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Niall
Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 4:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

I agree with the other comments above praising this episode, for the same reasons.
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Niall
Wed, Sep 10, 2014, 6:53am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S3: Unity

I think this episode has a lot of relevance to social media, Twitter etc., with everyone suddenly being plugged into everyone else's thoughts whether they like it or not, and the resulting effects on the society (and the direction it will take) being uncertain.
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Niall
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 4:44pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Equinox, Part II

What Paul wrote isn't "bullshit", Elliott, it's a good concise summary. Moreover, it is also, of course, Paul's subjective opinion (which I happen to agree with), so your claim of it being "bullshit" cannot even apply as there is no objective truth here. I disagree with much of what you write, Elliott, but I'd never call it "bullshit" because I have a basic openness to other people's opinions and a respect and empathy for the other commenters - things you seem to lack, which is why I'm taking you on right now. When you make comments like that, you bring down the whole site and the whole level of discussion. Consider this scenario: someone comes to the site, maybe for the first time, with an interesting and thoughtful comment. You call it "bullshit", and then maybe they decide this site isn't worth commenting on due to the presence and people such as yourself, and they don't come back. So that's one fewer thoughtful commenter. A loss to the site and the community. That's what this is ultimately about. I also can't imagine calling the writers of even my least-liked books, films, TV shows etc "cynical, spiteful and arrogant", as you call the DS9 writers. When you're making personal comments like that about the personalities and values of people you don't know on the basis of their fiction-writing, we've left the world of rational debate and descended into a puerile, gutter-level slanging match.

Apropos all of this: it's really starting to feel like you're the biggest troll on this site. I'm sure I'm not the only person whose enjoyment of the comments here is increasingly attenuated by your rude and nasty comments such as the above and your fallacious closed arguments (closed in the sense that you are never open to other perspectives, and show no curiosity toward, consideration of, or even basic respect for other people's opinions, surely prerequisites for meaningful, inclusive and rigorous debate), very prolifically on so many of the comment threads here.

And I'm saying this as someone who likes Voyager. You are the show's worst advocate. You don't have remotely the empathy, open intellectual approach or narrative interpretation/drama analysis skills to make the show's case.
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Niall
Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

It's just badly written - a show with strong characters and superb actors crucially undermined by the lazy and dishonest use of deus ex machina more and more as the show reached its later stages and especially in the finale. And it has a huge misogyny problem that's all too often overlooked:

- Tyrol beats his lover (Cally) black and blue and murders his next lover (Tory), yet is still treated as a troubled hero by the narrative and both female characters in question are treated as disposable and defined primarily by their relationships with Tyrol.
- Ellen is killed by Tigh and abused by Cavil. In season 4 the show shoehorns her into a "mother" role (No Exit) in addition to her "bitch" role (seasons 1-3, Deadlock)
- Pegasus Six is beated and sexually abused by male crew
- Caprica Six is coerced into sex by someone in a position of power over her (Tigh) who again is treated by the show's narrative as a troubled hero until the end
- Six, in all her incarnations, is first and firemost a sex object throughout the show. Head-Six is an erotic femme-fatale whose character not just only exists in relation to Baltar but can't even be perceived by anyone else. Her primary purpose right from the start was very clearly to attract and titillate male viewers, disguised as a narrative device but one that had no resolution and little function
- Boomer is abused, victim-blamed, and murdered. Two other female characters later have relationships with her murderer despite knowing this. How many women do you think would act like that in real life? In season 4 Boomer is abused by Cavil and recast as a man-hating, baby-stealing soap-opera bitch. Give me a break.
- Roslin dies, Starbuck dies/vanishes, Dee kills herself, even Kat, Racetrack and Elosha are all killed. Yet the overwhelming majority of the male characters survive the entire series. The only major female character who survives the show is the one reduced to a role of wife and mother (Athena) and all of whose motivations relate to her husband and child.
- Starbuck, the strongest female character by a mile and superbly acted by Katee Sackhoff, has to be made emotionally unstable an abuse victim, because apparently a strong female character who's emotionally fine is unthinkable and to be a strong female character you have to have experienced trauma. Ditto Roslin, another strong female, whose character is retroactively defined by the death of her family as shown in the finale. Because again, a strong female leader whose life isn't defined by tragedy (cancer/loss) apparently wouldn't have been possible.
- The only significant interaction between female characters is reduced to soap-opera bitchfights (Ellen-Caprica in Deadlock, Cally-Boomer in season 2, Boomer-Athena in the finale)
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Niall
Sun, Jul 6, 2014, 9:59am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Equinox, Part II

TNG "preaching Marxist philosophy"? Lol. That is such an American (a specific kind of American) thing to say.
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Niall
Sat, Jul 5, 2014, 7:29am (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S6: Equinox, Part II

Elliott, you've been banging a drum on here about DS9 vs Voyager for about as long as there have been comments on the site, there are diatribes of yours on this theme on what feels like every article. I love DS9 and I enjoyed Voyager - I'll defend Voyager and certainly enjoyed it more than a lot of fans - but your readings of the two shows are so selective, highly skewed and partisan as to come over as completely bizarre. Who are you trying to convince? This isn't the way to do it. I'm not opposed to people debating the relative merits of DS9 and Voyager at all, I welcome it - after all, both shows ran at the same time but are very different beasts. But you can never just comment on one of Jammer's articles in a normal, open, constructive way or with an interesting insight, opinion or critique, it always has to be this aggrandising shoebox-preaching trying to prove in every possible context (bearing in mind one can never prove a subjective opinion) how Voyager is superior to DS9 - paired with attacks on Jammer's "bias". Newsflash, his tastes and reviews are subjective. I wouldn't rate much of the final season of BSG as highly as Jammer did, for instance, but that's because he and I are different people and I'm hardly going to start attacking him for overrating or underrating shows just because his opinion is different to mine, like yourself and a fair few others here do. It comes over like a bizarre obsession. What is your point? Why are you so insistent on grinding this particular axe? I'm all for discussing DS9 and VOY's relative merits and drawbacks, but can you take off the blinkers and the bizarre slant you unfailingly to the table for one second?
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Niall
Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 2:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

"Giving it to Odo" > "Giving the cure to Odo"
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Niall
Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 2:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

Yo Elliott.

I said: "One way or another, the disease is what wins the war. "

Your reply: "Isn't this precisely not true? Odo *sharing* the cure with the Female Founder is what convinces her (in some ubiquitous changeling way) from fighting a futile war to the last man."

For Odo to share the cure with her, the disease has to exist in the first place. If Section 31 hadn't created the disease, that situation couldn't have arisen. Ergo, one way or another (whether by the disease destroying the Founders, or Odo sharing the cure with the Female Founder and her having a highly unlikely change of heart because the plot and the episode's time constraints demanded it), the disease is what wins the war.

(Also: "ubiquitous"?)

While DS9 may have quietly dropped the "changeling paranoia" element of the show after By Inferno's Light, it's established in Extreme Measures that Odo is infected with the disease by Starfleet midway during season 4. By that point, we'd seen changeling operatives infiltrate the major races, resulting in the destruction of the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order, the near-destruction of the Defiant (starting a war with a race we'd never heard of before in the process), a bloody war between the Klingons and Federation (the genesis of which the Martok-changeling played a major role in), and the declaration of martial law on Earth and an attempted coup in Starfleet, with Starfleet ships even firing on each other. (In S5 we would see the near-destruction of DS9 and Bajor by the Bashir-changeling.) When this kind of stuff is happening, you need to take major steps - you do not sit and have an ethical debate. You do what is necessary through gritted teeth, like Sisko and Kira do again and again throughout DS9. The choice - insofar as it is a real choice, which it isn't - is one of staying true to some self-aggrandisingly noble set of principles so you can feel good about yourself (because that's what it's coming down to in this discussion) and being completely wiped out by genocidal invaders in the process, or going as far as is required - as far and no further - to survive and to vanquish the threat. Ethics and pragmatism are both very important and go hand in hand, you need to strike a fine balance between the two when people's lives depend on your decision, and it's a line that I think Sisko and Kira do an extremely good job of walking in their decisions throughout the series, which is why I respect them so much.

The fact that shape-changing exacerbates the disease's progression would seem built into its design. With Sisko's "false positive" blood test on Earth and the outing of Martok in S5, it was de-facto established that blood tests for changelings don't work. They're also highly impractical. So, how do you stop genocidal, ruthless and extremely cunning changeling operatives destroying civilisation after civilisation from the inside? Infect them with a fatal disease that worsens the more they change form.

The Founders are enemy combatants, not civilians; when it comes to members of the Great Link, we can't meaningfully talk of individuals - they're a single whole, and the Female Founder is the representative they send out ("the ocean becomes the drop"). And they're genocidal. They view other races as completely worthless. Without them, the Dominion would have collapsed. The disease was right. Giving it to Odo was a stupid risk, as he's a liability, and the only reason the Female Founder had her sudden change of heart in the finale was bad writing (sorry, I love DS9 so much, but it has to be said). It was a cheat. Odo coming home wasn't what made the difference either; the Founders were totally prepared to accept Odo's death in The Adversary and irreversibly cast him out in Broken Link. In S3+4 they effectively treated Odo with as much disregard as they did his solid compatriots; the Female Founder's comment in Favor The Bold that bringing Odo home means more to the Founders "than the entire Alpha Quadrant itself" was the writers shifting stance and giving the Dominion War a future get-out clause.
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Niall
Mon, Jun 16, 2014, 1:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Extreme Measures

Rewatched this last night. Until they enter Sloan's mind, the episode is great, but from then on it's awful. The idea of entering Sloan's mind isn't wrong in itself, it's just atrociously executed - arguably much worse than in earlier episodes largely set in people's minds like Distant Voices and Dark Page. What could have been a probing, surrealist masterpiece is instead incredibly stilted and slow-paced. Despite the ticking clock, there's no sense of urgency and one awkward, unwatchable scene after another drags on and on - the falling turbolift, Sloan's mortifying "party", the scene where Bashir and O'Brien "die", the "we're still in Sloan's mind!" interval, the misfiring climax in Sloan's "office" - all of it is misjudged and turgid in a way that's really, really unusual for DS9. The writing is disastrous - what went wrong? There's also a lot of really obvious exposition via the characters, explaining things that didn't need to be explained. I also see no need for the unnecessary jeopardy angle - are we really supposed to believe that if Sloan dies while Bashir and O'Brien are connected to his mind, they die too? Ridiculous. Also ridiculous: the fact the "cure" is a four-word sequence of amino acids and Odo is restored to full health in about 10 seconds. What a stupid episode and a waste of potential.

I agree with most of the comments above, including Markus's ("Why would Sloan as a non-expert know the cure of the disease? And why would Section 31 develop an antidote in the first place?") At the end of the day, Sloan is in the right. One way or another, the disease is what wins the war. Giving Odo the cure is absolute madness because he absolutely cannot be trusted around other changelings and has repeatedly been shown to act primarily out of self-interest, unlike most of the rest of the DS9 characters. Section 31's work is what saves the Federation - so to see Bashir and O'Brien capture Sloan, force him into suicide (a foreseeable action) and mind-rape him to save one unreliable, untrustworthy person at the cost of potentially risking millions of lives and the entire future of the Federation/Alpha Quadrant is an appalling writing choice. For instance, imagine there had been a secret changeling on the station that, once Odo had been cured, forcibly linked with him and returned to the Link.
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Niall
Sun, Mar 16, 2014, 5:27am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

I'd have loved that ending too.
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Niall
Wed, Mar 5, 2014, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S2: Tuvix

"It's all inconsequential anyway, since a hybrid of this kind is scientifically impossible." - that's pretty much how I see this episode too now. Well said.
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Niall
Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 4:27pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Justice

Oh come on, this is just yet another example of gay male body fascism, holding men's bodies to ridiculous standards. What disgusting comments. The men in this episode were fine. (img.gawkerassets.com/img/19dgltmi4bpyjjpg/ku-xlarge.jpg)
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Niall
Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 12:37pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: E2

The "old T'Pol" is terrible - overdone, unconvincing makeup and overdone, unconvincing performance. They should have gone less all-out on the fake wrinkles and gotten Blalock to give a more naturalistic performance, truer to young T'Pol.
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Niall
Fri, Feb 14, 2014, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Homefront

As a non-American reader of this site since the 90s, I find it fascinating how - now that the comment function has been added - certain American political and cultural schisms spill over into the comments sections of various episodes (ones which act as cultural flashpoints) on a regular basis. What I find fascinating is that the angles and viewpoints from which issues are debated (on threads like "Repentence", "Far Beyond The Stars", "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang" and this one) are often soooo American, full of baffling subjective readings and outlandish viewpoints you wouldn't find in any other first- or second-world country. It comes through in the bizarre mental filters through which some people seem to watch the episodes, the emotive/histrionic tone of a fair proportion of the comments, how paranoid and ill-informed some of the comments are, the polarised conclusions they leap to due to their highly subjective viewing, and of course, the brain-deactivating invocation of "socialism", "communism", "fascism", "capitalism" etc. as boogeymen. DS9 is a story, it wasn't written as right- or left-wing, and it was written in the 90s long before 9/11 etc. Of course fiction has political context, but you know what? Not every single piece of drama or every episode of Star Trek has to be either unequivocally right- or left-wing, pro- or against a certain standpoint. The show wasn't written to be binary and divisive. In this thread, we have one person writing off this (excellent) episode as "yet another episode by left wing socialists" (1: as opposed to right-wing socialists? 2: no, it isn't) and another dismissing it as "your typical right-wing paranoia episode that DS9 loved to milk" (no, it isn't that either). I dunno, maybe just approach what you watch with an open mind, leave your baggage at the door, and enjoy the storytelling? I completely agree with Paul M's stellar comments throughout this thread (MARRY ME).

Governments around the world have regularly used the invocation of a terrifying external threat to maintain and sharpen their control and curtail domestic freedoms. Egypt was in an officially-declared "state of emergency" from 1967 to 2012, and the entire survival of the North Korean regime hinges on its constant propaganda that the country can be attacked by "American imperialists and their South Korean puppet forces" at any moment. Citizens are drilled to be in a constant state of readiness for war.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_emergency#Egypt
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_emergency#Abuse
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Niall
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 6:23am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Return to Grace

This is a superb and overlooked episode that I find myself returning to. It's dialogue- and character-heavy, really well-written and works as theatre - essentially a 45-minute two-character piece between Kira and Dukat, with Ziyal and Damar in lesser roles. It's brilliant in its simplicity and the amount of meat and authenticity it was, and how logical and organic the plot. Nana Visitor and Marc Alaimo carry it effortlessly.
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Niall
Mon, Feb 10, 2014, 6:15am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

Those who are badgering Jammer - what do you honestly think his review is going to add to your life? Are you hoping it will validate your own opinion? I'd be happy for Jammer to take another 8 months just to further aggravate some of the more vocal badgerers. He'll write it in his own time. In the meantime, there are tons of other well-written STID reviews all over the internet spanning a whole range of voices and opinion.
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Niall
Sun, Dec 29, 2013, 1:13pm (UTC -6)
Re: BSG S3: Maelstrom

What do we think about the fact that this episode places the onus of forgiveness on the victim of abuse?

In my view, Starbuck did the right thing by walking out and not coming back. After the lifetime of severe abuse her mother meted out to her, she's completely justified in doing so. Yet the episode focuses on Kara's guilt at having left her mother to die alone, and climaxes with the scene in which Kara is given a chance to undo this by returning to comfort her abusive mother in her final hours. The narrative isn't about Kara's mother accepting responsibility for her abuse, apologieing or reforming - we see no evidence of any of this - it's all about Kara having to supposedly do the right thing by forgiving her mother and continuing to be the "good daughter" to her despite the abuse she receives in return.

I love this episode, for the writing and direction and Katee Sackhoff's performance, but I'm really uncomfortable with this. This is a woman who emotionally and physically abused her daughter, yet the episode makes it the daughter's responsibility to make peace and forgive her mother.
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Niall
Fri, Dec 20, 2013, 3:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Seventh Season Recap

You see, this is why season 2 is my favourite season in terms of tone - the continuity of the Kazon/Seska plot plus great individual episodes like Resistance, The Thaw, Deadlock and Persistence Of Vision. Of course, continuity doesn't make sense when you consider that the Kazon would have had to have been chasing Voyager for 2 years at warp 9 point whatever. But very little about Voyager does make sense.

What I actually like about seasons 1-2 is that the show wasn't trying to be "fun", which it was very much so from season 3 onwards. When you think about episodes like season 1's Prime Factors and State Of Play, Voyager doing those episodes any time after season 3 is inconceivable due to the shift in tone.
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Niall
Tue, Dec 10, 2013, 8:36am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: The Magnificent Ferengi

Funniest episode of Star Trek and a total classic.
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Niall
Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 6:32pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S5: Ensign Ro

While I don't agree with Nick on the DS9 characters (which were superb), I'm gonna back him up on the Ro issue from a feminist perspective. When a bunch of male writers try and spice up a show that's low on conflict by adding a two-dimensional "ANGRY WOMAN", it's insulting and outright anti-feminist. The difference between Kira and Ro couldn't be clearer; Kira experienced trauma but is not defined by it - she's a three-dimensional character, emotionally available, and interacts with others normally and without hangups. As critic Abigail Nussbaum writes, "What I like best about Kira's strength is that it doesn't undermine her femininity or her ability to relate to others. [...] Kira is damaged, but that damage doesn't render her incapable of functioning normally, nor is it used as a justification or apology for her toughness, though both originate in the same circumstances. Neither is Kira's rage--her default reaction when she's frustrated or confronted with injustice--treated as an illness or a symptom of dysfunction. [...] All of which is to say that I like Kira because she's an adult. It's all too often the case that female characters--even the strong, kickass ones--are portrayed as girlish or immature. Kira is a grown up--in her professional conduct, in her personal relationships, in her moral behavior." By contrast, Ro as written and performed in this episode is immature, childish, petulant, completely defined by her past, and far too clear an example of male writers thinking "let's add a bitch". Thankfully, she develops more over the course of the episode - the turning point being her second discussion with Guinan and her confessional scene in Picard's ready room - but all of her scenes up to this point are far too pantomime and one-note, with Forbes playing Ro as cartoonishly hostile without reason to all around her. Add to that the poor writing, which breaks the "show, don't tell" rule: in the first half of the episode, we mostly experience Ro's abrasiveness through other characters telling us about it. Witness Riker, Worf and Geordi - a bunch of male characters - all venting off about how Ro shouldn't be on the ship or wearing the uniform. Not only does it beggar belief that one ensign would be so notorious beyond her own ship, it also seems out of character, particularly in Geordi's case. It's characters transparently acting as narrators for the audience's benefit by repeatedly telling us "Ro is bad" instead of showing us evidence.

Aside from that, pretty good episode.
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Niall
Sat, Dec 7, 2013, 6:07pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: The Wounded

I concur pretty much totally with your review. Colm Meaney is OK, Marc Alaimo steals the whole episode (no wonder they brought him back as Dukat), but Maxwell didn't really work for me, certainly not as the character was performed in this episode. His motivation for going rogue seemed insufficient and the performance was underwhelming, passionless and phoned-in. It also strained belief that Maxwell would be able to do what he did without his crew rebelling, and it thus harmed the episode that we never saw any of them. And it was awfully convenient that O'Brien was able beam over like that, plus ridiculous that Picard would allow Maxwell to retain command of his ship for the return journey after he'd just murdered 650 people. Maxwell is given far too much benefit of the doubt by O'Brien and Picard throughout the episode.

Often when TNG tried to do conflict, it came over as forced and inauthentic, and we this problem again here. A couple of O'Brien's scenes are too unsubtle and stagy, and I also didn't like how absurdly offhand Picard is with Macet at the end, even going as far as to turn his back on Macet by demonstratively rotating his chair. After everything that had just happened - a rogue Federation ship violating Cardassian space and causing massive casualties, then Picard almost letting the situation escalate even more through basic negligence and lack of discipline - it seemed totally out of character and incredibly crass for Picard to behave this way. Basically, this episode makes the Federation look like the dicks, not the Cardassians.

Also, yeah, O'Brien going from being tactical officer under Maxwell to transporter dude under Picard? What's with that? And why were they only chasing Maxwell at warp 4 for most of the way?
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Niall
Fri, Nov 22, 2013, 9:32am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

Brandon, that's a superb point. Good fantasy/sci-fi requires limits and a consistent, believable world that the characters operate within. Otherwise there's no sense that anything's genuinely at stake (as you say, the characters effectively become omnipotent) and plot developments can seem totally arbitrary.
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Niall
Tue, Nov 19, 2013, 5:24am (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

SPR, my bet's on ** too.
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Niall
Thu, Nov 7, 2013, 3:33pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Darkness and the Light

Elnis, I totally agree, that's what I got from it too. When Kira says "the light only shines in the darkness", she's talking about herself (and the baby) as much as anyone else. And yes, the second part of that statement can be read in both ways too.
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Niall
Fri, Oct 11, 2013, 5:18am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Far Beyond the Stars

I might also add, it's all the more depressing if not outright shocking that the anti-gay, pro-death penalty and coded anti-black sentiments (because unlike open homophobia, open racism is a societal taboo in the US now, hence people find proxies, straw men and other ways to express it) that I see too often on this site are coming from self-professed Star Trek fans. I mean, have you learned nothing from the show? I actually credit Star Trek, to a significant extent, as part of the reason I have the values I do today. My sense of right and wrong, of justice, and of not sitting on my hands, staying silent or taking the easy way out but speaking out and fighting for causes (based not on whether they benefit me, but for their own sake and that of society as a whole) has a lot to do with growing up watching Sisko, Kira, Picard, Worf et al. They are role models, in the best possible way. With the possible exception of Voyager, in which Janeway's reactions to situations were often kneejerk, emotional, unethical and inconsistent, Trek is set apart by its values. It's about responding to a problem intellectually and considering the different angles and perspectives rather than reacting emotionally without thinking something through. It's about the desire to understand. And it's this exactly desire to understand so integral to the series that I'm not seeing in a lot of the wilfully ignorant comments in threads such as this one and the Repentance thread.

If you can sit through hundreds of episodes of Trek and come out pro-death penalty, anti-gay, and hate episodes like Far Beyond The Stars and Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang where race is a theme - in some cases passionately, judging by the sheer volume and vehemency of comments on this thread - you've been watching Star Trek wrong. Trek is about listening to others, thinking things through in a considered manner that brings in perspectives other than your own, and the desire to understand.
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