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Old May 3 2013, 02:46 AM   #391
SpHeRe31459
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Nightdiamond wrote: View Post
The Neutral Zone (TNG), claims 24th century humans don't fear death, they're much more evolved than that.
I was just watching the Writer's Room special feature on the TNG Season 3 Blu-ray set and Ron D. Moore talks about that very issue and butting heads with Gene Roddenberry about this in his episode "The Bonding". Moore says that he was called in to Gene's office (at a time when Gene's health was starting to deteriorate and he wasn't normally taking meetings) and was basically lectured that even a young boy like Jeremy who just lost his mother wouldn't have any issues with it and he'd be fine and readily accept his loss.

That idea that an 8-year old boy would "just accept" that his mom is dead is actually pretty naïve about the human condition. People would still be bonded to their parents by the mere fact they are raised by them, so he would still miss his mother and need to surrounded by people who care about him and helped to grieve, etc. He may not fear death (which I will grant Gene), but people still have close social ties to others, which means they will still need to take time to miss them and move forward.

Also sometime in the writer's reunion feature they point out the irony of having a councilor onboard when according to Gene humans coped with everything in stride and didn't have any real wants, major fears, or hang-ups.

I love most of Gene Roddenberry's philosophy, but the more I hear about the problems behind the scenes in the early days of TNG, the more it seems Gene was getting lost in his own hype. He was getting away from what he originally posited in TOS and even the more temperate versions of his semi-utopian ideas that he had going into TNG. And the fact that he reportedly felt the need to do a re-write on almost every script in the first season of TNG to make sure it injected this newer preachy and judgmental version of his philosophies made it worse.
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Old May 3 2013, 03:29 AM   #392
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Indeed, a more enlightened humanity, which strives to better itself, is not even remotely a bad idea.

The word "utopia" is a stumbling point, best moved past. But I will also throw into the mix that much research indicates that even today, money is not much of a motivator, once past the stage of providing basic needs.
If we have a future where the worst poverty is eliminated worldwide, freedom and enlightenment actually does increase, the birth rate begins to stabilize...umm yeah, these are good ideas.
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Old May 3 2013, 03:36 AM   #393
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

CaptainStoner wrote: View Post
Indeed, a more enlightened humanity, which strives to better itself, is not even remotely a bad idea.

The word "utopia" is a stumbling point, best moved past. But I will also throw into the mix that much research indicates that even today, money is not much of a motivator, once past the stage of providing basic needs.
If we have a future where the worst poverty is eliminated worldwide, freedom and enlightenment actually does increase, the birth rate begins to stabilize...umm yeah, these are good ideas.
Oh for sure, I don't think the part of Roddenberry's philosophy you mentioned is in question here, is it (it's a huge thread so maybe it is)?

I think it's the way it got handled in practice in TNG and later that's the problem. The semi-illogical extension that if the problems you mentioned are eliminated then suddenly everyone is okay with everything at all times and it gives them the right to preach about it is one of the biggest issues for me. People would still have interpersonal problems, personalities still may clash, etc. and Gene apparently had come to think that such issues would just simply not exist.
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Old May 3 2013, 10:40 PM   #394
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

SpHeRe31459 wrote: View Post
CaptainStoner wrote: View Post
Indeed, a more enlightened humanity, which strives to better itself, is not even remotely a bad idea.

The word "utopia" is a stumbling point, best moved past. But I will also throw into the mix that much research indicates that even today, money is not much of a motivator, once past the stage of providing basic needs.
If we have a future where the worst poverty is eliminated worldwide, freedom and enlightenment actually does increase, the birth rate begins to stabilize...umm yeah, these are good ideas.
Oh for sure, I don't think the part of Roddenberry's philosophy you mentioned is in question here, is it (it's a huge thread so maybe it is)?

I think it's the way it got handled in practice in TNG and later that's the problem. The semi-illogical extension that if the problems you mentioned are eliminated then suddenly everyone is okay with everything at all times and it gives them the right to preach about it is one of the biggest issues for me. People would still have interpersonal problems, personalities still may clash, etc. and Gene apparently had come to think that such issues would just simply not exist.
never found TNG preachy. The thing you're talking about exists in spades in TOS also.
I also never found TNG artificially harmonious. They seem to argue different points frequently.
Maybe its Riker and Troi that freaks people out? IDK. Riker was a definitely a "90's guy" though he hatched in the 80's.
I also think that the vibe on Kirk and Picard's ships aren't anywhere near as far apart as all this supposed interpersonal conflict on TOS would suggest.
Not saying GR was infallible, he was off obviously on the 6 year old not grieving, but yeah, I am curious as to why some people interpret TNG as preachy, and others don't.
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Old May 3 2013, 11:17 PM   #395
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Riker fought with his father, Picard smashed his ships and disagreed with virtually every Admiral he met, Wesley is told to not touch the bridge panel or tell the truth ... I don't see an absence of disagreements. Perhaps characters in TNG handle them better than people on average today or McCoy's manners created the impression that TOS was more about people clashing but they are certainly not robots who never have problems with themselves or others.
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Old May 4 2013, 01:53 AM   #396
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

CaptainStoner wrote: View Post
I am curious as to why some people interpret TNG as preachy, and others don't.
Oh it's not all of TNG, not at all. Season 2 and onwards is generally just fine. I love TNG, but it's Season 1 (where Gene had the most day-to-day direct influence on the production BTW) that's the problem really.

Season 1 of TNG is infamously full of monologs about how shitty 20th century humans were (i.e. the audience is currently) and how great the 24th century people are now. And then how much a given planet's race is like the 20th century humans, and thusly how great the 24th century humans are in comparison.
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Old May 4 2013, 02:00 AM   #397
horatio83
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

The season is not infamously full, it is just one episode. And it is not monologues but dialogues:

PICARD: That's what this is all about. A lot has changed in the past three hundred years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We've eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We have grown out of our infancy.
RALPH: You've got it all wrong. It's never been about possessions. It's about power.
PICARD: Power to do what?
RALPH: To control your life, your destiny.
PICARD: That kind of control is an illusion.

RALPH: Then what will happen to us? There's no trace of my money. My office is gone. What will I do? How will I live?
PICARD: This is the twenty fourth century. Material needs no longer exist.
RALPH: Then what's the challenge?
PICARD: The challenge, Mister Offenhouse, is to improve yourself. To enrich yourself. Enjoy it.


Enjoy it, now that's preachy.

Offenhouse is a pathetic little creature for whom money is mainly a means for power. Given his behaviour in this episode you can easily imagine how he does or tries to boss around people during work. I take the 24th century human beings who do something constructive with their lives over some cretin who doesn't give a shit about his work as long as it pays well and thus empowers him.
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Old May 4 2013, 02:28 AM   #398
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Offenhouse is the only one who gets what's up with the Romulans, and has to point it out to Picard.

There's a good deal of pontificating in TNG, yeah.
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Old May 4 2013, 03:08 AM   #399
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

horatio83 wrote: View Post

RALPH: It's about power.
PICARD: Power to do what?
RALPH: To control your life, your destiny.
PICARD: That kind of control is an illusion.


Offenhouse is a pathetic little creature for whom money is mainly a means for power.
Right in front of you and you missed it. For Offenhouse money is a means of controlling his own life and destiny.

RALPH: That may be all right for you, but I am not willing to allow my fate to be decided by others.

Far from being pathetic, Offenhouse philosophy is to be respected and emulated. He's a man who is unwilling to be simply carried along by will of others, or events that he has the ability to control. This is the reason that he found a way to place himself in a position to provide Picard with essential information.

RALPH: They haven't got a clue. They're hoping you know, but they're too arrogant to ask.
PICARD: ... it's a correct assessment.


Without Offenhouse's presence on the bridge, the confrontation with the Romulan ship easily could have resulted in a battle, or a war.

CaptainStoner wrote: View Post
Indeed, a more enlightened humanity, which strives to better itself, is not even remotely a bad idea.
The question is, is what Roddenberry considered to be enlightened in fact "better." Or is it a advancement in the wrong direction?

One example would be a society that fully expects a child to be indifferent to the death of their parent.

Personally, I would say that this is a society that is "progressing" in a wrong direction. Just because you label a society as progressive, doesn't mean that it's progress is in a positive or beneficial direction.

Nightdiamond wrote: View Post
That sounds like humans are living in a virtual Eden getting all their needs provided for free.
That sound more like Humans are being treated like children, being provided for. The opposite of grown out their infancy, they would be returning to it.

foxhot wrote: View Post
... that SAVAGE CURTAIN moment when Abraham Lincoln refers to Uhura as a charming Negress ...
Uhura might not have been offened because Negress was not used as a pejorative in her culture.

In Brazil "the N-word" is used fairly commonly and is neutral, because it isn't used as a pejorative, it's simply used the way an American would use the word black.

You want to see Uhura react to words, watch her face when Mister Adventure suggest she getting old and is in the downward segment of her career.

sonak wrote: View Post
The characters grew up in a post-scarcity environment
But this is a assumption on your (and others) part, not directly supported by anything on the show. Who actual grew up with a replicator in their home ... Keiko. And there no indication that replicator use is cost-free, so what post-scarcity environment?

sonak wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
... what happen when the society changes yet again?
... even if you're right, and a chunk of society decides "screw volunteerism, I'm going to lay on the couch and eat flamin' hot cheetos and drink root beer," SO WHAT? It's a society of abundant resources.
Not what I meant by a societial change. If a significant portion of your society, the portion that has previously volunteered their efforts says "Okay, the whole volunteering thing was cool for a while, but if you want my efforts (skills, training, education, experience) then I want financial compensation." Off world money is fine, if that's all you got to offer. Because I can take my abilities elsewhere.

I'm one of the best doctors (engineers, educators, thinkers, etc.) on this planet and it is a joke that I have the same lifestyle as someone who dropped out of school when they were sixteen to sit on a beach, surf and screw.

What are you going to do? Grab some "self-improvement artist" off the street to work the antimatter reactor that powers the entire west coast? There's a good idea.

Maybe this gal wants to move her family into a penthouse on top of one of those tall towers in San Fransisco (not everyone gets those), and a nice sailing yacht for the social season (Scotty had to buy his), and a private Vulcan tutor for her children (and out of that government school).

She and those like her are busting their asses, while others sit on theirs. Why shouldn't they be recognized for their efforts? But wait you say, she has been indoctrinated[ since childhood to think a certain way, problem there is Human beings don't alway respond to being told how they should think. The volunteer your abilities for no compensation thing only work as long as the people in your society who are doing the actual work go along with it. If they can shop their skills elsewhere in the Federation, another Member world, then you have to think about how difficult it will be to replace them, and how long it will take.

We have large people now who "live on the dole" in some way or another and it hasn't brought the market economy crashing down.
Haven't been watching the news out of Greece for a while, have you?

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Old May 4 2013, 03:25 AM   #400
horatio83
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

I find it interesting to see that lack of knowledge about economics (Greece is not in deep shit because of the welfare state) and adoration of a business man like Offenhouse go hand in hand.

About the two ways of life clashing, Picard advocates knowledge instead of power, fulfillment, letting go and enjoying his life instead of being control-hungry, anally-fixated and feeling empty and helpless without his job and money. It is fairly obvious which way of life is better.
About your point concerning "being your own man", well, I don't disagree about the principle. But Offenhouse is not a confident man, he was hysterical, unwilling to listen, accept the new circumstances and adapt to them. The musical dude on the other hand had no problem to be true to himself and adapt to this new life at the same time.


T'Girl wrote: View Post
I'm one of the best doctors (engineers, educators, thinkers, etc.) on this planet and it is a joke that I have the same lifestyle as someone who dropped out of school when they were sixteen to sit on a beach, surf and screw.
You can hardly be the best doctor if you are motivated by envy or money. That makes you wanna get as many patients as possible through during one day which implies bad quality care. But hey, it also implies this Ferrari you want so desperately.

We never saw any of the five doctors on the shows enjoying a luxurious lifestyle. They are the equivalent of doctors going to third world countries today, they don't it because of the money but because they love their job and actually wanna help those who most need them.
Same with the engineers. Scotty reads tech manuals during his break, the guy is a total workaholic. He loves his job and not some yacht or whatever.


As we already discussed work incentives previously his thread, Offenhouse is just another example of a person who does not work purely for the sake of consumption. So make up your mind, either Offenbouse is your hero and people work for other reasons than consumption or he is not your hero and we are back to Econ 101, labour supply as a consumption-leisure trade-off and the yacht-craving doctors. So in order to provide an internally consistent argument you have to make up your mind.
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Old May 4 2013, 07:19 AM   #401
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

horatio83 wrote: View Post
I find it interesting to see that lack of knowledge about economics (Greece is not in deep shit because of the welfare state) ...
The elections in the 1980's brought the Panhellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) to power. Under the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, despite economic and taxation problems, the Greek welfare state expanded.

When the PASOK came to power, it enacted the National Health System , services became free. In the 1990's the program changed when the conservative government introduced a small fee to reduce demand.

Very nice, except the government couldn't afford it.

The PASOK government change social security in the 1980s, they increasing the monthly pensions for large portions of the population and introduced pensions and medical benefits for retired farmers. The government needed to subsidize the funds in order for the system to function at all.

All well and good, except the government couldn't afford this either.

Upon joining the Euro, the Greece government went on a spending spree, allowing public sector workers' wages to nearly double over the last decade.

Greece's problem is it's inability to control government spending on public employees and social services (welfare) that it simply can not afford. This is why austerity is being shoved down their throats

... Econ 101 ...
You might want to go back to the people who taught you "Econ 101" and ask for your money back.

horatio83 wrote: View Post
But Offenhouse is not a confident man, he was hysterical, unwilling to listen, accept the new circumstances and adapt to them.
Yet he was able to walk onto the bridge and in a few seconds evaluate an alien species (the first he'd even seen) and correctly ascertain their weakness (they haven't got a clue), their needs (They're hoping you know), and a basic character trait (they're too arrogant to ask).

Hardly the abilities of a "hysterical" man. A far as not listening to Picard, to be honest Offenhouse probably never took Picard very seriously, likely left the ship considering Picard a complete fool. Offenhouse would adapt to the 24th century in time and find his own way.

According to the (non-canon) novels in the year 2379, Ralph Offenhouse was appointed the Federation Secretary of Commerce.

You can hardly be the best doctor if you are motivated by envy or money.
Wrong, what make you a "best doctor" is your abilities, education, and experiences in the medical field. The qualificatios you have in your craft, the skills you bring to your patients.

We never saw any of the five doctors on the shows enjoying a luxurious lifestyle
But we do know for a fact that Beverly did have the financial means to make purchases. McCoy had the financial means to charter a starship.

The EMH was a program inside a computer and realistically did not receive Starfleet pay.

Same with the engineers. Scotty reads tech manuals during his break, the guy is a total workaholic. He loves his job and not some yacht or whatever.
But he still bought a boat, didn't he?

As we already discussed work incentives previously his thread ...
You seemingly are missing that people can enjoy their jobs and still be financially compensated for their efforts. This is why Robert Picard can delight in the making of wine and can also be financially successful in the selling of it. Joseph Sisko can enjoy cooking for his customers and still run his restaurant for a nice profit. Doctors can deeply care for their patients and also receive a hefty salary.

One does not prevent the other.

How much would people like McCoy, Crusher and Bashir make? Well they're not all the same rank, however a US Navy Lt. Commander makes about $70,000 a year, and depending on specialties and board certifications can get bonuses as high as $100,000 to stay in the service. This is far less than a civilian doctor would make.

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Old May 4 2013, 08:02 AM   #402
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

For all we know, Scotty's boat could have been a kayak.
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Old May 4 2013, 10:46 AM   #403
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

T'Girl wrote: View Post

The elections in the 1980's brought the Panhellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) to power. Under the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, despite economic and taxation problems, the Greek welfare state expanded.

When the PASOK came to power, it enacted the National Health System , services became free. In the 1990's the program changed when the conservative government introduced a small fee to reduce demand.

Very nice, except the government couldn't afford it.

The PASOK government change social security in the 1980s, they increasing the monthly pensions for large portions of the population and introduced pensions and medical benefits for retired farmers. The government needed to subsidize the funds in order for the system to function at all.

All well and good, except the government couldn't afford this either.

Upon joining the Euro, the Greece government went on a spending spree, allowing public sector workers' wages to nearly double over the last decade.

Greece's problem is it's inability to control government spending on public employees and social services (welfare) that it simply can not afford. This is why austerity is being shoved down their throats
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?
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Old May 4 2013, 01:45 PM   #404
horatio83
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

T'Girl wrote: View Post
You might want to go back to the people who taught you "Econ 101" and ask for your money back.)
Greece faces a rise of its bond yields because it does not have control over its monetary policy. It's basically a multiple equilibria story. There is the good equilibrium in which bond yields are low and if enough people believe that a country might default on its public debt and act on this belief we can trend towards a bad equilibrium with increasing bond yields.
Normally this can be prevented by the central bank via the commitment to buy public bonds (of course not directly from the treasury but on secondary markets). It does not necessarily have to imply actions, the mere commitment should prevent the speculative attacks mentioned in the previous paragraph.
In Europe the ECB only started to play the role of lender of last resort at the end of last year .. and guess what, bond yields all over Europe stabilized.

Wanna still go on ranting about the welfare state and pretend that you have any idea what you are talking about?
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Old May 4 2013, 02:04 PM   #405
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Re: Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

The Greek colonels, a committed band of conservative heroes who idolized America, used their skills at tyranny and torture to created the "taxation problems" mentioned in a tangent above. Those were vastly more important as a domestic factor in Greece's problems than a decent standard of living for ordinary people. Quite aside from the supposed purpose of an economy being to provide for people's livelihoods, rather than people's lives being reduced to labor supply, it is plain that the facile assumption that Greece's problems are Greek, rather than a problem in the world capitalist system is unsupported. It is purely propagandistic.

But of course we're not supposed to discuss genuinely relevant examples of reality as we supposedly discuss that validity of Roddenberryan extrapolations, are we? As noted, then, this is just another of those dread tangents, which are never allowed on a bbs!

Data wanting to be human is a big mistake in TNG. Why would anyone want to lose their faculties, then die, most likely in slow decline terminated by agony? Plainly, the robot is broken.
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