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View Poll Results: Did Klingon culture get over-simplified in later eras of Star TreK?
Yes 40 62.50%
No 24 37.50%
Voters: 64. You may not vote on this poll

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Old January 16 2013, 03:51 AM   #31
commanderkai
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

I don't think they've become too stereotyped. Certainly the whole aspect of Klingon honor and ritualistic tradition was overly mentioned, but generally it was shown as utter BS by a majority of Klingons in political or military power.

Worf is probably the truest Klingon, following the honor code and traditions of Klingon culture more devotedly than any Klingon of the Empire. He was basically uncorrupted by the true nature of Klingon politics.

Martok is probably the most realistic Klingon on the show. He can certainly see the corruption of the highest levels of Klingon government, but, as much as honor would suggest removing corrupt leaders, he stays quiet, and obeys such orders, even though it could cost the Klingon Empire needless lives and ships. He abides by some cultural traditions, but for the most part, doesn't give a damn about them anywhere near as much as Worf does. Sure, he believes in such and such tradition, but for the most part, it's lipservice, not devotion.
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Old January 16 2013, 04:52 AM   #32
mos6507
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
DS9 era klingons believe in honor the same way republicans believe in family values. They talk about it a lot, they tell a lot of stories that cherish it, but only a handful of them actually practice it.
And that, to me, is fine. Alien species in Star Trek are used as symbols or concepts, just as it was back in the days of Swift with Gulliver's Travels. The irony, of course, is that by stereotyping aliens collectively to represent a concept, you also deny them the capacity to be anything other than that concept. And so Trek always wrestled with that dichotomy. Think of Day of the Dove, where the Klingon commander had to be willing to enter into a truce with the Federation to neutralize a common enemy. Think of I, Borg where Hugh broke with the collective, and later 7 of 9 of course. You could even include Trek V here. The idea of a Vulcan who decided NOT to reject emotion was a bold concept, one that was only partly explored through Spock's semi-acceptance of certain aspects of emotion or emotional attachment through friendship. Think of The Enterprise Incident where the female Romulan commander almost scolds the Federation for not being as sexually enlightened. There is an ongoing dialogue through Trek about prejudice and individualism. I think it would defeat the purpose to have every alien race have the same level of diversity as humanity, though. They have to strike a particular chord that is in some way 'other', and not confuse people by being too complex. Movies and TV are not National Geographic.
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Old January 16 2013, 07:31 AM   #33
LobsterAfternoon
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

[QUOTE=mos6507;7542166]
JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
prejudice and individualism. I think it would defeat the purpose to have every alien race have the same level of diversity as humanity, though. They have to strike a particular chord that is in some way 'other', and not confuse people by being too complex. Movies and TV are not National Geographic.
Movies and tv are not National Geographic, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be nuanced.
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Old January 16 2013, 10:33 AM   #34
USS Einstein
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?



I think that some people are missing the point about Klingon culture being one dimensional - you have STILL have a culture that symbolizes something general - without them being written foolishly.

The two are completely separate.

Take House, as an example, a show which being episodic, is very similar to Star Trek. Most episodes explore philosophical concepts of some kind or another. Not every American who appears is wearing an Abe Lincoln hat, whilst eating a beef burger, and carrying a Winchester - but they are still used to convey whatever concept-of-the-week is needed; one might be a bigot, one might be a hypocrite, one might be exploitative, one might be altruistic.

There is no reason why Klingons can't symbolise a decaying society (TNG), or a military republic (TOS), or colonialism (ENT) - without all of them talking in that same ridiculous way, and opening a barrel of blood-wine or some other crap to remind us every five seconds that they are Klingon (something that is patently obvious, and does not need stating).
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Old January 16 2013, 02:35 PM   #35
Lance
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

There has to be a way to strike a conpromise, to reach a balanced depiction of them. A way to suggest a broadly unique Klingon culture without it becoming the be all and end all of their every appearance.

I mean, one fascinating thing about watching The Next Generation with the benefit of hindsight is how different Worf is at the beginning. This was before his whole backstory about being brought up by humans and what-not had been decided. So in episodes like Farpoint, he's just an alien face in a Starfleet uniform... and yet he's also distinctly Klingon, as they were suggested in the TOS series and films. He's about as far away as you could possibly get from the Worf who talks longingly about Kahless and who went on and on about honor and glory all the time in late TNG and throughout DS9.
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Old January 16 2013, 03:47 PM   #36
Xhiandra
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

Couldn't disagree more.
Manichean ToS Klingons whose sole motivation is "doing it for the evulz" is not good writing, TNG/ENT Klingons having their defined philosophy and motivations is much better.
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Old January 16 2013, 04:01 PM   #37
Dale Sams
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

Xhiandra wrote: View Post
Couldn't disagree more.
Manichean ToS Klingons whose sole motivation is "doing it for the evulz" is not good writing, TNG/ENT Klingons having their defined philosophy and motivations is much better.
I humbly disagree. TOS Klingons are mostly well-rounded. Kang and Kor of course. As for Trelane in a Klingon outfit and the Mod Squad guy....ehhhhh.

I love the Klingons in their first TNG appearance. (and the score for that ep) I love Martok. I wish Gowron had more layers, but he definitly has an arc. But I felt way too many post TOS Klingons were just doing a "Dorn accent imitation"
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Old January 16 2013, 05:09 PM   #38
Anwar
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

Kang and Kor were mainly due to the acting talent of Jon Colicos and Michael Ansara more than anything else. Like how Gul Madred's character was enhanced by David Warner.
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Old January 16 2013, 07:46 PM   #39
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

Dale Sams wrote: View Post
Xhiandra wrote: View Post
Couldn't disagree more.
Manichean ToS Klingons whose sole motivation is "doing it for the evulz" is not good writing, TNG/ENT Klingons having their defined philosophy and motivations is much better.
I humbly disagree. TOS Klingons are mostly well-rounded. Kang and Kor of course. As for Trelane in a Klingon outfit and the Mod Squad guy....ehhhhh.

I love the Klingons in their first TNG appearance. (and the score for that ep) I love Martok. I wish Gowron had more layers, but he definitly has an arc. But I felt way too many post TOS Klingons were just doing a "Dorn accent imitation"
For some reason, I always thought that Michael Ansara as Kang in the Original series was the first to show the mannerisms of the proud honorable Klingon at that time. I always loved what the Klingons tried to represent, though many didn't live up to the ideals.
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Old January 17 2013, 04:05 PM   #40
QCzar
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

I think you can take everything said in this thread about Klingons, including retorts, and apply them to the Vulcans. And the Ferengi. And the Bajorans. And the Humans (yes, humans, and perhaps especially so, considering). And the Romulans. And the Cardassians..

Face it folks, this is Trek's "thing". As others have pointed out, it's a story telling mechanism preferred by the franchise. They represent aspects of human psyche given (often) exaggerated form so that we might reflect on them externally and, through them, our own selves. It's a storytelling convention as old as Homer's Iliad (and probably much older).

Star Trek is not, nor has it ever been, a documentary about realistic simulated aliens. It's a series of science-fiction morality tales, with fantastic monsters, fearsome warriors, magical wizards, strange peoples and fair folk. In other words, despite the warp ships and replicators, it's just business as usual when it comes to fantasy. Each era has wanted to tell their stories differently, and so their creatures change to suit this (Faeries become High Elves become Vulcans), but they still essentially represent the same aspect (wise, knowing, haughty, ancient).

If it doesn't truly detract from the meat of the story the writers are trying to tell, then it doesn't warrant being pointed out as a flaw. When it does, then that's more likely simply bad writing rather than a failing of the concept of the race. If this happens consistently, as with the Kazon, it's proven to be a poorly conceived people.

You don't want to go too far with it, though. To the point where they become pantomime. Then they cease seeming real and risk damaging the stories they're a part of. Klingons are certainly among the worst in this regard, but they do not really stand out as wholly unique in one-dimensionality and very few episodes are diminished as a result of it.

In other words, Star Trek is not about them. It's about us.
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Old January 17 2013, 08:12 PM   #41
USS Einstein
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

Ferengi yes, but I don't think Vulcans have been particularity stereotyped - aside from humans, they are probably the most multifaceted race in the Trek universe - with a huge range of motives, and breadth of 'emotion' (ironically). Romulans are pretty well treated too.

Poor portrayal of a human:



"Allah uh Akbar, Allah uh Akbar! I'm an Arab, look at my Gadaffi sunglasses, Arafat scarf, and Saddam hat. I SHOOT YOU! Death to the infidels!"

Good portrayal of a human:



"Good morning."

I think people are confusing 'cultural idiosyncrasies' (fine) with 'poor charcterisation' (not fine) - portraying every Klingon with that same ridiculous arrogant growling personality is horrendous - mentioning logic a lot if you are a Vulcan is not, so long as you are written three dimensionally, and don't harp on too much. Basically, when it comes to Klingons, we are talking about poor drama / poor writing, to be blunt.

It seems racially selective - some aliens are done better than others - Klingons are probably the worst portrayed after TNG - other species aren't so badly handled.

Good Klingon portrayal:



Bad Klingon portrayal:



Pretty much everything after Heart of Glory lol.

Every scowling, rasping, one dimensional, needlessly confrontational, tiresome lot.
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Old January 17 2013, 08:44 PM   #42
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

Not stereotyped. DS9 expanded Klingon culture by depicting Klingons as individuals who were as diverse as humans: honorable, honest Martok; the scheming, hypocritical Duras sisters; batshit Gowron.

If you want to complain about the Klingons, they were meaner in TOS and the subsequent series turned them into jaunty, funny space pirates. They could use some development back towards the scary end of the spectrum, while still being a diverse enough culture to produce a Martok.
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Old January 17 2013, 08:48 PM   #43
Temis the Vorta
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
In House Of Quark we see a guy who abuses the assumption that he is honorable in order to steal somebody's land with underhanded tactics.

In season 7 Ezri says "Screw the Klingon Empire, it deserves to die" and proceeds to prove to Worf that he's pretty much the only Klingon in the universe who still gives a crap about honor.

I think some of you are missing the point of the Klingons. The Klingons in the high council like Gowron don't care about honor, they only care about being perceived as having honor. That is far more three dimensional than just having a few Klingons hanging around who choose careers other than being a warrior.

Pretty much the entire Klingon arc starting in Sins Of The Father and leading toward the end of Gowron was about how the Klingons in fact do not actually care about honor anymore.
This. DS9 expanded the Klingons by exposing their honor blather as sometimes - not always - hypocrisy. And some of them were willing to admit it in public. Betcha a lot more knew it and didn't admit it. That's just not done.

Worf is probably the truest Klingon, following the honor code and traditions of Klingon culture more devotedly than any Klingon of the Empire. He was basically uncorrupted by the true nature of Klingon politics.
Worf is a very unusual type of Klingon since he was raised by humans and overcompensates by becoming what he thinks of as an ideal Klingon. "Real" Klingons must think he's a nutcase.

Last edited by Temis the Vorta; January 17 2013 at 09:08 PM.
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Old January 17 2013, 11:25 PM   #44
Dale Sams
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

Worf is probably the truest Klingon, following the honor code and traditions of Klingon culture more devotedly than any Klingon of the Empire. He was basically uncorrupted by the true nature of Klingon politics.

Worf is a very unusual type of Klingon since he was raised by humans and overcompensates by becoming what he thinks of as an ideal Klingon. "Real" Klingons must think he's a nutcase.
I don't know why, but now I have this image of Sisko et al (when they disguised themselves as Klingons) acting like Undercover Brother when he disguised himself as a nebbish office clerk.

Sisko: "What an honorable gathering!! There is much honor here! Look at my Bat'leth! Where is the Blood Wine! Kapla! Double Kapla!!"
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Old January 18 2013, 11:52 AM   #45
F. King Daniel
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Re: Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

It probably would have helped if they LOOKED different. Every single one in TNG and DS9 had the same hair, same costume. They were generic identikit Klingons. There was none of the variation we saw in the movies, no bald (Chang) or balding (Maltz) Klingons. No short haired (TMP) Klingons. No smooth-headed (Azetbur) Klingons.

The exact same was true of the Romulans (bowl cuts and ridiculous shoulder pads for ALL) and Cardassians (combat armour always! One fugly slicked-back hairstyle for the entire species)

Reports indicate the unmasked Into Darkness Klingons...
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