A question regarding "Patterns of Force"

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Mario de Monti, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Although I agree with you that it is not meant to be taking as a comedy episode overall. I felt that line was not meant to be taken seriously.

    There is other comedy in the episode. Such as when Kirk is standing on Spock (or is it the other way around, I can't remember) and when Bones enters half dressed.

    The episode isn't Hogan's Heroes for sure but it isn't completely super serious either.
     
  2. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I always took Spock's joke to mean "Nazi" in the same sense that Seinfeld would later joke about the Soup Nazi: a stern guy who snaps orders and doesn't respect people.

    The makers probably thought this episode was going to be so heavy and sad, with all the Ekosian cruelty, that some bits of comic relief were needed.
     
  3. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Consider: in the 23rd century the connotation of Nazi likely wouldn't carry the same personal resonance as it does for many today. Also Spock mighn't have quite appreciated how his attempt at humour might resonate with a human particularly one as decently knowledgeable of history as Kirk. When we hear Kirk talking to John Gill later we really see Kirk's opinion of Nazism, but evidently Kirk wasn't reactionary enough to go ape-shit over Spock's attempt at humour earlier.
     
  4. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Serious episodes can have comedic moments. McCoy's uniform trouble is also a light moment.

    If it was written in the 23rd Century, that might be a fair point. I doubt the writers were going for the "23rd Century connotation" when they wrote it.
     
  5. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    Thank you for your collective input. I guess I´ll watch the episode one more time and pay attention to finding humorous elements.

    Still, my original question remains ... ;)
     
  6. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    About dressing as a "Slave trader"? Is there a specific uniform for a slave trader? Does that uniform invoke certain imagery and history?
     
  7. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    No, not that one, it was just meant as a comparison :)
    I mean the question that I also repeated in post #18:

    "... if my "problem" with Spock´s remark is due to the fact I´m German (and have the background I just explained) or if non-Germans (without this background) have similar problems with it."

    Mario
     
  8. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not German and I wasn't offended.
     
  9. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I think it does. Though I think Spock's comment is about Nazi ideology, not Germans.
     
  10. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    I can't speak to the minutia of German cultural policy. The Federal Government has certainly repressed many symbolic elements of nationalism that served to make Nazism so resonant. I think part of the episode intended to deal with this: it's impossible to have Nazism without the imagery or the xenophobia (an arguable point, of course).

    Representing the German past is a fraught subject with strong emotions. Nonetheless, German culture many opportunities to discuss the memories of Nazism and the Holocaust, moreso than, for instance, French imperialism, British rule in Ireland, or even Germany's genocidal war against the Herero. Indeed, the US has a national museum for the Holocaust, but not one for slavery and its legacy. If there is a problem with German memory, it is, IMO, attributable to Adenauer's original formulation--crimes committed in the name of the German people--which made it easy to embrace national guilt, but somewhat easy to evade it on a personal level.





    For the sake of disclosure, there is an Alsatian side to my family, among whom there is some tendency to romanticism Germanic culture. (They emigrated in the 1850s, thus didn't develop the same sense of Germanness that developed after 1970, or resistance to German nationalism that emerged among Alsatians.

    On the other hand, isn't it possible that our differences on the subject of this line may have more to do with differing notions of humor among the various cultures?
     
  11. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    Absolutely, I never understood it any other way.

    Interesting. So it seems to be not just a national/German wish to keep dealing with this part of history.

    Theoretically, yes. But like I said before, I don´t usually have a problem with jokes/humor about Germans or Nazis and I can definitely laugh about myself, too. It just seems to be this instance in POF, where I can´t seem to find the humorous notion implied.

    Mario
     
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Spock implication is that Kirk looks like the Nazi ideal.
     
  13. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    That is something I could live with. It would also explain Kirk´s somewhat ... irritated ... reaction to Spock´s remark ;)
     
  14. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Hopefully, you won't mind if I give a little chuckle (though just a little one--there's isn't much too the joke).
     
  15. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    By no means. It would be terribly boring if everyone would laugh about the exact same things - or like the exact same things :)
     
  16. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And that's where the humor lies.
     
  17. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ridiculous, indeed. With that kind of "politically correct" pressure, I can see how Germans would find it hard to laugh at Spock's joke. That is, your failure to see the "comic relief" in an otherwise grim episode is not because of what happened back then, but because of what is happening now. (Is it really over, or has it taken a new form?)

    But many people are weird—those having nothing to do with persecutions that happened so long ago have no reason to feel guilty about it today, and people who did not suffer such persecutions should not be demanding reparations from those who had nothing to do with it.

    We should never forget the past, but that doesn't mean we should keep living it over and over.
     
  18. Grant

    Grant Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I agree, I think it was an attempt at humor by Spock--perhaps commenting on Kirk's leadership role on the ship.
     
  19. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    While slavery and Nazism might be close to the hearts of some of us, they appear to be nicely distanced from the reality in which our TOS heroes live. A joke about whether the main hero would make for a convincing slave trader or not was part of the very first Star Trek pilot episode!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  20. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    A lot of everyday humour can be flavoured by dark parts of our psyche, our cultures and our history. People make jokes all the time that some (including ourselves) might find distasteful and yet we laugh anyway.
     

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