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Peter G.
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S7: Parallels

@ James G,

I think most of your objections are answered - if they must be answered - by suggesting that these are all very similar quantum realities. If you think of it like DNA, they perhaps are extremely closely related. That is why Worf is sliding between them, because they have a sympathetic resonance of some kind. It would be obviously impossible for Worf to slide to a universe with no Enterprise, or no Klingons for that matter; there would be no continuity there.

That being said, this is a high concept lark so I think as you suggest the point is to enjoy the fun.
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Peter G.
Fri, Nov 27, 2020, 10:15am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

@ SlackerInc,,

"The way they talk about Hebrew conquest in those texts makes it appear likely the Hebrews were, ironically, the Nazis of the ancient world"

I hope this statement is backed up by years of study and education, because otherwise you're ironically falling into the trap of being a fundamentalist - just on the side against. Just reading a few passages in a book doesn't give you direct insight into the state of the world at the time, the meaning of the passages, or the net effects of the tenets of that book on the world. But I will advise that to suggest that the OT Jews were the "Nazis" of the ancient world is...uh...let's say an a-historical idea. Or to put it more bluntly, wtf?
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Peter
Thu, Nov 26, 2020, 6:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

@Sean Hagins
"Many religions claim to follow God, but instead follow the edicts that come from men. I am not here to point the finger at any religion, but any that does this is, of course incorrect-they are placing man's viewpoint over God's "

You like to quote the Bible a lot. I hate to tell you, but the Bible is very much man's authority. The prophets are not reliable testament on what Jesus said or did and material was misunderstood, removed and inserted to appease various figures, groups and authorities. We don't even know which material, although from what I've read the New Testament would be better described as 'cult of Paul' than the story and teachings of Jesus. This is pretty clear if you read the deliberately removed and destroyed gospels of Thomas and Mary Magdalene.

But this happens to all religious teachings.
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Peter
Wed, Nov 25, 2020, 7:09pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

"That is not true. In Germany the Lutherans are always my go to to explain when a religion is fine. Women can and have reached their highest offices. LGBT+ is completely accepted. No racism of any sort.
Preaching is just a moral argument based on religious texts or believes. It is not coercion.

I'm not defending intolerance or hatred fueled by religion or racism or anything else. That should be opposed. "

The problem is, you're not opposing it. The commentator we're talking about isn't Lutheran. And while it's not coercion, the idea that any kind of preaching is harmless is extremely flawed. That's a view that's based on my own experience, bringing about inner traumas to the point where I would have much rather been coerced than preached to in my childhood.

But you're a sociologist, so I'm surprised you see a distinction in the first place. We are reliant upon what we are made to believe, as children and later adults, as much as our mother's milk.
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Peter G.
Wed, Nov 25, 2020, 11:20am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S2: Who Mourns for Adonais?

Thanks for the kind words, Mal.
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Peter
Wed, Nov 25, 2020, 6:23am (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Who Watches the Watchers

@Booming
Harmless? You really believe that? Try telling that to someone who has decades of nightmares and trauma from being told as a child they're going to burn in hell, live with severe anxiety and panic from being made to believe they're a 'sinner' or will be judged in the afterlife.
Preaching is no less harmful than any other kind of coercion, probably far worse because it stays with you for longer.
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Peter G.
Tue, Nov 24, 2020, 5:50pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S7: Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

I won't comment again on the appropriateness of bringing up race in this episode, but I did want to comment on this point of Dean's:

"This is a scifi show some three odd centuries into the future, and the majority of those watch it for an escape from the nonsense of the real world. The last thing they want to hear is about the age old and never ending mention of racism in a manner meant to strike attention for political reasons"

I think that in context the episode may be doing exactly the opposite of what you suggest. Sure, bringing up race can have any number of misled reasons, including being a dog whistle, virtue signaling, and all the rest. But in this instance Sisko brings it up specifically to ask "isn't race important in this context?" And Kassidy, and by inference the rest of the senior staff, seem to answer this by saying "no, that isn't the point here." See, Sisko's point is brought up, and *disagreed with*, and he actually acquiesces and helps them in their program. So to the extent that in "the nonsense of the real world" some people may believe that race is brought up all the time for no good reason, here Sisko brings it up but then shelves it again, because he's persuaded that pursuing that line *in this context* isn't a good enough reason not to partake.

So if anything this little scene could be taken as a repudiation of the tendency for the race card to be playable at any and all times and to trump any other argument. Sisko makes sure the point is brought up and heard, but finally he decides it in fact should not be the primary focus here. That stands, especially in the modern American discourse, where it would be quite difficult to imagine a friendly exchange where two people disagree about whether race should be made a prominent issue, and where both walk out agreeing that it shouldn't. I'm not saying it never should be, but I think reasonable people should be able to sometimes decide there is a race-related problem to address, and sometimes that there isn't. The prevailing communication barrier in the States prevents even having the discussion without it devolving into someone being called either a racist or a snowflake. Here we see what a discussion of that type should be, neither side being ignored.

So I'll disagree with you, Dean, I think what we see in this episode is not at all like how things go in the real world right now.
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Peter G.
Mon, Nov 23, 2020, 11:04pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Alternative Factor

You know I won't even say I disagree with zero starts, Mal. Even though on some level I want to give it four stars. This is one of the most out there episodes of Trek. So out there we are not even in the same universe, same cosmos, or with the same stakes. I *love* some of the weirdo an inexplicable textures in this episode. I love that the states seem to be about some kind of balance between two universe, both defended (or threatened) by two sides of the same lunatic; or perhaps two lunatics of the same side. That the universes would annihilate if some relatively small even happened is chilling. That these men are fighting for something so insane and beyond comprehension that all we know is they are both dangerous, is also chilling. That the universes have such a weak spot in their fabric is maybe most chilling of all. I would say this episode is more like Doctor Who than Trek, but in its view of the world it's almost Lovecraftian. Things are at stake, we can barely comprehend them, a state of insanity accompanies those who know even a little, and killing might just fix - or possibly ruin - the balance.

What even goes on in that pod? What is it? This is really 'beyond us' kind of stuff, like giving us a glimpse of either far-future tech or else ancient advanced tech. It's a passageway...maybe? Or is the single nexus between worlds? If so that is nexus artificially generated? Or is it a natural phenomenon and Lazarus just knows how to get through it? The entire affair is mystifying. Add all of this up to the shots, the spinning, the hysteria, the dizzying and often confusing sense of reality, and what we have here is an episode leading Kirk right into the Mouth of Madness. The episode is the equal and opposite of Mirror, Mirror, where we can know and understand out equal from another universe. Here, the 'other' is something unknowable, dangerous, delirious, and dangerous without us being able to understand why. I always got a totally epic sense of potential doom from this one. Incidentally I also like the Lazarus character.

I won't analyze this one right now, but suffice to say it's never been a go-to for rewatch, but when I do it's a trip, man. Zero stars, four stars, two stars, eh - what's the diff? The episode is too insane to be able to be brought down to a logical rating. It's like trying to rate a wild dream you once had where you have a distinct idea it was important but can only remember vague images and a nervous tension.
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Peter G.
Mon, Nov 23, 2020, 2:10pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: Errand of Mercy

@ Jason R.

"But I think it is important to note just what sets the Organians off. They don't care or mind very much when the Klingons are "killing" their people. This renders Peter G. and Edax's argument rather moot because it didn't matter if the Klingons would or wouldn't have turned to violence against the Organians eventually."

Just remember that this argument was specifically about how the Federation's moral position was *assuming the Organians were what Kirk thought they were*. I was comparing the Federation to the U.S. during the cold war, and complaining that the Federation is too much like the (at the time) contemporary U.S., because they were really not honest about coming 'in peace'. At best they were coming in war, but with a superior moral position. But violence was still on their minds.

As you say, as it turns out the Organians were not in danger, but this doesn't change the moral calculus on the part of the Klingons and Federation. Kill a bunch of organians, and you're still guilty of at minimum attempted mass murder. That you didn't succeed because they tricked you is a fine point, and barely if at all exonerates the Klingons on the one hand, or the Federation on the other hand in terms of their direct stake in 'helping' the locals.

"The Organians' pacifism isn't naive or foolish (but for their status as space gods). It is specifically tuned to the reality of the situation, namely that they are invincible and the Federation and Klingons are not."

This I agree with, and in fact I think it's the point of the episode. Kirk is shown to be just as wrong as Kor in the end, because the only people in danger were the Klingons and the Federation. I don't think either side is shown to be better than the other in the eyes of the Organians; both were bent on actions that would hurt themselves. Ironically there's an almost religious aspect to this narrative, since if one believes in an immortal soul or something like that, then a plausible argument could be made that it's impossible to 'hurt' anyone other than yourself. You can kill someone, but it doesn't harm them in the cosmic eternal sense. But what you do is become a killer, which is bad for you. This episode *almost* goes there, suggesting that the Organians had to intercede on behalf of the Klingons and Federation. So you may be right that it wasn't even Kirk's escalation that did it.

@ Mal,

Thanks for the write-up and interesting comparison to the Armenian situation.

"All we ask is that you let us help you. Uh huh, Jim, I totally believe you."

If I'm not misreading you, I think this is on the same page as my argument above, that Jim's statement here is more than a little self-serving. He may completely mean it, so I'm not saying he's being tricky. But in the position he and the Federation are in it's literally impossible for any action here at all to not be self-serving. It is simply a fact that any help they render, however well-intentioned, serves the double purpose of opposing their foe and gaining more territory for themselves.
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Peter G.
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 2:59pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Galileo Seven

Just a small important correction to my above post: I was referencing Peak Performance, and I meant to write that Picard tells Data that you can make NO mistakes, and yet lose.
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Peter G.
Sun, Nov 22, 2020, 3:43am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Galileo Seven

I think this is an easy episode to love or hate depending on why you think things happen as they do. Is Spock an idiot for allowing the creatures to get the drop on them? Is his "logic" merely a way of saying he refuses to accept that he's clueless? Is this episode slamming logic, or merely his lack of it? Are the men correct that Spock doesn't deserve their respect? And is the reason he's never had a command before this that he really wasn't ready?

My thoughts on all of these issues are not too different from my initial impressions when I was a kid. In all areas my take is that Spock is right, but being right isn't enough. Throughout the episode we see Spock make rational calculations and follow through on them; and yet he fails. Picard would tell Data that making mistakes and yet losing is part of life. Galileo 7 is when we really see that lesson in play. We also see the human vice of blaming people for failing, rather than trying to help them do better. Spock is an alien, still not respected enough for them to get past it. There is bigotry in this episode, and part of it is based on the fact that Vulcan culture and thinking is actually different from that of humans. The crew can't handle it, and I think the episode is pretty clear that they're being irrational and acting on fear. Their bigotry in a way causes Spock's mistakes to be amplified, because what could have been a few setbacks turning into a bonding experience, it instead turns to infighting almost like Lord of the Flies.

So why did Spock never command before? I suspect it's for the same reason Mirror Spock didn't: he didn't want to. He saw humans as basically illogical, and no doubt felt that trying to lead them would be like leading wild cats. Why do that, when he can rationally do his own job and protect the ship and its mission? Here is finally finds himself confronting the thing he believe - rightly - would happen: the humans would prefer illogical emotion to his cold calculations, and would rebel when they didn't understand. That's what happened, and he was right (in my head canon, at least). What flummoxed Spock is that when logical decisions were made, based on logical potential outcomes, it initially blew up in his face. He began to realize that he could not base logical calculations on illogical facts; the creatures were going to potentially act against their own self-interest, and this had to be factored in. Just as the human crew members might well act against their own self-interest. That Spock was baffled by the creatures' behavior is a mirror to his befuddlement as the crew's behavior. He knows they are illogical, and yet must make plans and calculations based on logic. So this is the dilemma he must sort out.

I think finally Spock does come to realize that he could base logical deductions on illogical assumptions; which in turn requires accepting that nonsense will happen, and taking it into account beforehand. Don't assume things go properly, but plan for them to be improper. This speaks to what Mal mentioned above, how the irrational crew members seem to stick out, since he was comparing them to the colonists in Ensigns of Command. But the difference I think is that in Ensigns they were making actually stupid decisions based on a foolish leader's pride. Whereas in Galileo Sever the crew have a real grievance, not just a stupid argument to make: the cold uncaring Vulcan doesn't care if they live or die, so they don't respect him. It is bigoted. But it is also logical; they are not entirely wrong. And when they begin getting upset, want to bury the dead, and all that, they are just as right as he is. This is a clash of priorities, of sentiments, and even of cultures. Spock would not imagine why a ritual would be more important than security patrols. They cannot imagine how any of them can go on without offering respect to the dead. It's illogical from a strategic standpoint, but not illogical from another point of view. Spock finally learns that other point of view.

@ Mal,

"First, as annoying as the Sheliak were, they were nothing compared to the superbly annoying Galactic High Commissioner la-di-fucking-da Ferris. Tête à claques, if there ever was one.

Second, and at the risk of inviting the ire of the entire TOS gang, Picard did a far better job dealing with the bureaucratic Sheliak than Kirk did dealing with Ferris.'

This is, though, that Ferris was right. The ship's mission to pick up a few crew members really wasn't important as his need for the ship was. That much is a stone cold fact. So whereas the Sheliak stood to gain nothing of value from antagonizing the Federation, other than to flaunt that they could, Ferris wants to save lives and intends for the Enterprise to be used in the most efficient possible manner. Kirk risking that mission is illogical - by Spock's standard. But the episode is all about how the needs of the *group* may need to outweigh cold logical deduction; people may need irrational things, do irrational things, have irrational priorities; and this all has to be taken into account by a command that needs these people to believe in their mission. Ignore the dead in order to do more patrols, and you may have officers who don't believe the service has any honor. Leave your people to die on some planet, and you feel cheap and mercenary, even though technically it's the better call to leave. So the conscience, the emotional side, and even the fears, are *part* of the logic that goes into real thinking, as opposed to on-paper thinking. So while Ferris is the show's antagonist, he's not wrong. In a way he's Spock's mirror, both of them preferring correct mission priorities to being flexible and entertaining 'worse' choices that may have some messy human element in them. Spock finally comes over to Kirk's side by activating the emergency thrusters.

Many have pointed out, incidentally, that this move wasn't actually desperate, and that it was in fact the only logical choice left. So what Spock is accused of at the end may not hold water. I like to think that he *may* have been desperate, but it doesn't matter what really motivated that move. It was a gutsy move, not standard protocol, and not one where he could predict the outcome. It was messy. Maybe the ending is a show of Spock recognizing that a messy, hard-to-predict choice may actually be the most logical one in most cases. He certainly turns a corner in this one.
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Peter G.
Sat, Nov 21, 2020, 5:28pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S5: For the Uniform

@ Elliott,

"To me it seems clear that the meaning behind it is that it is necessary sometimes for the Good Guys to get their hands dirty and become the villain, yadda yadda yadda. But that necessarily means that Sisko's actions against the Maquis planet were villainous."

To be honest I think over-analysis can make it harder rather than easier to see the author's intent. This episode suffers a lot from Trek-itis where we analyze to death what exactly Sisko's actions are supposed to mean in context of DS9, of the Federation, and of the other series. But I think this approach in this specific case puts up too many barriers to seeing what is actually sort of spelled out right in the episode. The point I believe they are trying to make is that Sisko is obviously right and Eddington is obviously wrong. He's so obviously wrong, in fact, that it is taken as a given by the mere fact of going against Starfleet and becoming a tricksy hoodlum. Like it or not, this is the basis going in.

Once we recognize that Sisko is obviously on the right side (politically, in honor, in spirit, etc) then it's much easier to see that the Les Miz good guy / bad guy routine is Sisko's attempt to psychoanalyze Eddington's bugaboo and play into it. Eddington sees himself as a romantic hero, and in order to make him misstep Sisko will feed into his vanity by playing the villain. That much is simple. Where it gets crazy is with contaminating an entire planet. And I think the question we are meant to ask (which the commenters here seem not to ask) is whether in playing the villain one risks inadvertently becoming one. Sisko clearly knows he is playing a strategic part to get Eddington; what he doesn't know is how far he will have to take it to succeed. If we are meant to see Sisko as having a weakness here, it's his absolute need to beat Eddington. To the extent that Eddington is up to some really bad stuff it seems absolutely clear he does need to be apprehended. But as this can be difficult we then get into the issue of what steps become legitimate based on the threat level of the perp to bring him in. Sisko may be over-evaluating how badly Starfleet needs to bring in Eddington; but that evaluation, based partly on emotion, is a side issue compared to whether *if we really was that dangerous* Sisko's actions would then be ok.

So getting back to the planetary contamination, it seems to me Sisko very deliberately took a step that had a few functions at once:

-Demonstrate to the Maquis that any unacceptable action they take will have a directly equal and opposite reaction by Sisko/Starfleet, so that it's not worth it for them to do these things.

-It demonstrates Sisko's greatest strength, which is his view of fairness. Picard by contrast was highly motivated by following the law, whereas Sisko cares more about the softer side of ethics, whether something is fair, right, and will create a sense of proportional respect (we see a lot of the latter in S1 with Bajor). The fairness here is extremely simple: you took their planet, you lose a planet. Very straightforward and almost parochial lesson. Whether it's legal, or a good long-term plan, is debatable: but on a very 'schoolyard' level it's extremely fair.

-It has the benefit of looking *to Eddington* as ridiculously villainous, thus motivating him to give himself up to 'save the day' of the Maquis. And yet despite looking like a James Bond villain plot, no one will die. So from Sisko's POV this is extremely tidy. The irony that the majority of posters judge Sisko's action through Eddington's eyes, as it were, has perhaps been missed in this thread.

-Lastly, the 'Sisko as villain' thing also rides on an obvious psychological principle, which is that from the POV of a criminal or terrorist, the authorities will always come across as oppressive, tyrannical, and villainous. Essentially, whoever is antagonistic towards your lifestyle is going to appear 'evil' to you. We as the view do have more of an objective POV in a way, and yet I do think we're treated to an extent to seeing what *any action at all* by Sisko would have looked to Eddington. Sure, it does look crazy to us too. But even if Sisko had done something else grand and effective Eddington would have been just as angry at the bad bad Federation for getting into their business.

Now I'm not defending this episode on an aesthetic level. I do enjoy seeing a TV hero shown as expressing rage on a punching bag, which is an ugly reality that I'm happy they don't shy away from. I also like how strategy can get mired in real consequences. But it's not a particularly fun episode to me, I distinctly *do not* like the Les Miserables references and think they are pretentious writing, I don't like the sudden holo-tech (which is better left on Star Wars sets), and I don't think the drama is that engaging. The episode is just ok, maybe sub-average. The moral side of it is what started this whole firestorm, and almost serves as a lynchpin or cornerstone for Sisko-detraction. From that standpoint I would say this is not fair, since this episode is hugely stylistically motivated and is more literary than literal. We should not take the irradiating of a planet to be some kind of evidence about Sisko's general character. It's a writing conceit to bring the (IMO failed) themes into focus. As a matter of canon I essentially pretend that this episode never happened. YMMV on that point. But I definitely don't think the series (or even the episode) is trying to portray genocide or mass murder or anything like that as ok, nor is this some kind of furthering of the 'grey morality' of DS9, which I still deny it does in general. What they are trying to show is that the effort to be 'fair and reasonable' here involved taking a crazy action precisely because these ex-Federation citizens had taken even crazier actions. To show them what they did they had to experience it. I see that as more of a general point of fact rather than an argument about ethics. Like it or not, I think most of the outrage or debate about this point is sort of missing the point.
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Peter G.
Wed, Nov 18, 2020, 11:36pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Conscience of the King

Agreed, Mal, great write-ups.

As a kid I hated this one because I thought it was boring. The last time I watched it was maybe 5 years ago so I'll need to watch it again, hopefully soon, to see how well it's aged for me. I suspect I will find some meta-narrative about changing one's appearance as an actor being akin to the changeable nature of one's own thoughts and memories. If you can don a mask and costume and really believe you are someone new - are you? And if a person who at one time committed an atrocity has somehow transformed himself, even to the point of doubting what he himself had done - is this the same individual anymore? Of course maybe the episode just uses the theatrical setting in order to couple up the Hamlet story with the Nazi throughline as Mal suggests. But maybe it is saying something about how even monsters could be thought of as just actors playing a part, where on some level the atrocity is done 'in character' like a role, almost divorced from your conception of who you think you are. The chilling thought isn't that "just following orders" is banal; it's that perhaps that what we would like to think of as a monster is just a regular dude. That would mean anyone could do that under the right circumstances. In Hamlet the prince himself avoids taking violent revenge, even until the end when it begins to be clear that he doesn't know what he will do. That he kills is brought about by circumstances (orchestrated by Claudius himself) that he did not anticipate, and that sent him into a killing frenzy. Is Hamlet a "murderer", or was he merely subjected to the whimsy of fate, made a regicide out of sheer dumb luck?
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Peter G.
Wed, Nov 18, 2020, 11:30am (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: The Menagerie

@ Mal,

"I see a few people asking why Veena might have decided to stay on Talos. I half expected @Peter G., with his very theatrical write ups to have picked up on this. The Glass Menagerie is actually a very, very famous play."

Huh. I guess the name "Menagerie" wasn't enough to set off the comparison for me, to say nothing of the fact that I knew The Menagerie backwards and forwards from age 8 or so, but only got familiar with Tennessee Williams in my 20's (although we did read it in high school).

That being said, I'm not quite sure I see the analogy as being intentional. Or at least if it is they played that super close to the chest. For my part I think there is one significant distinction, which is that in The Menagerie we have what initially look like villains ultimately turning out to be unfortunate and even pitiable people, who finally do actually have compassion despite their desperate need to save themselves. Keeping Veena with them does have a dose of being self-serving, and yet I distinctly get the idea once Pike joins them that they in fact do have affection for both humans and want them to be happy. So Veena's damaged state is actually why they have something to offer her: they can offer her a beautiful illusion. Contrast with Glass Menagerie, where I think Amanda (the mother) is portrayed as infantilizing and over-protecting Laura to the point where she has metaphorically crippled her and rendered her incapable of taking care of herself. I've actually heard of this happening IRL, it's quite sad. So Laura ends up living in a make-believe world, but one that is incredibly fragile. So it's a cage, but one with walls that could be easily broken if one realized one could. That's why, I think, Tom is going ballistic and needs to get out of there. So in the Williams play I think 'the cage' is one that is harmful to the inhabitant, whereas paradoxically the Talosian cage is a merciful one where they in some sense do have good intentions.
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Peter G.
Tue, Nov 17, 2020, 2:11pm (UTC -6)
Re: DS9 S4: Starship Down

@ Lee,

I didn't check just now, but with TV shows there is often a discrepancy between airing order and filmed order. Jammer seems to have been watching these as they aired, so any ordering you see here may be a result of the network airing episodes out of order (as famously happened on Firefly).
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Peter G.
Tue, Nov 17, 2020, 1:38pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Forget Me Not

@ Omicron (and anyone else bugging Jammer to do this or do that),

Jammer's policy has long since been known, been clear, and been successful. What purpose could there be to call attention to what you'd like him to do, other than just that - to call attention to yourself? Enjoy the forum, man, and let be. You will never escape from trolls no matter where you go, and here there are few of them. But push the issue and one ends up being the thing one is complaining about. Think about it!
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Peter G.
Thu, Nov 12, 2020, 12:53pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Die Trying

@ William B,

"I also think that it's probably a time when the categories that people have are not adequately expressing the reality of lived experience."

Yeah, this is essentially what I was getting at. I feel that even now people are constantly being made to be something they're not in various capacities. It's a very clear situation when we're talking about sexual orientation, gender, race, and these types of things; we have a history of slavery or oppression in some cases, discriminatory expectations in other cases. So those are covered in some sense, or at least at the forefront of awareness. But what about people with alternative circadian rhythms, or the fact that the vast majority of teenagers and children are forcibly sleep deprived based on a ridiculous school schedule, which in turn is at least partly because they act as day cares due to the parents' work schedules? Or what about people with certain dispositions who are made to act happy when they feel otherwise; or people who have a big personal bubble and are expected to shake hands, hug, and do these things, when in fact they prefer personal distance (putting aside COVID for the moment)? I think there are countless instances of variations in psychological, physiological, and other sorts of natures where people are forced into boxes that really constrain them. So yeah, I am no enemy to the idea of showing really progressive ideas in sci-fi, and to recognizing that people really are not all the same. I hope that clarified a bit.
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Peter G.
Thu, Nov 12, 2020, 11:55am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Forget Me Not

@ William B,

I only just saw your comment. I wasn't at all suggesting that certain things should or shouldn't be shown on TV or on Trek, and I'm certainly not taking a position in saying this that certain people do or don't exist. In fact as far as I'm concerned our understanding of the differences between people is still quite weak and that we will no doubt discover many other truths in time that break us out of the boxes we are often required to fit into. So I'm all for that. What I'm saying is more that the new Trek shows seem to be content to check off the current, new boxes rather than to try to eliminate boxes altogether and show us strange new things. Not that Trek has to be this weird, but you could look at Olaf Stapleton or Frank Herbert as examples of really wondering what people in the future will be like. TOS and (I think) TNG were more concerned with our future mores and society rather than creating what we might call utterly new and strange human cultures, but still they tried to carve out something new, and certainly not contemporary. So I'm mostly talking about the difference between looking forward and requiring your audience to come with you, rather than trying to make it clear you've caught up to where your audience already is.

Just ask: if a viewer watched DISC or PIC, are they apt to say "oh, I never thought of that!" or rather "yes! they finally get it!" I'm not even necessarily sure about the answer, but at any rate this is the sort of thing I'm talking about.
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Peter G.
Thu, Nov 12, 2020, 11:49am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Forget Me Not

@ Jammer and Booming,

In fairness to this episode in particular I haven't seen it, so I'm not really critiquing it but rather what I perceive to be the general mindset of the series. Jammer's interesting comment got me thinking along those lines, but thanks for the clarification Jammer that the actual details of this episode don't directly address the trans issue.

To answer your question, Booming, I actually agree that any writer interested in showing up as progress is now in a pickle. If they *don't show* what I would call contemporary concepts or 'wokeness' they could be accused of being regressive, even if in the process of not showing that they are intending to show something else, let's call it futuristic. So it's a rock and a hard place situation, where you either play to contemporary standards and end up ironically anachronistic for a far-future setting, or they don't play to contemporary standards and risk looking like they're behind contemporary standards. I'm not even sure what I would suggest to do in their place to cover both bases, but at minimum I would suggest to try to conjure up what things might be like, and what we might be like, if current fears and misconceptions were swept away. That does take imagination, but it's the job of the writer to make us go "oh, I never thought of that before, interesting", isn't it?
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Peter G.
Thu, Nov 12, 2020, 11:28am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: Forget Me Not

Believe it or not I consider the presence of trans-aware characters (or at least a woke meta-narrative) rather parochial for a Trek show. TOS, and to an extent, TNG, had their eyes toward the future and often tried to show us things not as they are, but as they could be and might be. Uhura on the bridge showed us how things should be, and therefore actual *was not* representative of the current state of society. Trek right now seems hellbent on proving that it has merely caught up with the current understandings, that it isn't behind; the 'woke' symbolism is at best an exercise in lagging behind as little as possible. But it certainly isn't looking forward.

I suppose one difficulty here is that in the 60's it was probably easier to imagine a better future and how it would be. Certain people were blatantly marginalized, so a future where they weren't was a Uptopian ideal. But in an age of insane changes coming as a result of social media, gender and cultural concepts progressing more rapidly than even activists can keep track of, and the understandings of all these things being, shall we say, fluid at the moment, it might well be harder to project our current state of affairs 300 years into the future and imagine how it would be better (or at any rate different). But that's why you need actual sci-fi writers, rather than pop culture die-hards, at the helm. Or perhaps it would be clearer to say that the vision for the show has to be future-looking for this to be a mission objective for them; it keeps striking me that for ST: PIC and ST: DISC the mission objective is to show how Trek is up to date and 'with it' in 2020. But that's the problem: I don't want Trek to be set in 2020, but in space; I actually do want to see hundreds of years from now.
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Peter G.
Tue, Nov 10, 2020, 11:41pm (UTC -6)
Re: TNG S3: Tin Man

Tam was literally the only guy who could possibly communicate with Tin Man, what other choice did they have? But one thing I will agree with is the Enterprise crew really doesn't deal well with maladjusted people. Kirk had a lot more facility for dealing with strange beings and off-putting characters than 1701-D's crew does, maybe because the reality of TOS was less sanitized.

That being said, I don't think Starfleet did anything wrong sending Tam on the mission, it was a reasonable decision. Trying to enforce orderly expectations on him was perhaps hopeful on their part, but they still had to try. Yeah, they did get upset at him when he essentially took the mission into his own hands, but he's not mentally disturbed in the way the Jack Pack were; he knew what he was doing and chose to do it. I think they were at minimum in the right to suggest that his attitude was part of the problem; or at least part of *their* problem with him. And actually they were right about that since really the best course for him was to be away from regular people altogether. Both sides of the issue were vindicated in how it ended.
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Peter Swinkels
Tue, Nov 10, 2020, 3:57am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: People of Earth

@Booming: I see. thx.
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Peter G.
Sat, Nov 7, 2020, 8:43pm (UTC -6)
Re: TOS S1: What Are Little Girls Made Of?

@ Mal,

"Also, why do they call this episode "Little Girls"? All the robots - except one - are boys!"

It's a reference to the nursery rhyme, wherein girls are made of "sugar and spice and everything nice." Since the plot is about how beings of different construction (robot vs human) can still apparently understand desire in a similar way, the nature of what we are 'made of' is relevant to the theme. And it also seems that one thing the episode is saying is that robot or human, they both love the same girl, whatever she is made of. i.e. that being female (and everything nice) trumps on some level whether she is humanoid or machine. And I think this idea is generally applicable to other TOS episodes, where Kirk's view of sex is that women are a universal constant regardless of race (or species). It's obviously a heteronormative idea but nevertheless I think very forward-thinking in terms of the idea that girls are awesome and we should understand that they are *all* awesome, not just white women.
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Peter Swinkels
Sat, Nov 7, 2020, 12:06pm (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: People of Earth

@Booming, were you replying to my Titan/Earth comment? If so you might want to use @Peter Swinkels. It makes it easier to see who is replying to who.
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Peter Swinkels
Thu, Nov 5, 2020, 2:54am (UTC -6)
Re: DSC S3: People of Earth

No communication between Titan and Earth? I dunno but shouldn’t it be possible to communicate albeit with a few hours delay? And intra solar system travel should be possible even without warp... Any opinions anyone?
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