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Robert - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 4:04pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

@Dave - I'm really sorry to hear that. I know it's easier said than done (or impossible in some cases), but there are many states that will welcome you. And in the absence of being able to move, things have changed a lot in a short period of time. ::Fingers crossed::
Dave in NC - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 4:00pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

@ Peremensoe

Not to be overly personal, but I've thought about maybe adopting one day (once I find the right person to spend my life with), but in my state I would never be allowed to.

It really saddens me when I see a majority of people say I'm unfit to care for a child (and especially when they rationalize it away like Andy's Friend).
Elliott - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 3:59pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Bravo, Dave in NC! I've always been bothered by the idea that straight intercourse can be described in flowery 19th century poetic terms while gay intercourse is, as you put, an aberration. It's all equally gross and beautiful depending on where you're standing.

Worth pointing out that Andy's Friend specifically said "obese" people--which is as ridiculous as complaining we don't see people with cancer--a diversity of body types should be shown, but obesity is a product of poor health and poor diet, both of which are antithetical to Federation economics and technology. My issue is that it seems like only the males show a diversity of body types, whereas *all* the women we see have to be petite, busty and generally gorgeous (psst, it's a TV show after all). Now that I think about it, I think everyone in Trek was portrayed as rather fit until Jonathan Frakes started putting on the pounds...
Peremensoe - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 3:52pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Dave in NC, thanks for the above. I must admit, I skimmed Andy's Friend's comments and certainly overlooked some key points. The "ethical objection" to adoption by gay couples is striking, for one thing.

I have to say, while we all can debate many points of the depicted Trekverse/future culture, it is pretty strongly established that *eugenics* is seen as wicked, in the canonical history and in specific contexts such as Robert points out.
Robert - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 3:52pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

"I said the same in my mega-reply. :)"

Your comment about Geordi being blind is actually what made me think of this episode.
Dave in NC - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 3:49pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

@ Robert

I said the same in my mega-reply. :)

BTW, apologies to Jammer and the visitors to this forum.

I know huge posts are irritating to read, but I felt that Andy's friend needed to be addressed point for point.
Robert - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 3:47pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Actually that entire episode makes a good case against "ideal humans" the way you'd describe it (via designer babies).

I choose to believe nobody is overweight in the future because replicated chocolate ice cream has no calories and that nobody is gay in the future because Rick Berman has no balls. But that's just me :P
Robert - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 3:41pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

I'll quote from an episode of Star Trek that I think is relevant to this discussion.

HANNAH: May I see it? Your visor?
LAFORGE: Sure. So, I guess if I had been conceived on your world, I wouldn't even be here now, would I?
HANNAH: No.
LAFORGE: No, I'd've been terminated as a fertilised cell.
HANNAH: It was the wish of our founders that no one had to suffer a life with disabilities.
LAFORGE: Who gave them the right to decide whether or not I should be here? Whether or not I might have something to contribute.
HANNAH: I don't know what to say. Here you go. How does it work?
LAFORGE: Well, the visor scans the electromagnetic spectrum between one hertz and one hundred thousand terahertz, converts it all to usable frequencies and then transmits that information directly to my brain.
HANNAH: What about the data conversion rates? How do you avoid a sensory overload?
LAFORGE: A bank of pre-processors compresses the data stream into pulses, you see. That way, my visual cortex never. Wait a minute. Wait just a minute. We should be able to send a high-energy pulse through the tractor system. If it's short enough, it shouldn't overload the emitters. The technology is right here. If we could adapt those pulse compression routines and then apply them to the warp power conduits.
HANNAH: We'd have to avoid tractor force rebounding, but that shouldn't be hard.
LAFORGE: Sure. With a few modifications. Oh, that's perfect.
HANNAH: What?
LAFORGE: If the answer to all of this is in a visor created for a blind man who never would have existed in your society. No offence intended.
Dave in NC - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 3:27pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Andy's friend said:
Yes, “seeing a gay person on the bridge of a starship” far in the future could be very meaningful and important to the viewers, and especially to the particular viwer. But the question is actually: would it be realistic, i.e., consistent with the view of humanity in TOS and TNG?

I believe it’s short-sighted to focus on gays, or the absence of gays, in Star Trek. There’s a much, much more obvious absence in all the series that is indicative of the much greater issue at hand: that of obese humans. In other words: in Star Trek, what we see in the future is ideal humans.

Consider that.


Reply:
Except Geordi is blind. Counselor Troi loses her powers. Admiral Clayton, Sarek, Picard and Tuvok have incurable illnesses. B'elanna, Troi, and Spock are mixed. Half the TNG cast are social outcasts. Many nationalities and worlds are represented. People from young to old serve in Starfleet. Sisko was a grief-stricken widower. Barclay has a anxiety disorder. Miles has PTSD. Bashir was genetically manipulated by his parents. Admiral Hanson and the admiral in the "Drumhead" were far from svelte. (I suspect limited budgets led them to save the over-sized uniforms for the Bolian extras).

So why is the "focusing on the gay issue" "short-sighted"? It seems to me that you are casually dismissive of the big civil rights issue of our time.


Andy's Friend said:
This poses a much, much more fundamental question than the superficial gay issue; the gay question is interesting, of course, in late 20th/early 21st century contexts, but less significant in the grand scheme of Trek.

reply:
How can you refer to being inclusive of gay people as "superficial"? Having even one gay character isn't too much to ask, especially of a forward thinking franchise like Trek. The implication that we don't exist is wrong for a lot of reasons.


Andy's friend said:
Allow me to quote my previous comment on this thread of Dec 28, 2013:

"Secondly, about the absence of homosexuals in Star Trek: what if ― just what if ― there are no homosexuals in the 24th century?

What I mean is this: I have no doubt that we in Picard's era will be much more "enlightened" (see below) than we are today. Nevertheless, I am convinced that no matter how enlightened, there is a very good probability that, given the possibility to screen and genetically modify embryos, we will make use of that technology. And given that possibility, I believe extremely few people, if any, will be born as, for example, dwarves, or albinos, or blind, or with Down Syndrome, if a simple genetic modification is all it takes to make the embryo "normal". We can all agree that there is nothing wrong with any of these people, but nevertheless, I am convinced that virtually all parents would prefer said small "corrective" genetic modification(s).

There is no doubt that it will some day be possible to do this, and all human history shows us that what is possible to do is also done. All we need is to get used to the idea. [...]


reply:

Get used to the idea that eugenics is ok?! You have no idea how offensive it is for you to say that my life is broken and needs to be fixed! Saying I'm a DNA edit away from "normal" is NOT a compliment.

I'm sure you feel what you wrote is very even-minded and logical, but your conclusion that being gay is comparable to having a disease is wrong. Even more offensive is your oh-well attitude toward eugenics.


Andy's Friend said:
The question is, where does homosexuality stand? I can't help but wonder how many parents, if given the choice, would/will prefer their child to function "within normal parameters"?

reply:
So I'm abnormal? I'm defined by one characteristic of myself? I know you don't mean to be offensive, which in some ways is even worse. You don't understand what you are saying.

Andy's Friend said:
We know that genetic manipulation takes place in the Trekverse, and while "enhancement" is prohibited, what do we know of "corrective" procedures? Can genetic manipulation be the reason why virtually every human on Star Trek is so "normal"? Why we never seen any disabled, or even overweight, human of any kind? Can this be why we never encounter homosexuality among humans on Star Trek?"

reply:
Starfleet, like our military, probably has fitness standards just as we do. Besides, the replicators are probably to the point where they can remove calories/fat without effecting taste too much.

The civilians we DO see definitely run the gamut of body-types.


Andy's Friend said:
And to finish, what follows: "More profoundly, is it thinkable that [...] in enough centuries, we will all be some sort of "perfect" mainstream beings? Or is it thinkable that we will leave such technology, which undoubtedly will be developed, unused?"

reply:
You should read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

Andy's friend said:
This is really the main question we should be considering; homosexuality is merely part of a larger question.

reply: When Gene R. decided to include Uhura, Chekov, Spock, Chapel and Sulu in the cast, was that part of a larger question?

Sometimes, just the act of showing different kinds of people are still people is enough.


Andy's Friend said:
I’m guessing all of us ― apart from Joshua ― can see no moral wrong in being a homosexual. I’m guessing most of us ― including me ― can see no ethical problem with civil marriages for gays.

I’m guessing some of us ― though not me ― can see no ethical problem in gay adoption.

reply:
Ethical problem with gay adoptions when so many children live in foster care and group homes?


Andy's friend said:
But *when* a bit of genetic resequencing of an embryo is all it will take to make the future child a person who will not be blind nor deaf, nor have some other physically or mentally crippling genetic disorder [I’m *not* including homosexuality in this category], and who will be able to fall in love and have children with a person of the opposite sex as the most natural [no pun intended] thing on Earth, who will refrain from doing it? I’m guessing not many.

reply:
You assume it is genetic and NOT epi-genetic, which is a much different beast. I suggest you do some research before you start fantasizing about deleting aspects of society you have a "etchical problem" with.


Andy's friend said:
To me, there's nothing as beautiful in creation or evolution (your choice) as the ability of two people of the opposite sex who love each other to have a child that is, quite literally, a part of them both.

reply:
First off, I can still have children.

Secondly, If the technology for two males/females to reproduce does develop, doesn't that throw your whole "beauty" argument out the window?


Andy's friend said:
This is something truly amazing. For no other reason than that, I would feel extremely sorry for being gay, just like I feel extremely sorry for all the people who for one reason or another cannot have a child with the person they love.

reply:
Spare me your false pity. Just because I can't combine my genetics with someone (at the moment) doesn't mean I need someone to feel sorry for me. Besides, currently there are many ways to conceive a child that CAN involve sibling DNA, etc, if that is your big thing.

I
Andy's friend said:
think adoption is a beautiful thing. I think the capacity to love a child that is not your own is a beautiful thing. But don’t tell me that that is what every straight couple in love dream of. No, we dream of creating new life, unassisted by technology, that is, magically, a part of ourselves and the very man or woman we love. And I believe (though I may be wrong), that this is some sort of longing, and a problem, that at least some homosexuals who truly love each other somehow must feel, at some point. “Ahh, if only we could...”

reply:
Thanks for filling us gay people in on why straight people like to have kids.

Andy's friend says:
So please don’t take this the wrong way. But who on Earth would deny their future child the possibility of having a "normal" family, if all it took was a visit to the doctor?

reply:
I am not an aberration. You make it sound like being gay is Lou Gehrig's disease.

Besides, one could argue that since gay poeple are inordinately involved percentage-wise in high culture (music, the arts, architecture, etc) that we serve a vital social and intellectual function.

Andy's friend says:
I seriously believe that someday in the future, there will be no homosexuality. I seriously believe that in the future, every human being will be near-perfect. And yes, I’m sorry to say this, but there is such a thing as "perfection" to most humans. We all know that, let’s not pretend otherwise. When the technology becomes available, we’ll all have different eye and hair and skin colours, but we’ll all have essentially the same build, etc. No one will chose their child to have short, crooked legs, or be bald, or with a tendency to be fat. We’ll all look essentially alike. Hell, to any alien species out there we probably already do.

reply:
That will only happen if people decide that tinkering with non-disease related aspects of their children is the right thing to do. The fact that you have decided that I am an aberration and "not normal" is where you need to start over.

And frankly, your sort of back-handed endorsement of the process is just the sort of thing that gets the slippery slope started.


Andy's friend says:
That’s actually something I like about TNG. In TOS it would of course be totally unthinkable to mention homosexuality. But by the time TNG was around, the issue could have been adressed.

reply:
It doesn't surprise me that you would like this.

Andy's friend says:
By season 7, we could have seen a gay captain in one of the episodes. In a way, I’m actually glad we didn’t.

reply:
Of course you are. That whole diversity and inclusion thing was so 1960's, wasn't it?

Andy's friend says:
I understand Robert’s argument that that would be an important message to the viewers back then, or even today, twenty years later. But I actually believe that doing so would be an undermining of the “ideal human” idea that pervades TOS and TNG.

reply:
You are wrong. Khan was exiled for this, Julian shouldn't have been in Starfleet. They've established pretty firmly that it's a big no-no in the Trekverse.


Andy's friend says:
No, some of you may be thinking: “What is this idiot talking about? There is no such thing as an ideal human.” I share that sentiment, but again, please, let’s not fool ourselves. There’s nothing wrong in being very short, and yet we give people growth hormones these days.

reply:
That shows how little you understand biology. There are physiological MEDICAL reasons why an extremely short stature can be non-advantageous. Doctors don't just hand them to kids that are a little short.

Andy's friend says:
I’m sure that in the real 24th century, no one will be missing homosexuals in TNG; in fact, they’ll probably praise it for not caving in to that particular social issue of its day, and having been so far-sighted in predicting the human trend for perfecting ourselves as soon as the relevant technologies are becoming available. In that way, we humans aren't really that different from the Borg.

reply:
Well, they'll definitely be some bored humans, because their art, music, fashion and architecture will probably suck.

Andy's friend says:
But I may be wrong. Who knows, by the 24th century, maybe we’ll see it as something natural that two male homosexuals, one of whom is some sort of cyborg, have their DNA matched in a laboratory, and then have their scientifically engineered child implanted in the cyborg for gestation.

reply:
I love how you wax rhapsodic about the "loving process" of ejaculating semen into the vaginal canal, but somehow creating a process where I could reproduce with my partner is deserving of this Borg-analogy-heavy description.

Andy's friend says:
It could certainly be done, and would merely be another take on our resemblance to the Borg. All I’m saying is, the other way around would make a lot more sense.

reply:
And that, my friends, is a textbook example of how to campaign for racial purification.

Oh, and "Andy's friend", please stop referring to us as "the homosexuals". We generally prefer the adjective gay, because after that comes the word it describes: person.

You definitely could use the reminder.
William B - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 2:58pm (USA Central)
Re: TOS S3: Is There In Truth No Beauty?

@Andy's Friend, thanks for the link to that poem. I find it very interesting. My understanding of the poem -- at first blush, and with the textual aid of the interpretation you quoted -- is that Herbert is rhetorically asking "is there in truth no beauty?" to suggest that other poets and artists who can find beauty only in the depictions of false things seem to be missing the beauty that exists in reality, or in truth itself. Can other artists really believe that poetry and beauty is only meaningful when describing things in the imagination, and that the pursuit of truth and reality is some wholly separate endeavour?

How I think this relates to this episode is this then: I think that the title question really is, "Is there no beauty to be found in the pursuit of truth?" And the question hangs in the air because Miranda is dedicating her life to finding "truth," by communing with and learning from a Medusan. She is rejecting beauty, or conventional ideas of beauty, entirely, as the other characters, especially Marvick, bursting with unrequited love and the jealousy that accompanies it, but also Kirk and McCoy as well, remind her frequently. The question is whether there is something beautiful -- unconventionally so, but beautiful nonetheless -- in her wholly intellectual/spiritual desire to commune with Kollos. I think that the episode answers "yes" -- but it does leave it open to what extent she will be fulfilled by it, and it points out even here that Spock, as a half-Vulcan, is much more able to connect to Kollos and, perhaps, to derive satisfaction in the pursuit of truth alone, than most humans are.

You are definitely right about Vina being a compelling character. I wasn't sure whether to count Edith Keeler as a candidate for "most interesting female character" or not, because, as you say, she's not the central draw of the show so much as the way she plays into it. But I think we're led to see her as remarkable for being a woman ahead of her time in her thinking, but of the wrong era; the consequences of 23rd-century thinking in the 20th century, all that's good in humanity leading to humanity's destruction. Andrea -- well, I don't have as much feeling for Andrea, but I might revisit "What Are Little Girls Made Of?"

As for why I have to comment on this one and only season :), well, I was recently commenting on the back half of season two! I wrote comments on much of TNG as well...I have vague ambitions to go back and finish that -- either here or to make my own site -- but it's daunting, even if I have written at least a bit on more than half the episodes. TOS I only really started commenting on about halfway through my rewatch of the show, with one or two exceptions, partly because of the pace with which I'm watching the episodes (I'm watching with my girlfriend, but we have other shows on the go, and so it is slow enough that I can mostly comment on episodes).
Elliott - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 2:45pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

@Andy's Friend :

I appreciate that you're making every effort to present a genuine argument and are not purposefully promoting a prejudiced view, but your argument is specious.

Being gay (or possessing any number of sexual orientations other than what you are calling "normal") has no bearing on one's ability to interact with society. Unlike a mental or physical disability, non-hetero orientations are simply different flavours of human sexuality, akin to race.

Being gay also has absolutely no effect on one's ability to raise a family, work, attend social functions, etc. The affinity with race comes in the fact that the difficulties associated with being gay are socially imposed, not empirically determined.

"I’m sure that in the real 24th century, no one will be missing homosexuals in TNG..."

Um, homosexuals have been a part of every society since the dawn of recorded human history (and most likely long before). Being able to make babies within the confines of one particular socially-imposed monogamous sexual relationship is not what I would call a determining factor in choosing an "ideal human." Making babies is really, really easy. It's the raising them part which requires a bit of effort, don't you think?
Peremensoe - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 1:23pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Also, Andy's Friend, I'm sure that we see mostly 'ideal' humans in the shows because we are mostly watching the exceptionally talented and motivated people who chose, and succeeded at, careers in Starfleet.
Peremensoe - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 1:17pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

I agree with Robert, I believe. I think we are closer to engineering babies with same-sex biological parents (with donor eggs and surrogate mothers for the male couples, it can probably be done *this* century), than to eradicating homosexuality. By reasons of both science and culture. I think it will become accepted that gay people are as natural and *desirable* a component of human diversity as any other.
Robert - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 1:00pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

"So please don’t take this the wrong way. But who on Earth would deny their future child the possibility of having a "normal" family, if all it took was a visit to the doctor? "

I do agree. I just wonder if the trip to the doctor would simply mean that 2 men or 2 women could combine their DNA and create a child that is half daddy and half daddy (heh, I actually wrote this part before I read your ending... to me this would actually make more sense based on current trending morality).

"What do you think?"

I also think that people TODAY might choose to make their child not gay (if only to spare them some difficulty in life), as it becomes less difficult to be gay... well I don't know. In 100 years will people even think it's worth designing your designer babies around that?

I also think that Star Trek (and modern morality) have an unspoken "don't mess with nature" law built in. The Prime Directive seems to lean that way. I think that designing our babies to do anything other than not have horrible diseases will probably be off limits. Obviously time will tell though.
Andy's Friend - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 12:09pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

@Joshua: ”There are no gay people in Star Trek because no one chooses perversiont in the future. End of story.”

@Robert: "Although I fundamentally disagree with Joshua, I believe its a topic worth of discussion in the context of Star Trek, especially with this episode."

@Everyone else:
Joshua’s fundamental attitude is of course not worth waisting time on. However, I wholly concur with Robert. However, I disagree on the final outcome.

Yes, “seeing a gay person on the bridge of a starship” far in the future could be very meaningful and important to the viewers, and especially to the particular viwer. But the question is actually: would it be realistic, i.e., consistent with the view of humanity in TOS and TNG?

I believe it’s short-sighted to focus on gays, or the absence of gays, in Star Trek. There’s a much, much more obvious absence in all the series that is indicative of the much greater issue at hand: that of obese humans. In other words: in Star Trek, what we see in the future is ideal humans.

Consider that.

This is especially true in TOS and TNG, where every human is more or less an ideal human, in every way, except for a few individuals who turn out to be more or less insane or otherwise "inhuman", such as Bekker in "The Doomsday Machine", or even better, Korby in "What Are Little Girls Made Of?". But see also Satie in "The Drumhead", Marr in "Silicon Avatar", Maxwell in "The Wounded", or Graves in "The Schizoid Man", just to name a few. Apart from such "wounded", "schizoid" people, and the very rare example of Pressman in "The Pegasus", humans on TOS and TNG were virtually always near-ideal: physically "perfect", and morally paragons of virtue, much like Jean-Luc Picard. There are very few shades of grey here.

This poses a much, much more fundamental question than the superficial gay issue; the gay question is interesting, of course, in late 20th/early 21st century contexts, but less significant in the grand scheme of Trek.

The real question is: why are there never, apart from such clinical cases as the above mentioned, any anormal people in Star Trek, apart from the genetically enhanced in "Space Seed", before DS9 revisits that exact same theme with "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?", and "Statistical Probabilities"?

[It’s interesting to note how DS9, which completely subverted what humanity and the Federation had evolved to in the course of TOS and TNG, also subverted their very idea of ideal people.]

Allow me to quote my previous comment on this thread of Dec 28, 2013:

"Secondly, about the absence of homosexuals in Star Trek: what if ― just what if ― there are no homosexuals in the 24th century?

What I mean is this: I have no doubt that we in Picard's era will be much more "enlightened" (see below) than we are today. Nevertheless, I am convinced that no matter how enlightened, there is a very good probability that, given the possibility to screen and genetically modify embryos, we will make use of that technology. And given that possibility, I believe extremely few people, if any, will be born as, for example, dwarves, or albinos, or blind, or with Down Syndrome, if a simple genetic modification is all it takes to make the embryo "normal". We can all agree that there is nothing wrong with any of these people, but nevertheless, I am convinced that virtually all parents would prefer said small "corrective" genetic modification(s).

There is no doubt that it will some day be possible to do this, and all human history shows us that what is possible to do is also done. All we need is to get used to the idea. [...]

The question is, where does homosexuality stand? I can't help but wonder how many parents, if given the choice, would/will prefer their child to function "within normal parameters"?

Did the producers of Star Trek ever contemplate these matters? Why do we virtually never see anyone outside the norm in Star Trek? On TNG, we never even see any overweight humans. (David Ogden Stirs' character in "Half a Life" was an alien. So are the Pakleds. Other than that only a couple of guest stars are slighty chubby). Is this a mere coincidence? What do you think? What will happen when we finally begin to be able to make such precise modifications to our genome?

[...]

We know that genetic manipulation takes place in the Trekverse, and while "enhancement" is prohibited, what do we know of "corrective" procedures? Can genetic manipulation be the reason why virtually every human on Star Trek is so "normal"? Why we never seen any disabled, or even overweight, human of any kind? Can this be why we never encounter homosexuality among humans on Star Trek?"

And to finish, what follows: "More profoundly, is it thinkable that [...] in enough centuries, we will all be some sort of "perfect" mainstream beings? Or is it thinkable that we will leave such technology, which undoubtedly will be developed, unused?"

This is really the main question we should be considering; homosexuality is merely part of a larger question.

I’m guessing all of us ― apart from Joshua ― can see no moral wrong in being a homosexual. I’m guessing most of us ― including me ― can see no ethical problem with civil marriages for gays. I’m guessing some of us ― though not me ― can see no ethical problem in gay adoption. But *when* a bit of genetic resequencing of an embryo is all it will take to make the future child a person who will not be blind nor deaf, nor have some other physically or mentally crippling genetic disorder [I’m *not* including homosexuality in this category], and who will be able to fall in love and have children with a person of the opposite sex as the most natural [no pun intended] thing on Earth, who will refrain from doing it? I’m guessing not many.

To me, there's nothing as beautiful in creation or evolution (your choice) as the ability of two people of the opposite sex who love each other to have a child that is, quite literally, a part of them both. This is something truly amazing. For no other reason than that, I would feel extremely sorry for being gay, just like I feel extremely sorry for all the people who for one reason or another cannot have a child with the person they love.

I think adoption is a beautiful thing. I think the capacity to love a child that is not your own is a beautiful thing. But don’t tell me that that is what every straight couple in love dream of. No, we dream of creating new life, unassisted by technology, that is, magically, a part of ourselves and the very man or woman we love. And I believe (though I may be wrong), that this is some sort of longing, and a problem, that at least some homosexuals who truly love each other somehow must feel, at some point. “Ahh, if only we could...”

So please don’t take this the wrong way. But who on Earth would deny their future child the possibility of having a "normal" family, if all it took was a visit to the doctor?

I seriously believe that someday in the future, there will be no homosexuality. I seriously believe that in the future, every human being will be near-perfect. And yes, I’m sorry to say this, but there is such a thing as "perfection" to most humans. We all know that, let’s not pretend otherwise. When the technology becomes available, we’ll all have different eye and hair and skin colours, but we’ll all have essentially the same build, etc. No one will chose their child to have short, crooked legs, or be bald, or with a tendency to be fat. We’ll all look essentially alike. Hell, to any alien species out there we probably already do.

That’s actually something I like about TNG. In TOS it would of course be totally unthinkable to mention homosexuality. But by the time TNG was around, the issue could have been adressed. By season 7, we could have seen a gay captain in one of the episodes. In a way, I’m actually glad we didn’t. I understand Robert’s argument that that would be an important message to the viewers back then, or even today, twenty years later. But I actually believe that doing so would be an undermining of the “ideal human” idea that pervades TOS and TNG.

No, some of you may be thinking: “What is this idiot talking about? There is no such thing as an ideal human.” I share that sentiment, but again, please, let’s not fool ourselves. There’s nothing wrong in being very short, and yet we give people growth hormones these days.

I’m sure that in the real 24th century, no one will be missing homosexuals in TNG; in fact, they’ll probably praise it for not caving in to that particular social issue of its day, and having been so far-sighted in predicting the human trend for perfecting ourselves as soon as the relevant technologies are becoming available. In that way, we humans aren't really that different from the Borg.

But I may be wrong. Who knows, by the 24th century, maybe we’ll see it as something natural that two male homosexuals, one of whom is some sort of cyborg, have their DNA matched in a laboratory, and then have their scientifically engineered child implanted in the cyborg for gestation. It could certainly be done, and would merely be another take on our resemblance to the Borg. All I’m saying is, the other way around would make a lot more sense.

What do you think?
Robert - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 11:02am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

I would watch Patrick Stewart read the phone book.
Robert Hill - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 10:55am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

Not to be a party-pooper here or anything, but the success of this episode lies largely with the acting ability of Patrick Stewart.

It was a good piece of melodrama in itself, but take Stewart out of it and replace him with any other member of the crew and it just wouldn't be quite so captivating.

I agree that the 30+ years of memories passing by in a real time of 25 minutes, and with that the memories of a life aboard a star ship that live within, was effective and certainly captures the imagination, but I can't help but feel there is a little too much love for cheese here on this board if everybody is tearing up at the mere mention of this episode.

I just watched The Wind That Shakes The Barely earlier today! Now that has the power to elicit tears in me! The Inner Light? Not so much.

Like I said, it's a good episode elevated by Stewart, but it is not a masterpiece of sci-fi/melodrama at all!
Robert - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 8:47am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

"This is interesting because there was also an episode where Odo linked with a "male" changeling. If we DO accept that changelings have a gender, the Odo was definitely double dipping."

Agreed. It was stated (in some ways) that linking is even more intimate than sex. But even if Odo is confused by solid terms I don't the "female" changeling would actually consider herself female or consider her or Odo bi-sexual. That's why I went with pan-sexual... I just think it's about the person, not about an attraction to a gender.

In a lot of ways DS9 was very progressive about sexuality. I particularly liked that in "Rejoined" nobody even blinked that Lenara was a woman. It was all about violating the Trill taboo that people were upset with. DS9's progressive take on sexuality was, to me (especially as a product of the time) a natural progression from TNG being willing to dip their toes into such subject matter in this episode. Sadly future Trek series dropped the ball.

When I was younger and watching Star Trek I couldn't understand why people were clamoring for a gay character. I mean, I wouldn't have had a problem with it (my parents were pretty conservative, and my father even fairly religious... but they actually never tried to teach us there was anything wrong with being gay, and I had already watched gay characters on Roseanne) but I didn't see the need. I suppose it comes with being a straight white male.

With a little more perspective I see the legacy Gene left. A Japanese man, a black woman, a Russian (during the cold war) and even an alien first officer (how nice to think that when we finally meet another species we'll be friends with them). That's a legacy of inclusion. A show that had the first interracial kiss written by a man who's pilot included a female first officer!

For all of Gene's faults it's a hell of a legacy and one that I'm proud to be a fan of. With a little more perspective I do see that Rick Berman dropped the ball. It might not have meant much to me as a middle schooler watching Voyager, but to the kid who just realized he was gay it might have meant the world.

A quote from Whoopi Goldberg :
"She said, 'Well when I was nine years old Star Trek came on,' and she said, 'I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, "Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there's a black lady on television and she ain't no maid!"' And she said, 'I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be, and I want to be on Star Trek.'"

Now that I'm older I could see what seeing a gay person on the bridge of a starship in an accepting future could have meant to that kid. And I'm sad that Rick Berman decided he couldn't boldly go where no one had gone before.
$G - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 8:18am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S5: Ties of Blood and Water

I quite like this one. I was surprised to see its relatively negative reception over at the AV Club (which did a quality retrospective of the series that's nearly on par with this site).

There are minor flaws in this episode, such as having one line too many about Kira being all Ghemor has left. We get it. And, maybe not a fault of the episode, but I really feel its earnestness would have benefited from a middle chapter somewhere between "Second Skin" and now. "Ties" suggests Kira and Ghemor probably have had contact, but something more than that would have been welcome.

That said, it's a really solid episode with good character work for both Kira and Dukat. The Ghemor plot dovetails nicely into the show's current events, showing how rich and thoughtfully plotted DS9 is on the whole. Dukat's attempts to silence/convince Ghemor to return were satisfyingly treacherous (especially pulling out the daughter bait, at which Ghemor doesn't bite). The scene in Kira's quarters was so well done, played very viscerally by Visitor and Alaimo. It's obvious Kira hates Dukat, but there's something about the scene that just festers (it's the teacup she throws) that gives it the added kick.

Some last touches I really enjoyed:

-Weyoun having too much fun. He's just with Dukat because it's his job. He's probably seen the man's posturing in a hundred other would-be dictators the Dominion have puppeted over the years.

-The Cardassian propaganda machine. Dukat mentioning Ghemor's "conversion" is such a foul PR spin that it's to be expected at this point. Ghemor won't be buried on Cardassian soil, but his name will still sadly be used in the way he hoped to fight against.

Honestly, this one is an easy three but gets an extra half star for dangling and treating so many plot and character threads at once - so, 3 1/2 stars! A hidden gem in the pantheon of great DS9 hours.
John - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 5:16am (USA Central)
Re: DS9 S2: Paradise

Two main flaws with this episode:

No one considers that this "duonetic" field could lose its effect after a certain distance. You can't tell us that her little box buried in the woods affects the entire planet. Either one of the colonists or Sisko/O'Brian would have simply walked as far as it took to get out of the affected area. It simply would have been a better outcome if O'Brian had escaped, walked a few days, gotten aboard the runabout and then used it to locate her field generator.

And the ending...I mean really? These colonists may have wanted to call that place "home", but you're telling me that after 10 years isolated in that crappy village, they don't even want to visit the Federation again? If not only to see friends, family, get additional supplies, etc?... Completely unbelievable.
Dave in NC - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 3:17am (USA Central)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

@ Elliot

I've never been to a luau, so it should be fun. :)

@ Joshua

It's sad that you are so judgmental . . . obviously your parents failed to teach you about empathy or respect for your fellow man. Apparently Star Trek didn't help either.

I can only hope one day that you'll see that bigotry and fear is no way to live a life.

@ Robert/Elliot/bbhor

Your discussion of Odo's gender/sexuality is fascinating.

My two cents? In the episode where Odo boinked the hideous "female" changeling as the solids do, the dialogue basically stated that linking is the Shapeshifter equivalent of sexual intercourse.

This is interesting because there was also an episode where Odo linked with a "male" changeling. If we DO accept that changelings have a gender, the Odo was definitely double dipping.
Jack Bauer - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 2:21am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S2: Precious Cargo

If its any consolation, Brandon Bragga calls this piece of filth the worst episode of Trek ever.
Jack Bauer - Thu, Sep 18, 2014, 1:58am (USA Central)
Re: ENT S4: Fourth Season Recap

Yall should watch this documentary on the failing of Enterprise.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYGGXRNvR5Q
Flying Tiger Comics - Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 11:37pm (USA Central)
Re: ENT S1: Dear Doctor

Dear Doctor is evil pablum but it would at least have been cool if the race wasn't the Menk but a race that in the later shows had turned into an existential threat, like the Cardassians...

Law of unforeseen consequences and all that.

But no.

Waayyyy too smart for this show and its pathological hatred of not just TOS but also the normal rules of storytelling in prequels.

Lucasian in its level of fail.
msw188 - Wed, Sep 17, 2014, 11:37pm (USA Central)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

We do see Tomalak briefly in the finale. Are there really no other appearances by him after this?

I don't think this one is 4stars for me. I have a minor personal complaint that prevents a highest rating - I've never liked it when stories put the viewer/reader/whatever in the position of one of the protagonists, but then withhold the protagonist's plan for the sake of a surprise later. It would have been tough to make this story work well otherwise, but it still bothers me.

See, the episode pretty clearly shows events unfolding from Picard's perspective. As others have noted, the (well-built) tension is derived from our lack of knowledge, dramatically presented as Picard's lack of knowledge. It makes Picard's decision to 'go for it' exciting, because we understand the risks inherent with incomplete knowledge just as Picard does. Except that when the Klingon reveal is made, we realize that no, we didn't actually understand the risks (or lack thereof). This, to me, gives the built-up tension a slightly fake quality, and it disconnects me from the main characters.

Despite that rant, the episode is still great in a lot of respects. Mid to low 3.5 stars.
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