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Fri, Feb 19, 2021, 5:08am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Valiant

"BABIES! THEY'RE JUST STUPID BABIES!" That's what I found myself yelling at my screen the entire episode; every time Karen barked some dogmatic insult to Jake, or Captain Ambitious made some nonsensical decision or put on a serious face.

If the intent was to feel rage at these characters, and no sympathy when they died... success?

And yes, I *know* what I was like at 18-22, in my first career job. I was eager, smart; had a lot of disruptive new ideas, and didn't yet know what corporate hierarchy would be like. So in a way that precociousness tracks. But at no point did I see myself as equivalent to experts with decades of experience. And with the risk of dying added.. are you kidding?
If the element of duty and bravery of the child-crew rings true for you, look at it as a warning flag of the dangers of extravert culture and groupthink (e.g. encouraging cults of personality and egomaniacs like this). Because to me it just feels like a cautionary about how wrong it is to recruit naïve kids for military service, rather than any commentary on starfleet ideals, soldiering, military experience, or bravery.

To give credit, @Springy re-framing Watters as insecure, did make me reconsider a little. I had taken his spying on Jake as a signal of how he *usually* runs his ship; not as a signal of his decline.
And @Kyle, in general, I often find myself marveling at how calm the regular ST cast are, when facing death. So I'm not putting down those aspects of military bravery. Quite simply, if theses kids were cautious and determined to survive, and things didn't work out, or if they were written as trapped behind enemy lines for reasons beyond mission goals, having them die would have felt like the tragedy it is. Instead it feels on par with arrogant kids getting drunk, and crashing their cars in a drunken race. Darwin award deaths. No nuance, just bold stupidity.
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Fri, Feb 12, 2021, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Favor the Bold

Re: Female Bajoran strength
(aka ; Kira made it in!)
@D K "A (combat trained) 120 pound female (kira) heroically punches out a (combat trained) 180 pound male (damar)?"

Yes it's a popular trope of female empowerment & Kira is DS9's darling. No, cardassians aren't X times stronger than bajorans. (Google "daystrom institute physical combat rankings trek") There's a good reddit ranking of the Trek races; placing vulcans at the top, with klingons hardier but not much stronger than humans. Kira is an experienced fighter. So it all comes down to the second punch. It's believable a 3rd & 4th blow to the head/organs could KO even a tough dude. But your first sucker punch would *really* have to ring their bell to get a second one in. The OG Trek fight choreographer, described the infamous hammer punch in an interview, as pulled from pro-wrestling, because its visually easy to follow, i.e. highly telegraphed (to the dismay of UFC fans). Trek combat is for show. If this were realistic combat, Kira would have swung a cargo bay pipe at his head.

Re: Changeling Sex
@Nancy "Which writer thought it was a good idea to have Odo and the "female" shapeshifter have an afterglow scene? She's been portrayed as an older motherly figure. It made me throw up in my mouth a little" (para)

Funny. I had a similar reaction, not because of her matronly vibe, age, or Odo-like face. But because of Odo's reaction afterwards. When he had the fling with the sleeper-agent, their lovescene was *very* well done for Trek. Wistful & sad at the end. Here, they allegedly just shared a psychic sex bond, and they're discussing it neutrally. And Odo leaves with a flimsy "Gotta go to work kbye..." as if she wouldn't be fully aware of an emotional disconnect? No chemistry.

@ Strejda "DS9 pushing boundaries: unfairly overlooked is how DS9 had its leading man embrace an alien world and culture as his own. Star Trek's biggest problem is that it has two main themes: 1. Different cultures and people can come together as equals and create a wonderful future for themselves. 2. Humans are the greatest thing ever and moral paragons of the universe."

*Fantastic observation!* This is one of my favourite points in my TNG/DS9/VOY/ENT rewatch. I've carried my techvangelism and social utopism beliefs into my career in psychology+tech, so I live this stuff. But Trek at its core is an American show, built with the same optimism and blindspots. In spreading (space) democracy, we lose sight of the truths of other (alien) cultures that differ with our own virtues and contexts. (Unlike Elliott the infamous anti-roddenberrian here) I'm not here to debate utopism; as I believe in it. But one of the most interesting Trek debates I've seen lately, is whether or not the Federation is a progressive, insidious version of the Borg, brainwashing members away from their own ideals into conformity (esp. Janeway witholding 7of9 from the collective). What made DS9 so powerful & mature and 'dark & gritty', is that Sisko himself, initially questioned Federation ideals in the DMZ maquis subplot (S2E21 "You look out the window of Starfleet Headquarters and you see paradise. It's easy to be a saint in paradise"). Or Quark's remarks about the Federation brainwashing you into liking the 'bubbly sweetness' of metaphorical human Rootbeer; sabotaging Nog's disgraceful Starfleet aspirations, finally embracing human virtues by this S6 arc. Powerful!

Re: Leeta
I liked the squeak. I lol at Ferengi squeals and don't mind Rom's slackjawed resting dumbface.. most of the time. I enjoyed 2/3 of the Ferengi capitalist-commentary episodes. And yawned through the trudge of the unfunny baseball card episode. Usually I'm just like Jammer in that I don't *need* comic relief to enjoy my drama, but a chortle and smirk here and there aint so bad. And honestly, I find Jake's cockiness (scripted), or Nog's robotic chuckles/throatclearing FAR more distracting than Leeta or Rom (RIP Aaron). And I'm blase about the Keiko-Miles family melodrama Jammer loves. To each their own?
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Wed, Jan 13, 2021, 1:31am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S3: The House of Quark

[Why does the council mediate every petty squabble?]
DS9/Trek is guilty of stretching believability a little to feature popular cameo characters, and to keep the show's cast size reasonable. But in-canon, they explained that D'Ghor usurping Grilka's house would advance him into council influence. It was a power grab, and thus, totally relevant to Klingon court of honor to preside.

[The Miles-Keiko debate]
To be honest, I usually find their romance scenes so saccharine or hammed, that I actually skipped a chunk this time (And I *never* do that!)
But the resolution didn't strike me as him dictating to her to take the job, or foisting Molly on her, or punishing her. He investigated, found a desirable job, and presented it to her, to help with her obvious lack of fulfillment. It's not saying being a full time parent isn't fulfilling, it's saying she's a scientist who wants to do science. The better question to ask is whether running a middle school for alien teenagers in Season1 was an acceptable consolation, when she was initially complaining about raising a family on DS9. In her place, I *would* find teaching work rewarding over applied, but if I'm switching from research/fieldwork to teaching, I'd prefer it to be my subject, not gradeschool I.e. In her case, teaching botany to adults at an academy.
In fact, I disagree with Bashir condemning Mile's first Keiko-solution. The writers' message was clear - Don't give Keiko pointless busy work just to pacify her. Agreed. But maintaining an arboretum filled with species from *another freakin quadrant* would be more than rewarding for most scientists. Not to mention easy to produce useful lab research that could last a lifetime of discoveries. They handled this topic well in Voyager, with the hydroponics bay, and on Enterprise, with the doctor's animal menagerie and science conventions.
(Probably an insight learned from all the scientists they consulted, writing these shows!)
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Tue, Jan 12, 2021, 3:12am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: Tribunal

The fact that these episodes are still relevant after nearly 30 years; that we're still critiquing and dissecting them decades later, speaks to the universality of the core issues the writers examined.

@Easter @Wes and @Trent all nailed this. We can quibble about the tone and the plot contrivances. But I tend to wave those criticisms off, by just looking at the standard of most broadcast TV shows in 1994. How many can you think of explicitly discussed moral themes about political hypocrisy and warmongering? And compressed them into 45 minute, crisis-of-the-week, self-contained episodes?
Even the fumbles of episode to episode plot consistency, makes sense when you think that this was the beginning of serialized Trek/TV, instead of one-offs.

Most importantly, to viewers like DLPB...
I couldn't agree more with @TheSisko: "DLPB. Why are you even on here? Clearly, you have not understood the message of humanism that Star Trek delivers. How could one watch this show and yet not hear what it's saying?"

Star Trek isn't a show to hate-watch for laughs at 'dumb Trekkie liberals,' even if there *are* some hammy moments. The whole point of the show is to speculate on how we might behave in a possible technologically utopic human future, with aliens as allegories for our various flaws and cultural histories. These 'mockable', 'liberal' caricatures, are so accurate to our history, that every viewer comes away with their own analogies for which culture/regime AlienX reminds them of.
It's not as if the writers were tone deaf to this idealism
The defining plot of DS9 is to deconstruct and mock the idea that post-war, post-scarcity utopic humanity, is so sanctimoniously perfect they don't even realize when they cant live up to their own ideals, (Re: authoritarianism, warmongering vendettas, and mob psychology). That's the whole Maquis / DMZ fringe colonies arc.

My only real criticism of this episode is how jokey and rushed the ending was after escaping the near-death of kangaroo court. Symptom of 90s sitcom tv formulas.
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