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Roxanne

I predict you're going to get smacked around by the multi-culturalists here. Good luck.

Shakespeare's Sister

You are such a huge nerd.

(Which I trust will be acknowledged as the compliment it is intended to be.)

Roxanne

BTW: Violating the PD was the primary driver in that episode where Kirk has to decide whether or not to save a Depression Era social worker (played by Joan Collins) in The City on the Edge of Forever. If he saves her from getting crushed by a car, "she will start an effective pacifist movement that will delay the United States' entrance into World War II, thus allowing Hitler's Germany to develop the atomic bomb first and conquer the planet."

Lance

Rox, you're probably right. Maybe I can distract them with a discussion of cliterectomies and the sex slave trade. If not, I'm doomed. It was nice blogging with you.

Lance

Oh yeah, that was a great one! I have to watch it again. Haven't seen it in a long time.

Tom

The Prime Directive seems to have run something like this: "Don't interfere in pre-warp-drive cultures, unless they give you an excuse." Typically, the crew would run into a planet where some AI (usually disguised as a god) ran the society and everyone blindly obeyed the god, and when a redshirt died Kirk would have his Gulf of Tonkin rationale for completely tearing down their political and social structure and giving them a short paragraph about How To Live before warping off to the next planet, never to return (and never to find out how badly he'd fucked up their lives). About the only time that this sort of thing was shown to be bad was in "Patterns of Force", in which another Federation citizen (not Kirk, oh no) tried to introduce a good version of Nazism to another planet, with predictable results. (This episode is infamous for the scene in which Kirk and Spock are stripped to the waist and flogged, which singlehandedly launched the slash fic genre.)

sfmike

I could care less about "Star Trek," but your defense of civilized liberals really struck a chord.

"You can't bring civilization to the natives by being uncivilized" pretty much sums it all up. Alexander Cockburn over at Counterpunch has been publishing a diary of his lecture tour in India which is a longer version of the same sentiment.

I love going to Mexico, speaking my crappy Spanish fluently, and what I've noticed over the years is that their culture is so much older, richer and more "human" than most of the United States. The best interactions between the two cultures tend to be personal rather than organized, such as the American hipster types helping create internet sites for local businesses just because they like them.

Lance

Tom, we have Patterns of Force rising up to the top of our queue at NetFlix. But I forgot about the flogging scene. Now you've got me re-thinking whether or not I'll show it to the kids.

Your summing up of the show's attitude toward the PD is dead on, and funny.

That habit of Kirk's of flying off into the sunset never to come back and see how things he messed with turned out comes back to haunt him in Wrath of Khan, though.

Agi T. Prop

You are such a huge nerd. -- Shakespeare's Sister

Count me in too. I've actually attended a Star Trek convention (but I didn't go that far to actually dress up as one of the characters). It must have been about twelve years ago at the height of Next Generation. I was a teen back then and was very excited to see Patrick Stewart speak.

Excellent analysis Lance. I've always pondered the political symbolism behind Star Trek. But I grew up with Next Generation so I'm not familiar with the original series, although I've seen all the Kirk films.

It seems to me that Kirk was always more willing to break the rules than was Picard.

dave

an interesting read,lance,but i remember
that episode quite differently.
every step of the plot made it seem
that kirk HAD to escalate. sympathized,
didn't feel good, sure, but was basically
in lock-step with any of jedgar hoover's
1960s speeches -communism is a virus that
must be fought unquestioningly,24/7, to
hesitate is to falter, is a weakness our
enemies are waiting to pounce on.
i'm rambling, but the basic point-a liberal
facade disguising a paranoic worldview.

i see the script as a manipulative cold-war
relic, not that different from the worst
twilight zones. i don't really care about
the outerspace stuff, but as an allegory for
vietnam, i think it was extremely harmful
propaganda: in making kirk's choices tragic
but noble, the writer tried to morally bookend
this episode with the lincoln/genghis khan
episode. i.e. the difference between us and
our enemies is not actions,not methods, but
our good intentions.
good-heartedness is a pretty fucked-up
rationalization for protracted low-intensity
conflict, eh?

Lance

Agi T,

Picard was hemmed in by all those Kirk Rules, one of which, at least during the first season of TNG, was that the Captain couldn't go along on every single landing party.

Excuse me. "Away team."

Dave,

You may very well be right. It's been a while since I last saw that episode. But I remember Spock's and McCoy's objections carrying more weight and of course it was Kirk's old friend's wild wife who was demanding more fire sticks, which didn't give Kirk the best possible ally in selling his ideas about fighting back to the audience. But Kirk definitely believed he had to do what he did and he was the hero of the show. Still, he does compare himself to Satan at the end. I think that's got to count as a counter-argument. Or at least a sign of creeping self-doubt.

I don't see Kirk's argument, whether we're supposed to sign on wholeheartedly or not, as J. Edgar's though. I see it as Bobby Kennedy's.

At one time it was the good Liberal argument.

That other episode you mention, the one with Lincoln, that was godawful. I hated that one when I was a kid and I hate it now. We have such good intentions, my eye!

Exiled in NJ

I went to Lance's blog and a Trekkie convention broke out. Alas, I am still trying to figure out who was Number 1 in the Village.

Pepper

I so wish I could find some meaning in 'TJ Hooker,' as I'm more familiar with that than William Shatner's other fine work ...

Just sayin' I like the message. You are right. Regarding some cultures, I do want them improved. I can't let the right of a culture overwhelm women's rights in particular. If that takes eradicating certain cultures in favor of women's rights, so be it.

Now I'm going to rise from my chair and ponder how to make everyone's lot better without shooting and bombs. I definitely won't find the answer in 'TJ Hooker.'

Lance

NJ,

Sorry about that. This is what happens to one's intellectual reference points when one lives in a house whose cultural and artistic life has to encompass the interests of 9 and 12 year old boys. I often wonder what's going to happen to my arguments when they become teenagers. Will they go from boyishly charming to adolescent?

Pepper,

What about the tao of Boston Legal?

Linkmeister

"What about the tao of Boston Legal?"

Or worse, Priceline?

Exiled in NJ

Not to worry, Lance. With only 10-12 episodes, there was little meat to sink the teeth into with The Prisoner.

Housemate Pam detests Shatner, thinking that he got away with murder.

Pete

Regarding "Kirk Rules" there was an aside joke about this in
DS9 ( Episode where the main characters are blue-screened into the original "The Trouble with Tribbles")
One of the future Time Cops tells Sisco

"James T. Kirk. The man was a menace. Seventeen separate temporal violations."

mds

BTW: Violating the PD was the primary driver in that episode where Kirk has to decide whether or not to save a Depression Era social worker (played by Joan Collins) in The City on the Edge of Forever.

Actually, the Prime Directive didn't enter into their reasoning at all. McCoy had utterly changed the past by saving the social worker, which caused the Federation and the Enterprise to cease to exist. (The landing party was preserved because it was in the vicinity of the Guardian of Forever.) Kirk had to allow her to die to restore the existence of his entire universe, not to comply with Starfleet regulations. Only in the later series (with such stories as the DS9 tribble one Pete invokes) did the notion of a "temporal prime directive" appear.

There, that's this week's geek quota taken care of.

Domoni

Just a pointer to Star Trek in the Vietnam Era by H. Bruce Franklin

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