beloved is translated into maturity? Certainly Battlestar Galactica-as-was has lost a great deal in translation and is indeed a painful thing to view decades later. Which makes it all the more incredible that the re-imagined version that premiered in 2003 is such a treat; it goes entirely against expectations by taking the germ of what gave the old show such staying power and transforming it into the fine television series that finished its run last week.

The basic premise remains: a ragtag fleet of holocaust survivors fleeing into the universe in search of a new home, the planet called... Earth. The survivors, as one might easily imagine, are a mouthy lot. They don't hesitate to use colorful language. This aspect of the show has carried over into the updated version and there is no lack of futuristic euphemisms when tensions run high. "Frak" and "gods dammit" are the two most heard; what is not heard very often is "feldercarb".

Feldercarb is a word meant to describe situations that are unfair or undeserved to the person uttering it. According to Urban Dictionary, it should be associated with what can politely be described in contemporary speak as "bullpucky". While frak seems to be find sympathy among viewers, feldercarb is hardly if ever mentioned, on- or offscreen. And why should it be, when the locutive effort required nowhere near matches the impact of bullpucky.

Next: Setting the standard for 21st century science fiction!

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