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Gerontius
Sun, Aug 30, 2020, 12:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

In The Orville they vary the issue by having hypermale monogamous species, with problems round the fact that some of them get see as beingfemale - which involves the same illogicality of having people identify those kind of variants as having something to do with sexual gender, rather than just being a matter of who you get attracted by.

Ursula Leguin avoided such illogicalities by having her society in The Left Hand of Darkness not being monosexual, but having people change sex at different stages of their lives, as happens with some earthly species. James White in the Sector General series has a species where partners change sex after childbirth. Mum becomes Dad and Dad becomes Mum until the next child comes around.



Of course involves th
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Gerontius
Fri, Aug 28, 2020, 6:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Redemption, Part II

#James

True enough the Romulans are presented as being pretty nasty, but that needn't imply that they would have been racist in that way. Not all cultures suffer from that disease. In their wars against the American invaders, people like the Sioux had no problems in accepting children born from relationships like that as full members and as honoured warriors.

As for Data, it seemed right that he would have been able to understand the distinction between what was the right thing to do in some circumstances, and what was the legal thing to do, and to recognize that sometimes these were different - a belief that Picard clearly shared.
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Gerontius
Fri, Aug 28, 2020, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

I rather feel that medical expertise in relation to mental issues is roughly at the same kind of level of development that medical expertise in other respects was back in the 18th century. Back then that would have meant relying on bleeding patients as the treatment of choice for all kinds of conditions, often with lethal consequences.

I agree with those who would refrain from reading this as any kind of realistic narrative of how to deal with traumatised kids. It was centrally about Data, and the fable was about the way that the same quality can be seen by different people in a completely different way - Data "longs" to be able to feel emotion even if that means suffering, Timothy sees putting up a barrier to emotion as the way to avoid suffering.

And the business of putting up shields potentially causing disaster rather than avoid it neatly ties into that. In principal a very neatly designed episode, with the A and B plots reinforcing each other. It could have been better written and timed maybe. It deserves to be recycled some time in some format.
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Gerontius
Fri, Aug 28, 2020, 8:55am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

The crucial reason why I think Dr Marr's behaviour was highly undesirable was, in the words of a contemporary about a killing ordered by Napoleon, "it was worse than a crime, it was a mistake.

It meant any chance of finding out about tthe entity, and what could be feared of it. There was no reason to assume tgat it was the only such creature roaming the galaxy. There might be many more on the way. If there was some way of dealing with them that avoided them being dangerous the needed to be explored, however slim the chance.

And again, there is no reason to assume this entity wa tge same one as thatwhich Lore had used.
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Gerontius
Fri, Aug 28, 2020, 8:33am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ensign Ro

As I understand it, Ro joining the Maquis and deserting Picard wasn't the original intention for the character when introduced. I believe the idea was that she was intended to take on the role Kira did have in the projected DS9, but that she came to leave the franchise, whether by choice or not, and the departure to the Maquis. Was decided on to provide an exit.
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Gerontius
Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 9:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Outcast

I liked this one when I saw it years ago, when it was new, and I still like it. No it's not perfect, but nothing is perfect. But it's very much an example of what StarTrek has been about, when it's on track.

I like StarTrek best when it sets out to use alien societies as a way to encourage people to look at anomalies and inconsistencies and injustices in our own societies.
These episodes are a kind of fable. If aspects of the societies presented are a bit inconsistent, or implausible, that doesn't matter too much. After all Foxes and Rabbits don't talk, but that doesn't mean the fables of Aesop or Uncle Remus can't carry true messages.

So the idea of a totally monosexual societies throwing up these kind of problems doesn't make much sense - someone like Soren would just fancy some people and not other people, a perfectly normal procedure. Visitors from outside might see that as being Soren having more "female" characteristics and behaviour, and the people she was attracted to having more "male" characteristics and behaviour, but that's not how other people in a totally monosexual society would see it. It'd be no different for people like Soren than for anyone more drawn to outgoing people, or shy people, or to intellectual people or sporty people.

But the point was to use the imagined society as a way to challenge the viewers to look at intolerance and what it might mean to be discriminated against for being whatever way we are. It's the same message as in The Measure of a Man with Data, and in other episodes where other types of intolerance are picked out. And as elsewhere, there's an intentional reference back to Shylock's speech about intolerance.

And I think that message can always bear being repeated, and is never out of date. And I'm afraid I doubt if that won't still be true in the 24th century.

There were lots of posts complaining about the absence of out gay people in StarTrek. I think that it would have been better if there had been. Studio pressures undoubtedly ensured that there weren't, I assume. But I think it can fairly be pointed out that there is nothing in the least improbable in the fact that the very limited number of speaking regulars might not include anyone who is gay. I make it seven humans, together with Data and Worf. For all we know any number of the other crew members might be gay, it wouldn't involve them looking any different.

Someone in a post mentioned that only one of the cast regulars in DS9 is a white human, which I admit had never occurred to me, and I can't imagine anyone would suggest that this meant DS9 was unfair to white people. Actually of course it's rather unlikely that by the 24th century, if there are spaceships around like The Enterprise, that'd they'd be crewed predominantly by people with white faces.

Incidentally I'd criticize Leslie's comment about "the same white western idaelized version of gender", and point out that while there is only a minority of people in white western society who have tolerant and accepting beliefs about such matters, it's at present a lot more likely to be found in such societies than it is in many others. One can that may change over the years. But I'm rather afraid that Andy's Friend might be close to the mark in thinking that the balance against tolerance might well swing the other way in an increasingly globalised world. (Ironically however I would suspect that resistance to the very notion of genetically eliminating gay people might actually be strongest among the religious groups that might be most likely to hold antigay attitudes.)
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Gerontius
Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 8:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

Sorry - I got my sums wrong. We were told the operation had a 37% charge of survival and full recovery. That doesn't change the argument.
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Gerontius
Thu, Aug 27, 2020, 8:09am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ethics

The assumption that suicide would be illegal in the Federation seems a bit questionable. After all, it isn't in much of the world, including Western Europe. Anyway that doesn't seem the issue in this episode, it's seen as about ethics, not law by Picard and Riker at any rate.

I can't see Worf determination to take his life as either unlikely or absurd. And it's not a case of Klingon tradition compelling him against his own wishes, as it was with with the scientists in Half a Life. If he was human he might well make the same choice. I think it was off the point to see this primarily as a matter of respecting Klingon culture was beside the point. Precisely the same ethical issues would have potentially involved if the episode had been about a human being - example, Picard or Riker, or maybe if they had brought Captain Pike back for an episode.

I don't think it's the right choice, and I think it was right for Riker to try to make him change his mind, and get it across to him that it was the reverse of courageous. But that's a different matter from Crusher's determination to forcibly prevent him.

The matter of the operation was different. I think that to choose to undergo a dangerous procedure in the hope of recovery could be a perfectly ethical one to take. I can quite conceive of making that choice myself and regarding it as ethically right, whereas I believe that suicide could never be.

For a doctor it would be different, and only where the only other outcome would be death could an operation with a 73% of survival be ethical. But in those circumstances it would be fully ethical, and it would be reasonable to see that as the situation in this case. "Professional ethics" might be another matter - that can be tied up more with protecting the doctor rather than the patient at times.

Crusher's stuff about "do no harm" was oversimplistic. In Worf's view failing to operate would involve greater harm being done to him. The fact that the visiting doctor saw this emergency, and also that of the other patient who died, as an opportunity to further her research did not mean that she saw the treatment she favoured as the best choice for the patients involved, and a better choice than the treatment Crusher preferred.

There was never any indication that the visiting doctor was doing anything that she did not believe was the beet option for her patients. I felt Crusher was very much at fault, both in wishing to prevent Worf from hearing about the possible treatment, and for being so hostile towards her colleague at the end of the episode.
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Gerontius
Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Violations

I think there were the makings of a better episode there, but what we goy was somewhat confusing. The physical rape effort at the end didn't make sense - I imagine it was there to allow Troi to strenuously and effectively defend herself, which suppose was meant to give here dignity a boost.

What I'd have liked would have been for Troi's memories to give rise to a false belief that Riker had once raped her, and that she'd repressed that memory up till then. This would ultimately have been exposed as a false memory put there by Jev.

I disagree with the suggestion that Picard's little sermon was in any way patronising.
It's a mistake to read his talk of human society has having evolved beyond our violent past as being about physical evolution. He's talking about cultural evolution, and he's quite right to remind us that the changes that can bring are extremely fragile. At least as true in the 21st century as in the 24th. (And vice versa, undoubtedly.)
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Gerontius
Wed, Aug 5, 2020, 4:14am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Hero Worship

I thought it was a pretty fair episode, a lot better than i remembered it. An interesting contrast to the previous one - I think placing the two together made sense in theory, though perhaps it was a shame they couldn't have found a way to interweave them. (Though I can't imagine the two boys getting on well together too readily.)

The school and the building bits were a bit lame, but I don't think that mattered much. What did work, and what was central to the episode, was the relationship with Data. There was a parallel with The Offspring, with Data tentatively building a link with a child in his care, and then losing it.

One character was excluded who could have greatly enriched the episode - - Data's cat, Spot.

I quite disagree with those who complained about the pacing as glacial. I loathe too much breakneck action, and much prefer taking enough time. But tastes differ.
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Gerontius
Wed, Jul 29, 2020, 8:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: A Matter of Time

Fun enough episode. They can't (and shouldn't) all be about serious stuff. I quite liked Rasmussen. The fact he clearly irritated most of the StarTrek regulars was in itself quite entertaining.

I agree that if he'd been a genuine visitor from the future that might have made Picard's attempt to cheat the Temporal Prime Directive would have been more interesting, but that would have been a completely different story.

As for the suggestion that not sending him back involved changing the past, that's not thought through. Sending him back, that would have changed things, he'd be going back with knowledge about the future. Keeping him here involved no time paradoxes at all. He'd left the 22nd century, it would get along without him perfectly well. Send him back, you might just as well send any cast member back to that time , it would change the past.
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Gerontius
Wed, Jul 15, 2020, 4:33am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Lower Decks

I doubt if I'm too likely to get round to watching this, but I'm glad Jammer decided that even though he won't be either he'd provide a comments facility for the regulars here to exchange views about it.

I hope that when the next season of Picard turns up he'll do the same thing, since I definitely hope to watch that. In fact I very much hope he'll be reviewing that, even if that means subscribing to CBS. (In my part of the world Amazon prime put out Picard.)

The pity is, I really liked the Lower Depths episode. I think it could have been the basis for a pretty good series.
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Gerontius
Tue, Jul 14, 2020, 7:15pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Silicon Avatar

The fact that the entity was responsive to signals and to attempts to communicate rather implied that there might be other similar creatures it there. In which case destroying it without continuing attempts to find out more about it would have done nothing to stop them killing other planets populations, including those with billions of people. The recent spate of devastating incidents suggested it might be a recent arrival in the galaxy, or this part of the galaxy. There might be many more of them on their way.

Picard's choice to explore more about the creature, including whether there might be a better option made complete sense. There might be other potential sources for the Entity that did not entail it devastating populated planets.

The fact that Lore had successfully related to it in no way proved that it knew anything about the existence of humans; all it would have known was whatever Lore might have communicated to it, and Lore of course was not a human. And there are no grounds to assume that this Crystalline Entity was even the same one.

The whale analogy was OK, but I think a better point would be to suggest that if a cow were to talk to them most people would not be so ready to eat it.
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Gerontius
Tue, Jul 14, 2020, 6:03am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Ensign Ro

I quite agree with Focksbot in seeing the stuff about a kind of holy war between adherents of one series of StarTrek or another as being an irritating waste of time. All versions of StarTrek shine at times and slump at others, and on balance I find all of them pretty enjoyable - even Discovery, which I bailed out of after the first series, while I catch up on earlier series. (For me, though there was much in what I see that I liked, the proportion that I found annoying was much higher than in any of the other series. I'll get round to watching it in time, and I look forward to it getting better, as generally happened in all the StarTreks.)

This was an episode I liked. Ro Laren added something which the Next Generation really needed. I'm one of those who much preferred Pulaski as ship's doctor. Crusher is a bit wet at times - I was glad to see Ro put her down over her trivialising contribution to the discussion. And Troi is a bit ineffectual. (Guynan is a far better counsellor.)

It's customary for TV series of all sorts that, when a new continuing character is introduced, they are going to be somewhat irritating to start with, to get noticed. If someone who is going to be a regular comes in all friendly and pleasant, there's a high chance they are going to turn out to be evil. Ro matched that, and it's clear she'll mellow over a few episodes - I hope not too much. I like a touch of temper on occasion - I was quite pleased to see Picard showing the harshier side at points in this episode, as well as his almost insulting meek and mild diplomatic face when dealing with the Cardassian captain.

Looking through the posts it was interesting to note that there were posts about how the Bajoran situation was seen as coded comments on either the Palestinians and the Israelis. As I read it, both are correct. After all there are aspects of both people's histories that slot them neatly enough into the role of Bajorans. Both sides share the common experience of exile from their homeland and a struggle to be able to return to it which has involved acts of terrorism.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jul 11, 2020, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Half a Life

I can remember when sixty sounded really old. Now it sounds more like the last flush of youth. But then I'm the Patrick Stewart generation. (Which is why I react quite strongly about to some of the things said in the Comments section of Jammer's reviews of Picard...)

Happy Birthday, James! And many more of them, young man.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jul 11, 2020, 8:07pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: Darmok

I liked the suggestion someone made, way up the thread, hthat a way to get round the paradox could be to see the Children of Tama as a breakaway cult from a culture with a more obviously functional language.

Imagine a bunch of fanatical Trekkies, with the Trek opus as its Holy Book - or rather it's Holy Canon of Trek episodes and films, forming an isolated civilization on a remote planet. Look at the way people in this site constantly use references to different episodes to express ideas. Even using initials rather than words to point to the episodes.

After all, consider how many cultures do work in some ways like that - some kinds of Christians use the Bible in very much the same way, and that happens in other religions, there are Jewish, Muslim and Hindu contexts. (And look how the arguments about what true Trek and what is not Trekverges on a nascent Holy War about what is orthodox and what is heresy. After all the word "canon", so casually thrown about has its roots in religious usage.)

As for technology, that could have been brought along with them breaking away from the mother culture. And anyway mathematicians and technicians communicate in ways no-one else can understand.

That's a good enough botched up explanation for me. Though in fact I don't need it, because this is essentially a fable about how people can learn to relate. Like lots of Star Trek episodes are fables (the best of them, for me). And it was a very effective fable, and a tour de force for the two captains.

Of course getting back to nitpicking, the same lesson could have been achieved without the monster, just by having the two if them marooned together. But it wouldn't have made such a powerful myth to pass on.
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Gerontius
Tue, Jul 7, 2020, 11:23am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Quite right, we differ in our views. I think neither of them did anything blameworthy, and that we were given to understand that, having got to know each other better, they both accept that to be the case. Booming disagrees. We can't let the protagonists adjudicate, since they are fictional, so we agree to differ.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: In Theory

The problem is, Data is a totally honest android. Ask him what he is thinking about, and he tells you. When he tries to act romantic it is completely obvious that it's an act. (Though that was a bit at odds with the way that in a previous aspect it was shown that, under the guidance of his mentor, Picard, he had become a very accomplished actor.)

Hunan relationships sometimes require an ability to be deceptive about how we feel at any time - deceptive to other people, and also deceptive to ourselves.

Actually that needn't mean someone else might be quite capable of getting along with him pretty well as a partner. If gay relationships had been allowed to exist in the Next Generation I think it would have been perfectly possible for the relationship with Geordi to be developed in that direction.

Plenty of people, especially men, go through life without indicating much emotion, and manage well enough. That's more especially true in some cultures and some countries. (The stiff upper lip...) The differences in how Data behaves is not really more extreme than that which can characterise some people on the spectrum.

Very reasonable that Jenna could be attracted by these very qualities. They imply a kind of safety, which could be appealing in a condition of emotional turmoil - and as was noted, there's a pattern of behaviour wanted. It's not what she really wants. She was definitely the wrong person for Data.

Fortunately, he's got Spot, who accepts him as he is, and has trained him to provide whatever is required in the way of food or comfort. Data just needs to find a human who is a bit more like Spot.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 7:28pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Host

Correction - The preceding episode with a plot about symbionts, treated in a rather different fashion, was of course not Contagion, it was Conspiracy.
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Gerontius
Sat, Jul 4, 2020, 1:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

"I think the clash where Leah finds out would have been far better if Geordi would have confessed everything and admitted that he is lonely and fell for that hologram in a high pressure situation, that he made a mistake and is deeply sorry. AND then Leah warms to his honesty."

I rather took it that that was pretty well what we are meant to assume actually happened, after the initial spat, in the light of the eventual rapprochement. Though I can't see "deeply sorry" as the appropriate level of penitence for Geordi any more than for Leah. Both made errors of judgement which were perfectly understandable.
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Gerontius
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 8:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

"Computer FREEZE program!

Computer - stop this holographic Leah acting like this! Don't let her touch me, or say such suggestive things. It's not proper.

In fact, could you provide a chaperone who can sit in the corner."

That should have sorted things out perhaps?
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Gerontius
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 7:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Having people act as if they know you when they've never actually met you I believe is a pretty common thing that happens to TV actors and presenters. It's a natural enough kind of misunderstanding. It isn't generally seen in itself as any kind of sexual harassment, unless that is what actually takes place in the course of the interaction.
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Gerontius
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 4:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Why run to the holodeck? Because he realises that however innocent everything was, Leah is going to jump to the wrong conclusion. He wanrts to get there before that happens and explain what happened and put it in context.

And remember, Geordi didn't "create" the hologram, the ships computer did that without him intending to, and it came up with the holographic Leah's script, and with any and all of Leah's actions. Which were presumably based on its understanding of the way she would have been likely to behave with a trusted colleague she liked. The trouble was that, for the real Leah, Geordi wasn't a trusted colleague she liked. Not until later in the episode.

And if his delving into her personal history didn't go beyond finding out a favourite food and didn't even tell him that she was married, it couldn't have been that intrusive.
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Gerontius
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 9:24am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

It was perfectly reasonable of Leah to misunderstand what Geordi had done, and object to what she thought he had, and it was perfectly natural that he should protest at being misjudged. And it was perfectly in character that when the misunderstanding was cleared up she should say sorry. It would have been better perhaps if they'd included him saying sorry as well, rather than leaving it to be taken as understood. Patching up a quarrel generally means you both indicate you're sorry, in my experience.

As for failing to avoid all this by explaining in advance, yes that was a mistake, but the kind of mistake anyone might make, especially an awkward young man probably wary of things being misinterpreted (as they were).

And trying to find out what food someone likes before setting up a meal amounts to invading their personal space....?
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Gerontius
Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 7:41pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Mind's Eye

So Data didn't need a pipe and deerstalker to exercise his Sherlockian skills!

I think the comments about poor old Bochra are unfair, even if his experience with Geordi's visor was the source of their knowing about it's possibilities. Both him and Geordi would automatically have been debriefed about what happened after returning home, and there'd have been no reason for him to treat that information as anything to conceal, or to fail to include it in the report he would have given about the episode. In no sense would that have felt like betraying his Federation friend.

As for knowing about Geordi's trip to Risa, I'd assume the Romulans would have a spy presence there, and a hotel booking clerk could have supplied the information.

A well crafted episode - though I prefer Startrek when there's an element of some ethical or interpersonal dilemma.
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