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Old July 30 2012, 04:04 AM   #324
Paper Moon
Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
Paper Moon wrote: View Post
Ehn... emotionally compromised or not, Spock should have just locked him in the brig. Kirk was unconscious when he was ejected in a dinky pod that flew into a planet's atmosphere and crash landed. Spock must have been spectacularly emotionally compromised to do something so dangerous; it makes a little bit more sense to theorize that Spock is prone to occasional bouts of draconian logic during crises, and that he concluded that Kirk posed an extraordinary risk to the mission. That gives his actions a bit more nuance, and makes it more believable than Spock just going berserk.
I didn't say he went berserk. I said that one can't assume that his judgment as an officer in his late 20s after having seen his homeworld and his mother die in front of him cannot be taken as predictive of his judgment as a far more experienced officer in his early 60s upon being betrayed by his protegee. The situations are so radically dissimilar that it's facile to treat them as analogous. Even aside from all the rest, I'd say that just in general it's a bad idea to assume that someone's behavior in their 20s is a good model for projecting their behavior in their 60s.
Sorry, I never meant to suggest that you said that he went berserk. I was speaking to the more general point that Spock's actions in that situation were totally ridiculous, and that they are made somewhat more plausible by suggesting that Spock has a particular streak of ruthless logic within him (ie. he had it when he was 20, he had it when he was 60, he'll have it the day he dies).

I don't think Spock's actions in STVI were out of character. A different aspect of his character than we've seen much before, but he definitely serves the greater good, and definitely places a premium value on loyalty. To Pike ("The Menagerie"), to Kirk. I don't think anyone has ever betrayed Spock as much as Valeris did, and I think that his willingness, however hesitant, to meld with her, may have been tainted by anger from that betrayal.
I guess it depends on whether you perceive forced mental invasion as analogous to rape. A number of Trek novelists over the decades have written tales which asserted that Vulcans and telepaths in general considered it a shocking breach of ethics to force oneself into someone's mind. The TNG episode "Violations" was built around that very premise, that mental invasion equals rape and is a heinous taboo in a telepathic society. I've seen the same idea used in other science fiction beyond ST. And there was a definite sexual subtext to the Spock/Valeris relationship and to that scene in particular -- to the point that I once read a story about some boor in the audience at a showing of the film shouting something like "Yeah, do it to her!" as if cheering on a rape scene.

So if you take it that way, then hell yes, it was out of character. Being angry doesn't justify that, ever.
Oh, don't get me wrong. I don't think it was out of character, but I don't think it was an ethical thing to do, either. Notice that I never said it was justified, merely believable.

Personally, I've never really seen a sexual subtext to Spock/Valeris; a father-daughter dynamic, maybe (more so than Spock/Saavik), but beyond the scene in question, nothing sexual. I am curious: are there particular scenes/lines that you would cite supporting that?

I know I'm verging into sticky territory here, so let me just state the obvious: I do not believe that rape, torture or murder are ever morally justifiable.

Having said that: I think that the moral calculus for what Spock did is complicated by the fact that it was done in order to obtain critical pieces of information regarding an impending attack that, if not stopped, would trigger a war that would kill billions. Rape, as we use the word, can never be used for such ultimately well-intentioned purposes.

For comparison, Garak's killing of Grathon Tolar to keep the secret of the Vreenak Affair from escaping: obviously it was immoral, but is it immoral in the same ways that the murders Joran Dax committed were immoral?

Moral people can do immoral things for moral reasons, and I think that was what Spock was doing. And I find that believable. Not admirable, but believable.

Also, for what it's worth, I thought Kirk's hatred of Klingons was believable in the film. David came along at a very emotionally tender moment in Kirk's life (mainly due to Spock's death), and I would not be surprised if he was yet more sensitive to David's death because of that. Combine that with a lifetime of adversarial interactions and 8 years of what was obviously festering grief over David, I can understand Kirk's not-so-evolved attitude towards the Klingons.
I think it's entirely out of character, because Kirk is not so stupid as to blame an entire race for the actions of specific individuals within it. He would hate Kruge for ordering David's death, he would hate the specific soldier (was it Torg?) who delivered the killing blow, maybe at most he would hate the Klingon military establishment or government for the policies that caused so much death and suffering. But he would not blame the rank-and-file populace or wish the entire species extinct because of the actions of its military, because he's not a complete and utter moron. We know from many episodes that he sees what a lie that kind of race hatred is, that he always strives for more understanding. This is the man who was furious at Kang's men for the violence inflicted on his crew, yet still was willing to reach out to Mara and try to build a bridge of trust. That's who he is, because he's intelligent and perceptive. He gets angry at the actions of individuals, not at their genes.
I believe Dillard touched on this indirectly, but I think Kirk believed that all Klingons were part of that conservative, warmongering military establishment. (The novel establishes that Azetbur and Gorkon were not part of the military caste.) And how many Klingons would Kirk, indeed, any Federate, have met who were not warriors? Again, not saying that it was justified, but people do engage in logical fallacies, particularly when they are clouded by grief, and particularly when they have decades of experience being removed from the objects of their prejudices, with no one-on-one interactions to force them to confront their prejudices ( la Mara).

Where did Chen sit before she manned the conn (ie. in Destiny,ASD and PoD? I'm rereading Greater Than The Sum, and it seems like Christopher implies that she will be sitting in Deanna's seat, fulfilling Troi's bridge officer role as de facto contact specialist.
That's correct. I intended her to fill the role of Picard's advisor on contact and diplomatic situations, much as Deanna did.
Heh, I was afraid you were going to say that. I really like the character of T'Ryssa, but the thought of her sitting at Picard's left hand... hmm, rubs me the wrong way. Slightly.
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