STVI without the racism

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

  1. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Oh I agree I think you can argue that it did make sense in context. Although I think in the series the Klingons were meant to not be trusted and war mongers.

    I guess you could say that was based on false perceptions and not the truth. Actually I kind of wish there was more of that breaking up false perceptions in the film.

    This is an issue in a lot of Sci-Fi but I never liked how aliens seem to have one human characteristic and then all the aliens of that species were like this. This seems silly. It's not like all human beings are alike.

    Even the fact that the Vulcans were all logical seems a bit far fetched. However I ignore this because I think Spock's logic made for some very compelling writing (I unfortunately didn't feel the same about the Klingons).
     
  2. Captain_Q

    Captain_Q Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I really didn't see the Undiscovered Country as racist at all. All history with the Klingons has always been bad. Number one worst thing about them, they killed Kirk's son. The Federation and the Klingons have never gotten along with each other. I don't remember how the conflicts with the Klingons started, not sure if I've seen that episode yet if there is one. But I've never interpreted it as racism.
     
  3. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The whole thing was a parallel to the glasnost taking place between the ex-Soviet Union and the United States. I'm sure most of my fellow Americans are quite aware of Soviets being called heathens and Commies, with attitudes not unlike those of Kirk and company.

    It flies in the face of TNG's perfect humans a bit, but I don't have much of a problem with it. I think there's plenty of foundation for Kirk and crew to feel the way they do, and I certainly don't consider it racism. Prejudice, sure.
     
  4. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, pardon me for being dense, but...if it's TRUE, how can it be prejudice?

    If humans go aboard a Klingon ship and decide they don't like its smell or its quality (or lack thereof) of construction, then by definition it is not racism - it's direct personal experience. It's based on fact. To say "Klingons are ugly" is racism; to say that Klingons are warlike and brutal because you've seen them act that way on numerous occasions, well, I'm sorry but I don't see how that could be racist.

    Kirk says he never trusted Klingons, and never will, because of his experience with them and because of David's murder. How is this racist? :confused:

    (Burke and Samno, on the other hand? They were obviously racist. "They all look alike"..."You know only top of the line models can even talk"...those are clearly racist remarks. But those are just thoughts spoken aloud by two people, not representative of the entire crew.)

    As for the lines in TOS about "freak": In one case, it was Kirk intentionally saying things he did not believe in order to 'bait' Spock into showing his emotions. And in the other, the crew were being provoked into irrational hatred by the "Day of the Dove" entity. So those are not genuine racist feelings in either case.
     
  5. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    er, saying that "you'll never trust" an ENTIRE "race"(or culture, ethnicity, etc., whatever) because of the actions of ONE member is pretty much the definition of being racist or prejudiced.
     
  6. WarpFactorZ

    WarpFactorZ Captain Captain

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    Um... I really hope that emoticon is to express exaggerated sarcasm.
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk wasn't basing this thing on just one person. He has had multiple dealings with many different Klingons over his career. It wasn't just because of David's murder that he doesn't like them. I'd say Kirk had many reasons not to like Klingons - not only did he LOSE HIS SON because of them, but he's lost crew to them too, and he's had many other opportunities to observe Klingon behavior.

    And you will notice that Kirk did immediately regret it (in ST VI) after he said "Let them die"...
     
  8. darth_ender

    darth_ender Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I admit there seems to be a disconnect between the feelings towards Klingons between TFF and TUC: they were okay throwing back a few alien beverages with them, but when their moon blew up, well then "let them die!" Still, I believe the prejudice existent in ST VI is actually pretty realistic. As pointed out, the Enterprise had had several very negative run-ins with the Klingons over the years, and it seemed as if the two cultures could never coexist. They were almost seemingly "varelse" (to quote another of my favorite sci-fi storylines), and it was hard for the Enterprise to believe they could be "raman".

    Think about yourselves. Each of us has been thoroughly taught not to feel racial prejudice. But if most of us were honest, we still retain quite of bit, though we try to suppress it. Our prejudice may even be directed towards our own race, such as the prevalent "wisdom" that only whites are capable of racist actions. Even if we have kept our racism in check, how often do we maintain other prejudice: sexism ("men are babies", "women are terrible drivers"), ageism ("old fart driver"), political prejudice against different ideologies and their motives, different religions (or anti-religion in general, or anti-atheist), professions, people with disabilities, the rich, the poor, and on and on and on.

    If we are honest, we are prejudiced towards one group or another. We can afford to be understanding and even appreciate the humanity of Kirk and crew, as it truly represents our species and our imperfection. Yet in the end, it was the bigoted Kirk and his friends who stopped the assassination and guaranteed peace between the two peoples. That's something we can all learn: even if we are prone to bigotry, we are also capable of choosing to be better than that.
     
  9. ComicGuy89

    ComicGuy89 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm not saying whether it is racist or not, I'm just remarking that the crew did remark on the way Klingons smelled, at least, as mentioned in the post above me.

     
  10. austen_pierce

    austen_pierce Captain Captain

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    That is not the meaning of 'varelse'.

    Different writers, different directors = different direction for these two films. Racism is present in the film in the characters of Burke and Sanmo (B&S=BS?). I don't believe this about Kirk or the ensemble cast. Kirk did lose his son, and I believe it a weakness of TFF that he didn't feel more strongly about THAT little nugget when facing the Klingons in that film. "The feeling's mutual" doesn't quite cut it.
     
  11. darth_ender

    darth_ender Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    I am aware of the meaning of varelse (according to Card). It means that communication and coexistence is impossible. Obviously communication between Klingons and Humans is possible, and that's why I said "almost seeming varelse". What I mean is that they seemed as if they could never coexist, regardless of communication-abilities. It was an admittedly imperfect analogy.
     
  12. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know if it's writer's additions or originally planned, but in the novelization starts starts out with attacks on Federation outposts by Klingon renegades i.e Chang. One of those put Carol Marcus in hospital with critical injuries.

    Factor that in and some of the attitudes by Kirk and Co become more understandable.
     
  13. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    yeah, it's too bad they left that out, as it would have made the attitudes make more sense. As it is, the beginning of STVI is jarringly discrepant from the end of STV in terms of senior staff attitudes.(leaving aside jokes about TFF not being canon;))

    I know there's some time that passed, but we as viewers just left them casually dining with Klingons in a spirit of relaxation, then it's "they're animals who can't be trusted.":confused:
     
  14. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    He used that phrase again in TFF when the BOP appeared from the behind the cliff where the malevolent entity was stalking him.

    --Sran
     
  15. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    good call, I forgot about that one.
     
  16. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Trouble With Tribbles
    KIRK: How close will we come to the Klingon outpost if we continue on our present course?
    CHEKOV: One parsec, sir. Close enough to smell them.

    TUC
    Crewman #1: They all look alike.
    Crewman #2: What about that smell?

    :)
     
  17. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    It would be interesting to learn what experience Kirk has had of Klingons outside and before the onscreen events. Garth of Izar refers to past military glories, which Kirk sounds embarrassed about, as if he himself once indulged. Was that against the Klingons?

    Does Chekov know how Klingons smell, or is he just quoting a (true) rumor? Kirk at that point apparently does, having met Kor in rather heated circumstances...

    The ending of ST5 isn't the part that IMHO creates a discrepancy there; from the looks of it, most of the Klingons in that party still hate the humans, and most of the humans still fear the Klingons. It's the ST5 Klingon character of General Korrd that represents something of a discontinuity, as the old wardog seems to have Kirk's sympathies and vice versa. But that's individual Klingons, and while Korrd may actually be a fairly typical example of Klingons of his age and position, the mass of young hotheads that Kirk would typically deal with would outweigh even the portly General!

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  18. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    I always attributed Kirk's sympathy to two things:

    1. His recent demotion to captain and reassignment to Enterprise. He got what he wanted but likely thought about what might have happened had things gone down differently in TVH.

    2. Korrd's military strategies were required reading at the Academy. A young Kirk not yet jaded by numerous run-ins with the Klingons may have admired the general's intellect and leadership qualities and seen him as the type of commander he wanted to be like (within the confines of Starfleet regulations, of course).

    --Sran
     
  19. austen_pierce

    austen_pierce Captain Captain

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    Fair enough. My response was abrupt and I apologize. I do take your meaning.


    I think we've established that David's murder gives Kirk sufficient reason to distrust Klingons. It doesn't help that they keep proving him right, coming after him time after time.

    While there is revulsion from the others, I don't think of this as racism.
     
  20. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    But even in those cases, the Klingons who were after him were rogue elements acting out of turn with respect to the rest of their government. Kruge, Klaa, and Chang were all renegades of some sort (though Klaa's behavior stemmed from immaturity and a desire to make a name for himself rather than blatant disregard for the law): Chang was a traitor, and Kruge was just nuts. Their behavior wasn't representative of the entire species.

    I suppose one could argue that the High Council's inability to control the military suggests an inherent lack of discipline among Klingons as a people, but that doesn't warrant calling them animals. The Federation had its own problems with rogue elements stirring up trouble, even during Kirk's time. Were men like Cartwright or Colonel West animals because they decided to circumvent the law to ferment war with the Klingons? Was Valeris an animal because she helped them? I don't think characterizing any of the parties involved that way is fair. They were misguided and inflexible, but that's a long way from being savage.

    --Sran
     

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