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Old October 22 2010, 09:37 PM   #609
Deranged Nasat
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Re: Star Trek: Sigils and Unions--The Thirteenth Order

I certainly wouldn't call it a rant. It was too controlled for that, but no less a a strongly-felt reveal of emotion. It was genuine in its feeling and its argument, but not uncontrolled at all. I suppose it was a very Cardassian form of expression, somewhat intense by their standards (the incident weighs on Macet, no doubt because it weighs so heavily on Nerys Ghemor's conception of the Macet character (after all, "The Wounded" is his only canonical apperance )), but still within the framework of correct social interaction. That said, it seemed to me that we were getting only a partial insight, because we can't see the body language. Spirodopoulos is responding to it, we're told, but it's obscured from us - we have only words. I quite liked it. It was as if we were "overhearing" the conversation but not involved with it - it reinforces the sense that this is two people having a private conversation. Also, it maintained the sense of boundary to the character of Macet - important when he's revealing his personal feelings on a major character-defining incident, and at length. It keeps the sense that this is a real person, and while we're getting a deep insight, it doesn't mean he's an open book to us. He's still in control of what we see- he's just choosing to express a large amount. So that worked well, in my opinion. It successfully presented Macet's outlook on this highly important canonical incident but stops short of having it overshadow the rest of the character. And that sense of a barrier even as we see so much revealed openly reminds us of the barrier between Macet and Spirodopoulos; it's not a big one anymore, because they understand and respect each other, but they are still two different cultures. It will never fully go away.

Gul Spook wrote: View Post
I am not sure if it was here, or somewhere else, but I've noticed that in some of your stories the notion that maybe the Klingons were not the best choice for allies appears more than once. The Klingons are brutal and vicious. The Cardassians would be much better material for a good, trustworthy ally. Less unpredictable, perhaps.
The confusing thing is that the show itself never denied the completely corrupt and hypocritical nature of the Klingon leadership and their societal codes, yet the Klingons also seemed to get a "free pass" simply because they were allied with the Federation. By which I mean, it seemed to suggest they were somehow "better" simply by being in proximity to the Federation, not because their society was a functional or admirable one. I don't think it's about the Klingons at all- it's about how the Federation is being presented. The Klingons are corrupt, vicious, etc- and this is freely admitted, even highlighted multiple times. But because the Federation is depicted as good- not just "the good guys" or "the people trying to do the right thing" but at times disturbingly "perfect" by default (for all DS9's efforts to deconstruct that)- the Klingon's alliance with them for the sake of galactic stability is therefore presented as something endowed with legitimacy by default. The Klingons are aligned towards "the light" so don't need to bother bettering themselves.

To me, it's not the alliance itself that's the problem- peace and exchange is to me far more preferable to anything else, and I "support the alliance" - the problem is that whenever the Federation had political standoffs with other nations - Romulans, Cardassians, etc - the Klingons therefore ended up somehow (in a contradictory fashion) "good" (when they're obviously not). I've said before in other threads that Klingons have yet to show dedicated counter-culture movements aimed at improving their corrupt society. Cardassians and Romulans, on the other hand, both have dedicated "undergrounds" and highlighted characters who wish to change things for the better. Where is the Klingon version of Lang or Ghemor, of Alidar Jarok or M'ret? Who embodies the promise and uncorrupted pride of Klingons as these characters do for Romulans and Cardassians? Worf doesn't count- he was raised in the Federation. It seems to me that Klingons are not shown actually working against their dysfunction, in contrast to Romulans, Cardassians, etc. Yet because of the alliance- or more to the point, because the Federation is involved with them- those Klingons somehow are presented as "better" than Romulans or Cardassians. "Being the Federation's ally" is shown as more important to the "hero factor" or "the good guy factor" than "living up to ideals, virtues, striving for a better way of life". In other words, everything the Federation is supposed to represent is discarded from relevance when considering alien societies- all that matters is that they're "on the Federation's side".

Now, I know that's not the intent (I'm NOT one of those anti-Federation fans ) but it sadly comes across that way. As I said, because the Klingons are "aligned towards the light" they are not shown as needing to change or better themselves. Ironically, in remaining enemies or rivals of the Federation, the Cardassians and Romulans are still at least part in "darkness" and so can better themselves and are shown trying to do so. The shows seem to have an odd idea that despite showing the Klingons as corrupt and dysfunctional, they are....well, if you'll forgive the analogy, they "don't need" to repent their sins because they've already camped outside Heaven (the "perfect" UFP). The other non-Federation races are not camped outside heaven, and thus are shown in the process of "repenting", and so, despite the show presenting them somehow (and illogically) as "worse" than Klingons, they confusingly (but sensibly) strike us as "better".

Does that make sense?

The whole problem, I've come to think, is that the Federation is seen not as "good because it does this, is this, tries for this, insert reasons here", but "good because Roddenberry said it was, good because it's good". It's goodness is not well defined (as I said, I'm not saying it isn't good in a LOT of ways), but just...accepted. And that makes its relations with other societies and cultures problematic.
We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile, and nothing can grow there. Too much, and the best of us is washed away.
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