what if Kirk called the Metrons out on their hypocrisy?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by ixfd64, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And the Metrons were wise enough to reward Kirk for thoughful behaviour. In our adversary system of justice, you get punished if you confess--but that is a topic for another time.
     
  2. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    What do you do with a rabid dog running lose in the neighborhood? Or a crazed, diseased wild animal ripping apart livestock and hikers? You "humanely" kill the diseased animal. Oh, sure, some think that's barbaric in this day and age, but back in the 50s, 60s and even today (in some peoples minds) it's not cruel, evil or ironic to use a small amount of violence in order to stop an even greater threat to life and limb.

    From the Metron's standpoint the humans and Gorns are nothing more than animals; rabid dogs, diseased bears or even infesting insects that deserved extermination before they ruined the entire neighborhood.
     
  3. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That sounds like Arthur Clarke's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, where life is abundant:

    CHILDHOOD'S END, which actually came first, is very similar:

     
  4. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Feds and Gorn were no threat whatsoever to the Metrons and there was nothing they could do that the Metrons couldn't be easily undone.

    You see some stray dogs having a fight (which is just how nature works), do you kill them or do you just get them off your property so they don't bother you anymore?

    It's not like the Feds and Gorn were going around randomly trashing planets or anything.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    When dealing with alien cultures, asking "what would you do in that situation?" is a flawed approach. The choices we make are shaped by our own cultural background and assumptions. People from different cultures, especially alien ones, could have very different values and priorities.
     
  6. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But the Metrons ultimately didn't have any cultural differences from us, at least we didn't see any. They even spared both because they recognized Kirk's act of Mercy and consideration which are things humans believe in as well.
     
  7. JT Perfecthair

    JT Perfecthair Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I wonder if the Metron observers went "oh shit, now what" as soon as Kirk made his moral stand.
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What? Just because they had one or two similarities, you're assuming they had no differences? That doesn't even make sense.
     
  9. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If they wanted to show they had differences...well, they should've shown them having differences. As it is, all we actually saw was them acting just like really arrogant humans.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But that's my point -- they did. They showed the Metrons dealing with an intrusion into their territory by abducting the respective ship captains and forcing them into a one-on-one contest, which is obviously not the way we would respond. Come on, that's axiomatic here. The topic that's been under discussion for days is why they would respond in what seems to us like a bizarre way, and whether that response makes sense at all. So the fact that their reaction was alien is not under dispute here. It doesn't make sense in our terms, and what I'm saying is that the reason it doesn't make sense in human terms is right there in front of us, namely that they aren't humans. It makes no sense to expect them to act like humans. The default expectation should be that they wouldn't.
     
  11. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And then the Metrons go and more or less act like really arrogant humans who just felt like having fun by having two "lesser beings" play Celebrity Deathmatch.

    Instead of coming off as "Incomprehensible Aliens", the Metrons just come off as jackasses who were bored and wanted some bloodsport.
     
  12. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    "Obviously, you are an impertinent race of snotty violent children. We will send you to bed without supper and spank you all if you ever act up again... especially your females."

    ;)
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I see nothing in the episode that supports that interpretation. Here is the entirety of the Metrons' dialogue from the episode:

    There is not a single word there which suggests that the Metrons themselves are taking enjoyment from this.

    It looks to me more like they were applying a rather unusual variant of the Prime Directive. "We disapprove of your primitive violence, but we respect your cultures' right to choose your own course, so we'll let you play out your violent confrontation, but we will mediate the contest and arrange things so that you can quickly arrive at a decisive conclusion with a minimum of collateral damage."
     
  14. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    :rolleyes:
    Here you just try to excuse lazy writing with an ~"it doesn't make sense - but that's OK".

    The gorn were unequivocally in the wrong. Any other interpretation de facto gives them carte blanche to commit mass-murder because 'it's their way' and therefore morally OK.
    If that constitutes a 'morally forgivable act', then ANY act is morally forgivable. Including, for example, a dictator exterminating earth, or some thugs killing your family because 'it's fun', etc - after all, it's their way, yes?
    If you push your moral relativism to this point where everything is morally OK because 'it's their way', then your morals are worthless; indeed, you have no morals beyond acceptance of being trampled by anyone, Christopher.

    And the intent of the scenarists was NOT to depict the gorn unequivocally in the wrong - not even by human morals - that's why they put the part with the main characters having doubts about their actions, etc.
     
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Allow me to summarize this (which I frankly find rather confusing):
    • The Metron makes it clear that "you" (Enterprise and Gorn ship) will not be destroyed because Kirk demonstrated "a trait of mercy" (destroying the Enterprise would reveal the Metrons don't have that and make them inferior) and did not want to kill the Gorn (destroying the Gorn ship would reveal the Metrons to be inferior to Kirk and they will not loose face)
    • The Metrons nevertheless confess that they lied, as they would have destroyed both ships had the Gorn managed to kill Kirk (apparently lying is civilised but ignoring a show of mercy is not? :confused:)
    • Although Kirk had apparently passed a character test (I will not kill) the Metrons nevertheless tempt him again (or test his intelligence): "If you like, I shall destroy the Gorn captain for you." I don't want to imagine what would have happened next, had Kirk said "Go ahead!" :lol:
    Bob
     
  16. Irishman

    Irishman Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As documentary evidence, we only know of the Metrons that which we're shown in the episode.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^But the burden of proof is being applied backward. As I said, the default expectation should be that an alien species would not think or act like humans, not that it would.

    And as I've said, I think the very fact that the Metrons responded to the intrusion on their space in the odd, elaborate way that they did is more than sufficient evidence that they don't do things the same way a typical human government would.
     
  18. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh, if only the Metrons would show up in Washington DC about now...
     
  19. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

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    They'd go ahead and destroy us for sure! :rolleyes:
     
  20. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    No, we'd be doing the job. If aliens revealed to ourselves they existed, it would totally split the human race. Some would say these are our saviors, others would say they are of the devil and we'd have "religious" wars on a completely different level. :p

    Bob
     

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