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Old July 12 2013, 02:18 PM   #16
Pavonis
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

Ain Jalut wrote: View Post
Pavonis wrote: View Post

Genghis Khan, an example of a nasty, cruel conqueror (in Kirk's mind at least, if not in reality [who can be an expert in all things?]).
He was a nasty, tough conqueror who realised at the end of his life that civilisation has some value. A product of his age and all of that but i doubt he was not a nice guy.

Christopher:

He built the largest, most enduring land-based empire the pre-industrial world ever saw.
Large, yes, but it splinterred into smaller states fairly quickly.
So did Alexander the Great's, but he's not considered evil.
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Old July 12 2013, 02:26 PM   #17
Christopher
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

Ain Jalut wrote: View Post
Christopher:

He built the largest, most enduring land-based empire the pre-industrial world ever saw.
Large, yes, but it splinterred into smaller states fairly quickly.
But those smaller states endured for centuries and preserved a lot of what the Mongol Empire had initiated. Collectively, they certainly lasted longer than most of the remnants of Alexander's empire.

Ensign_Redshirt wrote: View Post
"Team Evil" isn't really a Team Evil as long as Hitler and Khan aren't invited. :P
Heck, it's ethnocentric to classify Genghis as "evil" in the first place. Basically the only difference between him and Alexander the Great is that Genghis was far more successful. They were both equally ruthless to their enemies and equally benevolent and tolerant toward those who accepted their rule. Genghis united his own people's warring factions and made peace among them. Like most great rulers from history, he has both good and evil in his ledger.

As for Khan Noonien Singh, we already know from "Space Seed" that Kirk didn't consider him to be unambiguously evil. Kirk called him "the best of the tyrants and the most dangerous," and Scott and McCoy pointed out that he committed no massacres and launched no wars unless he was attacked.

Although, granted, this episode could've been an effective way to bring back Ricardo Montalban for a second guest appearance, if there had been enough continuity in the production staff from the first to the third season for anyone to think of it. It could've been interesting to see him in place of Col. Green here. Maybe with Green bumped down to the henchman role in place of their so-called "Genghis."
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Old July 12 2013, 02:35 PM   #18
Ain Jalut
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

Pavonis
So did Alexander the Great's, but he's not considered evil.
Being handsome by western standards, he was an egomanaical mass murdererlike the rest.

But those smaller states endured for centuries and preserved a lot of what the Mongol Empire had initiated. Collectively, they certainly lasted longer than most of the remnants of Alexander's empire.
Outside of their original territory maybe you can make a case for the Golden Horde and it's successor states but everywhere else mongolian culture was swallowed up by assimilation. It's not like Crim was a center of culture during the tartar period.
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Old July 12 2013, 03:01 PM   #19
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

And then there are Kirk and Spock. Why are they on the "good" side?
Because the Excalbians chiefly want to learn why Kirk considers himself "good"?

I mean, that's where they got the concept in the first place. Kirk has this image of himself, and the talking rocks want to deconstruct this intriguing concept by asking Kirk to provide examples of "not good", as well as further examples of "good". For all we know, they also get the idea of "fair play" from Kirk's mind, and thus decide on equally sized teams.

Khan
As pointed out, Khan was Kirk's hero. "Space Seed" need not have changed that much, and perhaps even Spock learned to appreciate the man after this episode. Khan basically embodies Kirk's own virtues of strength, manliness and fair play, merely taking them to the next level.

Hitler
The gold standards of evil change with time. Quite possibly, Green out-did Hitler by a wide margin... OTOH, it's difficult to out-do Genghis since, as pointed out, his conquests and atrocities compete very well with those of later leaders in both relative terms (taking into account e.g. changes in Earth population, morals and speed of transportation) and absolute ones. To accompany Genghis, one needs a specialist in some narrower field of evil, hence Green and the rest.

Heck, it's ethnocentric to classify Genghis as "evil" in the first place.
Not at all. A slaughterer is a slaughterer.

What would be ethnocentric would be to label Alexander the Great as "not evil", but nobody is doing that in the episode.

People killed in the name of Lincoln and Surak, too, and even specifically under orders from Lincoln although possibly not from Surak. But since Kirk is a professional killer himself, his definition of good cannot include "does not kill", in which case it's all the more fitting that both the "good" and "evil" side feature killers. Thanks to this, things like numbers and motivations and excuses come to play, and Genghis Khan clearly loses to the other leaders in that contest.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old July 12 2013, 03:47 PM   #20
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

Ain Jalut wrote: View Post
Pavonis
So did Alexander the Great's, but he's not considered evil.
Being handsome by western standards, he was an egomanaical mass murdererlike the rest.
Right. The only reason the West has traditionally held up Alexander as a hero and Genghis as a villain is because Alexander was "one of us" and Genghis was not. In Asia, Genghis tends to be held up as a culture hero much the way Alexander is in the West.

Fiction is about good and evil. History rarely is. Most rulers, most nations, are responsible for both good acts and evil acts. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, yet he kept slaves. America spread the principles of democracy and justice, but built the nation through territorial conquest and genocide. Mao Zedong led the revolution to free China from horrible oppression and corruption, but ended up committing even worse oppression and establishing a system that had no mechanism for preventing corruption.

Really, that should've been the lesson for Kirk to teach the Excalbians -- that good and evil are not permanent alignments or inborn character traits, but choices that every individual, every culture, faces. The Kirk of the first couple of seasons would've made a speech about how we all have the capacity for both good and evil within us, that it's not a battle of one faction versus another but a battle we wage within ourselves everyday to prevail over our darker natures. Which is a lesson that Surak could've certainly gotten behind.
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Old July 13 2013, 03:20 AM   #21
Nerys Myk
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

Timo wrote: View Post
Khan
As pointed out, Khan was Kirk's hero. "Space Seed" need not have changed that much, and perhaps even Spock learned to appreciate the man after this episode. Khan basically embodies Kirk's own virtues of strength, manliness and fair play, merely taking them to the next level.
You'd think Kirk would know him on sight if that was the case. From the dialog, I'd say Kirk had a passing familiarity with Khan, but he was't a personal hero.
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Old July 13 2013, 03:53 AM   #22
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

"Hero?" What a bizarre misreading. Just because he recognized that Khan was less brutal than other tyrants, that doesn't mean he saw him as a role model.
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Old July 13 2013, 04:21 AM   #23
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Pavonis wrote: View Post
And then there are Kirk and Spock. Why are they on the "good" side? Why weren't two more illusions of good included?
Well, the real world reason, of course is because then our "heroes" would be spectators in their own story and have nothing to do.
Fixed that for you.

Christopher wrote: View Post
[It could've been interesting to see him in place of Col. Green here. Maybe with Green bumped down to the henchman role in place of their so-called "Genghis."
But then there'd be no actual historical figure on the "evil" side to parallel Lincoln.

Last edited by The Old Mixer; July 13 2013 at 09:01 AM.
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Old July 13 2013, 04:50 AM   #24
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

Aargh - bringing back Montalban as avatar-Khan is a great, missed chance!
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Old July 13 2013, 05:56 AM   #25
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

Christopher wrote: View Post
Mao Zedong led the revolution to free China from horrible oppression and corruption, but ended up committing even worse oppression and establishing a system that had no mechanism for preventing corruption.
Mao NEVER 'liberated' China into anything or for anything but his own lust for power; he was not a communist or a socialist, but a Stalinist, and his system was only slightly better than the Kim dynasty that has run North Korea into the ground and his master Stalin's rule. Any 'socialism' he knew was just platitudes he mouthed. China may not have been better under the Nationalists, but it wasn't anything like what wen on under Mao & Co. (please read Mao: The Unknown Story for more.

Really, that should've been the lesson for Kirk to teach the Excalbians -- that good and evil are not permanent alignments or inborn character traits, but choices that every individual, every culture, faces. The Kirk of the first couple of seasons would've made a speech about how we all have the capacity for both good and evil within us, that it's not a battle of one faction versus another but a battle we wage within ourselves everyday to prevail over our darker natures. Which is a lesson that Surak could've certainly gotten behind.
All true and a great summation, but this episode was in the third season and was shit, like half of the season .
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Old July 13 2013, 04:06 PM   #26
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

Shaka Zulu wrote: View Post
Mao NEVER 'liberated' China into anything or for anything but his own lust for power; he was not a communist or a socialist, but a Stalinist, and his system was only slightly better than the Kim dynasty that has run North Korea into the ground and his master Stalin's rule.
A Stalinist? I'm sorry, but that made me laugh. The Soviet and Chinese Communists hated each other. They were arch-rivals for leadership of the global communist revolution and their philosophies and interpretations of Marxism were in fierce conflict. Mao's Communism was a distinctly Chinese strain, drawing at least as much on Chinese history, culture, and tradition as on anything Western. In the early years of the revolution, when the Chinese Communist Party was battling against the brutal occupation of Imperial Japan and the entrenched corruption of the Nationalist government, the advisors that the USSR sent them almost led to their destruction by blindly employing traditional European tactics of "honorable" open combat rather than adapting to the needs of a guerrilla campaign. It was only by breaking free of the Soviet advisors and going his own independent route that Mao was able to save the revolution. So there was no love lost between them in either direction.

Nobody disputes that what Mao's rule became later in life was horrible, brutal, and despotic. But the tragedy is that what he became later in life was a betrayal of what he stood for in his youth. He started out as an idealist, genuinely trying to build a better world, and back then he had the sense to realize that the only way it could work was as a gradual transition taking generations. But as he aged, and perhaps as he grew accustomed to being in power, he lost sight of those old convictions, and he tried to forcibly accelerate the pace of change so that he could see the results within his lifetime, and the result was a horrendous nationwide atrocity. His younger self would've known that was the wrong path, but power corrupts.


Any 'socialism' he knew was just platitudes he mouthed. China may not have been better under the Nationalists, but it wasn't anything like what wen on under Mao & Co. (please read Mao: The Unknown Story for more.
Having been a history major, I'm aware that no single book can be perceived as the sole authoritative source of truth. Every text has its biases. As for that particular book, its own objectivity and accuracy have come under heavy criticism from historians:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mao:_Th...tory#Criticism

I suggest you broaden your own reading on the topic rather than trust a single source, especially one so suspect.
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Old July 13 2013, 04:43 PM   #27
Ain Jalut
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

Nobody disputes that what Mao's rule became later in life was horrible, brutal, and despotic. But the tragedy is that what he became later in life was a betrayal of what he stood for in his youth. He started out as an idealist, genuinely trying to build a better world, and back then he had the sense to realize that the only way it could work was as a gradual transition taking generations. But as he aged, and perhaps as he grew accustomed to being in power, he lost sight of those old convictions, and he tried to forcibly accelerate the pace of change so that he could see the results within his lifetime, and the result was a horrendous nationwide atrocity. His younger self would've known that was the wrong path, but power corrupts.
What is your source his early idealism? I only read his Juno Chang bigraphy. Also there was something off early in most dictators, like Stalin.
Pretty much every historical work that forms an opinion comes under heavy criticism.

I wery much doubt that any idealist could commit crimes as horrific as Mao.
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Old July 13 2013, 05:20 PM   #28
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

Ain Jalut wrote: View Post
What is your source his early idealism? I only read his Juno Chang bigraphy.
Well, there's your problem. As I said, you can't trust a single source.

My source is the Chinese History course I took in college, in which I read a bunch of sources including excerpts from the young Mao's own writings, in which he expressed ideas pretty much diametrically opposed to his actions later in life.


Pretty much every historical work that forms an opinion comes under heavy criticism.
Yes, and every historical work is supposed to be subjected to critical evaluation to assess its legitimacy and trustworthiness. That's what historians do -- evaluate and criticize the work of other historians, as an ongoing process of verification. Learning to read texts critically, to analyze the validity of their claims and sniff out the bias in their arguments, was one of the first things I had to do when pursuing a history major. The question is, what is the result of that criticism? Does the vetting process conclude that its methodology is valid and fair and its sources verifiable, or that it's making unsubstantiated claims and selectively interpreting the evidence in support of a preconceived agenda? After all, there are lots of books out there making biased or propagandistic arguments, and it's important to learn to guard against them.


I wery much doubt that any idealist could commit crimes as horrific as Mao.
My whole point, though, is that nobody is that simplistic, so fixed and unchanging throughout decades of life. The perspective of a young guerrilla on the run from an oppressive state can be profoundly different from the perspective of an aging dictator who's accustomed to having absolute power. And what about all those baby boomers who were counterculture hippie rebels in the '60s and then grew up to be conservative corporate executives in the '80s?

Honestly, though, sometimes the idealists are the ones most capable of committing great crimes. If idealism becomes twisted, if you're so convinced that you're fighting for what's right that you're willing to employ any means to achieve that end, then you can rationalize profound evils. Look at the Catholic missionaries who tortured Native Americans to force them to convert to Christianity so that their souls would be saved. Mao's thinking was much the same: He forced China to go through hell in the short term because he believed (or rationalized to himself) that it would bring about a utopia in the longer term.

This is why Yarnek missed the point. Good and evil aren't about what side you're on. They're about what methods you use to achieve your goals.
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Old July 13 2013, 05:56 PM   #29
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

And what about all those baby boomers who were counterculture hippie rebels in the '60s and then grew up to be conservative corporate executives in the '80s?
The Boomers as a generation were not dominatly liberal. they were just the louder segment at the time.
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Old July 13 2013, 08:16 PM   #30
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Re: Anybody else dislikes Genghis Khan from Savage Curtain

^The point is not about groups in the aggregate. The point is that individuals can change their beliefs and views over time. Many, many people make choices later in life that their younger selves would've been appalled by.
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