The Redshirt Myth?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Warped9, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Joel_Kirk

    Joel_Kirk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Redshirt Olsen's death - from the 2009 film - could have been prevented. He was just a bit too cocky and silly.

    A personal observation: I always find it interesting that the death of individuals in redshirts are celebrated and is a source of amusement, in a universe where life is supposedly precious, as well as equality, enlightenment, etc.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  2. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    When we talk about "redshirts," we really mean security guards. Red was the color for engineering and operations as well as security, but the vast majority of the "redshirt" fatalities were security personnel. It stands to reason that security guards would be the first in harm's way and thus have the highest casualty rates. Their job is to risk -- and, if necessary, sacrifice -- their lives to protect the rest of the crew.
     
  3. BMariner

    BMariner Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Right, so not only were redshirts more likely to be in potentially fatal situations (in no small part because the red contingent included security), it's also probable that there were more redshirts on board the ship overall. Yes, we saw a lot of redshirts die, and redshirt deaths were a common plot device, but looking objectively at the death rate of people wearing red shirts in TOS, it may be that the Redshirt Death Count (RDC) isn't all that alarming, given the context.
     
  4. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    I don't believe, in universe, the deaths are seen as a source of amusement or celebrated.
     
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I'd like one example when this was done.
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Absolutely not. Joking about redshirts is a phenomenon in real-world fandom, not in the actual stories -- although I have come across one or two works of tie-in fiction that blurred the issue by having characters make somewhat metatextual remarks about it.

    Although it's certainly plausible that the security personnel themselves could embrace the "redshirt" thing as gallows humor, like people on the line of fire often use humor to deal with their fear. But that's a far cry from actually "celebrating" a death when it does happen.
     
  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps, but it was also entirely in line with Klingon customs. Kruge executed his gunner not just for incompetence (destroying the Grissom when the gunner knew full well that Kruge wanted prisoners) but for GLOATING about said incompetence - "A lucky shot, sir" and all that.

    The officer could have probably bluffed his way out of it, said something about the Grissom's engines being unstable or something like that, but for openly defying Kruge's orders and bragging about it? Bastard deserved to die, under Klingon law.
     
  8. Prologic9

    Prologic9 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don't understand the premise of the discussion. Given the numbers of the OP, over 72% of TOS deaths were Redshirts. And that's apparently including 8% from a time period that didn't even have redshirts.

    That means high redshirt mortality is not a "myth," it is absolute fact.

    So what's the issue?
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Christopher is correct. When the term redshirt is used its accepted connotation is Security personnel. So an accurate analysis of those casualties should focus on Security personnel rather than simply a red tunic being worn.
     
  10. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Was that gloating? It sounded more "I didn't mean to" to me.
     
  11. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    I'd forgotten about "Wolf in the Fold." That was Lieutenant Karen Tracy.

    Angela ran into a tree, but I don't recall any dialogue that indicated she was killed. If she had been, wouldn't that have been reported to the Captain?

    It was pretty much a gallows-humor filler piece in one of the fanzines I read many years ago (don't recall which one, sorry), where this (paraphrased) conversation takes place between two security guards on Kirk's ship:


    Two security guards checking their duty assignments for the following day:

    Redshirt A: Hey, I get the day off, that's great!

    Redshirt B: Oh, damn. I've got landing party duty with the Captain, Mr. Spock, and Dr. McCoy.

    Redshirt A: Can I have your chess set?
     
  12. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    :lol: That's a really good one!

    Bob
     
  13. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    This being the TOS forum, I meant in canon, of course and by default. That said, any example in any Star Trek canon will do.
     
  14. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVduvWTxQ5w[/yt]
     
  15. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Cute. Neat location, too.

    But, point is, it's a 'no' on there being canonical examples of redshirt deaths being celebrated or taken as a source of amusement in-universe.
     
  16. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    He wouldn't have said "lucky" if he meant that.

    Kruge wanted to capture the crew alive. The gunner either didn't know, didn't care, or was just sloppy; and thus his incompetence robbed Kruge of the prisoners he wanted. So either way, that gave Kruge the right to execute him.
     
  17. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think the gunner called it a lucky shot because he wasn't actually aiming to destroy Grissom but was still taking some pride in having done so accidentally. In the heat of the moment he probably temporarily spaced on the fact that he'd actually acted contrary to his orders.

    To put it another way, "Dude, did you see that? F'ing cool!!! ...oh, wait..."
     
  18. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Right. That reading justifies the insult of "Animal!" too, that follows.
     
  19. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    !

    "We apologize for the necessity, Captain Kirk. You see, we're doing away with money."

    I don't remember what Charlie said in the episode, but in the Blish adaptation he said "there was a warped baffle plate on the shielding of their Nerst generator. I made it go away," making the ship blow up. Later the Thasians explain that they can restore everyone else because he made them "go away" still whole, but the ship basically exploded on its own and they couldn't do much about it. I suppose they could restore the baffle plate!

    I don't have numbers, but in VOY, it seemed like the majority of the deaths were engineering personnel.

    They're not, but it seems almost as bad at the end of any episode where the crew lost redshirts but the characters still stand around joking.
    "Doctor, do I understand him correctly? Are you casting me in the role of Satan?"
    "Well, Jim, you have to realize how insensitive you're being, considering how many friends you sent to their deaths today. Not to mention you fired Mr. Scott."
    "It's okay, Bones, he's wearing a red shirt."
    "Damn it, Jim, he's already been given plot immunity! Nomad killed him two episodes ago and then brought him back!"
    "Hmm, at least we won't have to pay him anymore."
    "Captain, that statement seems illogical."
    "Yes, well, gentlemen, I have some bad news. Speaking of lack of sensitivity, I received word from Starfleet...."
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^Yes, the episodes end with the crew joking, but they're not joking about the redshirt deaths. And really, you can see this same pattern throughout the episodic TV era -- characters mourning a supporting player's death in the first or second act, but then joking at the end to reassure the audience that the status quo is restored. It would be insensitive in-universe, but in real-world terms, the producers didn't want the viewers to go away depressed, so the conceit of a "happy ending" was used.