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Old May 26 2013, 11:59 PM   #21
sj4iy
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Re: Why did they bother...

YARN wrote: View Post
BillJ wrote: View Post
YARN wrote: View Post
Don't bet on it though. Star Trek was assimilated to make money...
Because Roddenberry, Desilu and NBC were making Trek out of the goodness of their heart. It seems folks are whipping out their rosť-tinted nostalgia glasses again and forget how much Roddenberry borrowed from other TV and films at the time.
Even if we assume that this is my "motivation," it does nothing to repudiate the claims I make in that post. The Tu Quoque argument does not deny an accusation, it just asserts that the accuser is also guilty of said accusation.
Old Trek might be exactly like NuTrek, but this would not repudiate my claim.

The only way in which my reasoning would not gain traction would be if the Eco-Darwinistic warrant were true of any and all artworks. That is, if it were a universal truism that artworks are simply made to make money, that that is their purpose, then there would be no room for alternatives. It would make no sense to accuse nuTrek of something of which all artistic producers are guilty (by necessity).

When we globalize this to an argument making a universal statement about artistic production, however, it falls under the weight of it's lazy Machiavellian assumptions:

Premise: Artistic products that don't make money do not survive.

Premise: Star Trek is an artistic product (a commodity).

Conclusion: Money is the only relevant motive in the production of Star Trek.


The conclusion simply does not follow from the premises. The conclusion fails to note that artistic products can be made with additional motives and that, therefore, there is a difference between an artwork with a message that is designed to make money and a (nominal) artwork which only exists to make money.

Even if this were a valid syllogism, the premises are questionable, at best. It assumes that "survival" (e.g., the endless regurgitation of franchises and toys and books and games) is the only relevant, or the paramount, motive for an artwork. If professional life was "all about the money" and only about money, only a fool would teach. Considering the average pay of any creative artist (musicians, actors, writers, etc.), only a fool would go into the creative expression business if it were because, first and foremost, they wanted to make money.

Writers, generally, want to tell good stories. They want to do something meaningful. They want to be paid for it, but they're aren't just randomly associating pounding keys on their keyboard with paychecks.

Art tends to suffers when profit is the only motive in sight. You tend to play it safe. You rely on hacks and play doctors to regurgitate what has already been done. Hollywood's case of sequelitus and rebootitus is evidence of this.

Everyone in the business is looking to get paid. But art isn't just a business. It's culture, it's philosophy, it's personal expression, it's human experience. Reducing art to business under the Darwinistic warrant (i.e., that which survives earns profits) does violence to the substance of art.

TOS Star Trek, on occasion, took risks. It featured an interracial kiss (this episode was not shown in some markets). It featured a Russian crew member. It snuck culturally relevant moral lessons past the censors. It was goofy, but it was also meaningful. And even when they failed (and they failed on several occasions), they were at least trying to do more than simply collect a check. Sure, there were meaningless hack episodes and creative choices made purely in the pursuit of profit. But what cheesey old Star Trek proves (TNG is a better example of old Star Trek since it was not cancelled after three seasons due to low ratings) is that Star Trek can have a message and still survive (i.e., make money).

I don't think that nuTrek has any such ambitions. It is entertaining and fun and it has cool action sequences. It plays dress-up with mom and dad's old clothes, but it's only playing with the form, not the substance. They're content to pick the low hanging fruit of pop cultural memory and package it as retro-action adventure. They're doing a pretty good job of it too! Some us simply lament that nuTrek has a lot more "empty calories" than the old.
Oh please, even TOS was far from artistic. It was a western set in space. And every subsequent movie and series only wanted to milk it more.

Making this show was never altruistic. Roddenberry may have genuinely liked his work...but he didn't do it for free. Artists want to make a living from their work. Just because these movies fit our time period (just like all of the other movies and series fit theirs) doesn't make them inferior or only out to "sucker the newbies into liking it because they don't know any better". New fans are just as important as old fans, and making a movie that will have mass appeal doesn't diminish it or the people who enjoy it.
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