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Jason R.
Thu, May 13, 2021, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

Peter G. Just a question: how do you distinguish totalitarian societies from garden-variety autocracy?
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Jason R.
Thu, May 13, 2021, 5:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

"Are you seriously claiming that present China is not totalitarian? Come on now..."

It does seem to have some totalitarian elements, especially with the social credit system. But it doesn't seem anything like a true totalitarian country a la North Korea.

As someone who was basically banished to the styx during Mao's purges I don't really get a totalitarian ideologue vibe from Xi Jinping. He seems to be more interested in restoring Chinese greatness and avenging past humiliations rather than creating a communist totalitarian utopia.

At least from the short time I spent in Beijing it seemed to me to be a pretty cosmopolitan society with people doing their own thing. But that's Beijing to be fair and I wasn't there long.
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Jason R.
Thu, May 13, 2021, 7:55am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Rightful Heir

I wouldn't call the Dominion totalitarian. We see in various episodes that Dominion vassals like the Karima are more or less free to go about their business. That does not suggest a totalitarian structure.

Frankly, I am not sure they map well onto any particular regime in history but I confess I don't know much about the Ottoman Turks.
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Jason R.
Thu, May 13, 2021, 5:47am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

"So basically, the BLM/PC-culture thing is just a convenient excuse to further divide the population. "

I truly hope you are correct.

I personally don't fear robber barons the way I fear true believers. And the true believers who really are free of hypocrisy - they are the worst of all.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 12, 2021, 8:34am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

@Booming trust me they are bitter drunks.
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Jason R.
Wed, May 12, 2021, 6:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: That Hope Is You, Part 2

"Oh well, still much better than ST Picard where all LGBT people are bitter drunks or psychos."

Now now let's be fair. Everyone in the new shows is a bitter drunk or psycho not just LGBT. Or a used up has-been - can't forget about those.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 30, 2021, 7:48am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Paradise Syndrome

@Tid Netflix has been known to carry cut versions of tv shows. I remember when I was watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer there were scenes I could remember from some episodes that weren't there and sure enough I was not crazy, they had been cut.
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 29, 2021, 7:35am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Unity

"Janeway brings up the danger of reactivating the cube when meeting with Riley, and says that she is highly skeptical of her plan but she (politely) says that will give the matter some more thought. When she and Chakotay are alone she brings up the same objection you did:


JANEWAY: Not only would it mean imposing a choice on thousands of people who had no voice in the decision, but it would also be taking a terrible risk. Helping to create a new collective. Who knows what the repercussions might be?"

This ethical dilemma should have been the focus of the episode, not a side issue addressed in one line.

Moreover, I don't like the idea of the ex drones controlling Chakotay as in mind control; the episode should have tied this in to the loss of individuality theme and made it clear that being joined with them even for a short time essentially "assimilated" Chakotay causing his motives to align with theirs.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 9:46am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

@Booming true. But that also assumes her 41 year old eggs are still viable. And rich or not, egg extraction is painful and time consuming so just going to the well over and over until you find a good one is pretty grueling.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 8:57am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

"I'm married and in love. Things have worked out well for me in many respects. The "next stage" of parenthood, if we go that route, is very daunting. We'll see!"

Just do yourself a favor and if you choose to do it, don't wait too long. Fertility is a tricky thing, especially as you start creeping into the 30s and especially north of 35.

I read an article the other day about a celebrity choosing to freeze her eggs just in case she wanted to have kids. I said that's a smart move on her part. Then I read her age. She was 41!!! CLUELESS.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 6:47am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

"I wonder, would your life look any different to you if your view were more like, "Not that parenthood is required for anyone who wishes to live a fully meaningful life, but I felt it was required for ME"?

Would my life, and the lives of other childless people, look any different to you?"

Trish I will concede that religious devotion might equal having kids. I simply don't know because that path is totally alien to me. But given how some describe it, it's at least plausible.

But seriously, in this day and age, achieving religious fulfillment might be as plausible for most people as becoming CEO of Amazon. But maybe I am wrong. I admit spirituality means nothing to me so it's a blind spot.

Bottom line, it's not my desire to attack other people for their choices and I don't get upset about it because it isn't my business. Only you know if you are fulfilled.

But if I may make a point, in my experience, the people who I have met and who I have heard about who chose to be childless weren't monks or holy men. They are just average educated types like me working relatively mundane white collar jobs. They weren't born to tragedy. Some were even kind of on the fence about it and even tried a few times. In some cases they didn't meet the right person; in others I suspect they had exciting lifestyles that they didn't want to compromise and maybe they felt like kids would rain on that.

So put it this way: it is one thing to say I am childless because I am devoted to God or some holy ideal or even because you fear a repeat of an unhappy childhood.

But to just kind of fall into it because you didn't put yourself out there? Or because you deluded yourself into thinking that having kids would be like some sitcom where you couldn't do anything adult anymore? Or just because you didn't meet the right person at the right time? Just... sad.
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Jason R.
Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 12:55pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

I gotta say William, I echo Peter G. - it seems unlikely that someone so aware of his faults would be unable to transcend them to some extent when having kids. But I don't know you of course.

I guess what actually bugs me more than anything are people who seem deluded into not having kids as in people who have basically been hoodwinkee. The "I'd be a terrible mom because I'm too disorganized" or the "I'd never be able to change poopy diapers" or worse, the people who seem to assume that somehow being a parent means giving up everything you love doing and living in a Ronald McDonald caricature of family life for 20 years.

At least your reasons, such as they are, aren't frivolous nonsense.
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Jason R.
Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 12:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

"Phew, so one has to either cure cancer or have children and if you don't do/have one of the two then your life is worthless?"

Worthless? Well no I wouldn't go that far. And for the record, I think adoption probably is a great alternative if you're infertile.

But yes, I think absent some extraordinary accomplishment, a life without children is... lesser.

I mean having children is the only awesome experience I have had in my life (I use the word awesome according to its dictionary definition). I only cried spontaneously from joy two times in my life, both times at the birth of my kids. I am not a spiritual person and by no means prone to emotionalism or fits of sentimentality - and yet the experience was without parallel. I would literally die for my kids, gladly - that's not a figure of speech, just a fact.

You have inside you this engine of creation, this one chance to generate something unique in this one finite life on earth and... you've got better things to do? You'd rather focus on meeting a quota in your office or working on your cupcake business or a career in academia?

Okeeedoke.

Apologies if I seem condescending. I really really don't have a problem with people making this choice, however incomprehensible it is to me. It's no skin iff my back. And I don't judge such people for being "selfish" or whatever. I just feel sad for them.

Sorry.
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Jason R.
Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 8:51am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

"Most of us does not end up as star ship captains. Many of us are more lie the alternate Picard. We are nor CEOs, not captains non warships, not even cruise ships. Are we so very awful? Is our life’s really so poor?"

As Tomalak indicated, for many people ending up where alternate Picard ended up wouldn't be so bad. But you have to see the big picture.

I once heard a eulogy given by a rabbi that stuck with me. He said in life there are two paths to immortality: the first is the path of greatness, inventing something great, doing great deeds. So that would be curing cancer or becoming President of the USA or founding Amazon.

For the vast majority of us that path is nothing but a fantasy, a pipe dream. Most of us will push paper in an office or dig ditches or do some kind of mostly trivial work. Even a big shot doctor or banker with lots of money will sink into the abyss of irrelevancy and will be forgotten.

But the rabbi went on to say that there's a second path and that's through our family, through children. And for that reason, the rabbi said, the deceased had a life worth living.

But alternate Picard took neither path so he had nothing worth living for. That is sad and I get why he would have felt cheated - all that sacrifice for nothing.

I happen to think that a brush with death could easily change the course of a man's life. But even if you don't accept that, Peter G. was bang on when he suggested that it wasn't just that momentary decision in the bar that Picard changed, but his entire outlook.

Let's imagine you really did go back in time to high school to live your life but with the knowledge of the present? You sure wouldn't make the same mistakes. But you wouldn't grow either. You'd stagnate. You'd be alienated. You'd be turning your life into a video game with the cheat codes enabled. It would degenerate into pointless tedium. And you'd end up making mistakes - just different ones.
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Jason R.
Sun, Apr 25, 2021, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Best of Both Worlds, Part I

I just noticed for the first time that the Borg ship has a pool. You can see it in the "death is irrelevent" scene when Picard is speaking with the collective and also earlier when they first Zoom with the cube. I wonder if it has a diving board.
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Jason R.
Sat, Apr 24, 2021, 5:58am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@Booming I liken this situation to the Howard Dean scream. Most in the audience either didn't notice the scream at all or didn't care much - but it was the subsequent media reporting of it that sunk his campaign.

No doubt the prequels were a letdown to many and the box office results may reflect that, but I do think their savaging by some fans was more retrospective than contemporaneous.

I note that Attack of the Clones was released in 2002 which was further into the internet age and by which time blogging and even some social media was becoming mainstream.

In any event I will put any of the prequels FAR above any of the sequels including that loathsome Force Awakens, where fandom seems to have collectively lost its mind.
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 23, 2021, 5:44am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

"I never had much respect for Star Wars. "

Fair enough. But you'll agree it was probably not a great idea to hire someone like you to help create a new trilogy.

JJ is one of those fans who loves what we love as much or more than we do, but for all the wrong reasons...
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Jason R.
Fri, Apr 23, 2021, 5:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Face of the Enemy

"Troi speakein Romulan with the undetected universal translator. To me there is no tecnicla explanation only a story telling. "

@Maq in a scifi novel Doomsday Book, about a historian who time travels to 14th century England, they use this chemical / organic universal translator that basically assists the user's own brain in decoding language - like an organic co-processor. So after a couple of days of interacting with the new language, the historian was able to speak and understand 14th century English (or whatever it was they were speaking).

This struck me as an elegant solution and far better than having some weird Alexa-like device simulcasting aliens as they talk out of a speaker in your combadge like I imagined Trek to be.

But that does raise a question: have they ever established how the universal translator works in Trek? I am scratching my head trying to remember if this was ever addressed. Not the translation but the human interface. Is there a scene in Little Green Men where this is addressed? Maybe the Trek version really is like Doomsday Book and my simulcast idea is just head canon? It would make way more sense....
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Jason R.
Thu, Apr 22, 2021, 6:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

@EmpressHoshiSato JJ and Disney heard that the prequels sucked because there was too much "politics" and not enough pewpewpew. So they decided that "politics" = story, character development and logic and set out to craft a film free of those.

Let me ask: where were you back when TFA came out? Because I was calling this POS movie for what it was while the fandom was too busy lining up to give JJ blowjobs for supposedly restoring the franchise and showering it with 2 billion dollars and 4 star reviews.

Looks good on you. You all reaped what you sowed. Bite me.
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Jason R.
Tue, Apr 20, 2021, 7:49am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

@Tomalak touche.

I guess I don't care for the premise which seems strange that genetic engineering would "enhance" a basic human character trait but admittedly I may be getting pedantic on this point.
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Jason Rabin
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 11:40am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

@MSV I don't want to beat a dead horse as I've commented on this point in other threads, but in answer to your question, no it isn't because she's beautiful and it isn't even because I think she's some fantastic actress.

I just think she was well-cast for the role and her character worked extremely well. So well that I think she single-handedly saved Voyager.

I think the showrunners thought that they could generate ratings by bringing in a gorgeous actress. They were right, but for the wrong reasons.
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Jason R.
Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 6:02am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

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

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

Let's take the following statement:

"I want to be a billionaire."

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

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

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

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

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

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

"ambition" in this context means the means to the end moreso than the end.
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Jason R.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 8:03am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

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

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

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

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

Is there a meaningful difference between wanting to conquer the world and wanting to be the next Michael Jordan or Taylor Swift? I'd say psychologically it's the same thing. The context is different and of course the consequences to the rest of us vary wildly, but *wanting something outlandish*, desiring something - what does it matter what the object is?
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Jason R.
Sun, Apr 18, 2021, 7:40am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

"Why can't they write characters who goof without being judged to have themselves goofed?"

Because Sisko gassing a planet isn't a "goof" it is a war crime- and indeed one committed for little more than petty revenge. You can't possibly maintain that act as part of Sisko's character without breaking it. Sure the writers could have him do that. They could have him set a man on fire for thrills too. But that kind of breaks the series doesn't it?

It's like Burnham choosing to kill T'Kumveh and throwing away the mission - despite her just establishing emphatically 10 minutes earlier that this would lead to war and kill millions. The writers or someone just goofed and it was (rightly) never mentioned again and instead they just prattle on about the mutiny this mutiny that, as if that was her biggest crine. Mutiny can be fixed. Deliberately throwing millions of lives away for petty revenge can't.

Similarly, Sisko orchestrating the murder of the Romulan Senator and fraud (unwittingly in the first case, deliberately in the second) is understandable and can be reconciled with his character. Gassing civilians in a petty act of retribution against Eddington can't be.
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Jason R.
Sat, Apr 17, 2021, 11:56am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Doctor Bashir, I Presume

I don't see Space Seed as implying that excess ambition was some kind of side effect of the genetic enhancement like a weird quirk of the procedure.

I think Peter is right that plenty of average people are ambitious - but being average (or close to it) where does that ambition take them but to an average outcome?

The point is that if some people stand above others to such a massive degree, a portion of them are going to seek dominance just like in any human society. And if their abilities rise to match that ambition, watch out.
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