OTHER Starship Captains - Symbolism, Foreshadowing & Plot Devices

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Captain Tracy, Nov 8, 2011.

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  1. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    7THSEALORD - Another outstandingly lucid post, yet again.

    HOWEVER, where I have a philosophical difficulty is that in the vast majority of cases, the difference is that the representatives of the UFP, being in this case its SFC arm, act as INVADERS and AGGRESSORS.

    Case-in-Point:

    In the episode, 'Specter of the Gun', operating under direct orders from SFC to establish initial contact and establish communications with an Alien culture, who's location is apparently of importance only to the UFP.

    Upon reaching a deep-space territorial boarder, a warning buoy establishes contact with the Starship and informs same that their culture/government has no interest in, and will not engage in communications, or having its, until then, peaceful boards violated by invaders.

    So what happens?

    The Starship drives AROUND the buoy, and invades.

    Once that line is crossed, sad to say, the UFP becomes the transgressing invader of the story.

    AND SHOULD BE DEALT WITH SUMMARILY.

    To often we have seen situations portrayed which in our World would be like:

    A guy who flies across the world to your locale airport, drives across town, parks his car in the driveway at your house,...

    and when you return home, being blocked out,... you tell him to get off your property, he then punches you in the nose, and, as his boss told him to do park in your driveway, and besides you didn't cut your grass on Saturday like everyone where he comes from.

    So the only guy that is actually justified in this story would be you in beating the tar out of the INVADING TRESPASSER.

    So for the guy who is illegally on your property to then start mouthing off about his Foreign Governments Constitution, after he has invaded you, beat you up, and told you to wash your dirty dishes, and take down that ugly velvet Elvis painting in your living room, is just too much.


    Watch that teaser of 'Specter', and see yourself as the folks living out in deep space, not wanting, asking, or NEEDING anything to do with the UFP, and have the right and power to defend themselves against such violators of THEIR RIGHTS.

    So,... while I totaly agree with your post, it is provided WE are not the ones FIRST Trespassing, and then becoming the Invading Villian.

    and if one trespasses and then acts against those he trespassed against,.. he is but a CRIMINAL.

    Dr. Zaus to Taylor: YOU are the infection.

    Anyway, that is the part I cannot get around.
     
  2. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    Hey there PLYNCH. Welcome to the party LOL!

    Tonight we are serving UFP:SFC Morality and Ethics under glass. LOL!
     
  3. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    Simple observation: ANY discussion of Kirk has the potential to slide over into the whole Prime Directive thing, which is undoubtedly a popular subject around here anyhow.

    Sorry, Cap'n T, I find your 'Spectre Of The Gun' analogy to be bizarre and almost incomprehensible. As best I recall (and it isn't like this is an episode I enjoy watching repeatedly), Kirk did not actually punch anyone in the nose nor did he wave anybody's Constitution in anybody else's face. I do recall that the Melkotians eventually chose to talk wth Kirk and, after hearing what he had to say, said they were willing to talk further with the Federation.

    If Kirk was the guy who was illegally parked, then the Melkotians are the nutjobs who responded by trying to murder him on sight - without even pretending to hear him out first - and calling it a justifiable execution. Only when the whole execution thing fell apart did the Melkotians actually try hearing him out. OTOH, maybe this whole shebang was merely the Melkotian way of screening visitors. Be assured that anyone who gets through all that probably has something important to say.

    Counter-analogy. I don't know if this was the actual case, but see nothing against it as an explanation either. Would certainly explain why SFC was so hell-bent on establishing communications no matter what.

    Suppose a previously uncommunicative (and possibly unknown) alien race suddenly and arbitrarily imposes a "No-Go Zone" in a specific volume of space previously thought of as unclaimed and/or only used by you. This causes problems. Maybe this annexation blocks important trade routes, or interferes with Star Fleet movements to/from a particular frontier, or whatever.

    They don't respond to any messages from you, and you don't know anyone else they might talk to who could act as a go-between. So, do you suffer in noble and principled silence, or do you respond with immediate all-out war, or do you send in someone to at least try and open polite dialogue with these guys?

    Don't answer straight away.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  4. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    One thing I keep in mind is this - 'No matter how perfect a principle, creed, law or system might be; its original intent can still be horribly f####d up by over-rigid interpretation and/or sheer smegheadedness.'

    Im other words: Be flexible, because no matter how much you will kid yourself otherwise, exceptions exist for pretty much everything.

    'Not killing' can also be considered a principle (Kirk's "I shall not kill - today..." speech is one of his best, IMO). There are people who are determined not to kill no matter what, and I do respect them for that.
    But, for me, if it was ever a choice (Ghod forbid) between saving a loved one or taking the life of the person trying to harm them ..... I would do what was necessary - and daresay I would lose very little sleep about it afterwards.

    Honesty is another admirable principle, but how rigidly do most of us follow that? Me, I have always held that Honesty Is Not Invariably The Best Policy. There are times when telling the entire unadorned truth benefits no one, and may even cause more harm than good. Believe me, I know this well from a personal family experience that I will not discuss here.

    In short, there are times when you just have to say "#### The Rules. In this case, they are WRONG."
     
  5. Foxhot

    Foxhot Commodore Commodore

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    This week I was reading a Best of Peter David TREK reprint comic which contained a three-part adventure co-written by Billy Mumy. It's a fairly obvious homage to some of the LOST IN SPACE characters, though here they are mostly blue-skinned aliens. At a key moment they express shock and disbelief at Kirk and the ENTERPRISE crew when Kirk reluctantly explains the Prime Directive on occasion prevents entire world populations from being saved by themselves....
    Charon would likely be the best case of this, even if they had reached it time. And of course the PRIVATE LITTLE WAR planet.....
     
  6. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    There are, of course, those who would disagree. Some might admire someone going down, because of sticking to some principle. The quarterback of Yale missed his Rhodes scholarship interview because "team" came first. He might have said, "Screw the principle of "team first," I need to do this for me."

    Of course when you choose not to follow a rule, you're choosing a different one. Kirk chooses survival of Enterprise over noninterference. Frankly, I have no problem with that. But they shouldn't tout the PD as holy writ if survival trumps it.

    What was the originak topic, by the way?
     
  7. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    7THSEALORD - Please excuse any difficulties you may have experienced with the 'Driveway' analogy; it was set up as a composite example, of all the actions and attitudes - being in direct conflict with their espoused virtues - demonstrated repeatedly when the Enterprise was, yet again, in the role of Trespassing Invader.

    Perhaps the clearest way to express my personal view would be to simply say it this way:

    If a body has chosen to operate as an

    Imperialist/Expansionist manner,... then at least be an

    HONEST Imperialist/Expansionist.


    I can find no honor or merit, in such acts which attempt to justify their actions by hiding behind some sort of negotiable morality, variable code-of-ethics, and adjustable set of principles and vacillating honesty.

    If one is an Imperialist/Expansionist, then do so as

    Genghis Khan,... he was honest about it, and then the 'rules' are never in conflict.

     
  8. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    Pardon me, Cap'n T, but I was thinking in terms of following higher codes of morals and ethics that specific rules may not cover. Not shedding all pretense of restraint because it is convenient. Refer my previous two posts.

    "Interferance Is Wrong." Nice, easy, simple, no thinking required.. But simple EXISTANCE could (and does) very easily lead to interference in other cultures. On that basis, should the entire United Federation of Planets commit mass suicide? Or maybe it would be enough for all members to just give up entirely on starflight, retire to their respective star systems, and take up navel-gazing instead?

    Seen where that last often leads in Trek (and a few other SF shows I can think of) - "superior" races who spend their time saying how superior they are and, when it comes to actually DOING something, are total a##h###s.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  9. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    7THSEALORD - No, the UFP:SFC should not retire or commit suicide.

    However, THEY SHOULD, at the moment(s) they choose to become Trespassing Invaders - again cite: Specter of the Gun - they should have done so HONESTLY, and perhaps painted a War-Bird on the secondary hull of the ENTERPRISE, torn up the Bill of Rights, and had the entire crew paste on 'Ming the Merciless" moustaches.

    At least it would have been Honest.

    Also, I want to point out that once a civil and free democratic society adopts and operates under the inverted-morale philosophy of:

    "OUR MEANS ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE END"

    ,.. is no longer free, civil, or a Democracy.
     
  10. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    *Sigh* If you refer to one of my previous posts, you may note that I present a very different interpretation of events in 'Spectre Of The Gun'. I also think I make a fair-ish case for certain eps ('The Apple" , 'Return Of The Archons') not being full-on PD violations, since there were things involved that could deliberately BRING DOWN frackin' starships.

    In general, I attribute a lot of .... stuff that happened in TOS to lazy/rushed writing, and trying to satisfactorily squeeze all of it into the exact same continuity hasn't happened yet, nor is it ever likely to. All things considered, it may have been much better if the PD was originally phrased (and maintained) as a SOP rather than a Biblical Commandment, but there ya go.

    I choose to take the Federation at face value - a very optimistic vision of the future. If people wish to label it Expansionist Imperialist or socialist or a metaphor for sex or whatever, that is fine - but it doesn't do a thing for me.
     
  11. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    7THSEALORD - Yes, I hear and understand your :sigh:, LOL!
    and I assure you I have read and re-read you most eloquent posts regarding your personal philosophy.

    I happen to hold a different philosophy, as it relates to WHAT TREK SAYS, AND WHEN PUT TO THE TEST, WHAT IS ACTUALLY IS.

    And yes, you are quite correct that if KIRK (being the personification of the UFP:SFC morality) does not destroy the Landru computer on BETA III, 430 of his shipmates will die; if he does not destroy the idol of Vaal, 430 of his shipmates will die; if he does not destroy the Temple of Applo, 430 of his shipmates will die.

    Which if his mission is to survive (which it is not by written UFP code), It is understandable, reasonable, and of course in his own self-interest and that of the unspoken UFP:SFC.

    However, he cannot invade their home plant, and in the process destroy the Landru computer, de-rail the culture on BEAT III, and then,...

    Recite a speech, explaining his 'justification' for destroying a peaceful alien world - which is not an annex to the Federation - about what he and the UFP feel about the value of the PURITAN WORK ETHIC.

    He becomes just a moralizing Bully - once his actions do not match the trumpeted UFP:SFC code.

    HOWEVER AND MORE IMPORTANTLY - Please understand this: You mention above a vision of the future,.... well here is the thing where STAR TREK steps in the doo-doo so many times.

    The basic conflict at play here is that TREK paints for a us a very practical state of the future, in all areas including our HUMANITY.

    And yet, they did not send 'a man from the future' into the future TREK universe to show us how advanced we had become as a culture,...

    Instead TREK sent a man with a 1966 Post-Cold war attitude and culture into space to TRY to live up to highly honorable ideals of the future of the 23rd Century UFP concept,... and they gave him a Phaser too.

    And that is what we are actually watching, and that is why the two concepts did not work together in many cases.

    7THSEALORD, my friend,... on your 'Specter of the Gun' scenario regarding the hypothetical 'trade route' or 'blockade',... again, this is a problem ONLY for the UFP:SFC,.. and their personal need in no way constitutes a need of anything for anyone else, bottom line.

    So KIRK, is seemingly forced, to invade,... and you are right,... it IS sloppy scripting.

    And although it allows TV tell a story and sell commercial time, I know a better course of action for our dear Captain in this situation.

    Would you care to take a guess? (and no, LOL! retirement or suicide are not in my answer LOL!)

    And PLYNCH - Feel free to offer your answer of an alternative to ignoring the Melkotian space warning and crossing into their space and landing on their home planet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  12. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    I will wait and see.

    To state the bleeding obvious, the show was, after all, made in the 1960s and, no matter how subversive it was for the time (and it most definitely was), cannot help but reflect the attitudes of that era.

    At the very least, you needed characters that the audience could identify with. Meaning 1960s people or idealized forms thereof. This much is acknowledged in various sources. So in certain respects, shooting down Kirk for some of his actions makes as much sense as pillorying Tom Sawyer because he used the "N" word.

    Also, we might consider ourselves to have become more enlightened or wiser in the last 50-odd years, but I think both eras will still have more in common with each other than with the 23rd or 24th centuties (or portions thereof).
     
  13. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    7THSEALORD - Now you know very well I am not 'shooting down' the character of KIRK, he is my favorite character.

    I am however pointing out the hypocrisy of American Network TV, as juxtaposed by GR's original and hope-filled vision, and that of the constraints placed upon the writers to FORCE the KIRK character to ACT as the socio/politico American Ideal of his era.
     
  14. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    I assure you, Cap'n T, I was not singling you out for the sin of shooting down Kirk. That part was truly intended as a general observation.

    ... And I am not so sure about blaming it all on the Network execs either. Certainly they would cause a lot of problems but, in many ways, the 60s networks were like bureaucracies - it was largely about playing safe, following standard formulas and getting nice predictable results.

    GR's "vision"? Um, well, he has been quoted ofttimes since about what he wanted to do. Personally, I have a few reservations about how well it would have done both ratings-wise and fan-wise.
     
  15. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    7THSEALORD - Too true about the Networks, also there was a HUGE pressure not to be "dangerous" in examining conditions, shall we say, "to close to home" at the time,... and therefore exploration of ourselves and our values were somewhat squashed in the interest of not offending the 'accepted political party lines' and the sponsors.

    On a personal note:

    I would have loved to have seen more military-based operations, but again, here comes either the Prime Directive or The Organians.

    When I first saw the episode: Arena, I thought: FINALLY we are going to see these guys in a full-scale ground-assault fire-fight,... but no,... a Metron crashed the party.
     
  16. 7thsealord

    7thsealord Captain Captain

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    W-e-l-l, doubtful if they ever had the budget* or the props to go full-on military anyhow. Even if GR allowed it, and I question if he would. E-VER.

    As a keen armchair general, I too would like to have seen some proper military @$$-kicking.

    Later series (IMO) REALLY could have used Star Fleet Marines or whatever the MECOs of Enterprise became at various stages (notably DS9, but all the others showed the need as well). Star Fleet personnel with just nice uniforms and hand-phasers beaming planetside for science and/or diplomacy was acceptable - but deliberately herding them into serious ground combat that way as well never made any dang sense. Doesn't prove moral superiority, just means stupidity.

    That entire mess, I lay directly at GR's door. As I understand (and admittedly I could have misread or misremembered), he was always totally opposed to 'military concepts' (such as 'Space Marines') intruding upon his vision.

    (* - Reminds me somewhat of a popular TV cop show done here in Australia during the 80's. In its first season, you would never see more than two characters in it at a time with guns drawn - whether publicity stills or action sequences or whatever. The reason being that, at that stage at least, they only had two gun props for the entire show.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2011
  17. siskokid888

    siskokid888 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Ah, a "Prime Directive" dilemma. Well, the ship is under attack. But, destroying the attacker changes the living conditions of a society. And although 430 people will die if the ship is destroyed, Starfleet officers supposedly take an oath that they would rather die than break the Prime Directive. What would I do? Blow the crap out of Vaal. Then I would rely on Kirk's tried and true reasoning - this is a stagnant, artificial culture. The PD only applies to naturally developing cultures. Hey, if it works for Kirk, it should work for me!
     
  18. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    SISKO - Good to see you.

    You have chosen the TAKE option.

    In your answer, as part of your reasoning, you state:

    "Since the ship is Under attack",...

    In point-of-fact, if you can possibly review the episode, you will learn that the Electromagnetic Waves which are draining the power from your ship, are a NATURALLY OCCURRING BY-PRODUCT of the operation of the machine, Vaal.

    This fact was reported to you by your Chief-Engineer at the moment your ship first entered orbit around the alien planet.

    Therefore it is UNTRUE that your ship is 'UNDER ATTACK" by anything or anyone; the TRUTH is you placed and kept the ship directly in a hazard well known to you.

    Does this fact change your answer?
     
  19. siskokid888

    siskokid888 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No, and to explain I will again quote J.T. - from "Court Martial" - "The steps I took, in the order I took them, were necessary to save my ship. And nothing is more important than my ship." Now, this may fly in the fact that the Prime Directive supposedly outweighs any other concern, but again I buy into Kirk's reading of it (and since we have never actually SEEN the Prime Directive and its details written anywhere) that it does not apply to a stagnant, artificial culture. And, not for nothing, but by destroying Vaal, did they change things all that much? I don't think so. As for putting the ship in danger, let me quote J.T. yet again -"Gentlemen, risk is our business. That's what built this ship. That's why we're aboard her". Damn, they wrote some good stuff for Shatner to spout!
     
  20. Captain Tracy

    Captain Tracy Commander Red Shirt

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    SISKO - Two points and two questions to consider:

    The lesser important 2 points:

    1. It may not be accurate to say that de-actvating Vaal, did not change things 'that much'. As I understand it, this machine provided the entire base for the culture's body of knowledge & education, provided medical healing, moral guidance, a justice system, and controlled the weather system of the planet.

    2. The rhetoric as provided to KIRK in 'Return of the Arkons' was written as a speech, to justify blowing up yet another computer controlled culture when KIRK was in danger. Solely expressed as KIRK's personal interpretation of an article of the PD, and not as citing an actual article of the PD.

    Two final questions for you on this one:

    Two door-bell ringing evangelists - who ultimately determine that you live a lifestyle which, in their opinion, was 'without merit' according to the philosophy of their church - offer to you the explanation that because one of the fellows trespassing on your gated property managed to get his finger stuck in your door buzzer, would soon die from being electrocuted. Therefore, in order to save him from certain death, they burnt your house to the ground.

    Which brings us to the more important two questions:

    1) Would you still feel the same way?

    And before you think this example about evangelical door-busters is 'stretching it too much',..

    2) Do you know where the word 'KIRK' comes, its meaning, and what the connection to this character is?
     
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