09 December 2011


A bit of background ~ in the epic 2004 sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica, life was far from pure and simple. People made mistakes, broke rules, sometimes even did awful things for good reasons. And like us, they cursed. The favorite default curse word in this distant future was (will be?) fracking, clearly a morphed form of fucking ~ that gloriously all-purpose term that can be a noun, a verb, and adjective, an adverb, and probably a preposition if put to the test. Here is a brief video sample of how "fracking" fits into daily conversation ~ and this is just among the women characters. (Don't get me wrong, the series isn't wall-to-wall cursing, but I think it lends credibility to the dialogue when cursing is included organically.)

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, imagine my amusement when I tuned in to the CBS Evening News last night, and one news segment was headlined "Fracking," in big bold letters on the screen. I wondered if the news anchor had a hard time keeping a straight face. It turns out that the report was about another kind of fracking ~ hydraulic fracturing of rock strata to release natural gas or oil. An unfortunate by-product of the process is contamination of ground water by the chemicals injected along with large volumes of water and sand ~ bad news for residents of places like Wyoming, where water for drinking and farmland irrigation is a precious commodity.

On a different note, those who have read J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy trilogy The Lord of the Rings, or better yet have seen Peter Jackson's movie trilogy of the same name, will appreciate this bit of satire ~ Lord of the Rings: an allegory of the PhD? Dave Pritchard does a great job of introducing LOTR characters as people inhabiting academia, rather than Middle Earth. Have fun.

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