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phaedon
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 4:39pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

My apologies.. I'm committed to the parallel universe where Enterprise and Voyager don't exist. I meant TNG in relation to TOS and DS9.
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Dave in MN
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 4:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

The problem is this: in episodic television, you can afford to have a clunker here and there. The process that creates a stinker also creates the occasional genius..

It's the story variety, the disparate cinematic/plot elements with logical reactions by intelligent character, that intrigues and invites a following.

There's an alchemy that occurs with genre programs people remember: you have to take risks ... but do so with a framework an audience can identify and feel comfortable with.

Otherwise, you end up with stuff that was outdated when Dynasty was still on the air: a soap opera that can only top itself by going ever more over the top.

What compounds this is the idea of a serialized show based on a singular concept. If it's plausible and interesting, you've got potential for a good season. If it's not, well....

The writing by committee (which is what we've seem thus far) only compounds the problem. I don't get a sense of a singular narrative voice at work in any episode.

Rather, it seems like they plotted it in a conference. Once they settled on an outline, the showrunner bluntly chopped it into ten blocks and the writers scripted it in random chunks.. M.y impression is STP varies authors from scene to scene, judged by the hyperkinetic mood shifts within singular episodes. It's checkbox storytelling.

Everything also seems to filtered through a weird lens demanding signposted supposedly-shocking drama. Nothing is allowed to be intellectually explored because there seems to be a constant rush to the next gasp-inducing reveal.

The music doesn't help. The soundtrack constantly drones on, never taking a rest, always a beat ahead of the scene in telling the viewer how to feel.

Then there's the obvious bait to audiences who crave "mature" things like gory vivisection of beloved characters and potty mouthed Admirals and drug addiction and beefcake Romulan Elf warriors and incestuous spy siblings and a evil Vulcan(?) Commodore in sunglasses and so on.

STP currently feels very manipulative, crass and pessimistic. It doesn't improve on rewatch either. I won't re-rate this episode a third time... but man, diminishing returns.

I'm hoping there's a redemptive arc in the remaining episodes that recaptures that Trek spirit. Perhaps some retroactive reassessment will then be in order.

Fingers crossed.
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Henson
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 3:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@phaedon

"...despite its campy style, episodic nature, and its reputation as the worst of all the shows, TNG..."

This sentence baffles me. Surely, the pre-2009 Trek show with the reputation as the worst of all the shows is Enterprise. Or even Voyager. TNG?
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Andersonh1
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 2:48pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

"We are halfway through the season now. The opening torture scene was something from which "Stardust City Rag" could never recover. I hope "Stardust City Rag" doesn't become the episode from which Star Trek: Picard can't recover."

Up to this point, I've found things to enjoy about this series. But the graphic torture of poor Icheb that opened this episode was in really poor taste, and it scuttled whatever anticipation I had for Seven's return. It may well have been the moment that turned me against this show. Picard started out fairly strong, but it is going downhill fast.
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Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 2:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: The Quickening

@Mertov
Sorry, I expected a critical reflection on the shortcomings of the particular episode not a slating/purposefully negative review.
Because you gave me something I didn't want I give you this. (Picture me looking very stern at you)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhhoS3zOskE&fbclid=IwAR15C8ZQysrYN9-F543YAuhtFB2nbdKNAq4Fix3exNRVfLkZcN8VseR45a4
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Chrome
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Thanks, Silly.

I wanted reiterate that I don't dislike this one and am definitely not making the argument that financial success equates to a good movie. That part of my comment above was just dealing with an aspect of trivia I found interesting.

Comparing this one to the other five movies, it's the least like the TV series. But then again, STV feels like the tv series and its still bad.

I think this one should be lauded for its compelling and creative conclusion. I just think the pacing aspects of the film make it hard to get to that point.
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Eric Jensen
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 1:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Also the theme music from star trek
There is a noticeable theme from
TOS
TNG
DS9
VOY
Now with DIS and PIC - I can sing them, I can hum the melody, but it is not strong. It is not as "majestic" or "powerful" in the sense of "hope".

The theme music for Voyager starts majestically. The horn is strong. The woodwind instruments in the background, as though in the space. In the middle, the strings come in, showing how Voyager is alone but going home. Then the horn comes back strong again. Hopeful and strong.

The DS9 starts slow and solemn. The it "shoots off" (Season 6) The brass and the strings complement each other. Question and answer. The first 4 notes are strong and then it expands. When Worf joined, it became stronger and more upbeat. It sounds hopeful, yet sad and longing. A space station on its own. Towards the end it feels hopeful.

TNG starts with feeling slow and alone. With Picard narrating, it feels strong and purposeful. Then once Enterprise goes to warp, it feels hopeful with the brass and the strings. The brass sounds triumphant and joyous. The strings bring the harmony of the crew of the Enterprise.

Now the Picard theme. Does not start with brass. It's woodwind and strings and piano. It is more solemn, more peaceful, more sad and more reflective.

1. It is not like before, where we can stream and watch from CBS or Amazon Prime.
2. The hopeful is there in Picard, but not as strong. The brass is absent from the beginning.
3. The visuals in the opening show Picard is slowly losing himself. But bit by bit, he comes back together again, like a jigsaw puzzle.

Another reason why it is not "star trek" as of old.
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Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 1:21pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

To this whole post modernism debate and whatever
My point of view (in bad quality)
at 18:54
https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6mwbpy

@skye
"I'm hoping that's the point of PIC. That things HAVE gone astray and he's trying to find out why and get them back to how they should be. Something rotten at the core of the Federation etc."
But wouldn't that be the very core of the white savior narrative? One strong man unbent by adversity swoops in and makes it all good.
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Chrome
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 1:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

TOS notably did a lot of dark topics. Indeed, it's often compared to The Twilight Zone because of how space rips you out of your comfort zone. I can think of quite a few episodes that are dystopian ("City on the Edge of Forever", "Patterns of Force", "The Doomsday Machine") or pro-war/violence ("A Taste of Armageddon", "This Side of Paradise"). Indeed, most of those episodes were much darker than this one.

I think most of the above are great Trek episodes, by the way. A Star Trek show shouldn't be subjected to tunnel vision by hyper-focusing on one particular element like "utopia" when that's only one aspect of that applies to certain episodes of Trek. When they're on Earth, it can be a utopia - when they're off it, show us the dangers Q warned us about in space! Anyhow, like many others I think the test of how good this show will be is by the way it concludes these challenging arcs.
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phaedon
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 12:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

At its core, and despite its campy style, episodic nature, and its reputation as the worst of all the shows, TNG turned out to be a strong work of poetic, mythological creationism. A narrative that despite its detours, could be deeply historical and meaningful, it was joyous but it could make you cry, it introduced the concept of duty but it often critiqued dominant cultural beliefs, both in other worlds and its own. It could involve overwhelming generosity and often brought out the best in people (and androids).

Quite frankly, it was rooted in the creationist tale found in the Bible and in Shakespearian literature. It was something that people even in this thread describe as ‘optimistic’ and ‘aspirational,’ and if you think about, not necessarily just in the context of what were current events back then and what else was on television. It was like it was floating on something. So this doesn’t just boil down to philosophy or science. It’s the entire mythology of a universe and it’s protagonists. Perhaps this is what Roddenberry brought to the table.

Picard on other hand has none of that. I think some of us were holding out for a change in the trend when it came to this show. A trend that is prevalent in every major reboot from Alien (Prometheus) to Star Wars (Luke Skywalker) and now Star Trek. The tearing down of the creation we loved to show the chaos, turmoil, mistrust, mystery and evil that really rules the world. The show is simply not capable of inspiration.

The Inner Light flashed across my mind as I wrote this.
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skye francis-maidstone
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 12:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

"but it most certainly does not have the same qualities that made me fall in love with the franchise in the first place: The optimism, the intelligence, the open-mindedness, the inspiration to become a better person."

I'm hoping that's the point of PIC. That things HAVE gone astray and he's trying to find out why and get them back to how they should be. Something rotten at the core of the Federation etc.

I mean if the show started in a perfect paradise that Earth is meant to be and he just chatted to Riker, Geordi and his Romulans in his vineyard.. ok that would be sort of entertaining but not particularly exciting for 10 episodes.

Keeping and open mind and enjoying it for now.

I just love the new high speed "beam" though. Man I wish there were teleporters on Earth...
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Late To The Party Girl
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 11:59am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi had it right:

"I do not find this kind of cr*p to be either entertaining nor insightful. It may be "Star Trek", but it most certainly does not have the same qualities that made me fall in love with the franchise in the first place: The optimism, the intelligence, the open-mindedness, the inspiration to become a better person."

That's the point. Or, at least to me that was the point of Star Trek: it was aspirational in nature - the notion that we could all be better and, just as important, that we should all at least TRY to be better. That was the entertainment factor. The premise didn't always succeed (because naturally the characters were all flawed in one respect or another) and not infrequently got it wrong, but the premise was sound.

What we have in Picard is feather light content wrapped in camera angles and quick cuts designed for some aesthetic sense of "modern" production technique over entertainment - that's why you get no end of quick camera cuts, the gratuitous swearing, torture porn, music that drowns out dialogue and many, many flashing lights). The characters themselves are a sorry group that didn't need to be that way - Picard is a non-entity so far. Villains rise and fall in one episode (but without a story being told) and characters we might at some point come to care about are also dismissed quickly - the housekeepers, Dahj and even Number One for heaven's sake! (Remember Porthos, anyone? A nice subtle character that added to the show.) They raise what could have been an important issue with Raffi and her son out of the blue and drop it without any development. Agnes Jurati you saw coming a mile away (no one is genuinely that clueless). I could go on....

The problem is just that they don't have enough content to fill the allotted time so we are stuck with this long drawn out nothingness that creeps towards something happening hopefully soon- where were the writers? Had this been a movie, we'd be at about the 30 minute mark at this point - not 5 hours down the road. I think the issue here is that they didn't want to start up another Trek series in the episodic format - which, by the way, kept people interested, watching and talking. So, they planned this 10 hour "movie" without enough to fill it.
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phaedon
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 11:41am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

The common use of the word ‘postmodern’ has a completely different meaning than it does in philosophical circles. I’m not going to address the accusations of vanity and self-obsession. Let’s take a closer look at the charge of moral relativism.

In philosophical circles, moral relativism is not a position anyone holds, including postmodernists. Simply because it’s bankrupt. In a truly relativistic world, even the claim that relativism is true, is itself relative, and therefore cannot be true. This is the type of shit that postmodernists are painfully aware of, and they have to work through.

The mean-spirited idea that philosophy is just philosophers reading and discussing other philosophers is ironically something a lot of postmodernists would agree with. And it is an illuminating thing to say about them, as you’ll see below. But you have to give philosophers credit for being thorough and not pulling any punches.

Philosophical postmodernism is better understood as a form of modern skepticism, a response to the question that was first asked by Descartes and continues to define modern philosophy. Namely, how do we know what we claim to know? And if what we “know” isn’t “real,” and if these terms don’t have the meaning I think they have, then what the f is really going on?

This question continues to be asked and answered in various ways to this day. Foucault is just one of the answers. A popular and arguably minor one, to be honest.

Although Plato did have some things to say about the fundamental nature of reality, classic philosophers were not overly concerned with all of this this. The ancient Greeks were mostly concerned with the proper function of man and defining the well-lived life.

There is a lot more that needs to be said about philosophy and postmodernism but perhaps this is not the place to say it.

One thing I will add is that, it has been noted that philosophers have been going around for thousands of years attempting to answer the same questions, and have now managed to lay waste even to the basic concept of an objective reality. You might say they are treading water or even going backwards in this regard.

And yet, over here we have science - a completely separate field, that has, in a very short amount of time, delivered tremendous results. Results that are repeatable. This, on its own, is incredible; it is arguably the strongest indication of a non-subjective reality that we are interacting with.

And also, science typically eliminates the philosophical, theological or psychological conjectures that existed before it with material explanations that are ‘far more effective’ and ‘more accurate’. Results that are felt throughout society. Measurable improvements for mankind. Whatever these terms might actually mean, anyone can tell you that vaccines are more effective than prayer. This phenomenon is called eliminative materialism.

I say all of this just to clear up some misconceptions about postmodernism.
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Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 10:16am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@ grey cat again
Sorry forgot to say that you cannot compare TNG ratings on imdb with STP ratings because the side IMDB didn't exist when TNG aired. I hope I don't have to explain why. toodeloo
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Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 10:14am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@ grey cat
If you look at my post you will notice that I just try to understand whatever it is your are saying. When you look at your comments you will notice that is full of personal attacks and insults. I guess it is not entirely clear who is on a "person crusade".
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Chris
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 10:13am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Nic -
"This is all wrong. He seems to be saying that there is less reason for optimism now than there was in the 60s or 80s. Doesn't anybody remember Vietnam, the race riots and the Cold War? Climate change and loss of biodiversity make our future is uncertain; but there is no question that human life is much much better now than it was 30 years ago."

Agree wholeheartedly. Yes, times seem bleak. But anyone who claims that TOS didn't also come out during the middle of a pretty bleak era of American History just simply isn't paying attention. Vietnam, the Kennedy murders, MLK's assassination, the Kent State Massacre, race riots, Medgar Ever's murder, etc. It makes for a pretty depressing backdrop. The difference, I suppose, is they didn't have social media back then to echo chamber themselves into an immutable sense of despair.

I would argue that in the bleakest times, a refreshing point of view that shows humanity overcoming this era is a bold statement. Optimism is necessary during such times. And it is certainly a bolder statement for a TV premise than something along the lines of "And now the Federation is ethically compromised and even in the future people have no faith in the institutions that are designed to protect their own interests. Good luck, humanity. You will never escape your own worst selves."
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grey cat
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 9:02am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@booming "Not that I looked that much." Why bother to even reply then?

The ratings on TNG's first 3 seasons (from roughly the same number of votes as each PIC episode) are generally under 7. Looking for a trend in 5 episodes is a little fatuous. There's no trend there at all. The only conclusion you could really draw is that TNG sucked at least half of it's entire run. I don't believe that at all. I largely enjoyed it. Why does it matter so much to you that other people hate it as much as you anyway?

I like it, plenty of people do. Plenty of people hate it. You seem to have a person crusade to somehow prove that everyone who likes it is wrong and needs to be converted using some kind of a scientific method. You'll never prove that because to quote my favourite film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWdd6_ZxX8c

Anyway I think I've made my point as much as I care to. If you have the spare time to @ everyone and nitpick everything they say to convert them to your thinking, go for it. It's your life.
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Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 8:18am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@ grey cat
Completely forgot you. Well, I actually googled at google scholar but couldn't find anything relevant. Not that I looked that much.

"Also there's a few some interesting studies on the kind of people that even write reviews online (only 1.5% do). There's also a few studies saying the exact opposite.... so yeah. So it's either a fact or it isn't depending on what you choose to believe."
You are quoting a study? an article? a youtube video?

"I found this amusing "...people who write online reviews are more likely to buy things in unusual sizes, make returns, be married, have more children, be younger and less wealthy, and have graduate degrees than the average consumer" Well I only tick 2 of those boxes so I guess I should leave lol."
Is this from a study???

"That probably explains why Picard has 8.4 on IMDB yet you have to have scroll through loads of pages of 1 out 10 rage monsters with varying versions of "this is not star trek. 16.1k ratings. Under 600 reviews. "
It's already at down to 8.2 and the episodes individually are rated as follow:
episode one 8.5
episode two 7.5
episode three 7.6
episode four 7.4
episode five 7.1

There seems to be a tendency...
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Nic
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 8:18am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Initially, I was surprised by your reaction, Jammer. But I see your point.

I don't have a problem with graphic violence as long as it's not gratuitous, and Icheb's death certainly was. A group of people extracting technology from former Borg is bad enough; we didn't need to see them do it gleefully without anesthetics (although, to be fair, Remmick's head blowing up in "Conspiracy" was also gratuitous). Bjayzl was not interesting enough, even as a one-episode villain, and I felt the crew got the upper hand on her way too easily.

I didn't see this episode as crossing a line that Star Trek had never crossed before. Even for a non-Federation world, Freecloud definitely felt a little out of place in the Star Trek Universe, but I had also had that feeling about the world O'Brien visited in "Honor Among Thieves", among others.

Seven's character change didn't bother me too much, perhaps because Ryan sold it so well. Morally, I was much more bothered by the Discovery crew cheering the destruction of the Imperial Ship in the Mirror Universe (which had Kelpian slaves aboard it!) and contemplating committing genocide against the Klingons.

As for Dr. Jurati's actions at the end, I'll reserve judgement until it is explained (or not explained...).

That being said, yes, this was not Star Trek, or at the very least, it's not what I want Star Trek to be. I'm reminded of something Alex Kurtzman said before Discovery premiered:
"The defining factor of Roddenberry's vision is the optimistic view of the future ... Once you lose that, you lose the essence of what Star Trek is. That being said... Star Trek has always reflected the time it was made, and now the question is how do you preserve and protect what Starfleet is in the weight of a challenge like war and the things that have to be done in war."

This is all wrong. He seems to be saying that there is less reason for optimism now than there was in the 60s or 80s. Doesn't anybody remember Vietnam, the race riots and the Cold War? Climate change and loss of biodiversity make our future is uncertain; but there is no question that human life is much much better now than it was 30 years ago.
The rate of child mortality has been cut in half; life expectancy worldwide has gone from 64 to 71; deaths from military conflicts, terrorism, famine and preventable diseases have all gone down. The last 30 years have seen the fastest improvement in human life in history. But people don't seem to know this; most people seem to think the world is getting worse. That's why the optimism of Star Trek is more needed now than ever - to remind us of what we are, and what we can become. The human adventure is just begining!
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Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 8:10am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@ Andy friend
I have a little time now.
I will keep this brief because most of this has nothing to do with the show. I knew that it wasn't a good definition. It's not nonsense but you should keep in mind that we for the most part discuss this stuff with people who have no understanding of this whatsoever. I'm a sociologist and political scientist (mostly political scientist) and in political science postmodernism is basically absent and in sociology it seems to lose ground pretty quickly. So I know Foucault from a sociological standpoint. I find postmodernism pretty useless as a sociological tool because it cannot really be used for anything because anything has to be questioned constantly. A study in a specific theoretical framework about a power structure is itself a product of power structures blaaaaa. Postmodernism always reminds me of the snake that eats itself. Never read Derrida and probably never will.

I also must admit that my respect for philosophy, theology and history is somewhat limited. I went to a few history and philosophy courses back then and it was two steps away from voodoo in my opinion. It was just people writing about people writing about people writing about people (I went mostly to ancient history courses, I guess there are differences to more contemporary history. maybe contemporary history follows a more scientific methodology). And I think philosophy will follow the way of alchemy which was sent to greener pastures by chemistry, biology and physics. For philosophy it will be neurology(brain), psychology(individual) and sociology(group), maybe philosophy will be used to interpret the findings of these fields. Maybe. In the social sciences we deal mostly with statistics and try to follow as closely as possible the methodology of the natural sciences.
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KMC
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 6:53am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: Call to Arms

Disappointing exit scene for Sisko. And I would have boobytrapped the baseball to take out half the station. A fleet to take out the shipyard? Surely a few dozen cloaked warp missiles?
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grey cat
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 6:23am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi fair enough. you don't like this version of Star Trek. I didn't like (Star Trek) Enterprise even after they added the Star Trek to it's title.

@Booming i guess you're the resident comedian, minus the comedy. In terms of a study, there's a few - Google (or don't). Just make more "clever" remarks at people.

Also there's a few some interesting studies on the kind of people that even write reviews online (only 1.5% do). There's also a few studies saying the exact opposite.... so yeah. So it's either a fact or it isn't depending on what you choose to believe.

That probably explains why Picard has 8.4 on IMDB yet you have to have scroll through loads of pages of 1 out 10 rage monsters with varying versions of "this is not star trek. 16.1k ratings. Under 600 reviews.

I found this amusing "...people who write online reviews are more likely to buy things in unusual sizes, make returns, be married, have more children, be younger and less wealthy, and have graduate degrees than the average consumer" Well I only tick 2 of those boxes so I guess I should leave lol.

Personally i think it would be literally impossible to create a Star Trek today that wouldn't cause rage on message boards.. well it wasn't back in the days of dial-up and bulletin boards either come to think of it.

A non-trek fan told me this morning he binged the first 5 episodes over the weekend and really enjoyed them. He said "tbh I think Stewart could advertise Cat Litter and I'd enjoy it".

The real world is still 10 times bleaker than the world of PIC.

Looking forward to episode 6.

The real question is who will be first in with the "this is not Star Trek" when Jammer opens the comments.
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Andy's Friend
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 5:54am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Booming (to someone else)

‘I'm not a big fan of postmodernist thinking but this is just not correct. Do you really believe that the show is constructed around a philosophical framework created in mid 20th century France about how all societal narratives are constructed to reinforce societal power structures? Is that your point? This sounds like dark web nonsense to me (…) Have you actually read Foucault?!’

You should take care not to opine on what you do not know well. The notion that postmodernism can be reduced to ‘a philosophical framework … about how all societal narratives are constructed to reinforce societal power structures’ is (to be blunt) sheer nonsense.

Despite what I just wrote above, you could expurgate Foucault from world history without affecting the essence of postmodernism itself. Foucault is but one manifestation of something much larger.

Postmodernism is one of several continuations of classical scepticism, questioning our ability to know anything with any degree of certitude. In essence, postmodernism denies fixed meanings.

Postmodernism denies Plato’s realism and the contrary idealism. It denies conceptualism attempting to bridge the two, as well as reductionism attempting to reduce them. It denies the general validity of projectivism even if it sometimes is just that; it likewise denies the general validity of eliminativism even if it often employs eliminativist arguments (see the video you suggested).

Foucault is a post-structuralist within the larger framework of postmodernism. He is as far removed from Plato as any philosopher (and a dilettante in comparison), yet he represents but one strand of postmodernism.

Yet Foucault is nevertheless a good example if you read him correctly. Along with Derrida, he advocates above all the refusal of objectivity, even truth itself. According to him, there is no truth, no reality, only subjectivity. This is at the core of his theory of power relations. In other words, relativism reigns supreme.

I don’t know ‘vain and self-obsessed’ to be an adequate description of this new series as I am not watching it. But it is a valid description of the cynical worldview that often follows in the wake of postmodernist mania with scepticism, subjectivity, and relativism. And it certainly holds true that virtually all modern television series are essentially espousals of postmodernist thinking, if unwittingly. You can’t seriously want to dispute this.

(When was the last time you saw a television series clearly espousing a coherent philosophical school other than postmodernism, let alone a moral absolute?)

Only two comments on the video you so kindly suggested. Not only does Foucault take a synchronic stance that wasn’t even true in 1971; had Chomsky replied with a diachronic approach, he would have made his point much clearer, and undermine Foucault’s entire argument. But more fundamentally, there is a reason why natural law has existed as a concept independent of divine law since Antiquity, and has been debated by philosophers and theologians ever since. Foucault would of course deny this.
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Andy's Friend
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 5:47am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Booming (to someone else)

"Is your hypothesis that TNG was some kind of regressive view on society that only solidified power structures (for anybody who doesn't know. We have just entered Foucault territory)?
I always preferred Bourdieu over Foucault by a wide margin."

Same here. Without wishing to reduce Foucault to his theories of power, they are a disaster to humanity. Suddenly, friends aren't friends but compete for power in some warped relationship of 'power dynamics'. Suddenly, siblings don't love each other but compete for power in the 'power structure' that is the family. Everything is about power. It is sickening.

I personally prefer Ricœur over Bourdieu, and feel he is much more needed, even as regards Star Trek. But first:

I'm a historian. Your comment reminded me that in my own field, most scholars today write from a Foucauldian perspective. In a way, it’s not their fault: it’s what they were taught at university.

For the same reason, they generally lack an understanding of Philosophy and Theology that goes beyond the superficial. The same applies to sociologists, and so on. Whereas philosophers and theologians lack a deeper understanding of history, sociology, and so forth. The myopia in modern academia is frightening, and the lack of abstraction atrocious. In my field, other than a few specialists, historians today are philosophical and theological illiterates, obsessed with positivist approaches. Increasingly specialised and myopic, they are more like assembly-line workers than thinkers. This goes for all the human sciences.

The result, in my field, is a bleak, pessimistic, highly cynical interpretation of history that denies all idealism and sees hidden agendas everywhere. Aristotle’s vision of genuine, selfless friendship and any loving sentiment espoused by Christianity are nowhere to be found or accepted as true. A prelate distributing alms to the poor is not attempting to better the life of the indigent, but simply to ‘widen his power base’, and so forth. There is always some sinister, or simply egotistical ulterior motive.

It strikes me that this cynical worldview is also what is seen in much modern television: there is no idealism anywhere, no moral absolutes defended. All we find is postmodern relativism, and disenchantment in the Weberian sense.

Also in modern, so-called Star Trek. It is really all very depressing.

Concerning the discussion on Star Trek being had here, Ricœur comes to mind, and his need of the exegete to make himself contemporary with the source. But try explaining that to people. Most seem convinced that the past must be judged by today’s standards, not contemporary ones; and many seem to think that their own, uninformed opinions are as good as any. This deserves a few comments.

Unfortunately, the absurd idea that 'all art is subjective' has spread. But other than (post)modern, abstract art, all classic narrative art is highly objective. People tend to forget this.

'Oedipus' is a moral tale, not early incest porn.
'Medea' is a moral tale, not a feminist manifesto.
'Robinson Crusoe' is a moral tale, not a white supremacist proclamation.
…and so on, and so forth.

Stories until the postmodern era were bound in moral absolutes and used to contain an ethical lesson, which could be more or less obvious, and better or worse executed. But the ethical lesson was always at the core of any great piece of narrative art. This includes, e.g., paintings.

Take 'The Surrender of Breda'. It is a powerful moral tale as much as it is a panegyric to the victor, Spinola. It reminds the viewer that if you rebel against your rightful sovereign, you will ultimately fall: but also, that the pious and the righteous shows magnanimity in victory.

That painting is in the best tradition of Star Trek. It depicts not the harsh siege, but the peaceful surrender. Not the blood-stained, battle-hardened victorious commander, but the diplomatic, gracious victor, already establishing friendly relations with the vanquished. Not ‘vae victis’, but 'gloria victis’. In it, it is not only Ambrogio Spinola we see: it is also Jean-Luc Picard.

This also includes say, sculpture. Take Thorvaldsen's 'Jason with the Golden Fleece'. It reminds us of course of Medea, and Orpheus. You can almost hear the various statues and paintings in any great museum of art talking amongst themselves after dark, holding a great reunion after the guests have left. All it takes is knowledge of the tales they tell.

Unfortunately, people today don't know classic stories (let alone storytelling devices), whether of pagan mythology, Christian origin, or their own, national histories, other than at the most superficial level. They therefore fail to recognise the themes and the ethics in most classic art.

So when looking at say, Thorvaldsen's 'Jason', they will not comment on the story of the Argonauts; nor will they comment on how it relates to that of Medea, and that of Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of Castor and Pollux, and, and, and…, and finally, how well the statue brings to life the moral tale: how seeing Jason at the supreme moment of his life reminds the viewer of his fate, also: his downfall. Catharsis. A moral tale.

Instead, they will comment the superficial only. They will comment the craftmanship of the artist: the perfection of the toenails in Jason's feet, or the curls of the Golden Fleece. The smoothness of the marble, or the colours in the painting.

They will comment the form of the art, not its function.
They will comment the aesthetics, not the ethics.
They will comment the 'How', not the 'Why?'

Suppose they see a killing in a painting. The depiction itself will of course provoke an aesthetic response in the viewer. But who was it that was killed? Was it a vicious murderer guilty of heinous crimes? Was it a father guilty of stealing bread for his starving children? Or was it simply a good man, wrongly accused of some misdeed? If the viewers know not who is being killed and why, their aesthetic response to the artwork is meaningless.

However, staring at art they fail to comprehend, many tell themselves that their uninformed opinion is as valid as any other. ‘It doesn’t matter who it was, or why, this is what I feel when I see it.’ This conviction many further transplant to other fields of human intercourse. And the problem is upon us:

We increasingly see the absurd proposition that no opinion is intrinsically more valid than any other. This is blatantly false and has been known to be since Plato: εἰκασία is a lower type of opinion than πίστις. But more importantly, as Plato reminds us, it is not such types of *opinion* that one should strive for: it is types of *truth*. If not the highest νόησις, at least διάνοια.

Unfortunately, people, and this includes most of my fellow colleagues, no longer study much philosophy.

And so, we get some of the absurd claims we have here, that this new series is somehow pregnant with meaning and that TNG was actually all about attempting to perpetuate white Anglo-Saxon political and patriarchal power structures leading to Trump and Brexit and what not. Talk about missing the point(s).

You're quite right, Foucault and his huge influence is partly to blame. I will put forth Ricœur rather than Bourdieu as one countermeasure. But more fundamentally, we need more hermeneutics and less positivism in the world today. We need more realism, in the philosophical sense, and less physicalism, or materialism in the philosophical sense. We need more idealism in the common sense, and less relativism. Above all, we need more philosophy: we need to think better and understand more.

Or at least know to *know* more: to seek the truth, and opine less. The widespread notion that 'I am entitled to my opinion' is a logical fallacy. As Picard once put it, 'The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth'. In this, he was echoing Plato's theory of forms.

It's curious, isn't it? Here we essentially have two factions. One wishing to discuss, based on recent, in-universe precedent, the truthfulness of the setting of this new series. The other advocating their right to... opinion. On whose side would Plato be, one wonders?
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Booming
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 5:16am (UTC -6)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Omicron
I'm procrastinating now. I find it sweet that think that way about capitalism.
Two things. First: what we see today is what capitalism was always about. Creating oligopolies or at best monopolies. It just happens on a global scale now.
second: and that is maybe what bugs many people today. Small businesses for a long time could somewhat thrive because the markets they were occupying were too small as to be interesting BUT luckily (irony) now with modern communication and computers gigantic companies can cover basically all markets big and small.
And again ironically the moment the socialist threat disappeared the capitalists immediately started to behave in a way that created leftist movements in the first place. Also let's not forget if capitalism would have started in Russia we would probably all be communists today. ;)

"We live in a world that's ruled by megacorporations who've gotten so powerful that they are no longer subject to the ordinary rules of economics. They have the entire world under their command. They can easily kill off (or buy) all their competition while continuing to create substandard products."
Did you copy that out of the communist manifesto or Das Kapital? :D

Enough! I hope you are happy! You are ruining my life by summoning me back here. I have to work! Stop it. Bad Omicron. Bad!
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