Star Trek Discovery and the Conflict of Values

Posted by $ MikeMarotta 7 months, 2 weeks ago to Entertainment
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Star Trek: Discovery delivers a complex drama in which the values of the characters define the set and setting of conflict. Moreover, the integration of plot and theme provide a grand stage on which to see the consequences of values in the choices of action.
SOURCE URL: https://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2019/12/star-trek-discovery-and-conflict-of.html


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  • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 7 months, 2 weeks ago
    In the first episode, I wasn't sure I was going to like it, being put off by all the women in authority, figuring this would be nothing but a feminist narrative but soon found the characters relatable, before I knew it I had watched 5 episodes...will be watching season 1 disc 2 next.

    We'll see if I change my mind...I am still on the edge of doing so.
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    • Posted by $ 7 months, 2 weeks ago
      So, you did not like Dagny Taggart?

      The essential perception in science fiction in general and Star Trek in particular is that the viewer responds to the characters actions from values based on ideas rather than the color of their skin - blue, or green, as it happens - or their gender (of which the species with five might be us after all).

      Do you find it impossible to cheer for R2D2 because it has no race or gender, but is just a machine? I just do not understand your philosophical assumptions as related to that statement: "... being put off by all the women in authority..."
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      • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 7 months, 2 weeks ago
        No, Dagny in AS was not in your face like the start of this ST series...Janeway (sp...forgive my poor memory) in the ST series was not in your face either.

        PS...it's not a philosophy, just a rejection of the current culture.
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  • Posted by $ mshupe 7 months, 2 weeks ago
    Nice article about the role and attributes of art and relating them to an advanced pop culture version.
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    • Posted by $ 7 months, 2 weeks ago
      Thanks. Last night we watched the first episode of Veronica Mars, expecting it to be like Nancy Drew. It was unappealing.Perhaps typified as a picaresque or anti-hero story, Veronica Mars is certainly somewhere along the naturalism spectrum in which actions are irreducible primaries. The main character is also morally unattractive, seeking one-upsmanship, and carrying out contextually impossible actions to get one over on the other guy. Three episodes into Discovery my wife tagged Captain Lorca as the bad guy, though with little concrete evidence, but some expectation from plot and character. Then we waited to see how that would develop. With Veronica Mars we agreed right away that the rich guy was the bad guy and her Mom was sleeping with him and the sheriff is on the take and blah-blah-blah.
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  • Posted by $ puzzlelady 7 months, 2 weeks ago
    As a decades-long Star Trek fan and follower, I was curious what deeper messages the new series would present. Roddenberry's stories always had a moral, symbolic of some human conflict, with usually a humanistic outcome.

    The first few episodes of ST Discovery struck me as filled with too much sound and fury, too much violence and people beating each other up. I assumed the film-makers were catering to today's audience's accelerated taste for action and chopped-up scenes to heighten tension. Surely in an advanced technological society, it should not always come down to people pounding each other as in old western bar fights.

    The overall dark lighting obscured the swiftly changing effects and created an atmosphere of gloom and danger. Much of the dialog was couched in today's slang. Perhaps dropping in the eff word was considered daring but seemed out of place to me.

    Strong female characters, of black and white and Asian ethnicities, a balanced mix of all races in general, a heroine named Michael, and a first kiss between two males appeared to encapsulate the current cultural trends as they may have developed and become accepted in a couple of hundred years. So there is a political agenda barely concealed.

    I found the readiness to kill people every few minutes offensive, no matter how fancy the guns or martial the gymnastics. The alternate Universe was a clever device to contrast rational values and nobility with an unconscionably brutal society. Whom do the Klingons represent in today’s world—the Russians? The Muslims?

    The moral lecture, more a sermon, delivered by Michael at the conclusion of season 1 was at least touching, and connected nicely to the original Star Trek ethos of discovery, not conquest and plunder.

    Preceding the story line of ST:OS, the technological marvels were reasonably believable, with the existence of a universal translator and the novel spores drive. I loved the tardigrade character. Very accurate on a grand scale. The Klingon dialog with subtitles was a real inspiration.

    I don't agree with the message that to win peace we have to threaten total destruction of the other side. Since I don't approve of U.S. foreign policy of today, with its endless wars and sanctions and demonizing of innumerable countries, thus forcing those countries into self-defense and blowback, I don’t buy it as the device apparently encouraged by this story line. Fewer fight scenes and more intelligent problem-solving without primitive violence would bring STD up to Roddenberry’s standards. Surely violence is not the only way to win an audience! And if so, what does that say about our society of today?
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    • Posted by TheRealBill 7 months, 2 weeks ago
      Yeah presenting a setting a couple hundred years in the future with today’s slang isn’t a skillful writing. BSG and Firefly both took the notion of slang and swearing and replaced them. Funny thing about those is that the words they made up actually became somewhat common for today. A mark of skillful writing there, IMO.

      I can’t get past the tardigrade stuff, they pretty much ripped it right out of an Indy video game w/o permission. The history of that is quite damning and glaringly obvious and detailed. It goes right down to the look and relationships of the main characters as well as the creature and how it works. The court case has been interesting and the level of copy involved is so bad you’d be forgiven for thinking they wanted it to be figured out.

      The Klingons don’t represent anyone - not even the originals or the TNG ones did. Many of us associated them with the Soviets but Roddenberry and the writers asserted that was not intentional.

      Ona tech setting doing “prequel” stuff is rough. Your tech can’t look obviously better, which is difficult when our own tech to produce that effect has rapidly advanced. But to me that is merely a challenge that keeps a writer focused.

      This is why I don’t view it as good writing. A good writer can work within an established setting and canon. A bad one can not and will replace and rewrite canon to fit their pursuit. A good example of the latter is the second Highlander movie - one so poorly written and terribly received that the third one starts out with on screen text that basically said “hey, uhh, the second movie never happens mkay”.

      A good example of the former is the BSG rewrite. They were surprisingly accurate to the canon of the original while adding some fantastic new material.

      Due to licensing issues there is only so much a non-CBS studio can do with ST. But STD is CBS. Thus they have no excuse. There are plenty of stories to tell in the canon setting. They could easily go with different parts set during the Dominion War, or after. They could have gone back to the Delta Quadrant - en expedition ship with some of the experimental drive tech, for example.

      Well. Good writers could have.

      But I think your commentary on trying to be contemporary is spot on. Science fiction does what it does by taking you out of your world and gently and adeptly nudging and cajoling. It doesn’t do it by beating you over the head and keeping you on today.

      It’s like calling a slasher flick a “horror movie”. We used to have horror movies. We used to have sci-fi. Now we have slasher and “action-slasher”.

      I’ll take The Orville over STD any day if the week. Or the Expanse. I enjoyed Dark Matter as well.

      But I don’t think it speaks much about the audience. Especially when it is getting panned. It is about the writers and how they view their world.

      Trek came out in an age of optimism about the future. We were also conflict weary. We had seen the Great Depression and WWII and Vietnam and North Korea. The vast majority of Americans had experience genuine and sever hardship personally.

      Today the youths don’t generally experience brutal hardships. Times are the easiest they have ever been. The “big stories” tend to be “first world problems” or “”ZOMG THE POTUS SENT A MEAN TWEET”. The writers have likely never experienced genuine conflict or hardship. But we are a species evolved on suffering, conflict, and fighting to survive. So they likely fell prey to that lizard brim of ours and have to manufacture it and replicate what they view our current world as.

      Either way, their product sucks.
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      • Posted by $ 7 months, 1 week ago
        We watched The Orville Episode 1, "Old Wounds" and on the science station, Dr. Aranoff explains that the redwood tree was engineered with tardigrade DNA.
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        • Posted by TheRealBill 7 months, 1 week ago
          Right, and they used it in a proper context. There is an actual animal carrying that designation and classified as an extremophile. They are incredibly resilient and I took that line as an example of paying attention to what you’re writing.

          Now has they said it was blue and could warp people through space time, I’d have had concerns about it because that particular combination didn’t exist outside of the game until STD writers copied it.
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          • Posted by $ 7 months, 1 week ago
            Thanks! I had no idea. I googled it and read entries at the science department of Carleton College in Minnesota, Popular Mechanics, American Scientist, and the BBC. They all carried pretty much the same information. However, according Popular Mechanics, the Israeli space probe Beresheet left some on the Moon when it crashed there.
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            • Posted by TheRealBill 7 months, 1 week ago
              Yeah I hadn’t either until I saw that episode. It raised an eyebrow and I wondered if that was a subtle dig at STD (cuz McFarlane is subtle, right? ;) ), so I looked it up. Crazy stuff. Impressive, too. It gave me a good first-episode appreciation for their writers.

              Overall I do like what he has done with the Orville. It certainly has the feel of ST. Probably aided in no small part by hiring the show runners from DS9 and STNG (or was it just from one of them?). I know he wanted to do a new ST series, and after seeing his semi-parody I’m reasonably sure he’d have done a good job. Assuming reasonable licensing of course.
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      • Posted by $ 7 months, 1 week ago
        Thanks for the reply. You are far deeper into this than I am. I was unaware of the copyright infringement involving the tardigrades. It is easy to find. See here: https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2018/...

        I personally never saw the Klingons as the USSR. From the very first, following Roddenberry's original conceptions, the Klingons from Planet Kling were just human Asians ("... of oriental stock" as I recall). Similarly, the Vulcans were humans who adapted to Planet Vulcanis, where (guess what) they had a lot of volcanoes. Romulans were humans who wanted to emulate Rome. But that never made it to the television series, and it is probably just as well, but it did leave a lot holes about who these aliens are. It was addressed in an ST:NG episode that we humanoids are all descended from a common ancestor.

        I agree that Battlestar Galactica and Firefly were exceptionally good. I was directed to Firefly by a post on another Objectiv-ish board, Michael Stuary Kelly's "Objectivist Living." Like this, the site has few Objectivists, mostly a lot of "Rand fans" with other personal philosophies. And the poster who recommended Firefly is adamantly non-objective. But there you have it. Rand wrote often about the fundamental meaning of "sense of life." It was why she had close personal friends such as Bennett Serf, who was a political liberal. BSG went off the rails about Season 3 into Season 4. I have the miniseries, Seasons 1, 2, and 2.5 on disk. I watched the entire series but had no incentive to collect the later stories. Ron Moore is talented and accomplished but has a negative sense of life that ruins his good ideas.

        I believe that the commercial failure of Firefly reflects the lack of enthusiasm among the audience of the SYFY channel who respond to the "slasher" genre. From my limited exposure, I accept that the failure of SYFY to stand by Firefly is well known among the more cerebral folk and is understood as a moral failure. I take that from Big Bang Theory, which was successful as a comedy, but could never be re-envisioned as a drama even a light drama. The storyline oif the last season wherein Amy and Sheldon's work is about to be co-opted by second-handers could be a premise, certainly one we would understand and appreciate. It could be interesting to have that story as drama, given the optimistic - even pollyanna - worldviews or sense of life of the main characters.

        Again, you are much deeper into it than I am. I had to google ZOMG to know what it meant. (OMG I do know.)
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    • Posted by $ 7 months, 2 weeks ago
      Thanks. Nicely said. I agree with your criticisms and the fact that the failings of the series reflect on the accurate assessment of the audience by the producers. The show was successful. We have the first six seasons of Bones on disc and even there, Dr. Temperance Brennen knocks down a few bad guys and fires two different handguns. Other than that, it is a cerebral show, and also (implicitly) within the (bootleg) Romantic school.

      ST:NG was a departure from ST:OS in many ways, among them that Captain Picard was only exceptionally forced to strike anyone. Captain Kirk ended many encounters by punching out a scientist, and even decked at least one woman. That was accepted by a culture that accepted spousal abuse as a private matter. (On the same note, consider how often in films and TV, a man grabs a woman's arm to prevent her from leaving the room. No one questioned it back then.). Now, we live in a society where we debate whether school teachers should be armed in order to kill armed children who intend to kill.

      The unnecessary violence on television is easy to perceive. Allow me to suggest that you consider a scence from the film production of Atlas Shrugged. In the book, when Ellis Wyatt first confronts Dagny Taggart, Ayn Rand wrote: "He spoke distinctly, giving unusual clarity to every syllable." (page 83 ppb) He speaks in answer to her question, "What can I do for you?" He answers her. In the movie, he cuts her off and yells at her. It was noted here by one of the women. As I recall her comment was, "Sure, don't let the woman speak." Maybe the medium requires that in order to convey purpose or maybe it says something about who "we" (as a culture) are.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 months, 2 weeks ago
    "It can be interesting to discuss the extent to which science fiction writers who claim special imagination fail to envision any utopia more innovative than open-handed socialism. On that basis, the Star Trek franchise has been criticized by libertarians "
    This is a legitimate complaint, but it varies from episode to episode. In Treachery, Faith, and the Great River, the Nog does work and makes a bunch of trades and everyone ends up better off. They treat it as if it's some kind of weird anomaly. I don't know if the writers were tongue-in-cheek, but it leads you right to "wow, doing work and making trades made everyone happy. Who would have thought it!?"

    In Starship Down, Quark debates economics with an alien who paraphrases parts of The Communist Manifesto. I got the idea the writers were trying to show both sides but clearly didn't understand the capitalist side of the argument. Even worse are preachy episodes like The Neutral Zone that are cringe-worthy in their self-righteousness.

    Most episodes don't get into the details on laws and economics, so it's easy to create liberty-friendly head-cannon.
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    • Posted by $ 7 months, 2 weeks ago
      I had to google head-cannon and it took me to headcanon or head-canon. One n. (You engineers... In the shop where I now work, an engineer needed to turn a nut, so I handed him an adjustable wrench. He sighed and came over and took the 5/8 out of the box. Same thing here: canon, not cannon.)

      Back in the 20th century Armin Shimerman told me at a Star Trek convention that he was an admirer of Rand, and had read The Fountainhead in college and was going to read Atlas Shrugged ahead of filiming the coming season. As you know, he played Dr. Ferris in Atlas Shrugged.

      Anyway... I have not seen the episode "Starship Down." I will watch it. I do know the other episodes. "The Great River" was highly entertaining. I just tried to find the Quark speech I remember but keep getting directed to a different episode with the same lines, apparently. Planet Ferengeron never had slavery.

      That said, I am not sure that it is a "legitimate complaiint" when judging art. Again, consider the difference between Rand's consistent condemnation of ante-bellum Southern society and her praise for Gone With the Wind. Would GWTW have been a better story told from the viewpoint of a southern abolitionist? (Sarah Moore Grimké (1792–1873) and Angelina Emily Grimké (1805–1879).)

      And we do have "libertarian" science fiction such as Alongside Night and other works by J. Neil Schulman (who just passed last August). Also, L. Neil Smith's Pallas is just one in a series of realistic scifi. His "Bucketeers" yarns are more fantastic. They spin off of his alternate universe from The Probability Broach with its laissez-faire society. Not surprisingly, he wrote a series of Lando Calrissian books.

      Just for one thing, although I produced of a showing of Alongside Night here in Austin. It was not as good a production as Discovery not by lightyears. Ideology is not a substitute for craftsmanship. (On my blog here: https://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2... )

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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 months, 2 weeks ago
        "to google head-cannon"
        Thanks for catching a funny-sounding mistake I made.
        "Planet Ferengeron never had slavery."
        I always think that's because they're into money, and your choices in people working together are money or slavery.
        "Ideology is not a substitute for craftsmanship."
        In some ways it can be the opposite. An entertaining story can be ruined by preaching . I don't like messages that are a two-by-four to the head. (I guess I could call that head cannon.)
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  • Posted by Lucky 7 months, 2 weeks ago
    I would never send the captain into hand-to-hand combat on an enemy vessel
    MM, could you please elaborate, explain this?
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    • Posted by $ 7 months, 2 weeks ago
      It is a thing on Star Trek and a lot of these mass media science fiction war dramas that the captain goes on away teams and leads battles from the front. Sure, when George Patton was a Lt. Col. in World War I, he distinguished himself by leading a tank charge. And, yes, in Europe and other cultures where you inherit your social rank, the leaders are easily replaced because they bring so little to the table. That said, given the training and experience required, given the investment and expectations for future returns, you do not throw away your leadership. That would be all the more true in the future of Star Trek.

      Just to say about Discovery Cdr. Burnham and Capt. Georgiou board the Klingon ship. But we are told that Starfleet is for explorers and scientists, not soldiers. I would have polled the crew for who had weapons training or security experience or had been decorated for bravery, etc., and put together a plan. But I do not write for television.
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      • Posted by Lucky 7 months, 2 weeks ago
        MM, good points-
        a commander should command the whole operation not just a part of it,
        and I like the reference to inheritance.

        As you say it a common fault. In visual media it is hard to convey the technical and analytical competence required for success in war, or managing railroads, but easy to portray heroism. The simple and lazy approach is to show the heroism and imply the mental competence, and combine all in the main character.

        (My question was on a (mis)perceived objection to troops on one side in violent conflict disguising themselves in a vehicle of the other).
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      • Posted by $ Olduglycarl 7 months, 2 weeks ago
        Shame, we could use better shows for TV.

        Never saw the show on TV, just saw it on Netflix and thought I'd give it a try. I only watch the vids during the most boring of times...just to stay awake on the late shifts...laughing, just waiting for something to break in the building.
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 months, 2 weeks ago
        Often Trek would make more sense if the ships had a crew of a dozen or fewer people. It's often hard to understand why we see a few people having all the action on a ship with hundreds of people, esp if the main characters are supposed to be directors in charge of managers who have their own teams. In Day of the Dove they came out and said bulkheads deployed locking most of the crew on lower decks. If feel like it would make sense to say that happened in most episodes.
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        • Posted by TheRealBill 7 months, 2 weeks ago
          Honestly, and I say this as someone who grew up on the original, it is a lot like being a vet and watching a military movie: the more you know (science and engineering in the ST case) the more you have to ignore to have good time. The amount of fantasy in sci-fi is crazy high.

          For starters, the ships, and even the Enterprise D, are way too small. Especially the combat ships. Even with impulse and warp with as it is variously described in Trek, small ships do not make sense. The level and amount of energy they have at their disposal is akin to powering a Tesla pickup with a present day fission reactor.

          They have shuttle craft that can go into warp. With no antimatter reactor and no warp core needed. So clearly the energy needed for warp isn’t that much.

          But the energy surplus is only a minor issue. At is the number one problem in space travel? Heat management. This is one of the reasons the ships should be absolutely enormous - for dumping the insane levels of heat generated by the ships’ power generation. I know it sounds counterintuitive for shedding heat to be a problem in space, space being cold and all. But it is also empty, so no wind to carry the heat away.

          The only spaceship that made sense in terms of scale is the Romulan mining shop in the Kelvin timeline.

          But with that size comes not only thermal management but storage, crew, and just outright spaciousness in a scale difficult to imagine for a space shop. For long journeys that’d be a blessing because large open shop interiors are easier on the psyche.

          But this could on and on and on and I’d probably be the only one enjoying it. ;)

          But regarding STD: it isn’t faithful to the canon - not even in the way it tells the story. Every Trek until now was about the crew. Occasionally there would be a crewmember as central element but it was always about a crew. This STD stuff isn’t. It is all about the Captain from why I’ve seen. Between that, copying stuff from Indy games, and the brutalizations of the canon, it isn’t something I can support or get into. It sits right in the camp of stuff that is basically “we can’t come up with our own compelling stories or setting and we don’t like that one but it has a big name so let’s just do what we want (poorly) and call it by that name.
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          • Posted by $ 7 months, 1 week ago
            Well, all science fiction is gobbledegook if you want to see it that way. The first science fiction story published by a working scientist was about an ascent to the Moon by virtue of a special amalgam of steel and mercury wonderously magnetized. But from there, yes, the author took care that his crew had an air scrubber, tanks of oxygen, and so on. ("Orren Lindsay" by John Leonard Riddell, referenced on my blog here: https://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2...

            To me, the glass may be half full, half empty, or (as the enginerr insists) is twice as big as it needs to be. By that I mean that you take the best of what you can find for your own self-reflection. That is the purpose of Art. Otherwise, you reject great paintings for failures of anatomy because no one really could stand like that. Consider the Arnofini Portrait by Jan Van Eyck: the optics of the mirror in the background are impossible; they are hyper-realistic: no camera could take that shot.

            I agree that the Discovery story could be told without being in any Star Trek universe. it was just marketed as "New! Improved!" in a red box on the eye-level shelf. It is good soap, nonetheless.
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        • Posted by $ 7 months, 2 weeks ago
          I watched Band of Brothers and re-watched certain episodes and I read the book. We only follow a handful of the thousands in the 101st Airborne. It is a matter of context.

          When Roddenberry first envisioned "Star Trek" he thought of it as a "Wagon Train in space." In the TV show Wagon Train we have the main characters (wagon master, scout, cook, lead guy number 2, and maybe another), but a changing cast of settlers moving West as each train is assembled and transported. Each Wagon Train episode was a story centered on a settler as the continuing action provided an "arc" across the season. It was very innovative for the time.
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  • Posted by $ 7 months, 1 week ago
    Knowing of the criticisms here a few years back that the show was horribly progressive and politically correct, I finally got around to watching it when my wife was out of town. I started in the late middle: "Si vis Pacem para Bellum" and continued to watch because it was compelling. I responded to the positives of the writing. But I also recognized that this was not "Star Trek" but only labelled as such. My wife pulled in to the driveway as the last episode was launching. So, I stopped there.

    A week or so later, she was out of town, again, so I started over with the first three episodes. It all made sense. A week later, I suggested it, but warned her that this was barely Star Trek except for some thin trappings. From the very first, she was captivated as I was. She even chortled in Klingon at the of T'Kuvma's speech and related immediately to Cdr. Michael Burnham.

    Laurel is more literary than I am. I got through high school literature classes with Classics Illustrated comic books and avoided all but one required class in college. She has worked for major publishers, attended conventions, and has a collection of autographed first editions. Her favorite novel remains Pride and Prejudice.

    I read it, too, and then Northanger Abbey. It is possible to have important conflicts without anyone getting shot with a disintegrator ray.

    That being as it may, Star Trek: Discovery is in the Romantic tradition. The criticisms here, even where they are valid, are irrelevant to that judgement.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 months, 1 week ago
      "the criticisms here a few years back that the show was horribly progressive and politically correct, "
      I think those criticisms are not valid. Someone here pointed out that an admiral brings up Brunham's race, saying that the show is saying focusing on race or group identity as a positive thing. It was the exact opposite. It was supposed to be annoying and the actress conveyed that. Shortly after the admiral got blown up, and I think the show wants us not to like him very much.

      At the time each new Star Trek came out, I heard at least some complaints that the show is too "politically correct", whatever that even means, because of its diversity. Someone in this post said Discovery is making a statement by having a same-sex couple. I understand how it could seem that way, but to me it would be conspicuous if everyone were heterosexual or everyone in leadership were white males. I know that was the world of the past, but it hasn't been the case in my life, and it would be weird seeing it in a show about the future.
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      • Posted by $ 7 months, 1 week ago
        I must have missed the reference. If anyone spoke of "race" it would be Vulcan, human, etc., not white and colored among humans.

        I have explained "politically correct" here. It is not understood by those on the right who do not understand Marxism, just as leftwing people keep complaining about "capitalism." Just for example: If a progressive says that men exploit women that is not politically correct. The politically correct statement is that men and women are differentially exploited by capitalism, just as salaried and hourly employees are artificially created constructs to set workers against each other to the benefit of the ruling class. (Just sayin' that's what a Marxist would say.) If you know the movie Dr. Zhivago the commissar from Moscow warns the partisans that they will be judged not on their heroism but on their political correctness.
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        • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 months, 1 week ago
          "I have explained "politically correct" here. "
          I used to think it meant saying things like disabled instead of handicapped or differently abled instead disabled.

          Your example about saying capitalism differentially exploits men and women is something different from the old meaning of using strained euphemisms. In this definition, does political correctness simply mean consistent with Marxist theory?

          I'd be interested in a link to your explanation or some other explanation. Right now I think of it as a "wild card" word to mean any straw man or victim narrative when the speaker can't troubled to think up his own. "The only reason you disagree with me is PC, but I reject that as an argument." It's worse in the victim narrative format: "The only reason I can't succeed in life is PC exploits righteous people like me."
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          • Posted by $ 7 months, 1 week ago
            I went to Mirriam-Webster and the Cambridge Dictionary and found the easy definitions you refer to: not excluding people or, alternately, actively including them.

            I found deeper dives in Wikipedia and NPR. "In the early-to-mid 20th century, the phrase politically correct was used to describe strict adherence to a range of ideological orthodoxies within politics." -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politic... That is in line with my citation from Dr. Zhivago and as I experienced it in the 1960s.

            From the NPR write-up: "The author Lionel Shriver riled up literary circles this fall with a controversial speech at the Brisbane Writers Festival. Some called her intolerant and out of touch. Then others accused Shriver's critics of being too politically correct, another way of saying "hypersensitive."
            (NPR here: https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswit... ).

            A link to the Lionel Shriver speech here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentis...

            As amusing as that all is, I did not find ST: Discovery to be especially tied to whatever definitions of "political correctness." The future unfolds. A while back, I found a reference online to a book that I happened on and thought was obscure, The Humbugs of New York by David Meredith Reese, M.D., John S. Taylor New York; Weeks, Jordan & Co., Boston, 1838. I bought it at a library sale. It is in a library binding, G.F. Hopkins, Printers. In 1838, along with animal magnetism, phrenology, and homeopathy, the author cited "ultra-abolitionism." It is humbug to think that you should simply pass a law to end slavery. I thinik that it is telling that baseball was integrated a year before the armed forces and both before Brown v. Board of Education.. Cultures change.


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            • Posted by CircuitGuy 7 months, 1 week ago
              Thanks for that detailed info. The NPR story does a good job explaining the many definitions of the word. It has too many definitions. To my ear it only means talking around an issue in an absurd way, e.g. "growth opportunities" instead of weaknesses.

              It was amusing to read about Shriver's "controversial speech". Then when you read it, there's nothing controversial.

              I suspect two things are going on:
              1. We're trying to shield children from even the most minor conflicts by having an authority figure resolve them. They grow up unable to work through minor discomfort. They can't do this:
              A: "That hat seems like an insulting caricature of the one my grandfather wore in Mexico."
              B: "Oh I'm sorry, I didn't realize that."
              A: "He was part of an indigenous tribe in Chiapas and never felt fully respected. Even though I was born here, when I see that I feel like it's laughing at me and all my grandparents went though."
              B: "Maybe I should take it off. I didn't realize it could be seen that way. I'm really sorry to have insulted you unintentionally."
              A: "No. I realize you meant no offense. I'm sorry I over-reacted."

              2. We have solved so many problems. Within living memory mean-spirited racists jokes and jokes about rape were acceptable to many people. Now we've solved these, we're looking for microaggressions to fix. It's not right, but it's a good problem for a society to have. I don't see it as a sign of our society's failings but rather of how amazingly free we have become.
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      • Posted by TheRealBill 7 months, 1 week ago
        Discovery is making a statement in that regard. How do? Because same sex coupling has been done over two decades ago in Star Trek on broadcast television. It happened in the “right way” in that nobody on the show even so much as batted an eyebrow at it. And yes it was one of the main characters. One could argue that Dax would also be the first cross-sex character as well since she was formerly a he. Indeed that entire character arc is an example of how good writing can cover such expansive ground without berating, brow bearing, or hitting the consumer over the head with it.

        But the again, that particular couple in STD is part of the lawsuit. It is that pervasive. In truth a lot of that hubbub isn’t from the show but the activists and the actors. It personally if a show has cast actors that are treating the show as a personal platform for ideology or politics I’m significantly less interested in the show. Even if I agree with the politics.
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  • -8
    Posted by CircuitGuy 7 months, 2 weeks ago
    "We can see even [Lorca's] best actions in a new (and worse) light. But his competence as a leader is never in question. Aligned to his values, his actions are purposeful, consistent, and thoughtful. We just reject his values.

    It is our viewpoint character, Commander Michael Burnham, who must confront hers. She is never without values. "

    I don't know if they planned it this way, but I love how it worked out. Burnham makes a series of horrible mistakes and has a death wish. She ends up on Lorca's ship. Lorca starts out seeming like a person who has to not follow principles out of expediency, as if it's going to be a story like In the Pale Moon Light, where the viewer is left to decide if crimes are justified if they help end a war against and existential threat. But it turns out Lorca is following a different set of values.

    I like how Pike said in Season 2 said explicitly "I'm not [Lorca]" and that they would try to have some fun. It's almost like he was breaking the fourth wall to tell the audience.

    Watching this show reminds me of how I felt watching TNG in the late 80s. It wasn't the Trek I knew but it still was Trek.
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    • Posted by $ 7 months, 2 weeks ago
      I don't know why they piled on you like that, or what their aesthetic theories are, but Minus 7 seems extreme.

      First, I disagree about Burnham's "death wish." Remember that she was raised on Vulcan. She is accepting the judgment of the court martial. I agree that she being something a martyr in her head - oh, woe is me; I deserve this; but I tried to do the right thing and look where it got me - but that would be in line with what we know from basic criminology andd penalogy. Some convicts go through "stages" as they mature into their sentences. Most claim to be unjustly accused and wrongfully convicted. I think that she is just accepting her sentence as a logical outcome of her actions.

      Context is important. I mention that in the context of the episode "Context is for Kings." Lorca says, "Absolutes are for slaves." Rand called her philosophy Objectivism, not Absolutism. Absolutes exist. Context is how they are applied. It is why we go around in circles here on questions such as capital punishment and abortion. Some admireres of Rand's works want absolute answers where they cannot exist. Context defines the answers. Read Rand's speech at West Point and other commentaries on the war in Vietnam.

      Context is not expediency. In "The Vulcan Hello" the line that slides by is that the Vulcans first crossed into Klingon space when they were fired upon. Also, the next line is that "until a treaty was established..." So, there was a treaty. Negotiation was possible. Burnham's errors from that point just compounded.

      I think that overall the writers did a great job on this, even as they made other mistakes and left oversights and omissions. Unlike novels and movies, TV writing is a production process on schedule, more like factory work. Sometimes quaility is only five 9s.

      (I have not seen Season 2. We are number 55 in line for 1 of 11 copies at the city library. Laurel could get it on Amazon.)
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      • -1
        Posted by CircuitGuy 7 months, 2 weeks ago
        “First, I disagree about Burnham's "death wish." She is accepting the judgment of the court martial. I agree that she being something a martyr in her head - oh, woe is me; I deserve this;”
        I did not get that she felt like a martyr being punished for doing the right thing. I felt like she was contrite. She warned Georgiou that killing T'Kuvma would make things worse. Shortly after, in an illogical response to Georgiou’s death, she killed T'Kuvma. At that point she felt like she had erred beyond redemption. When she thought her prison transport was going to crash, she didn’t care. She seemed like she wanted to die.

        “"Context is for Kings." Lorca says, "Absolutes are for slaves." Rand called her philosophy Objectivism, not Absolutism. Absolutes exist. Context is how they are applied.”
        When Lorca turned out to be a villain, it made me think the writers were saying Lorca was wrong in his view of context, or at least how he applied it.

        “So, there was a treaty. Negotiation was possible. Burnham's errors from that point just compounded.”
        Yes. I think the show was saying Burnham was out and out wrong. She had some faulty reasoning to justify her position. Hit doesn’t hit you over the head with it, but it seems like her reasoning could be affected by the death of her parents in a Klingon raid.

        “I have not seen Season 2.”
        It’s much less dark. I liked it. I’ve been subscribing to CBS All Access for years now, imagining I would get 26 episodes a year as in the old days. Not any more. A TV season is like 10-12 episodes now. They also made some short episodes focusing on one character. I feel starved for content. I know it’s better than in the 90s, but I liked a new episode every week.
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        • Posted by $ 7 months, 1 week ago
          CG: "... She warned Georgiou that killing T'Kuvma would make things worse. Shortly after, in an illogical response to Georgiou’s death, she killed T'Kuvma. At that point she felt like she had erred beyond redemption."

          You are right.

          CG:: "When Lorca turned out to be a villain, it made me think the writers were saying Lorca was wrong in his view of context, or at least how he applied it."

          Yes, well, they are not O/objectivists but find moral certainty in absolutes, as would the audience. The Ten Commandments are not called "The Ten Contextual Negotiations." The common cultural view is that it is praiseworthy to adhere to a faith regardless of the consequences to yourself, as in Quo Vadis another Romantic work that Rand recommended to her admirers. Nathaniel Branden once said that if you are questioned by the police of a totalitarian regime as to your political beliefs, you owe it to yourself to lie. I agree that Lorca was just using an argument. All he wanted to do was get back to his universe and carry out his coup d'etat. Toward that end, he would say or do anything.
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          • Posted by CircuitGuy 6 months, 3 weeks ago
            "Nathaniel Branden once said that if you are questioned by the police of a totalitarian regime as to your political beliefs, you owe it to yourself to lie. I agree that Lorca was just using an argument."
            When I watch it again I will consider Lorca's side. This discussion makes me think the show will age well. If they are good villains, you can see their side of it.

            I would love to hear from those who condemn my original comment about how it started out as a In the Pale Moon Light scenario before we knew Lorca was from the mirror universe.
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