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bencanuck
Thu, Jul 9, 2020, 5:15am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S3: The Die Is Cast

There's something enjoyable in the fact that, a few episodes later ("Family Business"), the replacement for the runabout they lose here (the Mekong) is named the Rubicon. The Caesar references don't stop in the two-parter.
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bencanuck
Tue, Jun 30, 2020, 1:27am (UTC -5)
Re: DS9 S5: Ties of Blood and Water

Some people have commented on how Weyoun and Dukat threaten the station with a (large) Jem'Hadar battlecruiser. It seems ridiculous to some people.

It's true that they wouldn't stand a chance. But actually, Dukat, Weyoun, and the audience don't know that. Until "Call to Arms", we all still think Federation shields are useless against Dominion weapons. DS9 has no ablative armour. Even with armour, the Defiant could barely hold off against a few (small) Jem'Hadar attack ships ("The Search"). While the station is armed to the teeth, if its shields were ineffective, its civilians (or even Ops) would be in real danger from a Jem'Hadar ship of that firepower. It's a real threat. Foolhardy perhaps. But threatening.
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bencanuck
Wed, Apr 1, 2020, 7:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Many people have come out and said that Data's death is a case of euthanasia.

Is it? Or is there a nuance here?

Data is essentially hooked up to a machine that is sustaining his life, but he has no option to repair his actual body. There is no hope of his body winning the fight. He cannot return to life without the life-support machine and in his own body. If the life-support machine is discontinued, Data just naturally fades away quickly.

Some people refer to this as 'passive euthanasia', but I think we normally treat 'pulling the plug' on critical life support as having different moral and legal requirements than 'active euthanasia'. For instance, Booming quoted some 'very liberal' laws. Those are almost certainly for active euthanasia (not passive euthanasia or pulling the plug), because far less liberal states have less stringent requirement for 'pulling the plug' on life support.

Perhaps, in good Trekkian style, some nuance is in order, even if the whole time we're dealing with an analogy for non-organic lifeforms.
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bencanuck
Sat, Mar 14, 2020, 12:20am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Broken Pieces

@Daniel

"The key is that you never see the original TNG characters (Picard, Data, Troi, Riker) use those words. I think that would have broken with the characterizations."

Is that really true, though? Picard has said 'merde' on TNG. Riker has used Romulan curse-insults (such as in "The Defector"). They definitely have these words in their vocabulary.

If it would break characterization, it isn't due to the vocabulary in itself. What distinguishes the speech of Clancy, Jurati, etc. from these characters' is the casualness of the word in the middle of the sentence, e.g., as for emphasis. In the past, when Picard and Riker used such words, it was almost deliberate and decisive.

Also, it was in a foreign human or alien language...
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bencanuck
Fri, Mar 6, 2020, 7:35pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Nepenthe

@Trent

"Also, why does Riker talk about "Newton's fourth law of thermodynamics"? As far as I know, Newton doesn't have a law of thernodynamics; he wrote about laws of motion. What's up with this line?"

Newtonian dynamics of the 18th century and the new thermodynamics of the 19th were notoriously conflictual in their view of time as essentially reversible (everything in Newtonian physics has reversible time propagation) or essentially irreversible (thermodynamics, entropy). This was a huge question: is thermodynamics real or is it an approximation from our ignorance? Some giants of the 20th century, like Ilya Prigogine, devoted their entire lives to this problem.

Riker's conflation of Newton and thermodynamics deliberately flags the law as nonsense from a scientific POV. Thus, when it becomes clear that the law is an in-joke between two old friends, it is funny.
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bencanuck
Fri, Feb 28, 2020, 8:13pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Booming

"So I guess Raffi brought money with her"

It's pretty much a given, not some wild idea. Raffi has bet latinum with Rios on whether Soji is still alive. One would assume she has access to this latinum on the La Serena. That's a more natural notion than that she is betting money that she has no access to on a one-way trip (she plans to stay behind on Freecloud).

"How did Dajh get into school and then accepted into daystrom?"

We have known since the earth-bound episodes that Dahj didn't actually have any record of being in or at a school. She only had credentials of graduation. She never 'got into school'. She never attended. The limited lifetime/past/history of both sisters was implied much, much earlier. I assume we don't dwell on this fact in this episode, because we have been living with it for half the series at this point.
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bencanuck
Thu, Feb 27, 2020, 7:50pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The Impossible Box

@Quincy

"It's PTSD. And yes, that's exactly how it works. You have a flashback from some stimulus. You react to it as if it's real. And you're not aware of your actual surroundings."

Thank you for saying this.

Needing to hold something for support is not an unthinkable reaction to trauma resurfacing. I have this effect. Picard walked onto a bridge with no railings. It was real danger as his trauma surfaced. Not only was the danger that the episode showed realistic or reasonable, it was so realistic, I could see the train wreck coming, which made it all the more sympathetic for Picard.
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bencanuck
Sat, Aug 3, 2019, 7:44am (UTC -5)
Re: VOY S4: Living Witness

I remember liking this episode when I was younger, but after recently rewatching it, I have to say that my reaction is something like T'Paul's or Daniel's.

The episode is creative, certainly. And the use of fun 'mirror universe' elements to tell a substantial story and contribute to ideas of a philosophical or sociological order is really appreciated. This episode is well thought out on several fronts, as well as well produced, designed well, and acted with conviction. But...

The narrative sets up oppression that is happening, for the characters in the story, *right now*. There are people being oppressed un the *now* of the characters. Everyone knows it. It can be seen with their eyes. They just have to open them.

Meanwhile, the plot focuses in on the historical accuracy of events in the past. This is where the problem lies. Anyone with a mind for justice is more concerned with oppression that they can see is definitely, without a doubt, happening right now. But because of its design and theme, the plot of 'Living Witness' expects us to care more about the intricacies of the past, and this is framed in terms of justice, too, not just accuracy.

And that's where it all collapses. Right, establishing the truth is about justice. We can all agree to that. But this historical justice is not of a lesser value than *known* contemporary acts of oppression. Anyone who thinks that is, in practice, supporting those contemporary acts of oppression. If, today, someone were to divert thinking about contemporary racial injustice towards one specific incident on one specific day 700 years ago, most of us would consider this to be racist distraction. Conveniently shifting priorities like this is usually a sign of support for racist activity. And rightly so. Emphasis and priority say a lot.

That's why some people feel as if the episode is saying the oppressed 'deserved it'. The episode doesn't say this. But the writers *do* definitely say that, for this episode's themes and plot, definitive contemporary injustice is less relevant than historical accuracy. After all, one drives the plot, while the other is just part of the story, background, and environment.

And that... is just odd for a Star Trek ethos. It is bound to be upsetting for some people. The episode needed a significant contribution saying that the oppression that definitely exists was the major issue (because we *know* it is happening *now*), though this does not imply that historical accuracy is unimportant. But... if the episode takes this direction, it also ceases to be recognizable as 'Living Witness'. Thr narrative consistency, tightness, and focus will diminish. If, however, narrative consistency and focus win, then the implication is that the contemporary theme is secondary to the historical theme. But if the contemporary theme of *known* oppression is secondary to establishing the facts about one day 700 years ago, basically any sort of racial diversion tactics are left uncriticized. This is a gaping hole for anyone who is concerned about *both* sorts of (in)justice. Thus the episode is both a creative masterpiece and an unsalvageable thematic disaster from the get-go. Once you see what is missing and what choices were made in the narrative focus, it becomes disconcerting.
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bencanuck
Sat, Mar 23, 2019, 12:29am (UTC -5)
Re: DSC S2: Project Daedalus

@Skyelord

"speaking crew on the actual ship"

Bryce and Rhys are male characters; they're on the bridge in most episodes (in season 2, nearly every episode or perhaps every episode). They have names and talk. They're certainly more important characters than Pollard ('Replacement Doctor').

Not sure why you don't see the black man and the Asian man on the bridge. They're there.
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