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Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 11:28pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

I explained that already. I am hung up on the fact that this episode never made clear that Sisko got his visions from the prophets. If it had, I'd have no problems with it. But it isn't. You say it's obvious, I find it highly doubtful, given what the episode has shown and how previous episodes handled the prophets. I am hung up on the fact that this episode played out like some religious fantasy, and I stated my reasons for why I think so.

Well, thats the point, there is no faith required to believe in the prophets, they are testable. Where the faith part comes in is when, for example, the other emissary whos name I forgot told the Bajorans that they should return to their caste system and people started killing one another. He made that up, based on what he thought the prophets wanted from him. Kai Vinn does it all the time. The existence of the prophets requires no faith whatsoever, and neither do clear instructions from them.

Well, thats sad. I thought talking and thinking about things and trying to find meaning is what philosophy is all about. And since when is talking with one another not learning? And don't you start your arguments with axioms, and go off from there? But I guess you really don't want to talk about it, fine, but I honestly don't understand why not.
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Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 9:36pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture


Sorry, hadn't seen your reply while I was typing.

And I am glad to say that I completely agree with you.

My point was that I did not see Siskos visions as interaction with the prophets, but something completely unexplained, that I thus termed "divine vision" for lack of a better word. I don't know why all the other commentors see it as self-evident that his visions came from the prophets, because the episode never made that clear, and given that Star Trek knows many seemingly omnipotent beings beside the prophets, and usually explains where things come from, this struck me as completely off. Thus I assumed that they were indeed ment as some kind of truly religous unexplainable visions. I think I tried to explain that in previous posts, but it seems I did a terrible job.
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Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 9:29pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

To add to my previous point: Whenever Sisko interacted with the WAs before, he remained himself. He argued with them, interacted, but did not change his character on a whim. That's why this whole episode does not make sense. It never explains itself. They could have used the usual way of showing Sisko interacting with an Orb, or the WAs, but they didn't, so I have to assume that they had something different in mind, and as Peter pointed out, in later episodes there is even cast doubt about the origin of the visions. So, why did they chose to present this episode in this way? I think it's because Roddenberry was dead and the show wanted to attract another kind of (American) audience. But that is just wild speculation.

Yes, those events are unprecedented, but the problem is, they are not explained. Whenever the WAs do anything, we have to be told that they are doing it, because it is impossible to tell otherwise.

The Wormhole aliens are the most abstract things imaginable.They aren't even aware of time, supposedly. That makes everything far more complicated, for it is impossible for us to explain anything about that. Experiencing all of time at once is like experiencing no time at all, and there is no causality anymore. If the future is the past, a future effect may cause a past action, or the other way around, in short, nothing makes sense anymore. So they should not even be able to communicate with Sisko, because that requires them to understand his actions, but if they see everything at once, nothing makes sense to them. Sisko speaking to them only makes sense if they understand the words (universal translator solves that one apparently) and understand the order the words are spoken in. But if everything happens simultanioulsy, nothing happens at all, because everything ends the moment it begins. The whole concept of "happening" is meaningless in that case.

So, apparently thats not whats happening, because we see the WAs interacting with Sisko and the Dominion fleet for example, so something different but still completely strange is going on. But that still has to be explained by the writers, because it is impossible to decide if the WAs can or can not do something.

@Peter G.:
I am still waiting for your definition of reason, if we differ on it. My definition is what Wikipedia says, whats yours? You seem to be fine with my definition of faith, "Belief in something for which there is no evidence or proof", so lets go on from there.

You say the "vs" of reason and faith is made up, I say it is there by definition, and I explained why, I think. Of course religious people don't want to think of it that way, but logic dictates otherwise. The only truly meaningful information is based on fact, not fiction, and facts have to be backed by evidence. Faith by definition excludes any evidence, ergo, it is meaningless. And tautologies aren't necessarily circular arguments, either. "You are either dead or alive" is a tautology, but no circular argument. Of course, there are a few assumptions that everybody has to accept, even though they can not be proven, like "We do exist". We can't proof that either. But aside from those basic assumptions, no faith is required.

So please, elaborate a bit more on your point, and explain to me where my logic broke down, because I don't think it has.
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Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 5:22pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

*last sentence: "... tropes assosciated with religion and faith that *I* interpretad it that way ..."
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Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 5:20pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

Addendum: I still don't really get your comparison with Bajoran believers. I said "divine visions", and meant "unexplained visions who look like they are supposed to come from some form of god". Sisko seems to be having a religous Eureka-moment, and he is supposedly understanding everything while gleefully accepting his own death in service to something supernatural. I shortened that to "divine visions" because that is how divine visions are portrayed. Does not however mean that I am in any way, shape or form believing in such things, it is just that this episode used so many tropes assosciated with religion and faith that interpreted it that way, and not the "Super Advanced Aliens seem like magic" kind of way, because those things usually show the Aliens or explain it in such a way at the end.
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Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 5:00pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

Aaaah, now we are getting somewhere.

Yes of course it is my interpretation of this episode that they are "divine visions", because, as you said, there is no explanation for them. For you it is obvious that they come from the Prophets, for me, not so much, because on all previous occasions the prophets only communicated by means of Orbs or inside the wormhole (well, there was one occasion where there was some kind of "echo" from previous contact with an orb, but even then, his visions were clearly be shown to come from the prophets). So I immediatly got suspicious, and when nobody tried to stop Sisko and he acted like the way he did, and nothing was explained at the end, I took away from the episode that Sisko acted without evidence and the shred of a doubt, and the whole imagery and acting screemed "Religious Extremist" to me. And apparently thats fine, because Sisko is still supposed to be the protagonist, isn't he? You say we are given no reason do doubt that the visions come from the prophets, I say we are given no reason to even think that they come from the prophets. That's why I call them "divine", because they are unexplained, and for me it seems obvious that they were supposed to be unexplained, and the episode was supposed to show that there is such a thing as the supernatural.

But at least we can agree on which points we disagree now regarding the interpretation of what's shown in this episode. I think that this episode was lazily written and they way things were shown were not to my liking.

Please, just elaborate. I really want to know what you think.
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Wed, Jul 20, 2016, 3:50pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

@Chrome: What, now I am disrespectful of the commentors? I thought I was disrespectful of religion. I wasn't the one calling people emotionally unstable. I argued that certain things are unacceptable from my point of view, if that is offensive to you, I am sorry, but I am not attacking anybody as a person. And I am not ignoring the episode, I've seen it a few days ago, thats why I wrote my comment. I know whats shown and what is not, and I know why I don't like this episode, and I think I explained that. You say that you can interpret it in a secular way, but I find that difficult to do when the religious interpretation is so much closer to what is actually shown in the episode.

@Peter G: No, as I said, I take umbridge with the fact that in this episode it is NOT shown that the Wormhole Aliens gave Sisko the Visions. If they were shown doing it, that would have been fine, as I wrote. To qoute myself:

"@Peter: No, that was perfectly fine. Picard did not have unexplained "divine" visions, Q did it."

As I said, I don't care if it is explained in a later episode, then that later episode gets the credit, but this one is still shit.

And honestly, I don't understand where you get from that I think the Wormhole Aliens (WA) are divine. I said this episode makes it look like Sisko gets a divine vision. Not "Sisko gets visions caused by the WAs". If I'd meant that, I'd said that. So, I really don't understand what you mean.

I try to be more clear this time:
This whole episode makes no attempt to explain Siskos visions, as no cause is shown for them. It could have been anything, Pah Wraiths, Mental Issues, Saboteurs, Kai Vinn, whatever. But there is NO EXPLANATION. Kira just says "You have a divine vision", and THATS IT. Now she may be right, maybe it were indeed the WAs giving Sisko the Visions (I think maybe from this part you get that I think the WAs are divine? That's not the case. Kira thinks the WAs are divine, therefore I can make the connection that she means the WAs when she says divine). But that is not shown in this episode. Therefore, Siskos whole act comes off as the ravings of a madman drunk with "Holy Visions", a complete 180° turn of his character, and UNEXPLAINED.

And about my "pithy tautology": If it's a tautology in the philosophical sense, it's true, isn't it? So please, tell me why it is not acceptible for philosophy? Why isn't it logical? I think we agree on the definition of faith and reason, don't we? So why isn't it logical that things mean what we agreed upon that they mean? As I said before, I am not attacking any specific religion, I am attacking the concept of faith. So I don't care what religions teach about faith and reason, because I think that faith and reason are mutually exclusive. If you can prove that to be untrue, please try, but for that you have to change the meaning of the words "faith" and "reason" I think.

Of course you can argue that one can apply reason within a fiction, like "Sauron did this and that, therefore this and that (in that world)". That still does not make it true, however, and does not permit you to say something like "Sauron said "Enslave all free people", therefore we have to go to Japan and enslave them all because they are free". That would be completely insane, because you take the fiction into the real world. In the same way as Sisko is portrayed taking his fiction into the reality of DS9, and acting upon it. And in this sense you can not apply reason to faith, because faith belongs to the realm of fiction, and you can not act upon a fiction (or at least you should not).

And just a final remark, why can the obvious and simple explanation not be true? Again, I am not critisizing specific religions, I am critisizing the portrayal of faith-based-action in this episode. I am not trying to solve complicated processes within religions, I am saying "faith and reason are mutually exclusive", nothing more, nothing less.
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Tue, Jul 19, 2016, 8:08pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

Oh, didn't notice I blamed religion for everything. I thought I had pretty specific examples (Middle East Clusterfuck, Suicide Bombers). If you correlate that with yourself, that's really not my problem (@Nolan). But hey. Besides, that was a comment commenting on the commentors, not the episode (@Chrome).

@Peter: No, that was perfectly fine. Picard did not have unexplained "divine" visions, Q did it. I guess you already know that, hence your ;) smiley, so, I won't elaborate.

@Nolan: Oups, rustled some jimmies, hm? Now I have emotional issues, how cute that you know me so well. And I find your first sentence especially agreeable, with you aknowledging that religion is all to often used as an excuse to start a war. Well, not exactly the strongest point to make for religion, hm?

But if you look closely, I don't even attack religion. I attack faith. I have no problem with the Bajorans and their funny rituals, or the Klingons, for that matter. Now that I think about it I may as well should have, but it is mostly tradition, and traditions are really a different can of worms than religion. I don't find them particulary interesting, but hey, to each his own, right? What I do have a problem with is a show like DS9 wanting me to accept that Sisko magically knows the future. Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the Wormhole Aliens communicated through their orbs, right? So how can a holodeck malfunction turn Sisko into a blind believer? Acting completely against his character? You have to explain those things. Just show me Sisko with a white background and some Wormhole Aliens telling him "Yo, better don't let the Bajorans join the Federation Sissy" and I am fine (if Sisko acts a lot more like himself).

But that is not what happens, and I don't care if it is explained later. Kira just says "you had a pahk tem pha (?), a holy vision. The prophets chose their emissary well" or something like that. Thats it. Thats the whole explanation for everything. And for me, something like this does not belong in an episode of Star Trek. Especially not with Sisko acting like a religious zealot, leaving everything behind for his new found faith, even being willing to die for it. Without even as much as a shred of doubt. Call me close minded if you want, but I am afraid of people who have no doubts.

And now to the "Religion is a complex issue" thing: Well, is it? Is it really? You want something to be true, and persuade yourself that it is, and then its true! Or is it? Religion is not complex, it is simple, thats why it works. If it was complex or hard, most people would be to lazy to accept it, but they aren't. At it's core, religion is like a videogame. You get points for good behaviour and penalties for bad behaviour, but you can always be sure that there is indeed a right way, and that you always get another chance, and no matter what you do, if you make some right descisions, in the end, you get the happy ending. This does not sound complex to me. Granted, priests and "scholars" of all ages have made it seem more complex, shrouded it in mystery, written great poetry and created great art in its honor. But one simple fact remains: It is all made up! It is right there in the description: "Supernatural" means "outside of nature" hence unknowable. And then you get people who tell you THEY know whats UNKNOWABLE. Don't you see the contradiction? And everybody has his own interpretation of the divine truth. Well, if it is indeed divine truth, shouldn't it be obvious? Shouldn't it be eternal? But it isn't. Why? Because we humans made it up!

And about the "Fanwank": Well, I did not talk about all the people contributing to Star Trek, I talked about Roddenberry being a staunch atheist. And I think he would agree with me that he would disagree with this episode.

So no, I am not generalizing, or at least not in the way that you think. But I know why you think it. :) I am arguing that reason and faith are mutually exclusive. Faith by definition defies reason. You can only have faith in things for which there is no evidence. If there is evidence, then no faith is required. Reasoning is apllied to evidence. Without evidence, no reason. QED. This episode provided no evidence whatsoever, yet wants me to just accept it. And with that I take umbridge, for this simple reason: If you start acting without evidence to support that action, at some point, you become really dangerous. For yourself and for others. I will let you work that out for yourself. :)

And one final notice, while I am at it, and I obviously have time to spare: I have no problem with grey areas, or people coming to an understanding, overcoming differences. But thats not what this episode is about. Kira working with Gul Dukat to find the remains of some missing people, thats people coming together, in one way or another. Kira forgiving Odo (or at least that's implied) for killing innocents, and Odo losing his perfect image, thats grey and a real issue. Sisko poisoning a planet to arrest a single Terrorist: Oh boy, thats not grey, thats dark. But this? Please. This episode is showing people moving apart because somebody had a vision. I rest my case.
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Tue, Jul 19, 2016, 6:51pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

The point is that, no matter what Eddington has done, Star Fleet has to act according to it's own rules. The ends don't justify the means. This is not like the threat of the (TNG) Borg, where I could understand that they would cripple them forever. This is a Terrorist with a Nuke (so to speak), so you kill the Terrorist, you don't poison a planet for fifty years. At least there has to be some kind of investigation. Besides that, Sisko acted without orders, on his own. If anyone could make a descision like "Ok, turn that Planet inhospitable for fifty years" it would be the Federation Council. Even then it would be a questionable descision.
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Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 7:00pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

PS: Since I cannot edit my comment here, a double post.

To all the people that are so elated that "Religion is treated with respect!": Well, look to the middle east for a place where religion is "treated with respect". Look at the people that kill hundreds of innocents in the name of God to see what "treating religion with respect" leads to as a final consequence. Respect has to be earned, and it can not be demanded, and when you grow up, they don't call it "Age of Reason" by accident. It is because you have to quit believing in Santa Clause and your imaginary friends and grow up, instead of daydreaming all day and imagening things.

And if you feel that I am offensive, or not sophisticated or understanding enough: This is what my God Sauron told me, so dare you not to speak ill of me, for it is my religion demanding me to say those things, and I find it deeply deeply offensive if anyone disagrees with me on such matters, and I might, just might, bomb the shit out of all you infidels so that you suffer for an eternity in a daily soap, where every day the same jokes are told and the canned laughter of the fake audience may haunt you for eternity.
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Mon, Jul 18, 2016, 6:49pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S5: Rapture

I can't belive how this mockery of secularism and reason could possibly get a perfect rating. This is just lazy writing. The whole time the Prophets were just "Wormhole Aliens", and their artefacts granted insight into the future or oneself. Now, suddenly, they can magically imbue Sisko with the power to see EVERYTHING with absolute certainty. Or did they? That is not explained. Kira suspects that Sisko has a Vision from the Prophets, but that is just that, a suspicion.

For four and a half seasons, Bajor was on the verge of joining the Federation. That would of course have consequences. So, why even bring it into play here if they don't join anyway? To keep the plot alive for another two and a half seasons of course. This episode is completely pointless. Sisko, a man of reason, is suddenly a fanatic. Is it explained in the end? No. And seriously, locusts? A biblic plague, of all things? Not much imagination there either. I was fine with the treatment of religion in this series before, where Sisko sees the Wormhole Aliens for what they are, Aliens, and the Bajorans build their weird cult around it, but it was always clear that the Prophets don't really care about Bajor, because they don't even understand time. So how can they possibly be concerned with worldly matters? It was just an accident that their Orbs would grant visions. A technical error, so to speak.

But this episode turns DS9 into some religious fantasy, the hope that you can gain knowledge through "visions", and that if you believe in shit that shit turns into reality. That is the complete opposite of what TNG and Gene Roddenberry wanted to show. So I can only hope that his spinning in his grave becomes so powerfull that he creates a time line distortion that eliminates this episode from official canon.

And yet it was so simple to save this episode: At the end, just explain what happened. Maybe it really were the prophets who suddenly took an interest in bajor, maybe it just was a crazy scheme to keep Bajor out of the Federation. Something. Like the episode where Odo relives his only mistake, when he sentenced innocents to death.

-2/10, would look down again on the writers in disgust and agony again.
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Thu, May 26, 2016, 6:33pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: DS9 S2: Sanctuary

On the Ferengi:

No, the Ferengi are not a racist clicheé, they are a carricature of rampant capitalism, as Caroline said above. If you think that that also fits the Jews, or clearly only them, maybe YOU are the racist.

Second, Quark was not racist against the Skreeans. He didn't say "No, I won't serve them because they are different", he said "They have no money, I don't like them". How is that racist? I bet you anything, if they were the most obnoxious hateful people in the Universe, if they had money, Quark would love them. I think people need to get their definition of racism right. Bajorans are racists against Cardassians, for example. Quark hates poor people - because it's all about the profit. That is not racist, is it? It may not be very nice though.

Lastly, a point about something raised very early in the comments, the notion that the Palestinians "occupy" Israel, and that it is the rightfull land of the Jews - well, then Danzig still belongs to Germany, Romania to Austria, Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, the Baltic Countries to Russia, America to England, Spain and France, or the Indians for that Matter, Tibet to China, and so on and so forth. There is a point where you have lost your claim on a strip of Land and have to accept that it is no longer yours. If you say it ain't so, I dare you to fight for the return of all lands of the Holy Roman Empire to Germany, because if your premise is true, that is all still theirs, and the Germans are an oppressed people, conquered by evil Imperialists from East and West, who suffered untold tragedy in exterminations and mass expulsions.

I think this episode is meant to deal with the question how we deal with refugees. From my point of view, the Bajorans were right. Trust has to be earned. Would you give a Stranger a part of your house, knowing that he may never leave again? I guess not. So if the Skrreeans had a little more sense, they could have formed an alliance with Bajor: They settle on that other M class planet, and give Bajor food in exchange for industrial help. Both sides profit, and trust can be built, and then, someday, both people may combine. Even though there is no need, since apparently, land is plenty, and the only thing that drives refugees is that there is not enough land (or resources) for everyone. Wars are also mostly driven by this. And Religion of course, but thats a can of worms best left unopened.
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Tue, May 3, 2016, 9:35pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S7: Unimatrix Zero, Part II

I always imagined that this was a story that Neelix told to the borg-children after he finished the other story from "The Haunting of Deck 12".

I don't know if this is the worst episode of Voyager, but it comes close for me. The more I think about it, the less I like it. At every point I think "wait, that wouldn't work".

Example: The Borg Queen sees Janeway in Unimatrix Zero. Drones not under the control of the collective are a vital threat to the borg apparently. There is a Tactical Cube within 3 lightyears of Voyager. Soooooo .... destroy Voyager? Episode over, series done? No.

Janeway is onboard of your tactical cube. You are the Queen. You know everything. You assimilate Janeway. You can't hear Janeway. Kill Janeway, while tracking down Voyager and assimilating it. If you can't assimilate it, kill it. I was fine with the Borg ignoring intruders before when they didn't view them as a threat, that was fine in TNG and earlier in Voyager. But now you KNOW they are a threat.

A Tactical Cube has no tractor beam apparently.

A super advanced torpedo from a megapowerfull tactical cube that has Voyagers shield frequency instantly destroys ... half a hull plate of Voyager.

Voyager shoots the Cube. Harry says "Direct hit, no damage to their shield emitters". Later, the cube needs two hours to repair his transwarp drive. Why? You didn't even scratch the shields.

How does that "Neuro Supressor" even work? The borg uplink is physical, not psychological.

The Queen tries to supress the interlink frequency of UMZ. She fails, but recognises that it is a triangulating signal or whatever. But instead of adapting she --- gives up. Later, the Voyager supresses the same frequency. The fuck?

The Delta Flyer beams Janeway aboard the Cube - after being destroyed. Given that the transporters on Voyager fail if somebody sneezes at them ... this is totally believable.

The Queen wants to spread her virus in UMZ. That is like spreading cholera in an internet chatroom.

One guy in UMZ says that the queen has identified them all. But she does not kill them all? I thought if she found one - she could identify them in the real world, as demonstrated earlier.

The collective is comprised of hundreds of billions of drones. There are maybe 20.000 in UMZ. The queen sends small groups of up to 12 drones at a time. Why not 12 million? A Billion? One hundred billion drones?

Seven does not remember UMZ, even when inside UMZ. Later, she remembers shit from UMZ. SHE kisses Axom, says "We had something more", then SHE is angry at him for saying "yes we did"? And apparently being frightened by his advances or something? Her reaction made no sense to me, and was out of character for her.

Btw, how the fuck did Axom contact Seven if he can't act in the real world? If she has the mutation - wouldn't she always be in UMZ when she regenerates? Why can she remember shit from UMZ in the real world? If you are severed from the collective, can you still reach UMZ? I thought that UMZ is a subset of the hivemind, and relied on borg infrastructure.

Well, and Janeway sucked as well, but that's nothing new I guess.

So, my TL;DR: Nice special effects, but you can cover a turd in sugarcoating, it will still taste like shit.
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Wed, Apr 20, 2016, 2:01am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: TNG S3: The High Ground

I think this episodes highlights the most dreadful thing about terrorism: You can not reason with terrorists. To make the comparison with northern Ireland: Only after seventy years (Or threehundred, depending on your point of view) was peace achieved, when the terrorists lost the support of the population. I doubt that had the UK given into the demands, that that would have stopped the violence. Either it would have continued at the peace talks, or the remaining englishmen in Northern Ireland would have been persecuted.

But anyway, my point is: I don't want a situation that has to endure for 70 or 100 or 1000 years before it is finally resolved, without the option to change anything. Terrorists are absolutists: Every compromise has to fail by default. And since terrorist groups are not monolithic organisations, you can never negotiate successfully. The only way for terrorism to end is if the people doing the terrorising grow tired of it, or change their mind. But I can not think of a way to change a mind that is so fanatic it does not even fear death.

Actually, I do know a way. You kill the terrorists. All of them, at once. Scary thought, I know. Of course, that is not practical. You can't track down every single one. But what else is there? If you can't reason and can't negotiate, you either give in, or you kill them all. Take Israel as an example. Even if they make concessions, return to their rightfull borders, pay reparations etc, somebody will still lay claim to the rest of their land (which was also taken by force). So, even if there is some kind of peace and Israel backs down, you still have to eliminate all the splinter groups, or wait till they subside, but how many innocents are you willing to sacrifice for that?

As scary as it is, now we have the technology to may be able to force terrorists to concede defeat. Not by attacking them directly, but by robbing them of support. Unfortunately that necessitates a genocide. First you warn the terrorist: Back down, or we will drop a nuclear bomb on one of your cities. If they don't listen, you warn them again. if they still don't listen, you drop a bomb. And then one next week. And then after three days. Then every day. You drop nukes so long that the people that the terrorists are fighting for have enough and don't support them anymore. If they still don't listen, you drop your bombs on until their sacred ground, or whatever they were fighting for, are uninhabitable for 1000 years. To beat terrorism, you have to be a better terrorist. You have to totally defeat your enemy. Why do you think that there are no german or japanese terrorists today? Because both nations were so utterly crushed that no one dreams of trying to get back what they lost. And those that do want to know that they have no support.

Or let me put it this way: For every conflict there are two options that bring a lasting peace. You can either find common ground, and both adopt basically the same set of values. Not in all regards, but in the important ones: Peace, Prosperity, Progress. Or you eliminate the opposition so that only your set of values remains. This is true for countries als well as groups or single persons. It is the only logical conclusion. Of course, there is the third case, where both parties agree to disagree and stay well clear of each other. But that does not work for nationalistic or religious conflicts, because both accept no compromise. Ireland is case one. Or was, until 2011, when the terrorists resumed hostilities. Germany and Japan after WW2 are case two. The Federation acts to achieve case one, the Borg to achieve case two. Europe is on its way to way one, the muslims are on the way to way two. And before you say "not all of them!!!11!!", yes, sure, but enough of them to, as George Carlin would have said, provide us with a lot of entertainment in the future. And in this case, the future can be anything from 20 to 400 years. I guess it is the latter case. You just have to look at people who watch Star Trek, yet get angry when it dares to declare their Religion fiction. Now mulitply that by 10 and you are on the level of the average muslim in the middle east. Try to reason a Star Trek viewer out of his position, and now try to imagine doing the same with a muslim. And even if that conflict is resolved, the next one waits right behind it: Money. As long as it exists, it will always favour the rich, who control everything that matters, and I am glad that I will not be around when we fight out that fight. In Star Trek it took a Global Nuclear Holocaust, and humanity sure was lucky to survive that.

So, I think this was a good episode. It got me thinking. And I did not find the ending cheesy at all. After all, this is not the leader of the terrorists laying down his gun, and all his followers follow suit, and everyone lives happily ever after. This is a young boy that just saw his great leader killed, will sit in prison for a long time, and will continue to spread the hate. And when the right moment comes, he will be the first one to shoot. He will forever feel ashamed of not having shot the police woman when he had the chance. At least that's what I got from that episode.
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Sun, Apr 17, 2016, 6:43am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

It just pains me that this flaw makes the series so much worse. Literally every other option would have been preferable. Even something like giving Chakotay her dictatoresque qualities (he was a Maquis terrorist, after all) and giving her only her scientific-motherly qualities. Or letting her slowly change from a goodwilled motherly figure to a bitchy dictator over the course of the series. Just a little consistency, and everything would be improved tenfold.
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Fri, Apr 15, 2016, 8:05pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

Sorry if I came across as too angry.

I actually agree with you: It was the pragmatic descision, and ultimately the right one. If she was anybody other than a Star Trek captain, I would not have taken much issue with that descision.

But: Firstly, she does never defend herself that way. She does not say "I am sorry, but I can just not afford to lose my chief engineer. If you hate me now, that is your descision, but I need you." She says: "Fuck you, stop being such a whiny bitch".
Secondly, she more then once put the crew in danger for the sake of her moral principles, like the time when she saved that 8472 from the Hirogen. That was hardly a pragmatic descision, and she always comes across as defending principle and morality at all costs.

If the whole series would have explored what it means being in the Delta Quadrant, all alone, and there would have been a progression away from Star Fleet principle to a more pragmatic approach, ok. But instead, whenever she so chooses, she invokes the Prime Directive, or something else for that matter, or completely ignores it, while the series expects us to be on her side, and not to question her descision. The Captain is always right, as Tuvok explains to Seven.

Now, if this really was a ship in the Delta Quadrant, her first priority should be crew cohesion. She has to be respected to hold her crew together, and listen to them from time to time, even respect them and modifiy her descision, to keep them on her side. Instead she makes a descision, and never explains herself. If you do that for one or two years, constantly putting your own crew at risk to safe some aliens, or to explore some unknown phenomenon - you lose respect. It is not a sign of strength to never change your descision.

Incidently, in "Latent Image" she acts like I would expect her to act as a Star Fleet captain, more or less. The only nitpick in that episode, and it's a really minor one, is that she tells Seven, when she comes to her quarter, "Now is not the time". Ok, but later she wakes Seven up and says "now is the time", so .... huh? But this is really minor.

I guess if this was Battlestar Galactica, i would have taken less to no umbridge with her. Adama constantly has to make tough descisions to save the convoy, but we see him ponder, discuss the options. And that series really feels like they are in a tight spot. But since Voyager is supposed to carry the flag of the evolved humanity across the Delta Quadrant, I take umbridge with such a two-faced captain.

And by the way, B'elanna isn't the only capable engineer on the ship. There was also that scottish guy, whatever happened to him - and Seven. She could do engineering, heck, with her Borg implants I am not sure there's anything she can't do. All I am saying is, if you doom Voyager to death in "Prey" for the sake of principle (in this case for granting asylum to 8472) you can not ignore all principles in case of B'elanna. Chose one.
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Thu, Apr 14, 2016, 9:02pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S5: Nothing Human

@Skeptical: There is basically nothing to add to your review. janeway was completely wrong in her descision. If Torres would have been unconscious - ok, she gets mad later, and the captain apologizes. Instead she basically ignores human rights, medical ethics, and I guess star fleet protocols and does not even have the descency to apologize to B'elanna. Really, she is the worst of all the Star Trek Captains. When she proposed to stay behind to close the wormhole in "Night", THAT was the perfect opportunity to just declare Chakotay Captain and wave her goodby. As much as everyone hates Chakotay and despises him for beeing a wooden piece of nothing, that STILL is better then her constant arrogance, carelessness, misjudgement and abuse of authority. We would get something akin to TNG, where Picard relies on his subortinates to provide important information and may even let them decide whats best. This would have worked so much better, instead of having janeway decide everything, from medical to ethical to tactical to scientifical problems, and always having her propose the right answer to all those questions. Because even if somebody else proposes something, and the whole episode revolves around that proposal, most of the time janeway has to come in and her new idea magically works, because she knows everything, apparently. Overcompensating much for the fact that she's a woman? I thought people where over that kind of thing in the 24th century. It also makes her scenes where she's supposed to behave "motherly" look complete asinine, and she looks like a control freak. Seriously, who the fuck made her a captain? I guess this was an experiment by Star Fleet to find out at which point a crew would mutiny on accord of their consciousness, and apparently it failed. That's why they didn't show us the aftermath of their homecoming: Star Fleet put janeway back in the mental home and demoted all crewmembers on account of unethical behavior and failing the test. Every day, Picard, now retired, comes to visit her, to stare at her in disgust for an hour, in complete silence, while she rambles on about that she will bring the crew home no matter what and tries to launch photon torpedoes at him, in between screaming about the prime directive.

Sorry for the rant, but as I am rewatching Voyager I need to vent my anger somewhere.
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Fri, Apr 8, 2016, 1:58am (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

Hm, anyone else slightly amused that the abbreviation for this movie is one letter away from STD? Just saying ...

I quite liked the first new Star Trek movie. It was something different, fast paced, and could have opened a whole new world for Star Trek. Then this comes along. An unbelieveable plot, stupid unnessecary drama (Scotty has to leave the Enterprise for what reason exactly? So that he can find the super secret super ship. That is just total bullshit), and most of all, JJ Abrams complete lack of understanding of SPACE. Let me repeat that. SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACEEEEEEEEEEEEE. You know why it's called that? BECAUSE IT IS FUCKING BIG, JJ! Sorry for the capslocks, but I really cant stress this point enough. First, it takes the Enterprise apperently less than a day to fly to Kronos. Oooookay, sure. Then they beam to Kronos. FROM THE FUCKING EARTH. So Kronos really is the Moon, apparently. He takes this one step further in Star Wars VII, where his new Death Planet shoots Corouscant, and we see characters on some backwater planet watch the beam, and the destruction of the planet. So first he shrinks Galaxy down to the size of star cluster, then he shrinks it down to the size of a Solar System, and then to the size of the Earth-Moon system. Great job in turning the magnificent vastness of space into the most boring thing ever. This guy should write bad Twilight Fanfictions, and nothing else.

And that is not to mention all the other shit in the movie, like the completely unnatural reversal of the roles of Kirk and Spock from Wrath of Khan, to the utterly despicable set design (so the starship Enterprise is really just a brewery in space, eh?), to the utterly un-Star-Trek-ness of the whole thing. For me, Star Trek is Captain Picard pondering difficult questions, plots that contain more than "Those are the bad guys. shoot them.", an utopian vision of the future. Or at least the Doctor getting drunk in Sevens body. Instead we get bald motorbike gang Klingons. And fucking Uhura-Spock spoap opera relationship comic relief. If Star Trek seemed dead after Voyager, or Enterprise, now it was killed of for real. Slaughtered for some short term profit and flashy explosions. If this was a fresh franchise, I might have enjoyed it. But this has Star Trek written on it, and it is as far away from Star Trek as A Clockwork Orange is from Sharktopus.

And I recently watched the trailer for Star Trek Beyond. And I really can't find any words to describe that. Great 50th anniversary.
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Thu, Apr 7, 2016, 11:21pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S4: Prey

I really liked this episode for the conflict between Seven and Janeway. And I think I never hated Janeway most. I rewatch Voyager for the third time or so now, and I never particularily liked Janeway, but now that I am older I really start to hate her. She is just a bully, abusing her position to impose her judgement on everyone. Seven says it best at the end. Janeway wants to form her into a carbon copy of herself, and she gets punished if she does not obey. Now, I understand that on any ship you need a clear chain of command, and in the end, the captain gives the orders. But that does not mean that the crew has to follow their captain blindly. Janeway acted in the most illogical and dangerous way, stubborn to the point of blindness. This episode could have been a great moral dilemma if the odds weren't so in favour of the hirogen. She is a bad captain because she puts her morals above anything, regardless of the circumstances. And it is not that she struggled with the decision to kill her crew (which was essentially what she was doing), she acted like a religious zealot, principle above all else. I know that it is a Star Trek motto to help those in need, but there is a point where that is just not possible without killing yourself. And in the end they still got lucky that the hirogen just turned away after they got their prey. They could just as easily have destroyed the Voyager, especially after she offended them the way she did (by stealing their prey). It is also Star Fleet custom to respect other cultures, is it not?

In this episode, and also the next, I felt really sorry for Seven. She is basically a usefull pet that gets called upon if there is a difficult problem, but if she acts human, and rational for that matter, she gets confined to the cargo bay, and is only allowed to still work the astrolab because that suits Janeways needs. She traded one oppressive regime for the next. And in real life, the crew would have mutinied, if not earlier than after this episode. Risking all their lives to save a creature that would most likely kill them if they bring it home. There is only so much a captain can demand. Look at Captain Bligh. Technically, he was right in his descisions, because it were his to make. In the same way Janeway is right here: It is her descision to kill her crew. But she can't blame the crew for disobeying such orders. I would have loved to see her replaced, even by Chakotay, who may be boring, but at least he is not clinically insane.

If Janeway listened to her peers, changed her opinion from time to time, or even admitted to making mistakes now and then, she would not be such an unlikeble character. But with her adamant irrationality and adherence to principle when it is not appropriate, she is the single most dangerous thing that the Voyager ever encountered, and is the only reason I am reluctant to watch this series again.

And to Name is irrelevant: Well, yes, you don't do that. Under normals circumstances, and when you have a fighting chance, if the odds are not impossible. When you are already disabled and outnumbered 6:1, and the only options are to either: 1) Try to save one innocent being (the odds of succeding are exceedingly rare, remember, Torres said she needed 1 or 2 hours, and Tom said he could shake the hirogens for mere minutes), 2) Save 148 innocent lives by handing over one not really innocent being , it is not such an obvious descision anymore. If Janeway acted tortured, while ordering to beam Species 8472 and the hirogen over, and lamented how that descision was the wrong one, but the only possible option in the circumstances, then yes, I could see her as right. If she just ignores the odds and acts as if she is immortal, she is just insane.
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Tue, Mar 29, 2016, 8:28pm (UTC -5) | 🔗
Re: VOY S3: Sacred Ground

I have to agree with the science guys here. From the beginning of the episode it was clear that it was no supernatural phenomenon, but just a not yet understood process. They immediatly deduced that it was a force field, and started working on a cure based on that.

I rewatched the episode, just to make sure, and Janeway does indeed say yes to the question if she believes that science, or rationality can explain everything. But she doesn't act like it for the rest of the episode. The question was phrased rather mockingly, and after that, the other monk equates science with a belief system, and Janeway does not comment on that. The worst part is the end of the episode, when the Doctor presents his explanation, and Janeway seems torn apart because she can not tell him that she believes that it was something supernatural. She says "Your explanation was perfect. Very ... scientific", which makes it sound like she just says so, but thinks something else. She said to the three monks that while she may respect their beliefs, she does not intend to make them her own, but she goes on and does exactly that. The message that stuck with me from the episode was "Science is just another form of belief, and can not explain everything". But wasn't Star Trek supposed to be a Science Fiction show, not a Religion Fiction? The message should have been "Even if Science can not explain everything right now, it will, someday".

This episode would have worked far better if Chakotay did the ritual. He was introduced as the spiritual guy from the start, and he would have had no problem with doing something without expecting an explanation. Then, at the end, Janeway and the Doctor can come in, and explain it rationally, and Chakotay would, as he sometimes did, irrc, say something along the lines of "Well, that is one less unexplained mystery. I guess the purpose of the journey was not to understand how it works, but what it means for oneself", roll credits. That would have worked. But now all the episode tells us is that "Science doesn't have all the answers, Space Jesus did it". Not that it states that exactly, but in the way it is presented. Janeway as the defender of science that gets converted to a believer. I don't know if that was the intention, but that is what stuck with me.

Fortunatly, nothing of this is ever mentioned again, and rightly so. I always held the opinion that Star Trek at least tried to make commentary about real world issues (Kirk kissing Uhura being the prime example, and I am sure you know many more), presenting the left wing, open minded and rational perspective, but it failed miserably here. "You just have to believe without question and everything will be fine, just don't ask questions" is just about the worst message you can send to anyone.
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