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- Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 8:46am (USA Central)
^@Dave in NC: hehe, I wish I were; I'd write "Last Days of the Last Gays" and make more money than I'll ever do as an academic ;)
But in truth: I'm a historian, mostly influenced by the analytical-critical traditions of Germany and Scandinavia, but also with some elements of the "Annales"-school. Normally, unless you belong to the Marxist school, which emphasizes emotional detachment from the subject matter, we do tend to investigate issues that we find personally interesting. That does not mean that we have to agree with the trends we study; and we must always be prepared to study and discuss events which we find strongly objectionable with as much objectivity as possible. In this case, the theme that most interests me is genetic engineering; the homosexuality aspect of it is, to me, only a facet of this issue. The question is: how far will other cultures go, and how far will we follow?
Just to give you an idea: my research areas concern essentially two distinct but somewhat related problem complexes, both cases of "longue durée" comparative social history, one in the 1550-1750 period, and another in the 1675-1925 period. In both problem constellations there are events and trends that I am happy took place and likewise others that I am sorry took place; but my job is to collect evidence that suggests or proves patterns and trends over time that would confirm or disprove my main theses, whether I like it or not. Every now and then, as happens to any other historian, the evidence I find doesn't support my original assumptions, and I must adjust the thesis accordingly to match the findings. Whereas a dishonest, proud, or stubborn scholar might make more selective use of his source material in order to twist the results into proving his original thesis, for example. Some people change their truths according to the facts; others change the facts according to their truths. I'm sure you can see the parallels in life.
In this case, I'm merely looking at the evidence like in any other case. Regardless of whether this is the scenario that seems most likely or not, as a worst-case-scenario it's in my opinion the most interesting to debate: because it is actually a possibility. To dismiss it out of hand would be foolish. I have actually studied this in some detail, because the issue of genetic engineering does interest me, and could describe several variations, including scenarios that have more moderate or the opposite outcome. But again ― unfortunately, as I really am opposed to genetic engineering ― I actually believe this is a very realistic and probable scenario. And as the most radical and controversial, it is the one I chose to share, because I believe it's important that people face the (possible) realities. I'm not the sort of fellow who merely tells people what they want to hear.
Consider this my take on "Statistical Probabilities": we must surrender to the Dominion. I may be just as wrong as Dr. Bashir et al.; but I find that the scenario merits a serious consideration or two. I thought we could discuss it here without being accused of promoting anti-gay propaganda. Having lived in Southern Europe, India, and now Scandinavia makes me very fond of comparative social studies, and I believe it's important more people in the insulated West start looking at what's really happening out there in the world and the mentalities of other cultures. As the Chinese recently said, the US is a small country; in the 22nd century, India and China will be dictating the ethics as much if not more than the West. Many people in the West seem to be completely oblivious to this, and to just how vast the differences in mentalities really are. Do you think that given the possibility, the 50 million-strong Indonesian middle-class will care the least about Swedish ethical guidelines, and will refrain from using genetic engineering to do various "corrections" to their unborn? What happens when that middle-class is 200 million-strong ― and the Indian half a billion?
This has very scary potential long-term consequences, the perpetuation of caste systems in India and elsewhere being assured at the very genetic level merely being one of them. Believe me when I tell you that there are hundreds of millions of Indians who would like nothing better. That's part of what I meant when I said that the issue of homosexuality is but part of a much bigger problem complex.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to your comments.
Dave in NC
- Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 12:34am (USA Central)
I don't have the time or energy now to pick through all this at moment, but I must say for someone who "doesn't support this position" you seem awfully invested in making the point in as dramatic fashion as possible.
I will give you a +1 for a passable Michael Chrichton impression in the second post.
*I will return to reply in full at a later time
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 11:59pm (USA Central)
Unimatrix Zero, Part I
Yes, the introduction of the Queen made the Borg seem... less intimidating, at points. But consider this:
Before the Borg Queen, we saw that the Borg had some significant vulnerabilities; as a hive mind we saw that seemingly simple things could cause total chaos within the collective. A mathematically impossible puzzle, for instance. Look at what happened during the events of the Descent episodes.
I see the Queen as an adaptation the Borg created in order to prevent the entire collective from collapsing due to the malicious introduction of individuality. She's a buffer. She herself in fact states that she "Brings order to chaos".
This is why they just manufacture another Queen every time one gets vaporized.
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 11:23pm (USA Central)
The sheer ridiculousness of this episode is personified by Farris, the ship's first officer. She's written and performed like an 8-year-old child instead of the elite Starfleet cadet she's supposed to be.
"What's going on, Mister Sisko, *in case you haven't noticed*, is that *we* are in the middle of a *war*," she says, delivering the line with the gravitas of an elementary-school know-it-all. "I don't remember anyone inviting *you* to the bridge," she tells Jake in another scene as if speaking to her annoying little brother. Ridiculous!
The people on that ship are mostly caricatures of young and eager cadets. A terrible episode, although certainly not the worst.
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 8:21pm (USA Central)
^@Grumpy: Hehe, good point! ;)
@Dave, Elliott, Robert, & all: allow me to make my point much clearer. And please note: I do not condone genetic engineering on humans.
I live in Copenhagen, and Elliott lives in San Francisco: arguably two of the world's most progressive cities when it comes to their inhabitants. Are places such as these representative of the world? No.
Madrid alone has more inhabitants than all of Denmark; the city of Bombay, where I've also lived, has more inhabitants than all of Scandinavia; and the state of Maharashtra of which Bombay is the capital has twice as many inhabitants as California ― and isn’t even the most populous in India.
We also have places like Amsterdam and Seattle and Stockholm, cities with generally equally progressive and open-minded inhabitants. But again: Mexico City has more inhabitants than the Netherlands, the Cairo has more inhabitants than the state of Washington, and Moscow has more inhabitants than Sweden.
The point is, what we in Copenhagen and San Francisco think and feel and believe is largely irrelevant: there’s a much larger world out there. It’s what they think, and what they’ll do, that matters and will influence how the world will look like in say, the 24th century.
I was personally utterly amazed, some fifteen years ago, by the attitude towards genetic engineering in South Korea: it is considered a simple tool, which requires as many ethical considerations as say, a screwdriver to use. When the technology one day becomes available, they will look at a “genosequencer” (or whatever) the way I look at my razor blades. And if this, as it seems, is any indication of the feeling towards genetic engineering in China as well, what we feel and do in Scandinavia and California truly becomes totally irrelevant.
So let’s all step out of our little worlds of Star Trek and [your other favourite series here] and look at the real world out there:
The overwhelming majority of the world today still sees homosexuality as something undesirable. The overwhelming majority of the world merely *tolerates*, at most, homosexuality. To most, it’s akin to prostitution: sure, it exists, but it’s not what people wish for their children. And a very significant part of the world's population is no candidate for changing their mentality on this specific issue in the foreseeable future.
Roughly speaking, we have a billion or so Muslims. They’ll screen out homosexuality or actively induce/imprint heterosexuality genetically on their unborn as soon as it becomes technologically possible ― and they will continue to do so in any foreseeable future. There will exist no homosexuality in Muslim countries in the future.
Take a billion or so Indians: ditto. Look at how Indians are aborting girl foetuses by the millions today just because they're girls, and you’ll get the idea.
Take half a billion or so Latin Americans. The overwhelming majority of these will also screen out homosexuality from their foetuses or use whatever other technology is available to affect their sexuality as soon as they’re given the chance.
Take some four hundred million Southern & Eastern Europeans: ditto.
On China, I can only refer what I have read. They would appear to be less opposed to homosexuality than Muslims, and Indians in general regardless of religion, and Latin Americans, but still in the “as long as it’s not my children” line of thought.
Sub-Saharan Africa? I’ll leave that to your imagination.
And lastly, take a look at the US and Northern Europe: even here a very considerable part of the population would do the same the moment they had the chance. I suspect that the state in which Dave lives is a good example of this.
Yes, more and more countries are passing legislation to allow for same-sex marriages and even adoption by homosexuals. No, this does not mean that everyone is beginning to truly accept homosexuality. There is a big difference between truly respecting and merely tolerating.
The truth is that the technological advances are happening at a much faster pace than the changes in mentalities around the world. And the truth is that people in the majority of the world will have no qualms whatsoever about using genetic engineering to have more “perfect” children. Just look at how Indians are obsessed with having "fair skin". The minute the technology is made available, you'll see a middle-class larger than the US population rushing to clinics to have "fairer" babies. If they can make sure that the baby besides healthy will also be straight while they're at it, does anyone doubt they'll do it?
This is what you should be considering, not your own personal experiences or what's happening in the US. Allow me to quote Elliott's comment the other day on economics on “The Siege of AR-558”: “But like in most things, this is no longer the 20th century and the US is no longer the trend-setter.”
The bottom line is that what we, a tiny bunch of intellectuals and free-thinkers and fans of Star Trek living in insulated pockets of the world, a mere hundred or two hundred million individuals at most, think or believe is unimportant: there are billions out there who will eliminate homosexuality as soon as it becomes possible.
This is a higly plausible, and in my opinion even perhaps probable, scenario, which shouldn't be dismissed out of hand: the end result of which would be an inverse "The Oucast".
And the question is: if and when that happens, when homosexuality has been largely eradicated in most of the globe ― what will people in California and Scandinavia do?
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 7:49pm (USA Central)
@Andy's Friend : as I said in my reply, it is quite clear that you are not *trying* to offend, and I for one appreciate that, but your views are heavily coloured by unspoken presumptions, thus making your conclusions and "predictions" rather upsetting :
"...there is an overwhelming preference for the 'normal' man & woman relationship in the world "
You are conflating what is common (heterosexual coupling) with what is normal. There is an overwhelming preference for being filthy rich in the world, but it is neither normal nor common. This commonness is not important in considering anything other than averages and other statistics.
"...because of this, most people will certainly, when the technology becomes available, ensure that their children will follow that norm. "
I have no doubt that some or many parents would choose this if it were an option, but I wouldn't say "'most." More to the point, it doesn't matter if they would (under current social conditions) make this choice, the morality of the situation would not change. As you yourself I'm sure would note, this kind of non-essential genetic tampering is a slippery slope of Huxleyan conditioning.
"...you would still be you if your parents had played any genetic tricks on you while an embryo or a foetus ― and made you, among other things, straight. Please don’t tell me your whole identity is based on your sexuality, Dave."
I won't presume to answer for Dave in NC, but while sexuality is not my *whole* identity, it most certainly is an important part of it--as it is for most people. Sex is a regular part of life and it isn't up to other people to dictate the acceptable terms under which my sex life can operate.
"...don’t make the classic mistake of mistaking the messenger for his message."
The issue isn't that you necessarily harbour the same beliefs as the those who brandish the "message," but you are looking for ways to avoid holding those people accountable for their misguided beliefs. Rather than advocating taking them to task for being prejudiced, or analysing the root of such prejudice, you are thinking of ways to avoid the conflict all together--sweeping it under the rug with a bit of genetic tampering.
"I stated that I consider there are ethical problems about gays adopting.[I think that ideally children should have a male and a female ― diversity ― in their home: the relationship between a father and his son, a father and his daughter, a mother and her son, and a mother and her daughter are all slightly different, and I feel that children should, ideally, be given the opportunity to experience this wonderful diversity.] You could have asked which, but you didn't. You seem to just have assumed that I must somehow believe gays are 'unfit to care for a child'. Who’s being prejudiced here? "
You are prejudiced, sir, in your assumption that diversity of gender (need i point out that this diversity in your prototype is exactly 2 types of gender?) is more valuable to children than other forms of diversity, such as racial or sexual. Are we not harming our children in your view (or denying them "wonderful diversity") by not insisting that straight couples of the same ethnicity not procreate?
Your statements about the problems with adoption are a non-issue here--though certainly worth considering in another context. Gay couples are perfectly capable of having biological children with donors and surrogates. The problems facing families where adoption is concerned are universal regardless of whether the parents are or aren't of the same gender.
"But similar is not identical, and I really do believe that the child is entitled to a male and a female. "
So much for wonderful diversity. Look, you're entitled to your beliefs, but there is no empirical basis for thinking that children need their *parents* to be opposite gender. As a child, I had relationships with dozens of adults--uncles and aunts, grandparents, family friends, mentors, teachers, and my parents (I had three of them [my mother remarried], so I guess my gender ratio was off). Children are social creatures as much as any other people. What matters to a child's development is that he or she is loved unconditionally, cared after and educated, not whether he has the option of developing and Œdipus complex.
The logical question that emerges is, if there's really an "ideal" family unit, why stop at opposite gender parents? Aren't there other "ideals" after which we should mould our families? Number of pets, number of vehicles, environment, wealth, etc.? Can you not see how ridiculous your assertions of idealism are in this context?
"I am against single people adopting, which sincerely annoys me, as it strikes me as the ultimate egoism: instead of a pet dog, they would buy a pet child."
Some people certainly do this, but that's incredibly presumptuous. Many single people adopt or conceive because they want families, not pets. And many more couples conceive children by accident or for reasons of vanity and status.
"There is so much sorrow in this world you wouldn’t imagine it, Dave. So please, don’t presume to lecture me on morals."
This is a non-sequitur; your personal anecdotes about pain and loss do not exempt your from justifying your moral positions.
"On ST eugenics: you're mistaking the "corrective" procedures I predict and "enhancements". ST explicitly is against the latter; no questions there. But little is known of corrective procedures. In real life, given enough time, I predict we'll do enhancements as well. Do you seriously doubt this?"
See Voyager's "Lineage."
"Because we all know that the only reason Geordi was blind was so that he could sport a cool-looking visor with fancy abilities. "
Um, no, that's not why at all. His rôle was to represent the disabled in Gene's diverse bridge crew.
"The real question is: how many Indians and Chinese and Muslims have read it? See where I’m heading at?"
Actually, no, I have no idea where you're heading [at].
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 6:51pm (USA Central)
Marco, Eric, and wisq above pretty much cover the thoughts I've had on the writing here. I really like Trek time-travel and warped-reality stories whrn they're done well. This one doesn't hang together.
I think my favorite bit was actually T'Pol's horror upon being told she'd have to live with emotions. Blaylock conveys it well with just her eyes and some small movements.
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 5:47pm (USA Central)
Excuse me for interrupting the flow of discussion, but I just noticed a nitpick that I never saw before. In "The Outcast," who, exactly, is cast out? Not Soren; her society keeps pulling her back *in*.
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 5:30pm (USA Central)
@Dave in NC: I’m sorry that you felt offended by what I wrote. It is ironic, as my actual views on the use of genetic engineering are very different from what I predict will be done. But this is a sci-fi forum, so I offered those predictions. You seem to have chosen to believe that I endorse them. I do not. I'm a historian, and a fan of sci-fi: I gave you a vision of a foreseeable future.
I was hoping the readers would be able to see that I am not claiming that you, or any gay, is an “aberration”, to use your word, but simply implying a known fact ― that there is an overwhelming preference for the “normal” man & woman relationship in the world ― and that because of this, most people will certainly, when the technology becomes available, ensure that their children will follow that norm.
Apparently you didn’t notice the difference. But how can we talk about this if you allow the very topic to offend you?
Nevertheless, consider this: you would still be you if your parents had played any genetic tricks on you while an embryo or a foetus ― and made you, among other things, straight. Please don’t tell me your whole identity is based on your sexuality, Dave. So what if they had changed your hair colour, and eye colour? So what if they had made you love cheese? So what if they had made you fall for girls? As much as I oppose genetic engineering: do you think any of it would matter at all to you today?
I understand that reading about how a majority of the world’s population thinks you’re an “outcast” ― just to mention this episode’s title ― can be very unsettling. But there you have it: *that’s reality*. It is a fact. If you can’t discuss it, don’t. But please, don’t make the classic mistake of mistaking the messenger for his message.
I never accused you of being “unfit to care for a child”. I stated that I consider there are ethical problems about gays adopting.* You could have asked which, but you didn't. You seem to just have assumed that I must somehow believe gays are “unfit to care for a child”. Who’s being prejudiced here? I also believe that there are serious ethical considerations attached to various technologies used today to help people have children.** Likewise, I also believe there are deep ethical problems attached to certain types of straight adoptions. There are many kinds of ethical considerations, Dave. Only irresponsible people disregard them.
Have you ever read any statistics on children from third-world countries adopted by straight couples in Western Europe (take Koreans or Indians in Scandinavia, for example), and how a majority of these have psychological issues ― low self-esteem, etc. ― and questions of who their real parents were, and why they were “abandoned” by them, not to mention issues created by being obviously different from the average population and from their adoptive parents?
There comes a time when every Korean kid in say, Sweden realizes that everyone knows he or she is an adopted child. Do you have any idea of what that realization does to *some* of those children? Have you ever personally known mentally screwed up adoptive children, perfectly normal on the outside, but deeply self-destructive inside, and recognized the patterns? Did it occur to you that my ethical qualms about gay adoption might have very little to do with your ability as a gay to care for a child, which I don’t question for a second?
[* As I said, I have very serious doubts on the adoption issue, because I do believe there is such a thing as gender: we’re not just persons, we’re ladies and gentlemen, different as we may be, with different qualities and attributes. This should really be self-evident: it’s what the women’s rights advocates argued for the better part of a century ever since the late 19th century, and is the very rationale for saying that ideally both sexes should be equally represented in parliaments and governments and, and, and... everywhere ― a claim I have no problem with whatsoever. For that very same reason, I think that ideally children should have a male and a female ― diversity ― in their home: the relationship between a father and his son, a father and his daughter, a mother and her son, and a mother and her daughter are all slightly different, and I feel that children should, ideally, be given the opportunity to experience this wonderful diversity. Of course the two men or two women will be different, and the child will experience something similar. But similar is not identical, and I really do believe that the child is entitled to a male and a female. It’s the child’s interests that matter to me. Of course, if we want to be merely pragmatic and not idealistic, and just to mention one of the worst possible alternatives, if the alternative is being sold to child prostitution in India, being adopted by any loving couple, straight or gay, in say, Finland is infinitely better; and there are many other alternatives when adoption would seem a better destiny for the child. But *ideally*, I still believe the child is entitled to a man and a woman. For the exact same reason, I am against single people adopting, which sincerely annoys me, as it strikes me as the ultimate egoism: instead of a pet dog, they would buy a pet child.]
[** Allow me to quote an earlier comment by me in “Dear Doctor”:
“Think of the technological advances of the past decades on Earth. Several of these, some decades ago, allowed us for example to help people with difficulty in conceiving to have babies of their own. And now, several decades later, research suggests that on average, those who were conceived thanks to such technologies have somewhat greater difficulty themselves in conceiving than the average population. What will happen if/when those people also receive technological help to conceive? How many generations will it take before we have succeeding in "breeding" an otherwise barren "sub-species" that can only conceive by technological means?”
Again, as you can see: there are many ethical considerations.]
Also, do you have any idea how much it hurts some straight couples not being able to just make love and have babies like the rest of us lucky healthy couples? How devastated some men and women get, how “faulty” and “defective” some of them feel, after years of trying to have a baby? Have you ever witnessed someone’s marriage disintegrate because of just that problem? Ever listened to a man talking about this problem ― and then, a few days later, his wife? Have you ever had women ask you to sleep with them so they could get pregnant because their husbands couldn’t have children and you have a physical similarity to them and are an intelligent and mostly amiable fellow; and then had long talks with them about all the problems and the pain and the moral questions involved, to talk them out of it and help them in some way?
Have you ever seen that wonderful film, “Magnolia?” I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night by a female friend on the phone, having a complete breakdown and revealing that she had begun to work as a prostitute and was on the verge of suicide. I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night by another female friend on the phone, crying and having a similar breakdown because her family had finally decided to marry her off to some distant cousin she hated and would mistreat her on a daily basis. I’ve been called at work and taken the day off to talk to yet another friend who had attempted suicide three times, and prevent a fourth attempt. And you pass by these people every day on the street. There is so much sorrow in this world you wouldn’t imagine it, Dave. So please, don’t presume to lecture me on morals. I've experienced my share, in very different cultures at that. I know full well that life isn't black and white.
It is something of extraordinay beauty and wonder to spend hours just observing your children, and recognizing traits of their mother, and traits of yourself, in them. This is a simple fact: don’t twist it into an anti-gay statement. I merely said that I could imagine some gay couples must feel some similar longing. This was not “false pity”.
So try turning your “automatic defence mode” off, and read what I write. I was posing a problem, not passing moral judgement. I don’t know you, and don’t know the story of your life, and I’m ready to believe that you may have very good reasons to react as you did. But read again closely, and you’ll see that you were reading things I never wrote.
I hope we can have some nice conversations again someday; perhaps about other subjects. If not: good luck on your travels.
PS. Regarding some of your specific replies:
― On epigenetics: please, be serious. By the 24th century, we'll be able to make a hippo go transvestite if that's what we want.
― On ST eugenics: you're mistaking the "corrective" procedures I predict and "enhancements". ST explicitly is against the latter; no questions there. But little is known of corrective procedures. In real life, given enough time, I predict we'll do enhancements as well. Do you seriously doubt this?
― On Geordi's blindness and "The Masterpiece Society": a valid point... sort of. Because we all know that the only reason Geordi was blind was so that he could sport a cool-looking visor with fancy abilities. This was then used as an ironic element in that episode, granted. But "The Masterpiee Society" deals with something much, much closer to eugenic "enhancements" than the "corrective” procedures I’m talking about.
― On growth hormones: not true. I have no idea how this is done in the US, but in most European countries, children are entitled to them if they appear to reach a specified height below the (variable) national norm, whether it's due to hormonal defficiency or simply a very short child in a family of short people.
― On art, music, fashion and architecture: they already suck! :D
― On "Brave New World": I've read it, thank you, and am known to quote from it. But who cares about you and I? The real question is: how many Indians and Chinese and Muslims have read it? See where I’m heading at?
dave in nc
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 5:11pm (USA Central)
Frequently Asked Questions
I don't think it would be too hard with GoT. They only have ten episodes a season.
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 4:05pm (USA Central)
Frequently Asked Questions
BSG is a science-fiction TV show like Trek. And the BSG talk here is improved because it's mostly literate Trek fans talking about it, accustomed to thinking about themes, about show and series composition.
Anyway, my point is not that an open-ended general "other shows" section would *harm* anything--just that I doubt it would be very good, lacking focus that way.
dave in nc
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 2:41pm (USA Central)
Frequently Asked Questions
Except BSG has nothing to do with Star Trek.
I don't see the harm in it. An extra section for other shows won't detract from its purpose.
Besides, participation is always voluntary.
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 2:08pm (USA Central)
I don't get why the Voyager writers were so amused with the stupid "Janeway burns replicated meals" bit they used about a dozen times throughout the series. Not only is it not even funny to begin with, it's based on something that doesn't even make sense.
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 12:57pm (USA Central)
Frequently Asked Questions
I kinda like the idea of being able to read and talk to the commenting community here about more things. But the *reason* this community exists and is interesting is because of the focus on Star Trek, and Jammer's literate--if occasionally wrongheaded ;) --reviews. Some of the comment threads range pretty far, but there's always a relationship to the themes of the shows. If the site were to be expanded, it should be done in a way that maintains that focus and structure somehow.
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 12:43pm (USA Central)
Frequently Asked Questions
I had never really considered that and I guess I wouldn't rule it out completely, but I do wonder if there would be enough interest in something like that to be able to sustain itself and be viewed as a value for most users here. I've never really strayed from the mission statement of being a review site, and I don't know that I want to now.
That said, I do realize that this site now is as much about the comment community as much as the original reviews, so there's something to be said for that. But, again, I wonder about the sustainability if I take the site off the original Trek and sci-fi track in favor of something more general.
Dave in NC
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 11:11am (USA Central)
Frequently Asked Questions
Hey, Jammer ...
I gave it some thought and I guess having to review four seasons of GoT would be a massive undertaking on your part (especially when season 5 is coming out in 7 months).
I know you mentioned that other sites reviewing GoT, but honestly their comments sections (westeros.org/AVClub/etc) are filled with red herring arguments, silly gifs, sexual innuendo and off-topic political debates. It's basically impossible to carry on a continuing conversation with anyone.
What are the odds of creating an "Other Shows" section/tab where the Jammer community can discuss shows like GoT without obligating you to write 50,000 words?
Dave in NC
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 11:00am (USA Central)
Congratulations! I'm just a wee bit jealous. ;)
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 8:28am (USA Central)
"Although it's the last thing I'd aspire to, this thread has provided an enlightening revelation that my life is exceptionally normal."
No worries, you still like VOY better than DS9. You're hardly "normal" :P.
Seriously though, congrats on your upcoming wedding/marriage! Wishing you both lots of happiness!
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 7:58am (USA Central)
I enjoyed this episode. I'm always happy to see a Star Trek story that can be described as sci-fi rather than soap. I'm also happy to see the charming, but frequently poorly written Troi given something sensible to do. As a couple of other posters have mentioned, it is enjoyable to watch the crew team up to solve a problem.
- Fri, Sep 19, 2014, 2:13am (USA Central)
"Are Berman and Braga convinced that the only way this series will hold our attention is if humanity's entire existence (ostensibly) hangs in the balance every week"
Yup, thats exactly what they thought. Going into season 3 they though increasing the stakes was the only way to go.
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 11:33pm (USA Central)
I was really surprised in this episode by how easy going Janeway was on Seven. When Tuvok disobeyed orders in an earlier episode to protect the crew she gave him a verbal beat down. Taking away her access to the ship should already be a given in this situation. Seven didn't even get sent to the brig.
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 9:54pm (USA Central)
Expanding the boundaries of the normal. Sounds like a Trekker to me...
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 7:46pm (USA Central)
Why does Jake change his mind about going on the trip? I thought he had a date. It seemed to be implied that he broke up with his girlfriend, but then it was swept under the rug.
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 7:38pm (USA Central)
If I may share a little snapshot of my own life to (hopefully) showcase that attitudes are changing for the better :
At this moment, I am 26 years old and engaged to a man. My devoutly Catholic parents and I have a fantastic relationship and are tremendously excited about our wedding. Just a few days ago, my fiancé's 82-year-old grandfather (a personal friend of John McCain's no less) asked us when he could expect great-grandchildren. I have never considered my life or experiences to be exceptional, except I would hope, in what I have *accomplished.* Although it's the last thing I'd aspire to, this thread has provided an enlightening revelation that my life is exceptionally normal. Go figure.
- Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 7:30pm (USA Central)
Day of the Dove
A nice spiritual sequel to "Errand of Mercy." In "EoM," the mounting tensions between the Federation and the Klingons were defused by the incorporeal Organians; in this one, the tensions are stoked by an incorporeal being. I guess the question, in analyzing the episode, is what, if anything, the "war monster" entity represents. Two possible answers come to my mind:
1) the semi-literal one: the "war monster" represents human interests who profit from war -- arms dealers, governments who stay in power by manufacturing conflicts, what have you. In fact, there are many industries that do benefit from war. The thing is, the people who benefit from war are very often not the soldiers who are fighting it. Kirk's final speech to Kang -- "Be a good soldier! Don't question orders!" -- suggests this idea: Kirk and Kang, and their respective crews, are convinced by mind control (which maps onto propaganda) which exploits their emotional weaknesses to push them into neverending conflict, which goes from generation to generation, and benefits not the fighters but the masterminds.
2) the very abstract one: the "war monster" represents the human aggressive impulse as a rule. When people get enraged, and when they get trained to fight, eventually fighting and the hatred of one's enemy becomes habitual. Its reason for existing is pretty clear -- as animals, competing for resources, fighting was a matter of survival, and emotional/instinctual charge to fight and continue fighting would help survive. But taken out of its proper context, this can "take over" otherwise rational people entirely, as happens here with the human and Klingon crews, unless they can correctly identify and fight against this impulse. People are responsible for their actions -- but the things carried out by fighters in the frenzy of war are so often so far from what those same people do in peacetime, that it is clear that it is sometimes difficult to keep perspective when in the emotional thrall of combat mentality. The way the creature ramps up aggressive and vengeful impulses, to the point of having Chekov nearly rape the Klingon science officer (!!!), represents this well.
I think both levels are suggested by the episode, and it makes it a fine allegory. If peace were completely easy to maintain, there wouldn't be war; it requires effort to fight against internal or external signals that stoke conflict. This works as a sequel to "EoM" because this time Kirk has taken the lesson from the Organians and now applies it to his own life -- he is now able to convince Kang (and himself) to stand down, rather than having to be forced to stand down.
The episode does introduce, as Adara points out, the concept of Klingon honour, though a little indirectly. We also get our first picture of female Klingons, and I like that she's a high-ranking officer -- and a science officer, which puts her into direct analogue to Spock. (Funny moment: Kirk and Spock's awkward little glance when Kang says that she is his wife and science officer.) Kang is charismatic and a good match for Kirk -- in terms of strategy and eventually in terms of reasonability. I like how he even uses his own biases against the alien -- they need no incentive to hurt humans! And I like "only a fool fights in a burning house."
Execution-wise, I can't escape the general feeling I have from other season three episodes that there's not quite enough material for an hour-long show. I think the choice to show the violence monster energy cloud in the teaser detracts a little, because it becomes abundantly clear from the very first moment that something is affecting people. But I still think it's an effective story. 3 stars -- one of the better and more essential s3 outings.
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