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Tomalak
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 8:09am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

Slacker, it's not a misunderstanding. Other atheists came up with a term that is deliberately offensive to anyone who disagrees with them and you apparently use it without even realising that. Obviously people can call themselves whatever they like - but it's obviously incredibly closed minded to say everyone who thinks freely could reach only your own conclusions about big questions. Is that what you are saying? Or are you saying that plenty of devout Christians, Jews etc can also be free thinkers?
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Tomalak
Tue, Jan 29, 2019, 6:43am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

"This [implying that only atheists can be free thinkers] is common usage in my circles"

That says so much more about your circles than it does about religious people. Absurd.
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Tomalak
Mon, Jan 28, 2019, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

Is there any purpose to claiming only atheists are freethinkers other than to detail the thread? I am agnostic myself but I find sentences like that absurd.
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Tomalak
Sun, Jan 27, 2019, 9:47am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S2: All the World Is Birthday Cake

I don't mind plots that don't make total sense if the jokes are good. But there was hardly any humour this week either.

The birth scene was interminable. Do they think there is something inherently moving about watching a birth? Boring.
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Tomalak
Mon, Nov 26, 2018, 7:12pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: First Contact

"it's really surprising that any Star Trek fan is so pro-capitalist since the Federation in Star Trek is a nearly pure socialist entity"

I see this argument made a fair bit and if you are making this point in good faith - rather than as some kind of "Ha! Gotcha!" - it deserves a response. Why would a keen conservative also be a keen Star Trek fan?

1. You can enjoy fiction without enjoying every specific bit of it. At least until Discovery, while Star Trek's political and moral messages have always been heavy handed and extremely unsubtle, they are reasonably rare and often confined to the closing minutes of an episode. I don't feel like I am watching a political campaign ad when watching Star Trek.

2. Similarly, it's not a contradiction to like someone's fiction while disagreeing with their politics. For all I know, Ronald Reagan would have written some awful Star Trek episodes (although he talked about sci fi themes a surprising amount for a leading politician), but that wouldn't actually alter my view of his Presidency. Ditto I can think a Star Trek writer's politics are something I would never vote for while enjoying his scripts.

3. I think there is a fair bit of liberals seeing 20th/21st century conservatives in Star Trek villains in a way that no conservative would.

Anyone can caricature ideas they disagree with, but there is this helpful notion - the ideological Turing test - that requires one to describe what your political opponents believe in a way that they would agree describes their own belief. You don't have to agree with that description yourself - you just need to be able to describe what someone else thinks so accurately that they would endorse it.

I don't think many Star Trek writers are even trying to caricature conservatives, but insofar as they do, they would usually fail the ideological Turing test. I don't feel in any way obliged to side with the evil caricatures when they don't remotely reflect my view of the ends and means in the first place! (Or, to separate ends and means, you could even happily agree with a character's verbal argument about tradition or whatever, but when they do something evil you could disagree with that bit.)

4. Perhaps above all, the notion of Star Trek as this post-economics, post-scarcity utopia has always seemed the weakest part of the franchise. Almost every time it is touched upon - which is rare - it comes up against problems like:

"Why is everyone cheering that round of drinks Picard bought everyone if it's free anyway?"
"What do humans do when meeting a society that doesn't practice post-currency economics and actually wants to be paid?" [Jake Sisko's answer was to whine at Rom for his latinum so he could bid in an auction.]
"Who exactly is allocating tables in Ben Sisko's dad's restaurant for free? Who is working in 'turbolift control' on a starship?"

This is before you even consider deeper, but rather obvious, questions like "If 4 million people all want an apartment next to the Royal Opera House, who gets to live there?".

So no, I don't look at Star Trek and think it provides any kind of example of why socialism works.

By the way, nothing I have written above is in any way meant to imply that Star Trek fans should be conservatives, either - it's just a response to the notion it would be in any way surprising that someone could be a card-carrying conservative and a Trekkie.
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Tomalak
Mon, Nov 26, 2018, 2:28am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S2: The Outrageous Okona

"In fact, seeing so many complaining so much about the minor faults and lesser details of what are, essentially, wonderful stories about a better future is what has made me all but stop commenting here on Jammer's."

Weird. I don't comment much but I really like getting very different takes on these episodes, and look forward to reading the review and comments here the minute an episode is done. I can't imagine anything more dull to read than people purely being positive about things they liked, and so worried about appearing to "complain" that they turn off their critical faculties. No thanks.
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Tomalak
Sun, Nov 25, 2018, 7:26am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: In Theory

Every so often you hear about some eccentric woman somewhere in the world falling in love with her chandelier or candlestick or hairdryer and going through a faux marriage ceremony. Not clear how any of this is different - unless you also believe a chandelier programmed to talk back would also be a suitable romantic partner.
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Tomalak
Sun, Jul 1, 2018, 6:35am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S6: Timescape

When we first see the Enterprise bridge, it looks like Romulan attack because Romulans are present, Riker is on the floor and the semi circle behind Picard's seat had a massive disrupter or phaser blast. The first two are explained but was the damage to the bridge ever explained?
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Tomalak
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 1:15am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

Fault look above should read "default look".
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Tomalak
Mon, Jan 1, 2018, 1:14am (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S2: The Jem'Hadar

A number of people above ask why neither Eris nor the Jem Hadar appear to recognise Odo as a founder.

But they show no special ability to realise someone is a changeling in any other episodes. Even Odo can't seem to tell who other founders are just to look at them and talk to them.

The humanoid appearance the female changeling and others take on does look like him, but the Search Part II says that is then matching up to him. Other episodes establish that his look is the best job he can do of looking like a humanoid, not some kind of fault look for his species. So why didn't they acknowledge him as a founder in any way? Because no founder they had ever encountered looked like that.
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Tomalak
Thu, Dec 28, 2017, 9:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: Who Mourns for Morn?

It would have been a great in joke if Morn had spoken a lot in the Mirror Universe episodes. Maybe in our universe he "never shuts up" but the viewer never heard from him while in the Mirror Universe he's known to be quiet but he gets loads of on screen lines.
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Tomalak
Thu, Dec 28, 2017, 2:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S6: In the Pale Moonlight

If I was Dax I'd be very suspicious. You, Sisko and others discuss how much a pain the Romulans are. Then in his office you go through a whole role play with him on how to bring them into the war, a role play in which it becomes crystal clear that something needs to happen before the Romulans will change their stance. A few days go by, and by an apparent remarkable coincidence an assassination that seems likely to bring the Romulans into the war happens, and instead of reacting like everyone else Sisko mysteriously storms off wordlessly on hearing the news. Hmm...

On a separate note, even if the Senator had been taken in by the recording, how could the plan ever have involved Tolar staying alive? Garak obviously planned to kill him all along but what did Sisko plan to do?
"He believed it, Tolar. You're free to go... Obviously don't tell anyone. The entire future of the war depends on you keeping quiet. Even if we win, the Romulans will go apeshit and attack us if they ever find out. You're not the kind of person to do anything unscrupulous and blurt it out are you? The sort who is reckless after a few drinks?"
"Course I'm not! See you!"
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Tomalak
Tue, Dec 12, 2017, 6:37am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Mad Idolatry

I don't understand how anyone can consider this episode (or TNG's Who Watches the Watchers?) a remotely convincing critique of religion.

I find it very plausible that primitive people could worship people with far more advanced technology (e.g. look up the cargo cult). But unless one is arguing that Jesus or Mohammed or Moses was using technology from the far future, I can't see the relevance to the actual religious beliefs that people on Earth have.

I enjoyed this episode and WWTW but I think anyone who comes away from them thinking they've seen a critique of religion is seeing what they want to see and hasn't thought it through.
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Tomalak
Fri, Dec 1, 2017, 9:54pm (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: New Dimensions

"I want you and I to be okay."

I cringed at this line. How can you be a TV writer and not know when to use I and when to use me?
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Tomalak
Sun, Nov 19, 2017, 1:57pm (UTC -6)
Re: ENT S3: Chosen Realm

Captain: "Oh, and the root cause of [the Iran-Iraq War]? Well! It was a verrrry important dispute, you see. Yes indeed. Apparently, when Mohammed died in the 7th century, there was an argument about whether his successor should be his son-in-law, or his buddy."

Bit of a stretch to call this the root cause of a war between two majority Shia countries in the 20th Century. Note that it was a secular Iraqi government that started the conflict by invading Iran, not the other way around.
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Tomalak
Sat, Nov 11, 2017, 6:30am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Cupid's Dagger

One of the curious things about the show is that the characters act and talk in a very unintelligent way - like valley girls and meatheads - even in working hours. This helps build the story: e.g. you put an idiot on that Facebook Like planet, or in charge of a diplomatic mission, and it's plausible when everything quickly falls apart.

But it's implausible that these people would ever be employed in these kind of roles in the first place. You have to suspend disbelief a lot to believe people like Darulio would be a leading archaeologist, that most people on the bridge would ever be trusted in that kind of job and so on.
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Tomalak
Fri, Nov 3, 2017, 10:58am (UTC -6)
Re: ORV S1: Into the Fold

This was the first Orville episode I've really disliked. I'm very surprised by the positive comments above.

"We've got the reliable old chestnut of 'shuttle crashes on an alien planet' and the crew being forced to survive. Under normal circumstances this would be a recipe for an entirely dull, by-the-numbers filler plot."

Isn't this exactly what we did get?
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Tomalak
Sat, Oct 28, 2017, 9:28am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S1: Lethe

Jammer, I just wanted to thank you for your many reviews. They have actually got me rewatching many an old TNG or VOY episode again - enjoyable in itself, and the reviews and your great comments section often just as enjoyable. You clearly put a lot of work in to these and it is appreciated.
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Tomalak
Mon, Oct 23, 2017, 8:34pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S4: Final Mission

"Stewart is competent while not being overly pompous, treating Dirgo as an equal despite Dirgo's erratic behavior."

We see a fantastic example of this early on. Picard makes the decision to head to the mountains and Dirgo rejects the idea that Picard is in charge. Wesley flips and yells.

Wesley: If you want to get out of this, I suggest you listen to Captain Picard! He's the one who's going to keep us alive!
Picard: Thank you, Ensign, that's enough... Captain Dirgo, you're an able pilot. I welcome your input. If you feel that there is an alternative we are overlooking...
Dirgo: ... No.

Picard is diplomatic and respectful and gets Dirgo to agree to his plan - and at the same time subtly takes command by reducing Dirgo to giving his "input".

This moment is a good example of what is annoying about Wesley, but also realistic. Aside from his very high technical ability, he is immature and incompetent. He put his foot in it in an immature way and escalated tension, while Picard was masterful in defusing that tension.
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