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Mon, Jul 24, 2017, 10:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: We'll Always Have Paris

I liked the suspense of the set-up: the Enterprise rocked by strange phenomena caused by a brilliant and reclusive scientist who is learning to mangle time.

The follow-through was weaker than the initial promise, but The A-story was still good enough to hold my interest - and was far.better than most season one plots.

As for the romance stuff: did anyone else find Beverly's yearning and jealousy a bit out of left field? "How can I compete with a ghost?" she says. We've been told she has a strained past with Picard ("Farpoint") and flirts with him while under the influence ("Naked Now"), but I never got any sense in earlier that she was lovelorn and trying to catch his eye.

I also found it surprising that she openly admitted her sense of "competing" to Troi . Competing for the sexual attentions of the ship captain - whether with ghosts of mortals - is unprofessional and disruptive. Shouldn't Crusher have been embarrassed and discomfited when Troi confronted her? And shouldn't Troi have firmly told her that ahe shouldn't be chasing after her commanding officer?
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Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 5:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Symbiosis

So: The Ornorans loaded their wobbly freighter with goods to barter for the drug, and flew to Brekka . There, Brekkans loaded the drug onto the freighter but somehow forgot to offload the Ornaran goods. Then the Brekkans climbed aboard the deathtrap ship themselves for a ride to Ornora. We're not given even a throwaway line to explain any of this.

I remain confused also by how the two cultures are portrayed. The Ornorans have spacefaring technology but are dumb as Pacleds about maintaining their ships. They also wear clothes that look rustic and threadbare. What's the message: Are they stupid? Drugged to the point of incompetence? Impoverished by the predatory Brekkans? None of these options make a lot of sense. Meanwhile the Brekkans are wearing the latest in metallic fashions - presumably manufactured in Ornoran factories. And for all their apparent riches and leisure time, they've been content to remain technologically behind the Ornorans they look down on - and are okay with completely dependent on them and their crumbling ships?

I am going to stop thinking too much - and just get back to enjoying the bizarre face of Electric Riker. I could look at that all day.

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Tue, Jul 18, 2017, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: The Sound of Her Voice

Thanks for an interesting viewpoint. It caught my interest. But on second thought, I don't understand your ideas about feminism etc.

You are cobbling together a lot of different things. Lemme separate them out for you.

"Feminism" is an ideology. In the west it has existed since maybe the late 18thC. It has been almost entirely driven by women themselves, calling for redress of sex-based injustices. It has nothing to do with consumerism... though companies certainly hitched themselves to it for profit (Virginia Slims cigarettes, for example).

Women's suffrage is the pursuit of voting rights for women. This datas to 1900-1920. Again the marches, demands, etc, were nearly all female-driven. Even when women got the vote in England and the US they largely did not have money to burn. (The rich women did - but the vote didn't create that: they already had money and sometimes the freedom to spend it. And after suffrage, working-class women continued to work, as they always had/have - but they were unlikely to buy much beyond the essentials.). So the suffrage movement didn't do anything to benefit salespeople.

You cite the 1950s: as a time of no daycare workers. The 50s did offer other crap jobs to women though: nurse, secretary, teacher. (This was well after women got the vote, so please don't mix up the 50s with suffrage!).

Ads pitched to middle class women were out in force in the 50s and 60s, in magazines and on the new medium of TV. They were ads for cleaning products and glamor/beauty products, and enforced the UN-feminist status quo: "Clean your husband's shirts as well as your pretty neighbor does, so your husband won't wander!" Or, "Wear this face cream and look like Jackie!". Consumerism, yes...feminism, no.

As for the 70s and the opening of work opportunities to half the population: errr yes, I suppose day care jobs were created , Daycare work is all low-paid, and not a great source of taxes! Nor are daycare workers likely to buy much luxury stuff as they scrape by on min wage.

And again, the push for work opportunities was largely driven by women themselves. TV shows and ads lagged behind the demands of feminists, upholding the status quo before wising up and smelling a new opportunity to market themselves to women of the new era. It was and is feminists who protested - still today - at the retro portrayals of themselves in ads and print media. The ads still said "Buy Mr Clean and have a perfect home!" while feminists were saying "Screw that."

Basically, anyone with means (or married to someone of means) is targeted by those with something to sell. It has always been that way. All that's changed is the products pitched to both sexes and the way those products are presented.

So I am puzzled - but interested - by your assessment .

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Sun, Jul 16, 2017, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Skin of Evil

I am introducing my daughter to TNG.. (She is 12 and not an especially discerning viewer, so she is loving the first season. I tell her it gets even better.)

We just reached "Skin of Evil." I am charmed by a scene I had forgotten: the opener with Yar and Worf discussing her upcoming martial arts competition. Worf expresses respect to her fighting skills, quietly telling her she is favored in the ship's pool. Yar is surprised and pleased - almost girlishly - with his laconic Klingon compliment. She beams at him, and you can kind of see in her the slightly insecure young woman who few up unloved in a brutal colony - a woman who later sought out Data for "tenderness and joy", and who despite her outward toughness is socially uncertain and a bit of an outsider (rather like Worf).

It's a spark of chemistry that Season One generally lacked - and does much to counteract the crying and the sexed-up silliness of Yar's earlier outings. I wish the Worf/Yar friendship could have been developed better - maybe over another season or two. Seems like a wasted opportunity.

Also, when a dead Yar is beamed back to the ship, there's a shot of Worf on the bridge, stoically trying not to show his feelings. That's a nice touch.

Since this is her death episode, I am going to say it: Crosby's face is stunning and she has great hair.

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Sun, Jul 2, 2017, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Hide and Q

What a stinker.

The worst aspect is the hideousness of the first half hour: ugly green sky, ugly tricolor costumes, ugly Vicious Animal Things, ugly Q get-ups, and may I add that Worf looks stupid running in that sash. The visual impact made me physically nauseous.

The brief Riker-Picard conversations after R gets his power are desperately underdeveloped: "You must not use your power!" "Okay, I promise!"

Typical for early TNG, the three females embarrass themselves. Crusher reprises her shrill, unprofessional panicked-mother act (perfected in "Justice"); Yar first sobs and then drunkenly gasps, "If you weren't the captain" (reprising "Naked Now"). And the leather-clad Klingon female is some kind of Vicious Animal Thing herself, lacking the power of speech and crawling on hands and knees toward her master. (I'm glad Klingon courtship was later retconned in the Wesley's-crush episode.)

The rejection of gifts leading to a "Riker Learns His Lesson" ending would suit an after-school special.

One star - and that's only because it was great to see Geordi's pretty eyes and his moment of wonder. Keep the gift, Geordi, for the love of God. I'm sick of that dumb visor.
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Sat, Jul 1, 2017, 6:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Preemptive Strike

When I first saw the episode, I understood Ro so well - could put myself in her place - and to me it was very clear that the Ro I knew would have to betray Starfleet because she could not bring herself to betray the Maquis.

But I was anxious,, because I was afraid the writers wouldn't be true to the character as I understood her: that they would twist her around and make her be a good loyal Starfleet officer who agrees with Picard in the end.

So I was delighted by the ending because it seemed so right, so totally Ro...and I hadn't really expected the show to let the character go there.

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Thu, Jun 29, 2017, 6:31am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Preemptive Strike

IRo had divided loyalties. The situation required her to betray either the Maquis or Starfleet. She had been portrayed previously as a person who tried hard to do the right thing: for example, at her court martial she didn't defend herself, and when sprung from prison in her intro episode, she didn't blindly do the admiral's bidding in exchange for her get-out-of-jail-free card.

She had sworn loyalty to Starfleet; and she is the kind of person who would take that seriously - more so I think than Tom Riker and Eddington. Even more than that, she took her promises to Picard seriously. How could she betray this man, of all men?

But the Maquis's hardscrabble struggle was similar to the Bajoran's struggle. She watched her father get tortured to death; then she was in a refugee camp like the one seen in "Ensign Ro" - but she didn't stay and fight for her people or her father's memory. She made her way to Starfleet academy where everything was shiny and the replicators gave you any food you dreamed of and you never had to be cold or hungry. She rejected her fellow Bajorans and their miserable lot, but she always felt guilty about it. That's why she was ethically torn in "Ensign Ro" and that's why she is torn here. (The Maguis are not the Bajorans, but their cause and their enemy are the same, and they live the same lifestyle that the Bajoran resistance did.)

In "Ensign Ro", all ended well because the anti-Bajoran mission that Admiral Kennelly sent her on, was illegal; the Bajorans had NOT attacked the Feseration outpost, and with Picard's help she was able to be both a good Starfleet officer and a good Bajoran. In "Preemptive Strike," she has to pick a side.

Someone above commented that her choice seemed like cowardice. I think to her, returning to Starfleet would have been cowardice. A cushy life on a fancy starship, obeying rules, "passing" as a member of the dominant mainstream class with its powerful uniform and all its easy privileges, concerning herself with her next performance review or what drink to order in Ten Forward? That's what she chose when she fled the refugee camp for Starfleet Academy. She abandoned her people once. She's justified it painfully but never forgiven herself for it. She won't do it again, to the Maquis - because that would prove all the worst things she suspects about herself: that at heart she's a weak and treacherous person who sells out her own kind.

("Ensign Ro" explains her reasons for leaving the refugee camp. She was ashamed of the degraded poverty and misery of her fellow Bakorans, just like she was ashamed of her father's weakness under torture. Picard says "I can't believe these people have to live like this" and Ro snaps "I couldn't. And I wouldn't! That's why I got out." But secretly she was really also ashamed of herself, because she'd achieved the good life by rejecting her people. So she flaunted her Bajoran earring and her last-name-first tradition, playing the 'proud indigenous Bajoran who rejects your Starfleet ways'....all ito cover up her secret sense that she's actually a pretty craven traitor of a Bajoran. Basically, Worf's conflict but with more angst and higher stakes.)

The Picard/Ro bar scene was amazing. The "Goodbye, Will" moment was amazing - credit to Frakes for the regret and respect he projects (showing the depth of their relationship, both personal and professional.). And the final Picard moment was amazing.

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Thu, Jun 22, 2017, 9:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics


Bravo! Well said. Especially your sixth paragraph: I couldn't agree more. She's all braying emotion, and seems to lack even the capacity to calm down and apply reason and ethics. How did this idiot become CMO on the Federation's flagship?

I got the impression Worf doesn't really matter to her. She doesn't consider his point of view or have any apparent compassion for him; his body is pretty much a prop for her strutting self-important theatrics.

This behavior might have suited the Julian Bashir character in an early episode of DS9;, since he was portrayed as young and untried and egotistical in the first season. But Crusher is supposed to be a seasoned physician. And she's horrible.

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Mon, Apr 17, 2017, 11:29pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics


(1) A patient shows up covered in cigarette burns, saying "I am burning myself because Jesus keeps telling me I gotta burn Satan outa me."

Now, this is perfectly legal: you're allowed to burn yourself with a cigarette and you are allowed to listen to the words of Jesus whether real, imagined., or hallucinatory. But I would have the right (probably the obligation) to get a 72-hour involuntary hold on this patient, and then a forced psychiatric assessment. I would have to right to hold the patient against her will and even put her in restraints or post a sitter (guard) over her. If a psychiatrist found her mentally ill and a danger to herself, and a judge agreed, the patient could be held against her will in a facility for a long time.

This is not because the patient is a criminal. (Go burn yourself with cigarettes and tell a cop you did it on a bet; you will not be arrested!) It is because the law allows doctors to protect mentally ill or demented or otherwise incompetent people who are mentally unable to protect themselves. It's what a kind society does for its mentally infirm.

(2). A heroin addict is hospitalized with endocarditis (life threatening heart infection). After a day or two she says "fuck this; my check came in today and I am leaving the hospital to buy heroin, and I am going to party until my money runs out." (THis is a common scenario.) Assuming she is sane, I have no right in the world to hold her against her will, chase her down the street, or camp out on her doorstep begging "Don't do drugs!" That would be kidnapping, stalking, and criminal harassment on my part.

Yes, heroin-buying is a criminal act and yes she will probably die from her actions. But that's her choice and I can't stand in her way.. Sane adults have the right to break the law and risk their lives without their doctors impeding their liberty.

As for "Would I stop a suicidal guy?" - I already addressed that in my initial post. Please retread it. Yes, I would be obligated to hold him for evaluation because IN MY SOCIETY, suicidal ideation is considered PROOF of mental illness and therefore a scenario-one situation..

However, as I said: in Worf's Klingon culture it is implied that suicide is the culturally accepted, totally normal action of a sane Klingon paraplegic. In a Klingon, it does not prove mental illness. Therefore Worf's statement of suicidal ideation is a scenario-two situation.
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Sun, Apr 16, 2017, 4:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

Well, I won't rebut that whole thing, - would take forever. We can agree to disagree mostly.

One thing though: Your claim that suicide's illegality is what matters (in medical decision-making and ethics) is simply completely wrong.

Legality of patient behavior is never a consideration. We aren't cops, just like cops aren't doctors. Patients do illegal things all the time right in their hospital rooms.

If you are a doctor who learned a different version of medical ethics - maybe because you trained in a different era or another country - I'd love to hear about that.

Otherwise, I am perplexed by you attempting to correct me about my own job.
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Fri, Apr 14, 2017, 8:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

Peter g:

Not seeing the irony.

Dlpb is speaking up for a specific principle: patient autonomy. This is the accepted modern American model.

By my standards (I'm a doctor) Beverley was an ass.

By my standards as a TV watcher, the writers were asses. Respect for the myriad different values of different species was surely taught at Starfleet Med School. It would hardly be good for interstellar diplomacy if Beverley constantly felt entitled to pour blood into Jehovah's witnesses and lock up honorable suicide-minded Klingons.

in my practice, suicidal patients are watched around the clock and prevented from killing themselves. But that's because we are humans and follow the creed that suicidal ideation is proof of mental illness.

This creed is not true for Worf. As best I can tell, his wish to die is in line with Klingon values and he is expressing it in a clear headed and culturally appropriate way. If he is meant to be seen as deranged by depression and incompetent to choose his fate, the episode did a poor job of showing this. (They should have given us a wheelchair bound Klingon on the view screen saying "Worf, quit whining and live on with courage! Like a true Klingon!")
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Sat, Apr 1, 2017, 10:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Power Play

Sirtis is always good when she is allowed to escape her tragic Troi-ness.

Trivia: the Essex was the early 1800s whale ship rammed by a sperm whale - the real-life germ of the Moby Dick story - and some of its crew did in fact survive. They were disembodied down to skin and bones by starvation, and they floated around in the vast ocean for (what must have felt like) 200 years.
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Sat, Apr 1, 2017, 9:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Violations

A young guy with an overbearing father is full of rage and pent-up violence, and uses his mental talents to psychologically invade and assault other people by forcing traumatic memories into their minds. This can fairly be called "mind rape".

But one of the mind rapes is an actual mind-rape *rape*. And the episode ends with an attempted real-life rape. And at the end the father speaks of "it's been centuries since we have had anyone commit this form of rape." Which form of rape? The mind rape or the mind-rape rape or the real-life rape? Okay - there are just way too many rapes muddying up the narrative!! We've got a rape-within-a-rape, a nonrape rape, a semi-rape rape, climaxing in an attempted hands-on rape!? It's an extravaganza of rapes both physical and mental, both literal and sci-fi-esque, all nested like matryoshka dolls!!

The first time I saw the episode was with a roommate in college. And at the end, she looked at me in great puzzlement and asked "So, okay, he raped both the women.... But why on earth did the guy rape Riker too?"

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Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 11:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

Lordy, Luke,
Your comments are so obtuse that I suspect you are yanking everyone's chain. However, on the off chance you are looking for answers to your questions, I will pose a couple questions of my own in response to yours.

(1) Re the question "Why do people
complain about hypersexy female characters, and don't complain when a ST man is shown shirtless?"

-- Do you think the words "honky" and "nigger" are equally insulting?
-- Why is Robin Hood (robbed from the rich) a romantic figure while Scrooge (cheated the poor) is not?
-- why are we more bothered by a dad threatening to hit his kid than a kid threatening to hit his dad?

(Answer: context matters).

(2) re your assertion that "no one forced these actresses to wear cat suits":

Why do workers all over the world put up with discrimination,, dangerous conditions, exploitative contracts, or sexual harassment? No one is forcing them to. Why don't they just quit - and eat cake!

(Answer: people are often willing to accept insults and injustice ... when the price of not accepting them is exorbitant.)

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Wed, Mar 29, 2017, 7:25am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

by the way, regarding Jamie Lee Curtis:

I learned in some genetics class that she has androgen insensitivity syndrome. If true, that means she has XY chromosomes and is genetically male. However, people with AIS lack the testosterone receptor in their cells, so their bodies function as 'testosterone-free' and develop under the influence of estrogen instead. That makes them develop as females in utero and at puberty. They are female in almost every way: they have a vagina, not a penis; they have a 'female' brain, etc. As I vaguely remember, they lack a uterus (the vagina ends in a blind cul de sac) and they have vestigial undescended testes inside the pelvis, rather than true ovaries.

That would make JLC a female in every way, except that she's infertile and her chromosomes are not the typical XX.

I have no idea if she is or isn't. But that's what the prof said.

This comment is brought to you in the interests of scientific understanding and irrelevant celebrity gossip. Live long and prosper.
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Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Game

I would like to thank outsider65 for the above comments, which are the possibly the funniest comments ever written about any episode. Bravo, 65!
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Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 8:28am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

To clarify: (thought it was clear but okay): When I referred to black Americans migrating from south to north to escape Jim Crow and rural poverty, I was not speaking of escaping slaves but their descendants who had been Americans for generations and called Ameroca, not Africa, their home and homeland.

Most of us have very recent ancestors who were chased off their land by war, cruelty, discrimination - don't we? (I surely do.) it's happening today all over the world. Whether you're a Christian from Mosul or a south Sudanese running from war, you're losing your land and it isn't fair.

What makes the Palestinian situation unique is that they wee forbidden by the surrounding Arabs to start over like normal refugees and migrants. The other thing that makes them unique is that - due to the political machinations of the surrounding Arab nations - they have been manipulated to still seek Israel's destruction. Obviously this prevents peace. Israel could wipe out GaZa in five minutes but doesn't. GaA's government would wipe it Israel in five minutes if they ever found the means. They are quite up front about it! The regular folk just want decent lives but are constantly trained to see Israel and Jews as the problem . It's a useful tactic for Arab governments, including Hamas, but it hasn't helped anyone except the Arab dictator-class and imam-class at the top of the food chain.
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Tue, Mar 28, 2017, 7:55am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

Outsider65: Your point is interesting and worth debating. Yes, Soren is more content after her corrective treatment than she was before it. All her angst at being different and all her longings for things she is denied have been erased. If citizens' happiness is the goal, forced corrective therapy is the act of a loving government.

On the other hand, the message I (and I think most viewers) take from the ending is that Soren was robbed of her individuality by the heavy hand of a State that had no respect for her right to be different. This is also the message of the glorious Twilight Zone ep referenced by William B above: "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You". ("Number Twelve" made it a bit more clear that the government's interest was to erase dissent. It's never clear to me what Soren's government is trying to do: enforce a religious ideal? Erase dissent? Or make their Sorens happy?)

Lots of stories center on this theme.

For example: I haven't seen "Stepford Wives" but I imagine it's the same idea. Would you rather be you and be full of usual human angst, or be a happy slave? One can fairly argue whether the majority of (middle class) women weren't happier when female roles were defined and limited and the prescribed feminine goals were achievable to many: marry, cook, have babies, get the laundry superclean. (A subset of middle class women were of course miserable because they had squelched dreams or abusive husbands/fathers, but perhaps the sum total of female middle class happiness was greater pre feminism? It's certainly possible.)

The various memory-wipe episodes can be debated in the same way. When Kern is mind wiped in some episode "for his own good", is it right or wrong? The same plot device occurs on Babylon Five - personality-wipe is a punishment/rehabilitation technique used on convicted murderers. And on "Angel," a beloved, suffering teen boy has his whole life rewritten and is inserted into a loving family - ensuring a better shot at happiness but robbing him of all his memories of two father-figures and everything he'd built, accomplished, striven for in his natural existence. In all cases, the individuals are happier - but is it ethical to change a person against her will? Is it ethical promised that she wants it? Is it ethical if she wants it solely because society discriminates and shames her current self?

I think most of us feel horrified at the idea of being robbed of our true selves. It's like the fear of death or of dementia. But maybe we shouldn't?

If you could be guaranteed, say, a hapoy lifelong stint of dementia or insanity (all your worries gone, cared for forever while living in an upbeat fantasy world of delusion), would you choose it?

I might, but only if my life were miserable - because I am too attached to my current dreams and goals and happy moments. On the other hand, if I were forced over the line into that upbeat fantasy world, would I want to return to my checkered and fraught current one? Probably not.

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Wed, Mar 15, 2017, 9:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

DLPB is clearly unaware of the vicious trickery Western women have been employing for the past half-century, to overturn the natural order of things - our genetic inferiority - through unfair means.

For thousands of years, it was a Known Fact that women are too stupid to attend university. Medicine was especially closed to them: it drew on a long tradition of strenuous study and noble sacrifice and long hours. Women were not only to stupid to understand the application of leeches and the compounding of lead pills,, they lacked the mental toughness and physical stamina for training. The poor deara were also too fragile to vote, too concerned with doilies and dollies to be educable, and incapable of firing a gun or flying a plane for the military. Marathon running was a danger to their fertility. And so on. The most brilliant minds - male, and trustworthy! - said so.

In just a hundred years, my sex has overcome all these fearsome genetic handicaps. We went from "too stupid for Harvard" to summa cum laude; from "too fragile for anything but nursing" to being at least half the graduating class of every medical school. We have figured out how to quit fainting all the time. Clearly - if the trend keeps up! - we are on a path to dominating the west.

The explanation for our miraculous mental and physical upgrade is obvious. Just ask Julian Bashir how he did it...

For proof: look at the women of lands not favored with rich western techniques of genetic upgrades! In the middle east (except westernized Israel), across Africa, in most of rural Asia and South America, females remain just as stupid and sheeplike as ever. They obey their husbands and fathers, spend their days slaving over stoves and children, put up with being treated like dogs or worse... Clearly that is all they're capable of! Statistics proves that the literacy rate for females is always less than that of males in undeveloped countries, and a woman always is paid a lower salary than a man who does the same job. What more evidence do we need of their natural inferiority?

Case closed!
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Sun, Mar 12, 2017, 9:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Destiny

What Vii said about Cardassian males. Among other things, I love the way their uniforms come to a peak in the center of their chest. I don't know what's under there or why that slays my girlish heart so much, but there you have it.

Among female aliens: I find the Vulcans most attractive. Maybe that's just my taste for androgyny. YMMV.

On a related topic: I can't figure out why Wesley Crusher's GF on "The Game" is so widely adored (see the comments on that episode). I'm not a hater; I agree she's cute, but a million actresses are cute. I'm curious what her special appeal is. Off the top of my head, I'd give higher marks to Sonya Gomez, Minuet, Picard's wife Aline, the "Perfect Mate" metamorph, Vash, the Vulcan girl at Wes's Starfleet entrance exam, and probably a hundred others.
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Wed, Mar 8, 2017, 7:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

DLPB: " Back in the real world, women are outnumbered at MENSA, and in lists of geniuses, and chess champions, and at virtually all sports and human endeavours. Not sexism, not "glass ceiling", just stark reality that men and women are different. No amount of socialist propaganda can change it."

While I;ve agree with some of DLPB's opinions on other subjects, on this one he (I assume it's a he, though I could be wrong) makes me laugh. It is funny to see someone making sweeping pronouncements about intelligence, while revealing his own deficits in that sphere. He overlooks the confounding variables that screw up any attempt to judge male vs female intelligence by such means as "MENSA demographics" and "who's got the most Nobel prizes" and "which sex is most likely to produce a chess grand master." And if he can't figger it out, I won't bother to clue him in.

As far as athletic achievement, I concur. Human males are on average taller and stronger and faster than human females.
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Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 10:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: The Naked Now

I liked it when I first saw it as a kid. I thought it was a clever idea to expose the inner longings of the crew, to speed our understanding of them. Some of it worked decently (Tasha has a troubled past and has adopted a tough-girl exterior while secretly longing to be feminine and cared for.). Some of it didn't (Beverly has an inexplicable desire for the guy who brought her husband's body home. Wait - is *that* why she requested to serve on the Enterprise? She's had a ten-year crush on her dead husband's commanding officer? Why??)

Worst line in all Season One goes to Data:

After the Tsirkovski explodes, Data says, "Captain, what we have just heard is..... Impossible! That last sound was an emergency hatch being blown."

You might say it. I might say it. The word "impossible" is an acceptable hyperbole. But this is Data. He is so ultra-literal that he refuses to understand the phrase "needle in a haystack" until Riker clarifies "I should have said, a *proverbial* needle in a haystack." He is so precise with language that he finds it necessary to correct his commanding officer regarding the victims being "sucked out" vs "blown out" into space.

So when our Data describes a sound as being "impossible", it had damn well better be impossible. That was a truly crappy dialogue choice, and I have no idea how all the writers and actors let it pass without protest.

In other notes:

--Tasha looked pretty fine in her drunken midriff-baring get-up with the little curl on her forehead.

--Data didn't seem infected when Tasha approached him. I got the feeling he complied with her wishes because he thought it was part of his job. When propositioned by one's chief of security, a Starfleet officer must immediately disrobe and obey....

--As I remember, in the second Q episode Riker gives Geordi the gift of normal sight and Geordi immediately turns to Yar and says "You're as beautiful as I imagined." Was there an intention for a Geordie-loves-Yar plot early on? I got that vibe here when he puts his hands up to her face.

--What possessed Riker to think that a previous reference to "taking a shower in one's clothes" would shed any light on their current situation? Showering in one's clothes is not pathognomonic of any particular illness or toxic substance. (I did it myself once, cold sober, when preoccupied with a difficult new computer system being installed at my workplace. ). It signifies only nonspecific cognitive changes: confusion, poor concentration, impulsivity, etc. In 29 centuries of written records on earth, surely lots of clad showering incidents have been described?

-- Why does Worf remain unaffected through it all? I credit his Klingon constitution. A warrior does not give in to any intoxicant but blood wine!
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Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 7:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: The Quality of Life

Apologies: I haven't rewatched the episode in years. I had forgotten that Data offered to try to save his crewmates by going in himself. I remembered it as a situation in which Picard and Geordie were sure to die without exocomp assistance, and Data said, "Let the exocomps decide if they want to help, And if they don't, then byebye to my crewmates."

(Which would have been a brave stand, and I think consistent with Data's nature. If he indeed thought the exocomps were sentient, then he should have treated them as no less important than his crewmates.)

Chrome: yes, I would have preferred to see two extras die, instead of the not-credible happy ending. Why didn't the writers do that? Because they wanted to give us Intense Nail-biting Drama. And because they didn't *want* to be stuck with the followup episode: Data's actions have caused the death of two people, the angry families blame Data, there's an investigation, blah blah blah. From a writer's perspective what they gave us is the best of all worlds: the stars are put in jeopardy! But then they are saved miraculously! There are no consequences for anyone! Everything goes back to how it was fifty minutes earlier!

Writers are gods: they create the universe and pull its strings. What I want is for them to create a believable universe. And I found nothing believable about the exocamps' choice.

As I remember - please correct me if I'm wrong - Data ends up asking the exocomps if they are willing to risk their little lives to save a couple of humans. And they agree! Thus, happiness reigns.

Okay: why would the exocomps agree, except that their helpless little strings are being jerked by the writers? The exocomps don't give a fuck about Picard and Geordie. They haven't gone to Starfleet. As they are recent creations, there's no reason to think they have religion, philosophy, love of handsome men in uniform, or any notions of the glories of self-sacrifice. Asked to risk themselves for some ugly bags of mostly water, they should have said "Hell, no. We aren't stupid."

The fact that they said yes suggested to me that (a) writers were pulling their strings, aka Lazy Plotting, or (b) they were merely bound by their early training: they'd been programmed as slavish tools and slavish toolhood was all they knew. It was no more their 'choice' to risk their dim brainwashed lives, than it was a woman's 'choice' in Old India to climb on the funeral pyre beside her dead husband. Less: because the exocomps were new and young and pretty much lived in their inventor's suitcase if I recall correctly. What the hell did they know of the world and their options?

I see a similarity and a contrast to Tosk in season one of DS9. Tosk ("I am Tosk. The hunted.") was a creature who had been raised to be killed on his home planet for the pleasure of the ruling class. Like the exocomps he had been 'programmed' to be used by his masters. For this reason, the DS9 crew had appropriate misgivings about letting him give his life in the hunt. Initially it was not at all clear he understood his choices. But Tosk, unlike the exocamps, could eloquently state his reasoning: he knew his situation; he knew his options; he was willing to die; he considered it a noble calling.

The exocamps, by contrast, are unfathomable and have almost no exposure to education or to the wide world, so their odd 'decision' to risk death for picard and geordie suggests programming and poor insight rather than nobility.

In sum: I think the writers pulled a fast one. They gave us a lazy jeopardy premise created for emotional manipulation, and resolved it with an unbelievable, and morally questionable, out. Picard and Geordie were saved and Data faced no consequences and TNG went on unchanged.

If I am mis-remembering the episode I apologize. But this is how it struck me at the time: lazy manipulative writing, more than anything.
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Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 7:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

I love this one. Love it, love it. And, let my say again, I really enjoy Jammer's reviews and all the comments. Especially Greg's take, which didn't occur to me. It's brilliant and dramatic and deeply cynical and yet undeniable: under the shine of Starfleet and the bright optimism of 'seeking out new life', there's a pervasive dark underbelly, as in all militaries, that everyone draws a polite doily over.

A few other thoughts:

-- I liked Ben and preferred him to Guinan here, as he fits in well with the younger set. It's illuminating to see an example of the civilian infrastructure on the starship. Ben's everyone's friend and doesn't take orders or call anyone 'sir'. Yet he's agreed to a dangerous gig: he rides along and he'll die with the rest if the ship blows up. It's interesting. It did leave me wondering how many civilians serve on board. Don't forget, they've got the best barber in Starfleet!

-- To JadziaDaxMD: My understanding is that Beverly is Ogawa's boss not because a doctor should be a nurse's boss, but because Beverly is the head of the medical department, the same way a pathologist is head of a clinical lab. In a bigger medical department I suppose Ogawa would have reported to a director of nursing - but on the ship, with only one doctor and a thousand or so healthy people to care for and brilliant machines that do most of the work, I would guess the whole medical department aside from Crusher consists of fifteen or so medical support staff like Ogawa. So Crusher is the de facto boss of them all.

It certainly would have been nice if Ogawa were shown to have her own expertise, which would explain why she got the plum job on the Enterprise. (Like, she's done research in trauma care or specialized in diseases of non-human humanoids). That would also establish her cred as equal-but-different, which I agree is the right relationship between nurses and doctors.
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Wed, Mar 1, 2017, 5:11am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: The Quality of Life

Rosario took the words out of my mouth (years ago): best thing about this episode is Jammer's review of it. I am in awe of the reviewer's scalpel.

It would have been far more credible if the deus ex machina ending had not been tacked on. Picard and Geordi should have been allowed to die by Data's hand. That was the logical and expected outcome of his decision but the episode was too chickenshit to follow through,

I don't mean that I want to see the main characters die - obviously, as an engaged viewer I love me my Picard. Even the poorly-characterized Blind Engineer Guy has wedged himself Into my heart. But the final plot-cheat by which Data's choice has zero consequences and all's well that end's well, sinks this ep for me.

The most interesting part of the episode is the thing Jammer points out: to humans , both within TNG and in the meta-world of TV watchers, Picard and Geordie simply matter emotionally a whole lot more than some little robot-beasts. To Data, who does not assign emotional weight to any sentient lives, ethics is stripped to its bare and clean essentials: Picard's life is no more important than a single Exocomp's, and to force an Exocomp to die for Picard is as ethically incorrect as enslaving Picard and forcing him to die rescuing an Exocomp.

Can you imagine the follow-up scenes after Picard and Geordie died? Everyone in the crew, all those emotion-driven humans, would look on Data with horror. All this time they (and we) thought he was "just like the rest of us" . They even fought to save his life in "Measure of a Man". And in return his wiring is such that he repays them in this fashion. Suddenly "just Data being Data" would be exposed in a new light. He really *doesnt* have feelings toward the rest of us. And that makes him supremely virtuous and committed to Starfleet's ideals... And it makes us loathe him.

Data has incorruptible ethics and honor without emotions, and all we humans have corruptible ethics and questionable honor *because* of our emotions..

I suspect the final ending of that plot would have been: Picard and Geordie are buried, the whole (emotion-driven) crew ostracizes and despises Data as a murderer, and the (emotion-driven) human leaders of Starfleet court-martial him as a traitor and condemn him to serve life (i.e., eternity) in the stockade

Poor Data, bewildered by human emotionality, would slowly rust behind bars while forever (rightly) protesting his innocence, but would be incapable of sorrow or rage. Meanwhile we and the Enterprise crew would be traumatized by grief, rage, and guilt until we die.

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