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Old August 28 2012, 05:38 AM   #29
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Re: "Code of Honor" Ligonians: Humans or Aliens?

Christopher wrote: View Post

Are you kidding? "Justice?" "Angel One?" There are plenty of episodes worse than this one. If nothing else, it had a fantastic musical score by Fred Steiner, the only TOS composer to score a TNG episode.
That's where "Just speaking for myself," comes in. I haven't seen every single episode of Star Trek, so that may be true, but this is the worst episode I have seen, I can tell you that. It may have had a nice musical score, but so did Transformers 2. The musical score neither makes the episode nor the film.

And if the world were only built off of intentions. The problem is that wasn't the result, and for people who are in the business of how things look, this was a complete fail they should have been able to avoid if they wanted to.
I do not deny for a minute that the result was unfortunate. But if we're to judge, let's judge what actually happened instead of a set of distortions or oversimplifications.
And what actually happened was really bad if you consider that a large number of people were turned off from it. My guess is that wasn't the intent either. What offends some people might not offend others, but to call that offense "distortion" and "oversimplification" sounds like a distortion and an oversimplification in and of itself.

Huh? Okay, you've got this completely backward. My whole point is that what ended up onscreen is not what the writers intended, at least not where the racial undertones are concerned.
But you blamed Ms. Powers for writing a bad script, or at least that's what it looked like. What's that saying? "You can't make a good movie with a bad script, but you can make a bad movie with a good one." If she wrote a bad script, then the episode was doomed to begin with. If she wrote a good script and, through the approval process, it was rewritten into something she never meant for it to be, well then that's different. Do you know if that's what happened?

I'm not trying to oversimplify this and find a single person to "blame." Just the opposite -- I'm trying to evaluate all the contributing factors, because this is a more complicated and nuanced situation than people tend to assume. And one of those factors is that, as she proved on Stargate, Katharyn Powers had a tendency to portray non-Terran or non-Western cultures in this kind of broad and anthropologically awkward fashion. ("Code of Honor" has nothing on SG-1's "Emancipation," which totally misrepresents Mongol culture.)
And interestingly enough, Emancipation, as bad as it was, it was not nearly as bad as Code of Honor to me or as offensive. And there were different people in charge of that series, which makes me wonder what role that might have played in how I view these episodes both authored by the same person. That's not to say that Stargate didn't have it's issues as well, but that's another topic for another day, imo.

This, I can agree with. On the "assumptions that would've been hard to unlearn" aspect, I think maybe this was one of the reasons I've heard that they brought in some new people for season 2 show running. At least that's what I heard.
Oh, hardly. Most of the first-season staffers left because they were driven away by the bad treatment they received from the clique that surrounded the ailing Roddenberry. For instance, Roddenberry had his lawyer rewriting the scripts, even though the lawyer wasn't a WGA member and wasn't supposed to be doing that. (David Gerrold developed such fierce hatred for the lawyer that practically everything he's written since then contains totally awful characters named after the lawyer, uses his name as an alien curse or the name of some horrible disease, that sort of thing.)
If a lawyer was rewriting the scripts, then that says something. Do you know if he worked on the one in question? I'm sorry to hear that the staff had such a hard time, but whatever happened, I'm glad that the series got better as the years went on.

I think the issue here was that the Ligonians were portrayed as savage-like, "take by force," conniving people, while the "aliens" of the very next episode were blonde and blue and happily innocent and naive in their own little Utopia. There was a twist to this which came, of course, from some "outside" evil force and the TNG crew got to be their rescuers IIRC... The contrast is where the problem lies, FWIW.
I'd hardly say they were portrayed as "savage" any more than "primitive." "Savage" means wild and uncontrolled. The Ligonians did engage in behavior like kidnapping and duels, but they were very orderly and formal about it, following a well-established set of cultural traditions. They were very civilized by their own lights. If you read the script for this episode and had no idea what the Ligonians looked like, I doubt you would've ever gotten the impression that they were "savage."
Well, it seems wild and uncontrolled to me to steal a member of another group of people you've never come in contact with and take them as your own. Sure, this has happened historically with certain groups of people in the past, but that doesn't make it any less savage, at least not to me. I think, based on the script, that I would consider that act savage--because I do, in fact, consider that savage behavior.

The problem is, I think, that the audience is lumping all the different stereotypes together into a single ur-stereotype. What's actually onscreen is a mix of different cultural stereotypes, but all anyone remembers is that all the aliens were black, so they project black stereotypes onto it and thus misremember the facts of the episode. I don't question that there were unfortunate stereotypes involved, but like I said, let's get the facts straight so we know what it is we're actually judging.
Well, if that's what "the audience" is doing, then that means that someone didn't do their job well when they made this episode. It's very presumptuous to assume that the audience is "misremembering" anything. If you don't agree with the conclusions other people made, that's one thing, but to suggest that only people that agree with you came to the "right" one is something else. It's not a matter of right or wrong, but as you liked to mention above, it's a matter of what happened. And what happened was that a lot of viewers were offended. Whoever made this episode failed.

Romulus Prime wrote: View Post
Spock/Uhura Fan wrote: View Post
Star Trek has a history of being more than "just a show" on a number of fronts. But anyway, I don't think it's an issue of people wanting to be offended or victimized, it's more of an issue of an unfounded tradition.
No, it is just a show, and like anything else, is made more than this by personal opinion. Now, I love most of Star Trek and I'll argue points and circumstances against opinions I oppose, but at the end of the day, I don't lose track of the fact it's anything more than a form of entertainment.
The pioneering that happened in Star Trek is more than just personal opinion; it is fact. I can list some of those facts if you’d like. You’re right that it is a form of entertainment, but it is also a form of entertainment that did more than just entertain.

And yes, people do want to be victims when it's comfortable. I see it all the time AND have been on the receiving end when people assumed I was one ethnicity and not another simply based on my outward appearance.

IMO, the episode isn't racist one bit, and if anyone is trying to convince me otherwise, it's because they want justification for their feelings. But hey, I guess Star Trek is racist towards whites for casting mostly white people to play Cardassians - some of the most heartless and ruthless villains in Trek history. Same with Romulans and Borg too, right?

Sorry, but this is much ado about nothing, and perpetuating this myth about the Ligonians - an alien race I always thought were cool - is just another example of how to water down the meaning of the terms "racist" and "racism."

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No one is trying to convince you of anything. You had one reaction and opinion of the episode, and other people, including myself, had another. You would be making a good point with the Cardassians, the Romulans, and the Borg if most of the best races and heros in Trek history weren’t also cast using white actors. The trick of trying to create a “made up” issue by only specifying only half of it is always interesting to me.

IMO, the episode had racially insensitive themes, and if anyone is trying to convince me otherwise, it’s because they want justifications for their feelings. I just felt like maybe I could give a little of the disregarding of anyone that had a different reaction back to you.

“Myth,” and “much ado about nothing” are also opinions of yours based off of your experience. The fact that you actually think that they were “cool” says enough to me. When anyone can take the offense that a number of people had to the same thing for the same reasons and waive it off as “watering down” racism and what’s racist, that is very sad to me because it says they are not very open to how other people experience things. And it’s when we are not open to how other people experience the world that things like “sexism,” “racism,” “homophobia,” etc. have the greatest likelihood of carrying on. Just my opinion, of course. Take it if you will.
MA'AM. Hot damn, I can dig it.

“The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.” - Virginia Woolf
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