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- Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 5:04am (USA Central)
The ending is such a stretch. You don't think some people maybe WANTED to be engineers and not farmers? Why is being a farmer and having a community better than exploring the stars? It over-simplifies this issue way to much and almost implies people would rather work really hard and go back to their roots instead of trying to make actual progress and enjoy the comforts their society has earned.
The idea that no one there was infuriated over the cut-off from their, what I can imagine to at least be a few, families is completely a joke. Plus the lack of justice for an obnoxious character, other than a few lines of dialogue explaining that she will be punished, is so unrewarding, and leaves me just wanting this episode to turn into an orbital bombardment of that village. I would just love to see O'Brian vaporize a few villagers, beam out, followed with a volley of torpedoes. Just get the kids out first, not their fault the parents are impossibly dense.
- Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 12:07am (USA Central)
Past Tense, Part I
People around 2008 to 2010 particularly picked up on how eerily close "Past Tense" gets to our social issues now. Yet those commenting most recently have decided to argue over the realism of the episodes, when our social issues have gotten worse (the unemployment rate going down does not mean that it will keep going down and evidence to things getting worse before they get better is prevalent on even the mainstream news networks). The entire Cold War was based on walls both real and metaphorical; are the walls going back up?
The appeal to the audience is simply a case of whether one enjoys entertainment over intellectuality, a line DS9 cuddles against, usally making everyone happy. It deviated from the line in this case.
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 10:20pm (USA Central)
Confessions of a Closet Trekkie
Ah! So there is hope for me yet, even if I can remember begging my parents to stay up till 8pm to watch STO, on TV, in black and white!
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 10:15pm (USA Central)
You Are Cordially Invited
I'm surprised so few commented on Alexander. He is *painful* to watch. He's over-the-top inept; and worse, he seems OK with it. Maybe a human could be content to be the fool, but a Klingon warrior?
He needs to stumble into a heroic death, and quickly....
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 4:37pm (USA Central)
@Peremensoe #3: Here’s an answer on the matter of adoption:
All your arguments are valid ones. And for the record: your understanding is not correct. I know for a fact ― this is a matter of statistics ― that being adopted *by anyone* is harmful to *some* of the children. I therefore consider that there are ethical problems concerning gay adoption just like any other adoption.
I should have written this from the very beginning; that was my fault.
In one of my posts to Dave in NC I gave a specific example of how many third-world children in Western Europe suffer various types of psychological problems because they feel different. It might be argued that it would thus be better ― more ethical ― for say, Italian or French parents to adopt a child from Romania rather than Korea or Sri Lanka, as the likelihood of that happening would be much smaller. This is an example of the ethical issues I’m talking about.
Other adopted children suffer simply because they realize they’re adopted. This is of course a universal problem, i.e., it wouldn’t matter whether the parents were gay or not.
Some children adopted by gay parents will also suffer. How many? I’m guessing not many. How much wiill they suffer? Hard to tell, but some probably to the point of the typical self-destructive behaviour of those children adopted by straight couples who experience similar psychologic problems.
What I am thus trying to say is that adopting, in itself, is unfortunately connected with various, if mostly small to moderate, degrees of risk of psychological damage to the children. Some of these risks are easier to calculate and thus avoid than others. Some kids just can’t deal with the fact that they’re adopted. We cannot predict which ones. But adopting a child from Uganda in Finland will expose that child to a much, much greater risk of suffering certain issues than adopting a child from the Ukraine.
Unfortunately, there is no way to similarly estimate which children will most likely suffer problems specifically because of being adopted by gays. I believe that risk to be small, and I recognize that it is not the gay couple’s fault in such cases. But the risk exists.
The question is: when kids suffer issues because they can’t handle the fact that they’re adopted, they do just that. It’s an inherent risk that we must be willing to accept if we wish to have an adoption system. Whereas it is unacceptable, in my opinion, to expose a child to higher risks ― such as the examples with Koreans in Sweden or Ugandans in Finland.
*Ideally* there should be no problem in a couple of Finns adopting a Ugandan baby. But when *reality* shows us that that child has a severely higher risk of suffering from psychological side-effects because there are just virtually no blacks in Finland and the child naturally feels different (the symptoms themselves can very different, and can lead to psychoses or neuroses, depending on the personality of the child), I consider it wrong to adopt one ― the parents should choose a child from say, Moldavia instead.
*Ideally*, there should likewise be no problem in a gay couple adopting any child. But the truth is that this is adding another level of uncertainty to the equation. As such, ethical logic tells me that we have a dilemma: should we, for the sake of the few percent who actually develop some psychologic problems specifically because of this, not allow it? Should we allow that concern for a few to prevent the many from living a happy life adopted by gays? It’s an ethical dilemma in the best tradition of Star Trek: do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? This is what I meant.
Adopting is a risky business. When the kids find out, most of them have to work out the problem that their parents aren’t really their parents. Most of them deal with it just fine. But some don’t. You can’t ignore that.
In this aspect, children adopted by gay couples are of course better off, because they cannot obviously be the children of two men or two women, and they will know that from a much earlier age and thus in the majority of cases have accepted the fact that they’re adopted much sooner. However, at present we simply don’t know enough about how growing up with a gay couple affects the psyche of the kids, and how many or how few of them develop problems specifically because of the fact. As I said, I believe that few will. But this raises the question: is a few a few too many?
So therefore, yes, I consider gays adopting as irresponsible as the Finnish straight couple who chooses to adopt a baby from Korea. It’s gambling with other people’s psychological well-being. And regardless of the odds, that should just not be allowed...
...but on the other hand, we also have to consider the alternatives for the children. Chances are the kids will be happy being adopted. But if not, is being a depressed child in Western Europe better than being a child labourer in some third-world country? The scenarios are many. So are the ethical considerations.
It’s merely because of this that I give serious thought to the issue of adoption. Being a parent, you know that dealing with children is not all as simple and easy as some people out there seem to think it is. Even in Scandinavia adopted children suffer many more problems than the average child. You don’t just get adopted and live happily ever after.
Finally, we also have a very fundamental question: is having a child a human right? Can anyone just say: ”Hey, I want a kid” and fill a requisition form? Many straight people who are irresponsible do have children. But does invoking that entitle anyone ― a single person, for instance ― to a child? Because that places children in a category dangerously close to a product.
So as you can see, there are many ethical considerations. And this is want I meant: I have ethical considerations about gay adoption. Just like any adoption. We're talking about human beings. How could there not be ethical considerations involved? I cannot believe that I in a Star Trek forum would need to explain this.
Anyway, as I said, in the majority of cases ― any types of cases ― the children grow up just fine. We normally accept the reality that is given to us; that’s how people survive in hell-holes plagued by war and poverty in the third world. A child adopted by Data would probably get used to growing up with an android.
Consider that. Is Data alive? Is he sentient? We’ve seen him care for Spot. We’ve seen him in command of the flagship of the Federation. We've seen him create Lal. Should Data be allowed to adopt a human child?
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 4:02pm (USA Central)
This reminds me of The Great Race, when Tony Curtis stopped his car just before the Eiffel Tower to propose to Natalie Wood. Except then it did not save their lives.
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 3:02pm (USA Central)
@Peremensoe #2: just to answer your specific question:
” Would you "still be you" if your genes had been flipped to make you gay?”
Yes, I would still be me if all my parents had done had been making me like guys instead of girls. I wouldn’t be quite the same me, but I would be essentially the same ― and the present me wouldn’t give a frak, as he would never have existed.
This reminds me of that extremely imbecile DS9 episode, ”Children of Time”. In that episode, there is no ethical question whatsoever: the moment the Defiant leaves the planet, those people down there won’t merely cease to exist: they will *never* have existed. There is no dilemma whatsoever. The script manipulates its (less attentive, or more gullible, if you will) audience with various smokescreen maneouvres, and tries to create an ethical dilemma that simply does not exist: they are *not* killing 8,000 colonists by leaving. Sadly, that episode makes the DS9 crew remember them: the correct thing to do would be to make them forget, and let them only be remembered by the audience. This is one of the reasons VOY’s ”Course: Oblivion” is a far, far superior episode, with a truly tragic dimension.
Similarly in your scenario. If my parents had chosen to give me purple eyes and white hair, and made me hate cheese and olives and love guys instead of girls, no, it wouldn’t be the present me ― but the alternate me wouldn’t give a frak. He would be him, and be perfectly happy that way. And who I am to say that I’m better than him?
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 2:58pm (USA Central)
@Peremensoe #1: thanks for your comment, which opens up for interesting talks. Here’s my first, very short answer:
”is *your* whole identity...based on your sexuality? Your rhapsodizing about the joy and beauty of het sex suggests it's not irrelevant.”
I was not in any way rhapsodizing about the joy and beauty of sex, I was rhapsodizing about something completely different: the birth of new life, unaided by technology. I was writing about the absolutely wondrous thing that the natural conception of a child is.
So read again: “creating new life, unassisted by technology, that is, magically, a part of ourselves and the very man or woman we love.”
This is not about the sex act, but the very creation of life. I was writing about the end, not the means.
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 2:43pm (USA Central)
Basics, Part I
I have to agree that obviously it was foolhardy to go try to rescue this baby. But I think we have to forgive that, because nearly every iteration of every science fiction or action adventure show or movie involves a lot of "this is an extreme risk just to save one person, but we're heroic types and that's what we do" type stuff. I'm cool with someone making something that moves away from this trope, but as of the mid-'90s especially, it was par for the course.
And as a lot of others have also said, it was a suspenseful and fun episode as long as you swallow that much. My wife, who is not even much of a science fiction fan but watches with me and our daughter as (I had always thought, anyway) a good sport, is the most anxious of the three of us to hurry up and watch the next episode!
As for the Kazon space thing: If it takes eight years to move through Federation space (how do we know this, anyway?), I think we can forgive it taking a few months for the Kazons. Let's just assume that the heart of their territory is closer to the Alpha Quadrant than where the Voyager originally got moved; when the Voyager first encountered Kazons, they were at the farthest edge of their range, the farthest away from the Alpha Quadrant. If that's the case, it could be reasonable to still be near the heart of their territory a few months later.
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 8:16am (USA Central)
Enterprise is my favorite Trek series. I love the premise of humanity taking its first steps into the galaxy. My wife, who is not at all interested in scifi, actually enjoyed Broken Bow. The theme song is uplifting and hopeful, and speaks of our potenial as individuals and as a species. Is the show perfect? No. But it's a lot of fun, espevially for someone who isn't a Trekker.
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 7:35am (USA Central)
I guess T'Pol is to this show what Worf was to in TNG...the crewmember who says the reasonable thing and immediately gets shouted down by others who need the plot to get going.
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 2:05am (USA Central)
Code of Honor
In tune with TOS, the climactic hand-to-hand is totally lame, as bad as the Gorn fight, except that Tar seems to be facing off with a Prince/Rik James hybrid. Hysterical.
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 12:51am (USA Central)
The Last Outpost
The Ferengi literally act like monkeys in this episode. Not a good look.
- Sun, Sep 21, 2014, 12:13am (USA Central)
Number One was an XO, an executive officer--true; but she made it clear that whenever a landing party was needed, she would be stuck back on the ship. She only got out because Pike and the other men were n a tight squeeze. That glass ceiling made sure she would never be captain no matter how good she was. Lester knew this, too. Just because the Romulans were no sexists that didn't influence the Federation one wit until at least 15 years later with that one woman starship captain in ST IV and even by the time of TNG, there weren't many more women captains-- just two in Next Gen and Voyager. Not a very good track record for the Federation. Except for a few plotholes, I liked this episode though.
- Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 7:21pm (USA Central)
Crossroads, Part 2
Let me just summarize my feelings by saying this:
When Starbuck showed up at the end of the episode I said out loud, "Oh, f*** you show."
- Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 2:09pm (USA Central)
Soldiers of the Empire
This episode is just kind of *there* for me. I forgot everything about it before seeing it again today, so it's not even that I knew what was going to happen.
I liked the downtrodden Klingon crew scenes, especially the older guys becoming a bit of a cancer to the junior officers. I also liked the plot of Worf standing up for a captain he knows is neglecting his crew and that that captain would be Martok, beat up and rusty from his time in the internment camp.
On the other hand, the knife fight climax wasn't all that satisfying. Worf loses and suddenly the crew are chanting Martok's name like a bunch of idiot sports fans. Great. So he won. He's the coward you wanted dead in the first place, remember? Except that he isn't anymore, changing his tune about fighting the Jem'Hadar pretty dang quick just because he won a fight.
I'd have softened a bit if we got to see the Rotarran in the fight they supposedly won, too, but it all happened off screen.
This one has some nice moments but I can't necessarily recommend it. 2-1/2 stars is all it deserves, but even that might be generous.
- Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 1:46pm (USA Central)
Ferengi Love Songs
This one straddles the line between 1-1/2 and 2 stars for me. I like the series-long arc that develops about the Ferengi way of life. On the other hand, I wish it involved more than four or five Ferengi (Zek, Quark, Ishka, Brunt, Rom). Not that I want MORE Ferengi episodes, but I see that the DS9 writers were going for an arc along the lines of Cardassia or Bajor. The difference is that those settings generally get serious face time in a dozen episodes a year and actually seem to exist in a universe with one another. Ferenginar is just... separate from everything. Not that I'd want it to factor into the Dominion War at all but it'd still be nice for it to have at least a bit more weight than, say, the Mirror Universe storyline.
I didn't hate this episode as much as everyone else. Probably because I recently watched some season 1 TNG starring the Ferengi and... wow. Not even DS9's worst episodes reach those depths. Mother of mercy.
tl;dr: A silly, pretty stupid episode that's (thankfully) insulated from the rest of the series. Still nowhere near as bad as "The Last Outpost".
- Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 1:26pm (USA Central)
I'm with dipads, my only complaint about children on the Enterprise is all the Bad Child Acting it subjected us to.
- Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 1:01pm (USA Central)
Besides the fact that the Voyager writers didn't seem to get what made Q a great character in TNG, Keegan de Lancie's terrible acting didn't do this episode any favors. And ha ha, sexual assault played as a joke? Classy stuff.
- Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 12:01pm (USA Central)
Andy's Friend is *your* whole identity...based on your sexuality? Your rhapsodizing about the joy and beauty of het sex suggests it's not irrelevant. Would you "still be you" if your genes had been flipped to make you gay? It's pretty clear you, the present you, would see that as a meaningful difference.
Sexuality, and gender identity, are important components of *everyone's* whole personhood. They are not the totality, but they are inseparable. The post-treatment Soren may retain memories, other aspects of the pre-treatment Soren, but they are not the same person.
Also, your argument that being adopted by gay parents is somehow harmful to children is very weakly reasoned. Not only does it imply that children (like mine) are harmed by having single heterosexual parents, it completely ignores the *fact* that children are far more likely to be neglected, abused, or killed by either their own biological (heterosexual) parents, or the state foster system, than they are by loving adoptive parents of any description. Think about this. Plenty of het folks fall into parenthood without a lot of thought; they do it because they're 'supposed' to, or because they're just not concerned with birth control. By contrast, gay couples have to *really* want to be parents. As a class, they're certainly not perfect, and a few may even turn out to be awful--but a kid's odds are better when parents *want* them, and have fully committed themselves to the concept.
Dave in NC
- Sat, Sep 20, 2014, 10:53am (USA Central)
OK, this is totally a cheesefest, but I can't help but like this episode. I dig the girl talk sessions with Crusher and Troi & Picard's knowing comment about the Howard women's libido The gothic elements are amusing (dramatic score, fog on the bridge, a seductive ghost). Yes, total cheese, but Gates McFadden really does her best with some silly material.
Of special notice for hilarity are Picard walking in on Beverly's self-love session and Nana coming back to life in her coffin.
"Dinna light the candle" is one of those lines that have taken on a life of their own. So much awesome cheesiness.
My main nitpick is different than some others: how is it that the Howard women have kept their surname throughout the centuries? I wasn't too clear on that.
Eh, this wasn't made to be analyzed, it was made to be absorbed.
- 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.
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