Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by ZapBrannigan, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    Maybe the waiters are trainee chefs? Did we see people cleaning dishes? You'd think there'd be a machine to do that given that even we have dishwashers.
     
  2. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think Sisko's dad says something about washing dishes? And we know they peel their own potatoes, I'm sure you could dump them all into a machine and have them come out peeled.
     
  3. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    That's kind of silly, then. Unless Sisko makes his trainees do things the old-fashioned way because blah blah blah. That stuff always irritates the piss out of me. As if people today are using washboards and drying their clothes with mangles because 'nothing beats the old-fashioned ways' etc.

    Or rather, as if people who did do that today wouldn't be regarded as weirdoes.
     
  4. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    The joy of doing something. It's what makes volunteers do what they do.

    I see your point though, if there were a need for many people to do something that few found pleasurable, meaningful, or joyful. How would you motovate people to weld a starship together in Iowa?
     
  5. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I can't find any reference to washing the dishes at Joseph's restaurant. i would think they would just toss them in a replicator and get new ones out of them. But they certainly were peeling potatoes, which I suppose some my find enjoyable.

    As to the waiters, good suggestion that it's a requirement to learning how to cook. Getting feedback, seeing what pleases people etc..
     
  6. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    yeah, the "who does the crappy jobs?" argument is kind of a tricky one for utopian socialism. You'd have to either have an extra privilege system(you get something cool for doing them) or you'd have a fair system of rotation worked out where everyone had a turn.
     
  7. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'll be on my beach.
     
  8. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Right. It doesn't turn out very utopian in practice. What "cool thing" would motivate you to service a cleaning robot that's stuck inside a sewage tank? [Is there NO other way the citizens of Utopia can take a trip to Disney World? Because if there is, even the most ardent Disney afficionados will take the easier option, and if there isn't, it's a pretty crappy Utopia, where you are forbidden to just save up and buy the fun things you want like a free person.]

    What happened in the Soviet Union under Stalin is that large numbers of city dwellers were taken away at gunpoint to pick crops and live in deplorable camps as slaves. "Fair rotation" might mean five years of unpaid hard labor for you, and no problem for made members of the Communist Party.

    Like I said, Roddenberry was naive. Every country that attemted to create a no-incentive Utopia became (in varying degrees, depending on how harsh they were) a citadel of poverty, misery, and injustice. The Soviet Union, Cambodia, North Korea... it doesn't work.
     
  9. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    but the overriding difference between the Federation and your examples is that the former was meant to be a legitimate democracy, and no one seriously thinks that the USSR was democratic. It was a party dictatorship.

    In a genuine democracy, you could have a system worked out and voted on where you rotated the unpleasant tasks that needed to be carried out, and you could do it on a decentralized level, where local communities arranged their own schedules themselves in open and transparent ways. To give an example of how this might work, think of a military, where they rotate whose job it is to clean the latrines or something. A military is not democratic, but if a system can be worked out there for rotation, I don't see why it's not possible to do it in a post-scarcity, democratic society.

    It's common to point out all the flaws in Communist or Socialist states, of which there are many. But keep in mind that all societies are the result of trade-offs, balances, compromises, etc.
     
  10. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    ^This, though I'd also point out that in Communist theory the 'no-incentive Utopia' is envisioned as following the 'withering away and dying' of the State, which no Communist nation ever actually achieved (nor ever will), so the Federation as depicted doesn't compare with the realities of those nations in any case.
     
  11. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I totally get this, and understand how GR got to where he got. and that is totally huny-dory in a Gemini or Apollo capsule with two or three guys.

    However, this ain't gonna work in a large fleet of vessels, or in even one vessel with a crew of hundreds. you have to have a solid chain of command in place and you need it to have a very definite structure. Despite the fact that Picard seemed to run his ship by committee, I think it is a very bad idea.
     
  12. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  13. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not to mention references to "credits," Kirk telling Scotty he's "earned his pay for the week," and didn't Uhura explicitly state that Mr. Brack bought his planet? Heck, Sulu even explicitly mentioned pennies in a mathematical example.
     
  14. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    ^Plus Kirk telling Spock that "The Federation has invested a great deal of money in our training..." in "Errand of Mercy"
     
  15. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    The irony about the "everybody's an officer" idea in TOS is that it was actually never used in the series. In the original pilot, we had a NCO in the form of Chief Petty Officer Garrison (his rank stripe wasn't solid like the commissioned officers). And subsequent episodes of TOS did refer to various crewmen (such as Crewmen Green and Crewmen Jackson), which likely were enlisted men. The idea of "crewman" as an enlisted rank is actually supported by TNG and ENT, which had episodes that referred to it as such.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2013
  16. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Actually technological breakthroughs of the next 30-40 years will probably render capitalism moot, and something like Gene's ideas about evolving past simple monetary gain may be possible, and many years before he expected it. Within abundance, increased price-performance of easily accessible and widespread technologies would mitigate increased world population, with near unlimited energy, access to resources like water and food (indeed we already produce enough food to feed all, its just badly managed; cheap water purification exists now and should proliferate, eliminating the water scarcity myth, nano-materials in solar panels can eliminate power scarcity in 20 years even without exotic 4th generation fission or fusion).

    As for mankind working to only better themselves, well probably not, but however, certain technologies again could either be doom or boon based on how they develop...any kind of brain uploading or shared virtual experience may allow large populations to intermingle, since unfamiliarity breeds fear and hate I'd expect differences to be rendered far less important in such a climate. Other methods might exist as well..in this current era when biological evolution is over, we might decide to tinker with ourselves and make the old fashioned tier formation of the brain which retains many functions we no longer need to something which is more manageable for modern times.

    While the outcome (well most of it) is uncertain, it's just as likely these will come to pass as not, leading to a very possible positive vision of the future, just probably not the way Gene expected it.

    My opinion? We are likely to make Gene's 24th century mankind look wanting in comparison to what we can really achieve.

    RAMA
     
  17. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    As for the OP....Gene's worst ideas:

    Most were behind the scenes. Some might say children on the Enterprise D (Justman's idea) or Wesley, etc. The irony is some of the best ideas were also the worst:

    Transporters: Made the show affordable. But also made it too easy to get out of trouble=plot contrivances to get it not to work.

    Wagon train to the stars/parallel planets: Using existing lot sets and costumes made the show affordable, but also made for an unfortunate familiarity and unbelievability to events, ie: Squire of Gothos, Apollo, Lincoln, Archons, etc.

    Constant rewrites: Hurt the potential pool of writers. STNG struggled with this for 2 seasons, losing two bona fide SF writers in the process. Sometimes diluted the more "dangerous" scripts.

    Gene's lawyer: Ok Gene was weak in his later years, but this was a huge problem behind the scenes of STNG.

    Repetitive ideas: Star Trek means ideas to me, but even so too many of the scripts of TOS, Phase II(70s) and early STNG seem all too familiar. Phase II in particular seemed unimaginative.

    RAMA
     
  18. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    I always took Kirk's comment about "They're still using money" and telling Gillian that they "don't have money in the future" was a reference to not using currency rather than not having a monetary system.
     
  19. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There's more to money than having enough to live "comfortably." Are the creators and thinkers expected to simply turn over the fruits of their hard labors to those who do nothing and sit around simply because "there is no need" for them to work?

    If a race achieved literal perfection ("utopia"), the only options from that point on are stagnation, or declining from perfection. Not everyone agrees on what perfection is. And development to some higher level usually opens doors to new possibilities, thus making "perfection" something that is sought, but never actually attained.

    A common misconception. Geneticists have tracked many minor evolving traits occurring in as little as a few centuries. However, if you mean major changes in phenotype, then yes our technology seems able to outpace nature.

    In a perfect world, yes. But remember Khan and his buddies. There is nothing wrong with striving to improve Mankind, but we should be humble about our assumed knowledge and conclusions. (The movie GATTACA addresses this topic with elegance and style. James Hogan's "Giants" novels are another fascinating treatment of a race benevolent "by nature." Their involvement with humanity is a tangled story.)
     
  20. Dantheman

    Dantheman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I would have to say this, as well. You mean to tell me that during the production of Star Trek: The Motion Picture no one stepped back, stopped, thought, and said, "Aren't we basically doing a big-budget, feature-length remake of 'The Changeling' ?".

    Not to mention GR's "Klingons go back in time using the Guardian of Forever so that JFK lives" idea for a Trek feature film sounds too much like a rehash of "City on the Edge of Forever" to me.