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William B
Fri, Apr 30, 2021, 8:49am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Paradise Syndrome

I thought that happened in Requiem for Methuselah. I guess it's possible it happened in both.
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William B
Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 10:08am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

Thanks Jason. And yes I'm well aware of the fertility situation.
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William B
Tue, Apr 27, 2021, 8:41am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

Thanks, Booming and James.

For what it's worth, my mother is a lovely, loving woman - but had some extraordinary challenges (incl mental illness). She did well under the circumstances, but it could be tough.

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!
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William B
Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 2:21pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

Thanks again, Peter, and thanks, @Maq. A lot to think about.

I'm not sure why I decided to pipe up on this topic today. I guess it was just on my mind and intertwined with the subject of the thread.

One thing I wanted to add about Picard is that Picard's willingness to take risks is what we see with both modern day Picard and his younger self, but a difference is that the current Picard takes risks on things that matter. By itself, Picard would not let himself be stabbed on a point of honour over a game anymore. He would let himself be shot with an arrow to prove his mortality and reverse cultural interference in Who Watches the Watchers; he would sacrifice himself or crew members in battle or to prevent a catastrophe. It's not that he is no longer bold and daring, but uses his boldness in a *directed* way.

It reminds me a bit of Q Who. Lt jg Picard would, in this episode's framing, probably hide under the bed in recognition of the Borg threat. Ensign Picard would likely not be able to put his pride aside to tell Q that they needed him, even with a thousand lives in the balance. Captain Picard has courage and boldness but uses it carefully and judiciously, when warranted, and recognizes when it is not worth it. I think the message is not that he specifically needed to be stabbed as that to have the part of himself that got himself stabbed prematurely is not the answer, but to tame and incorporate it.
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William B
Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 1:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

@Peter, thanks, and I appreciate your kind words.

I understand what you are saying about suffering. It's not so much that I'm not aware of the way meaning and suffering are often intertwined philosophically, as that I've also seen a lot of evidence of people's lives hitting the skids because of an inability to manage pain in a healthy way, despite their best intentions, in a way that has hollowed them out. It's not that I think this will always happen, or that there aren't ways to minimize it, as that it sometimes does happen. I maybe haven't been able to separate out the kind of pain or deprivation that "breaks" a person and the kind of inevitable suffering in life that can be generative of meaning.

I've read that people generally speaking do all right with "good enough" parenting, so I would possibly do all right. Still, without trying too hard to overstate the case, I've worked pretty hard to be more or less functional, but it's still a frequent struggle, and I do have many flaws "IRL" that are more obvious than my posting might suggest. I guess at this moment I'm avoiding certain real life obligations I should return to! Lots of people have had it much worse than I, I know. That I generally try to be cucumber cool but occasionally lash out on here unexpectedly is maybe a symptom. Anyway.
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William B
Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 12:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

(Obviously I'm not issuing criticisms of anyone else's experience or view on this.)
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William B
Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

It might be a bad idea for me to say, but just speaking personally, I've had a very hard time wrapping my head around wanting to have children. It's not so much that there are other things in life more valuable as that it's such a huge responsibility, and life comes with such pain and sorrow. I imagine a child cursing me for bringing them into the world and resenting me for my inevitable failures. I think a lot of this has to do with having had an unhappy childhood, with an absent father and mentally ill mother, myself, and I feel like it's hard to imagine how not to pass this experience on. It's certainly possible that I'll change my mind.
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William B
Mon, Apr 26, 2021, 11:08am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Tapestry

The problem I think is that we are looking at the question of whether Alt Picard has a satisfying life on his own terms. If that Picard genuinely loved filling astrometric reports, his life would be as meaningful as Prime Picard's. If he filled reports but mostly he did archaeology as a passionate hobbyist, his life would be meaningful. If he had a family. If he was an amateur artist. If he devoted himself to charitable work (I know all Starfleet is kind of charity since there's no money). If he -- There are all kinds of ways for a life to be meaningful. Alt Picard's life was empty and not meaningful on its own terms. Picard was unhappy with it. Of course Picard doesn't spend much time with it, but I think we're meant to see this as symbolic.

The real issue is that Lt jg Picard was too risk averse to have a life that was meaningful for him. There are all kinds of ways to cultivate meaning in life. It doesn't have to be career or family or public service, though these are some of the more common ways. Again, a person could have Lt jg Picard's job and no family and still have a full, meaningful life, but I think we're meant to infer that this is not the case for Lt jg Picard. And while there are people who have empty lives in our world because of circumstance, we know this isn't the case for this Picard, because he has a fuller life elsewhere.

Now I guess the question is whether the use of Lt jg Picard as the representation of this empty life is unfair and unkind to workers who aren't in leadership positions. And maybe. I can't say for sure that it isn't an element, particularly given some of the way Moore sometimes writes about ambition, military, and other things.
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William B
Sat, Apr 24, 2021, 3:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@Booming ha okay that clears it up.

@Rahul, without litigating Booming's entire past on this site, I was just curious what the actual SW rankings were. Thanks for the compliment, in general.
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William B
Sat, Apr 24, 2021, 11:13am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

@Booming your rankings are hard to understand. I don't mean your opinions, I mean literally what is your ranking? You seem to have episode 1 and 2 twice, don't have ep 4 or 5 at all.
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William B
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 10:39am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Dave, I am very sorry for the loss of your friends overseas. Genuinely.

Jason is a lawyer, and lawyers are interested in the law. I might be mistaken but it doesn't seem even to be very emotional for him. I think he is interested in what the laws should be regarding drone strikes. And he should be, because it is important to be able to consider how to deal, via the law, with the conflict between different values (universal human rights versus safety, etc.).

I am grateful that you, Dave, care about the crimes being committed in the world, by terrorists and by the Chinese government.

I am grateful that Jason cares about the judicial process, because I would rather have a lawyer be attentive to these details rather than be tempted to cut corners when faced with wrongdoing. Note that as far as I can tell, Jason didn't even say he thinks drone strikes are wrong, but that he doesn't know whether he supports the black box nature. I think it's a really important point.
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William B
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 10:30am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

"I also don't believe non-interference is a Western concept at ALL, that's a HUMAN concept. (To say otherwise is to say that non-Westerners like to interfere .... which is another uncomfortable unspoken truth about this line of thought). Maybe that's part of the "break" too."

Sigh, of course it's a human concept.

Look, maybe the Trek writers were much more universalist than in this theory. Trek certainly reaches for a unified earth future. But it strikes me as being very inspired by 1960s American culture, and reacting to that. American foreign policy is on their minds. It is not, at all, a statement that only Americans can do evil, but that Vietnam and the "good intentions gone awry" narrative that tended to dominate thinking about American involvement is relevant. It's about what might have been on the writers' minds.

From Wikipedia (I know, it's just Wikipedia):

"Creation of the Prime Directive is generally credited to Original Series producer Gene L. Coon.[7][8] The Prime Directive reflected a contemporary political view that US involvement in the Vietnam War was an example of a superpower interfering in the natural development of southeast Asian society; the creation of the Prime Directive was perceived as a repudiation of that involvement.[9][10]"
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William B
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 10:05am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

I say "in this context" in the extremely specific context I am mentioning. Of course anytime can say reasons why general noninterference is preferable. But there are particular arguments about the PD that are stronger when more ambiguous cases are being argued, IMO. The concept behind the PD applies not just in the worst cases in the world, but in more ambiguous cases, and indeed more ambiguous cases are a better arena for litigating the PD in some respects.
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William B
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 10:03am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Dave, the reason I am saying the West is where people focus regarding the PD is not that only the West should not interfere, but that the PD is in part about self-censorship. The point is that *good*, well intentioned, organizations can still wreak havoc. It is obvious and "goes without saying" that evil empires with no respect for human rights will do evil if they interfere. The question is not why it's good to avoid genocide, but why it's important to restrain oneself even in cases where the downside is not obvious.

The only reason to bring up Chinese government atrocities in this context would be if it could be argued that the intentions behind those atrocities were good.
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William B
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 9:55am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

I'll lay my own cards on the table and say that, like Peter I think, my current focus is on untangling what has happened in this thread, rather than actually litigating any international crimes. The reason I think this is worthwhile for me is that I feel a greater ability to weigh in here on this thread than on international atrocities. It's easier for me to do it, because it is more manageable in scale and easier for me to get a psychological handle on. I am fully aware that it is much less important than Chinese government atrocities (which are horrible). Call it narrowness of vision if you will. Gotta start somewhere. :)
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William B
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 9:49am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

I'll go out on a limb and say that I think some of the issue is a sincere communication breakdown. For instance, I think the intent of Peter's bringing up the Vulcans and Andorians was misread by Dave. I don't know whose fault it was.

Peter was attempting IMO to show that the Vulcans and Andorians have to listen to each other, basically, rather than assume the worst. But the analogy was not to different nations in the world, but to *this thread*. Different people in this thread are focused on different issues, and it's better not to assume the worst of people's motives for their current conversational focus. The use of Vulcans and Andorians had nothing to do with any kind of cultural or national essentialism, and was an unintended part of the analogy. I can understand how that would seem to be implicit in his analogy, but IMO it is completely unintended by Peter, and it didn't occur to me at all when reading it.
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William B
Thu, Apr 8, 2021, 9:42am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Booming brought up Western foreign policy in response to Luke talking about the Prime Directive in general, not because of anything particular to this episode.

As for the reason for focusing on the West in discussing the PD, the argument for Booming's focus there is not that the West is worse than China, but that the PD is about "how should WE behave." It is plausible that the Federation is mostly based on the West, and so efforts to minimize Federation interference would be based on instances of Western interference gone awry. This makes complete sense to me. It has nothing to do with what the worst crimes in the world are, but why the Federation itself would want to curtail its power/why the Trek writers would want to curtail its power, and one of the main reasons would be evidence that the modern day closest Federation equivalents are still at risk of overreach.

Jason brought up drones because whether there are legally dubious deaths on US hands for recent years was then in play in the thread. Jason himself had said that he didn't follow every point Booming made closely. Every subsequent post of his, except for about Troi, was clarifying and defending his original post against misinterpretion. The description of him shedding copious tears over the subject or whatever doesn't match at all the way he's come across in this thread to me.

Of course Chinese atrocities are terrible. IMO the reason people are not explicitly saying this is that I think people feel that they are accusing them of positions they do not hold, and do not feel they have anything to prove. And I agree. I don't think anyone should be required to list all atrocities in order to discuss any legally dubious actions. The things Dave seems to be saying about Jason and Peter, and Booming, seem radically different from what their intent appears to be. I don't really understand how this break has happened.
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William B
Wed, Apr 7, 2021, 11:18am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Regarding this thread in general, Booming talked about the West specifically not because of this episode but because of how they interpret the Prime Directive's motivation. That got the topic of Western/US foreign policy up. Jason posted once about drones and then every subsequent post about that topic was clarifying his intent on bringing that up. The idea that he's only focused narrowly on drones is IMO a complete misreading of what is going on. If people are misunderstood or criticized, they will typically defend their position or clarify their intent. That's how conversation usually goes.

I genuinely don't see any evidence that anyone is indifferent to non-Western crimes. People are, however, very resistant to being told that because they didn't bring up XYZ they don't care about those topics, or are not allowed to bring up other topics, and IMO rightly so, for the reasons Peter articulates.
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William B
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 1:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

I guess at further risk at being dragged in, without getting into Booming's general behaviour on the board either way I don't think their initial behaviour in this thread in talking about the PD was out of bounds or showed a tacit support of German genocide or whatever. It seems extremely plausible to me that Roddenberry et al. were primarily basing the Federation on the US with some specific modifications, and the modifications are then primarily *modifications to US policy*. The PD in this scenario is a modification to US policy because the Federation is basically in part inspired by the US template, and so it's totally relevant to view the PD as a response to US policy. Possibly this is incorrect and Roddenberry, Coon et al were thinking of other instances of imperialism or whatever.
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William B
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 11:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

It's also funny because Jason is obviously not in the "ultra-woke" crowd or whatever and has pointed out how much he dislikes them, that he'd vote for Trump to spite people who put up "silence is violence" signs, has made fun of our own Prime Minister's definition of genocide in this very thread. FWIW I think I skew further "left" than Jason.

Aside, my saying "logical, fact-based" isn't a particular statement that I agree with his conclusions. Maybe the facts he linked to are misrepresented. Whatever. I haven't seen any evidence that they are, but anything is possible. But I see no evidence at all that he's deliberately misrepresenting to grind some axe.

I guess one major flaw we Canadians have is pretending to be above the fray at times so maybe this is an instance of it. Still. And now, exeunt.
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William B
Tue, Apr 6, 2021, 10:54am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Masterpiece Society

Holy moly. Jason is a lawyer. He's Canadian but we Canadians are extremely tied to the US and so we have particular stake and complicity in US choices. He is saying in his typically logical, fact-based way that he finds the legal justification for drone strikes troubling, and he has reasons to be interested in North American law. Nothing he's said has given and indication that he's trying to make any global statement. Lawyers also know that they can't litigate every case simultaneously.

Why am I defending Jason right now rather than Chinese dissidents? I'm so monstrous! Oh well.
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William B
Sat, Mar 27, 2021, 1:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S1: The City on the Edge of Forever

FWIW, 12 Angry Men was a tv film (1954) before it was a theatrical release.
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William B
Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 7:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Sarek

@Trish, wow, fantastic catch. I like Peter's idea that it was memory leakage going on.
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William B
Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Hollow Pursuits

IMO the issue is that holodecks are not treated as private spaces at this point in TNG. If Reg was in Ten-Forward instead of at work, would anyone criticize Riker for barging in to look for him? OK, so people probably book holodeck time in advance usually. 1. Barclay probably doesn't do so in this case, because he's supposed to be at work; 2. if Barclay reserved a seat at a restaurant or mini-golf course or library or Mott's barber shop or something on the ship, Riker barging in would still not seem inappropriate, again keeping in mind that he's supposed to be at his job and it's a tiny community of just over a thousand which is also a Starfleet vessel. As far as whether the holodecks should be private, that's maybe a different matter, but the technology is still in its relative infancy (they're new as of "Encounter at Farpoint"), and so that they haven't developed norms around expectation of privacy in what is essentially a tech/service publicly available to the crew and civilians onboard isn't surprising to me.

Finally, at this point that holodecks could be used for, er, non-wholesome reasons (not counting holodeck malfunctions) hasn't really been explored much, to my recollection. It seems to be mostly for doing PG holonovels, various planet settings, stand-up comedy practice, combat training, engineering help from designers, etc. Worf and K'Ehleyr used it for sex but that seems to have been more an impulsive Klingon drives thing than an indication that it's assumed in general that people are going to be doing things that need privacy. And again, I'm not saying that people shouldn't have a right to privacy, but some places in our society -- shops, libraries, restaurants, etc. -- are largely public and there isn't an expectation of privacy. I think the crew treats the holodeck like a kind of reading room in a library, or a study room at a college or something. Perhaps as people get more used to the holodeck and the awareness that it is likely to be used for things people would rather keep to themselves the norms will modify, or people will make explicit petitions to have rules in place to protect their privacy, but I think it's just that new technology often doesn't automatically come with a set of fully-worked-out codes of conduct that match the codes that will eventually develop.

Regarding the over-the-top portrayal of Barclay, we know that he got along better with his last crew, so the issue seems to be that something went wrong early on between Barclay and the others, and then his nervousness compounded the issue, and this made the crew start to treat him badly, which made him more nervous, creating a cycle that we are now walking in on a fair amount in. Yes yes, by the 24th century people should be past lots of things, but I think the basic dynamic is very familiar to me and I've seen similar things happen to people (in fact, I've seen worse), and I think we are seeing Barclay at a low point after things have progressively worsened.
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William B
Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 3:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: A Matter of Perspective

I think Frank Offenhaus is correct about the episode's intent. Troi says Manua believed what she was saying, and the episode never questions or undermines Troi. Troi also believes Riker, obviously. So the POV put forth by the episode is that it's possible for someone to believe they were sexually assaulted when they weren't. The episode is not saying that Manua is deliberately lying, or if it is, it is disguising it pretty deeply (having Troi also be deceived without explanation).

I agree that it shouldn't be in the episode, at least in its current form, since the episode presents and then immediately drops the bombshell of a notion that Manua believes her accusation is true, rather than dealing with it.
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