At The Midpoint (Spoilers for everything)

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Aaron Bergman

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Apr 6, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/6/96
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ObSpoilerWarning for all episodes:


Well, enough people out there have already commented on how great the
episode was, etc., so I thought I'd make a few more esoteric comments.

First, some nice touches I liked in the episode. I realize that the grey
council has always had their heads covered, but it was very apropos in
this episode. Delenn's speach before the grey council reminded me a bit of
American isolationism pre-WWII. This is interesting taking into account
that one of the cruisers was named the Churchill. Somehow I don't think
that was coincedental. I really liked the ISN scene. I don't know why, but
it seemed very right. Other comments: Sheridan's secession speech was
good, although I don't see the need for the holographic projection. Ah
well, why not show off the special effects? They certainly did enough of
that this episode. There were some nice humanistic touches that really
added to the episode.

An interesting side-point. Remember how, at the beginning, this was a
mystery--all the speculation around And the Sky Full of Stars. While some
of the episodes weren't bad and some were even very good (ATSFOS, S&P eg),
atleast for me, it was the puzzles that kept me interested--the aura of
mystery withing the show. Why did the Minbari surrender? What is special
about Sinclair? Who are the Vorlons?

There are still plenty of mysteries around, I guess, but now we have a
story. If the first season was the beginning, we're in the meat of the
novel right now. Action is occurring, and people are moving. JMS has done
a superb job of setting the elements in place and now the gears are
starting to turn. The shadows have began to incite battle throughout
space, and now, more than the mystery, it is the story that is happening.
The story is making me want to tune in next week. And while I love mystery
and trying to figure out why the Minbari surrendered was cool and all
that, this is the mark of the show's, well, I suppose I can call it
greatness by now. JMS is telling us a story. Not just your run of the mill
sit-com story, or even something a little larger like the various dramas.
This is a real story, almost an epic of sort. There are themes and JMS is
trying to say something here. I think it's interesting to think about what
that is. There is the nightwatch thread and the entire action vs.
non-action, isolationism vs. globalism, but there's more. There's the
theme of sacrifice, both for a good and perhaps a bad cause. The narns ran
headlong into the fight, and while they certainly had an effect, they
died, sometimes without even getting off a shot. G'Kar has had his
revalation about sacrifice, possibly of all the Narns. But look at the
source. Kosh is not being set up as pure good, whatever that is, and no
matter how I look at it, I don't see how the sacrifice of all the Narns,
however noble it might be, as necessarily a good thing. Sacrifices have to
be chosen wisely and sometimes it is easier to sacrifice yourself than to
do the hard thing and survive. Kosh and his motives are really
interesting. What will he do to win and what is his relation to the
shadows.

It's all this stuff that I think really makes the show. The mystery
certainly helps, but the puzzles are no longer my main reason for
watching.

Aaron
--
Aaron Bergman -- aber...@minerva.cis.yale.edu
<http://minerva.cis.yale.edu/~abergman/abergman.html>
Fuck. The Communications Bill was signed. Shit.

Jms at B5

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Apr 7, 1996, 4:00:00 AM4/7/96
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"It's all this stuff that I think really makes the show. The mystery
certainly helps, but the puzzles are no longer my main reason for
watching."

Aaron: exactly. This was something I said a lot around the first part of
the second season, that this really *isn't* a mystery novel, in any
conventional sense, no more so than any novel whose ending is yet to be
revealed.

You picked up on exactly the themes that are present in the show, with
some more to come shortly. Personal sacrifice for a cause -- perhaps a
good cause, perhaps not, depending on how wisely we make our decisions --
is probably the dominant theme at this point in the story.

It's worth mentioning that this story was initially conceived in the midst
of the Me Generation, the decade of "I've got mine, jack, screw you all."
Since then the culture has gotten increasingly factionalized, groups of
Me's pulling and tugging at the fabric not only of the country, bvut of
the planet itself. The idea of personal sacrifice, of personal service to
a cause, seems to have become...passe. Old fashioned. Silly.

We have an obligation to one another, responsibilities and trusts. That
does not mean we must be pigeons, that we must be exploited. But it does
mean that we should look out for one another when and as much as we can;
and that we have a personal responsibility for our behavior; and that our
behavior has consequences of a very real and profound nature. We are not
powerless. We have tremendous potential for good or ill. How we choose
to use that power is up to us; but first we must choose to use it. We're
told every day, "You can't change the world."

But the world is changing every day. Only question is...who's doing it?
You or somebody else? Will you choose to lead, or be led by others?

(Y'know, there are moments I look at the preceding paragraphs, and I
realize that it wa said more succinctly, and better, and more movingly in
"Lost Horizon," with this simple sentence: "Be *kind* to one another.")


jms

Jay Denebeim

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Apr 7, 1996, 4:00:00 AM4/7/96
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In article <4k80nt$s...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>,

Jms at B5 <jms...@aol.com> wrote:

>The idea of personal sacrifice, of personal service to
>a cause, seems to have become...passe. Old fashioned. Silly.

I'm reminded of what we had to go through to get this group created.
It seemed like quite a few people couldn't concieve that a group of
people wanted to create something like this group, were willing to put
enough time and money into it to make it really work.

Well, I know we've only been on-line a few days, but people THANKS for
makeing this worthwhile to us. Our personal service is paying off big
in how good this group is turning out to be.

Jay
--
Jay Denebeim dene...@deepthot.cary.nc.us
duke.edu!wolves!deepthot!denebeim
Fuck censorship! Oh *shit* there goes another 100, er $200,000

Jeannette Simpson

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Apr 7, 1996, 4:00:00 AM4/7/96
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jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:


>(Y'know, there are moments I look at the preceding paragraphs, and I
>realize that it wa said more succinctly, and better, and more movingly in
>"Lost Horizon," with this simple sentence: "Be *kind* to one another.")

> jms

Or perhaps "Care for one another. Care *about* one another."

Jeez, does that sound pretentious?


Jeannette
_______________________________________________________________
"Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster,
and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
Nietzsche


Janis Maria C. C. Cortese

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Apr 7, 1996, 4:00:00 AM4/7/96
to rec-arts-sf-tv-b...@uunet.uu.net
In article <4k80nt$s...@newsbf02.news.aol.com> jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) writes:
>
>We are not
>powerless. We have tremendous potential for good or ill. How we choose
>to use that power is up to us; but first we must choose to use it. We're
>told every day, "You can't change the world."

We have potential for good -- if we refuse to use our power and be
accountable for ourselves, that is when it becomes ill. There is the
*acknowledgement* of one's power, and there is the *abuse* of one's
power through a refusal to recognize it. You cannot get away from
the fact that you have power as a human -- you either learn to use it
wisely and well, or fuck it up. It's like being at the wheel of a large
steamroller that you can't get out of but must learn to steer. Either
you learn to steer, or you flatten innocents. But you can't get away
from the power.

Waxing philosophical and in need of sleep,
Janis
cor...@netcom.com http://www.io.com/~cortese/
<*> Follow the homepage links to Feminism and 2nd Amendment Issues!
========================================================================
"Termiter's argument that God is His own grandmother generated a
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Stephen D. Schaper

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Apr 7, 1996, 4:00:00 AM4/7/96
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"Teacher, what is the greatest part of the Torah?"
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, _and
love your neighbor as yourself_"

Joe proves once again that old themes make the best literature.

Though I still posit the theory that the Ragnarok has more influence on
this show than is generally thought.

--
"Reading Thomas Hardy won't save your soul, but after reading Thomas Hardy, there will be more of your soul to save" --Donald Drew

Wendy Dale

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Apr 7, 1996, 4:00:00 AM4/7/96
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Jms at B5 wrote:
> It's worth mentioning that this story was initially conceived in the midst
> of the Me Generation, the decade of "I've got mine, jack, screw you all."
> Since then the culture has gotten increasingly factionalized, groups of
> Me's pulling and tugging at the fabric not only of the country, bvut of
> the planet itself. The idea of personal sacrifice, of personal service to

> a cause, seems to have become...passe. Old fashioned. Silly.
> jms

Then I'm silly.

Wendy Dale

Jeannette Simpson

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
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jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:

>You picked up on exactly the themes that are present in the show, with
>some more to come shortly. Personal sacrifice for a cause -- perhaps a
>good cause, perhaps not, depending on how wisely we make our decisions --
>is probably the dominant theme at this point in the story.

"But then the worth of a man can only be gauged by his readiness to
sacrifice his life for his convictions."

Major-General Henning von Tresckow (anti-Nazi resistor) shortly before
committing suicide following the failure of the coup of 20th July
1944.

David Kauffman

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
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Jay Denebeim (dene...@deepthot.cary.nc.us) wrote:
: In article <4k80nt$s...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>,

: Jms at B5 <jms...@aol.com> wrote:
:
: >The idea of personal sacrifice, of personal service to

: >a cause, seems to have become...passe. Old fashioned. Silly.
:
: I'm reminded of what we had to go through to get this group created.

: It seemed like quite a few people couldn't concieve that a group of
: people wanted to create something like this group, were willing to put
: enough time and money into it to make it really work.
:
: Well, I know we've only been on-line a few days, but people THANKS for
: makeing this worthwhile to us. Our personal service is paying off big
: in how good this group is turning out to be.
:
: Jay
: --
: Jay Denebeim dene...@deepthot.cary.nc.us
: duke.edu!wolves!deepthot!denebeim
: Fuck censorship! Oh *shit* there goes another 100, er $200,000
:
And let me be one of the first of what I'm sure will be many to offer
my sincerest thanks to all of you who have worked so hard to put this
newsgroup together. As a lurker who doesn't post much, but reads
very regularly, let me say you all have done one fantastic job with
this. Congratulations to all!!
--
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"We were there, at the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind." - jms
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"Hey, Tagliabue, Ram this!!" St. Louis: Gateway to the East
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###################################################################

Julian Egelstaff

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
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Jms at B5 (jms...@aol.com) wrote:

> It's worth mentioning that this story was initially conceived in the midst
> of the Me Generation, the decade of "I've got mine, jack, screw you all."
> Since then the culture has gotten increasingly factionalized, groups of
> Me's pulling and tugging at the fabric not only of the country, bvut of

> the planet itself. The idea of personal sacrifice, of personal service to


> a cause, seems to have become...passe. Old fashioned. Silly.

This got me thinking, especially the first two lines. Was there one idea
or event that came to mind that you then built the story around? I mean,
did you think, "what about alien corruption taking over the earth
government?" Or, "what about, Earth gets nearly destroyed in a war, makes
peace, builds this huge diplomatic space station with their former
enemies, but it doesn't work out and everything does to hell in a
handbasket?"

In all the writing I've ever done everything has started with one idea
(that usually is indiscernable in the final version) and the whole story
is built forward, backwards and sideways from that one germinating idea.
Was there a single seed for Babylon 5? Was it a particular event of the
mid eighties which got you thinking?


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sincerely, |
Julian Egelstaff | "Speech is civilization itself. The word,
| even the most contradictory word, preserves
| contact -- it is silence which isolates."
|
as...@freenet.carleton.ca | --Thomas Mann. 1875-1955.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jms at B5

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
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Where it came from was really a thought experiment...how would I design an
SF saga *specifically* for television, that could really be told no other
way (except for maybe a 5-volume series of novels). I considered the many
quality mainstream shows that had a base of operations where the story
came to you (St Elsewhere, LA Law, others) instead of going off in search
of the new planet of the week. That led me to the notion of a space
station.

Then I kinda got into some of my thoughts on where we've come from as a
people, where we might be going, some political, social and historical
extrapolation, and one day...bang...it just slammed into my brain like a
.44.

And now here we are....


jms

Paul Rubin

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
to rec-arts-sf-tv-b...@uunet.uu.net
In article <4k80nt$s...@newsbf02.news.aol.com>,
Jms at B5 <jms...@aol.com> wrote:
>"It's all this stuff that I think really makes the show. The mystery
>certainly helps, but the puzzles are no longer my main reason for
>watching."
>
>Aaron: exactly. This was something I said a lot around the first part of
>the second season, that this really *isn't* a mystery novel, in any
>conventional sense, no more so than any novel whose ending is yet to be
>revealed.
>
>You picked up on exactly the themes that are present in the show, with
>some more to come shortly. Personal sacrifice for a cause -- perhaps a
>good cause, perhaps not, depending on how wisely we make our decisions --
>is probably the dominant theme at this point in the story.

The best one-line description of B5 I've been able to come up with,
and I mean this in the most profoundly admiring way, is: Lord of
the Rings in outer space.

Aaron Bergman

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
to
In article <phrDpJ...@netcom.com>, p...@netcom.com (Paul Rubin) wrote:

:The best one-line description of B5 I've been able to come up with,


:and I mean this in the most profoundly admiring way, is: Lord of
:the Rings in outer space.

Ugh.

That's nice, but JMS is telling his own story, not the Lord of the Rings.

Ian J. Ball

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
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> jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:
>
>

> >(Y'know, there are moments I look at the preceding paragraphs, and I
> >realize that it wa said more succinctly, and better, and more movingly in
> >"Lost Horizon," with this simple sentence: "Be *kind* to one another.")
>

> Or perhaps "Care for one another. Care *about* one another."
>
> Jeez, does that sound pretentious?

That's because the correct line is:

"Be *excellent* to one another. And Party On Dudes!"

:p
--
Ian J. Ball | Want the rec.arts.tv FAQ? Available (soon) at:
Grad Student, UCLA | http://members.aol.com/IJBall/WWW/IJBall.html
IJB...@aol.com | Want my TV guides & FAQ's?
i...@ucla.edu | ftp://members.aol.com/IJBall3/FTP/

Jenn Dolari 'n' Baron Otto von Cheesbiscuit

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
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In article <4k83ca$n...@soap.news.pipex.net>,

fa...@dial.pipex.com (Jeannette Simpson) wrote:
>jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:
>
>
>>(Y'know, there are moments I look at the preceding paragraphs, and I
>>realize that it wa said more succinctly, and better, and more movingly in
>>"Lost Horizon," with this simple sentence: "Be *kind* to one another.")
>
>Or perhaps "Care for one another. Care *about* one another."
>
>Jeez, does that sound pretentious?

And it's a whits away from Barney's "I love you, You love me." And if that
were to happen, I'd have to leave the group IMMEDIATELY. :)

Jenn

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PAI - SAKURA das...@eden.com ANNA - MAI
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Geoffrey Kidd

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
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jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:

>it was said more succinctly, and better, and more movingly in


>"Lost Horizon," with this simple sentence: "Be *kind* to one another.")

Hear! Hear!
My favorite version is George Burns' line in "Oh, God!"
"Try not to hurt each other. There's been enough of that."
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Pain was a valuable teacher; the universe whispered to you in
pleasure, talked to you in reason, but with pain, It shouted.
-- S. M. Stirling "Drakon" Baen Books, 1996

Geoffrey Kidd <*> -- seh...@uclink4.berkeley.edu

snorkel bob

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
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Aaron Bergman <aber...@minerva.cis.yale.edu> wrote:

Spoilers now only for "Severed Dreams" and "Point of No Return"


>Other comments: Sheridan's secession speech was
>good, although I don't see the need for the holographic projection. Ah
>well, why not show off the special effects? They certainly did enough of
>that this episode. There were some nice humanistic touches that really
>added to the episode.


My take on that was that Sheridan had just declared martial law on B5
over the television monitors, a couple of days ago. He had to do
something bigger than that, so that people would remember the captain
who stood up against Clark's stooges more than the captain who
declared martial law.

It was absolutely essential that people hear his side of the story
when talking about secession, because it was *his* story; the Clark
order did not and should not have had as much "wow" behind it, because
Sheridan did not want people to accept it.

Which message would you make damn sure reaches even the people in the
stairwells?

--
bob galloway Q: Is the President suggesting a lack of compassion on
su 1185 the part of the Republicans or just misguided policy?
williams college MR. MCCURRY: Well, both. Why not?
williamstown ma 01267 -- Press Conference, 25July95.

Kylinn

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
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aber...@minerva.cis.yale.edu (Aaron Bergman) wrote:

>An interesting side-point. Remember how, at the beginning, this was a
>mystery--all the speculation around And the Sky Full of Stars. While some
>of the episodes weren't bad and some were even very good (ATSFOS, S&P
eg),
>atleast for me, it was the puzzles that kept me interested--the aura of
>mystery withing the show. Why did the Minbari surrender? What is special
>about Sinclair? Who are the Vorlons?

Well, I'm not convinced that we have the true answers to these questions,
yet.
For instance:

Why _did the Minbari surrender? They could have just left. They could
have arranged an armistice without _surrendering. They could have settled
for a truce. Why roll over and say "You are the winners", when the humans
were being creamed?

As for the Vorlons, they're still a big mystery. We don't really know
much
about them, except what's been filtered through the Minbari religious
caste's
tales for a thousand years. We still don't know what they really look
like, or
what their motives are. I'm not convinced they're the Good Guys they want

us to think they are; are you?

--Still waiting for the real* answers.
* Oh, ok, for the next level of truth. Babylon 5 is an onion; peel one
layer away and there's another, and another, and.....


Daniel Hugh Nexon

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
to
In article <phrDpJ...@netcom.com>, Paul Rubin <p...@netcom.com> wrote:

>The best one-line description of B5 I've been able to come up with,
>and I mean this in the most profoundly admiring way, is: Lord of
>the Rings in outer space.

Yeah. I assume all the inordinate number of references ("Za'ha'dum"; the
Rangers, etc.) are homages -- at least *I hope* they're homages :).

Interesting, actually, when you consider that the real hero of _The Lord
of The Rings_ is Sam Gamgee, the ordinary man who does what he has to.
It makes one wonder if all the importance placed on the "Chosen Ones"
(Sheridan and Delenn -- sp?) is something of a redherring; that they'll
be incredibly important, but that ultimate salvation may come from a
rather unexpected quarter.

Regards,
Dan


Geoffrey Kidd

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
to
jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:

>(Y'know, there are moments I look at the preceding paragraphs, and I

>realize that it wa said more succinctly, and better, and more movingly in


>"Lost Horizon," with this simple sentence: "Be *kind* to one another.")
>
>

> jms

Hear, Hear! Although my own favorite is George Burns in "Oh, God!"

Geoffrey Kidd

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Apr 8, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/8/96
to
jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:
>it was said more succinctly, and better, and more movingly in

>"Lost Horizon," with this simple sentence: "Be *kind* to one another.")
:
:
Hear, Hear! I would add that my own favorite version of this quotation
comes from George Burns' line in "Oh, God!"

J.M.Egolf

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Apr 10, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/10/96
to
In article <IJBall-0804961239300001@mac_rbk_3.chem.ucla.edu>,
Ian J. Ball <IJB...@aol.com> wrote:

>In article <4k83ca$n...@soap.news.pipex.net>, fa...@dial.pipex.com wrote:
>
>> jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:
>>
>>
>> >(Y'know, there are moments I look at the preceding paragraphs, and I
>> >realize that it wa said more succinctly, and better, and more movingly in

>> >"Lost Horizon," with this simple sentence: "Be *kind* to one another.")
>>
>> Or perhaps "Care for one another. Care *about* one another."
>>
>> Jeez, does that sound pretentious?
>
>That's because the correct line is:
>
> "Be *excellent* to one another. And Party On Dudes!"
>
>:p

Remember (who wrote this?) on rast.b5, a long time ago, the "letter" from
Delenn to Sinclair, discussing the First and Second Principles of
Sentient Life? :-)

--

******************** ***************
J.M. ("Jamie") Egolf jeg...@mcs.com

<*> "We find meaning where we can." <*>


Mike Vande Bunt

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Apr 12, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/12/96
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Jeannette Simpson (fa...@dial.pipex.com) wrote:
: jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:


: >(Y'know, there are moments I look at the preceding paragraphs, and I
: >realize that it wa said more succinctly, and better, and more movingly in
: >"Lost Horizon," with this simple sentence: "Be *kind* to one another.")

: > jms

: Or perhaps "Care for one another. Care *about* one another."

: Jeez, does that sound pretentious?

: Jeannette

Or, more recently: "Can we all just get along?" (Rodney King)

--
Mike Vande Bunt (N9KHZ) Mike.Va...@mixcom.com <*>

Paul Rubin

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Apr 14, 1996, 3:00:00 AM4/14/96
to rec-arts-sf-tv-b...@uunet.uu.net
In article <4k83ca$n...@soap.news.pipex.net>,

Jeannette Simpson <fa...@dial.pipex.com> wrote:
>jms...@aol.com (Jms at B5) wrote:
>
>
>>(Y'know, there are moments I look at the preceding paragraphs, and I
>>realize that it wa said more succinctly, and better, and more movingly in
>>"Lost Horizon," with this simple sentence: "Be *kind* to one another.")
>
>> jms
>
>Or perhaps "Care for one another. Care *about* one another."
>
>Jeez, does that sound pretentious?

I remember it as "Be excellent to one another". Oops wrong movie. :-)

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