Kazons: A metaphor for post-colonial peoples?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by Swarm Emperor, Dec 19, 2016.

  1. Swarm Emperor

    Swarm Emperor Ensign Red Shirt

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    Many people deride the Kazons as second rate Klingons, but I don't think that's fair. Besides both being warlike peoples, they are quite different in several ways; Klingons have an advanced centralized empire while the Kazons are warring clans, Klingons give great respect for their women while Kazons treat them as subordinate, Klingons seem to treat honor and the ability to endure pain as ends in and of themselves while Kazons, though having their own ceremonies, care most about the acquisition of territory above all else.

    One major difference between the two is that while the Klingon Empire is ancient, the Kazon Order is quite new, and it is this fact I think could be used to shape their identity in true ST fashion. Having become independent of the Trabe just a few decades before VOY, the Kazons exhibit many of the attributes that we see in modern post-colonial societies. They suffer from internal instability and violence, have poor infrastructure and outdated weaponry, seem to have a reactionary, bellicose sense of pride and nationalism, and a weak economy. They make use of child soldiers like we see in the conflicts of several Third World nations, and are highly distrustful of any outside judgment. While I am by no means trying to stereotype poor nations, I do think that they could be used within the Star Trek universe as an example of a developing nation going through severe post-colonial upheavals. Thoughts?
     
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  2. DEWLine

    DEWLine Commodore Commodore

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    Looking back?

    I think you've nailed it. We were not paying attention to the metaphor back when it first aired.
     
  3. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Ken Biller said (on the back of a trading card) that the Kazon were an allegory for the (modern) Gangs of LA.

    Which racially could mean a few things, considering how diverse the gang scene has always been represented.
     
  4. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Captain Captain

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    It's an interesting allegory and one must handle with care to avoid accusations of racism, parochialism and so on.

    I never had any problem with the Kazon in principle.

    Oh and the name Kazon Ogla sounds so cool.
     
  5. The Lonely Man

    The Lonely Man Commander Red Shirt

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    Sounds like a spacefaring pervert.
     
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  6. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Kazon were so corny and poorly realised that I'm honestly surprised that they endured as VOY villains. Seska needed hordes to control, to do her bidding, though and in that capacity, they were a necessary evil. But they weren't much worse than the Ferengi were, when TNG first introduced them, they're so ridiculous. An episode, or two, with them until Seska found a more suitable replacement for them would've been completely acceptable, then just move on. I would've had her encounter a situation where there were these androids that were in stasis, or something like that, to become hers to control. That would've proved most interesting, boarding Voyager with that kind of "muscle" ...
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And the Kazons go rolling along...
     
  8. cgervasi

    cgervasi Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I could not understand why they kept meeting them. They said at the beginning that Voyager was pretty fast ship. The Kazon were technologically inferior. Even if Voyager took a circuitous course to gather supplies, I wouldn't expect them to spend very long in Kazon space.

    To my ear Kazon Ogla sounds like a stupid ogre or something, almost like a it should be a slur.
     
  9. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Mostly because literally all Kazon technology was stolen from the Trabe. (Kind of like the Klingons taking everything they have from the Hur'q.)

    Trabe/Kazon technology may not have things like food replicators, but they can still have fast ships. In which case it wouldn't be too much of a stretch for Voyager to keep encountering them.
     
  10. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Captain Captain

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    Kazon Ogla to me seems like it would have lots of drama in a speech

    Chieftain Borok "I am the last chieftain of Kazon Ogla follow me one last time!"

    As for Voyager running into them recall they are nomadic and scattered and after they got through the Nekrit Expanse they never really encountered them again.
     
  11. jmidnight_99

    jmidnight_99 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree. They were terrible "foes" Even the Borg found them weak and inferior, and not even worthy of assimilation. I found it interesting that they felt entitled to Voyager's technology. If the writers thought that little allegory would escape everyone's attention, they were mistaken.
     
  12. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Captain Captain

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    I didn't mind them in principle-things I liked-political disunity, former slaves, inferiority complex.

    Their rough and tumble barbarians who have recently just broken free of more "civilized" masters, have reverted to clannish politics and make themselves known by stealing and killing.

    Their not that threatening as villains(which makes sense).

    I don't think they were realized well in the writing but I had no problem with them in concept.
     
  13. Paradise City

    Paradise City Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    They come off on-screen as knock off Klingons with a kind of snarly villainous manner about them with a cheesy pseudo-Klingon "honour-warrior code" song and dance. I appreciate their backstory was more nuanced than that but they were never adversaries I was persuaded by. You'd think as slaves they'd have lost their warrior traditions. The Caretaker premier was otherwise very good, so it was shame the Kazon weren't more imaginatively thought out.
     
  14. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I think the Klingonish makeup did them no favours. I liked the twist that they were Trabe slaves until fairly recently, but of course very little was done with it.
     
  15. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But as soon as the Kazon became about overcoming slavery so poorly, spurious parallels were drawn between reconstruction in reality, and the Kazon, that made Berman look really racist.
     
  16. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It might appear that way, but personally, I'm very reticent to suggest that Rick Berman might've been racist. That's interesting, though, I hadn't really given the matter much thought. But Rick's certainly from a different era that may well have coloured his attitudes to certain issues. But STAR TREK's always had some strange, unsavory elements peppered into it, throughout the past 50 years. I don't know that it was ever with ill-intent, of any kind ...