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MsV
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 6:48am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

@Jason R

Did you give Seven 4 stars for being attractive? I agree she is beautiful, but acting, she wasn't very good 25 years ago but now she has improved and she is getting better lines on Picard.
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Booming
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 6:45am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

yikes, I should really check for mistakes...
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Booming
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 6:44am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

@Sigh2000
"@Booming: the power and psychopathy link is interesting. Is empathy lost as power increases?"
Psychopath don't feel empathy. People with psychopathic tendencies have a empathy towards some but can completely block it out towards others. So the reason that in positions of power (also surgeons for example) have far higher percentages than the average population is explained by two things. First, having no empathy ergo being able to use people without remorse makes it easier to succeed, especially in business and to a later degree politics. Second, self selection. Psychopath often seek high stress environments basically for kicks and they like to be admired/control people.
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Jason R.
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 6:02am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

"who both say that the genetic engineering itself caused Khan's level of super ambition."

I think we're getting in the weeds here over an imprecision in language. It depends what you mean by "ambition" and "caused"

Let's take the following statement:

"I want to be a billionaire."

What is the level of ambition displayed in that? Well are you:

a) A checkout girl at Walmart from a welfare family
b) A Harvard MBA working an entry level analyst job on Walstreet
c) The child heir of a billionaire

I would say that the level of ambition gets exponentially less from a) to c) with c) displaying essentially no ambition and a) displaying Khan-levels of ambition.

So ambition is obviously a relative thing. It is nonsense to talk about ambition in absolute terms. Is Prince Charles "ambitious" because he plans to be the King of England one day?

There is nothing in any Trek episode that seriously suggests that genetic enhancement actually makes people ambitious

All Kirk is saying is that when you give people the ability to move mountains, some of them are gonna do just that. Same message as Where No Man Has Gone Before except cosmic power is being replaced by power borne from genetic enhancement.

"ambition" in this context means the means to the end moreso than the end.
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Sigh2000
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 5:02am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Many interesting ideas expressed. I agree (w/ Tomalak) that genetic enhancement does not have to lead to the development of unbridled ambition, and that ambition is not at all rare (so Jason R.). The facts in Bashir v. Federation seem to be that the Feds. have zero tolerance for genetic fiddling.... by the 24th century, Khan has been made the poster child for all that can go wrong if it is performed.

Khan in Space Seed was called "the best of the tyrants" and the writers went to some length to show that Kirk and Scotty actually admired him.

Khan as drawn is not a psychopath (agreeing here w/Peter G.). He does, I think, show a high degree of charisma and strong tendency to want to be loved unconditionally. He has become convinced, I think, that his charisma is magical and that he can achieve anything through personal will. His need to be loved is always present. The need to control seems to me to be linked to the need for the love of others.

"Open your heart" he says to Lt. MacGyvers... Very revealing.

@Booming: the power and psychopathy link is interesting. Is empathy lost as power increases?
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Tomalak
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 4:21am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

"Just keep in mind that around 2% are Psychopath/Sociopath and 15% have psychopathic tendencies. Now combine that with mega intelligence and you have khan."

That seems believable but it obviously contradicts Spock in Space Seed and the Admiral in this episode, who both say that the genetic engineering itself caused Khan's level of super ambition.
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Booming
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 2:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

According to memory alpha the Cardassians are similar to the late stage soviet union with some German influences aka Prussia and Nazis.

China is quite different from the Cardies. In the 90s western analysts were convinced that soon, very soon China would collapse but that didn't happen. Now everybody is convinced that we will all speak Mandarin soon. Also the WTO, while being a popular talking point in right and left wing circles, is far less influential then many believe. China's ascendancy started with the reforms of Deng Xiaoping as did GDP growth. All the problematic behavior was also there all the time but the USA didn't consider them a rival so they weren't vilified in the media. Apart from Tibet they were mostly ignored. The whole WTO narrative stems from the right wing animosity towards global institutions (for the left the reasons are different) and as an easy explanation why China is successful.
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Silly
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 12:55am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S1: Home Soil

It's hilarious and surreal how excessively the lady colonist cries. It's way beyond being bummed by what actually occurs in the episode.

She's pretty much having a nervous breakdown.
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Sigh2000
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 9:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Blaze of Glory

Not hugely impressed by this episode. As others have noted, Eddington grates. The thought that Sisko would undertake a difficult mission with no one else on board, but this insulting terrorist, stretches credulity.

So unlikable is this Eddington....so glib while pushing away his rations. I wish Sisko had said: "I've heard that you Maquis had brussels sprouts so fresh that they sang the Ode to Joy within the steamer....NOW SHUT UP AND EAT YOUR CARROTS SUCKA!"

So many of the lines on the planet took the form: Eddington: "I think what we're looking for is up ahead." Sisko: "Are you sure?" Two levels below the filler dialologue between Star Wars droids.... Sheesh!
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Clyda
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 7:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Face of the Enemy

The story was interesting and seems to be fairly well written. The main problem I have with it is the fact that no explanation is given as to how Troi is able to pass as Romulan being that it’s unlikely that she can speak Romulan.

I guess that’s just the magic of interstellar life… You just automatically can speak any language in the universe, or everybody speaks English all over the solar system.
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Rahul
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 5:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

I think the Cardassians were initially conceived as Nazis and the Bajorans as Jews but I agree with "nyghtly" that this can only go so far.

The showrunners definitely also had Orwell in mind for the Cardies given CoC II but as DS9 evolved I think Cardassia took on something more closer to today's communist China. In "Tribunal", the show trials, the presumption of guilt and trying to exclude outside parties for the accused from getting involved speaks to this. Much of the reverence for the state that comes across in several episodes speaks to this too.

But as it relates to this episode, there is a very much racist/nationalist aspect to Chinese society against those who are not ethnic Chinese in the mainland.

Of course back in the mid-90s the showrunners never could imagine what communist China could turn into since it only got into the WTO at the turn of the millennium and then started to act problematically in a global sense.
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Booming
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 5:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Narcissism combined with psychopathic tendencies maybe. My point was more about the fact that in positions of power the amount of psychopath is often several times higher. No empathy is big bonus on your way to the top but psychopathy often comes with strong self destructive leanings. If you have super humans then around 1 in 6 has the potential to become a megalomaniac.
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nyghtly
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 4:48pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Cardassians

Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but Colm Meany is from Dublin, which is in the Republic of Ireland. Of course in the context of the show, Miles' nationality isn't so clear. He's Irish for sure, but there isn't anything to tell us what Ireland actually means in the 23rd century. Earth itself is run by a planetary government, so nationality is not so relevant.

Anyways, regarding the episode as a whole: I think it's interesting to think about the Cardassians from different historical perspectives. After all, there are many forms of imperialism in our own history. Initially I thought of the Cardassians as Nazi villains, which leads to a very black and white interpretation. Recently I've been thinking about using other comparisons: Imperial Japan (in particular the occupation of Korea), Soviet Russia, the British Empire, contemporary China (in particular the occupation of Tibet), and of course the United States.

In the case of this episode, there is a very interesting contemporary situation in Japan which has some relevance. That is to say, the case of North Korean nationals living in Japan. These people are the descendants of Koreans forcibly brought to Japan during Japanese imperial rule of Korea. Of course at that time there was no such thing as North Korea. It is only after the splitting of Korea that these people came to identify with North Korea, as a result of economic support from North Korea, which allowed Koreans in Japan to build schools and provide other services for their cultural group. It is because of this deliberate campaign that many Koreans in Japan chose to identify with North Korea, rather than Korea as a whole, or South Korea.

Of course this isn't an exact parallel to the episode, but the very interesting component of this is that Koreans in Japan endure a lot of descrimination and racial resentment, which has been enflamed by continued nuclear weapons tests by North Korea. I think this relates to the situation that Rugal finds himself in, albeit imperfect. Being Cardassian, Rugal is a reminder of the very real threat that Bajorans face. Without the Federation, it is quite possible that the Cardassians might return and occupy them again. This results in the Nationalist backslide that we saw with The Circle. In any case, Rugal is doomed to face descrimination as long as he remains on Bajor. His adoptive parents are the only ones who see him as worthy of love, and they only do so in spite of their own internal prejudice.

Which of course brings us the the very real contemporary problem of North Koreans in Japan. If they remain where they are, then they will continue to face discrimination and threats of violence, but if they "return" to North Korea, then they will be forced to live under the oppressive rule of an autocratic government. This is a "no-win" scenario.
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Frake's Nightmare
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 4:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: The Schizoid Man

Yet another sleazy male character, but I suppose 'to know him was to love him, and to not know him was to love him'.
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Frake's Nightmare
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 3:26pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

'Hello unkown aliens in a strange and threatening part of the universe. Would you like to come on my ship and wander around unsupervised, after a bite of supper? Oh dear it doesn't seem to have gone well again. Well, better luck next time!' Duh Duh Dur Dur Dur Dur ........
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Peter G.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 1:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Way to Eden

@ benji,

It's interesting you see the ending as Eden not letting them in because they're unworthy. Admittedly this interpretation never occured to me. Knowing TOS and its extreme wariness about so-called paradise, I always assumed the ending meant that Eden wasn't what they thought it was. That is what a poisonous idea in the way they conceived it. The similarity to David Koresh's cult comes to mind, of trying to reach paradise by escaping the world. It's a death wish by another name.
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Peter G.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

The way he was portrayed, Khan didn't necessarily seem psychopathic. Just ruthless. These can overlap but don't have to. Plus he did seem to have genuine emotions of empathy...selectively perhaps.
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Benji
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 1:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Way to Eden

Ultimately a good episode with flaws.

Pros (from most important to least):
• Makes its message clear without hitting you over the head.
o A group of people looking for Eden continue to be flawed individuals. Severin in particular is focused on his own interests above others. Thus, Eden won’t let them in. The acidic plants are the same idea as posting an angel to keep Adam and Eve out of the original Eden.
o According to the Trek writers, you don’t get to live a perfect life by separating yourself from society; usually, you have to help improve everyone around you. So Spock encourages one of the characters to keep looking for Eden, but any Eden they find will likely still be within the larger society.
• Spock is able to look outside himself and relate to someone whose thoughts don’t conform to his rigid Vulcan logic.
• We are given more back story for someone in the Checkov-Sulu-Uhura group.
• In some season three episodes, I would have spent the entire episode wondering why the guest characters aren’t just thrown into the brig. The reasoning behind this was written into the episode satisfactorily.
• We are given more glimpses of Federation society outside of Starfleet.
• Kirk’s initial annoyance with the counter-cultural people and his move towards being understanding is an incremental enough change to be believable.

Cons (from most important to least):
• The guest characters realize that their supersonic attack may actually “destroy”, but we don’t see follow up to that. In my head cannon, I chose to help the episode out by assuming that most of the ship’s crew did suffer hearing impairments. Even the away team had to speak louder than usual to one another than we saw on camera. McCoy had technology on the ship to help most recover. But some had to go back to Earth to get proper treatment, remaining effectively deaf for months.
• Even though some guest characters have above-average intelligence and education, it’s still hard to accept that they could take over the ship.
• The mythology of “oneness” is not sufficiently explained. We never learn what attributes it predicted Eden would have, so what was the computer looking for?
• The music served its purpose of extending the illusion that the characters were counter-cultural people, but it failed to create the illusion that the music was from the future.
• The guest stars’ costumes weren’t great, but that’s pretty minor.

The most annoying episodes for me are the ones where I spend the entire episode thinking that this isn’t how the characters would act. That didn’t happen to me here.
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Booming
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 1:09pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

@ Peter
An even better solution would have been to catch several of Eddingtons family and then threaten to cut off body parts and then you cut off things like finger until Eddington gives up. That would cause far less harm then wiping out entire colonies. Bonus, with modern technology you can probably sow everything back on. :)

And in general states should avoid getting into a tit for tat with terrorists because that is just state terrorism and that always causes even more terror. What makes this episode even worse. It doesn't portray terrorism in a realistic way. In reality Sisko would have created hundreds of new Eddingtons.

For some reason your post made me think of this. ;)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REWeBzGuzCc&ab_channel=CNN
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Booming
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Just keep in mind that around 2% are Psychopath/Sociopath and 15% have psychopathic tendencies. Now combine that with mega intelligence and you have khan.
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Booming
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 12:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Latent Image

@Mal
To me it was implied that the doc wasn't sure if he chose because of the personal relationship. Does that make sense for a computer. I'm not sure but it certainly makes for some interesting character drama.
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The Chronek
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The City on the Edge of Forever

"City" deserves all the praise it gets. There are many great reasons why it has made critics' lists for best Trek franchise episodes and best hours of television over the decades.

I rewatched the episode last night with my wife and 7-year-old son. My son had seen Trouble with Tribbles before, but was unimpressed. This episode had him riveted throughout. Yes, McCoy was genuinely scary after he accidentally OD'd. Yes, the drama around whether Edith Keeler would live or die was riveting.

I'm more of a Next Gen fan. Next Gen was on first-run during my impressionable teenage years; I suspect Jammer and I are pretty close to each other in age, maybe a year or two apart. But I had seen TOS in syndicated reruns, and I had seen TWOK thru TVH before TNG debuted. I loved TOS, too, and this episode was a big reason why.

As for Harlan Ellison and his scripts? Well, he was a very talented, award-winning writer. But Star Trek was still in its first season, finding its footing, always within a whisker of cancellation. I've read Ellison's scripts and edits for the episode, along with all his "woe is me, Roddenberry screwed me over" bitter commentary. I think the changes made to Ellison's script made it better. I think those changes made this episode the classic that it is. And I'm pretty sure it was Dorothy Fontana who made those changes.

I remember reading a story, I think in Esquire, about Frank Sinatra shooting pool somewhere around his 50th birthday, and Harlan Ellison was there. Somewhere, words were exchanged, Ol' Blue Eyes got pissed off, and his friends had to stop him from stomping a mudhole in Ellison. Not that Sinatra was any kind of angel himself, but Ellison was a jerk in his own right. I kinda wish Frank's friends hadn't stopped him.
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Peter G.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 8:23am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

Jason R, I would say one difference is that ambition of a certain political sort isn't merely to be at the top of a hierarchy of excellence, but specifically (to paraphrase Oscar Wilde) to 'control the lives of other men.' This is, to some people, the greatest thing they can imagine. Controlling your own life, your own career, and your own skill level, is small potatoes compared to the scope and scale of having dominion of those realms *for everyone*. And that really isn't the same as merely wanting to be the best that you can at something. It's not even the same as wanting to be filthy rich and live on the biggest yacht in the world.

That being said I actually still agree with you, and the desire to dominate and control the fate of others is actually not rare. No one knows for sure what goes on in the passing thoughts and hidden fantasies of every person (I believe that we only ever perceive the tip of the iceberg from most people). But I personally suspect that total dominion is not as far from the thoughts of average people as we might suspect. It's not so much that they crave it to the point of obsession, or of actual planning, but it's more of a "oh man, if only I were in charge and could tell people what to do" kind of mentality. So I don't even mean it in the sense of malevolent dominion; and indeed in Wilde's An Ideal Husband this kind of political power is actually painted as the greatest good, unironically. So I could even believe a Khan type person wanting to rule, but actually thinking it's to stop the corrupt idiots from ruining the world.
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Jason R.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 8:03am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

"But the argument that it clearly leads to some kind of ambition to be a global dictator seems very weak. "

I think that Khan-like ambition isn't rare. There are people like this all over the place. Now I am not speaking of literal world domination from the outset as most people simply don't have the frame of reference to reach the point where they desire that. Nobody wakes up one day and imagines themself overlord of the world because that simply isn't culturally on the radar.

But where the frame of reference is there, human ambition is practically infinite. In other words, if there is some inkling that something might be possible such that many desire it, it's a safe bet that many will have the ambition to pursue the desire and being an actual superman is hardly a prerequisite to that ambition.

Go to Hollywood and I'm sure half the people waiting tables have the ambition to be the next superstar actor. Talk to kids on a basketball court or an ice rink and I'm sure no small number plan to play in the NBA or NFL. Go to silicon valley startup and there are wannabe Zuckerbergs and Bezoses everywhere.

Is there a meaningful difference between wanting to conquer the world and wanting to be the next Michael Jordan or Taylor Swift? I'd say psychologically it's the same thing. The context is different and of course the consequences to the rest of us vary wildly, but *wanting something outlandish*, desiring something - what does it matter what the object is?
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Peter G.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 7:55am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

Ok, let's assume this wasn't a goof, and that it wasn't a war crime. How can we reconcile those premises with Sisko's character?

One thing I think that gets overlooked is how hard it was to catch Eddington, and what in fact he was capable of (and willing to do). The episode isn't my favorite by a long shot, particularly because I don't like the Les Miz comparisons, and because I don't care for Eddington as a character or as a villain. Because I diminish Eddington's importance in my minds, because honestly I don't take him that seriously, it does create the risk of understating what his agenda is. He quite literally sees himself as a saint doing God's work, saving the poor colonists from destruction, and his means as having the stamp of Good on them. So far he has already gassed a Cardassian planet, and unlike Sisko I doubt he took any special care to make sure no Cardassians were killed. And if this was a "good" act, just imagine what happens when Eddington decides it's time to do something *really* good. He is, after all, Valjean, the protagonist of a romantic story. And if we also take seriously that, for some reason, it is just impossible to catch him, we are now stuck with a serious issue in the form of potentially genocidal attacks being made by Eddington next. I would actually categorize his threat level as extremely high, if we're to take the episode seriously. Typically I don't, which is why I get stuck in the "Sisko is bad" debate. But now I am, and I can see that something had to be done about Eddington.

The entire episode seems to center around Sisko needing to do *something* to bring in this dangerous man. Let's say he's like a bin Laden, only with far more destructive power. He cannot be caught by any conventional method, so Sisko devises a literary method to bring him in: show him that Sisko the villain will make the Maquis suffer equally for every crime they commit against the Cardassians. Things brings out the noble sacrifice from Eddington, and he gives Sisko an avenue to get him. If we don't take seriously that there was absolutely no other way to bring him in then I think we are ignoring the episode's premise. The question of whether gassing a Maquis colony is a war crime needs to be taken in context of (a) the Maquis were complicit in these attacks (we see no signs they they are splintered in their intention or that they make any move to get Eddington to stop), and (b) the scale of destruction Eddington was wreaking was unacceptable and likely would have led to all-out war eventually. So was gassing the Maquis planet the only way to get Eddington to make a noble sacrifice? I don't know. But if it did work, the episode suggests that Sisko will sacrifice his honor (i.e. in becoming a villain) for the sake of the uniform, i.e. to serve the Federation and protect its citizens and uphold its laws. As it was apparently the Federation's job to prevent colonists from attacking Cardassians with bio-weapons, you can ask yourselves whether giving them tit for tat to make it stop was even wrong as a Federation move. Sure, most Admirals wouldn't have signed off on it. But on the other hand you're talking about a terrorist group using WMD's on Cardassian civilians, and they had to be stopped any way possible. Sisko chose a way.

The one single thing I would agree was a good is how the last scene was written. It should have involved Sisko and Dax lamenting that serving the good of the many required doing things he found disgraceful, but that if he hadn't that many more would have been killed. This kind of numbers game would later be brought in with In the Pale Moonlight, and I don't think these are discordant. It only requires us to take seriously was Eddington's threat level was, and I admit this is hard to do because the actor comes off as...I dunno, not very threatening.
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