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Fri, Jun 2, 2017, 6:04am (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

@Peter G,

Thanks for a thoughtful answer. You and I don't see eye to eye on everything, but I respect you and I understand at least some of your feelings. FWIW, I also understand Damyen's.

I want to give an equally thoughtful response. My problem is that for every point you raise, a six-page essay springs into my mind. Issues are complicated. Writing is an imperfect means of communication. Plus, I'm wordy.

Okay. Where we disagree: I don't see the homoerotic sneer that you see in the word "bromance." Of course any word can be said with a sneer if desired. ("Jim and Bones are, cough-cough, close FRIENDS if ya know what I mean.") But I just haven't seen it used that way. Maybe you hang around a bunch of homophobic jerks ? Consider the possibility!

Trump: I don't think Trump is being called gay in any way. In regards to Putin, the 'bromance' was meant as a jab at Trump's perceived malleability and idiocy: he initially seemed to fawn over Putin in a childish way, while Putin appeared to be savvy and likely to dance Trump on his lap like a puppet. And of course it was Trump himself who made his genitals and his sexual prowess -- along with his views on pussies and his alpha-male rights to ogle and grope women -- into subjects of media discussion. You're not making Trump out to be the innocent victim of in appropriate sexual slurs here, are you? Because that would baffle me.

I'd love to discuss Achilles/Patroclus for a really long time, probably until you cry witih boredom. The jury's out on whether Homer meant to imply a sexual relationship between them, or just an impassioned love between manly men at war. They both have sex with women. I don't think anyone would have attached any sense of scandal or shame to the relationship, even if gayness was inferred. Pederasty was a normal part of Greek male life and wasn't stigmatized.

(Achilles/Patroclus wouldn't have been a case of pederasty, since both were grown men, but my point is that love between men was accepted. In a time when males lived very separate lives from their locked-in, uneducated, and vastly
'lesser' (in their view) womenfolk, it was normal that men's strongest bonds were forged with other men. Women enter the tent of Achilles and Patroclus, but only as slaves - trivial objects; war booty to be raped and bickered over. The men are the main characters. Their attachment to each other forms the mighty heart of the Iliad and serves as the wellspring of their heroism and sacrifice and fierce manful passions, as well as Achilles' character growth. So if Ach/Pat is what you think of when you think of 'bromance' , then I think you should love bromances. )

As to your complaint about those nineties comedies, and that stripe of feminism that says it's okay to mock men... ah, that's worth at least an eighty page manuscript from me, all by itself!

Look: my first response to your complaint was sympathy. I have misspent enough time on far-left political discussion sites to be infuriated by the lowbrow comments which invariably follow every random shooting, every petty outrage-du-jour news item: "We have a toxic white American cis-male Christian gun-loving culture! Full of rabid policemen! That's who's to blame! " So yes. I know what you're talking about.

But my delayed response was anger . It is the same anger, I think, that Damyen is expressing.

To try for a comparison: imagine the anger of a destitute McDonald's worker who hears a well-dressed businesswoman complain about her lot: "it just sucks being in the top tax bracket. Unfair! The government took a hundred grand from me last year! And I bet they used it on Section Eight housing and public health clinics - stuff I'll never use in my life!"

Well, that woman's feelings are normal and understandable: none of us likes to pay taxes. But to the poor worker - who's constantly slighted and ignored by all the rich people who treat him rudely because he works at McDonald's - her comment translates as, "I don't give a damn about you or your stupid problems.
I only care about my comparatively trivial rich-person problems. I'm a whiny selfish jerk."

I can empathize with you. Now try to empathize with me.

Insulting portrayals of females on TV are the norm - always have been. They are so much the norm that you probably don't notice them, or you think they're trivial and women should quit bitching, or you make excuses for them, or you laugh and enjoy them. Plenty of women adapt to where they agree with those points of view. It's like being born into a tribe of untouchables and raised on dog food from birth: you see that other people are given decent food and you know you'll never get a taste of it. But if you let yourself think about that, you'll be crazed with helpless outrage. So you eat your dog food and tell yourself it's healthy and deliciious. Then maybe you get mad when someone else in the dogfood group says, "This isn't fair! Why are they always humiliating us like this?" Because you'd rather keep your sanity than fight a losing battle.

(Just one example: I was excited to watch "Sherlock." By the end of episode two, I quit it in rage. In two episodes, I'd been shown seven or eight females, all of them in bit parts - and about six of those were shockingly demeaning female stereotypes. It was the misogynist equivalent of a show with six grinning black mammies in the background, or six devious money-grubbing Jews. That's "Sherlock," a glossy modern TV show. A show that everyone raves about.)

If you're still with me, take the next step: try to absorb the fact that these insulting TV portrayals, that to you are the worst sexism you've ever experienced, are to women the absolute *mildest* form of crap that we are forced to swallow. The insults built into TV and media are background stuff - part of the day-in, day-out low-level condescension and lack of respect and sexual double-standard that's our dog food, dished out three meals a day forever. But those daily expected meals pale in comparison to the worse things - things that are very common, and range from humiliating, to desperately unjust, to terrifying, to fatal.

I am not playing a tiny violin and demanding pity. I am asking you to take one step back and recognize that what you complain about, is a tiny taste of how the other half lives. That doesn't mean you deserve to get your feelings hurt by TV shows or sweeping sexist generalizations, any more than I do. But if a taste of that is bitter: imagine a lifetime of it. I can only hope that the experience makes you more aware of women's problems: more concerned about sexism, not more angry at females. That's up to you, though. I've heard plenty of males insist that thy're on the losing side of the battle of the sexes. They're idiots.

(Slight final tangent to an utterly tangential comment: I don't actually think that those insulting anti-man comedies you mention are any kind of forward progress against sexism. They remind me of a common "compliment" that high-status businessmen pay to low-status secretaries: "Ha ha, I know you're the real brains of the outfit. Your boss is just the front man, right? Bet the whole place would fall apart without you!" Yeah, it's just patronizing bullshit. It doesn't come with any real respect; quite the opposite because it's a canned phrase that assumes the listener is a gullible idiot. The secretary hears it, and maybe she's flattered or maybe she thinks he's an ass - but either way, she's been put firmly in her place.

I now must apologize for this whole comment, which has nothing to do with Star Trek and hella little to do with bromances.
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Wed, May 31, 2017, 11:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek Beyond

@Peter G,

Ok, Curiosity gets the better of me: why do you find "bromance" a prejudiced term? Does it strike you as belittling to men?

I ask because the ten has always slightly bugged me for the opposite reason. To me it is a term of admiration, one that calls to mind the thousands of celebrated male friendships throughout history and literature: Achilles and Patroclus... Gilgamesh and Enkidu... David and Jonathon.... Butch and Sundance....Kirk, Spock, and McCoy... Riggs and Mertaugh. Everyone respects a bromance.

Now I try to think of great female friendships. I come up with mawkish chick-flick stuff like "Beaches" . I think of Beverly and Troi, who in seven years were shown having, what, four conversations? always about their boyfriends.

(I haven't seen much Voyager - I am curious about it because I've heard the captain and Seven develop a serious friendship of sorts. But I've also heard Seven wears prosthetic breasts and was brought on mainly to cater to and titillate the male fans of ST..)

I love bromances. I love depictions of friends bonded by affection, shared adventure, and insulting banter. I am just bitter that sismances either never exist, or are never portrayed.
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Thu, May 25, 2017, 6:16pm (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S1: Jetrel

@the sisko:

I tend not to agree with DLPB - in fact I generally find him/her lacking in basic reasoning skills.

However, when I see you simplify complex issues down to preschool-level rules, and see you call your adversary a "monster" for having opinions you disagree with, I am inclined to roll my eyes.

As far as the episode: I like it.
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Sat, May 13, 2017, 1:37am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Sarek

@dark Kirk:

Ah, but the positive side is, this gave Voyager not too many opportunities to display the strongminded controlling father alongside the ineffectual placating mother, the Great Man father alongaide his devoted, self-abnegating wife; the show-stealing father alongaide the generic smiling mother, the well-characterized brother alongaide the generic smiling sister-in-law.

Not that there's like, a pattern there or anything.

(What other female relatives showed up on ST?, Well, there's Ziyal. She was interesting when first introduced - actually I thought she was going to develop in exciting ways and create great new storylines. But she was quickly downgraded to a generic Sweet Young Thing who existed to give Dukat and Garak an object to argue over. So who else? Geordi's dead mother. Tasha's hot sister.)

Now, Mrs Sarek. Who is Mrs Sarek? She is a person. She is a person who fell in love, moved to an alien land with her unemotional Romeo - where she was required to give up all normal and natural human self-expression, all laughter and fun and tears and authenticity that she had been accustomed to to. She has a husband so coolly unfeeling that while she is striving to protect his dignity, he is meanwhile making dry disapproving comments to near-strangers about his wife's unseemly human over emotionality. She has an adopted society so rigid and coercive, it demands she use excruciating self-control and constant decorous deportment at all times.

Yet the episode tells us that she is content inside these strict limits, on this planet where she is never allowed to cry or laugh or play or tell a friend how she feels or be her own true and relaxed self.. And why is she content? Because she has the lurrrrve of a great man. Sure, he is barely willing to actually show her any lurrrrve, but she sets the bar low enough that the little glimmers of lurrrrve he flicks at her are enough to fill her heart. Sure, she has sacrificed her own soul and her own self and receives almost nothing. But it's lurrrrve! And he is a great man. Wifehood trumps all the negatives.

(It's too bad: I probably would have loved the episode had they simply given Sarek a normal Vulcan wife , and spared us the character of an all-but-burqa-clad Mrs. S.)
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