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Trish
Thu, Jul 29, 2021, 8:22pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Vengeance Factor

I have not seen this episode terribly recently, but my recollection is that I took Riker's initial flirtation as being on the "okay, but not to my taste in men" side of the line. For me, the line between that and "creepy" is whether the woman is free to walk away, and I think the dynamic the writers were going for was that Riker himself was creeped out when he realized how little freedom Yuta seemed to have, even if only in her mind. In his mind about what was in her mind, perhaps. As if the line had moved beneath his feet and he found himself unexpectedly on the wrong side, where he would not have knowingly chosen to be.

I also felt as if Marouk was sincerely trying to do something nice for her servant by giving her the night off and suggesting she might like to spend it with Riker, who had clearly taken a shine to her. For Yuta, it was as much a command as permission. Not that she didn't enjoy the idea, but her entire life, to a much greater extent than anyone else could realize, had not been about her own desires in a very long time, if ever.
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Trish
Tue, Jul 27, 2021, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Booby Trap

@Booming

It's funny, just the other day I was in a conversation in which the Manchurian Incident came up, and scholars' debate over whether it should be considered the start of WWII.
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Trish
Sun, Jul 25, 2021, 10:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Dark Page

@O'Brien

Her older daughter fell in the water while chasing the dog, and she drowned. That's why seeing a girl splashing in a shallow pool in the arboretum triggered the memory in a traumatic enough way to send her into a coma. (Not that that's what happens to humans when they have traumatic memories, but heck, Betazoid brains can work however the wirters decide they work.)

Such accidents happen in real life. It only takes a moment of distraction. CPS doesn't automatically take away the surviving children every time a sibling dies in an accident. I doubt that any parent can claim never to have been distracted for a moment. Most have just been lucky enough not to have anything terrible happen in that moment.
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Trish
Sat, Jul 24, 2021, 4:33pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

@Tidd

I'm not Jewish, but I found myself taken aback by your referring to it as "a single minor religion."

Without Jews, there would be no Christians (of any kind, including ones who don't recognize each other as "real" Christians), nor Muslims. Christianity and Islam together make up the majority of Earth's current population. Even if there were no longer any Jews at all, it could not be said that religions that revere Moses as a major figure have a negligible effect on the world.

I think the Prime Directive is predicated on the "butterfly effect," the idea that a planetwide system is so complex that seemingly tiny variables, like the beating of a butterfly's wings, could have outsized effects as one thing affects another, snowballing eventually through the entire system. Worship of "The Picard" could well transform the cultures on all of Mintaka 4, even if "Picardism" remained a smallish regional faith, if there were more populous offshoots like Enterprisists and Transporterites.
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Trish
Fri, Jul 23, 2021, 3:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S2: Whispers

@Craig

Yeah, I sometimes think the writers had a twisted idea of what "clones" would be, and a visceral horror at the idea that they aimed not just at those who created them but at the clones themselves.

Every identical twin is essentially a "spontaneous clone." Like twins, intentionally created clones would just be people, who happened to have the same DNA as at least one other person. They wouldn't be some threateningly featureless mannequin like the blobs Riker disintegrated in Up the Long Ladder, or a futuristic Manchurian Candidate programmed for evil deeds. I still think there would be serious ethical issues about human cloning, but the Trek writers' horror at them always struck me as weird, and ignorant.

Even in Second Chances, where Riker's quasi-clone was made in a transporter accident, the reaction the writers showed Riker having seemed over the top to me, and they wasted the opportunity for interesting plot lines by shipping Tom Riker off on a deep space mission and then, in his one appearance in DS9, to a Cardassian prison. So much character potential, and all they saw was something to get rid of.
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Trish
Thu, Jul 22, 2021, 10:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S6: Starship Mine

@Ari Paul

The episode does tell you. He dies immediately in the attack.

The "regulars" don't act like they're all that broken up about it, do they?
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Trish
Wed, Jul 21, 2021, 8:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S7: Interface

@Glom

Well, at least those two parents weren't living together or anything unnatural like that!
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Trish
Sun, Jul 18, 2021, 1:35am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@Booming

I guess "agree to disagree" went out the window for you when I dared to ask if you had ever even met one.

Although you didn't answer that very simple question, I think it's fair to assume from the fact that you ignored it that the answer is "NO."

I never said I had "no problem" with anything the Amish believe. In fact, I said I didn't share all their beliefs. I said I tolerate their existence, and that I don't assume they are stupid just because the content of their education reflects the skills important for survival in their lifestyle rather than skills important for survival in mine, or yours. You are apparently unable to agree with those two positions, so I'll assume you actively disagree with them.

I brought up both of these positions because they are directly related to the message of the episode under discussion. I see the Federation as not being willing to tolerate the continued existence of the Bringloidi as an intentionally low-tech community, and the writers as portraying them as stupid. That's the entire reason I brought up the Amish: Because the writers had portrayed the Bringloidi as some kind of Irish space-Amish and seemed to presume that the goal would be to make them stop being that.

You may find that message underlying the episode as fine and dandy, and that's your business, but I don't get how you decided that the topic of conversation should now be your list of reasons why the Amish should not exist, if these reasons have nothing to do with why the writers seem to want the Federation to think the Bringloidi should not exist.

I know I should not be surprised at your off-off-topic focus in making this a referendum on LGTBQ rights, an issue that has nothing to do with the Up the Long Ladder episode (except in that the insistence that everyone participate in polyandry seemed to make no exceptions based on sexual orientation or gender identity). It just comes off as starting an argument for argument's own sake. That's not a hobby I happen to be interested in taking up with you.

Low tech and anti-LGBTQ attitudes do not automatically go together. None of your links contain any proof that there is an inevitable causal connection that would apply to the fictional Bringloidi. The writers have not told us one way or the other about the Bringloidi. It's just not what the episode is about.
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Trish
Sat, Jul 17, 2021, 5:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@Booming

I guess "agree to disagree" may be the only option.

But I do find myself with a question: Have you ever known anyone who grew up in an Amish family? Heck, I'll count if you have even met anyone who is or ever was Amish. I think chances are pretty good that the answer is "No." I might lose that gamble, but in general, I find that stereotypes don't hold up well to interpersonal contact. I'm sure you've read about them, but maybe nothing very accurate, given that you've apparently confused them with other religious groups that have an "irrational refusal of … modern medicine." (And you pulled out that canard after I flat out told you that many Amish go to the same primary care doctor I do. I've run into Amish people at my oncologist's office, too. It may seem inconsistent to us, but the same people who won't use a tractor with pneumatic tires will get chemotherapy for their cancer.)

As I said, I would not choose their way of life, nor their specific faith system, for myself. But I still respect that they are doing what makes sense to them, and I tolerate their existence, as they tolerate mine, and I don't accept the idea that embracing a less technology-intensive way of life makes people stupid. If I don't accept that idea regarding the real people I meet in my local community, I can't very well accept it as a foundational premise in a TNG episode.
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Trish
Sat, Jul 17, 2021, 12:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@Booming

I think you are conflating issues of education with the issue of intelligence, and also conflating low technology with poverty.

Regarding education, Amish children receive an education designed to prepare them for the way of life their parents aspire to for them, a life making a contribution within their own community; in this sense, they are no different from children of any community, including children in schools with a curriculum designed to get more of the next generation going into STEM fields. It's true that Amish kids are not taught to use trigonometry and calculus to design skyscrapers. But when a tornado cut a swath of destruction through the county where I live, the Amish from miles around had come and rebuilt all the houses and barns of the Amish families, while the non-Amish were still waiting for their insurance checks so they could hire specialized contractors to rebuild theirs. How many college-educated people do you know who have the skills needed to build an entire house? For that matter, how many do you know who know how to fasten a horse harness, or how to decide which week to plant corn? The Amish education system, both in and out of the classroom (and a lot of it is outside the classroom), is designed to give children the skills they will need if they are going to live as adults in that community. A graduate of the non-Amish education system who decided to live within it would need years of "remedial work" to catch up.

A lot of Amish children do not end up staying within that community, and they go get the education that will prepare them for the modern way of life they are choosing. Despite what you may have read, those who make this choice prior to formally entering the Amish community by baptism are not "shunned." I'm sure they are aware of some disappointment by their parents, but they remain in contact. My own doctor grew up in an Amish family. He managed not only to attend high school and college, but medical school. Many Amish families go to him, and they value having someone with a foot in each world. I think they have probably come to see it as God's will that he did not end up Amish. (I'm sure it helps that he is a practicing Mennonite.)

Regarding the issue of low-tech vs. poverty, remember the scene in First Contact when Lily is wondering how much it cost to build the Enterprise, and Picard says, "The economics of the 24th-century are different"? Well, the economics of Amish life are different. Their lack of a TV set is not because they can't afford it. They have the resources to buy one if they wanted one. It's because they don't want it. But horses are a luxury for non-Amish families today, and few feel they could afford to own, stable and feed one. For Amish families, they are seen as a necessity, and it's not uncommon for them to have several. Health club memberships? People who choose to do manual labor for a living have no use for that. But you will not see their elderly members having to "spend down their assets" to qualify for Medicaid so they can go into a nursing home. Their community has a different way of making sure they are cared for.

It seems to work for them. It is not a way of life I would choose, and I do not believe in the theological reasons that have led them to choose it; if I did, I would BE Amish. But I respect them enough not to say that their choice of low-technology lifestyle makes them any less intelligent, or necessarily any worse off, than people who have made choices more like mine.
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Trish
Sat, Jul 17, 2021, 11:53am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@Tidd

You can tell they are not Irish-Catholics by what was NOT said. Nothing about any kind of religious practice. Then of course there's the ready embrace of polyandry, without a peep about any religious concerns about it.

In the TNG version of the Trek universe, 24th-century humans seem to have abandoned (in the writers' minds "outgrown") all religion. I think the closest the series comes to indicating that any current religious observances survive is in Data's Day when one of the events he mentions as part of a normal busy day on the Enterprise is the Hindu Festival of Lights. It's just a mention, and there's not enough information to know whether it remains a religious observance or purely a cultural one, and whether the term "Hindu" still refers to people of a specific religion. Of the ongoing existence of Christians, TNG gives no sign.

Regarding the socioeconomic background of the Bringloidi, remember, these people are not really "peasants" with unbroken centuries of history working the land under the authority of wealthy and powerful landowners. They are colonists living a rural life by choice (or at least by their ancestors' choice). The original colonists' socioeconomic background on Earth could have been anything, before they embraced a modern philosophy promoting a "simple life."
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Trish
Fri, Jul 16, 2021, 6:39pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@Peter G.

Yes, the other reaction I have had to this episode ever since its first run has been that as an Irish-American myself, I find it offensive. The Bringloidi aren't even an alien species that we are just ham-fistedly modeled on the Irish. As the episode is written, they are literally human beings from Ireland on Earth.

Of course, the writers didn't make them Irish-Catholics. They made them very much NOT Irish-Catholics, while keeping the anti-Catholic stereotypes.

The writers could instead have had the Bringloidi be a bunch of Swiss-German humans who chose a low technology life for religious reasons, and they could have been actual outer-space-Amish.

I live in Amish country. Their horse-and-buggy lifestyle doesn't make them stupid, but I think you've nailed it: The writers of this episode think it does.

In general, I love TNG, but this is one of those episodes that just leaves me rolling my eyes and shaking my head.
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Trish
Fri, Jul 16, 2021, 5:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S2: Up the Long Ladder

@Tidd

I think you misunderstood the inability of the clones to procreate. They were not literally sterile, but as long as they remained in their closed society made up of clones of the few survivors of their original group, they lacked the genetic diversity to procreate safely for more than a generation. They realized at once that they would have become too inbred, so they then created a society that made them culturally asexual in order to prevent such procreation, but they were still biologically capable of it.

It is their chosen substitute method of procreation, cloning, that Pulaski has confirmed they cannot continue. The accumulated imperfections in the cloning process have reached a point that makes this an untenable option for them.

However, you are right that there IS a glaring plot hole in the supposed "solution": As the prime minister said, "There are (genetically) only five of us." There may be a whole bunch of people from the same clone line as the prime minister, but if too many of them breed, then this will create the same issue they were trying to avoid, a lack of genetic diversity in their descendants. If only one from each clone line breeds, then in reproductive terms, only five individuals have been added to the Bringloidi population, few enough to be genetically fairly negligible.

Picard's proposal will end up as not so much the merger of two societies as the passing of the technology of one that is going to die out to one that is going to survive physically, with both cultures being extinguished and being replaced by the technologized Bringloidi.

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. They just had a natural disaster that interfered. If they move somewhere else, hey, why can't they keep being what they are, sort of the outer-space-Amish-with-Irish-accents? True, that wouldn't solve the problem the cloned Mariposans face, but why is it the Bringloidi's job to solve it, especially because adding the genes of five Mariposans to their society doesn't really solve it, anyway?
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Trish
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 9:12am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

@Nesendrea

Yes, I think it is intended as tragedy.

While it offers the view some sense of a meaningful ending, it is by no means a happy ending. Yes, there will be peace instead of war, and that is what everyone involved was trying to achieve, but at great personal cost to Kamala and to Picard.

There was no happy ending available for them, for to have a life together, they would each have had to repudiate the essence of who they were. Picard's "tragic flaw" (not necessarily a flaw in the moral sense, but in the literary sense of what makes a story a tragedy) is his sense of duty. Kamala's tragic flaw is the essence of her being, as Picard says, "this thing you do with men" (becoming what they want). In the end, they can neither of them deny what they are.

There is dignity in accepting who you are, but sometimes there is tragedy, too. Real life is too often like that.
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Trish
Tue, Jul 13, 2021, 4:40am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S5: The Perfect Mate

@Nesendrea

Leaving aside a debate about utilitarianism, I think you are missing a detail from the episode:

By the end of the episode Kamala IS planning to "pretend" to be what will please her mate, and the reason it will be a pretense is because she has only a narrow window of time in which she is affected by the desires of the men around her, the time period in which she was supposed to "bond" with one man for life. Because she was brought out of stasis prematurely, she did not have that critical bonding period with her husband-to-be, but with Picard. The person she becomes by being with him is who she will be forever. But she will be able to tell what her husband wants her to be, because she is telepathic. (She says both of those things explicitly.)

It does not matter if you personally believe in a morality rooted in a sense of duty. Picard does, and that's why Kamala does, after imprinting on him. I'm sure it makes it easier that she has spent her life preparing to do her duty for her people, but earlier in the episode, she was just as willing to have a "good time" with a bunch of rowdy miners or to exchange snarls with a Klingon. The creature of duty who will read her husband's mind in order to act the way he wants her to is a creature not just of a lifetime of training, but a creature of that critical bonding period with a man of duty.
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Trish
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Peter G.

"If only …"

… the execs had accepted the first pilot, female characters could have had a lot more lines that would have been a lot more compelling than "Yes, Doctor" and "Hailing frequencies open."
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Trish
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 12:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: Turnabout Intruder

@Peter G.

That's an interesting take on it, that it may have been network execs who had the rule against female captains. (Trek fans know the execs didn't react well to Majel Barrett's character as the first officer in the first pilot episode, and that reaction may have included a blanket rejection of female command staff.)

I think that it's certainly true that a committed feminist (a group in which I count myself) is often caught in a no-win scenario: Written or unwritten rules bar you from a role, and then the very fact that you push back against this restriction is used to brand you as "power-hungry" and "not wanting it for the right reason" (even though you only pushed back because wanting it for the right reason didn't get you anywhere). It's only natural for a personality to end up warped (sometimes a little, sometimes a lot) by a lifetime of being held back from what you feel to be your full potential and from an opportunity to make the best contribution you feel you could make to your community. It makes it easy for those who are quite comfortable with the rule (male or female) to say, "You obviously wouldn't have been good at it anyway," even "Maybe the rule is right, because maybe no woman would ever be good at it." Those who benefit the most from the rule will drop out the "maybes."

I had a younger co-worker once who said she saw me as a feminist, and herself as an "independent woman." I could tell she thought that her road was better, less strident. I told her that the reason she had the option of being an independent woman without personally focusing on being a feminist was because feminists of my age and older had fought VERY hard to open up that option for her.

In-universe, perhaps Starfleet's Janice Lesters were the ones who made its Captain Janeways and Admiral Brands possible, even if they seemed at the time to be "hurting their own cause."
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Trish
Sat, Jul 10, 2021, 11:52pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

Upon re-watch, I was struck by Picard's awe and puzzlement over Anij's talk about a moment that is an entire universe, that lasts forever, however you want to think of it.

Picard should have been able to say without hesitation, "Yes, I know what that's like, and it's not all it's cracked up to be."

After all, he has experienced the Nexus.
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Trish
Sat, Jul 10, 2021, 10:13am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S3: The Hunted

@Gera

Just to make sure I am understanding you correctly:

When you watch this episode, you think the "killing and violent machines," that is, the former soldiers, are owed nothing by the government that TURNED THEM INTO those killing and violent machines?
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Trish
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 9:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: Insurrection

@Jeffery's Tube

You make a good point; if Insurrection had been the last movie, we would all have been spared Nemesis. Perhaps picturing the characters just continuing their trek through the stars indefinitely, as if the series went on, would have been better than what we got. The very "feels like just another TV episode" quality of Insurrection would have contributed nicely to that.

Maybe I'll watch it tonight with that in mind!
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Trish
Thu, Jul 8, 2021, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Mark of Gideon

@Peter G.

I think we are closer to being on the same page now.

I agree that for decades, in some circles "overpopulation" has been automatically included on every list of human-caused evils in the world, and I have long been suspicious of the premise that a growing population is always a recipe for catastrophe. Some of the problems routinely blamed (again, in some circles) on overpopulation can actually be framed as different issues entirely, and simply cutting population would not solve them. For example, poverty and hunger are problems of distribution, not of global supply of resources.

If you watch any documentary about overpopulation, at some point you will see a simple technique of cinematography used to evoke a visceral feeling of urgency in the target audience, and it reveals a disturbing subtext: The filmmaker goes to a location where most residents are not caucasian and draws a crowd of curious children, then films them crowding on each other to get in the camera shot.

This gives the impression, like Kirk's fleeting glimpses of Gideon, that the country being filmed is so crammed with people that they can't help but bump shoulders, and the fact that the crowd is so young gives the impression that this supposed problem is caused by excessive births. The fact that their skin is brown is not an accident, either. It heightens the target viewer's sense of the crowd's "otherness." The message is "Those people over there are about to overrun the world by breeding us into oblivion." But what is really going on is that all the children in the neighborhood have gathered in one place to laugh in front of a camera.

What does it say about the filmmaker that they think their viewer will find this image threatening enough to be moved to do something about it? What does it say about viewers who do have the intended reaction?

This is the moment when some people might say to me, "Oh, quit playing the race card." But as a white person, I feel obliged to point out that I have yet to see a documentary on overpopulation in which the obligatory "crowd of children" shot had been taken at an American playground in a white suburban neighborhood. I may be playing the card, but I didn't put it in the deck. It's really there, as the subtext of many discussions of "the population bomb."
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Trish
Wed, Jul 7, 2021, 8:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S2: Return to Tomorrow

On this viewing, for some reason I found myself thinking how forgiving everyone, crew and Sargon alike, seems to be of Thalassa. She had shown a very dark side of herself that I don't think can be blamed simply on Henoch's evil influence unless you're her mom and you subscribe to the "just fell in with the wrong crowd" theory of moral development. She planned to kill Mulhall for her body and was willing to torture McCoy to get his cooperation.

Is this the kind of person Mulhall trusts to borrow her body one more time so she can enjoy a final kiss, or the kind of person the supposedly high-minded Sargon wants to kiss?
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Trish
Wed, Jul 7, 2021, 6:32pm (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Mark of Gideon

@Peter G.

I think the reason you were surprised my comment was that you were reading into it some kind of approval that was not there. I never said that what the Gideons were doing was right, or even that the writers seemed to intend us to think it was right. I was describing what I think their situation and their plan is supposed to look like from their cultural perspective.

If anything, I think the writers were trying to tell Catholics "Quit being against contraception, you dummies, because the 'only' other choice is rejecting life-prolonging advances and going backwards to a time of deadly disease. Pro-life ends up pro-death." And no, my articulation of that possible message does not mean I am approving of it, either. I think maybe the reason I can see that this message is what's being set up for the viewer is because I do subscribe to the philosophy and theology it's aimed at.

There are actually far more choices than the writers, Kirk, or the planet Gideon are acknowledging, but storytelling often works by simplifying complex issues into starkly binary choices, in this case, life or death, with the unacceptable third option being intolerable misery.

As a storytelling method and thought-provoking discussion starter, there's nothing wrong with that. You just have to keep reminding yourself not to take it too literally when you start talking about options for the real world, or you end up equating a hunting season on humans with disease (not technologically created, but technologically harvested from someone, Kirk, who presumably got it naturally, and then refusing to use technology to combat it). They're not the same thing at all, just as ceasing "extraordinary means" of medically prolonging life is not the same thing as murder.
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Trish
Wed, Jul 7, 2021, 5:06am (UTC -5)
Re: TNG S4: Future Imperfect

@Ben D.

I always heard the line as more of a three-word contraction: "Who's'is mother?"
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Trish
Wed, Jul 7, 2021, 12:22am (UTC -5)
Re: TOS S3: The Mark of Gideon

@Peter G.

I do not see your option (c) as what is happening in the episode. Gideon's plan was to restore a more natural balance of life and death by bringing back disease, one their science had not already conquered and to which they were not already immune. Earlier deaths for many, yes, but not by means of "mass murder." If anything, closer to "mass suicide," because young people were volunteering to be given the disease, for the good of those who would remain. But I would still see it more as an effort to bring their society into a type of balance, more like whatever it had had before they made their world a "paradise" where everyone lived long enough to die of old age. Indeed, the writers may have been trying to lay out to the viewer something like, "Take your pick, contraception or disease. Don't you think contraception is better? Wouldn't it take a crazy society to pick disease?"

Crazy or not, population control by disease still seems to be their plan by the end of the episode. They just don't need Kirk anymore, because Odona has survived and, like him, still carries the virus and can be a source of infection for future volunteers.

The Gideon culture apparently finds more dignity in increasing the death rate than in reducing the birth rate, but either one, or both, can work to prevent overpopulation.

And by the way, my point in bringing up the 17th century was not so much that the 17th century was utterly terrible, but that it had problems of its own, and certainly was not the kind of utopia EventualZen seemed to me to be suggesting a population of half a billion would create, and that some of the people in that growing population in the past created the 21st century technology that I thought EventualZen probably wanted to keep.
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