Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof should not Return.

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by Cara007, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    To take things out of order:

    He's only in the position of relying on Marla's loyalties because his automatic reaction to the world around him is an attempt at conquest.

    (I need me one of them nifty holiday-season nicks...)

    Except... we're told quite explicitly that they don't in both the words and actions of the Enterprise crew. They represent dictatorship, they represent science gone wrong, Khan certainly represents overweening arrogance... but they also represent vast potential. In the quote you provide, Khan isn't just some deluded racist twit who mistakenly imagines himself to be superior, he actually is measurably superior -- a character conceived as a giant of a man. Just not in the moral sense.

    That's why they are the "Space Seed." It's why they're seeded on a planet at the end of the episode in order to give them more time to adjust to, or develop into a condition to join, the modern age. Of course all of that is also largely absent from STID Khan, that's another difference in the writing.
     
  2. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I think you've somewhat misread Space Seed.

    The title has a double, if not triple, meaning. First, the SS Botany Bay exists as a space seed, as originally intended by those who launched it. Second, the first meaning itself is an allusion to the colonization of Australia by convicts, and I would suggest that the launchers intended that allusion. Third, the other meaning is of course the colonization of Ceti Alpha VI by the supermen and Marla.

    Ceti Alpha VI was not a probationary exile; it was permanent. There was never any intention to let Khan and his followers join the Federation; that honor was only going to come to his descendants, and only possibly someday at that. The last meaning of "space seed" was to reference the pollination of Ceti Alpha VI as a permanent settlement, not as an essential part of the 23rd century, but in its own right, as might have happened eventually, if the ship had been left to its own devices and in accordance with the launchers' intentions. That was the chance that Kirk gave them, to make and follow their own destiny, but within the confines of that one world. It was a life sentence.

    As for whether Khan really was superior, his superior ambition and his belief that he was meant to rule rendered him incompatible with natural humans. The potential he otherwise represented could never be tapped in civilized society, because he was always going to be a threat. In terms of the application of his potential, he offered nothing other than a system in which he was absolute ruler. He was therefore suited only to the type of exile he was sentenced to.

    Also, a dictatorship is a form of totalitarianism, so it can't be claimed that Khan didn't represent totalitarianism because instead he represented dictatorship.
     
  3. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    CC, I think the points you make above are valid (insofar as I was perhaps overselling Khan and his people as having the potential to integrate in the present), except for this:

    ... which is simply wrong. Dictatorship can be totalitarian; dictatorship is not "a form of totalitarianism." In much the same way that republics can be democratic, but republics are not "a form of democracy." (And we are told quite specifically that Khan in his tenure as a prince was no Stalin.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  4. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Alright. I'll admit my poli-sci isn't always up to snuff.

    However, if we buy into what's in the wiki, then it would seem unlikely to me that Khan would have opted for a non-totalitarian and therefore authoritarian dictatorship, because, for example, opting for a merely authoritarian regime would have led to a high level of corruption. His charisma is another indication that his regime was probably totalitarian.
     
  5. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I guess I just don't see any particular reason to try to speculatively get around what we're told in plain terms about Khan and his regime.
     
  6. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Which includes:

    What about that doesn't sound both totalitarian and dictatorial?
     
  7. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's none of it that sounds necessarily totalitarian. Any of it could be equally said about hundreds of years' worth of reasonably competent monarchs.

    Totalitarian means a system that makes a strong effort to control the minutiae of subjects' lives from the cradle to the grave. About the best that can be said is that the script kinda sorta doesn't entirely rule that possibility out... but it seems pretty clearly to me not to be the point of what it's telling us.
     
  8. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I'd say I was giving Spock's "And as little freedom" some weight. Spock's being the voice of reason, which is usually his function in stories, while the others are romanticizing about what they also squarely admit was tyrannical rule. Hence, they are overemphasizing its positive aspects.
     
  9. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    Now that you mention it, his teary explanation in the middle of the movie seems empty.
     
  10. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Of course it is. Khan is manipulating his listeners; I doubt the tears were genuine. People like Khan simply don't have feelings like that. How could they? They're Augments - designed for ambition above all else.

    And Spock's line about "As little freedom" is also very important. There may have been no massacres under Khan's rule, but in a society where everyone is in constant fear of their lives - maybe they HAVEN'T been massacred, but they COULD be, if they say, do, or even think the wrong thing - how relevant is that? There was no freedom of any kind under Augment rule, so therefore, the claim that there were no massacres (while, in itself, a good thing) would seem to ring a bit hollow.

    People who think that Khan's such a great guy should read this.

    Let me rephrase: Khan should never have allowed himself to get under Marcus' thumb in the first place. If he really was as superior as he liked to say, then he should have never allowed himself to be ruled over at all.


    Indeed.

    And thus it is impossible to actually advocate a system like Khan put forth, since wherever there is an absolute ruler, there can never (by definition) be any kind of freedom.
     
  11. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That line is a description of authoritarian government throughout human history. It's not a description of Khan being Hitler. The notion that Khan was meant to be more complicated than a Hitler/Stalin is the plain implication of the Starfleet officers having a "sneaking admiration" for him.
     
  12. Franklin

    Franklin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Along the lines of what BigJake is saying:

    In "Space Seed", a key is the dinner with Khan where they are talking about the 1996 period. Khan says it was a time of great dreams and aspirations. Spock reminds him that people were living under dozens of petty dictators. To which, Khan responds that a Caesar would've arisen sooner or later (not saying, but naturally believing that would've been him). He foresaw another glory like the height of the Roman Empire. When he got peeved at Kirk for alleging he fled, he blurted out, "We offered the world order!"

    In the lines of a Caesar or Napoleon, Khan would be an absolute leader out to achieve glory for his nation, and he could actually have accomplishments to that end that would make people consider him a great historical figure. While Caesar and Napoleon are not in the same pantheon as George Washington, no one really sees them as a Hitler or Stalin, either. Hitler and Stalin are often referred to as evil, but you don't hear that about Caesar or Napoleon.

    Washington was a damn unusual figure to walk away from such potential power. Consider that the more he accomplished for France, the more power Napoleon grabbed for himself until he became absolute Emperor of France. When he was finally defeated and sent into exile, Napoleon looked back and lamented that the French people, "wanted me to be another Washington."

    As for the Khan in "Space Seed" contradicting the genocidal Khan in STID who wants a world of supermen, it could be that with over a century of more time since TWOK to research the period (given we know from SS the record was cloudy), Spock Prime and those in his universe may have found out there were indeed terrible atrocities under Khan, and the romance of his leadership went away. He was really far more evil than believed to be in "Space Seed" or TWOK. Nothing to admire. Maybe he was more Stalin and less Caesar.
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Generally speaking, does being a totalitarian dictator require being evil?
     
  14. Franklin

    Franklin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    There is the concept of the benign or benevolent dictatorship in political philosophy. But empirically? No. Totalitarianism and authoritarianism are separated mostly by the degrees of oppression the state puts upon its people. If oppression is evil, then all forms of government of that type are evil. Although he got snickers for saying it because of the Star Wars allusion, that was the basis for Reagan calling the USSR the evil empire. The evil of communist regimes versus the freedom of the West was also a dominant theme in JFK's 1960 presidential campaign.
     
  15. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Commodore Commodore

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    Funny you should mention that-James Cawley quit his role as Captain Kirk because of the criticism of his acting as Kirk (he's being replaced by Brian Goss.) FWIW, I loved Cawley as Kirk-not so much his hatred of the new movies, though.
     
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Khan had no issues killing those who refused to follow him as we saw in "Space Seed". I can't believe he was any different as a dictator.
     
  17. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I'd also say that evidently people often don't find charismatic dictators to be evil, while under their influence, even if they really are evil.

    I read the dinner scene as though Prime Kirk, McCoy, and Scott were still feeling Khan's charismatic sway, still lingering through the historical narratives. But, they were aware of it, and celebrated the contradiction between what they were influenced to feel versus what they knew to be right.

    Also, super-charm could have been an ability of the supermen.
     
  18. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Cawley's face looks closer to Clint Eastwood than to William Shatner. So maybe he should do some Man With No Name fanfilms. ;)
     
  19. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Logically, yes it does. All dictators that don't start out as evil, end up that way. It's inevitable. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and all that.
     
  20. BigJake

    BigJake Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It is certainly an occupational hazard. But nothing is this simple. The Roman Emperors -- despite the pomp of monarchy that surrounded them -- were strictly-speaking dictators. Many did go bad or crazy, many others didn't.