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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 7:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I've decided that I pretty much have nothing in common with Trek fans. I'm starting to wonder if Trek has always sucked and I just never realized it.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 6:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

Also right now, some nice details I never noticed before. Moriarty’’s steampunk device to shake/control the Enterprise has a small integrated LCARS display.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 6:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Elementary, Dear Data

It’s insane that the holodeck got through testing enough for all the shenanigans that happen throughout Trek. And certainly with such a casual command from Geordi, like “do you want to create a supervillain controlling the whole ship?” and no “Are You Sure?”

Pulaski’s dreadful Data hate is on full display here, but it is at least consistent characterization, and shows some small character growth.

But aside from the many difficulties, it plays out pretty well with Trek sensibilities. Day-Lewis is spectacular, and Moriarty becoming self-aware and transcending his caricature origin is very compelling. Maybe not completely convincing, but good stuff. This is Roddenberry‘s vision of the future in steroids. It’s pretty good sci-fi even outside its Trek. Picard’s talk with Moriarty about technology is rather touching.

Watching it now, it’s reasonable to wonder if Moriarty is playing a deeper game. He’s got the intelligence to basically understand his existence, and even perhaps to be planning his future moves.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 5:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Imaginary Friend

I'm the same age as Noley Thornton, and I remember watching this with my dad when it was new. I was just beginning to be old enough to watch and start to understand Star Trek, and while I probably thought I was a bit beyond having an imaginary friend at that point, I could relate to Clara's perspective on the Enterprise and her interactions with the other characters. I don't remember if I knew much about Alexander at that point, but Wesley was a lot older, so Clara was probably the first time I felt like I had a window into what it might be like being a kid my age on the Enterprise, that I could relate to Star Trek on a character level rather than just an sci-fi action-adventure level.

Obviously the show as a whole isn't aimed at the 8-year-old demographic and you wouldn't want to have seen an episode like this every week - and Star Trek's track record with "kid" shows is spotty for sure - but occasionally doing something that kids can relate to while still fitting into the overall premise of the series can go a long way toward making the show and the franchise appealing to another generation of fans.

As Captain Picard explains to Isabella the limitations of seeing the Enterprise only through the eyes of a child, there's also a limitation to only seeing the series through the eyes of an adult as most of the reviews here understandably do. It's far from the best episode, but it served its purpose for me.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 5:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead


"There's nothing special or sacrosanct about laws. It's all just made up stuff, usually to benefit a narrow view. Segments of BLM have torn down some statues, burnt some businesses, wrecked some property and maybe spat on some cops. Is this what's upsetting you? Because the laws allowing those statues, businesses, and properties, and the cops which defend them, are largely silly, arbitrary, and have a bevy of socially harmful knock-on effects."

That's your defense? Saying that the laws which prevent the burning of businesses and wrecking of property are "silly and arbitrary"?

Well, thanks for proving my points so effectively!

"It's the paranoid belief that ... 'monolithic entity with a secret agenda' ... "

Stop being an ass. I've never said anything of the sort.

And I just love it how you called my comment "paranoid" and "fear-mongering", right after you declared that the laws which protect our basic human rights are silly. Man, I gotta admire your gall.

"Interestingly, we have lots of scientific studies showing that while blacks overwhelmingly believe discrimination against blacks has declined, whites believe that discrimination against whites is bigger than discrimination against blacks. The reason, scientists say, is because they see discrimination as a zero-sum game."

So, what do you propose we do about it?

We have two choices:

We can strive to educate people and help them see things the Trekkian way, where diversity and acceptance makes everybody's lives better. A good start would be to remind them of things like the US constitution and the UN bill of rights, and explain how protecting everybody's basic rights makes everyone safer and happier.

Or we can throw all that away. Say "f**k it" to 250 years of slow and steady progress, declare that human-made rules are stupid, and let this "zero-sum game" run its course until we have a winner.

What future do you prefer? Which of these two options is worth spending your time and energy to fight for?

Think about it.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 5:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

"I liked the second episode a lot more than the first, which seemed a little mean-spi­rit­ed to me. But in “Envoys”, the cha­rac­ters are much more like­able; but in the sec­ond, really no one be­haved dickish (except Boimler at the end, which was probably Mariners plan all along). I saw the twist com­ing and really liked it — in this single scene, Mariner has shown more lo­yal­ty and com­pas­sion (at the cost of look­ing not cool) than an­other lead of 3ʳᵈ ge­ne­ra­tion Trek in two seasons. She grows on me."

Mariner swallowing her pride to help Boimler grow his confidence a bit is probably the most adult thing she's done so far. I don't mean that negatively, more in that she's tries to come off as such a badass that her actually trying to help out and mentor a colleague instead of blast him when it could serve her really speaks numbers.

Good episode, enjoyed it a lot.

Also, I wonder if Jammer would ever be so inclined to post episode threads, just for discussion's sake. He doesn't need to review it but it does get kind of annoying to scroll down the the bottom of an extremely long page to see what people thought of the new episode.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

After two episodes, I think I'm in for Lower Decks. It's stupid-fun, with a sly edge.

I see the *constant* references to Trek lore as a running meta-joke, more so than the desperate attempt to show cred that some interpreted at first. I kind of loved the throwaway line from the captain about needing something "cool" to say when going to warp.

The plot-pace of this second ep was 'slower' in the A story, but then in overdrive for the B. The pace itself is a big part of the joke. Rutherford dresses for, trains in, and then moves on from several new careers in the time of Boimler and Mariner's hours on the planet? And everybody just cheers this ridiculous breakneck self-actualization journey? Come on, that's funny.

I was hoping they would leave Mariner's self-deprecating sacrifice for Boimler as an inference from what we (already!) know of her, and the look as she leaves the bar, but they threw in the explicit reveal. So I guess it's not *that* sly.

Anyway, FWIW, I've been watching Trek long enough to have seen everything from Motion Picture onward in first release, and I legitimately enjoyed this for what it is.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 3:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

Wolfstar, you are gay. What do you think about that a third of Poland has declared itself LGBT free?
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 3:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

Wow... this thread has taken off :-)


"The factual numbers concerning police brutality against blacks do not justify the protests."

I'm curious... What numbers would justify these so-called "protests" in your view? What numbers would justify taking entire counties hostage, bullying innocents and terrorizing an entire nation?"

Here is a good article.

Anyone protesting getting struck by lightning?

"On the other hand:

Even a single incident like the case of George Floyd is one incident too many."

Of course it is and you saying it doesn't make you special. We don't live in a perfect world. Now that an additional video has been leaked, we see Mr Floyd wasn't such an angel; he resisited arrest the entire way. He was so high, I'm beginning to question the second autopsy results paid for by the family. It seems he might have been saying what everyone wanted to hear. Mr Floyd could just as easily slammed off the high and died. Now that said, he had cuffs on so the knee pinning him to the ground was excessive IMO... but does anyone now think the officers will be convicted for murder after watching that video?

"And it's not a single incident. I remember similar events happening in the past years. The cops were often never charged, and nobody really cared about it or done anything about it."

If you are refering to Ferguson, the officer was completely justified. The whole "hands up shot in the back" was made up crap. More often than not cops shouldn't have been charged. Does it happen? Sure, but walk a day in their shoes before passing judgement. They don't pay these public servents enough.

"So if these "protesters" had taken this incident as a trigger to start a genuine fight against police burtality, or against racism, or for a better just world, I would have supported them completely."

They initially had probably 99 percent of America (and the world) behind them.

"The problem is that this isn't what happened. What happened is that a bunch of militant groups decided to cynically use the Floyd incident to further their own agendas."

True, but BLM should know that. If they truly are benevalant they should stop their "peacefull protests" because they are taken over. But they don't, because they are funded by Soros... who also funds ANTIFA. It's their own parties leftest agenda that is their worst enemy... now the "defund the police" loonacy hurts their case even more.

Of course, Mt Floyd is memorialized... a guy with a criminal record longer than my arm to include pointing a loaded gun at a pregnant womans unborn baby.

And then, what makes this worse, is the Democrat leadership in these cities just let the riots happen.

But all that said, the best way to not get into a life threatening situation with police is to DO WHAT THEY SAY!!! ... and if you've been wronged, take it to court.

This forum is pretty heady... I'd love to hear what folks here think about "qualified immunity".
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 3:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I liked the second episode a lot more than the first, which seemed a little mean-spi­rit­ed to me. But in “Envoys”, the cha­rac­ters are much more like­able; but in the sec­ond, really no one be­haved dickish (except Boimler at the end, which was probably Mariners plan all along). I saw the twist com­ing and really liked it — in this single scene, Mariner has shown more lo­yal­ty and com­pas­sion (at the cost of look­ing not cool) than an­other lead of 3ʳᵈ ge­ne­ra­tion Trek in two seasons. She grows on me.

The fan service was adorable and genuinely funny (I par­ticu­lar­ly smiled at the Ven­dian in the An­do­ri­an bar). I laughed at most jokes, because they were either in-jokes for fans (err, my weak­ness) or arose from the charac­ters. For­tu­nate­ly, most of the slap­stick ele­ments in epis­ode one are gone.

However, thy hyperactivity remains; I watched the video at 75% speed and still con­­si­der­ed some of the dia­lo­gues too fast, while only a few had be­come un­natu­ral­ly slow. I won­der what they snort in the pro­duc­tion team, or maybe I am a Pakled by heart?
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 2:36pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

"That 'Drumhead' gets re-read as being 'also about reverse racism', BLM and the modern 'cancelling of whites' seems silly to me."

It seems to me that the cancel culture debate is almost like the "what is/isn't Star Trek" debate in that the term and concept are too loosely defined for people to ever be able to agree on what constitutes it and whether it's good or bad, right or wrong.

But the thing about a good parable is that it can be applied to multiple situations, people in different contexts and decades can see themselves and their own experiences in it. And I wouldn't be hasty to reduce the counterargument here to being about the "cancelling of whites". I have seen black people who dared to side with the wrong person or voice even mild disagreement with aspects and methods of current progressive politics face torrents of abuse denouncing them as "Uncle Toms", "coconuts", "coons", "house negro" etc. by other black people on social media, even here in the UK. It's absolutely repellent and extremely ugly. We've created a situation where *within minority groups*, people feel entitled to abuse and shun anyone who doesn't display the right fealties. In the past when I have been "cancelled" or targeted on social media for wrongthink, it was almost always other gay guys doing it - and I've never voted for a right-wing party in my life. The left eats it own, and social media has gamified and depersonalized this to the extent it's almost become a sport. Look at the incredible hostility and often really nasty personal invective directed towards Pete Buttigieg during his campaign - not from the right, but by "progressives"/the hard left, particularly gay American millennials to his left. (On top of being terrible conduct, all of this is also just an incredibly dumb strategy because it pushes people away from the left and further towards the right - it's the last way to behave if you want to convince someone or win them over to your side.) I'm really sick of this "wrong type of minority" culture that's taking hold more and more where if you're black, gay, female, trans, etc. etc. but you don't hold the opinions and allegiances that your identity group is supposed to hold, you get viciously attacked by your own peers and those who are supposed to be on your own side, and essentially branded as a collaborator or pariah. The U.S. has an incredibly deeply rooted cluster of problems around ingrained racism that spans areas like police brutality, the carceral state, gun culture etc. - it's extreme and quite unique in a way that I think can be hard for people in other countries to appreciate. But current progressive politics has empowered bullies *within* minority groups who will think nothing of abusing and trampling over supposed allies and members of their own minority group if it furthers their own profile and self-interest, and a lot of well-meaning people in the center who genuinely want to help minority rights are giving these people a voice and status. There are Winns, Alixuses and Saties within every progressive activist campaign, because being able to cloak yourself in a benevolent cause is like catnip to certain types of extremely dangerous toxic people with various cluster-B personality disorders, as it's the perfect shield - I wish there weren't, but I've met them. I'm still left but more center-left these days. I encourage anyone who wants to see what cancel culture looks like in practice in the real world to read Freddie deBoer:

"I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 19-year-old white woman—smart, well-meaning, passionate—literally run crying from a classroom because she was so ruthlessly brow-beaten for using the word “disabled.” Not repeatedly. Not with malice. Not because of privilege. She used the word once and was excoriated for it. She never came back. I watched that happen.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 20-year-old black man, a track athlete who tried to fit organizing meetings around classes and his ridiculous practice schedule (for which he received a scholarship worth a quarter of tuition), be told not to return to those meetings because he said he thought there were such a thing as innate gender differences. He wasn’t a homophobe, or transphobic, or a misogynist. It turns out that 20-year-olds from rural South Carolina aren’t born with an innate understanding of the intersectionality playbook. But those were the terms deployed against him, those and worse. So that was it; he was gone.

I have seen, with my own two eyes, a 33-year-old Hispanic man, an Iraq war veteran who had served three tours and had become an outspoken critic of our presence there, be lectured about patriarchy by an affluent 22-year-old white liberal arts college student, because he had said that other vets have to “man up” and speak out about the war. Because apparently we have to pretend that we don’t know how metaphorical language works or else we’re bad people. I watched his eyes glaze over as this woman with $300 shoes berated him. I saw that. Myself."
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Jason R.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 2:31pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

"There's nothing special or sacrosanct about laws. It's all just made up stuff, usually to benefit a narrow view. Segments of BLM have torn down some statues, burnt some businesses, wrecked some property and maybe spat on some cops. Is this what's upsetting you? Because the laws allowing those statues, businesses, and properties, and the cops which defend them, are largely silly, arbitrary, and have a bevy of socially harmful knock-on effects."

So why should I care if George Floyd got killed by a cop? What do I care about laws against police brutality? For that matter, if someone, say burns down your house - should I care about that more than you care about someone burning down a business?
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 1:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Aquiel

This episode is a gem for one reason and one reason only: the way Riker has no idea how to interact with the dog and ends up awkwardly clobbering the poor thing’s muzzle every time he tries to show it affection. It gets worse each time he does it and everyone just continues on with a straight face as if he didn’t just do an extremely strange thing to a dog; it’s hilarious.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 1:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

Omicron said: "if something offends their side, they are entitled to a free pass to do whatever they want about it, including breaking the law."

There's nothing special or sacrosanct about laws. It's all just made up stuff, usually to benefit a narrow view. Segments of BLM have torn down some statues, burnt some businesses, wrecked some property and maybe spat on some cops. Is this what's upsetting you? Because the laws allowing those statues, businesses, and properties, and the cops which defend them, are largely silly, arbitrary, and have a bevy of socially harmful knock-on effects.

Nobody has any kind of divine right to a racist statue, or even a cozy mom-and-pop business. You win that right through power, and a range of messy historical forces, and it is contested via the same.

Omicron said: "See, these people know a thing or two about psychology. They know that if you frame it as "a protest against police brutality" and "systematic racism" then millions will give you a free pass to do whatever you want..."

Who are "these people"? What is "it"? What is being incorrectly "framed as a protest against police"?

Omicron said: "No doubt, this situation is going to go down as a warning tale in the history books. The story of how a few militant groups managed to manipulate a strong democracy into committing suicide... by cynically manipulating the good heart of its people."

Look at the language you're using. You're employing the same silppery-slope fallacy we've seen time and time again throughout history when these issues arise (it's like a fear-mongering William Buckly or Jordan Peterson speech).

It's the paranoid belief that "a few manipulative radicals" constitute a "monolithic entity" with a "secret agenda" and that their "disrespect for the law" will "corrupt the children" and the "good people" and "pervert democracy" causing it to "collapse" and "commit suicide". It's a disturbing thing to say.

Thankfully, Peter mentions Arthur Miller. I've always regarded his play as a specific influence upon "Drumhead" (The 1996 filmed version of the play, "The Crucible", is excellent to watch as well).

Where Miller takes Puritan fears of Satanism and uses it to critique US fears of Stalinism, "Drumhead" takes Federation fears of the Other to critique contemporary racism. In this regard, the episode likens its Klingons and Romulans to "roaches", and regurgitates the "one drop" mode of racism common in the US less than a century ago which targed mixed-race folk and Jews ("It is Romulan blood you carry and so a Romulan heritage that you honour!”).

And remember, Miller's tale of a witchhunt was specifically critiquing the anti-communist hysterias of the 1950s, and to a lesser extent a growing anti-Beatnik sentiment. Aligning such a tale to "cancel culture" and BLM seems fundamentally dishonest to me, ignores historical precedent, and all kinds of power imbalances.

It also ignores how the episode is consciously about non-whites. The arrested Klingon says he's only being charged because he's a Klingon, to which Troi smugly points out that their chief of security is Klingon, the scene taking aim at those "well-meaning, accidental racists" who "couldn’t possibly be racist when they have non-white friends".

And note that Satie becomes increasingly fascistic as the episode unfolds. She believes the Federation was once the most remarkable institution ever conceived. She wants to restore or preserve its greatness by rooting out conspirators who "consort" with Romulans.

That "Drumhead" gets re-read as being "also about reverse racism", BLM and the modern "cancelling of whites" seems silly to me.

Interestingly, we have lots of scientific studies showing that while blacks overwhelmingly believe discrimination against blacks has declined, whites believe that discrimination against whites is bigger than discrimination against blacks. The reason, scientists say, is because they see discrimination as a zero-sum game. Other studies show that if you remind whites that the American population is becoming more diverse and that whites will soon be less that half of the population, their concern about anti-white discrimination increases. Whites tend to view increasing diversity as anti-white bias, and more equality (for them) as paradoxically leading to inequality (for us). Here, you thus see a kind of unconscious admittance that they view liberal democracy, and markets, as a kind of game of musical chairs, with more butts than seats, and that this is all fine, so long as they're not the ones left standing.
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James G
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 1:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

I like this one a lot, despite the shaky foundations it's built upon. I'm always a sucker for time travel stories. They never withstand careful scrutiny. This one is more troublesome than most. But it's intriguing.

In the end it's a pretty simple plot and the conclusion is a bit anti-climactic. But I enjoyed the mystery, and Matt Frewer's performance.

Possibly the biggest problem with this notion of historians from the future turning up at significant events, is that said events would be crowded with them. There'd be a few historians from every decade after time travel was invented at the first Beatles concert, at Caesar's assassination, in Normandy on D Day, etc etc.

I really enjoyed the philosophical dialogue about ethics between the self-styled Professor and Picard. But the discussion they have could easily influence Picard away from his intended course. Furthermore, all Picard has to do is to announce that he's taking either option, and wait for the Prof's reaction to see what he's "supposed" to do.

Nice to see the greenhouse effect get a mention, it was very topical at the time as I recall. Back then ozone-friendly products were very fashionable as well, but that doesn't get much of a mention these days.

Surely Data would notice Rasmussen stealing from under his nose? If he's capable of listening to a dozen orchestral performances at the same time surely he can process what's going on in the corner of his eye.

Also - this idea that Rasmussen can pretend to "invent" the items he steals from the future is problematic. You couldn't even take a mobile phone from 1997 back to 1977 and "invent" it, the technology within these devices is actually based on a whole raft of different inventions, from the display technology to the memory to the particular microprocessor technology to the battery chemistry. I doubt anyone in the 22nd century could sufficiently analyse a device from a century and more into the future to gain any useful manufacturing insight from it.

Oh and the manner in which the planet, Penthara IV is threatened, then saved - seems really weak techno-nonsense to me. Imagine the speed of what we see happening on the surface when the Enterprise is somehow used as a sort of space vacuum cleaner. Consider that on Earth, high speed hurricane winds look immobile from real time satellite imagery, due to the scale involved.

I Googled Matt Frewer after I watched this, to discover that he was Max Headroom! Talented and charismatic performer for sure. I thought getting Rasmussen to try to bang Crusher was a nice touch.

Anyway - despite the misgivings described above, I really did enjoy it.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 12:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks
First I thought you were making a joke about ST: Prodigy.
This is amazing.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 11:57am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I too watched the second episode. I liked the new engineering set, and the new shuttle design, with the beautifully curved engine pylons. Like the first episode, I also like how this series spends time on alien planets, our heroes rummaging about new worlds. It's as aspect of Trek which nu-Trek has neglected.

I also like the way the cyborg character (Rutherford?) was supported by all the different department heads. Very Trekkian. Some good stuff with a Ferengi, and hints of a romance, in the last act too.

But the characters all still seem annoying to me, all relentlessly manic, wacky and "wannabe cool". I also agree with Karl, in that the show works best when its not trying to be funny; it's jokes are pretty lame and obvious. In this episode, only the "easy-mode simulation" made me laugh.

The show also seems to be aiming for a very odd demographic.

With "RiCK AND MORTY" or "SOUTH PARK", you never mistake the scripts for "children's TV". The jokes and scripts are adult, and made funnier by the self-consciously childish aesthetic. "LOWER DECKS'", though, gives you plots sited for maybe 7 to 12 year olds, but with little bursts of 14-16 year old humor (shock violence, sex jokes etc) sprinkled about. It's a weird, almost pointless zone the show occupies. Too esoteric for little kids, or non-Trek fans, and not edgy and funny enough for teens and adults.

Apparently there's going to be a new Trek cartoon - "ST: Prodigy" - aimed for 8 year olds and under. Kurtzman seems to be methodically ticking boxes, "Prodigy" for babies, "Lower Decks" for young teens, "Disco" for action junkies and "Picard" for Berman-Trek fans.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 11:20am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

Yeah as you rightly point out being insecure and portraying a very self assured outward persona often goes hand in hand. I made the connection to her father because of what leads to her meltdown which is Picard using a quote from her father. Her father is also mentioned by her, I believe, several times and always in a revered way.
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Peter G.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 11:12am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

@ Booming,

"the need to be right because of her insecurities."

On some level everyone is insecure so it's hard to argue that a person's problems may likely stem from insecurities. But in Satie's case I don't think the problem is that she's insecure; on the contrary her problem is that she's *too secure*. She is so sure she is correct, and so sure that she is superior, that anyone taking sides against her (and disagreement would count as taking sides) is essentially the devil. I suppose you could argue that someone so self-assured must deep down be un-self assured, and I guess that rabbit hole goes far down, and about which subconscious motives could be below other motives, and so on. But as far as we can see her problem is she doesn't even recognize that it's possible for someone to disagree with her and not be a traitor; no less the possibility that she's just plain wrong. It's this *certainty*, which borders on religious zealotry, that creates this all-or-nothing steamroller effect. Anyone that sure of anything is already probably losing touch.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 10:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

Good points.
I thought that Satie was driven by insecurity which came from the wide shadow of her father and I never saw her argument as racist, that seems like a silly notion, considering the make up of the federation. I saw it more as "nationalistic" that word is not a good fit but she has a we (Federation/good) vs the others (Klingon, Romulan/bad). She also seems to be paranoid which can happen if you hunt down criminals and whatnot all your life. Soon er or later anybody becomes suspicious.
So for me it was always a combination of the believe that anybody could be guilty merged with the need to be right because of her insecurities.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I'm pretty much in lock-step with Karl Zimmerman.

I enjoyed this one more than the last one.

Star Trek funny is better when they aren't trying to be funny.

Is more "organic" the right term?

Well done here.

Onward and upward!!
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Peter G.
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 10:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

I would like to draw a parallel between the discussion here and Admiral Satie's tactics. At first glance Satie is the diametric opposite of a BLM protester - she is 'punching down' from power, as it were; she's using authoritarian tactics to find supposed traitors; she will pick on someone for their race. BLM would seem to be against all these things, and on the surface that distinction holds. However more interesting than those surface details are the mentality behind them. Why does she do these things? How does she view others in the course of her crusade?

One thing we've seen here in this discussion in a very quick reduction to black vs white thinking: it's those 'on the other side' who are the problem. We want to paint wildly, describing disagreement as implying some kind of group membership with the enemy. Satie may have been in a position of entitled power in this episode, but fundamentally I think what's going on isn't that she's abusing power to maintain hegemony; I think she honestly believes the things she's saying, despite being (IMO) mistaken. What is more telling to me is that she is keen to see any sign of being different from her as a sign of treason. Simon Tarses is 1/4 Romulan (iirc) and that brands him as being 'one of them'. Yes, this can come off as racist; and yet I have a hard time believing she is actually racist in some generic way, since she no doubt works alongside various species and has no problem with them. Her problem with Simon would seem to be that he shows some signs of "maybe" being part of the wrong group, the group that is EVIL. Likewise, when she all but calls Picard a traitor, I don't think it's because she always disagreed with his politics or because he didn't think Simon was a Romulan agent; I think it was because he stood up to her and her 'moral' crusade. And there is, of course, nothing so pernicious as telling a moralizing crusader that you think they're wrong about something, that's a clear sign that you are Part of the Problem (TM).

Another interesting thing to note is her approach: Satie ultimately has the grace of a steamroller, feeling it justified and even laudable to publicly and crudely make a big show of getting stuff done. Throughout this process, if someone gets hurt or something doesn't check out, it's ok because the cause justifies it. This particular mentality can easily be seen to reflect on both sides of the BLM issue; on the one side "don't cry about small misdeeds when it's HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS on the table!" and on the other side "hey the police need to do their job, and that means breaking some eggs."

To me what Satie's character illustrates isn't so much that if you're an admiral you can abuse your power, and in fact the episode practically doesn't address the fact that it's an admiral doing all this. Rather the focus seems to be that when a person like her feels she has a righteous cause rooting out evildoers that she will feel entitled and emboldened to do anything she likes, and will defend it by saying it's to fight evil, to which most people (who are not Picard) will keep their heads down and feel they have to let it go on. We've seen this all too often in history, and it's not just tyrants and oligarchs who do it; it seems to be a recurrent ugly side of our nature. Arthur Miller's The Crucible is all about this sort of thing, and in that play it's not the powers that be who are responsible for the hysteria but rather the ordinary townsfolk.

Let'e try to heed this episode's message, that vilifying and smoking out 'the traitors' is probably a good way to divide people and create more strife than it purports to solve. Let's keep in mind that noticing someone may show signs of 'maybe' having something in common with 'the enemy' doesn't mean they should be lumped into some box like Simon was. Sure, he had some Romulan in him; for all we know he even had some sympathy for Romulans. But that didn't mean he was against the Federation or guilty of anything other than not being as pure of blood as Satie was. Nor should we consider those who do not agree or even show some sign of perhaps sympathizing with other points of view as being part of the enemy camp. Non-conformity has increasingly become intolerable to people, and this is not a TNG message.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 9:26am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I might not ever get into this show. The stories are ok.. nothing great. But the animation and art style is hideous, and the fact that they still talk too fast, responses from other characters literally given within a second after a line was delivered, no pauses for even a breath when a character has two or more lines. Mariner is the character that will not only cause all the trouble in every episode but will also save the day, which means she is going to be annoying. Just because she is the show's "strong female character" does that mean she has to be annoying? I noticed that Boimler lost his pants near the end of this episode, and I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I didn't see how. I guess him being nude or almost nude is going to be a running joke. Star trek used to be a drama with comedy that came out from character or situations.. but it has sunk to incredible new lows. The teaser was clever.. I'll give it that. But clever here and hyperactive everywhere else is not enough to sustain a Star Trek show or any show.
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Karl Zimmerman
Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 7:13am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

IMHO, Envoys is slightly better than the first episode. This is for several reasons:

1. They slowed the show down considerably. Aside from a few scenes, the episode's pacing does not feel that different from the average Trek episode.

2. There were coherent character arcs in both the A plot and the B plot this week. Not only that, but they both actually shared a common theme - the sacrifices people will make for the sake of their friends.

3. There were notably less attempts to make jokes. I only really laughed at one thing this week - the "Janeway protocol" - but it was way, way funnier than anything in the first episode. Aside from that though the episode was lighthearted but not trying to make us bust a gut. Which was fine, because it had heart in spades.

I'd also say the "memberberries" this time around are more visual than dropped in exposition, which would probably make the show a bit less annoying to people who hate that stuff.
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Thu, Aug 13, 2020, 7:06am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Drumhead

@Jason R.
"And apparently no one on this board can either because no one can provide an answer to the question: 'how do we make the police less brutal?' "

Well, I'll say the first step is to return some semblance of normality to the lives of the ordinary citizens, so that this reform could take safely place.

I think the big protests that occured right after the Floyd murder were a good thing. The truth is, back then, nobody cared. Such incidents happened fairly frequently, and nobody ****-ing cared. The cops also walked scot-free afterwords, in many cases.

So it's good that - finally - somebody decided to say "enough!" and made a huge fuss about the whole thing. Now the topic is at the center of discussion all over the world, WHICH IS GREAT.

But now the situation is different. The protests have been heard. And it doesn't take a genius to realize that a country which is plagued with rioters and bullies and vandals is in no position to make huge changes to its police system.

I also fail to see how their current actions are combating racism. Gee, what a wonderful idea! So many people regard us as a race of subhuman criminals, so let's actually behave like subhuman criminals. That will teach them!

In short: Either these guys are very very stupid (which I doubt) or they have some other goal in mind, besides police reforms or actual social justice.
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