STVI without the racism

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by sonak, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    One complaint about TUC is the sudden, out of nowhere racism of the senior crew of the Enterprise, especially Kirk. It's an especially odd contrast to the end of TFF, where the Klingons and the TOS crew are drinking together on the ENT-A.


    I don't think the sudden racism was necessary for the film to make its point. Kirk and crew distrusted the Klingons for political and military reasons, not reasons of race prejudice. If the allegory is the Cold War, anti-Communists weren't usually racist against "Russians" as a group, they were opposed to the Soviet system because it was seen as totalitarian and expansionist.

    They should have played up the "distrust of the long time enemy" angle, and dropped the "Kirk is suddenly Archie Bunker" stuff. It's pretty jarring since it seems very out of character. Kirk has one previous reference to "Klingon bastards" and that's right after his son has been killed, and there's no other indications of racial dislike of Klingons until we get to TUC.
     
  2. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Prejudice against the Klingons doesn't really stem from racism at all. It stems from the fact they have a culture that celebrates violence, that has a proven track record of consistent aggression against humanity.

    Racism would be irrational hatred based on their appearance or whatever. The hatred of Klingon culture is entirely rational. If it existed, I'd hate it too. Kirk doesn't distrust the Klingons because they look funny. He distrusts them because their entire culture revolves around killing people for fun.
     
  3. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    I'd bet real money that a lot of Americans would have said that about the Japanese too, ca. 1942.
     
  4. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I think the Japanese were more civilised than the Klingons :p. Kirk's prejudice against the Klingons was entirely because of their culture, and concerned none of their racial characteristics. McCoy's teasing of Spock is racism, because it concerns his race's appearance.
     
  5. jpv2000

    jpv2000 Captain Captain

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    Same here. I was really angry when I saw the first episode of TNG and saw a Klingon on the Enterprise. I was recording it and just stopped the tape and said forget this.

    I later came to really like Worf, but it took a while.
     
  6. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Agreed.

    Meyer put his own spin on things. While that gave him a fresh outlook he certainly didn't necessarily understand the characters. Still Nimoy and others should have known better.

    It is a big jump from STV. Like they were erasing STV from history.

    Kirk and crew disliked what the Klingons did in TOS not how they ate or smelled
     
  7. ComicGuy89

    ComicGuy89 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    From STV:

    I think it's safe to say that up until then, humans have never liked Klingons, and hatred for their ideology and cultural identity has sometimes, seeped into hatred for the species and its individuals themselves.

    Hmm, I remember this remark from STIV:

     
  8. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The Klingons we saw in ST6 were more genteel.
    I think we had more sympathy for them because of their situation in ST6.

    It just seemed petty the way Uhura and Chekov (I think) rolled their eyes at the dinner table. Of course there are times when we are all in that situation ourselves and laugh at other people's faux pas. We just hope that nobody witnesses it. And I believe that nowadays we are aware to take into account different cultures.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  9. ComicGuy89

    ComicGuy89 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think it's really the pressures of the uneasy alliance that has gotten everyone into such a horrid mood. Normally they'd be fine, but the prospect of dining with these Klingons in a disagreeable situation put everyone in a bad mood.

    Such personal situations bring out the worst in everyone and we get very judgmental. It's not hard to imagine that Kirk and company, already stressed with the volatile political climate, would not be able to resist their more base prejudices. At least they weren't commenting on it explicitly.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...But before ST5:TFF, they hadn't seen how Klingons eat! :eek:

    Really, I'd say it's a sort of natural progression for our heroes to first hate the people who fly the starships that rain destruction on innocents; then to hate the soldiers who plot and scheme and then smile; and then to hate the very stench of the scum. They learn more and more about the enemy in the two decades of adventures, and there's no particular reason for them to suddenly change course and start treating the new evidence as being somehow favorable for the Klingons. It's easy to be "rational" about hatred and argue that if the Klingons just stop being so damn evil, hatred can stop as well - but unlikely that our very human heroes would actually be able to behave that rationally even if a single Klingon or three prove they are slightly less rotten than the lot.

    Goons like the two assassins might say they hate the smell of Klingons without ever having smelled one. Our main heroes might quite plausibly start hating the smell of Klingons, and saying so, after having their first opportunity to witness the odor.

    Chekov of course was always racist about the Klingons - but perhaps he had actually smelled one, or several, prior to "Trouble with Tribbles"? There's that brother Pyotr backstory, and only Sulu's (uninformed?) word that it ain't real...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Shatner objected to it, but he was overruled by Meyer. What might have made it better was to go with what Shatner suggested -- that if he had to say the line, that he at least get to pause and project a feeling that Kirk immediately regretted saying it, to show a more conflicted Kirk. Could of made the scene better. Or maybe not. There's no way to know now, but it would be interesting to see athe scene staged the way Shatner wanted to do it to compare.

    Overall, I take Nick Meyer's Trek outings as his own, a separate reboot only nominally connected with any other version of Star Trek, where Starfleet is a predominantly military organization and Klingons have pink blood.
     
  12. austen_pierce

    austen_pierce Captain Captain

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    Uhura: Did you see the way they ate?!
    Chekov: Terrible table manners.
     
  13. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    No it's not it's just that teasing. McCoy only teased Spock, never made rants about Vulcans in general or said anything negative about other Vulcans he met.

    Also racism DOES not just concern appearance. That is not what racism is.
     
  14. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If only that were possible...
     
  15. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    McCoy calling Spock a pointy eared freak or whatever is obviously racism. Personally I don't care though, and think McCoy is awesome :).
     
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I like the way the characters were portrayed in The Undiscovered Country. Their entire world, their entire way of thinking had just been turned upside-down. They had their own run-ins with Klingons that didn't turn out so well and Federation propaganda on top of it (being taught that the Klingons were the enemy).

    They were very human in the film, thinking one-way then being forced to examine and change their thoughts regarding the Klingons. It played out much like episodes Arena and The Devil in the Dark.

    Their wisdom finally caught up to their emotions.
     
  17. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't recall McCoy ever using the term freak. I am not denying that McCoy pointed out Spock's Vulcan features but it's not racist because the intent of the writers in this instance was not racism.

    Even though McCoy certainly did it the most often, other characters, including Kirk also pointed out Spock's Vulcan features and Kirk often laughed at what McCoy said. Does this make Kirk racist too?

    I am not trying to be apologetic for it either because well Vulcans aren't a real race but the dialog & the way characters interact is a reflection of the time the series was written.

    Sorry this is one of those pet peeves of mine. :)
     
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk called him a "freak" while trying to free him from the control of the spores in This Side of Paradise:

    Scotty called him a "freak" while under duress from the squiggly alien in The Day of the Dove:

    I can't ever remember McCoy calling Spock a "freak".
     
  19. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    ^ Well I suppose what Kirk said in This Side of Paradise doesn't count because he didn't mean anything he said he was just trying to get under Spock's skin to release him from the pores.

    That being said I am absolutely sure Kirk said things about Spock being a Vulcan before and he definitely laughed at what McCoy said.

    If McCoy is racist so are many other people on that ship. And heck what about all those things that Spock said about humans?

    Now as for whether the TOS crew was racist against the Klingons in STVI, I would say yes. But again this was the intent of the script even if it did not make sense with earlier stuff from other films and the TV series.
     
  20. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I think it did make sense in context with the TV series. These people were never presented as being perfect they had their flaws and they were always pretty close to the surface.
     

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