Was Uhura a linguist?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by King Daniel Beyond, May 5, 2010.

  1. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Let's not forget that the only reason NuUhura even got on the JJprise is because she basically blackmailed NuSpock, courtesy of their illicit affair, something that would've resulted in both of them being courtmartialed for fraternization.

    Yeah, such a professional. Just don't ask me which profession (suffice it to say, it's quite old).
     
  2. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I guess thats one way of looking at it. Dont recall any thing like blackmail, just a reminder of of her background, skills and qualifications. Things that Spock ignored in an attempt to deflect any hint of favoritism.
     
  3. Orcus

    Orcus Captain Captain

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    Yep - my take on it too. I don't understand where all the "blackmail" jive comes from - neither version of the character show any trace of anything apart from professionalism and skill...
     
  4. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What others have said is true, in the transcripts it's written "aural," but in the sound track of the movie Zoe Saldana does clearly pronounces it "oral."

    With the sole exception of the Captain, all personnel aboard the Enterprise report to the first officer. Not just in the military, but in the civilian world you shouldn't/can't supervise a subordinate that you're having a intimate relationship with, not just a sexual one, any romantic relationship. While at the academy Spock was A superior officer, but he wasn't HER superior officer. Spock's decision to have Uhura assigned to a different ship was the professionally correct thing to do.

    :borg:
     
  5. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah but this is the Star Trek franchise, not the real military. In Star Trek and other fictions Superior officers can hook up with junior officers and everyone smiles and nods because there's more possible drama in that.
     
  6. T'Bonz

    T'Bonz Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

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    It's unprofessional. I thought less of the two characters for it.
     
  7. maryh

    maryh Commander Red Shirt

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    You will disagree but some of us felt that this type of hooking-up between the characters cheapened the storyline in to the typical romantic emotional saga that occurs in romantic fiction and does not presume to be cerebral at all. Especially with Spock, who used to be a very cerebral, conflicted and dramatic character naturally. The drama in TOS Spock and romances did not feel forced or maudlin whereas this one did. I do respect others opinions though.

    And if I may cut on my own gender, many of those who complain about females in TOS being nothing except the love interest for the main characters eat up this romance and don't notice NuUhura's lack of function on the bridge.
     
  8. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I think everyone's way too harsh comparing STXI's Uhura, who we've seen for all of two hours, to TOS Uhura, who we've seen for 70something episodes and six films. Pick the right two hours from that and you've got Uhura saying "I'm scared, Captain" in "City on the Edge..." and singing in the rec room.

    Star Trek has always depicted a squishy psudo-military of the future where co-workers hook up all the time. I don't see it as a problem. The only time I recall it becoming a problem was that Worf/Dax episode in DS9.
     
  9. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Must agree with T'Girl. That is another reason I did not think much of the new film.
     
  10. Kelso

    Kelso Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Spock/Uhura relationship is one of my favorite things about the new film.
     
  11. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Mine too.
     
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Star Trek franchise is romantic fiction. Sure its gussied up with aliens, rayguns and psuedo-science but at the core its romantic fiction. Spock is a romantic character too. He's like a priest or any other "forbidden fruit" that crops up in fiction. His cool, unemotional remoteness is key to the character. But,Spock is at his "best" when something breaks through his defenses or he's caught off guard and all that "cerebralness" falls away. And thats where Spock is in this movie. Spock's romances (such as they were) in TOS were pretty maudlin.

    Not sure what to say about Uhura on the bridge. Once she backed up Kirk they kinda ran of of "function" based things for her to do, but her role is not limited to those functions. Same can be said for McCoy.
     
  13. Anticitizen

    Anticitizen Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The problem is that they didn't give us any of the 'normal' Spock. In this movie, 'breaking through' his defenses didn't occur - he had no defenses. In this movie, we saw Spock engage in two fistfights - out of rage - smootch it up in a romantic relationship with a subordinate, get pissed about a cadet cheating on his test, jettison a crewmember to a remote, forbidden ice planet, and egg on the destruction of an ailing ship. It's true that some of TOS Spock's best moments were when we saw his human half slip through, but the drama doesn't work when that's all you see. We never got a glimpse of the calm, cool, collected, composed Vulcan - we were supposed to believe he held the aforementioned qualities only by way of his speaking in a modulated voice, and the word of other characters telling us 'Vulcans suppress their emotions'. Take away those indicators, and you just have another human character.

    'I will not allow you to lecture me.' :guffaw:
     
  14. maryh

    maryh Commander Red Shirt

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    Exactly. Spock can occasionally slip from his emotional repression but he has to repress emotions most of the time so he has some norm from which he can differ. Smootchig with his girlfriend in front of everyone, then saying in a emotionless voice that her first name is "not up for discussion" is incredibly stupid dialogue that does little to convince the audience that he represses emotions.

    I disagree that Spock is a romantic character, rather he is a psychological character. Romances are used to demonstrate how conflicted and suppressed he really is. His appeal was in his resistance to emotion, his inner conflict, his self deception and struggle.

    He was also the outsider who appealed to those who did not have great love lives, those who were computer geeks or science nerds, those who faced rejection and loneliness. There was a great appeal to this character's differentness that never appeared in the movie. Even young Spock beats the crap out of his tormentors whereas TOS young Spock repressed with a stiff upper lip. I'll quote Henry James again:

    The mystique that surrounded Spock from the start had to do with things he was feeling but could not express: he is a deeply divided character, one who broods about where he belongs and how he relates to the other Enterprise crewmembers. But this film makes it look ridiculously easy for him to get a girl friend and he is surprisingly comfortable necking with his pretty in the transporter room, an act that it is impossible to imagine Spock prime doing. The original Spock was a deeply private person. It isn't that the new film has made Spock Sexy. The old Spock was a whole lot sexier than the new Spock for all of his hidden depths and emotional uncertainties: the new Spock is just too easy all around and there's no real mystery there. He isn't sexy; he's having sex and that's not the same thing at all.

    http://henryjenkins.org/2009/05/five_ways_to_start_a_conversat.html

    My other complaint is that this romance existed for no reason other than simply to have romance in the film.

    Even in the poorly written episodes, TOS romances served a purpose. They advanced the plot, placed impediments in the way of their mission, displayed the premise of the episode, or revealed aspects of the character's personality. On the rare occasion that a character really did love, there was a believable reason he/she did so. Kirk/Keeler are star crossed, idealistic, self sacrificing, highly committed soul mates. Spock/Zarabeth both incredibly alone. There was a cerebralness to the relationship that produced food for thought.

    This was simple, mindless romance which served no purpose. If it were eliminated from the film, it would not have made any difference in the story. Most TOS romances were Kirk using women to complete the mission or getting used by them. Or they existed to make their mission tougher for them to complete. This one was so simple, mindless and forced that it felt cheap. As bad as the Twilight romance - he loves her for no reason other than the smell of her blood. They have nothing in common, didn't have to earn love or work for it... no brain food for thought or analysis.

    To destroy the dramatic, iconic character of Spock for such a simple, meaningless, teeny bopper mindless drivel is a crime.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2010
  15. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Spock's role in Star Trek was usually two fold in non-Spockcentric episodes: To give science based exposition in an authoritarian manner and to make wry observations or express exasperation about "humanity". In Spockcentric episodes we usually see just how thin his veener of logic and control can be. Plus we see him struggle and even get a glimse of the idea that emotional control and supression may not be as great as it sounds. A usual side effect of Spock's control slipping is a fight with Kirk. They've fought more times than any two Trek characters. Tradition should be maintained. ;) This movie is Spockcentric so we get to see him do more than observe and exposit.


    Spocks appeal goes beyond nerds and the socially awkward. He was a bonafide sex symbol to a lot girls ( and probably boys) of all types and backbrounds. My own sisters, neither of whom could be called nerds or geeks ( I was the family nerd), were gaga over Spock as girls. His romantic appeal is the challenge to be the one to breakthrough that wall of logic and contol. The old cliche that they can be the one to "change" him.

    I seem to recall young Spock getting into a fight in "Yesteryear" so "stiff upper lip" may not be accuarate for him as a youth in spite of what might have been said in "Journey to Babel."

    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJfgGacCYYg[/yt]

    I didnt know Henry James was a Trek fan. I suppose he would find Spock's conflicting Vulcan and human sides interesting. ;)
     
  16. maryh

    maryh Commander Red Shirt

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    I disagree here. I liked TOS because human emotions and values were not always presented as superior or better than the Vulcan logical way. In some episodes Spock's logical approach was better and saved the day other times human emotions saved the day. There wasn't much character development in TOS. Having Spock realize the value of emotions and changing him to embrace his emotions IS a big change, and one that I haven't found as very interesting. The whole ship is filled with emotional humans - we don't need another. His differentness intrigued.

    Yes, but the only times I can think of was when he was under the influence of some external factor, spores, plak-tow, psi-2000 virus. Normally he represses his emotions. And there is an appeal in his emotional repression.

    Absolutely. There is no wall to breakthrough in this movie. He is comfortable displaying and having emotions. He's been changed already.

    The decisive thing was the blessing of the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, who is in ST XI. "I understood immediately that Zach had a strong, expressive inner life," he related in "Entertainment Weekly". "The role requires it. Spock barely moves."

    Why did they look for a character who has an "inner life" yet write a script in which the character wears his heart on his sleeve? One excuse is that the NuSpock has a canvas in Uhura to write on. How can a character repress emotions yet project them? Is Spock now a hypocrite who pretends he represses emotions to others but shows them to her?

    I'll accept that TAS, wouldn't expect it's target audience to fully understand emotional repression, and perhaps they changed what TOS said because of it's target audience's age.


    He talks alot about Spock:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90964169

    I agree with him that Spock appeals because of what we don't see but know he is feeling. The NuSpock does not have any allure for me and does not hold my interest anymore. He is basically just another human now. Nothing sexy about him - and it isn't the actors fault.
     
  17. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yesteryear, in spite of it "intended audience", is still part of Spock's backstory and was even written by expert "Vulcanologist" DC Fontana. So Spock was a scrapper as a kid.

    If we're to go "in-universe" I'd look at "The Cage" where Spock is shouting and smiling. Like this Spock, the movie's Spock isn't quite the master of emotional control he would become later. Also, Spock in the movie is "emotionaly compomised", his more extreme actions occur after his planet and mother have died. My recollection is that his action prior to that is in keeping with range Spock has exhibited elsewhere.
    BTW,the guy you're linking to is Henry Jenkins. You've conflated him with the author Henry James for some reason. (Subtle didn't work ;) )
     
  18. maryh

    maryh Commander Red Shirt

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    ^^^^

    We all know that NuSpock should have been constantly shouting too!!
     
  19. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I dug out my old Making of Star Trek, to see what Uhura's job description was way back when. It says she was a "highly proficiant communications professional" at age 18. It doesn't elaborate on what "communications professional" entails.
    It's then goes on to talk about her "female need for the pleasent rountine of Earthbound home" :lol:
    It does say she sings ballards from "a dozen different planets" which could mean she sings in other languages.

    I then dug out Inside Star Trek: The Real Story to get the low down on the proto-Uhura, Communications Officer Alden. It says "one of the group's most respected technicians". Lots of deep info there.

    It seems the TOS people never intended or planned for a situation where the universal translator (or Spock's mind meld) didn't work.

    IMO, even if not a part of the original plan, giving the communications officer translating and linguistic abilities makes a lot of sense. The UT isn't infallible.
     
  20. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    It might also make sense for the communications officer to be able to field strip a phaser rifle blindfolded and calculate how to do the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs, but that doesn't mean either of those skillsets have anything more to do with being a communications officer than being a skilled linguist.

    Let me put this as simply as possible.

    A linguist is someone who studies languages. How they evolve, the mechanics, etc., etc.

    The communications officer is in charge of operating and maintaining the ship's communications gear, keeping up with official codes and protocols, and so forth.

    The two professions have very little to do with each other.


    If anything, the ship's linguist would be in the sciences division, right alongside Lt. Palomas, studying ancient artifacts and analyzing the inscriptions.