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Old June 18 2013, 02:19 PM   #10
stj
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Re: Is Klingon honor a bunch of hooey?

There were not many Klingons in Star Trek. The primary episodes, Errand of Mercy and Day of the Dove were about making peace. In the tribbles episode, relations were cool, but there was still determination to keep the peace. The emphasis on Klingon villainy (even at the expense of empathy for them as people) was secondary to the message of peace. Star Trek was aware you make peace with your living enemies, not their graves.

The sole exception, A Private Little War, is pretty directly allegorical of Vietnam. After explicitly adopting the false premises of the administration justification for war (that the Communists were manipulating cat'spaws, empowering them with force, not popular support) the episode still argues against intervention. Thus it is highly ambiguous.

Thus, Star Trek has nothing much about Klingon honor.

From the bits and pieces of TNG I've seen Worf began as an allegorical figure for US/Western militarism. As such, he wasn't dishonorable but he wasn't heroic. On Voyager, Torres and the dreadlock Klingons aka Kazons are symbolically Black people. This is why practically every Torres episode is gruesome. The seventh season episode where she tries to create a blonde blue-eyed child by genetic engineering is particularly problematic. Treating Black people as literally Alien, even symbolically, is incredibly wrongheaded. Ron D. Moore, in his quasi-psychotic rant about Voyager, told of being invited to do something with Torres but naturally, given his skill level, passed.

Klingon honor then is strictly a matter of later TNG and DS9.
The question to ask, what does this society tell us about ourselves? Now there are basically two ways that the fantastic can try to answer this. One is rigorous counterfactuality, where to the best of the writer's ability, what might become is presented. The other is to dramatize our deepest wishes as honestly as possible.

The late TNG/DS9 Klingon honor fails on both counts. The honor society presented couldn't run an empire, couldn't even feed itself. It has no relevance to our choices for our future. Nor does Klingon honor dramatize our fantasies honestly. A society of all chiefs and no Indians? It is not an accident that the Klingon empire did not have any subject races depicted in ordinary life.

Yes, Klingon honor is hooey. It is a permanent stain in the oeuvre of the writers who perpetrated it. By unanimous report, the main culprit is Ron D. Moore.
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