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Axiom
Thu, May 2, 2019, 7:37am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

Thanks, mertov.

@Jason R. No. Recognizing a difference of perceptions should be the starting point of discussion, not the end. “I don’t see it, so there isn’t a problem — except you” is very different from “I don’t see it, so could you help to shed some light on your perspective?”
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Axiom
Thu, May 2, 2019, 3:28am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Tomalak

I don’t see why you feel the need to bring this up in such a condescending way. Trolling much?

Although there were a few exceptions, several posters responded with a very typical throwaway comment. “If I don’t see the problem, it must not exist.”

If folks don’t want to engage, that’s fine. Equally, I made my point - I’m not going to belabor it alone. But thanks for mocking a serious observation and concern from a community member.

This is disappointing behavior coming from select members of a crowd that I’ve enjoyed chasing up with week after week for over a decade, but such is 2019.
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axiom
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 10:15am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@JasonR. No harm, no foul. My contribution here is in good faith.

@Kinematic. Goodness. Where to start?

"By double standards, are you referring to the way in which Michael is targeted with much less invective than Wesley Crusher by fans despite having an even more improbable level of talent than he does, receiving an even more disproportionate degree of adulation from other characters than he does, and having a greater negative effect on her Trek series than he has on TNG?"

This is what I exactly mean when I say some arguments are being advanced in bad faith. There are several reasons why this is a problematic omparison. You are comensurating two different moments of social critique, which played on two different platforms (and are difficult to compare, word for word, like for like). But the real intellectual sin is to commensurate critique of white men with that of women of color. I am not going to rehash why this mode of commensuration is problematic, unless you'd like to engage on matters of power and representationin good faith. I am not saying that non-white, non-male, non-cis characters (or rather their writers) are immune from critique. Instead, I am saying that this mode of analysis is at best flawed, and at worse gaslighting.

I was amused when a fellow commentator recently wondered why dectators didn't call out Mary Sue Kirk for saving the world over and over, or why the wisdom of Mary Sue Picard went so often unchallenged.

--

"By excessive insults and profanity, are you referring to the dialogue surrounding Wesley Crusher, who has been targeted with an astronomical deluge of fan rage while eliciting extremely little concern over said profanity and insults compared to Michael?"

I'm not simply talking about profanity, although I find it destracting and excessive. I'm comfortable with adult language. Not comfortable with folks who make these problematic arguments week after week. Is this about retaining some sort of sense of power and inclusive, in a context when the landscape of representation is shifting more broadly? Perhaps that's what we're talking about -- not good, bad, and ugly television writing.

--

"If Michael was the target of the barest fraction of the wrath visited upon Wesley, I can only imagine the pitch and timbre of the bleating that would be heard. That's the real double standard."

Yes, all lives matter...
--

"By the standards of axiom and some others, you are only allowed to criticize Michael if you hew to a set of labyrinthine guidelines for inoffensive phrasing that change like the weather, frequently self-contradict and which no self-appointed moral guardian is willing to explain in detail ("it's not my job to educate you."). To put it in simpler terms, you are not allowed to criticize Michael."

Being mindful of the mode of critique is hardly asking that much of the world. Again, we live in a society that is demographically transforming, and ways of thinking and understanding the past and present are evolving too. Part of this demands us to reckon with parochial and often deeply problematic ways of understanding and making demands of the world. Many of us do this work because we have to -- because we have faced stigmatization or worse. Many of us do it because we are emphathetic people, and we wish to learn and co-create new ways of collaborating across (inevitable) forms of difference. To reduce this to language policing is, at best, a misinterpretation of the intentions drving this cultural moment.

My labor isn't free. It simply isn't my job to provide lectures. Nor have out to define myself as a singular moral authority. I can contribute ideas, share insights, and weave in other voices which can help us think about these topics, thought. And I can and do listen and live with an incredibly diverse range of opionions in my immediate life.

To reiterate, for what I hope to be the final time, my critique is not that we must avoid criticism of the ways in which Michael's character has been written, simply on the basis of race or gender or poltiical climate. What I am naming here is what I see to represent an unhelpful (and at times thoroughly anti-intellectual and toxic) mode of critique which has pervaded this forum, and many other places of discussion, since DIS was aired.
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axiom
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 8:12am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

In my last post, the second line and onward is directed at Jason R, I shoul add.

Jason, it's also wise to not assume that the person you're engaging with is a he. I'm flattered, but... ;-)
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axiom
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 8:10am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@Booming -- exactly. Thanks.

You're right. I was tone policing, to an extent. (To the extent that I was identifying tone as an issue.) But I'm not here, nor do I endorse, shutting down discourse.

There's an unspoken tension here, one which suggests that open discussion of matters of bias (and the legacies and baggage which come with rhetoric) is some kind of barbed ideology, one which is unjustly washing over or winning at the expense of another.

One always runs the risk of using ideas to enact unjust forms of power, and it's worth reflecting on the limits and perils of ideas.

However, I find that this line of reasoning, too, is often deployed as a shield by folks who simply cannot or will not engage with a vital and useful (imo) critique. They throw up their hands, reject subtley and ambiguity, and utterly miss the ways in which their position, too, is informed by ideologies. Ideologies which, at this current juncture, are being played with to nefarious ends.

I suggest rejecting a polarized and dichotomous view which sees ideology (or those which embody) it as coherent or singular, and accepting that these nuanced tensions exist in relatively subtle ways in our thinking (in my thinking, too). I stand by what I said, and hope folks find it useful and provocative as we reflect on the ideas expressed by Discovery -- and the ideas about those ideas.

On a more hopeful note, despite some leaps of logic, I found several moments in the episode to beautifully convey exactly that which I'm getting with this post. We're in a moment of profound uncertainity. Seeing MB, and later Discovery, enter the wormhole, in that beautiful homage to 2001 (and TMP), was a really remarkable affective moment. It's a brave new (ride), and I'm more or less enjoying it.
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axiom
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 5:58am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

@OmicronThetaDeltaPhi

Yes, really. Exuding toxic energy -- using profanity, excessive insults, and articulating double standards towards hero characters (who happen to be women and POC) -- is not the foundation of constructive debate. Nor, I would argue, does it enable us to go out and give our best in a world of difference. You can't start building bridges when your critique is laced with coded, incendinary rhetoric. You may not see that, but others do. I'm not tone tone policing -- post away! -- but I will name it.

Whether or not folks link this kind of behavior to bigger social bads is their perogative. But I remind you that the latter do not solely exist "out there" -- they are reproduced through everyday micro-practices, in sublte ways. In any case, I really question the value that kind of discourse brings to this discussion, or to our lives. Feel free to disagree, but I do hope this makes my position clearer.
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axiom
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 4:56am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

PS -- I mean, seriously, folks. "Fucking miserable." "Devoid." Dog whistle rhetoric.

I value constructive debate about art, but we are not going anywhere with this kind of rhetoric. If you don't "give a microscopic shit," please spare us. The only "galling" thing is to find ourselves in a world where a shared passion elicits this kind of discourse.
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axiom
Fri, Apr 19, 2019, 4:51am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2

As usual, I thought this was a more or less effective ride. There are less than credible moments, and there are very effective ones (Stamets and Culber, for example). I'm satisfied with the resolution, and keen to see what the far future holds -- now we really get to discover. I'd give the season *** on the whole. SSS P1 would be a **.5, and P2 would be a ***.5.

And, right on time, here we have all the usual critics repeating the same gripes. At times, the commentary here is truly insightful (critical and intelligent). Yet there are a really unnerving number of voices which echo misogynist, reactionary claims week after week. Do these folks see what they're saying?

There are real and troubling problems in the world. Why not embrace the spirit of Trek, turn off the TV, and dive head in with a constructive and progressive outlook?
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Axiom
Sun, Mar 24, 2019, 5:27am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: The Red Angel

Booming, this last comment is spot on. The Mary Sue argument is so, so problematic. I wish so very much thet folks would let it go as a device. At worst, it’s a misogynist veil, behind which folks advance arguments in bad faith. At best, it’s an amibiguous and fraught concept (and often self-fulfilling prophecy) which doesn’t really advance other, more nuanced critiques (e.g. those around the quality of writing on DSC, which can be... less than idea, at times.) Frankly, at this point, the concept is so toxic (by association with those who would like us to bring our level of discourse down to an entirely uncivil level) thet I wish we could find an alternative critique.

This week was a mixed bag. There’s a degree of intelligence missing from this twist in the narrative, and perhaps too much fantasy for my personal liking. (I say this ready to acknowledge that Trek has always been more fantasy than science, even if the latter is what has generally appealed to me most.) However, I have to admit to being enitely exhilarated by the last few minutes. If you set aside your mind and roll with it, it’s an incredible powerful piece of television. I don’t think Trek has ever quite succeeded in this way for me, for better or worse. Take this as high, if uneasy, praise.
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Axiom
Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 3:46am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

Gil, thanks for the warm welcome to the site — as I mentioned in my post, I’ve been a reader for many years, but never felt provoked to comment — until now. I stand by what I said, and I suspect the great majority of commenters here would, too. By all means, dig your heels in and continue the name calling when someone confronts you — that’s the spirit of Trek!
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axiom
Sat, Mar 16, 2019, 2:27am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

Gil, I don’t think it’s productive to inject a dog whistle (conflating DIS fans with “triggered” millennials), nor in any way appropriate to use deragtory and homophobic words like butthurt, to communicate. I would really appreciate your (ortherwise insightful) critique much more without that rhetoric.
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axiom
Fri, Mar 8, 2019, 5:15pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S2: If Memory Serves

You know, Trent, I have a PhD and teach Debord, and I think you’re really stretching this to a toxic and woefully unsubtle ends. But thanks for inspiring me to register after years of reading these reviews. I enjoyed the episode quite a bit — more than any other DSC entry so far. Shock, horror, gasp.
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