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Jason R.
Tue, Sep 19, 2017, 9:13am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Old Wounds

I have been debating whether or not to see this show. The premise is interesting, but my main hesitation is MacFarlane. I don't hate the man or his work. I have liked Family Guy at times and was even a fan of his offbeat Oscar hosting performance.

But there's no question when I watch his stuff, even when I enjoy it (like with sone Family Guy or American Dad) I feel dirty like there's this ugly film over his material and I feel soiled for watching it.

MacFarlane's characters aren't just irreverent or silly or parodies (like with Simpsons or Futurama) they're contemptible, even ugly. I echo Peter's point that MacFarlane's ethos is really the anti Trek. He takes something banal and really nasty in the modern culture, amplifies it and then projects it onto everyone, everywhere. It's not souless - it has a soul and it's vile and depressing.

Much of his work seems an exercise in persuading the audience that we're all as vulgur, vapid and empty as he is (or wants us to think he is). I also think alot of his stuff is straight up misogynistic, and that's not an accusation I make lightly.
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Jason R.
Wed, Sep 13, 2017, 5:25am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S1: Old Wounds

I haven't had a chance to watch the Orville, but to those starved for lighter scifi you may like the Lexx, a series from many years ago but that still holds up today. It had an initial run of four movies (basically a mini series in four parts) and then three regular seasons.
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Jason R.
Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 6:56am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

Rather, Mikey, I call BS on this supposed utopia - as DS9 and later Trek stories did with great success. Trek was always at its best when it explored its characters' humanity, and the utopia described (mostly through Picard in STNG) is phony baloney for a plethora of reasons.
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Jason R.
Fri, Sep 1, 2017, 11:50am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

@Tara,

We are almost in complete agreement on most major points so I won't beat a dead horse. But suffice it to say the kind of argument you were making and the thought process I see behind it is very much cosistent with what I hear from women again and again and rarely from other men. So no I'm not the guy from Greek myth who lived as both sexes yet I do perceive a noticeable (though sometimes subtle) divergance between how men and women see sex.
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Jason R.
Fri, Sep 1, 2017, 9:39am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

"Because you don't need to get it that way. "

It depends what "it" you are trying to get. Sexual desire is not just having an orgasm or even having sex with any woman like a prostitute as Tara implied.

This is as tone deaf as claiming a heroin addict should be satisfied with marijuana or even methadone. People want what they want when they want it how they want it especially under addictive or compulsive influence.

And speaking of addiction my drug example isn't that far off from sex. The neurochemical effect of sex is often similar to drugs. That it's a built in addiction owing to biology does not change the fact that all of us, on some level, are addicted to sex on a chemical level.

So just tossing sexual desire aside like it's incidental or not important is my main objection moreso even than focusing on power.
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Jason R.
Fri, Sep 1, 2017, 9:24am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

@Tara,

I actually don't have a problem with what you said except that it isn't really in agreement with the "rape is about power" dogma that we all hear as gospel and waters that down quite a bit.

And I never claimed women don't understand wanting sex - I said they don't understand wanting sex the way a male does, which claim I stand by. You think you get it but you don't - you get it from a female pov but not from a male one.

My drug user example was not to exonerate rapists anymore than I would exonerate tweakers who kill for their addiction. I merely point out that divorcing sex from rape is as silly as divorcing robbery for drug money from drug addiction.
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

Tara note I never disagreed with the point that many of the excuses surrounding rape were myths or at least half truths.

I merely stated that the "rape is about power not sex" dogma was itself another myth / half truth but one touted with the force of certitude by experts and authorities and pop culture for my entire life. It's reductionist in the extreme.

Your final paragraph is presumptuous to say the least given that as a woman you have no experience of a male sex drive or male perspective on sex and seem to have a poor understanding of it. I don't have to guess why contact with a woman (even an unwilling one) might be preferable to masturbation or seeing a prostitute. It isn't complicated and the answer does not require a great leap of imagination if you open your perspective beyond your own.

What is required is for you to simply imagine wanting something, now, in a viceral way, like a physical need or addiction. Then imagine that you either have weak morals, poor empathy, or simply don't fear consequences, or you simply permit your need to overwhelm those things just like people do every day with alcohol, drugs, gambling and an infinite number of destructive irrational behaviours fuelled by physical compulsion.

Do you lecture a heroin addict that when he robs someone at knifepoint to get cash for his next fix it isn't really about the addiction but some other thing like hatred or power? Do you tell him that he could just use methadone, go into rehab or take in a hobby so obviously the heroin isn't the cause?

Not a perfect analogy I concede but close enough.
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 7:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

@Tara,

So it seems one bit of nonsense was replaced by another. But the difference is the "rape is about power" foolishness is not only still currency but popularly assumed to be unassailable truth.
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 1:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

@Robert,

While empathy does exist in varying levels for most people (save maybe true psychopaths) it is undoubtedly a weak force in its most basic form and no match for sexual urges on the totem pole of human impulse. Strong empathy, like morality, has to be built up and trained.

And I think Peter has it right - civilized behaviour is not the default but the exception. If inherent human empathy were really that strong you would not see so many societies where things like rape, even child rape, are normal parts of everyday life. Even pedophilia is not rare in some societies, where social norms against it are lacking.
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 31, 2017, 10:31am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

@Robert,

I don't think we necessarily disagree but may be framing things differently. I'm sure you've walked down a street (especially in your teens and twenties) seen a woman and felt you wanted her. Not you wanted a consensual mutually respectful sexual encounter but *wanted* her, period. Why not just take what you want? Well because it would be wrong (morality), you'd feel bad if she cried and was in pain (empathy) and you'd be afraid of being sent to jail (law).

But the instinct is there and the instinct in of itself doesn't care about consent. To use a computer analogy the instinct is like firmware - built into and intertwined with one's nature. Pretty much everyone has it built in. The rest is software, a variable "package" of programs built on top of things that varies wildly among different individuals.

Maybe your empathy subroutines are so maxxed out that you could never rape. Then again, maybe with enough alcohol or drugs and a victim who didn't fight back too hard you might get over the tipping point. I don't know you so that's just an example, not a statement of certainty.

Throw in a bunch of other variables like the extreme stress of war, demonization of the enemy and a consequence free environment and maybe just maybe you would. No one really knows for sure how they would react until they're tested. We like to believe that we can never betray our moral centres - but who knows for sure. A bit like the DS9 episode where Jake discovers his own cowardice in the face of combat. Pretty insightful episode and applicable to this topic.
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Jason R.
Wed, Aug 30, 2017, 9:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

I wish one could edit posts because I forgot to make my ultimate point. If morality, law and empathy are the three pillars separating the good men from the rapists (and indeed, most human beings from other atrocities) then as you knock those pillars down, one by one, it is to be expected that a greater and greater number of people are going to act out in more and more antisocial even egregious ways. This isn't a justification - it's just the physics of the situation.

In the BG example, those men were told that the woman they were raping was not human (-empathy), that what they were doing was for a good cause (-morality) and that they would suffer no negative consequences for their acts (-law).

You can fault them certainly for rationalizing the act and rejecting the truth of what their own eyes were showing them. But it shouldn't be some kind of surprise that they'd be tempted. I'm going to wager that better men have done far worse atrocities in far lesser circumstances. These soldiers were probably not especially villainous compared to their peers.
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Jason R.
Wed, Aug 30, 2017, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

@ Tara,

As Peter notes, I don't think we disagree on anything in particular.

I did, however, want to zero in on something specific you said: "Commanding men considered rape to be an a-ok reward and stress relief that was owed to our 'Greatest Generation'"

This goes back to a slightly tangential point I was making earlier about the connection between rape and sex. The idea that rape is primarily let alone exclusively "about" power and not sex is such arrant nonsense. Like most violent crimes, there may be many motivations to rape. Saying that it's always about a man seeking to exert power is akin to claiming that a bank robbery is always about thrills and never money. It's just manifestly, obviously false. Rape is almost certainly about sex frequently, plain and simple sex.

"Stress relief" in this context means sex. Sex is what most young men want, with many women if they can get it. Some of these rapes you described were probably power trips or for other motives like revenge - I am not denying that in the slightest - but a simpler logical explanation for most of them is that they wanted what all men want, and opportunistically used war as a good venue to get it for free with anyone they pleased, without consequence. Sure they could have paid for it in a brothel, but this was license to have something truly forbidden, something not for sale, and with no legal repercussion. Men who seek out married women are probably tapping into a fraction of this - but it's still about sex for them too.

The reason I'm making this specific point is because I think the "rape is about power" dogma promotes a false and dangerous understanding of its underlying causes. It seeks to demonize the *motivation* behind rape, pretending that it is something alien, extraordinary, highly deviant. The motivation behind rape isn't special or exceptional - it's often just sex plain and simple, and the only thing separating the rapist from the normal man is morality, law and empathy.

So my ultimate point is that as a man it's not very hard to understand why men rape, even if I've never raped and never will rape. I understand it the same way I understand the motivation to push a gun in a bank teller's face and run away with a bag full of cash you didn't earn, or the motivation to murder evil people, like say child molesters or rapists.

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Jason R.
Wed, Aug 30, 2017, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

Peter I stopped watching BSG about mid way through the series so I'm not super clear on the nature of the Cylons. But I do recall the Pegasus episodes and my recollection is that there's little ambiguity that the Cylon humanoids (as opposed to the Centurions, which are tin cans) are indeed sexual beings and more or less human in every way that matters. They are even organic on the inside, unlike, say the Terminator.

Indeed, as I recall, the Caprica Cylon even commits suicide as a result of rape trauma.

It is pretty much counter to the text to suggest that the Cylons don't experience rape like a human.

Now whether the soldiers know this or not that is another question. Then it becomes some kind of metaphysical question like is it okay to be a "rapist" on say a holodeck provided you never act out the fantasy in real life. Is a person a "rapist" if they want to rape but don't (due to morality, fear of legal consequences etc...)
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Jason R.
Wed, Aug 30, 2017, 7:07am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

Ellen you seemed shocked and disturbed that these men wanted to rape and used the fact that Sharon was a Psilon as a flimsy excuse to exercise this desire. You raised the valid point that this meant they were essentially "rapists" merely constrained by societal convention / law. You seemed disturbed by that conclusion as if you didn't quite believe that it was possible.

I inferred from this that you might have a binary view of people where someone is either a "rapist" or not - and somehow circumstances don't matter. I also figured you bought into the black or white "wall" between rape and sex, which seems to be the case from your reply.

My point was that lots of ordinary people are capable of committing atrocities in the right circumstances. We saw this fact in World War 2 among the Germans of course, but also with the French, Polish and others who aided and abetted Nazi atrocities despite being their enemies. We saw it again in Rwanda and Bosnia and see it on the news from time to time when previously "good" kids commit heinous atrocities like gang rape or counsel their boyfriend to suicide - all with no prior history of anti social behaviour.

You may say those people are bad, and that's fine - but I guarantee they're also your friends, co-workers and maybe even close family.

So no I'm not justifying atrocities like rape. I'm saying that lots and lots of people in the world are capable of rape, much like lots are capable of genocide - given the right push of circumstance. Imagining evil to be the product of some extreme deviant condition in some rare monstrous person like a Jeffrey Dahmer or Hitler - that is the delusion.

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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 29, 2017, 10:59am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Pegasus

Ellen a few points in response to your thought provoking post.

While I agree the actions of the rapists were evil - to put things in perspective, the target of their aggression belonged to a race that had just recently nearly wiped out the human race. This is not my justifying their behaviour but merely putting it into context that explains why they would find it far easier to justify such an act to themselves and their peers.

Now the other more controversial piece of the puzzle I'll put forward. Part of the problem is you may have been led to believe that sex and rape are two distinct concepts, that rape exists in some distinct universe as an idiosynchratic personal characteristic in the same vein as a shoe fetish or even pedophilia.

Yet this is false. Rape is to sex what robbery is to commerce - not a perfect analogy, but close enough. It is still sex and sex is probably the most primal instinct in the natural world. Everyone (in very general terms, with some exceptions) wants it and it becomes a question of how far someone is willing to go (and who one is willing to hurt) to get it. Consent is not some hard defining characteristic of "sex" and it never has been until recently.

You take away law, you take away moral censure, mix in a hefty dose of revenge fuelled by (justified) hatred and it isn't a mystery.

It's no different than allegedly good people standing aside and watching genocide, or even participating when given the chance. Human beings aren't neatly divided into "rapists" and "murderers" and "thieves".

Think of it as sliding bars on a graph with morality, sexual desire, sadism, power, desperation, and hatred all at different levels depending on the person. Some are prone to rape in any circumstance. Others might only rape if stressed to the max by external environmental factors. Others may never initiate but might join in after the fact. And some might never rape in any scenario.

Believing that the world is divided solely into "always" and "never" (and this goes for any crime, not just rape) is a dangerous delusion.
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Jason R.
Mon, Aug 28, 2017, 6:50am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: The Changing Face of Evil

Quark my read on it is that the Breen do everything to isolate themselves from others, both physically and psychologically. They wear those encounter suits and I imagine they deliberately obscure their language somehow. They are supreme xenophobes.
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Jason R.
Sun, Aug 27, 2017, 7:34am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

What a wonderful world we live in Alex. Truly a time of wonders and greatness.
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Jason R.
Sun, Aug 20, 2017, 8:38am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Shadows and Symbols

One thing that always bugged me, what or where is Tyree? Are we supposed to know this world? Why does Sisko recognize it immediately?
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Jason R.
Tue, Aug 15, 2017, 7:21am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Paradise Lost

Well Peter I don't doubt that there were Soviet spies running around in the 50s up to no good. The question I have is whether McCarthy's purges were very good at rooting them out or if it was just political theatre and virtue signalling.

If I believed witches were real and truly possessed dark magic I'd be equally skeptical that too many were actually killed in Salem.

I just don't think "witch hunts" are likely very good at catching witches. Maybe I'm wrong. But the changelings didn't seem all that worried about it.
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Jason R.
Mon, Aug 14, 2017, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Paradise Lost

Peter, I am content to conclude that the Founders likely had little or nothing to do with the planned coup or the events leading up to it. In a way it's not unlike the 1950s when real Soviet agents were almost certainly present, but McCarthy's purge was mostly just skapegoating sympathizers rather than rooting out real spies and probably had little to do with their activities.

Indeed, That's actually changeling O'Brien's point, although Sisko probably didn't fully understand it at the time: we don't need to do anything much to cause havoc - our being here is enough! What Sisko didn't realize is that the Changeling was literally saying that they could do *nothing* and still provoke the Federation into destroying itself.

Incidentally, where did you get the idea that the overthrow of Central Command was due to changeling influence? This may have been Gow'Ron's pretext for invasion (no doubt spurred by fake Martok) but we know the D'Tappa council members were not changelings and as is even mentioned in the episode with the Obsidian Order wiped out, it was reasonable to assume that the power vaccum would destabilize Carsassin society opening the door to a coup.
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Jason R.
Sat, Aug 12, 2017, 9:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

"it's absurd to think that all injustice is forgotten four centuries hence. I'm sure some people would react negatively to a Medieval Spanish theme park that completely airbrushed out the inquisition."

Funny you mention the inquisition, because Mel Brooks (a jew) turned it into a song and dance number which included orthodox Jewish men getting thrown into pools with smiling nuns. And no, I wasn't remotely offended, nor was any Jewish person I ever met who saw the movie. Because the Spanish Inquisition is ancient history.

But that said I do think that the Benny Russell character and Sisko's experience gives him a unique perspective beyond the ordinary 24th century black man's. It's just a shame that the episode fails to tie his reaction in with that. Unfortunately, it just seems to come out of left field.
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 3, 2017, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Sons of Mogh

I have always enjoyed Tony Todd's performance as Kurn, going back to TNG in Sins of the Father where he had to pretend to enjoy roast turkey. He really nailed that scene and provided one of the few examples of Trek seriously addressing an alien culture on its own terms in an authentic way. Yeah, the roast turkey scene - who would have thought?

Here I do think Todd pulls off a similar feat as we see the fundamental difference between Klingon notions of honour and those of humans. Kurn is resentful of his brother's decision, to say the least, but in the end he can only look up to his older brother and trust him to do what is best, even if he bitterly resents his brother's sacrifice.

I do enjoy how the episode does not pull its punches, showing that for Kurn, there simply isn't a good resolution. I like how Worf's decision has real consequences, that when Gowron promised to strip his house of its lands and its seat on the high council, this was not just some words. Indeed, Kurn is absolutely right - for Worf this was, in some respects, a profoundly selfish act, as while Worf protected his own personal integrity, he was not the one who had to experience the consequences of that decision. Worf could always fall back on his career in Starfleet, but for Kurn once he was ejected from Klingon society he was left with nothing.

That's the strength and weakness of the story, because while it works well, it also boxes the writers in and makes a satisfactory resolution nearly impossible. I think the mind wipe was a very weak resolution, but almost unavoidable. The really ballsy thing to do of course would have been some manner of suicide, or even having Worf finally complete the ritual, Sisko's blustering be damned.

One additional plot annoyance for me: Kurn is hardly some anonymous nobody in Klingon society. He comes from a noble house with a seat on the high council. He personally came to Gowron's rescue during the civil war and as Worf's brother, would have been personally elbow to elbow with the highest levels of Klingon society.

It's just hard to accept that he could just join some other house and live out the rest of his life in obscurity without anyone recognizing him. If we're to accept that the house he joined had any nobility, one would think that he'd sooner or later be noticed by someone!
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Jason R.
Tue, Jul 25, 2017, 5:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

If tossing the garbage ship into the sun was always a viable option, why didn't the people who made the garbage just find a sun and do it. Duh.

And seriously? Drinking whiskey in 50 degree heat under direct sun without water? There's raging alcoholic and then there's this guy.
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Jason R.
Tue, Jul 25, 2017, 12:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

Especially in light of the events of In the Pale Moonlight. "The Ends don't justify the Means" has to be one of those idioms that is universally agreed with in theory but almost never in practice. There is no question Section 31 saved the Alpha Quadrant, none. And given the chance to rectify their evil act the Federation unequivocally stood by it.
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Jason R.
Sat, Jul 22, 2017, 9:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Savage Curtain

I didn't hate this episode as much as I had remembered it. I think the guest performance by the Lincoln actor and some of the dialogue with Surak elevated it a bit for me. Where the episode falls flat on its face of course is in the conclusion. Obviously as others have noted, attempting to discern the nature of good and evil through physical combat is just silly. But beyond that, it's apparent the writers just haven't the foggiest clue how to resolve things at the end, so they just have Kirk and Spock flat out beat up the four villains in a fist fight. That's right - after Lincoln and Surak die Spock and Kirk just straight up kick the asses of the bad guys despite 2:1 odds. No cleverness, no twist (a la Kirk outwitting the Gorn) they're just better fighters.
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