a kaddish for Caprica

Something was bound to go wrong on the Tzaddik’s first Yahrtzeit.

It was a day I had hoped to bring my mother to the cemetery for the first time — for she herself had been too gravely ill to understand at the time that he had actually died. In the next room. In her house. Though when I told her that day, not knowing if she understood, she suddenly awoke out of her brain damage for the very first time. Her mind began to struggle back to life.

But this year too, the Tzaddik’s wife was too ill to be brought to his still unmarked grave.

I’d controlled the tears all day just waiting to unleash them at the right time, the right place. And goddamn it, I still wanted to visit my father’s grave, despite it getting dark already, despite it being rush hour by the time I was leaving Berkeley. I got lost, of course. Got hung up in a wrong lane, and ended up heading for Marin instead of wherever it was I was supposed to be. And I started falling into this insanity: Does he mind? Is he upset? Disappointed? Did he expect it? Doesn’t he deserve better than this? How could I leave him there alone? Again. Still. Unmarked. All I wanted to do was something completely out of character: throw myself on his grassy mound (if I could even find it) and wail.

Impressions of Irene Pappas as Elektra: I wanted to pour libations upon his unmarked grave. I was born for this role.

It was now pitch black outside. The cemetery, even if I could find it, was already closed.

The Tzaddik lay there patiently, behind those enormous iron gates, alone in his allocated spot — gypped again out of his due. But you know how the tzaddikim are. The lamed-vavniks. They’re a very patient lot. They’re saints. Literally.

I crawled across the bridge. It took hours. Bumper to bumper. It was a Tuesday. I had worked myself into a raving lunatic, at least on the inside. Started focusing on not cracking up the car, instead.

I thought, okay, I’ll go home and wallow in Caprica for a while. Not that Caprica would (or could) lift my spirits.

Caprica was killing off good characters left and right. Bummer. Didn’t they have something better to do? And the Adamas — except for Sam — were a whiney lot.

Still stuck in traffic here. With time to think about the Caprican/BSG mystery that bothers me the most. The one I think no one else cares about.

Adama.

For Adama, of course, means earth in Hebrew. Earth.

I mean, did they do that on purpose? I mean, they must have, right?

And throughout BSG I expected this to come up. But no, it never did. Adama searching for Earth. A destroyed Adama, finding a destroyed Earth. A renewed Adama finding a renewed Earth. Adama naming Earth ‘Earth.’

And nobody saying a word about it.

So, of course I figured it would have to come up in Caprica. But these Adamas were a snivvely, sorry lot. And why wouldn’t they be? Their own land had been heavily colonized (in the old sense of the word) and exploited. This is all so terribly biblical…

And stuck in traffic, contemplating BSG puzzles, and Caprican potentials, my mind began to settle a bit.

At home, for some reason Caprica had not recorded.

Had I screwed something up? Where was my fix on this awful day? Eventually, I looked online to see if it had been preempted. Tuesday night Caprica just wasn’t as fun as Friday night Caprica (or BSG). But shit! It was gone. Just frakking gone.

Caprica died shooting self in foot.

I mean, think about it. The post-apocalyptic BSG had had rough times, but an awful lot to laugh about as well. And here was pre-terminal hedonistic Caprica with nothing but angst, desperation and turmoil everywhere you turn. The only character having even a smidgen of fun was the PhD candidate in Graystone’s lab — so yah, why not just blow him away in a careless random moment of meaninglessness?

Was there nothing better to do than gratuitously blow away good characters just to what? Wonder who’s gonna get axed the following week? Poor strategy.

Rh thinks Caprica got cancelled because it was too queer-friendly. Do you think the show lost viewers on moral grounds? I mean the whole panorama was right out of Ibn Khaldun: Permissiveness gives way to its own destruction…

I didn’t cry for Caprica — although my tears had been waiting all day for some good excuse to let loose. No, I didn’t cry — I got mad instead. All that great potential — wasted!

As far as I’m concerned, I’d have been just fine if they’d taken the whole cast, one by one, and locked them into those robotic Cylon bodies. Yearning for another crack at resurrection.

David Eick and company aren’t crying either, ’cause they too have resurrection in mind. Another spin-off of BSG. This one tentatively called, Battlestar Gallactica: Blood and Chrome. This one is to take place when Adama is in his early 20s — around forty years before the fall.

Can I say for the record: blech.

I guess the problem wasn’t so much morality dissonances but that boys just weren’t getting their blow-em-up spaceship fix. And I’m sure the costs/benefits analysis concurs. Blowing up shit is literally more bang for the buck.

I still haven’t gone back to the cemetery. But it seems to me that each day brings another reason to pour a libation upon a Tzaddik’s grave.

When I finally do go, I’m going to tell my dad all about Adama, as he lies there underneath. He’ll have a good chuckle about it. And because he can perform miracles, I’m hoping to see the Earth move when I’m there.

If you read of any earthquakes on that day, just know it’s the Tzaddik having a little giggle over Adama — and under adama, too.

About mira

Mira Z. Amiras is Professor of Comparative Religious Studies and founder of the Middle East Studies Program at San Jose State University. She is past-president of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, and has served on the Executive Council of the American Anthropological Association. She is co-founder, with Ovid Jacob, of Beit Malkhut, a study group in Jewish sacred text. She's most attached to the creatures of her body and her household — first and foremost, her kids, of course: Michael and Rayna — and then the other folks large and small of various species, including Roshi and Vlad, a whole lot of hummingbirds, the old parrot who lives next door, and a beautiful garden that does what it will.
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