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Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 7:37am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

To be fair, we don't know how bad this treatment is from a changeling's perspective. All the talk of electric shocks gives us a visceral reaction of "this is horrible physical abuse", but that's a humanoid point-of-view. Perhaps a changeling would see it differently, if those methods were used with proper moderation and tempered with a genuine show of affection.

It is interesting to note that the baby-ling wasn't adversely affected by what Odo did. He (it?) didn't seem to harbor any kind of resentment, nor was there any psychological damage. So it does seem like Odo did strike the right balance here.

I'm also quite sure that Mora did *not* strike any kind of balance when using these methods on Odo. He probably went to higher and higher voltages whenever poor Odo refused to cooperate. That's Classic Mora, right there.
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Fri, Jan 17, 2020, 3:35am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: The Begotten

I wouldn't say that Odo capitulated to Mora's methods.

Superficially, maybe, it might seem like it. But Odo's approach his quite different than Mora's. Odo showed genuine care for the baby. Even as he was forced to use coercion he never stopped showing that genuine care. They even point to this fact directly in dialogue:

"MORA: The changeling is developing far faster than you did. I didn't mean that as a criticism. If anything, it's a compliment. I mean, I was wrong. Your approach to communicating to the changeling was sound. I mean, don't you see? It's reaching out to you. It's curious about you."

Mora originally treated Odo as a specimen to experiment with. A favorite experiment, perhaps, but an experiment nevertheless. Odo treated the baby changeling as his child, and that makes a huge difference.

The only thing that irks me, is how quickly Odo managed to forgive Mora. After all the nice subtleties and mature dialogue, that ending *does* seem to endorse the notion that Odo realized Mora's approach to be right. It's a shame, really, because that vibe goes completely against the rest of the episode.
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Wed, Jan 15, 2020, 11:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Force of Nature

Come on... the cat thing is the best part of this episode (though this doesn't say much). I particularly loved how Data, the super-advanced logical android, was not immune to the spell that cats cast on their owners. I thought it was funny and cute.

That's more then we can say about the disastrous A-plot, isn't it? So that's something, at least.
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Thu, Jan 9, 2020, 3:40am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue

"I was using the phrase as shorthand for 'character is stated as being queer retroactively, without any author or performer having had to display actual queerness in the work itself' ".

I was talking about that general point too.

The specific case of Dumbledore isn't the point here. My question was: Why should we expect a queer character to behave any differently than a straight one in circumstance that have nothing to do with sexual attraction?

I agree that if an author or actor starts talking about this only 20 years after the fact, it looks really suspicious. But if he says so immediately, should we disbelieve his statement just because said character didn't follow the usual gay stereotypes?

In the end, though, it all boils down to the interpretation of the individual viewer. And when it comes to a guy like Garak, there's always something more to him than you think.
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Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 3:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S1: Past Prologue


Dumbledore being gay was an actual plot point in the HP series, though. The story simply wouldn't have worked without Dumbledore's attraction to men (or more specifically: Dumbledore's attraction to one specific young man).

As for that notion coming out of the blue: How would you've expected Rowling to write a gay old wise wizard? Should a gay old wise wizard behave any differently than a straight one? Maybe I've gotten it all wrong, but I've always thought that gays are just ordinary human beings who happen to be attracted to people of their own gender. Shouldn't they behave exactly like straight people in non-romantic situations?

Back to Garak:

Unlike Dumbledore, whose romantic preferences turned out to be of importance to the ongoing story, speculations about Garak's sexual orientation have exactly zero relevance to the plot. I'm not saying that the character isn't gay, or that Robinson didn't sincerely play Garak with this intention in mind. I'm just saying that the entire question is irrelevant. If our heroes aren't part of a story in which their sexual orientation is relevant, who cares? Honestly, this kind of thing shouldn't be any of our business unless the story itself demands that we know.
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Wed, Jan 8, 2020, 1:35pm (UTC -6)
Re: VOY S7: Flesh and Blood

The top of the house once fell on him.

Ever since then, he is afwaid of the big bad roof.

(I know, that was lame. Sowwy)
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Mon, Dec 23, 2019, 12:41am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: About a Girl


You're not wrong about Cupid's Dagger.

Oh well... every show has to have its share of stinkers.

"I think the difference is and it speaks to the on the nose quality of the show that in Saudi Arabia you will not find one man who will say: 'We think women are weak and inferior.'"

Do you understand that it is an ALLEGORY? Niether women rights nor transgender rights are at the center of this episode. You are completely missing the point here.

And we *did* hear the Moclan's point of view. We heard in all its chilling "glory": They outcast a minority, and then use their very own despicable behavior as "proof" that the minority in question is indeed inferior.

The issue, by the way, is something that's very close to me personally. As a guy who was born... different... I experienced first hand all the f**k-ed up rationalizations that we heard from the Moclans in this episode. The way a society ostracize certain groups of people just because they are different. The way society treats certain people as if they are subhuman, always feels pity for them as if they're inferior, raises artificial barriers to prevent them from integrating anywhere... and then use the resulting impossible situation that they've created to "prove" that their prejudice was justified.

This episode captured that situation perfectly. So perfectly, that there's no way it could be a coincidence. I'm quite sure that McFarlane had some personal experience with this kind of thing. Either he suffered from this kind of prejudice himself, or a family member/friend of his did.

Moreover, it's a topic that actual Star Trek never really covered. There's no Trek episode that really brings home what people like me have to suffer through every single day, yet the Orville managed to deal with the subject on f***-ing episode 3.

I don't know about you, but I find that to be quite impressive.
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Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 3:35am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Command Performance

Well, Booming...

if you are not enjoying it, why watch it at all? It's your decision. It ain't Trent's fault if you insist on torturing yourself.

Also, while the show does get infinitely better, I don't think you - personally - are going to like the rest of it. This show is not for everyone. And I gotta tell yea, that I haven't met a single person who ended up liking the show after outright hating the first few episodes.
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Sun, Dec 22, 2019, 3:22am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: About a Girl

Whatever flaws the Orville may have, being "misogynistic" is not one of them. It is also a *very* different show from "Family Guy" (I HATE "Family Guy" with all my heart, yet I love the Orville).

To this day I'm not sure how a single person could have produced both shows. I mean, Family Guy is downright barbaric and hateful. The Orville, on the other hand, is progressive and humanistic and... well, Trekkish. Sure, it is also silly and juvenile at times, but its heart is (at least usually) at the right place.

"While there is one sentence at the beginning that is pro trans the rest feels pretty transphobic. Society forcing sex changes on children. There are probably 50k reddit debates how leftwing people want to force sexchanges on children. That is what I mean in my second point. It does try to be tolerant but it feeds into certain narratives."


No. I'm sorry, but the actual story that's depicted in the episode has absolutely nothing to do with that "narrative" you're talking about. And as a viewer, I would *not* want the trash spoken by transphobic assholes to dictate the kind of stories we are allowed to tell.

Besides, the episode directly speaks about the issue of choice. It's right the in the script. It's not just one sentence at the beginning (like you claim) but the entire point of the story!

That point, by the way, isn't even limited to transgender rights. The scope is much greater than that: It is about a person's right to be themselves, and about the evil of a society that insists on conforming everyone to some kind of "normal" standard. The sex-change thing is just an example of this larger issue.
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Thu, Dec 19, 2019, 5:58pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Old Wounds


I distinctly remember that a few months ago you wrote something to the effect of "Seth McFarlene and everything related to him should be destroyed".

So I have a feeling... call it a wild hunch.... that the Orville might not be the show for you. What on earth possessed you to give it a shot, anyway?

For the record, "Old Wounds" is actually one of the weakest episodes of the Orville. The show does get better (much better) and if you were anyone else I would have recommended that you give it another chance. But given your personal stance on McFarlene, I won't do that. My actual advice to you is to run as fast a you can in the opposite direction, because there's no way in hell that you're going to enjoy this show.

By the way, you are right that McFarlene doesn't act. Or more accurately: He is acting the role of himself. He is basically a trekkie pertending to be the captain of a starship. Some people think that's a problem, by others disagree. Personally, I find the simple sincerity of it to be refreshing.

Can't wait till season 3.
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Thu, Dec 19, 2019, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

"Would you please explain what in the trekverse made you come to that conclusion?"

Well, Zefram Cochrane built a warp capable ship in his backyard, in the midst of a post apocalyptic world.

Not a decade later, while still recovering from WWIII, Earth already had many major warp projects going on: Friendship 1, the Conestoga, the Valiant. So it can't be that difficult, once you get have the theoretical basis in place.

I mean, it's probably not trivially easy. I doubt an average Federation kid could build a warp engine from scratch (unless the parts can be replicated). Cochrane still had an entire team working on the project. He also managed to get the Phoenix into orbit using a regular rocket, whIch is already an impressive engineering feat for a private operation.

But still, it is clear that warp drive isn't as difficult as creating a relativistic spaceship using any of the currently known designs. It isn't as difficult as building a ramjet with a scoop the size of a small world. Or a photon rocket with an engine that can contain double the ship's own weight in antimatter while withstanding
multiple petawatts of heat and radiation for months on end. Or an Alcubierre "warp drive", for that matter.

Another piece of evidence, though less conclusive, is the way the Malcorian warp program was depicted in the episode "First Contact". I know it was government funded, but it still seemed like a relatively small project. Also, the Malcorians are in a stage of technological development similar to 20th century earth. That also limits the maximum possible technical difficulty level of building a warp engine.

"Further, I've always thought that "we" didn't want to expose a race to the interstellar community until they possessed the technology to participate in it. Warp drive in the trekverse is the means to that end. This is why, to me, in The Orville, when they made first contact with that species because they transmitted a signal asking if someone was out there was stupid. "

Why is it stupid?

One could argue that having both the capability and the motivation to send messages to the stars is the best criteria to dropping by and saying "hello".

Isn't that a form of participation? Do you really need to be *physically* out there, in order to participate in a community? And isn't the fact that I'm asking this on an internet forum, wonderfully ironic?

In short, don't think the Orville's way of doing this is any stupider than Star Trek. It's just different (though it was definitely stupid of them to just stroll onto that planet without any kind of research into the local cultural taboos).
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Wed, Dec 18, 2019, 11:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

"But Trek also had warp drive being developed around 2063, which is reminiscent - but far more egregious - of Back to the Future's flying car system by 2019 or whatever."

To be fair, warp drive is clearly described (in the Trekverse) as something that came completely out of the blue. It's not a natural development from previous technologies, nor does it require a mammoth effort of engineering.

There's no way to predict such wildcard technologies. Such a breakthrough could happen tomorrow, or it could take a million years. You kinda hinted at this when you discussed the transporter, but the same - really - is true for warp drive as well.
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Wed, Dec 18, 2019, 6:31am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

@Jason R.

"I guess a Dyson's sphere is also just an engineering problem too."

That's right.

It's just a problem that we can't even begin to tackle at our current technological level. To us, RIGHT NOW, it is in the "impossible" category. But the impossible of today becomes the reality of tomorrow, if we wait long enough.

You say it is difficult. Well... yeah. Did I ever try to imply otherwise? Yes, mastering fusion is hard. Interstellar travel is hard. But we humans didn't get where we are by being afraid of figuring out the hard stuff.

And just think of all the things we take for granted in 2019, which the people of (say) 1800 would deem impossible. Things like the internet, or nuclear submarines, or men walking on the moon. Humans are a resourceful bunch, so why should the future be any different? Do you really think that the people of 2200 will care about our current practical limitations?
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Tue, Dec 17, 2019, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

Regarding the feasability of relativistic space travel:

History teaches us that people who say "that thing is impossible" tend to look very foolish in the long run. They said airplanes are impossible. They said supersonic travel is impossible. They said man would never walk on the moon.

This is doubly so when the technology in question doesn't violate the known laws of physics. If it isn't theoretically impossible, then it's just an engineering problem. And if it's just an engineering problem, it can be done.

Of-course the challenge of interstellar travel is still very *very* difficult. It is completely beyond our current technical abilities. But we have rough designs on paper, and we know what needs to be done, at least when it comes to a fusion-powered starship. Ever heard of Project Daedalus (and I'm not talking about the Discovery episode)?

Speaking of which:

Fusion can get you to about 15% the speed of light (a total delta-v of 0.3c). That's about 30 years to Alpha Centauri. It might seem like a prohibitedly long time, but is it really? If your starship is as comfy as the Enterprise-D, a 30 year journey doesn't sound so bad. In fact, I'm sure there are plenty of adventure seekers and explorers-in-heart who would jump at the chance of such a great voyage.

Indeed, in a world without warp drive, humanity's first adventures into the final frontier would probably look like that.

At any rate, none of this can really be compared to the magic of warp drive. The difference in performance between the best possible "normal space" ships and the simplest warp ship is so vast, that it isn't even funny. Hence the reason why it *does* make sense to draw the line at that point.

"Just think about how much more effective the power sources we use have become over the last 100 years."

True. But the laws of physics tell us that there's a theoretical limit to the efficiency in which we can pack energy. It's in Einstein's equation of E=mc^2.

The laws of physics also pose many other restrictions. For example, you can't accelerate without squashing your passengers into their chairs. Squash them too hard, and they'll die. So if you don't want to turn your fragile humanoids into spaghetti sauce, it will take months to reach a substantial fraction of the speed of light.

Unless, of-course, you find a way to cheat the laws of physics. That's what warp drive is for :-)

"I think my problem is with a definitive and therefore arbitrary line."

If 99.9% of the cases fall firmly on one side of that line, is it really arbitrary?

The point of the "warp capable" dividing line is that the vast majority of non warp-capable planets are also incapable of interstellar travel. This is what we see on screen, and presumably this is also what has driven the Federation to draw that dividing line in the first place.

Now, I agree with the need for some wiggle-room in borderline cases. It's just that such cases would be very rare.

"One of the arguments being made here is that as long as no one is aware of it them it's ok. But is that a good argument? Does an action you wouldn't condone if conscious of it ok when you're unconscious of it?"

I don't think that was the argument.

The argument was about the danger of cultural contamination. You don't want to beam down into a neolithic village, because your very presence is going to turn the local's world upside down.

Averting disaster from afar eliminates that risk. Hence the reason why stealth is preferable. The whole thing has absolutely nothing to do with the question of what the locals may "condone".

"And let's say there's a race whose religion dictates they'd rather die than have anything to do with aliens; do they lose the right to choose?"

Interesting scenario.

There are no simple answers to this one. Especially since it would be quite improbable for an entire species to share that belief. What if only 90% prefer death? Should we do nothing and doom the other 10%? Or should we do what we think is best, which is the very definition of playing god?

A very difficult situation. Perhaps in such cases, where there is doubt, we should default to the letter of the PD and let them die. I know it "feels wrong", but once we start following our gut feelings, we are rolling down that slippery slope that Picard warned about in this episode.

But still, I don't see how any of this is relevant to a situation as clear-cut as in this episode. Do we have any reason to assume that the Dremans harbor such beliefs? Should we allow them to die based on a hypothetical scenario we have no evidence for? Once we start thinking in hypotheticals, we could pretty much justify any action we want.

I suppose one could argue that this is precisely the point of the PD. That if we can't be 100% sure (and we can never be 100% sure) then it is better not to act at all. But then, as Booming asked so aptly, why even help others at all? Why even stick our noses outside our front door?
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Mon, Dec 16, 2019, 6:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

The line is drawn between civilizations that rely on conventional physics (rockets, solar sails, ramjets, laser sails etc) and ships that rely on the "cheat" of warp physics (warp drives and other subspace-related systems).

Technologies of the second type tend to be vastly superior to those of the first kind, and there isn't much of a middle-ground.

You can find parallels to this in the real world as well. In the 19th century, the top speed of sending signals over the air was a few miles a minute (thanks to visual telegraph systems such as the semaphore). Once the radio was invented, that speed instantly jumped to 186,000 miles PER SECOND (the speed of light).

That's over a million-fold improvement. And you're going to have a hard time finding a signaling system whose performance is in the middle of these two extremes. Such is the nature of quantum leaps of technology.
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Mon, Dec 16, 2019, 3:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals


"At what point does this duty to fly around the universe saving aliens from natural disasters end?"

I don't think there's a duty to fly around the universe full time and save lives.

But if you're already sitting right on top of a planet with a doomed civilization, and you're already having staff meetings that allocate resources for a scientific expedition to their planet, and the dilemma of what to do with these people is already in the front of your mind, then you are already involved.

In such a case, saying "I won't help, on principle" is just being mean.
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Mon, Dec 16, 2019, 2:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

"I am not persuaded by that. One of the essential truths explored in TOS again and again was the notion that absolute power is corrupting and that any time a massive power imbalance manifests the temptation to corruption becomes difficult to resist. There is no inherent power imbalance greater than a prewarp civilization interacting with a Federation level one. "

I agree, and this is - indeed - the original reason that the TOS gave us the Prime Directive. But what does this have to do with saving a doomed planet from afar? Where is the temptation here?

Picard, in this very episode, mentions some kind of slippery slope, but that argument never made sense to me. You can use slippery slope "logic" to argue for any absolute. So I'm still not convinced.

"Unless you are outside of time like the Prophets, how can a mere human take responsibility for the consequences of such an act?"

But can humans take responsibility for *not* acting? When you say "I'm not going to help these people in need", you are also making a decision. The moment you are aware of their need, you are already involved. Turning your back is no less an "action" then lending a hand.

Now, I agree that there are many cases in which refraining from help is the proper decision. Generally, people should be allowed to deal with their own problems (both on a personal and on a planetary scale). That's how people and how societies grow. So the Prime Directive is a good *guideline*.

But there is such a thing as taking a good guideline to inappropriate extremes, and this episode here is the most extreme of examples: The Enterprise-D is already in that star system. They are making a geological survey of the actual phenomenon that is about to kill the people there. And they might be able to save those people without those people knowing.

So where, exactly, is the moral dilemma here? What kind of S.O.B. calmly takes scientific notes of the forces that are destroying a civilization, while also refusing to help on grounds that "we can't get involved"?

"What does warp drive mean? Flying as fast or faster as lightspeed. Warp 1 is just light speed. It is an arbitrary line."

I'm the last person to defend the "prewarp civilizations must be left to die" interpretation of the PD, but warp drive is a huge quantum leap of development.

The difference between warp and ordinary sublight rockets isn't just the raw speed. It's also a matter of agility and economy and efficiency. Warp ships don't need months to accelerate and decelerate. They don't need huge amount of fuel just to reach their top speed. Compared to a conventional relativistic rocket, even the most primitive warp ship (like Cochrane's Phoenix) would have near-magical abilities.

Warp ships also seem to be far cheaper to produce, once you learn the "secret". Zefram Cochrane managed to build a warp-capable ship in his backyard. And then there's the fact that the secret of warp means access to subspace. Whatever subspace is, that's a quantum leap in a civilization's understanding of the universe. It would be at least as revolutionary as the discovery of radio waves was the real world.

In short, if a pre-warp society of any kind confronts a post-warp society of any kind, the former would be hopelessly outmatched. They will face ships that can be produced en-masse, maneuver in the blink of an eye and whose communications are totally invisible. It makes perfect sense to put precautions in place, to prevent the abuse of this kind of power.
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Sun, Dec 15, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: Pen Pals

"Had a Trek-like civilization decided that it was their ethical responsibility to stop the Chicxulub asteroid that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, we wouldn't be here to even have this discussion."

You are raise an interesting point.

Extinction events are an integral part of the evolutionary process. They aid natural selection. So a Trek-like civilization that deflects asteroids undiscriminately, is definitely hindering the development of life on the planet they are "saving". One does not need to believe in "fate" in order to realize this.

But this still doesn't mean that allowing an entire biosphere to die would makes any kind sense. Nor does it mean that it's okay to stand by and watch a thriving civilization being wiped out by a bad roll of the cosmic dice.

Now, I realize that there are situations where things might get complicated. I can easily dream up scenarios where deciding to let a civilization die could - at least - be a defensible position. But that's exactly my point: These things should be debated on a case by case basis. The problem with TNG's version of the Prime Directive is that it replaces this important decision-making process with an arbitrary absolute.

And there are cases, like in this episode, where following this arbitrary absolute is clearly the wrong choice. There is no real moral dilemma in this episode. Letting the Dremans die simply doesn't make any kind of sense.

That's the problem with the PD in episodes like this one. The Prime Directive is presented here as the worst kind of dogmatic thinking: A dogma that's so strong, that it manages to override Picard's natural tendency for compassion and for doing the right thing.
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Tue, Dec 10, 2019, 10:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

@William B
"hope I'm not being a busybody, but I think Booming meant those 'more debate, silly!' 'will this madness never end' with emoticons comments in a tongue in cheek, 'Its fun to talk about this' kind of way, OTDP, which is to say I think it's not meant to be aggressive or insulting."

I never thought otherwise.

I'm just getting the distinct impression that - at this point - he is debating just for the sole sake of killing time, rather than for the sake of making an actual point and/or getting a clearer understanding of the issues at hand.
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Tue, Dec 3, 2019, 3:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One


Where did you get "Omni" from? It's OMIcron Theta after the greek letters (and Data's home planet). There's no N in there.

"I meant it more in a way that the motherly role was a pretty standard role for women on TV back then so TNG wasn't really pushing boundaries but stayed somewhat within them."

Only after reading your last comments, did I realize that TNG deserves high praise for giving us a woman character who (a) happens to be a mother and (b) isn't defined by that trait.

It's certainly more impressive (and more natural) then giving us some kind of "strong woman archetype" character.

"Come on... she is the chief medical officer and the show had 178 episodes."

Exactly. Not only Crusher had - indeed - saved the ship and/or solved the episode's mystery in multiple occasions, but she also holds such an important role that you actually *expect* her to do these things.

Not exactly a point in your argument's favor, is it?

Though I'm beginning wonder if you even *have* a serious argument at all, or whether you're just arguing for the sake of arguing to elevate your boredom.

When you write something like this:

"More debate, silly! :D"


"Do we have to make an analysis about how many times women saved the ship and how many times men did? And then correlate that with how many times women almost destroyed the ship?? Will this madness never end?! :D"

It becomes increasingly difficult to believe that you're discussing the issues in good faith.
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Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 1:49pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One


"At this point I realize that I write all this just to not do any actual work"

Ah. A noble cause, I see. ;-)

"The empirists have basically won the battle for the soul of the social sciences which means that sociologists and political scientists avoid making value judgements. So no good or bad."

Fair enough.

But my question was less about a making a moral judgement, and more about reaching ANY kind of meaningful conclusion.

I mean, what could an empiricist say here, besides "the analysis proves [with a confidence level of - say - 99%] that the men in the show talk more/less about romance than the women in the show"?

In other words: What would be the actual *point* of such an exercise? If we already know in advance that the numbers won't really tell us anything meaningful, why even bother?


Sorry, I thought you were ranking the characters in order of importance and put the two women at the bottom.
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Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 12:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: The Defector

It was the hippy ideal.

This is also why the Enterprise-D could do a saucer-seperation: You could get the civilians to safety in the saucer while the stardrive section enters the thick of the action.

Unfortunately TPTB quickly found out that (a) they can't afford showing a saucer-seperation in every second episode and (b) it was too cumbersome to work as compelling TV on a regular basis.

So the whole thing was mostly dropped after the first few episodes, even though the children and families remained. Hence the crazy situation we've ended up with, where a starship that goes into battle every Tuesday is doing it with hundreds of civilians onboard.
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Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 5:42am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Profit and Lace

Rough stuff?

Gotta say, I can't help but laugh whenever someone "accuses" Star Trek of going the Social Justice route, or starts whining about strong women that are giving men orders. Seriously, did this guy live under a rock in the past 50 years, that he doesn't know what Trek is all about?

From a 24th century perspective, this "rough stuff" is just laughable. "Hey bro, what's a primitive guy like you doing on our shiny starship? Oh, and by the way, welcome to the 24th century" ;-)
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Sun, Dec 1, 2019, 5:38am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

@Jason R.

"In no conceivable way can this be called 'balanced'."

True, but is this due to TNG's attitude toward women? Or simply due to the nature of a show as a (mostly) non-ensemble show?

Picard, Data and Worf get most of the attention because they are the most interesting characters. And I certainly don't agree with your claim that Geordi or Wesley are more important characters than Crusher or Troi. They are all secondary characters. Heck, I'll argue that Guinan - even if she gets less screen time - is a more important character than Geordi.

(I also disagree with the notion that Riker is more a important character than Crusher or Geordi. Sure, he is the ship's first officer, but as a TV CHARACTER he is no more important)

Now, let us be perfectly clear: I'm not pretending that the "big three" being all males is just a coincidence. I'm perfectly aware that the general view of female TV roles in the 1980's played a part in this decision.

But my point is, that you could never deduce that just from what we see on screen. Crusher may be a less important character, but the material she gets is mostly well-rounded. She participates in away missions, solves science problems, and does all kinds of other things that lay rest to the claim that she is anything but an equally capable member of the Enterprise's crew.

And again, TNG gives us plenty of female guest characters who also serve to strengthen the idea that the inequality in numbers in the main cast is just a statistical fluke in-universe. We've seen plenty of female captains and admirals. We've also seen women participating in pretty much every cultural role under the sun, both in the Federation and on alien planets.

So when you take all this into account, I think TNG aged quite well in this respect. At least for the most part. I won't go as far as claiming that TNG's attitude toward women is 100% perfect, but it certainly isn't as bad as some people here claim.

"Just from my anecdotal and maybe skewed memory, I seem to definitely recall a couple of 'girl talk' scenes between Troi and Crusher about romance, and I just don't remember any about anything else. If there were some then they were forgettable in the sense that I literally forgot about them"

Of-course they were forgettable. What would you expect?

They were discussions about the situation on the ship, or medical problems, or other things like that. IOW they were conversations of the most routine and ordinary kind imaginable.

Isn't that what people are usually after, when they complain that women characters are only given "girly" stuff to discuss?

I suspect the Troi/Crusher girly talks would have also been forgettable to you, had you not immediately flagged them as a problem. I confess that I couldn't remember a single one of those scenes before I did my search. I was actually surprised to see that there were as many as six of them over the show's run.

(I did remember the Ogawa/Crusher ones, and I have absolutely no problem with them)

"I would like to have a look at your method. ;) First what search terms were used or did you go through all the conversations and the really interesting comparison would be between a female and a male pair."

I looked through them all (searching for "TROI:" and "CRUSHER:" and "OGAWA:") and counted the "talks about boys" manually.

"If the percentage of romantic conversations between for example La Forge and Riker is as high as between Troy and Crusher then we really have something."

This is a pretty silly comparison.

First of all, you're going to be hard-pressed to find ANY kind of intimate conversation between La Forge and Riker. They just aren't that close as friends.

Secondly, let's say we did such a comparison between all male/male conversations and all female/female conversations that ever occured in TNG. What would it prove?

Suppose we've found that the women talk about boys 22% of the time, and the men talk about girls only 7% of the time.

What conclusion would you reach from that? Perhaps we need more macho talk about women to balance the numbers out? ;-)

Now think of the reverse:

Say we found that men talk about girls 22% of the time, but the women talk about boys only 7% of the time.

What would your conclusion be this time? There's still a big difference between the numbers, but now it's in the other direction. So is that good or bad?

There's little point in doing a statistical test which isn't going to teach us anything meaningful either way.
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Thu, Nov 28, 2019, 1:25pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S1: Angel One

"Actually I completely agree with Carmen that Troi/Crush and Crusher/Ogawa talk about little else other than boys, and it sucks. I've complained about that before and IMO it's totally legit."

Opinion is opinion. The question is: What are the facts?

I've taken the liberty of scanning through the transcripts of every single TNG episode for such conversations, and you know what I've found? That Crusher and Ogawa had exactly two conversations on boys (in "Imaginary Friends" and "Lower Decks"). Troi and Crusher had six, which is precisely once every season (not counting season 2 where Crusher was absent).

And along the way of searching for these matches, I've found many chats on other topics. Getting an exact count of these would depend on what, precisely, we count as a "conversation between X and Y". But even under the most conservative estimate, they are a big majority in both cases.

So I'm sorry, but your statement that "Troi/Crush and Crusher/Ogawa talk about little else other than boys" is factually false.

"There [in DS9] women weren't in the classical care work roles."

You mean unlike TNG, which had plenty of women engineers and scientists and admirals and captains?

Also, since when is being the ship's doctor "a classical care-work role"? Leonard McCoy would like to have a word with you on this one...
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