Did Klingon culture become too stereotyped by the end of DS9?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by USS Einstein, Jan 14, 2013.

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Did Klingon culture get over-simplified in later eras of Star TreK?

  1. Yes

    45 vote(s)
    63.4%
  2. No

    26 vote(s)
    36.6%
  1. vulcan redshirt

    vulcan redshirt Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    To some extent, the Klingon monoculture must be an effect simply of the types of Klingons shown -to tell a particular story at a particular time. Whenever a warship is shown, there will of course be warriors aboard. When we are shown Klingon leaders, they are all the heads of the ruling families (houses), who seem to operate to some extent like feudal barons of the early middle-ages. The fact that they have a functioning star navy indicates that there must be engineers and builders. A top Klingon chief engineer will surely be just as good an engineer as LaForge or O'Brien, but probably a bit more handy in combat. When a Klingon house is dishonoured, they may lose their lands and wealth, which surely implies that beneathe the ruling class they have a serf population who work those lands and create the produce and wealth, that the nobles just cream off (much like middle age lords).

    I would also assume that the Klingons would employ mandatory 'national service' of those who have come of age too (as ranks), and that traditionally, offspring of the ruling houses would become warriors (as officers)- no different from military tradition in some upper class families today. In short, we hardly ever see a non-military Klingon, because Trek writers didn't see an interesting way to use non-military Klingons much.

    Which non military Klingons do we see? there's the tribunals that send Kirk and Archer to Rura penthe, Archer's lawyer, Lady Grilka (OK she's the widow of a warrior), the DS9 chef, the inhabitants of Carreya IV (but they are effectively independant) the Duras sisters seem to be renegade ex-warriors but that's about it. all other Klingons we see are warriors, or associated with the ruling houses, which would make them ex-warriors - because these are the Klingons who have contact with Starfleet. Given his status as a minor noble, Worf would have been yet another 'nameless' warrior had he not been orphaned and taken in by the Rozhenko's.

    It would have been interesting to meet a Klingon freighter captain, or perhaps merchants passing through DS9 on their way to the Gamma Quadrant to negotiate trade deals before the Dominion War, or even a Klingon engineering team getting warp drive going again after battle damage.

    Certainly the Klingon economy did work around money, unlike the Federation, so there would probably be all the 'white-collar' city workers too - but that does not make for an interesting trek story. Who wants to see a Klingon farmer ploughing a field, or a Klingon plumber fixing a bust pipe?
     
  2. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Captain Captain

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    Klingons should be whatever it requires for the story at present. You could do hundreds of stories with Klingons but making them identical to humans is ridiculous since there's no point in having Klingons anymore if they're going to be humans since we have humans for that.

    Are Klingons barbarians for having frizzy hair and swords? Not really, not anymore than humans are for their fashion choices. It depends on whether or not they can make warp coil.
     
  3. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think their armour speaks quite a lot about their culture, and how rational it is.
     
  4. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I didn't read every post in this thread and maybe some already said something similar but I don't think the Into Darkness Klingons are all that different from the TNG-ENT take on Klingons.

    For one, there is very little in their scene to suggest much of a difference besides the face masks and heavy coats and we don't know why they are wearing those. Two, if I recall correctly, Uhura tries to appeal to the Klingon leader's sense of honor, which is something in keeping with the Klingons on TNG forward.

    I do think the idea of having more variation in the depiction of alien cultures is necessary and a good thing and something Trek should be doing. But to be fair to Trek, there has been some instances where the Klingons' bellicose sense of honor has been lamented (Judgment) questioned (various TNG/DS9 episodes), or subverted (Tacking Into the Wind). I have no problem seeing more development of their culture though, particularly the average Klingons who aren't part of big Houses or on warships.
     
  5. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It occurs to me that we have some proof that a new regime or style of government took control of the Klingon Empire.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In Errand of Mercy, Kor states that "all Klingon officers are monitored" - a state of affairs that I cannot see any earlier or later Klingons having agreed to.

    Whatever happened to the Klingon state between ENT and TNG must have been a significant social revolution; presumably some Klingon form of fascism - since the nobility seems to have survived, it couldn't have been some kind of French or Russian revolution.
     
  6. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    The Klingons didn't seem very stereotypical in Into Darkness. Well, except for the Worf Effect which was definitely present and correct:)
     
  7. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    ^ lol
    Well Klingons have a history of being curb stomped by Augments like Khan. The Augment trilogy in ENT fourth season "Borderland", "Cold Station 12" and "The Augments". Not that the general audience would be privy to such information but it might have been useful to have a line in the film detail the strength levels of the races.

    I think these are strength levels of the races. I'm not to sure about Klingons but 2 sounds about right.
    If Humans are at 1
    Human - 1
    Klingon - 2x the strength of an adult human
    Vulcan - 3x of humans
    Augment - 5x the strength of humans

    Just for reference
    Orangutans and Gorilla have 6x the strength of an adult human
     
  8. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Especially when you take into account that their armor seem to be purely ornamental, it doesn't protect against phaser/distuptor fire (which would make the wearing of it sensible). It couldn't even stop a medium sized knife in the hand of a old woman.

    All for show.

    I would disagree. If anything Klingon strength is below the Human average, not above.

    I would place them at something like 0.9 of Human. Worf would appear to be stronger than most Klingon, this might be from a more intense work out routine.

    :)
     
  9. TheSubCommander

    TheSubCommander Captain Captain

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    Klingons are inconsistent, like Romulans. Kruge picked Kirk up by the neck in TSFS, yet a pregnant Kira can throw Klingon warriors around like rag dolls. And, similarly, how many times did Romulans get pwned by Starfleet Fu, yet it wasn't until Star Trek 2009 that it was finally confirmed that they have Vulcan level strength?

    I think for Klingons the best we can actually say is Klingons are just have a tougher hide and physiology, but are around the mid to upper limits of human level strength. Unlike Vulcans, Klingons have not really shown strength levels that were impossible for humans.
     
  10. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Thinking of the way Klingons fought humans in TOS Trouble with Tribbles and DS9 Way of the Warrior. Im inclined to reevaluate my earlier estimate of klingons = 2x human strength. Klingons may be 1 to 1 for humans or possess the potential to surpass human strength levels in they engage in regular strength training exercise.


    Also the Romulans in ST09 were all miners. That could accommodate for their increased strength. Since Romulans from TOS-TNG-DS9-ENT were never shown to be physically superior to humans.
     
  11. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Alien strength has been so inconsistent in Trek. I cringed when Archer punched out Vulcans in Enterprise, and cheered when someone remembered that Romulans should be as strong as Vulcans in STXI.
     
  12. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Remember when Shinzon gripped Donatra's wrist and she squirmed uncomfortably in his grasp. I have no problems with Romulans being = to Vulcans in strength. However the team before Abrams did a poor job demonstrating it.

    Wasn't there some notion that because Romulans live on a different planet instead of Vulcan and after the 200,000 year they eventually lost the enhanced strength?
     
  13. TheRoyalFamily

    TheRoyalFamily Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe Vulcan/Romulan women didn't have the same large strength that the men did. Did T'Pol ever show Vulcan strength? There were probably times when it would have been useful.

    Or it could be that the Vulcans have a similar sexual dimorphism as humans do, in terms of muscle and strength. The females would be 3 times as strong as human females of a similar build...but Donatra doesn't look particularly buff, especially compared to Shinzon.

    I like to think that, at least at one point, the Romulans and Remans interbred. That would explain why Romulans have ridges, and the Remans look like Romulan Goblins :rommie:
     
  14. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Romulan Goblins ROFL

    I was drinking a coke and snorted it up my nose. That was too funny
     
  15. mlk

    mlk Ensign Red Shirt

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    Most cultures were stereotyped by the end of Voyager, Klingon yes, but also the Borg. They became plot devices instead of being in the center of a plot. Klingons were buffoons who could only care about honor(but not really)
     
  16. feek61

    feek61 Captain Captain

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    The depiction of the Klingons in ALL of the later Trek series is so far from the original idea of them (I believe from Gene Coon). The description of the Klingons from TMOST:

    "The number one adversary of the Federation is the Klingon Empire. More powerful than the Romulans, the Klingons are less admirable characters. Their only rule in life is that rules are made to be broken by skrewdness, deceit, or power. Cruelty is something admirable; honor is a despicable trait."

    Interesting that most of those traits eventually were given the the Feringi race.
     
  17. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Archer also got his ass handed to him by a Vulcan in Fusion. I think he simply caught the one off-guard in The Andorian Incident. :techman:
     
  18. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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  19. USS Firefly

    USS Firefly Commander Red Shirt

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    That still is a very good game, too bad i can't play it anymore on my PC.
    I also never understood why there never was a sequel, something about the TNG era Klingons or the romulans.
     
  20. USS Einstein

    USS Einstein Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Survival of the Fittest and Klingon Society

    by James Singh-Li, Professor of Political & Xeno History, University of Leeds, and author of "The Crying Ice: Andorian Medieval Monasticism"


    People are in two minds about Klingon Society.

    Read a about the empire from other cultures, and you will find two broad views:

    • Some people describe Klingon society as a cutthroat world where eugenics and survival of the fittest is government policy. Klingons advance in rank through assassination. They must constantly remain vigilant, cynical and politically aware. They build personal fortune on the backs of other's downfall.

    • Other people describe Klingon society as honor-bound, obsessed with social propriety, ritualised challenges, and defence of law and justice. Klingons consider courage in combat, death before dishonor, fairness and lawfulness to be their guiding principles. They ascribe to a code to the point of fanaticism.

    So which is true?

    [​IMG]

    The reality is that across history, Klingon society has been governed by cuthroat social Darwinism, official or unofficial eugenic policies akin to Nazi Germany, and has constantly failed millions who have had no chance to compete - Klingons who are excluded due to poverty or prejudice. The low born have little chance of advancing in rank, as those with power inevitably create systems to retain that power. The honor code of Kahless is used to limit the carnage of this system, by imposing legalistic rules on the general populace, who take psychological succor from the idea that their existence is contributing to the Empire. It is the happy lie, that conceals the real system. Just as clergy on Earth were once accused of leading a comfortable life, while telling people at the lectern to work hard for small gains, the Klingon nobility promote an honor code that ensures they retain wealth and power, and which keeps the poor from competing in the battle of Nietzschean will. Extra competitors is the last thing Klingon captains and bureaucrats need.

    But many Klingons in the military can see through this charade, and merely use the popular religion as another tool in their Machivellian arsenal. Why die yourself, when you can easily con poor soldiers using a militaristic ideal? The willingness of the young and poor to kill and die for high ideals (and, as it happens, greying older men behind desks). The warband fights for you; but your house gains the land, titles, wealth or power. Make a small show of your martial power to quell questions of courage, and then order your subordinates into engagements that will increase your personal power.

    The Federation's contacts with the empire, are littered with Klingon Commanders who paid lip service to honor, but unofficially admitted to their Starfleet rivals that they had little or no care for social custom; it was a tool to them - Kahless was an anachronistic joke. The real game was advancement within the confines of the system; report a victory to the Planning Bureau on Kronos, and advance a step in rank - find a superior who was vulnerable, and destroy them, to take their place.

    Sometimes the social policies of the Empire become more or less prominent; after the Klingon Revolution of the 23rd Century, the Empire appeared governed by a fascist system that didn't even attempt to hide it's nature in traditional rhetoric - the revolution was secular, rejecting the rhetoric of honor entirely - officers were monitored constantly, and the eugenic policy of social advancement was blatant. After the Gorkon Reforms, the Empire has slipped back into a medieval atavism, where the religion of Kahless has again become popular with the masses.

    This is why there will be no lasting understanding between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire as long as Klingon society does not come to terms with the real causes of conflict between the two - Klingon citizens today argue that they have returned to the true teachings of Kahless - when in fact they have merely returned to the same system of social control that the empire possessed before the Klingon Revolution - it is a re-entrenchment of the same ideas - the bravado of the young - blind respect for tradition - imperialism camouflaged as good vs evil.

    [​IMG]

    Klingon dissidents have always existed - millions of Klingons are irreligious and pay no heed to traditional social expectations - dissidents find the philosophy of Kahless as little more than justification for their oppression; with stifling notions of nobility. Dissidents who are ambitious either join the military for cynical advancement, or live at the fringes of society - or, in past times, if they transgressed the state, were sent to internment camps such as Rura Penthe. But, if the Klingons are one day to be real and lasting friends of the Federation, or even join it's social system, these are the people who will have to talk freely and without fear of the mob policing them. The Empire has experimented with democracy in the past; Klingons today call these 'Dark Times'; but the truth is that they degenerated into a dictatorship of the majority and violent mob rule because there was no civil society; dissenting opinions were not respected - fanatical respect for a prophet such as Kahless is the ultimate way to stifle change; because it becomes disrespect to disagree.
     

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