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08 December 2008 @ 11:28 pm
Special Topic #6 -- In Defense of Lee Adama  
I volunteered to write one of these "sprinkles" posts for the community, and since zinke already claimed my favorite subject -- arms -- I'm going to go with my second favorite subject: Lee Adama.

But wait, don't run away! I can sense many of you wanting to do that. Lee is much maligned in fandom for whatever reason (as the more "traditional" leads often are), and so I'd like to show you a little bit of my Lee Adama, the misunderstood guy who doesn't think he's a paragon of anything, but who really does try to do the right thing -- even if it doesn't always work out that way. So let me take you on a journey -- the journey of a man who never wanted any of this in the first place....


(Caps from bsg-caps.com)


One of the most important things to remember about Lee is that he never wanted to be a career military man.

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CFR = Colonial Fleet Reserve. This is one of the tastiest throwaway tidbits TPTB have ever given us, IMO. Lee wasn't even full-time active military when the Cylons attacked (which makes you wonder what else he was doing with his time), and in Razor, we see him say that he's thinking of quitting all together. So here's a guy who's estranged from his dad, who's thinking of quitting even the reserve work he does for the military, and then the apocalypse happens and not only is he stuck on a ship with the man he can barely stand to be in the same room with, but he's suddenly a full-time pilot, and not just the pilot but the CAG. This? Is going to frak with your head just a bit.

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Oh wait, not only are you suddenly full-time military, and the CAG, but one of your very first assignments is to blow up a ship that might be filled with civilians. Yeah, that's going to seriously frak with your head.

It's no surprise, then, that when he questions his actions afterward, it is Laura Roslin's more sympathetic response about carrying your hard decisions with you that gives him comfort, rather than Adama's "move on." (This will not be the first time Adama is tone-deaf to his son's needs.) Lee has never felt that ironclad commitment to the military, and thus he and Laura are much more sympatico at this time, both having been thrown into positions of responsibility which they did not ask for or anticipate.

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It is this ability to question himself, his willingness to show doubt about accepted protocol, that helps make Lee a relatable character for the civilians among us. It's also this unique position that often puts him at odds with the military thinking against what he believes is right. His allegiance, at the beginning of the series, is not to the Galactica; in fact, it's the last place he wants to be. And so it's his own ideological compass that he clings to in the face of chaos. He may not know where he belongs, but at least he knows what he thinks is right.

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Even if it means committing mutiny at inappropriate times. ;)

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All of which is also to say that Lee's leaving the military to pursue politics is completely consistent with this worldview, to me. (It's also why quitting in "The Son Also Rises" was not all that difficult for him -- his estrangement from his father bothers him much more, IMO.) The military was never intended to be his life, and throughout the course of the series, Lee's purpose in the military, as far as he is concerned, is to defend democracy, both literally by fending off the Cylons, and more figuratively by safeguarding the seat of government. (I've always hated Dee's line that Lee is a solider who needs a war; IMO that's crap. Lee is a crusader who needs a cause, which is not the same thing.) Once he feels that being in the cockpit no longer fulfills that purpose, he moves on to a sphere where he feels he can continue to act the most effectively.

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And, you know, wear a suit. *g*

This also ties in to the fact that Lee is very much a "big picture" guy -- it's why he insists that they hold elections, why he is able to sacrifice Kara in "Razor" despite being in love with her, why he is able -- initially -- to leave with the Pegasus while Adama stays to rescue New Caprica. Even why he is able to argue so insistently in "A Measure of Salvation" that the Cylons be exterminated. And why he was so aligned with Laura in the beginning -- she, too, was focused on the big picture of maintaining the human race, moreso than Adama who had to deal with discrete military matters. It's what makes him able to move from the military to politics and back again, that ability to see what the overarching need is, not to get as bogged down in the pettier details. Being in the political sphere contributes to the greater good, in his mind, in a way that sitting in the cockpit doesn't.

Of course, the one area where Lee is not always able to stick to what is right is the romance department. As we know, that's a bit of a mess. *g* Let's take a moment to once again assess the poor fucking guy: he was looking to get out of the military, then the world blows up and he's on the same ship as, and reporting to, the father he has a crappy relationship with, and his only friend on the ship is his dead brother's fiancee -- who he happens to be attracted to.

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Oh yeah -- and then she goes and sleeps with someone else before he works up the nerve to do anything -- at least partly because he thinks it wouldn't be right to move in on the woman his brother almost married. Yes, Lee can be emotional, but you know what? All things considered, he's kind of entitled.

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But even here, it is ultimately his sense of right that guides him, even if that's not immediately apparent: when he confronts Kara about her feelings in "Unfinished Business," it could be looked at as if what he's doing is wrong; he's essentially cheating on Dee, and putting Kara in an uncomfortable position when she is in a relationship with Sam. But to Lee's mind, he and Kara love each other, and that's what makes it right, at least on one level. That's why when Kara says after they have sex, "What do we do now?" he's incredulous. Because to him the clear, right thing to do is tell the truth -- and be together.

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But Kara refuses to do that, leading to their long estrangement. And after they reconcile, that's when Lee truly does what isn't right: he has an adulterous affair with Kara.

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(You knew I had to get this picture in there. *g*)

But, as we see, he's torn up inside about it, and once again entreats Kara to do what is "right," for them to leave the people they are lying to with their hearts and be together. Which I am NOT saying to excuse his behavior; but then, I don't think he's trying to excuse it, either. He knows what they're doing is wrong, which is why he puts a stop to it.

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It's interesting, because Lee's critics have been known to claim that he's self-righteous -- but to me, he is righteous (and not in a 70s Huggy Bear kind of way), or, to be more accurate, he tries to be. And when he fails at that, which he does, and he knows it, he's the first person to beat himself up about it. He doesn't think he's perfect -- but he tries to do what is best, and knows all too well that he often falls short. But that doesn't stop him from trying harder the next time. He's the goodness in all of us, the spark that thirsts for justice and harmony, even when we know that ideal is all too difficult to attain. And, for many of us, part of his appeal is that he has no special destiny, no grander than life purpose, no mystical motives -- he's just a guy trying to do what he thinks is right, and sometimes he succeeds and sometimes he doesn't. Kind of like the rest of us. :)


For your consideration:

Do you think that Lee is meant to be the "everyman," or does he have a special purpose?

What do you think Lee's ultimate destiny is?

When Bill tells Lee in "Bastille Day" that he hasn't "picked a side," do you think that's true? Do you think it is necessary to choose sides in that situation? Was his ultimate choice a Kelly Taylor "I choose me" kind of situation?

Does Lee really try to do the right thing, or can most of his actions be chalked up to his daddy issues?

Is Kara Lee's Achilles heel? What is it about her that can make him transgress in a way no one else can?

Was Lee's decision to leave the military at the end of season three a selfish one? Do you agree or disagree that he can have a greater impact as a civilian than as a pilot?

When you think back to the miniseries, are you surprised by how far Lee and Bill have come in their relationship? Or do you still think they're stubborn jackasses? Or both?

How much do you miss Lee's arms?


Memorable Quotes: (I may have gone a little overboard.)

Adama: I have nothing to say to the personal representative of the President.
Apollo: I'm still Galactica's lead pilot.
Adama: Well, I have nothing to say to him either. Every man has to decide for themselves which side they're o­n.
Apollo: I didn't know we were picking sides.
Adama: That's why you haven't picked o­ne yet.

Apollo: I swore an oath... to defend the articles. The articles say there's an election in seven months. Now, if you're telling me we're throwing out the law, then I'm not a Captain, you're not a Commander and you are not the President. And I don't owe either of you a damned explanation for anything.

Tigh: This is mutiny, you know that.
Apollo: Yes, I do. But you can tell my father that I'm listening to my instincts and my instincts tell me that we cannot sacrifice our democracy just because the President makes a bad decision.

Starbuck: Well, that makes things more complicated.
Apollo: Yeah.
Starbuck: What are we gonna do?
Apollo: What are we gonna do? We accept it. Tomorrow, I tell Dualla, you tell Sam.
Starbuck: Just like that?
Apollo: Just like that.

Apollo: Oh, come o­n, let's get real here. You said yourself things were bad. Your marriage was failing.
Starbuck: Yeah, but marriage is a sacrament. It's not a pyramid game, you don't -- you don’t get do-overs, Lee. I made a vow in the sight of the Gods, and I'm not gonna break that.
Apollo: You're breaking it every time we do this. Every time.
Starbuck: Divorce is different. This is just bending the rules.
Apollo: No, I'm sorry. I can't -- I can't… I can't live like this. Every time I look at my wife, I see my own guilt reflected in her eyes.
Starbuck: Wow. Wow, Lee, that is really poetic of you. But you don't need to make that big of a deal out of this.
Apollo: Well, it is a big deal, Kara. It is. It is.
Starbuck: Great. So, I won't divorce, and you won't cheat. So where does that leave us?
Apollo: Trapped.

Adama: I know what you're saying. But we have a responsibility to the people that we left behind.
Apollo: Remember what Roslin said: "Our first responsibility is to the survival of humanity." We can't lose sight of that. Over the last year, we've lost sight of almost everything. We got ...soft. But if we go back to New Caprica now, and we lose, it's over. Humanity just stops. And an Admiral's stars don't give you the right to make that gamble.

Lee: Baltar's trial may have been the trigger, but, um... This is a feeling I've been having for a while. It's time for a change. I need to move on. I've had some feelers from the government. There's a ... position ... opening up. And I think I can make a valuable contribution there. Maybe even more than in the cockpit.

Lee: And me? Well, where do I begin? I shot down a civilian passenger ship, the Olympic Carrier. Over a thousand people o­n board. Forgiven. I raised my weapon to a superior officer, committed an act of mutiny. Forgiven. And then o­n the very day when Baltar surrendered to those Cylons, I, as Commander of Pegasus, jumped away. I left everybody o­n that planet alone, undefended, for months! I even tried to persuade the Admiral never to return. To abandon you all there for good. If I'd had my way, nobody would've made it off that planet. I'm the coward. I'm the traitor. I'm forgiven. I'd say we're very forgiving of mistakes. We make our own laws now, our own justice. We've been pretty creative at finding ways to let people off the hook for everything from theft to murder. And we've had to be. Because... Because we're not a civilization anymore. We are a gang. And we're o­n the run. And we have to fight to survive. We have to break rules. We have to bend laws. We have to improvise. But not this time, no. Not this time. Not for Gaius Baltar. No. You, you have to die. You have to die, because... Well, because we don't like you very much. Because you're arrogant. Because you're weak. Because you're a coward. And we the mob, we want to throw you out the airlock because you didn't stand up to the Cylons, and get yourself killed in the process. That's justice now. You should've been killed back o­n New Caprica, but since you had the temerity to live, we're gonna execute you now. That's justice! This case... This case is built o­n emotion. O­n anger, bitterness, vengeance. But most of all, it is built o­n shame. It's about the shame of what we did to ourselves back o­n that planet. And it's about the guilt of those of us who ran away. Who ran away. And we are trying to dump all that guilt and all that shame o­nto o­ne man, and then flush him out the airlock and hope that that just gets rid of it all. So that we can live with ourselves. But that won't work. That won't work. That's not justice. Not to me. Not to me.


Additional Picspam:
I did one at my journal in celebration of LJ's Lee Week. It's, um, arm-focused. You can find it here if you haven't seen it already.

Fic recs to follow later this week. Thank you for reading!
 
 
Current Mood: nervousnervous
 
 
 
is that how they do it in the pros?: actors - bsg - jamieantismiles on December 9th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
LEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

*glomps you*

This is amazing and I love it. Also? You totally made me rethink a few things with this: ... Lee is a solider who needs a war; IMO, that's crap. Lee is a crusader who needs a cause, which is not the same thing. Very well said. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but you're absolutely right. I knew there had to be a reason that line didn't sit well. :)
dianora: bsg lee kara beddianora2 on December 10th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked. And yeah, that line has always bugged me -- I choose to take it as just further evidence that Dee didn't understand her husband very well. *g*
elzedelzed on December 9th, 2008 08:38 am (UTC)
Oh, I like the way you think - and by and large, I entirely agree with you. I think where Lee works as a soldier is where he works as a civilian leader, and the ability to see the bigger picture, to make painful decisions, is absolutely part of this (I got a little obsessed about the nature of command, looking at it through Razor, a little while ago). And the military training helps - and makes him capable of sending the woman he loves on a suicide mission, because that's what happens at war.

I love his mix of pragmatism and idealism, his strong moral sense, and his ability and willingness to question his decisions when he feels there is a serious conflict. And, like you, I don't so much think he's self-righteous as righteous. The fact that he expresses his dilemmas just means we get more of an insight into his heart and mind.

Oh, whatevs. I just think he's such a rich, varied, complex character - such a pleasure to watch (and I don't just mean the pretty, although that is a VERY powerful argument in his favour!), and such a joy to write...
dianora: bsg lee happydianora2 on December 10th, 2008 04:21 am (UTC)
Yes, yes, yes. IAWTC. :)

The fact that he expresses his dilemmas just means we get more of an insight into his heart and mind.

Exactly -- there's so much more to explore with him than there is with a lot of other characters on the show. And I love that Jamie is willing to portray him so openly and honestly.
Hopeless Romantic at Heart: BSG - Bloody Leezinke on December 9th, 2008 12:29 pm (UTC)
since zinke already claimed my favorite subject -- arms

I've always thought of Lee as being the poster-boy for arms...

I've always hated Dee's line that Lee is a solider who needs a war; IMO that's crap. Lee is a crusader who needs a cause, which is not the same thing.

YES - I've never seen this put so well before. Although I now have this image in my head of Lee as Sir Galahad from Monty Python and the Holy Grail....

I've come to develop a better appreciation of Lee during season four, though I will say that he shares a trait with his father - a tendency to wear blinders (in Bill's case regarding people he loves, in Lee's that the right thing is always the right thing regardless of the situation) - that for whatever reason I find frustratingly endearing in Bill and kind of annoying in Lee. Is this fair? Of course not. But I can't seem to turn it off.

Edited at 2008-12-09 01:42 pm (UTC)
Dionusia: adama family valuesdionusia on December 9th, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC)
Lee's that the right thing is always the right thing regardless of the situation

That's interesting, because I see him making compromises all over the place -- because the wellbeing of the fleet trumps what is 'right' for him. I especially saw this in the case when he took over the presidency in "Sine Qua Non." It was Zarek's by right and Adama was absolutely wrong not to recognize him, but Lee didn't join Zarek in wanting to incite a civil war over it -- instead he chose to take it himself, to prevent that from happening. To quote my friend bop_radar, he becomes president because his dad sucks, and there's no way around Bill's de facto power over the government and the fleet.

I find Bill's lack of pragmatism frustrating at times, and his behavior in that instance in particular juvenile in the extreme. But I guess we all get frustrated by different things!
(no subject) - zinke on December 9th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dionusia on December 10th, 2008 01:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zinke on December 12th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dionusia on December 12th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zinke on December 12th, 2008 11:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dianora2 on December 10th, 2008 04:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dianora2 on December 10th, 2008 04:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zinke on December 12th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dianora2 on December 15th, 2008 12:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
Dionusia: leedionusia on December 9th, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
I love this post so much! And I have a lot to say in response, but I have to keep most of that for later. For now, though:

can most of his actions be chalked up to his daddy issues?

I think that really misses the mark, because it's not all about personal loyalty or disloyalty with him (something his dad just doesn't get). He challenges his father only when he believes it's absolutely necessary. As he tells Roslin after she thanks him for supporting her against the coup d'etat, "I didn't do it for you." It wasn't about choosing sides. He doesn't go looking to take a jab at Adama at every opportunity, either; far from it. He's asked to make a broadcast denouncing his father's takeover and even though he believes it was wrong, he can't bring himself to do it. When the Pegasus CAG snarks about Adama, he bristles in defense; when Gaius starts in on him, after the trial is over, Lee threatens to punch him if he doesn't shut the hell up (though his relationship with his father couldn't be at a lower point). If Lee were the all-daddy-issues cariacature that some people make him out to be, he'd have joined in the insults and the denunciations gleefully. Maybe that'ss an easy explanation for people to resort to because they just don't like him, I don't know; but I think Lee really is primarily motivated by what he thinks is the right thing to do (not just in principle, but pragmatically, too). He is just very stubborn and doesn't back down when his father tries to pressure him.

I think Adama bears some responsibility for his difficulties with his son, especially by being so quick to take all of Lee's actions so personally. Frankly, I think Lee puts up with a lot.

We make our own laws now, our own justice. We've been pretty creative at finding ways to let people off the hook for everything from theft to murder. And we've had to be. Because... Because we're not a civilization anymore. We are a gang. And we're o­n the run. And we have to fight to survive. We have to break rules. We have to bend laws. We have to improvise.

I also love that you quoted his trial speech in full. <3 Especially this part, because Lee's not going off about idealism or the need to preserve the old system at all costs. He's seen that the trial is a sham and they really are just pretending to still have a system; they can't claim to be a civilization anymore, the pressures of being on the run have forced them to adapt and compromise at every turn. But he points out that the way they've survived is by constantly granting pardons (no one put Adama on trial for his military coup, etc). He's very aware of this because he's been on the receiving end of forgiveness many times himself, even though he feels he's undeserving. Oh, Lee!

More later! Thanks for this!
dianora: bsg lee billdianora2 on December 14th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
it's not all about personal loyalty or disloyalty with him (something his dad just doesn't get). He challenges his father only when he believes it's absolutely necessary.

Yes, exactly. Back to that big picture thing. Do Lee and his father have issues with each other? Yes. Is it what drives him? No. Lee is certainly capable of being petty, particularly when it comes to Kara, but he wouldn't let it distract from the greater good.

He's very aware of this because he's been on the receiving end of forgiveness many times himself, even though he feels he's undeserving. Oh, Lee!

Makes you want to hug him tight, doesn't it? Even more so than usual? *g*

Thanks for commenting!
arielmoondance: Leearielmoondance on December 9th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
Some very interesting questions you pose. Some people believe that he is easily manipulated but I think that he goes with what he believes in. He knew Zarek had a point but he never lost sight of who Zarek was. He is able to distinguish the truth from the source. It doesnt mean he is going to buy into everything and be uber loyal to that person. Lee is loyal to doing the right thing and standing up for it even if it looks like he is switching sides or what have you.
dianora: bsg lee is adorabledianora2 on December 10th, 2008 07:35 pm (UTC)
I agree. I think people often mistake Lee's brand of idealism for naivete, but it's not at all. He wants to do what's right while still realizing that it's not always possible, and that sometimes you have to compromise, like dionusia says above, to make that happen. Lee knows as well as anyone what Zarek is capable of -- he's seen it with his own eyes.
(Deleted comment)
dianora: bsg lee suitdianora2 on December 10th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)
I'm sad that he apparently needs defending, but what can you do?

Sigh. I know. But all we can do is keep loving and defending our man!

but perhaps it's more that he is an idealist who needs ideals?

*nods* Yes, that is a very good way to put it.

Though he is also, as dionusia says, a pragmatist as well, when he needs to be.

Absolutely -- I wish I had touched on that, but I knew a lot would fall through the cracks and that I would have you guys to build on it. :)
phdelicious: BSG_Apollophdelicious on December 10th, 2008 01:30 am (UTC)
I love finding out that other people see the same Lee that I do. This is a fabulous post!

can most of his actions be chalked up to his daddy issues?

It really annoys the heck out of me when people characterize Lee this way because it's such an over-simplification. His immediate reactions to his father (and really any type of interpersonal relationship) can sometimes be traced back to daddy/childhood issues, but his final actions don't often reflect them.

Is Kara Lee's Achilles heel? What is it about her that can make him transgress in a way no one else can?

I would say Lee certainly considers her to be such. Lee likes the world to make sense, but Kara inevitably confounds him because she's more likely to act on impulse than thought out logic.

We better get some more arms before then end!
dianora: bsg lee kara beddianora2 on December 14th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Those of us who see Lee the same way need to stick together. :)

His immediate reactions to his father (and really any type of interpersonal relationship) can sometimes be traced back to daddy/childhood issues, but his final actions don't often reflect them.

Yes, this. Great way to put it.

Lee likes the world to make sense, but Kara inevitably confounds him because she's more likely to act on impulse than thought out logic.

*snerk* Also well-put. Oh, Lee.
Call Me OneTrack: pic#82537806callmeonetrack on December 10th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
I've always hated Dee's line that Lee is a solider who needs a war; IMO that's crap. Lee is a crusader who needs a cause, which is not the same thing.

Yes, like everyone else, I agree that's a crap line for Lee. That's KARA who needs the war, not Lee. (Which just goes to show Dee never could see her marriage straight without Kara in the middle of it).


CFR = Colonial Fleet Reserve. This is one of the tastiest throwaway tidbits TPTB have ever given us, IMO. Lee wasn't even full-time active military when the Cylons attacked (which makes you wonder what else he was doing with his time)

Thanks for mentioning this because I was blown away by the idea that he was reserves and I've never seen anyone really mention it before. I thought that was a really weird choice for the writers to make because Lee holds such a grudge about his father forcing both him and Zak to follow in his footsteps...but dude, he was Reserves. That's a whole different ball of wax. Still an amazing commitment, but...not the same. It sheds some interesting light on where he might be (both physically, as you say, how he's spending his time, and emotionally re: his thoughts on service and war).

I think Lee makes more sense as a trapped/miserable but good at his job military lifer, than as a reservist. And where does War College fit in? I don't know much about the military so I'm not sure what the equivalent of that is in our world (maybe there's something called war college, who knows?) Why would he have gone there if he was only a part-time soldier? But maybe I've just been reading too much fanfic where Lee is the perfect little officer candidate. Now I want to read pre-mini fic where someone writes about Reservist Lee and what he does in his off hours.

Is Kara Lee's Achilles heel? What is it about her that can make him transgress in a way no one else can?

I'm so intrigued by the dynamics that may or may not have existed pre-mini between them (and Zak). As are many fans, based on the amount of pre-show/backstory fic in this fandom. It's such a tantalizing setup though. How'd they all meet? And what happened when they did? (If Kara really realized she met the wrong brother first--did they acknowledge their attraction? Did they act on it? How was he going to live with Kara as his sister-in-law? Did they just squelch all feelings except for some flirty looks before the end of the world? Ah the possibilities, they are endless. I also want someone to write a long angsty fic about Zak and Kara married, and how Lee copes. Hehe.



Anastashia: Lee Happy Lookanastashial on December 11th, 2008 03:29 am (UTC)
My comment below was somewhat to your comment also.

As to War College. In reality it's a mid-career thing seen as most available for what are called "Hard Chargers" e.g the ones they expect to be admirals some day. So for Lee to have gone there either at the start of his career or as a drilling reservist vice full time active duty wouldn't be consistent.

Now he could drill as a reservist there though:

The mission of the Naval War College Support Unit is to support the academic and research missions of the Naval War College through direct support to all departments and divisions of the college.

US Naval War College.
(no subject) - callmeonetrack on December 11th, 2008 07:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - anastashial on December 12th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - anastashial on December 12th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dianora2 on December 14th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dianora2 on December 14th, 2008 11:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Anastashiaanastashial on December 11th, 2008 03:15 am (UTC)
Lee's Reserve Status
Great Article. I snerched the picture of Lee pointing the gun at Tigh and used it for icons and in a header for a LJ RPG character journal for my character Giuseppe Adama.

Anyway I'm going to respectfully disagree with your assessment of the character of Lee's reserve service. I've commented tangentially on this before IIRC on either the Lee/Kara Shipper or Bamber Bunnies threads on SciFi.com. In that case I was specifically talking about my belief that Lee did not attend a military academy (nor do I believe Kara did but that's another whole treatise). Instead I believe his officer accession occurred through an ROTC like program at a public or private civilian university.

I'm coming from a background of 22 years in the US Navy. Thirteen on active duty and the rest in the Selected Reserve (SelRes - who are the people who usually drill one weekend a month and then do a two week active duty once a year). For my first four years of full time active duty service I was a reservist (USNR) and then I augmented to USN. I wasn't ROTC either I walked in off the street and went to Officer Candidate School (OCS).

Augmentation requires a letter of application and then your file goes before a review board and they say yay or nay. I remained a regular until I left full time active duty for SelRes status when the USNR started to appear behind my name again. (It's currently USNR-R which means reserve retired).

In general the only officers who get the USN immediately upon commissioning are those who were accessed through the military academies. The doesn't mean though that the people who went through ROTC don't have an extended full time active duty commitment (it's normally four years). After all the military just paid for four years of college for the ROTC graduates, they want some return on their investment.

So now to Lee's specific situation. I'm doubtful he would have been so able to cross his father that he would have only been SelRes. To me his being an ROTC cadet seems a much more plausible compromise. That Kara had augumented and Lee had not is consistent with his desire to leave full time active service. As you get more senior not being a regular can be a career issue.

In addition, Lee was talking about wanting to open a bar. If he was only a SelRes it would be likely he would have fulfilled that ambition while serving. He's the overachiever, there'd be no reason why he wouldn't have gone ahead with his civilian career plans.

One more twist on that though has to do with the status of aviators. Their training pipeline is one of the longest and most expensive of any military specialty. Because of this even SelRes tend to drill or be active much in excess of the one weekend per month. I don't really have a handle on how active but my understanding is that for some of them they may as well be on extended active duty.
dianora: bsg lee is adorabledianora2 on December 14th, 2008 11:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Lee's Reserve Status
Instead I believe his officer accession occurred through an ROTC like program at a public or private civilian university.

Huh. Well, I could certainly see something like that happening. In a way it would be very consistent with his character.

Thanks for the inside info!
(Deleted comment)
dianora: bsg lee billdianora2 on December 15th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
Lee's my favourite character and always has been, so I love to discuss him.

Ditto, obvs. :)

And it's been gratifying to see how many people have always hated Dee's line about Lee being a soldier. Just goes to show she doesn't know him at all.... ;)

I've always seen Lee as an "everyman", just like Chief. I mean, he's a good pilot, a good leader, but he generally just does his job and doesn't get into trouble. And his problems seem so normal: daddy issues, being stuck in a job he doesn't really want. It seems like other character's problems are much bigger.

Well, and so much more mystical, on a grand destiny scale. I love that Lee has the kinds of problems that regular people can relate to.

What do you think Lee's ultimate destiny is?

President Adama!


You know, at Dragon Con last year someone asked Jamie this question and I yelled out "President!" and was met with scornful silence. Who's LAUGHING NOW, HUH? *g*

I really think Lee felt completely lost after Kara died-and then he couldn't even tell anyone how he really felt. And then when he tries to follow what his heart is telling him, everyone who should've supported him (Dee, Bill, hell, even Laura) just told him he was crazy/had no integrity/forced him to reveal her cancer was back).

So true. Poor Lee.

Thanks for your comment!