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Peter G.
Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 10:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

@ Trent,

Since you already granting that diplomacy with the Dominion is futile, the only other side that remains that you mentioned is to show the Federation trying it anyhow. I guess I wouldn't have minded that, but personally showing airtime of futile negotiations with essentially Hitler would cast the Federation perpetually in the role of Chamberlain, which is not flattering. And I do disagree with this statement:

"You have to ignore the Federation working with the Cardassians and Romulans to genocide the Founder homeworld. You have to ignore Sisko constantly sending cloaked warships and runabouts into or near Dominion space. You have to ignore, in this episode, him appealing to 17th century human salvage rights to justify stealing another Empire's crashed ship."

I don't think any of these things require ignoring. I blatantly disagree with those who call the Federation complicit in Tain's attack on the Founders. The Federation is not a Dominion ally and has *no* right or reason to intercede on their behalf when being attacked by a foreign power. It is not even a moral imperative to do something, let alone a legally mandated action. Now maybe the issue of genocide itself opens up issues, but I'm not even sure Sisko had any idea the fleet was going in to do anything other than attack. The only time I think we hear it's about wiping out the Founders was Tain saying it to Garak. I guess I could be remembering that wrong.

Other than that, all of these "incursions" into Dominion space by Sisko, the Federation, Vulcans, Bajorans, etc, were labeled *by the Dominion* as aggressions, but the show is very clear that they are nothing of the sort. The Dominion essentially claimed to have annexed the entire Gamma Quadrant, which if you realize the scale of that is utterly preposterous. And they clearly only did so because of the wormhole, making their claim mealy mouthed and dishonest. Basically their view really is that they own anything they say they own. But that's not how territory rights and borders work, which in real life must be negotiated (or won at the point of a gun). You only 'own everything' if no one can stop you, which is what the Dominion assumes by default. But their idiotic claim doesn't make the desire to explore vast space an "incursion" that by any reasonable definition shows the Federation as aggressive. The only outright aggressive action the Federation really took until later seasons was sending the Odyssey, and even they it was only for a rescue mission (to save a Starfleet Commander) and not to attack.

From that standpoint the series in no way IMO shows reciprocal provocation from both sides. There is essentially no provocation from the side of the Federation, which I think almost goes far enough by itself to count as their diplomatic effort. I might have also liked the odd episode of attempted peace-making, but we do get one conversation pre-minefield between Sisko and Weyoun that sums up nicely what all other diplomacy would have been like. This is not a Versailles/Germany situation where one side goes on the warpath but where you pushed them there. This is the real Federation as we know it, confronted with a bully. Probably not much different than early dealings with the Klingons.
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Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 10:09am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: The Ship

Ira Behr did the introduction to a DS9 Technical Manual book in the 1990s, and in it gave his one line summary of the show: "technology changes, but humans won't". I always considered this a glib, dishonest and reactionary answer. And it's an answer DS9 can only sell by withholding information, rigging its little dramatic dilemmas, and turning a blind eye to very specific things.

And so in this episode, you have Sisko and a Founder fighting over a crashed Dominion ship. They fight, people die, and we get a sentimental coda which espouses a message typical of war films: war is bad, sad, but ultimately unavoidable because of human predilections, whilst footsoldiers themselves must sadly die for commanders, who take on the White Man's Buden to make tough choices so others don't have it. War? *sigh* Whatcha going to do?

To justify this kind of philosophical shrug, you have to basically renounce science, rationalism, and any kind of forensic look at the Dominion/Federation war. You have to ignore the Federation working with the Cardassians and Romulans to genocide the Founder homeworld. You have to ignore Sisko constantly sending cloaked warships and runabouts into or near Dominion space. You have to ignore, in this episode, him appealing to 17th century human salvage rights to justify stealing another Empire's crashed ship.

The Dominion are brutal tyrants. In this episode they fire at and destroy a runabout without provocation. Sisko is right not to lay down arms and trust them in this episode. But the Dominion are also "right" in their madness; the Federation and its "allies" have tried to wipe them out. Have been encroaching on their space. Given this, and given their past history with solids, declaring Federation travel through the wormhole off limits, and sending Changeling spies to spy on and meddle with the Federation, and then escalating into outright war, makes some kind of sense.

What makes no sense is the Federation, a body with centuries of experience, and countless military, ambassadorial, scientific, psychological and sociological experts, nonchalantly dancing about the Dominion like 20th century Imperial strongmen.

In its drive to make war seem inevitable, discussion naive, diplomacy a dead end and compromise and coexistance a pipe-dream, DS9 has to make the Federation look stupid, incompetent and callous. And because the Federation represents us in contemporary times, this necessarily means we the viewers are also stupid. It makes our political/philosophical approach to war stupid. But DS9 is not critqing human stupidity. It is not wagging a finger at us or contemporary society. No, DS9 is praising this stupidity and couching it in "tough choices" and "pragmatism".

And because DS9 never properly critiques the Federation, never accuses it of failing to explore other options or tactics, never even shows these options being explored, and instead tricks you into accepting conflict as an inevitable consequence of choices the Federation and Dominion had no choice but to make, it makes its audience complicit in the stupidity.

From season 4 onwards, it becomes increasingly harder to watch the Dominion/Federation arc. It's like watching two dopey cultures interact. Not once is the Federation meaningfully critiqued. Not once are Sisko's dubious choices countered, challenged or seen to have ramifications. In its headlong rush to have big CGI armadas trading blows, everyone has to act as stupidly as possible.

Ira Behr is not wrong in wanting a pessimistic show. But that pessimism is rarely earned and is often got to by cheating and cutting corners. Behr is also not wrong to deem relations with the Dominion to be futile. But try anyway, show why it's futile. Just one or two episodes. And at the very least, if you're hellbent on portraying things as inherently futile, then make the logical leap to the next step: meaningfully prepare for war early. Secure the wormhole, rig it sooner with mines, park a Fed fleet over Bajor and maybe even send lots of covert Fed teams to try and emancipate conquered Dominion races. Why does a Federation that has access to Genesis devices, and that repeatedly thwarted the Borg, struggle to lock down a single wormhole?

Anyway, this episode contains two good scenes, both which involve Sisko angry, sweaty and barking orders. The episode's core idea - the Alamo in miniature - is good, but the script is slack, lacks tension or conflict, and the relationship between the Vorta and Sisko rather dull. Worf and Dax also act woefully out of character in this episode, and I don't buy them falling apart so easily. Worf's hounding of OBrian is particularly ridiculous.
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Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 9:24am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

I must say, this film is damn perfect. I didn't grow up on Star Wars, but by god I love this movie so so much, especially the god. damn. score.
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Peter G.
Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 9:14am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

Not sure if someone above has addressed this, but another part of the problem with this as a portrayal of a disabled person is that part of the sci-fi premise in the window dressing (her home planet) actually makes it so that she's not simply *disabled* but rather differently abled. Unlike the euphemism used by some now, to indicate they are "abled" but not in the way of the majority (which is really a dishonest way of saying they are indeed disabled in that one aspect but have other abilities), in the case of Melora she really isn't disabled at all, just unsuited to that particular Earth-like environment, whereas in her native environment she no doubt is vastly superior to Sisko and the others. She breaks the direct parallel to disabled people and instead makes it more of an adaptation issue. Within context of this show, she's as disabled on DS9 as someone now on Earth is who has a 2 am - 10 am natural sleep cycle. They will be at a disadvantage if the majority rule is that you're at work from 9-5, but it's not so much that they're disabled sleep-wise since they would be perfectly functional if work started at 11 am, but rather just poorly adapted to the current social structure and would do better perhaps than other people if it was other than it was.

Because of this and other mixed messages I've never thought this episode worked pretty much at all. The one possibly nice premise, of someone who loves zero-G, could never work in a series that won't afford cable budgets all the time to have flying scenes. If this was shot now it would be a whole different story.
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Thu, Sep 24, 2020, 1:59am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Melora

"Extremely mediocre episode. What bothered me endlessly was how Melora's borderline insubordination in the beginning is never even commented upon.
"I know Starfleet isn't strictly military, but an ensign being rude and even hostile to superior officers without anyone even saying something?"

Indeed, it wasn't realistic. "Rude guest star joins the main cast for an episode" can work. In Data's Day the Vulcan (Romulan as it turned out) Ambassador was noticeably rude - but she wasn't part of the Starfleet hierarchy. In numerous TNG episodes Ro Laren was rude too - and got in trouble for it. But simply inserting a bolshy, unprofessionally difficult Ensign into the DS9 cast and seeing them completely overlook her behaviour made no sense.
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Hotel bastardos
Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 2:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

Well, he's a renowned shagger- but the thing is , now his esteemed colleague has experienced his "length" - how can she look him in the eye
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Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 6:54am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Course: Oblivion

It may not be well executed, especially the Janeway decision making part, but the main idea is quite original.
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Top Hat
Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 6:13am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Family

O’Brien’s rank is one of those odd topics where the writers and production people weren’t on the same page.
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Wed, Sep 23, 2020, 4:58am (UTC -5)
Re: ORV S2: The Road Not Taken

Seth MacFarlane on Star Trek and NuTrek:
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Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 10:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Broken Link

I've always regarded this as a poor and very overrated episode.

Yes, the idea of Odo losing his "molecular cohesiveness" and "slowly dying" is good. Yes, almost every scene with Garak is excellent. Yes, the climax in which Gowron is apparently revealed to be a shapeshifter, is exciting. Yes, Quark's relationship with Odo is once again seen to be quite touching.

But there are too many poor decisions. The Founders allowing the Defiant to park above their homeworld is nonsensical. They should put Odo and Sisko in a Dominion ship, keep them in locked quarters, travel secretly to the homeworld and then beam them down. Taking the Defiant - and using a hokey "location blocker" which simply plugs into a bridge console - is unbelievable, especially when the episode goes to lengths to point out how a single ship has the ability to raze the entire planet.

Sisko's taking of the Defiant is itself a bad move. You don't want to accidentally instigate a war with the Dominion. You want their medical help. Send a runabout instead. And if you do take the Defiant, don't take Garak with you.

The Founders "punishing Odo by turning him human" is also a bad move. The series increasingly shunts Odo into a Little Mermaid arc, when it should have gone a twisted Beauty and the Beast route. Make him hopelessly pine for Kira, and Kira be romantically repulsed by him. We know from DS9's final seasons that finally bringing them together doesn't work. It leads only to a sitcomy, forced romance between two characters with no romantic chemistry.

As with most of later DS9, this episode also contains many scenes in which Big Bad Villains stand about and deliver Bad Guy dialogue. Unfortunately the Founders, the Jem'hadar, the Vorta, the Breen etc are all cartoon-level characters whose dialogue always feels like cartoon-level dialogue. This series' always sidelines its more interesting adversaries - the Romulans, the Cardassians, the Klingons and even the Bajorans - for the comparatively weaker Dominion, who always work best when they are faceless, off screen, implied, undercover or in the margins.

Give a Klingon or a Cardassian verbal scenery to chew, and they will chew it. There's a certain theatrical pomp and pageantry a Klingon or Cardie gives you. But put a Founder in front of Odo and get her talking about Great Links, Conquest and Evil Solids, and you just end up with hokey material played straight.
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Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 9:44pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Apocalypse Rising

90's Trek had the most awesome, scenery chewing Klingons. You have Gowron with his bulging eyes, the always-cranky Martok, Kor the Dahar Master, Christopher Plumber's Shakespeare quoting General Chang. And now in this episode you have Avery Brooks giving his deliciously angry take on the Klingons. He seems to relish being able to cut loose.

As others have said about, this episode is fun but flawed. It was nice seeing Gul Dukat still in possession of a Bird of Prey. The Klingon planet, and the fleets over it, look great. Some of the Klingon dialogue is excellent. The episode's core idea is also very good.

What hampers things are those ridiculous orb devices which our heroes "covertly" place on statues in order to detect Changelings. It's such a dopey looking action sequence, and such a silly-looking device. Why would a advanced organization like Starfleet use such cumbersome devices for covert operations. And why a ball? Those things keep rolling away whenever you place them down.

The episode's perfunctory ending is also a bit weak - Odo discovers Martok's identity too easily - but I like the (albeit now primitive) CGI effect when Martok lashes out with his tentacle hand. There's something shocking and alien about it. A kind of unexpected, ontological shock to the system.
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Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 9:17pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Quickening

Is this the only episode where Dax and Julian are given an entire episode alone on a planet together? They rarely seem paired together on a scientific away mission, which is a shame, as they work so wonderfully well together.

In a way, this episode also offers a nicely minimalistic portrait of the Federation: two blue-shirts alone and doing their science thing, trying to help a less technologically advanced culture in need of aid. This episode just epitomizes a certain Trek ethos.

Apparently DS9's regular set designers were off shooting the First Contact Movie, so other set designers stepped in for this episode. The results are special, with this episode arguably having the best matte-paintings and landscape-composite shots of 90s Trek. The episode's "alien village" sets are also impressive, with their odd buildings and sloped, rubble strewn streets, everything off kilter or on the verge of collapse.

As Jammer says in his review, the episode's script isn't that surprising, isn't that original, and yet everything just clicks together so well. Rene's relatively fresh direction, and the fresh production design, seems to gel well with a wonderfully bare-bones script (too bad there weren't fresh musical composers).

The stripped down nature of the episode also lends it a heightened quality, very abstract and almost mythic, Bashir the western hero wondering into a desert town to do battle with just his tricorder and hypospray.

Incidentally, watching Bashir here had me wondering where I'd rank him amongst my favorite Trek doctors. Bones is first place, of course, but I'd put Bashir second. Ignore his super-power reveal - DS9 eventually character assassinates all its characters - and he has a nice little arc, the wide-eyed frontier doctor who matures from booksmart rookie into a model, battle-hardened Starfleet officer.

Voyager's EMH I'd place third. He had more great Doctor Episodes than any other Trek doctor, and he's acted with more flair and gusto, but it's hard to relate to a rude, wise-cracking, neurotic hologram.

I'd place Crusher third. I liked her grace and quiet style. Her private dinners and conversations with Picard were always cool. But she rarely had anything to do, and only had one great episode dedicated to her.

Still, that's four distinct, great-in-their-own-way Trek Doctor's in a row. Not a bad track record for a franchise.

Next game doctor Phlox, of course. I never warmed to him. Always seemed like but a polite version of the EMH, and the aesthetics of his infirmary always irked me. Still, he arguably got "Enterprise's" best directed episode ("Dear Doctor", its moral implications aside).
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Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 8:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: I, Mudd

I agree, Trent. TNG is more friendly to tge idea of utopia, and even tries to present the Federation as fairly utopian.
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Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 8:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Journey to Babel

I also want to mention that even though I wasn't crazy about the premise of the Trek reboot movies ("The entire series you loved now never happened." ) , the one moment in them that rang most true for me was when Sarek answered Spock's question of why he married Amanda truthfully rather than wryly: "Because I loved her."
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Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 7:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Journey to Babel

Love that moment when Spock tries to bolt from his cot alongside the operating table and Nurse Chapel calmly knocks him out with a hypo. Patient autonomy vs. health professional authority must be a pendulum that happens to swing to the same spot in the 23rd century as it occupied in the mid twentieth.
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Gail Jaitin
Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Bounty

So awful. The camera practically laps up T'Pol's body from the ankle to the crown. So disappointing that a woman directed this, but then I guess she's just giving the (male) PTB what they wanted.
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Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 8:00am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Retrospect

This comments section functions as a really interesting time capsule, with people getting more passionate as time gets on.
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Peter G.
Tue, Sep 22, 2020, 12:33am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

@ Booming,

This may indeed be a translation issue, because it is not the case in English parlance that the term "science" is ever used in a rigorous sense to include fields such as law. That lawmaking involves a necessary human element, and therefore observations and conclusions, is not the scientific method any more than literally any field at all is scientific. Your definition just means that we use thinking and observing to advance, but that's not what the term means in proper English. If it did then literally all areas of thought would be science in this loose way of speaking.

There is, however, a colloquial use of the term that just means "body of knowledge" or "technique", so for example we might use a turn of phrase like "I have perfected the science of persuasion", which is actually derivative of an old usage whereby science basically just meant human art. And like the term "art" there is now a technical meaning to both terms that has obsoleted the older and more inclusive usages. We can say, for instance, "the art of cooking" colloquially but are not confused into thinking that a cook is a literal artist. Although (once again colloquially) we do sometimes call high-level masters of a discipline "true artists" in order to underline how good they are, but that measures a degree of skill rather than a type of skill in that usage. But by and large the term "art" now refers either to 'the arts' or else to technical disciplines that have 'terms of art' which is to say technical jargon; although this latter use again should not confuse anyone into thinking that a professional knowledge in their terms of art is 'an artist', any more than a person who thinks scientifically (i.e. logically) is therefore a 'scientist'.

In the technical use of 'science' it can only mean a discipline making use not only of observation and thinking (which comprises all human endeavor) but rather employs hypothesis, experiment, data, conclusion, and new hypotheses. And even more specifically, not just any tests will do. For example I could test whether particular comments will annoy my friends, form a hypothesis, test it, conclude, and retest a new hypothesis, but this is not science. The main difference is that what we call "science" is specifically designed to remove the human element from the equation so that human error, prejudice, false judgement, and bias are eliminated maximally from the equation. Any field which employs a form of thinking such as "what kind of data do you think this produced" or even "what kinds of information are really data" is not what we would call science, although again colloquially there can be 'a science' of the study of that subject (meaning we learn about it). Psychology (especially social psych) and economics are particularly good examples of fields with plentiful study and tests, which whose conclusions are always couched in the assumptions of the test-makers and observers. This is why such a large degree (I would argue the vast majority) of study in these fields amounts basically to "did we even test in a meaningful way" and even if they did, still leaves them with "but what can we draw from this that is conclusive and which we can call solid data?" Making sense out of that quagmire is where the social sciences still have to cut their teeth, because the issue of the validity of the tests is enormous and thus far not solved. You can look at almost any psych study and poke holes in anything ranging from its methodology, sample size, conclusions, premises, you name it. This is decidedly not a problem in physics, where there is no question of getting 'real data' about projectile motion or luminosity. That is because in a way physics is a simpler subject, so that makes sense. Probably in 500 years psychology may be a science in this sense, but right now it is not (not to be confused with neuroscience, which is a different story).

So I think this is an English/German translation issue, maybe, because undoubtedly people do tests and make hypotheses in the social sciences all the time. Much data is drawn, numbers collected, samples measures, and all that. But what out of it came from really good tests and generated what we would call "solid facts" about the world is a big question. Yes, you can obviously take a survey and count the number of yesses and nos in the survey, and report the number. But that's not "data" in the sense that it's meant in physics or chemistry. I mean, it is literal information, so in that sense it's data, but it's not data in the sense of being hard numbers about the universe that no individual can refute. There are types of probabilistic tests, as you say, that show a certain result within a certain margin of error, such as (in medicine) how many people got the flu last season, and which percent were of which demographic, and therefore what can we expect next season. That may be accurate within a margin of error, but as there are no control and experimental cases in that type of study it's still a very muddy 'science' in the sense that you can't create reproducible results.

Does all of this make sense? I think maybe it's why there's so much bickering here on the term "science". Or at least I hope it is.

On a side note:

"2) "science" is viewed as a tool of explaining phenomena (theoretical sciences) or making them more useful (practical sciences). That was - in brief - neo-Popperian paradigm of science (still popular among many philosophers of science)."

I'm not sure whether Jason R or anyone else stated the definition of the term in precisely this way, so not sure why you're trying to refute it in this way. That said, the phrase itself "Popperian paradigm of science" is itself based directly in Kuhn's philosophy of science, which to wit is still a current and regular theory of the sciences. Namely, that a given paradigm reigns so long as it can best house the data, until the point where too many cracks in it force a revolution. I mention this because this type of revolution - one in which a longstanding paradigm is finally overturned - is specifically contingent on the field being one where there is a paradigm in the first place more or less universally accepted as "correct". At least, by enough of the majority that its basic assumptions are those used as axioms in the daily workplace. In fields ranging from economics to psychology to archaeology, there are no such universally accepted paradigms that are accepted as "facts of nature", and so therefore there can be no revolutions in Kuhn's sense - and therefore they are not sciences in the way he understood it. And I remind you that Kuhn is still current and accepted as at minimum a contender for the theory of how sciences work in practice.
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Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 9:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S5: Counterpoint

Great episode, loved it on many levels.
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Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 9:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Extinction

0.5 stars from me. Unrelated: Why did T’Pol’s pajamas get redesigned to resemble something a 14 year old boy would draw on a T’Pol anime version? Is there a less practical pajama? And what use do Vulcans have with all that silicone if they only pon farr every 7 years? As far as the episode goes, lame. It was boring, and the DNA “science” made no sense. You can catch a virus that aside from all the other stupid hair growth and bone growth stuff, can also make you speak a new language? In about 10 minutes??? Never have I been more thankful for the Netflix 1.5X speed feature than this episode. And the ending? This is my first watch of Enterprise, I realllly hope they don’t bring that virus back for a sequel nobody wants (a la “Demon” and “Course Oblivion”). This might be my least favorite of Enterprise so far, but it’s not particularly offensive, so I wouldn’t give it a 0.
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Peter G.
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 3:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Tribunal

@ Zanki,

"It's an okay episode I guess, my guess they sort of tried to do like ''chain of command '' maybe that explains why I wasn't surprised of the Orwellian approach to their legal system sort of expect this from the Cardassian's at this point."

If you ask me, this episode is more of a satire than another dark drama like Chain of Command was. I think at the start we're meant to be outraged and horrified, but as it proceeds I can't help but feel that it devolves into comedy at times, making the proceeding look increasingly ridiculous, especially in light of the Conservator and his antics, especially at the end. I think while Chain of Command shows us to an extent the steep price Cardassians pay for their type of society, this one shows us in a way how fragile it is as well. They need this kind of theatre to keep it going, and the Conservator is probably rightly terrified of what will happen when he fails in his duties. I think the system of 'justice' we're shown here shows us cracks in the Cardassian system, which sets up stuff for later in the series.
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Peter G.
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 12:43pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S6: Statistical Probabilities

And that's putting aside Booming's repeated equation of the social "sciences" with science (in this case, medical research), as if there's no distinction.

You want to disagree, go ahead, but don't call another poster ignorant prior to your posting radical fringe stuff that social scientists with credibility would never actually say. I thought Dreubarik's post was quite interesting, and in fact I agree that there is a perpetual problem - even to the point of world-ending mania - of certain small classes of people thinking they are smarter and know enough to decide for everyone because they are superior. This is an incredibly important message, and I agree fully that we have seen to many times in the 20th century people purporting to have "conclusive data" to back up a complete nonsense theory. I know more about the history of economics compared to the social sciences, but in that field time and again we see "brainiacs" who don't know wtf they're talking about but couching their statements in jargon that sounds compelling. Presidents fall for it all the time, as these theories come in an out of vogue. None of it has anything to do with science, mind you. Not that all of social science is exactly like this, but...well, I'll just leave out what I think of the accuracy of statements made by that field in general. We don't know jack about human behavior yet on a truly scientific level.
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Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 10:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: I, Mudd

Trish said: "I'm not one to believe that message myself. Oh, sure, striving to overcome hardship has a certain value, but paradise would sure be nice. "

That was more a TOS trope, and a common trope found in the science fiction of the era. And so - typical of the zeitgeist of the time - Kirk's always railing against tyranny, fascists, hippies, techno-authoritarians, commies, utopians, with a kind of vague conception of 1960s, ruggedly individualistic western democracy covertly held up as the best of all worlds.

A strong skepticism of technology also runs through TOS. Cribbing from 1940s-50s science fiction, it promotes the idea that too much technology, and too many creature comforts, leads to stagnation, a kind of blind stupor, minds no longer challenged. In this way it flirts with a kind of Darwinian worldview (the old fascist credo, "hard times make better men"), but gets away with it because the Federation ultimately comes across as fairly egalitarian. Struggle is fine when you're base comforts are comfortably met.

TNG tends to be far less tech and/or utopia phobic. Indeed a lot of TNG plots reverse the messages of TOS plots. Men don't go crazy when granted power, androids are friendly, people infected with technology become better people etc. The skepticism of tech was still there (The Game, the Borg), but generally more even handed.
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Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 10:11am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: Our Man Bashir

I thought this episode's central idea - saving people's lives by holding them in a holosuite - was a great one. That the saved folk intrude upon the private fantasies of the rather reserved Julian Bashir, is even better.

But I don't think the episode's holo-adventure is clever enough or funny enough to exploit these cool ideas. We've had decades of Bond parodies, and this episode never elevates itself above them. A big problem, I think, is because Garak is relegated to a background role. More interesting to have him actively trying to solve the holo-adventure, and contrast his "realistic" approach to solving the game, and spying and espionage in general, to that of Julian's fantastical Jame's Bond character. Have Garak be the hero. Have Julian learn from a real master. If you have a climax in which a bad guy gives a long winded Evil Villain speech, it's got to be a famously long-winded Cardassian giving the monologue! Not Sisko!

Everyone complains about the ridiculous first act of this episode, in which Sisko's brain is essentially too big to store inside DS9's computers. I'm surprised Ronald Moore didn't fix this problem with some technobabble and tweaking.

Instead of an exploding runabout, for example, you can just have the episode's terrorists be hackers who've introduced a virus into DS9's Starfleet computers which identify the transporter logs of high ranking Federation officers, and immediately deletes them. The quick-thinking Miles then dumps Sisko and the gang into Quark's holodeck, which exists safely off the grid.

No need for DS9 to blackout, no need for a transporter log of a human to be incredulously big.
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Hotel bastardos
Mon, Sep 21, 2020, 8:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

Couldn't they just have let Geordie labour under the delusion that he'd finally popped his cherry whilst on Risa?
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