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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 10, 2020, 10:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

Maybe there's some kind of Nietzsche 101 going on in that argument; master vs slave morality. Except for one thing: slave morality in that sense is about taking a bad thing that you can't change and pretending it's good because you can't change it. But that's not what's happening here: Enterprise C had a decision to make and chose what they saw as the best future for the Federation. That is not a 'slave' role, and any idea that sacrificing yourself makes you some kind of slave has the notion of leadership backwards. Being in charge is supposed to mean that *you* are the one who has to take responsibility for those under you. Sacrifice to protect your people is the sign of a leader; it's the slave's move to let your own people go to the wolves and save only yourself (PS - I wouldn't actually use that term, but in context I'm retaining it to make a point).
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Peter G.
Thu, Jul 9, 2020, 1:26am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Brothers

@ james04,

"If Reg Barclay, or any other member of the crew, had done what Data did, they would have been thrown off the Enterprise & out of Starfleet"

Except for the fact that Reg Barclay *does* do almost exactly what Data did in The Nth Degree...and they don't throw him out.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jul 8, 2020, 2:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S7: 'Til Death Do Us Part

@ Dave in MN,

"They should've killed off the symbiote and not bothered introducing a whole new main cast character this late in the game. What a waste."

Problem is if you do that Benjamin is lacking a significant relationship on the show other than Kasidy. Dax is his main 'friend' in the cast, and without her his scenes are relegated to professional briefings or else family scenes, which is a bit limiting.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jul 8, 2020, 10:02am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Yesterday's Enterprise

@ Jakob,

"There is a weird sort of Christian morality underpinning this episode, this idea that it’s good and right to be a sacrificial lamb, to put yourself “on the cross” so to speak and spill your blood to save others, but that’s kind of ridiculous."

While I wouldn't want to comment on why you do or don't like Christian-type morality, you really don't see how it would be a good thing to go to the defense of people being attacked by Romulans and die trying to save them? Having served, you would really argue that there is literally no point in participating in a rescue or defense action even if there is little chance of success? You don't see the value - both for morale and for honor - in finding it unacceptable to let defenseless people be gunned down, Klingon or otherwise? Because that's what this is about: how when the Klingons see Enterprise-C die fighting for them it cements the Khitomer Accords into a real alliance, because they realize it's not just a detente but that they're dealing with people with values.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jul 6, 2020, 9:56am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Lower Decks

@ Mr Peepers,

"And if it isn't military, why are members putting their lives at risk on missions? Also, if the current society is not based on the accumulation of things, but to better ones self and not get paid, why would anyone want to join Star Fleet, and fight like the devil to keep from getting kicked out?

Sito, almost got kicked out of the Academy after covering up a classmates death. She was almost in tears as she told Picard how she no longer had no friends, and almost quit. What would actually happen to her if she did? It seems like you would live an easy life if you weren't in Star Fleet."

I think you need to give a lot of thought to these questions, more than I suspect you did when you wrote the post. If you're a Trek fan, try to answer for yourself why someone would want to make enormous sacrifice if there was no personal material gain involved. Ask yourself why someone would want to join an elite organization if it's not easy and carries risk. Why do anything at all unless you're paid for it, once we're on the subject? These are pretty central questions to Trek's vision of the future. It is *not* supposed to represent how our lives are now.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jul 3, 2020, 5:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Galaxy's Child

Haha, the firestorm has begun again! I love it. This is TNG's For the Uniform.

For what it's worth I think it's pretty indisputable that Geordi did nothing wrong in Booby Trap. The entire episode is about how technology can be your undoing without you realize it, and it makes Geordi have a tough time with people. It's no accident he got it on with the computer, he knows computers!

To me the 'wrong' stuff is all in this episode. He needn't have had any guilt about the holoimage *if not for the fact* that in this episode he was acting entitled to a relationship with the real Leah on account of his encounter with the hologram. Not only that, in so many words he flat out tells Guinan that they're totally gonna get it on when they meet, and she rolls her eyes. That is the problem.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jun 29, 2020, 1:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S2: Innocence

@ Top Hat,

"Are there any indications that Vulcans believe in an afterlife? Clearly a kind of transmogrification of the soul is possible but that's extremely rare. So is it generally assumed that a Vulcan's katra dies with its bearer?"

We don't know anything about what they do with katras after they're saved. Maybe it's better we don't know! Now that I think about it, putting katras in jars reminds me of the Soul Hunters in B5.

Sarek seemed clear that without someone being present at a Vulcan's death the katra is lost, so it doesn't just (according to them) go to the afterlife by itself. That being said, the fact that intervention is required to continue the katra past death doesn't imply it isn't an afterlife, it just means conditions must be fulfilled in order for that to happen.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 11:03am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Chain of Command, Part II

@ Cameron,

"I never understood this episode. Was the ending supposed to be a homage to 1984? Shamelessly ripping off a classic book? "

How can something be a shameless ripoff if you need to ask what the ending is supposed to be? Seems pretty questionable that you "never understood the episode" but are still pretty sure it's a shameless ripoff.

The answer, btw, is yes this is pointing towards 1984. But other than the torture scenes it doesn't bear much resemblance. It might therefore be more relevant to suggest that this is a reference to a real phenomenon, which 1984 was describing but which is only meant as an example in that book.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 19, 2020, 8:03am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

There is even already a precursor to the 2-minute hate, it just doesn't happen all in the same two minutes for everyone; it's more of a tune-in-when-you-can 2 minute hate.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 7:14pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

"There was one episode in all of Trek that seriously attempted to address the allure of collective consciousness (rather than portray it as unmitigated horror) and that was Voyager's Unity."

Yep. The Borg are not a collective consciousness in any sense of unity (that is, bringing people together). What the Borg do is destroy your individuality, not connect it to others. Picard didn't come out marveling at what it was like to share thoughts with others; he was effectively submerged and nearly destroyed, and replaced essentially by a machine running his body. In VOY's Unity we got a little look at a *real* collective consciousness, i.e. where all members are actually conscious. I wouldn't have minded some exploration in Trek of how the one might lead to the other, but as I see it these are separate technological phenomena.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 18, 2020, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

@ William B,

"A right wing friend of mine (with whom I disagree politically on nearly every point) opposes *peaceful* protests he disagrees with, for instance."

If you believe Jordan Peterson about it, this may be due to people who are 'naturally conservative' having a predisposition towards order and hierarchies, and that they inherently feel threatened by any attack on either structure or order. So a protest may come across as simultaneously disorderly (on an aesthetic and communal level) as well as designed by its nature to undo systems (so disorderly in the sense of trying to release fixed systems). Your anecdote sounds actually quite typical, but is not the same phenomenon as cancel culture. The right-winger you describe most likely also believes strongly in free speech, but just doesn't like protests (if I'm guessing), and so the issue may boil down there (if I'm right) to chaotic forms of civil disorder and disobedience as being seen as unacceptable. But the left-winger cancel-culture type comes from a different place, where they do not in fact believe in the inherent right to free speech; or if they do it might be formulated as "you can say what you want, and I can punish you for it", which is a sidestep but still effectively is a non-belief in the value of opposing ideas. Fundamentally the right and left winger here are diametrically opposed, even though as you point out "I want a stop to things I don't like" may well be common to both sides as you head out towards the fringes. The issue I think Jason R is bringing up is that the fringes have bled into the mainstream, so that even major media publications are supporting - or even fomenting - belief in what would have been seen as radical partisanship 30 years ago.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 7:40pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: First Contact

Detailed review, Elliott! Giving backstory to a review certainly helps see where your individual reflections come from.

Too much to comment on, but in particular I'll mention that I think Data's arc is probably the least significant and thought-through here. Moore wanted something engaging and maybe tantalizing, but what he came up with for Data is inexplicable other than "stuff happening". I mean, he wasn't offered humanity in any intelligible sense, was offered 'superior' out layer, I guess you could call it, but fundamentally what she was offering didn't come across as even particularly related to the things about humanity that Data is always intrigued by. It was more like a BDSM funhouse to entice him with...thrill? I couldn't even tell at any moment whether he liked it or not. Or what he supposed to be liking! For all that Moore wanted these scenes to be, the Queen might as well have been a Klingon dominatrix for all the subtlety she showed. And hey, we know that Moore knows Klingons. Maybe this is a "everything looks like a nail (or Klingon)" situation for him. That may even spill over into Picard going in for blood vengeance. When Data says he considered complying for a microsecond or whatever, it got a laugh in the cinema because it shows just how ridiculous the Queen's "temptation" really was, even though it might have been an 'eternity' for an android.

Regarding the Borg:

"Finally, the Borg. I don't dismiss those criticisms of the film or especially the Queen for making the Borg less scary. It's certainly true that they will never hold power over the audience again they way they did in “Q Who” or “The Best of Both Worlds.” But that is simply the inevitable end of exploring an alien culture through a Trek lens. Whether friend or foe, the Trek way is to develop mutual understanding."

I think this statement basically demonstrates why some (such as myself) think this movie initiated the neutering of the Borg. The reason they were scary wasn't because we didn't understand them, it was because we did. There is no "them" to get to know, no beliefs such as we could understand them, no culture, only a directive for which any objection or comment is meaningless to them. It's not that they consider their objective to be more important than you; they don't consider it at all. There is no one to dialogue with because there is "no one" there, only some vague collective, but no "one". That's why they used Locutus, just so the humans could speak to something tangible, because without him there was nothing but a network. No person in sight. So what made them scary was there was nothing to learn about them other than how to defeat their technology; by their nature they were not aliens, because they had no individuals. No one to speak with, only a wall of repetition about their directive. It's like (loosely speaking) trying to have a "dialogue" with a raging mob. All you will get is a repetition of their directive, and if you're in the way you'll get torn apart; not because they don't like you, but because you were insignificant. You matter no more to them than a rock in the way, so "negotiation is irrelevant." That's what VOY got wrong to the extent that it gave them even more of a 'personality' than FC did; VOY portrayed it as being relevant, but only if you have something they want. But that misses the point: in BoBW it was truly "irrelevant", as in, not a consideration that *could* exist for them. And yeah, that's scary, knowing that you have nothing in common with them as a 'race.'

Some here have even posited that they aren't a race, but just a group of prisoners, and that may not be far off. That actually makes I, Borg have more impact, since killing all the prisoners is surely questionable. But what they are not, is supremacists who just think they're better than you. They have no opinion of themselves at all. Or at least, not until this film. It truly did alter them and make them into just mean aliens with gadgets.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 11:58am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Elliott,

One thing that is abundantly clear to me, to the point of it being startling, is that on both the right and the left in America you will find massive alignment on seemingly disparate issues that correspond to one "team" or the other. You are simply not going to run into many liberals, for example, who are supporters of BLM and also pro-life. And anyone who took such a position would be ostracized and probably threatened. And you are not going to find many conservatives who believe in limited government and supply side economics, and who also believe strongly in gay/trans rights.

I can make a quite extensive list of policies, beliefs, and causes, and I can all but guarantee that the majority of 'activist' types will support every single one of them, and will be opposed to zero of them. That's not a stereotype; in fact learning this fact quite surprised me because I would have expected more divergence. But it's on both sides of the spectrum, as I think we can find this on the other side as well. There are of course variations, as no two people are the same, but we're not talking temperament but rather causes that someone would check off as "support" or "don't support". The boxes will line up pretty darn closely, and I don't think you need a fancy definition of "the left" or "the right" to speak about these things intelligibly.

That being said we're also probably talking about those further to the left and right than would have been normal 30 years ago. Centrists get little attention these days, and there are of course centrist liberals and centrist conservatives. But their voice is minimal, I think in part because the media creates narratives around those further out and ignores the center. So I suspect, at least, that Jason R is not talking about centrists as he says these things, but about those who are more vocal and covered in media.
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Peter G.
Wed, Jun 17, 2020, 12:01am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S1: Emissary

Haha, Chaotica! You know, Jason R, there are more 3+ players than are on that list, not that it vastly changes your calculations. On VOY there's Admiral Paris, Borg Queen, Vorik, Suder, and more (check the IMDB). I mean, I don't personally think 3 episodes should be "supporting" anyhow, more like recurring if we want to be pedantic. On DS9 for example you might as well include Morn as supporting since he's there all the time, but Moogie and Zek would be recurring since you see them once in a while, maybe a couple of times a season at most.

That said, scanning your numbers I realize one thing that strikes me, putting aside the fact that you observe the DS9 talent is spread more evenly than TNG but fewer highs and lows. I think DS9's cast overcame occasional weak scripting with better acting to come to a similar 'final result' whereas even players on TNG like Troi and Crusher often had very nice scenes or episodes despite IMO them not quite carrying them off of their own powers. But the cast was so tight (another factor not accounted for) and the show's design to streamlined at a point that the show virtually carried itself at times with its own energy. Since DS9 was darker, not as sleek, not as 'fun', I think the onus was much more on the actors to "make it work" or else it would fail. I don't know if this is a writing flaw or just a result of the show's design, but a badly acted DS9 is basically dead in the water, whereas a badly acted TNG scene could still work much of the time. I think often when I'm rewatching TNG more than DS9 it's because it's 'easier on the eyes' and generally more sprightly, whereas DS9 is a bit more work for me but also more rewarding. I space out my DS9 rewatches much more than TNG, until I'm 'ready' to put in the focus it needs. TNG is more like I can be tired and it will carry me, so that's an issue directly impacting how much the actors needed (or didn't need) to do to make it work.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 16, 2020, 11:47pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Best of Both Worlds, Part II

@ Jonathan Hardy,

While your ideas for pt 2 are not at all illogical, where it loses out is in the meta-story department, an oft forgotten part of good scripting (of which TNG excelled). The essence of Riker vs Picard is that Riker had to go up against everything the Enterprise ever had going for it, knowing he *could not* beat Picard on the terms Picard would normally employ. Anything Picard would have ever come up with was had to be off the table, or else this narrative fails and it becomes a technobabble deux ex machina about who wins when. Only when everything Picard ever thought or came up with was scrubbed as compromised, and Riker gave up on being #1 and truly became the Captain, could he win. So I believe the deflector weapon had to utterly fail for this arc to be realized properly. There is no 'halfway' for knowing you really are your own man, and he had to come all the way in knowing Shelby was no threat to him, and that he could rise to the top if he chose to (the "his own command" arc). It has to be completely his choice that he both overcomes Picard and yet chooses to remain under him. If he can succeed using Picard's own tactic then he can't know he had it all inside himself.
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Peter G.
Tue, Jun 16, 2020, 8:59am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

@ Trent,

I don't want to engage too much by taking sides on this particular topic, but I do want to mention that in my view almost every statement in your last post has factual errors in it, including what you say the recent SC ruling means and how it applies. I tend to enjoy when you wax poetic about Trek and generalized metaphor, but I feel like you're doing it here in regard to actual history, and that doesn't work. These vast sweeping statements do not correspond to "what happened" or what it meant.
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Peter G.
Mon, Jun 15, 2020, 11:41am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S3: Warlord

@ Elliott,

"I don't object to any of this, but there are no conversations between them that spell out the nature of their relationship or how it's changing; we are expected to piece it together."

I think this is primarily because there is no ongoing arc or oversight here in terms of "where they are in their relationship." I do not believe they were monitoring the state of that relationship, as it was more likely each writer just writing whatever they wanted. There's no scene to tell us what's going on because nothing is going on. That's quite different between an actual couple going through a breakup that will be sustained on the series. In TNG they even had a major crisis for O'Brien and Keiko as *secondary characters* and they fleshed this out a lot for us. I mean, it was framed somewhat comically because of the episode, but we definitely needed to know whether they stood with each other.
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Peter G.
Sun, Jun 14, 2020, 7:19pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Wounded

@ The_Man,

You disagree with what?
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Peter G.
Sun, Jun 14, 2020, 10:46am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

@ Elliott,

"If you can find an example of a single left wing politician in western democracies even hinting at something akin to totalitarian policies, I could at least understand your fear."

Since we were just discussing 1984 in another thread this can count as being about Trek: one common misconception about the novel is that it's the government forcing this system on everyone against their will. It doesn't occur to people that it might have been the reverse: the citizens forcing it into the government. De Tocqueville argued in the 1830's (admittedly, prior to WWII) that law and policy invariably follow from the popular culture, and not the other way around, despite occasional appearances to the contrary.
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Peter G.
Sun, Jun 14, 2020, 10:43am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: The Wounded

@ James G,

"Considering what Maxwell has done and the unauthorised carnage he's caused, Picard seems a bit too quick to defend him to Gul Macet at the episode's conclusion, and too dismissive of Macet's disdain. If anything, Macet is extremely restrained in the circumstances."

Macet could have done more fake posturing, but by the end he and Picard both knew that the Cardassians were covertly arming up for a new offensive in violation of the treaty. The reason Captain Maxwell is received with such honor is that it's pretty clear he was 100% correct in his assessment of the situation. The problem was that he had to (a) violate treaty, and (b) attack ships outside of a time of war, in order to prove he was right. The letter of the law is exactly what the Cardassians were using to get the upper hand, and Maxwell did descend into ignoring it as well to catch them. But the bottom line for Picard is that the law must be upheld.

To me the major contention of the episode is that law and honoring the treaty comes first, over and above proving that the Cardassians were violating it and preparing for war. Maxwell was a pragmatist, while Picard and idealist who favored working within the system. I'm not quite sure it's clear-cut that Picard is 'right' but his side certainly gets the floor for most of the episode. I've never felt that Maxwell was a villain, just a guy who never really believed the war was over. It's worth asking whether that was a fault or just realistic understanding.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 3:25pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Elliott,

Rahul is referring to the tactic of doing or saying something offensive, and when people naturally react badly to that calling them out for being the thing they're accusing you of. The form would be something like:

Person A: XYZ
Person B: XYZ is outragous, how could you say that!
Person A: Now you are behaving like XYZ, just as I said!

So self-fulfilling prophecy, aka trigger the very response you will then accuse.

The other, slightly modified form is:

Person A: XYZ is guilty
Person B: That is outreageous!
Person A: That proves you're part of the problem.

So the kafka trap, where you are guilty if you don't object, and guilty if you do.

Final form is:

Person A: XYZ is guilty
Person B: Are you really saying that?!
Person A: What? No, I didn't mean that at all (when they clearly did).

This is the chicken-hawk scenario.

Now Rahul, I don't think Elliott has been doing any of these things. He does make some claims that could be offensive to some people, but he always stands by them and will defend them with argument. That's not the behavior you're describing, which is that of evasive trickery in order to win face in public and brainwash people. I don't disagree that some of Elliott's comments over the years are...well, aggressive to my sensibilities, but I try to discipline myself to engage with the content and see where we might see eye to eye on Trek terms. Lashing out doesn't help, I think.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

Rahul's point is, to whit, not an attack on Elliott but rather a statement on the scenario of someone making a 'striking' claim, stating it as a moral fact, which then of course triggers responses from parties that find the claim extreme. To the extent that he was identifying this as one of those scenarios, he is almost certainly correct, putting aside entirely the validity of Elliott's opinion (which I am personally happy to debate). I'm reminded of an early version of what Rahul describes, which was the famous "if you dress like Pocahontas for Halloween you are a racist" type posts seen almost ten years ago. People would post this on social media, of course triggering a firestorm, and this can easily degenerate into "you're a racist" "no, YOU'RE the racist!" Obvious we want to do better here, and Elliott, to the extent that your post was making an analytical point, which is excellent to do, I would only caution you that offering an explanation of how American conservatives are by definition close to being Nazis is throwing fuel into the fire in terms of the Trek discussion being washed away and turning into a political turf war. And if someone, right or wrong, finds a post ugly, maybe that's something to explore *in a Trek discussion*. You did ask him what he meant so I think that's fine, maybe he'll answer. But I think you got conned a bit into joining the fray of a bad news sidetrack into politics.
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Peter G.
Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 11:25am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

"rahul's post had only one aim: silence elliot."

Ridiculous. Rahul has never done anything like that here. Motive speculation is already bad, but this is a dubious speculation on top of it.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 4:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

I can't read Brook's mind, but it seems pretty evident to me how it might be important to a black person in Hollywood to make a stand about "if you're gonna hire mostly white guest stars then fine, but I'm drawing a line." The uproar about mostly-white casting reached a fever pitch even within the last couple of years, so if that was what Brooks was on about then it's not only not racist but ahead of its time in the business. I could see Brooks, or others like him, finding it galling to have a white female love interest yet again, 'Snow White syndrome'.

Now where I think this grates in Elliott is perhaps badly indicated in his review (sorry Elliott). His complaints about DS9 tend to be based on anachronistic elements pushed into the show that portray a more modern sensibility rather than a Trek one such as shown on TNG or VOY. Elliott has remarked on this in the 'shades of grey' approach to morality, which is a modern area of interest but not something TNG at any rate was interested in; he's remarked on it in his recent review of The Ascent in scenes which he feels are barely different from what we'd see in a modern non-space show; and he's remarked on it in even character details such as (especially) Sisko's character which he feels is out of tone for what Trek should portray. So I'm doing a little 'mind reading' here, but I don't think this is about black-black pairing, so much perhaps as a modern social movement being pasted into the Trek universe. It makes *complete* sense to fight for more diverse casting *now*, and in-universe doesn't make sense in Trek to have contemporary things shown as special, when they shouldn't be special there, and in fact in the future the converse would be the case (i.e. that no special concern would be present for color or race). Elliott, is my read on this correct?

If so, then I'll take a page from Trent's line of argument, that fundamentally Trek has to be seen as allegorical and even mythic, and to a certain extent not every single literal detail will map on a 1-to-1 basis smoothly. Some of what we need to show on Trek will necessarily be a bit illogical in the future sense, in order to hammer home what it means to us now, and I think we have to accept that. I'll give an example from a typically praised episode:

In Rejoined we have an allegory towards, presumably, same-sex relationships and the taboo involved. I suppose mixed in there somewhere might be the issue of having a man's memories/feelings in a woman's body, but that's not front and center in any case. Now IRL we know what they're doing, and we applaud it, let's say. But in-universe it doesn't really make sense, for a few reasons. For one thing, making it woman-woman was apparently a 'coincidence' because the re-association rules would apply to man/woman as well, so it's surely deliberate that they showed it as man/woman and portrayed that as a public scandal. Also, the manner in which Dax goes through the arguments (with Sisko for example) isn't really sensible in its own right within the context of Trill society. You're telling me we should applaud someone seeing to it that Dax never has any more hosts? Sounds pretty selfish to me, and it's not like she was crusading against this Trill rule before. It's only now that she's feeling the heat that she wants to suddenly buck convention and doom her symbiont. But whatever, that's not really what the episode is intended to be about, I personally never focus on those details because I know what they're after. But that requires some active 'forgetting' on my part, and to ignore how in-universe the logic isn't quite there. So modern need to portray this issue does not map into the DS9 universe perfectly, but it doesn't matter because this is allegory and high art about life. It's not kitchen drama attempting to portray realism in the 24th century. These are adventures, not documentaries.

And I think the same needs to apply to the black casting issue. Brooks wants to fight for more equitable casting, more power to him. As the star we might even suggest it's responsibility to set an example, and I believe he felt that was the case. You have to be a sort of leader when you're the star, and too many celebrities aren't. So to me calling this out as racists isn't offensive, but it is weird from a progressive standpoint. Artistically the material does give way a bit to make room for it, but barely enough to be relevant unless one wants to make a federal case out of it.
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Peter G.
Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 11:29am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S4: The Visitor

I also had taken it as a given that Brooks requested to have black love interests on the show. Assuming this is so, there's nothing to see here on the front of his character. For Jake we don't know whether it was spillover from Brooks' influence (he was like a father to Lofton), whether it came from Lofton himself, or from the producers. Arguments on this front based on speculation seem spurious to me since we don't know.

Now as Elliott and Jason R point out, it's probably not a *coincidence* that the pairing here was made as it was. But that alone says nothing; all it says is the show wasn't color blind. The kneejerk response is to call racism, because hey, why not, it's a non-falsifiable charge that makes a vague accusation while not quite actually saying anything specific. Except for one thing: the entire color blind vs not color blind debate isn't even much of a debate these days: most people calling for a color blind politics or social landscape would themselves be called racists in the present climate in the States. I'm not taking a position on this (certainly not here), but intend only to point out that it seems to be treading on dangerous ground to look at two black actors playing a scene and to object that they cast a black person. In Hollywood. I don't care whether there is a chance it was based on fearful optics, which I would agree would be unfortunate, but in and of itself the notion of saying "the role given to that black actress should have gone to a white lady" is over the line by any liberal standard these days. Now we could perhaps infer that Elliott means it could have been anyone at all other than a black person - for instance Jake could have had an Asian wife. And actually that particular argument (if he were making it) would be reasonable because the battle is always black vs white and no one thinks to include other ethnicities. DS9 and TNG both lacked Asian-descent bridge crew, although Keiko was on both in a smaller recurring role, so there is something to be said for that if that's the argument. I'm re-watching Heroes right now (no criticisms!) and it always strikes me how incredibly diverse this show was, even to the point of being happy to employ subtitles for a significant potion of the storylines.

But I guess to the extent that Michael seems to have been focusing on an objection to casting a black person in a role on a TV show, this is not a trivial issue to be swept aside. Yes, it might have been "interesting" to have a mixed relationship. Of course there are already some those on Trek and on DS9 in particular so it's not like a mixed relationship was banned or something. But put aside the coulda been, and you're left with two black actors on camera and someone objecting to that. I can see how that would give someone ideas. I typically try to avoid engaging on points like that but if we wanted to give benefit of doubt to Michael perhaps this is the basis of the complaint.
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