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Jason R.
Sun, Apr 4, 2021, 4:56pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Are you guys actually disagreeing about something? I can't tell.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 2, 2021, 9:50am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

@Booming don't forget Canada. Our Prime Minister admits we are committing genocide (present tense). I have been waiting for him to surrender himself to the Hague for trial and execution but sadly since the pandemic he hasn't been travelling much.

"https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2019/06/04/we-accept-the-finding-that-this-was-genocide.html"
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 2, 2021, 9:13am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Return to Grace

I would further add that contrary to what many believe, I don't think Dukat is a "grey" character or complex in the way people mean it. I think that his essential character trait is narcissism and manipulation. What's amazing is he manipulates the audience right along with the on-screen characters. Because that's what people like that do.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 2, 2021, 9:06am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Return to Grace

Watching this episode I am pretty sure Dukat arranged for his transport to be the one to transport Kira. It's all part of his fantasy, to show Kira what a great guy he is, how he sacrificed everything for his daughter which he figured would be the hook back into her life. Agreeing to let Ziyal stay with Kira at the end wasn't his plan A, but it was still a great result for him because it was his ticket back into Kira's orbit.

This guy is just so splendidly manipulative. We even see him pulling off a similar scenario in Wrongs Darker than Death or Night when he sets himself up as the saviour of Bajoran comfort women.

I truly wonder if the writers had all this in mind or if things just fell into place by chance. But for me Dukat's psychology (right up to and including Waltz) is amazingly consistent and true to life regardless of the writers' intentions. Only Babylon 5 had similarly elaborate character arcs over multiple seasons.
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Jason R.
Fri, Mar 26, 2021, 12:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Contagion

But I will add that I understand Picard's reticence. It's a bitch to have to remember all your passwords once auto login data has been wiped.
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Jason R.
Fri, Mar 26, 2021, 12:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Contagion

@Peter G. Anyway bottom line even in the 1980s the factory reset was a pretty darned obvious solution. In fact why would their computer even have a "protected archive" if not for this exact scenario?
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Jason R.
Fri, Mar 26, 2021, 11:15am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Contagion

"For all the "lol they didn't even think to just reboot" stuff, the dialogue seems to indicate that what they did would be more comparable to a system restore or even a factory reset. So that makes it a little more reasonable that it wasn't the first thing they wanted to try."

Given the alternative of *death* I'd expect that they wouldn't be too concerned about losing some data and app settings and would just do the factory reset.
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Jason R.
Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 5:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

"Perception is a tricky thing. Far more complex than many think."

Take it from me, eyewitness evidence is garbage. Everybody confabulates whether they know it or not.
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Jason R.
Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 5:50am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Past Tense, Part I

@Booming no homeless in Germany? Or is it that they don't poop in the streets? I thought you said they poop everywhere??
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 18, 2021, 1:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: Fascination

Regarding Keiko you'll find that if you watch her scenes she is nowhere near the miserable character people remember. What happens in these situations:

A) Character behaves in a way that is ever so slightly naggy or unpleasent;

B) Some commentators complain in a hyperbolic manner, perhaps more to amuse than out of any serious beef with the character;

C) The image of the character as some harridan metastices in fandom and everyone kind of just knows it because other people said it but most can barely tell you why.
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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 8:56am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Some people at age 120 would continue to behave like they were 20, especially if possessing a perpetually 20 year old body.

On the other hand, some would undoubtedly evolve into something different.

Some would find immortality unbearable and commit suicide.

Some would become sage like.

Some would become hedonistic seeking ever increasing thrills constantly upping the ante.

Some would become paranoid hermits terrified of leaving the safety of their homes and risking possible death due to accident or disease.

Some would continue along living balanced lives of remarkable stability.

This is all conjecture of course since immortality has never been possible and so we have no real world examples. We can only extrapolate based on what we know about human psychology.

One thing I do feel certain about is that there would be no universal experience applicable to all. Trends and patterns sure, but my hunch is freed from the constraints of age people would behave according to their individual nature and not by some template we associate with the elderly.

As an aside, I challenge the common assumption that age grants wisdom. I feel this is true to a point, but in my experience, there is also a point at which it seems people not only don't become wiser with age, but actually become less wise, diminishing rather than growing.

To be fair, this may be part of the physical and mental deterioration that would presumably be eliminated by our fountain of youth, but that said, even among very elderly people who are mentally sharp and physically fit, it seems like many become set into patterns of thought and action that make them ultimately less than what they were in their youth. Whatever flaws they had, whatever personal blind spots seem to magnify and calcify. The point being I challenge the assumption that the typical 90 year old is necessarily "wiser" than his 60 year old counterpart- quite the contrary I think.

I realize of course that "wisdom" is perhaps a nebulous concept but nevertheless, I feel that extreme age diminishes everything, not just your cognition and body.
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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 4:26am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

"Death would still be a real possibility and that fear would still operate on the way we behave. It wouldn't be true immorality because the risk would still be ever present."

One wonders if immortality would make people more fearful of death, not less.
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Jason R.
Fri, Mar 12, 2021, 8:23am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Rascals

@Skater this became almost a running gag in Voyager. Janeway would wait until shields were down to 5% before giving the order to return fire. Then she'd just order them to fire an inverted tachyon pulse through their main deflector dish and that would do the trick and end the battle.

It's like that battle in Generations against the Klingon Bird of Prey when it was firing through the Enterprise's shields. Ummm hey Riker, why don't you fire, oh say 5 or 6 photon torpedoes and just destroy the rusty old Bird of Prey?
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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 1:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Sanctuary

FWIW Jews as a group have some fairly distinct genetic markings which doesn't make us a "race" in any technical sense (technically all humans belong to the same race) but does suggest a common ancestry particularly within Ashkenazi groups. I know 23andMe identified my dna as "99% ashkenazi Jewish" whatever the hell that means.

As an aside, Jewish identity has to be differentiated pretty strongly from religious affiliation. Jews have a very strong cultural identity that has virtually nothing to do with religion.

I know dyed in the wool atheists who go to synagogue and keep kosher. There is no contradiction here because religion is only tenuously connected with their status as Jews. Very different mentality from self described "Christians" or "Muslims"
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Jason R.
Tue, Mar 9, 2021, 6:12am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

"That brings me to another question. Why would such a message be appealing to the younger generation? "

Booming this is the question that we need to answer. But I start from a different perspective - you are looking at it as a sign of disillusionment with the failures of the modern age, but I see the opposite: disillusionment with its successes. And to answer your final question first, why does the Picard character becoming the whipping boy of the series? It's not (primarily) because he's white, but because he's old.

We both are about the same age. We and the generation after us grew up in the most prosperous age in history in the west. Inequality grew yes, but by almost any other metric we are better off. Crime is way down since we were born (ever visited NYC in the 1980s? Haha), life expectancy is way up, easy credit has fuelled not just prosperity, but extravegency.

So why would a generation that grew up in comfort idolize suffering? Well a senior orthopedic surgeon once told me that the lesser the injury the greater the complaint.

And I saw it again and again hundreds of times - the woman who became quadriplegic and would never walk again would complain less than the woman with neck pain from a rear ender at 20 mph.

I knew there was malingering, exaggeration to make money, but that always felt like a poor explanation. What I realized was that people crave legitimacy, and the more their suffering is doubted, the more they need it to be validated so they overcompensate. Suffering is currency. It's authenticity and legitimacy. And when you get told again and again that you have it easy, you react against that.

And getting back to our generation and its progeny, we crave that legitimacy that our parents and grandparents had. Raffi is a great example of this. She suffers but look how she suffers: drug abuse, broken family, depression - the calling cards of the past 20 years.

For the boomers, heroes were warriors like their parents. For today's kids, heroes perhaps are alcoholics, divorcees, depressed people, like their parents.

I may be losing coherence here so I'll stop. We can all agree that nuTrek is godawful but more and more I can see that calling it "nihilistic" is a copout.
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 8, 2021, 8:36am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

By the way (my last post I swear!) there is something vaguely Christian to this idea of suffering and abuse conferring moral greatness on the abused, isn't there? I can't remember who was making this argument, but I recall reading recently this notion that woke ideology was actually an offshoot of a Christian belief system.
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 8, 2021, 8:32am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

Sorry, I just wanted to try to better explain myself here. On the alcoholism / drug point (Raffi being the relevant example from ST Picard) to an older generation, a person being a drug addict is shameful. A show that has a main character who is so addicted is seen as nihilistic even glorifying something degenerate and unseemly. Raffi being kicked to the curb by her family is the icing on the nihilist sundae.

Yet people talk about their alcoholism, their drug addiction all the time on social media. Just this week I read about Megan Merkhle giving an interview where she seemed eager to announce to the world her mental health troubles, claiming she was tempted to "self harm" from them. She was eager to share details about how she was abused by the Royal Family.

People would not be doing this if they truly saw such things as shameful. I respectfully suggest that this is not cynicism but a kind of inverted cultural currency they are trading in, where being seen as "damaged" (in specific well defined ways) lends a kind of gravitas and credibility. It is a bit like the warrior's scar - something that arose from injury and pain becomes a symbol of strength.

So the message of the story isn't "look how terrible and damaged these people are, what a shitty world" but rather it becomes something more along the lines of "look how much these characters have endured, aren't they great?"

Then when you combine that kind of moral currency with the right kind of person (in this case a black woman) it is no longer a nihilistic message but an intensely satisfying one that reaffirms the target audience's moral worldview. That is the antithesis of nihilism which posits the futility of any value system. There is a real value system being affirmed in these shows, it's just not the one that many older (and even not so old) viewers grew up with.
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Jason R.
Mon, Mar 8, 2021, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: What You Leave Behind

@Luke I think that to many of us who grew up in a certain time and place nuTrek can seem nihilistic. I for one agree with your characterization - to a point. But you have to realize these shows are basically chimeras - they are a hodgepodge of different ideas, both nihilistic and cynical as well as intensely hopeful, all mixed into one bag. Part of this is just terrible writing.

If I'm being charitable here, what I suspect is going on is that nuTrek is intensely cynical of certain types of power structures (the Federation, white men...) and yet intensely optimistic and upbeat concerning others that appeal to its target audience. Even things like alcoholism and drug addiction, which in an older generation's moral lens are indicative of decay and degeneracy, in the newer generation's can be highly redemptive.

I don't know if I am explaining this very well, but what I suspect is that there's a moral paradigm shift between what say Boomers, X'ers and even some millenials would call "cynical" and what current generations would consider so. An alcoholic drug abused person being thrown out by her family could be seen as nihilistic by some, or intensely redemptive by others. An old white patriarch's decline and the repudiation of his values could be seen as cynical or incredibly positive.

I'm not convinced that all the viewers are speaking the same moral language here - hence why I sincerely doubt you would get much agreement that nuTrek is "nihilistic" versus previous incarnations.
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Jason R.
Sun, Mar 7, 2021, 8:17am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Peak Performance

I just had a hallucination of this episode but reimagined in the mold of The First Duty including a scene of Picard giving Wesley and Worf that speech after their rampant cheating - as a prelude to their court martials, which would take up the last third of the episode.
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 7:44am (UTC -5)
Re: MAND S1: Chapter 1: The Mandalorian

I think Booming et al. are not wrong in describing this show's weaknesses, but I do think it's still greater than the sum of its parts.

It's the Wing Commander Privateer of the Star Wars universe. For those unfamiliar it was a PC game, not a tv show. And it became a cult hit because it permitted players to inhabit and enjoy a small slice of the Wing Commander universe playing a Han Solo-ish rogue flying a rust bucket ship. This was in contrast to other games in the series which were grand operatic dramas (also starring Mark Hamill, incidentally). The fact that you were this relatively petty character engaged in small drama was part of the charm, as was the world building fun.

Getting back to the Mandalorian, after three sickeningly over the top soulless monstrosities (the Abrams sequels) it's fun to just enjoy some small stories set in the Star Trek universe.

And heck, I kind of like the Mandolorian cultural schtick. There is even an emotional payoff at the end of season 2 that exceeds in one moment the sum total of every flying fuck I ever gave about Rey, Finn, Rose and that whole band of nothingburgers.

My other big compliment to the Mandalorian is how properly planned and thought out the action is (minus the stormtroopers). Some shows are meticulous in their attention to detail so that nothing seems perfunctory. Breaking Bad was like that too.

This is a show that sets up rules and honours them . That makes the universe more believable and in turn, males the action more compelling.
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Jason R.
Thu, Mar 4, 2021, 4:19am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

"That movie is based on the "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang. It's one of the best science fiction stories I've ever read."

Everything Ted Chiang writes is gold.
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Jason R.
Wed, Mar 3, 2021, 9:10am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Unity

"Something to ponder: all we know about the politics of the colony comes from Riley herself. Who's to say that she was telling the truth about the raiders? In retrospect, maybe the "raiders" were storming the cooperative to prevent them from reactivating the Borg hive mind?"

Even if the raiders were as Riley said, does that make forcibly assimilating them right? This is a chilling outcome. Picard said he'd rather die than be assimilated. But I guess it's a-ok here because they are violent and don't wanna live in a collectivist multi-species utopia. Is this some kind of indictment of the Federation? Holy smokes maybe those Klingon monsters from Discovery S1 had a point?

This episode is maddening for focusing on all the wrong things. Chacotay is horrified at being in a collective for a minute or two temporarily to heal a mortal wound but thinks forcibly assimilating hundreds of individuals is cool? Janeway is too busy worrying about the danger of activating the cube to care if any of this might oh I dunno violate the Prime Directive? Or how about just basic ethics and human decency?

In retrospect, this is one of those episodes like Up the Long Ladder that seems to have fundamentally failed in writing, execution or both, despite having some really cool ideas.
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Jason R.
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 5:08pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

"...so you didn't actually have a point then, did you?"

The truth points to itself.
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Jason R.
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 1:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

"Picard became Kamin, right? "

Only in the sense that Data became Sherlock Holmes on the holodeck.
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Jason R.
Fri, Feb 26, 2021, 12:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Inner Light

"Well, then they REALLY tipped their hand because "Batai" is the Tagalog word for "Ancient artifact generated best buddy of a flute playing member of an alien race that's been dead for a thousand years."

Well then they really dropped the ball as Picard wasn't a member of an alien race that's been dead for a thousand years.
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