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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 7:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

@ Jason R.,

I do think the male fantasy free-love vibe (if such a thing exists) goes away sometime maybe during S3, so you could be right that some female characters turn the tide eventually. Certainly we get a very strong woman in Shelby, albeit not on the sexual front. Vash is strange, though, because she's a D&D rogue class, meaning her behavior is not exactly meant to look upstanding. Also I think she uses sex at least partially for manipulation rather for its own sake. Ro also doesn't seem portrayed as seeking sex for the most part, other than in Conundrum, where she's not exactly her usual restrained self. K'ehleyr might qualify, if I was really looking for other examples.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Q Who

I'm watching this one right now. An interesting thought occurred to me: one of the issues Q Who brings up is human (Federation) arrogance, at assuming they're ready to encounter what's out there. At first glance this is Q's point, to which Picard relents and finally agrees he needs help. Except there's an interesting moment after the initial death of the 18 crew members, during the senior staff meeting, when Riker announces that the only tactical choice that makes sense is to board the Borg ship rather than flee. Guinan's "What?!" is very telling: most experienced commanders would have taken her advice and tried to return as quickly as possible and get away from the Borg. Which of course, would have been useless anyhow. But Riker is always thinking of how to win, rather than how to cut his losses. This occurs in a big way in Peak Performance, and culminates in BoBW when he goes against even Picard's logic (as Locutus) and conducts an extremely brash and arrogant plan to do the unexpected.

So on the one hand Q (and the episode) is teaching us that the Federation is *so* not ready for what's out there. But Riker on the other hand, to Guinan's shock, seems *completely* ready to encounter it on his terms, no matter how overwhelming it is. So whereas Q is claiming the human's arrogance is a danger to them, in fact Riker's arrogance (later showing big in BoBW) is the only reason they learn as much as they do and have any chance at all against them.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 4:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

It certainly is hard to escape that conclusion since we weren't shown female characters carrying on as Riker and Okona do. The only instance of a very forward woman is Lwaxana...and we know how that is supposed to be understood. So it's the asymmetry that sells the case that it's maybe a male fantasy thing. It didn't have to be, but I don't think back then they were particularly aware of (or even interested in) how the optics of these things look if you examine them.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 2:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

Do you mean he should treat visitors with more caution? I suppose there's a cultural issue there, like acknowledging that their society may be prudish than his. I feel like the show sort of treats most everyone like part of the same cultural family (for better or worse). Only a select few episode are really concerned with teaching us about a different culture, like A Matter of Honor or Chain of Command. The human-looking people who come aboard tend to be treated according to Federation standards, whatever that is supposed to imply.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 2:20pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

@ Top Hat,

"Even in the optimal reading, isn't there something questionable in episodes like this one and "Up the Long Ladder" where Riker is transparently moving in on women while on the job? It seems like a different scenario than him wandering around Risa with his horgahn out,."

I suppose someone here with military experience could weigh in on whether it's acceptable for a SO to express interest in a JO or others in the service (when off-duty, I suppose). The line of whether Riker is on-duty or off-duty is sort of vague since it's a TV show and we don't get to see his work schedule. But we don't ever see him hitting on Ensigns on the bridge, so I think it's safe to assume that while 'at his post' he doesn't do that, while when he's about the ship off-duty he does. The fact that he's a Commander doesn't seem (to him) to be a conflict of interest or a power imbalance. Don't forget that this is supposed to be the enlightened future, so there is a huge level of trust in each other that we don't have in our current society. If someone like Riker shows attraction, there would be literally zero concern that he might hurt them or have nefarious motives. As TNG mentions very often, Starfleet officers are assumed to be of unimpeachable character, and this should color how we read Riker's advances on women.

As a side point, early TNG especially has this built-in premise that sex is not a very big deal to people anyone in the future, almost to the point of it being a free-love society. I sort of find this premise icky, but nevertheless I think there is an implication in S1-3 TNG that hitting on someone (or even sleeping with them) is not something to make a big deal about. It's just sex, and not some life or death crisis. We may not accept this premise, but I do think the events as shown have to be understood as existing within its boundaries.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

@ Trish,

I don't know, I think the word 'creepy' can't *just* be subjective, so that anyone can be declared a creep if one person didn't like what they did. I know it's just a word and anyone can use a word how they like, but there are implications that go beyond just one person's opinion. There is a society and an unstated standard of behavior, and using the word 'creep' introduces some commonly-held connotations that will be taken as objective fact and not just one person's opinion. Maybe you can say for yourself if this is true: if a friend of yours mentions to you that this creep was bothering them, would your first thought be (1) I need to be wary around that creep, or (2) I know nothing about him, maybe it's just her subjective opinion that I would not share?

In Riker's case (and this is one of the reasons I don't like A Matter of Perspective) we know that his bold and charming manner can come on strong, but that he is 100% respectful of the woman's desires and reads body language very well. He is not the type to just push himself on someone and not get the hint. And in this episode in particular he makes a specific point of saying he needs it to be mutual, so that even 'putting the moves on her' isn't enough unless she not only consents but actually wants it equally. He wants a partner dance, not a solo performance with a living prop.

So in this instance we have to be careful about whether "creep" is supposed to mean he's not taking a hint, or whether it just means he's hitting on someone. I think Jason R's point is that there is literally zero justification to call someone a creep for expressing interest in someone. The notion that offering "unwanted attention" makes you a creep is a very disturbing premise to accept. So I would say that in this sense, it is not creepy to inquire whether the other person is interested and to flirt with them. And the more subjective creepiness, of not taking hints, or of coming on in a manipulative manner, seems to me to score a zero in Riker's case as well.

Maybe there's a third kind of creepiness - the "I don't like this guy" thing, which maybe is what you meant. But this is really an unfortunate thing to call someone if you just don't like them. It may be all too common, but it's not very gracious, to call someone a creep if they're not attractive, whereas it's a "fun flirtation" if they're very good looking or charming. Obviously this kind of creepiness would be 100% subjective, to the point where it would be better to just call it something else like "people not my type hitting on me", which is not a character flaw but just a fact of life.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: The Pegasus

One thing that The Pegasus miraculously avoids mentioning is what happens to the tech when all is said and done. It's well and good to choose to abide by the treaty, sacrificing a material advantage in exchange for avoiding a bloody conflict, but does that mean they need to destroy the blueprint? How could they *ever* prove to the Romulans to their satisfaction that they had done so? It's not like the Federation is going to execute anyone even peripherally involved in the project. So it would have been nice for there to be a brief mention at the end of the episode, much like at the end of The Wounded, something to the effect that "we'll abide by the treaty because we believe in peace, but if you ever break the treaty, you know what our ships will be equipped with the moment that happens."
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Peter G.
Wed, Jul 28, 2021, 9:54am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S3: Terra Firma, Part 2

@ Jeffrey's Tube,

I agree that the time travel issues raised in ENT are ridiculous. Time travel in Trek was always a means to an end - to tell interesting character stories. They were never intended as hard sci-fi, and to the extent that certain episodes like Time's Arrow did have the time loop as a major plot point, it was more for pizazz and intrigue than to say anything about the technology or the implications of time travel. Doctor Who had the right idea, to treat it like a joke and just play around with it. Trek doesn't have room to seriously consider an issue like that. It's the stuff of a full-length novel, not an episodic TV show.

You wrote:

"I realize this isn't perfect either, and would be effectively saying this group of entities changed the way the laws of physics work in the universe. Not only is this a lot to ask the viewers to accept for what is possible, it is dangerously close to magic or invoking "god" rather than keeping the setting for Star Trek more science and reality based."

I actually disagree with this, especially if you consider that TOS set the precedent with the Organian peace treaty early on. Technically the reason for that was to establish why the Klingons of all people would have having a cold war rather than a hot one, so it was a contrivance designed to create a real-world parallel. But nevertheless they set the stage for advanced beings sometimes dictating how things go. And the same is true for Q in Encounter at Farpoint, and even for the wormhole aliens in DS9 to a limited extent. There are crazy entities out there, and sometimes they just dictate terms to you. I don't find that notion too foreign, and in fact a real sci-fi universe teeming with intelligent life would really be remiss in implying that humanity is the most advanced thing out there. If the issue is that these being seem like gods, I think the Arthur C. Clarke principle applies well enough that we needn't worry about it having magic or religious implications. Whether it's Organians, the Guardian of Forever, the Vorlons, or whoever else, if there's some way out godlike being out there, it only confirms what Q said about how scary space can be. I like that, as long as it's taken seriously. It was hard to take any aspect of the temporal cold war seriously IMO.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 6:06pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Q Who

Maybe the title is a reference to the Grinch Who Stole Chrismas. Maybe Q is the trickster from Whoville and Q Who his proper name.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Proving Ground

@ Jason R,

I agree that if we go just based on what's shown on-screen it would seem to the Andorians that the Enterprise crew is indicative of the human race, i.e. mostly 'pink skinned'. Especially those ruddy-cheeked Englishmen. But my point was more whether it's appropriate to take the Hollywood casting literally and assume that what we see visually of the bridge crew is what humanity supposedly sends into space. Or should we sort of close our eyes and see the crew in a more color-blind way and assume 'it's a mix' and not count heads. I mean it's not like Shran says "Pink-skins...except for that quiet dark fella." Basically it's the 2-4 main characters, which is another artifact of the TV format. If we were being a bit more literal I imagine the Andorians would have more time talking to Hoshi (communications) than to the 2nd officer.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 3:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Proving Ground

@ Jason R.,

At this point it becomes a meta discussion that starts to scramble based on what reality you think the show is project. For instance if most bridge members are white, does that mean the show is saying that literally speaking most humans in space during ENT's run are white? Or should we just assume that it's a diverse complement and that the way they cast the show is not technically meant to translate into a literal breakdown of ethnic variation? For instance if Starfleet is representing a unified Earth, you'd think there would be a number of East Indian and Chinese people on board, just by the numbers. There are none, which mostly should be chalked up to who's available for casting in the U.S., where the show is made. Should we take American talent agencies and the stats that go along with them as figuring into the show's actual realty in the future? My argument would be no. So in a sense we should assume that the Andorians are used to a great mix of humanity rather than a mostly white Enterprise crew. I agree it's not a hill to die on, but in the abstract I don't think it's an inaccurate observation to suggest that the showrunners were not thinking intelligently about what a starship crew would look like in 250 years.

By the way we can make a similar comment about Vulcans. To date, we've seen maybe a handful of 'black' Vulcans, compared with mostly pale-skinned Vulcans. So going by the "what you see is what you get" logic, most Vulcans the Andorians would meet are also pale skinned, barely any different from humans, and they are also way more familiar with the Vulcans than they are with humans. So humans get the pink skin slur even though they look practically identical to Vulcans in their 'whiteness'? It is, to coin a phrase, highly illogical.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 1:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S3: Proving Ground

To be fair, I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to object to the idea that the writers clearly equated "human species" with "pink skin" in assigning that slur to the Andorians. It's a bit of a silly thing to get up in arms about, but just as a matter of observation it does seem to say something about the mental image of humanity in the mind of the writing team. This particular type of misstep was even a screwup at the timing of its original airing, IMO. Even in TNG S1 they took some (minors) steps to show that humanity wasn't just about white people. Also funny that Mayweather never gets in a mot juste to comment on that particular slur (or does he?).
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Peter G.
Sun, Jul 25, 2021, 3:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

You can't judge these things based on how probable it is that The Picard would spawn a world religion. The probability doesn't matter. It's like asking how probable it is that an asteroid pulverizes your planet. If it's anything other than zero you should be scrambling with everything you got to put a stop to it. The PD is this important to the Federation.

What were the chances that the Sigma Iotians would copy an entire fake culture based on a single fiction novel? Well, they did it. Even Kirk is stunned that it happened. Once a certain amount of sloppiness happens one of these worlds is bound to be contaminated by it. It's just a question of when, not if. And just consider all the non-Starfleet ships going around causing a rucus...
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Peter G.
Tue, Jul 20, 2021, 9:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@ Mal,

"The texture and drama is reserved for the Clones. The best we can do is recognize that the problems of the two colonies are the same, or at least mirror images of each other.

Both colonies started off as utopians, and they each degenerated into sad caricatures."

That's well and good on the drawing board, but whereas the clones are clearly a result of a sterile and tidy way of life taken to its ultimate extreme, the Bringloidi are not in any way the inevitable result of the back-to-nature intellectual movement. Taking all the sex, randomness, and 'fun' out of life actually does sound like a very dangerous course to take, even intuitively. But reading Thoreau, I just can't see an obvious trap that would cause degeneration into what we're shown. They may as well have been circus clowns for all the similarity they had to Thoreau's way of life.

The schema you're trying to draw is quite tidy, but I do see a flaw in it even conceptually. For your theory to work the Bringloidi need to be the offshoots of a Unitarian side movement featuring other spiritual material from ascetic cultures. They essentially need to be secular Hindu-Protestants, if I can coin the term. But for the dichotomy the shows needs us to accept, it's the sterile sexless clones contrasted with the lusty vivacious Bringloidi. They actually *need* to be hearty in this way for the comparison to work they way Snodgrass wants it to. And therefore they are just a poor fit for transcendentalism gone wild. Don't forget, we're talking about a romantic movement, nature-enthused, which derived from such writers as Kant and other German philosophers. This is frankly the *last* group of people, aside from many monks, who I would cast as the forebears of a party-lovin husband-huntin kinda people. It just doesn't fit.

Honestly, I think the scripting mistake was in naming the transcendentalists at all. The episode's metaphor needed pseudo-Catholic Irish people vs puritan clones, and by god that's what we got in the actual episode. The only thing sticking out like a sore thumb is the mention of who they derived from.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jul 20, 2021, 2:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@ Mal,

That's actually very interesting, and although I didn't find the name Odell Shepard on Wiki's list of notable transcendentalists, maybe the author did intend a little Easter Egg there. But I don't think the transcendental movement has much in common with the Protestant Irish, to say the least. To the extent that it did include a back-to-nature theme, guided by Eastern Mysticism (and some distinctly non-Christian beliefs), there is about as much of a gulf between Emerson and Thoreau and the Bringloidi as there is between a Vulcan and a guy with a bad sense of humor. Maybe there's some cursory similarity (enjoying the outdoors, or in the latter case, never cracking a smile), but the Bringloidi seem to otherwise have nothing in common with what was essentially an intellectual movement.

You may be right that the author intended in some way to portray pseudo-religious but mostly intuitive-experiential thinkers as being the forebears of these people, but all the teleplay and the actual direction get across is that they're uneducated, like to reproduce a lot, and are hearty and lusty people. Hardly a good description of the intellectual, hardworking, and often teetotalling American Protestants. These guys are like the opposite of that. If the episode wanted to portray the Bringloidi as having degenerated over many years from being transcendentalists into being like they are now, they sure spent zero lines of scripting making that case. All we see is what we see, which is not Emerson wannabees.

But...I think you did a good job trying to make a case that this episode had a more developed backstory than we realized. My conclusion, novel to all involved, is still that the episode...is bad. Whatever the writing staff thought they were doing, it was hopeless mired in cliches and (if we're to believe the transcendentalism story) in a total inability to do more than recite the name of the movement in an expository scene. As far as I'm concerned, it's still an Irish Catholic stereotype. The fact that it's explicitly about another group makes it even worse, since they couldn't pry themselves away from the usual schtick.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jul 19, 2021, 6:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@ Tidd,

I think Trish's point is that they were Catholic in all the conveniently negative ways (the stereotypes), but in none of the inconveniently positive ways (e.g. a profession of belief).
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Peter G.
Sun, Jul 18, 2021, 10:51am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@ Booming,

"Yes. I think it is foolish. All children should have at least a chance of being successful however they want. If religious parents want to teach their children how to be a good little fanatic then they have to do that in the afternoon."

I just think you're unaware of how many presuppositions you are making, all of which involve your personal values as being placed at the highest level of importance. Now note that in all of this I'm not saying what *I* would suggest for an education, but rather I'm discussing the notion of respecting different cultures, even if they value items like rich/poor and industrial/rural differently. I can definitely see why there are advantages to a true community lifestyle, where the community all helps each other, have common frames of reference, feel like part of a group, and don't have the constant stress that typical Western city people have. No one who lives in a big city and gets a typical education and job is relaxed. No one. How much of a premium for feeling that life can just be enjoyable?

You can read old stories from the British Empire from when they would encounter native peoples, and how they could not understand why these people were so primitive. An entire branch of racial science emerged to try to assess whether they had brain differences, and other such impediments. It turns out that living in a tropical climate where your needs are met actually means you have no incentive to innovate and move through the mad rush of technological advancement. I can't speak for every island British ships came to, but the story of the Bounty is notable, as when they arrived in Tahiti they found the people apparently very happy, not needing much clothes, and enjoying their life there. Well no kidding! If your value system is to live with nature, enjoy the weather, have community song and dance, and not worry about what other people are doing, then that might be a great life. If your value system is "make sure you're armed to the teeth when some empire comes your way" then of course that system of life is a failure (by that standard).

Your position reads to me a lot like the British Imperial valuation, where being educated as a gentleman, having access to modern technologies (and if anything adding to them), and being part of the international trade is the only sensible choice for an intelligent human to make. Anything else is "primitive" and probably "backward" and "stupid." Well let me tell you, at around this point in my life I can see the appeal of a much simpler existence without worrying about arbitrary standards that to a certain extent I don't even care about (but have to care about). Now I'm not so much disagreeing with this type of valuation, but rather saying that to suppose that it's the only game in town that makes sense (and should be allowed) is essentially imperialist. I have seen all to often that people are sneered at for declining to go the path of riches, and I think this attitude is a mistake.
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Peter G.
Sun, Jul 18, 2021, 9:10am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@ Booming,

I don't know how accurate your perspective is on Europe vs America, but on this point -

"In almost all European countries Amish or anybody else would not be allowed"

I think you said it all. "Not be allowed." So you *do* believe in forcing people what to think and how to learn, it's just that your personal preferential system is the one (according to you) mandated by law. I don't see how that's any different than a smaller community doing it; your version is just on a larger scale and with different community values. The difference is that the Amish wouldn't force people who disagree (other adults, let's say) to raise their children this way.
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Peter G.
Sun, Jul 18, 2021, 8:45am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@ Booming,

Where I think you are making assumptions based on personal values (rather than objective analysis) is in your idea that parents shouldn't actually decide how to bring up their children:

"I never said that Amish are "stupid", they are obviously as intelligent as anybody else. I said that the Amish use education as a way to control people. On the AmishAmerica page they specifically state that the Amish keep their children away from high schools because they fear that the abstract concepts of a modern education could distract them from the ways of the Amish. If an adult chooses to live like this, that is her or his choice but forcing children into this... For me stupid or dumb is another way of saying ignorant and the Amish are willingly ignorant."

You seem to be either implicitly suggesting or maybe even directly saying that parents have no business raising their children with their values, and should take a popular vote and raise their kids how most other people do within national borders. I specify 'national borders' because obviously if you pick "others in the same town" as your criterion, and it's an Amish town, that will do your argument no good. So you need to expand the perimeter.

Imagine just for instance that not only do they prefer teaching their children in their own values and customs, but additionally believe that children will learn all sorts of harmful things in regular public schools, like about pornography and sex, and about ways to control and harm others (in their opinion), and fields of knowledge that take your focus away from how your neighbor is doing. Not only would you (Booming) have an unbelievable task on your hand disproving this types of positions, since IMO they actually have validity, but additionally you'd have to not only implicitly opine but actually demonstrate how it's better for parents to *ignore* their own values and let their children at a young age pick their future. I personally might equate that to allowing a child to pick between a candy vendor and a doctor, to use Socrates' analogy. Now *that* would be harming the child, by giving him that choice.
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Peter G.
Sat, Jul 17, 2021, 5:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Sorry for a few typos early on my my post just now. But in conclusion, I think the racism bug is going around so strongly that it risks becoming an umbrella term for anytime you have a problem with someone who's different from you. I don't really think there's a racism angle in this film, even though there are of course strong themes of pride and animosity. The only direct mention I can think of in ST:VI involving 'racism' is when Kirk coyly tells Spock that "everyone's Human", to which Spock replies by calling him 'racist.' And yet this 'racist' is actually tongue in cheek. We could debate precisely what is implied by this exchange, but I don't believe for a second it's meant to address actual racism issues.
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Peter G.
Sat, Jul 17, 2021, 5:11pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

I know ST: VI is drawing a parallel between racism and the Human-Klingon situation in the Trekverse, but I'd like to point out that in addition to me recent post about how ST:VI continues nicely - almost seamlessly from III-IV in Kirk's relationship with the Klingons, I don't even think racism is directly implies. This is especially so given that the Klingons are Soviet stand-ins here, and there is essentially no race-based issue between Americans and Russians. There's a *cultural* divide, especially in regard to personal values, types of government, and of course the "In Russia hamburger eat you" memes. But an American hating or distrusting Russians is not racist, it's just a garden variety of prejudice backed up by years of actual evidence and conditioning. It's not even "prejudice" in the sense of cultural stereotypes that are perpetuated in rural areas with no basis in reality. The American distrust of the Soviets was *entirely earned*.

And in Trek's recent history up until this point, Kirk not only spent years in either war or detente with the Klingons, with them looking for gaining the balance of power at every turn, but even in the feature films they apparently attack and try to kill humans on sight just to entertain themselves. While meanwhile John Schuck stands around Starfleet headquarters lying through his ass about it like a coward and grandstanding. So this is neither racism nor unreasonable prejudice, nor is it even an animus based on intolerance of any kind. Basically it's their mortal enemy who, when they are anywhere near a Klingon ship, they can expect to be in hostilities almost by default. And we should be surprised that people have trouble trusting them? And these are the pre-honor type Klingons that we later see in TNG. These guys have no problem playing dead and then attacking Earth. So if anything we should be surprised that Spock is so gullible as to trust them immediately. It's nothing short of a miracle that someone like Gorkon was even chancellor, and if anything the film understates to the extreme how unlikely a leader he was for the Klingons, especially right at that moment. He really was a visionary, and it took Spock and him to take an incredible risk for even a chance at peace.

Again, this is all provided we forget ST:V exists, which I think this film does.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 16, 2021, 5:54pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@ Trish,

"From the time I saw this episode in its first run, I've never seen why the Bringloidi needed the Mariposans at all. They like their simple, low-tech life; they chose it."

I think the episode is taking the position that the Bringloidi do have a problem, namely that they are primitive dolts. Now I think I agree with you that if this is a definitive lifestyle choice then that position ends up being nothing more than condescending elitism. But I kind of sense the episode suggesting that not only did the original Bringloidi choose this way of life, but that (as with the Mariposans) this choice sent them down a path toward actual ignorance and stupidity. This hidden premise is so half-baked that there's no room to even ask whether it's possible to deliberately chose a low-tech life while still being quite aware of what's out there (like in DS9's Paradise). The episode seems to imply by default that going low-tech turns you into regressive pre-modern type of people, including values and education. But obviously this isn't a fair assumption, since it's possible to be highly educated, even hip and savvy, while being low-tech by choice.

So we can chalk this strawman yet again up to the episode being...bad.

There is one grain of truth inadvertently present in the episode, which is that many "sophisticated" people look down on and sneer at poor people with large families. To the extent that these are Irish-type folk, and the British captain (yeah, he's British!) is the one looking at them like a bunch of apes, it rings of the English disdain for the Catholic Irish and their cultural values. This can be seen in the recently famous Harry Potter series with the red-headed Irish Weasleys shunned by the aristocratic English families. Now the episode is not unilaterally against the Bringloidi per se, but damn they are made to look so stupid that I feel like it can't just be a coincidence that they were made to be Irish.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 9:52am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

"While it offers the view some sense of a meaningful ending, it is by no means a happy ending."

I think one of the things this supposedly chauvinist piece touches on, which is not immediately obvious, is that it's challenging the idea of happiness as being the thing that gratifies you immediately. If an ending contains sadness and longing, does that mean it's not happy? I think The Perfect Mate positions duty and sacrifice as being contenders for "good feelings" as a proper definition of happiness.

The themes of this episode mirror to an extent what was overtly and even gloriously shown in Kirk's marriage to his ship in TOS. The early Trek films make much of this, but then again so did The Naked Time. Kirk was necessarily going to be denied some of the things he may have longed for, because his union with his ship and his duty were his greatest happiness. This at times entailed suffering, sacrifice, even potentially being alone and on opposite sides of everyone else such as in This Side of Paradise. Here we see Picard in a similar situation, where sacrificing personal good feelings is in fact the greatest service toward his highest aim, and finally Kamala's as well. Her entire physical being was built to satisfy the needs of another, and so we might argue not that she's a slave, but rather that her highest value is service and sacrifice on a biological level. The only thing that changed when she imprinted on Picard is that her intellectual and psychological values came perfectly into alignment with her body's nature. She not only had to sacrifice for the good of others, but she believed in it and wanted to, and would continue to want to no matter who her husband was.

Take a contrary situation for a moment. Let's say Kamala had gotten to her destination as planned, and had imprinted on jerko or whatever his name was. What if his 'ideal mate' was someone rebellious, exciting, and not caring about consequences? That might have made for a good time in the bedroom, let's say, but as this would have been her real personality from then on, perhaps she would have gone on to sabotage the treaty and her planet. What if his ideal mate (which surely is a subconscious desire, rather than a calculated schema) would have made for big trouble even in their own marriage? Maybe the guy had self-destructive fantasies and she would have helped him bring down his own reign. But with Picard's values imprinted, we can be sure that Kamala would always do her duty to protect these worlds and keep the peace.

Sounds like a happy ending to me, no? A bittersweet one, to be sure. But I personally always thought it was uplifting that, no matter how crude Jerko is, Kamala will always have Shakespeare and her own inner peace (Picard's inner peace) to enjoy and take refuge in. It's almost like Picard really did go with her, to give her some sort of sanctuary from this beast. Sure, we can argue that she would have enjoyed the beast if she had imprinted on him, but as the viewer I think we find it almost impossible to accept that being made into a lousy person is 'good for her' even if it pleased her. So yeah, maybe that's putting our values onto her. But how can we help it?
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Peter G.
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

@ Silly,

I agree about the recton working perfectly. Since Pillar had always planned for some sort of "surprise!" involving Bashir changing form, I think they deliberately inserted some odd details into this backstory so that they could later use them as levers, or pivot points perhaps, so as to retroactively establish...something. We also know that the 'something' wasn't clear to anyone, so they were just adding in random stuff. But damn, they sure did add some details that would end up making almost no sense unless he was an augment. Why did they write that he wanted to be on the frontier, when indeed it could have been a boring post? Why did they write in that he deliberately made an error in his exam so that he wouldn't finish first in his class? And even that point, raised in a later episode, is a follow-up to the countless recitals about blah blah pre-ganglionic nerve and post-ganglionic fibre. And why is he so fixated on Dax in the first place? Sure, she's attractive, but no doubt there are other women he can hit on. I think it's because she's brilliant.

So many hints throughout that...something is off about him.

Despite all that, their initial intention was to make him unlikeable, but they failed miserably because the more Kira hates his guts the more I laugh my ass off and love him.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@ Rahul,

I didn't remember at all about Lester murdering a bunch of scientists. I'll have to watch it again and get back to you...
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