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Old March 8 2009, 05:28 PM   #46
Thor Damar
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

^ That's a very good point, I will not be posting my Romulan article just yet as I'm concentrating on the Cardassians more directly but when I do post it I will try to address the points that have been raised regarding the Vulcaniod species.
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Old March 8 2009, 05:42 PM   #47
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

The s most certainly are Trek's most interesting species. Complex, deep culture & history, s have.

The same is true of the characters we've seen on Trek over the past 18 years.

Wow! Hard to believe. s turn 18 this year.

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Old March 8 2009, 07:02 PM   #48
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

^ Yes they can legally drink Kanar! Good for them!
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Old March 8 2009, 08:44 PM   #49
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

Some of the writers seem to follow a policy that only adversary races can be well-rounded in Star Trek. Romulans and Cardassians are still well-rounded. Klingons were well-rounded in TOS, when they were adversaries, but for TNG they became allies, and relatively one-dimensional.

This is how they keep humans "special", and seemingly the logical leaders of the Federation. We're the only well-rounded race in the Federation.

"We don't know what to do about Humans... You have the arrogance of Andorians, the stubborn pride of Tellarites, one moment you're as driven by your emotions as Klingons, and the next you confound us by suddenly embracing logic." - Ambassador Soval of Vulcan

Better hope the Cardassians never join the Federation, or we can prepare to see a lot of their complexity vanish overnight.
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Old March 8 2009, 10:12 PM   #50
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

Thor Damar wrote: View Post
One of the main problems with being a cardassian fan is reconciling any interest or affection for the Cardassians with their canonal appearances and perceived modus operandi as established in TNG, DS9 and VGR. In TNG the Cardassians are a race of brutal deceitful conquerors that utilise torture as a means of getting intelligence and work to undermine the heroic Federation at every turn. (However the first ever Cardassian episode the wounded paints an intriguing and ultimately redeeming portrayal of the Cardassian people. I will discuss this is more depth below). Deep Space Nine has the most interaction with the Cardassians in any trek series so most of what we know about the Union and its people is gathered from the many brilliant episodes that make DS9 trek’s greatest series.
I've been asked this question before, sometimes in private. And I HAVE wondered if perhaps people might think I actually back the idea of a totalitarian and Nazi-like regime and hence require me to explain myself. I definitely do NOT support that. I may be conservative, but I am far from fascist (despite the way some people around here seem to like equating the two to try and discredit those who have a legitimate disagreement with them).

I think it's the idea of what the Cardassians COULD be that's the most exciting, what they have the potential to become if they'd get their act together...we've seen it in enough individuals (Daro, Dal, Lang, Ghemor, Macet, and eventually Damar) to have some pretty strong evidence.

With VGR this portrait takes a dip back into the lazy negative stereotypes of the Cardassians though the characters of Seska and Crell moset , I would argue that Nothing Human has one of the worst and most ill timed examination of the Cardassian psyche, coming as it does during the awesome Final Chapter of DS9.
And add to that--Kejal, the holographic Cardassian programmed into slavery by the Hirogen--was very explicitly identified as not having ANYTHING in common with real Cardassians! I found that pretty ridiculous. We saw real nobility in Tekeny Ghemor and Natima Lang (and others I could name)...why couldn't they have allowed for the possibility that Kejal had drawn upon that particular wellspring to decide who she wanted to be?

I think that had THAT been the context we'd seen Seska and Moset in, it would've been fine. We knew the Cardassians did some horrible things, and I think exploring that was a good idea. But I think Kejal (and the other holograms with her) could've balanced them out and reminded the audience not to judge the ENTIRE PEOPLE, and didn't.

(NB I hopefully plan to write quite a long essay on this subject so rather than make one very long post I will post a number of smaller essays on each particular aspect of the Cardassians. )
I look forward to it!!!

alicelouise wrote: View Post
Your last line: What about Vulcans? Really good question. The Vulcans strike me as a paternalistic, conceited, and secretive people. In TOS, Spock is reticent of revealing Vulcan culture. In "Amok Time" Kirk was tricked into a fight to the death. Why? Spock's intended wanted to run off with another guy. In ENT, Earth could explore only if the Vulcans allowed it. They seemed quite an officious species. Who do these Vulcans think they are? Thor Damar may want to add that the Romulans' qualities of secretiveness and bossiness are not far from the Vulcans'(much as both races would hate to admit it).
Yeah, seriously...I find myself wondering if the Vulcan superiority complex eventually infected humanity and led to the smug self-righteousness of the 24th century. Humanity stagnated, thanks to that. I don't get that same sense of potential to move forward when I look at 24th-century humanity, that I do when I look at the Cardassians.

Thor Damar wrote: View Post
^ Yes they can legally drink Kanar! Good for them!
Not in the US, they can't! Sorry, three more years for you...

USS_Triumphant wrote: View Post
Some of the writers seem to follow a policy that only adversary races can be well-rounded in Star Trek. Romulans and Cardassians are still well-rounded. Klingons were well-rounded in TOS, when they were adversaries, but for TNG they became allies, and relatively one-dimensional.

This is how they keep humans "special", and seemingly the logical leaders of the Federation. We're the only well-rounded race in the Federation.

"We don't know what to do about Humans... You have the arrogance of Andorians, the stubborn pride of Tellarites, one moment you're as driven by your emotions as Klingons, and the next you confound us by suddenly embracing logic." - Ambassador Soval of Vulcan
I think that's exactly it! The adversaries must be fully fleshed-out in order to give complexity to their rivalries with the Federation, but the other allies are merely dramatic foils.

Better hope the Cardassians never join the Federation, or we can prepare to see a lot of their complexity vanish overnight.
God forbid!!!

I would really hate to see them join the Federation. It would be nice to see someone manage to reform and yet NOT feel this burning need to subsume their culture and independence to the almighty Federation. In fact--you know what would be REALLY cool? To see someone rival the Federation not in military might but in a "friendlier" sort of competition. I'd like to see the Federation face the fact that they're no longer looked to as the galactic be-all end-all. I think a post-war, reformed Cardassia could be exactly the right sort of challenge: a society that is no longer expansionistic, but also refuses to embrace relativism/pluralism, and that stays conservative. I think it could cause a great deal of discomfort in the Federation and near it, maybe shake up that self-righteousness a bit.
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Old March 8 2009, 10:45 PM   #51
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

Nerys Ghemor wrote:
I would really hate to see them join the Federation. It would be nice to see someone manage to reform and yet NOT feel this burning need to subsume their culture and independence to the almighty Federation. In fact--you know what would be REALLY cool? To see someone rival the Federation not in military might but in a "friendlier" sort of competition. I'd like to see the Federation face the fact that they're no longer looked to as the galactic be-all end-all. I think a post-war, reformed Cardassia could be exactly the right sort of challenge: a society that is no longer expansionistic, but also refuses to embrace relativism/pluralism, and that stays conservative. I think it could cause a great deal of discomfort in the Federation and near it, maybe shake up that self-righteousness a bit.
I'd like to see them in the Federation, as commentators on the smug self-assurance of the Feds, even as they find that the values held by those obnoxious humans, Vulcans, and so forth are actually their own. I'd like to see a Cardassia that's on the brink of realizing they need not be "conservative" in order to prosper--that they need not be afraid in order to survive.

Of course, I also think the novels dropped the ball off the roof of the Sears Tower when they decided not to have a Cardassia occupied for years or decades by the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans. I couldn't believe the Cards already had their own government independent of an allied commission. Good God, in Destiny they've already begun rebuilding their fleet. I mean, I can almost see the Feds doing something this reckless, but the Klingons and Romulans would have torn the corpse of the Union to pieces in the absence of a Federation presence.
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Old March 8 2009, 10:52 PM   #52
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

Nerys Ghemor and Thor Damar, I too am a fan of the Cardassians. DS9 deserves tremendous credit making them more than a Hostile of the week. You can imagine a Cardassian as a housewife, doctor, working stiff, journalist or even a bum.

Cardassian society has much to recommend it with emphasis on close family ties and veneration of the elderly. Free market? Capitalist? Who knows? It would probably be closest to the Japanese form of capitalism know as kieritsu. Representative republic? Again, more an orderly clan council than geographic representatives.

It would be good if the Star Trekverse had a powerful and positive non Federation rival/trading partner. The Cardassians and even Bajorans would fit this bill. Every power in ST, except the Feds, seem to be dictatorships or unassimillable feuding clans like the Klingons.

Of course Eddington, the Maquis rebel, put it best that the Federation was like the Borg by assimillating all who joined it. Imagine how dull the Klingons or Romulans would really be if they joined the Federation.
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Old March 8 2009, 11:00 PM   #53
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

^The best label for the Cardassian economic system is probably state capitalism as practiced in late Tsarist Russia (unsuccessfully) or the People's Republic of China (jury's still out on that).
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Old March 8 2009, 11:00 PM   #54
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

Fascinating beginning, Thor - I can't wait to read more! Well, OK, I can wait, but I hope I don't have to wait too long.

I'm looking forward to your Romulan essay, too. A lot.
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Old March 8 2009, 11:55 PM   #55
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

Nerys Ghemor wrote: View Post
I would really hate to see them join the Federation. It would be nice to see someone manage to reform and yet NOT feel this burning need to subsume their culture and independence to the almighty Federation. In fact--you know what would be REALLY cool? To see someone rival the Federation not in military might but in a "friendlier" sort of competition. I'd like to see the Federation face the fact that they're no longer looked to as the galactic be-all end-all. I think a post-war, reformed Cardassia could be exactly the right sort of challenge: a society that is no longer expansionistic, but also refuses to embrace relativism/pluralism, and that stays conservative. I think it could cause a great deal of discomfort in the Federation and near it, maybe shake up that self-righteousness a bit.
I think this is a great idea - it would add so much complexity to the Trek universe. Besides, I already in an earlier post confessed my fondness for moral ambiguity, and that's what you'd have here. There are other races who have kept themselves out of the Federation, but they've isolated themselves so the Federation and the rest of us can easily ignore them. A people that is not isolated, does not wear black hats, and yet refuses to join the Federation....oh yes. I like this a lot. It would be good for both the Federation and the Cardassians, actually.
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Old March 9 2009, 12:12 AM   #56
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
^The best label for the Cardassian economic system is probably state capitalism as practiced in late Tsarist Russia (unsuccessfully) or the People's Republic of China (jury's still out on that).

More like the State Capitalist system of the Stalinist Union of Sovereign Socialist Republics (USSR).
Ladies and gentlemen, I raise my glass of Kanar to you all, the ideals and theories presented here are a sheer delight to read. I want to address some of them if I may.


The points made by Nerys Ghemor and Myasishchev regarding the economics and the Politics of Cardassia kinda tie in with the second part of this essay. The economic system of the Cardassian Union has never been elaborated upon either on screen or in the Literature, we know that the Cardassian currency is the Lek but there is no information on the units of this currency and how the economy works. However several observations can be made based on existing evidence.
Given the primacy of the state it is safe to assume that Cardassia is not a free market economy(not that sure that it has ever existed IMHO), that there is a high level of state involvement in the financial sector. One similarity that Cardassia may share with the late Soviet Union is an economy driven by the needs of heavy industry due to the huge demands of the ruling Military. This means that the Market in the CU is predicated upon shipbuilding and arms manufacture rather than consumer goods which would affect both the lifestyles of the average Cardassian and the Trade prospects of the Union. ( I will develop these arguments further in the essay).

The ideal of Cardassia as a different example of a non-federation power that is not a dictatorship or a race of cartoon stereotypes is one that I believe in as well. In fact one of the most annoying aspects of recent Cardassian portrayals is the neglection of one of the most ground shaking events in Trek history; the Revolution of 2372 in which a Totalitarian system was swiftly overthrown and a democracy was established. Alas we never got to find out how this democracy functioned, instead we got the Klingons rampaging around the Quadrant like a bunch of drunken morons.
I hope TNES will be able to bridge this gap (though I doubt it myself).

As to the Federations appalling arrogance and self righteousness I'm in complete agreement with everyone who has condemned it. I remember reading a truly bad Tom Clancy novel (is there any other kind) in which one of his Right wing Gary sues states that he doesn't care what happens to the rest of the world and that basically if they all killed themselves it would not matter because they aren't Americans. That sounds similar to the attitudes of the Feds, a load of in my humble opinion.

I'm very glad to see Cardassia recovering from the Dominion Genocide and I personally think that its great that there is no Klingon or Romulan occupation. Besides isn't the KDF supposed to be recovering from the Dominion War? Those Klingons shouldn't be trying to expand their poxy empire for gods sake.

I've ranted a bit too long so I'll stop by informing everyone that the next installment of this essay should be arriving in the next two days and I will be posting my essay on the Romulans as soon as I have refined it somewhat.

Thanks for Reading!
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Old March 9 2009, 12:18 AM   #57
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

Well, I don't know that I can condemn the Federation as whole-heartedly as you have, Thor - yes, it is arrogant, but I think for the most part, its representatives are trying to do the right thing, and that counts for a lot. That's what makes them so annoying: that they are often - though certainly not always - so sure they know what the right thing is. For everybody.

But I don't know that I much like the idea of the AQ without them, either! The quadrant could do worse.
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Old March 9 2009, 12:35 AM   #58
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

JustKate wrote: View Post
Well, I don't know that I can condemn the Federation as whole-heartedly as you have, Thor - yes, it is arrogant, but I think for the most part, its representatives are trying to do the right thing, and that counts for a lot. That's what makes them so annoying: that they are often - though certainly not always - so sure they know what the right thing is. For everybody.

But I don't know that I much like the idea of the AQ without them, either! The quadrant could do worse.
Yeah, maybe I'm being a bit to harsh on the Feds. The UFP is after all a interplanetary democracy that has played a huge role in protecting the AQ from the Borg and Dominion and provides peace and stability for it's citizens, which does deserve some respect.
But that does not make the UFP the be all and end all, it's still one nation amongst many.

Besides if the Federation was not there we might have the Klingons as the dominant AQ power
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Old March 9 2009, 12:41 AM   #59
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

^ Exactly. How much blood wine and shield-clashing does one poor little quadrant need? Not that much.
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Old March 9 2009, 03:32 AM   #60
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Re: Are the Cardassians the most interesting Race in the Star Terk Gal

Myasishchev wrote: View Post
I'd like to see them in the Federation, as commentators on the smug self-assurance of the Feds, even as they find that the values held by those obnoxious humans, Vulcans, and so forth are actually their own. I'd like to see a Cardassia that's on the brink of realizing they need not be "conservative" in order to prosper--that they need not be afraid in order to survive.
Yet you so perfectly illustrate my point as to why they need to be outside the Federation as a strong competitor.

That you cannot accept the existence of conservatism as a legitimate alternative view even if you do not agree with it--that you look at it simplistically as though all conservatism is is fear so that you can dismiss having to consider or even just put up with its existence without automatically sneering at it...that right there is exactly why the Federation needs a kick in the self-righteousness. You seem to assume that the only people whose views are worth having are those who adhere to the exact set of liberal/relativistic values that the Federation have, and that the only way in which a society can grow and develop in a positive way is in the direction YOU favor. That is simply not true...and why a real competitor needs to be around.

Now, IF we are talking about the pre-war Cardassian system, fascist regime and all, yes--you would have a point about the role of fear. But I am talking about post-war, doing away with the totalitarianism and leaving the positive values...and the capacity to believe strongly in them and not be afraid of that passion...intact.
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