Monday, 20 April 2009
It has always been my considered opinion that the Byron storyline in the fifth season of Babylon 5 is under appreciated by many fans ("under appreciated" is not to be mistaken for actually "particularly good", naturally). Probably my favourite Byron moment (for which I can't find a clip) involves him responding to a man's aggressive behaviour by demanding he punch him in the face. He then insists on another hit, and then a third. Standing as tall and still as he can with blood trickling from his face he asks whether the man had gotten what he wanted. Whether those three punches had solved whatever problem the man had assumed would be sorted by beating up a telepath. And if not, why would he assume that punches four to six would succeed where punches one through three had failed?
The point is two-fold. Firstly, a lot of the time, you can't repeat the same action and expect different results (remember the definition of madness?). Second, a scapegoat for your anger and frustration will remain a scapegoat no matter how much damage you do to them.
Byron's beating was the very first thing that came to mind when I read this. What did the interrogators expect to be revealed by waterboarding session one hundred and eighty three that had not been revealed by sessions one through one hundred and eighty two?