What's in a name?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Saginaw, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    But it is! You assume that Starfleet personnel will be familiar with the exact origin of a ship´s name. The situation you illustrated ...

    ... may only become a problem, when the answer is ...

    If instead the answer is something like, "it´s a traditional name in our world, and many proud vessels have borne it before. It´s that heritage that we honor" I don´t think there´ll be a problem.

    Mario
     
  2. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    And then the inquisitive alien says, "But what does the name mean, and what is its significance in your culture?"

    You're just skirting the point:
    We like to name military ships after battles. What if a peaceful, war-hating alien race finds out the origin of the name?
     
  3. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ...they go all Organian on our asses? :rommie:
     
  4. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A couple of questions on that:

    Firstly, if the peaceful, war-hating species you postulate were speaking with the representatives of the ship, it would be safe to assume that they have evolved to a point where they are morally-minded to judge Starfleeters based on their own actions rather than that of the ship builders or ancient history (which the crew can do nothing about). Also would such a species not forbid armed starships from entering their system/orbit, due to their beliefs?

    Secondly, if that peaceful, war-hating species was in Starfleet, they've already violated their belief system by entering the Academy. As peaceful as Starfleet's intention, it is still the armed service of the Federation so all those who wear the uniform must be willing to take up arms and defend themselves, their ship(mates), or the UFP, even laying down their own lives to in the process. No officer or crewman would get out of that, otherwise they are a liability and would put others at risk.
     
  5. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Not to belabor the point, I like to think we name ships for battles to honor the cause and the men who fought them rather than the fact that there was a war or to glorify battle.

    Maybe that would be sufficient for the aliens?
     
  6. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Do we only honor certain battles, though? I mean, history is written by the victors. We generally don't name ships after defeats.

    Some of the battles are named after their location. Yorktown could just as easily be defined as being named after a location on Earth. Or a historic location on Earth.

    The US lost a battle to the British at Charleston during the Revolutionary War. If there is a USS Charleston, is it named after that defeat or is it named after the city? After all, there are many historic connections to Charleston besides the Revolutionary defeat.

    And who says its a defeat? We're talking 500 or 600 years after the Battle of Yorktown or Battle of Charleston. The Earth is united. Whose history do we honor when commemorating victories? An American victory is a British defeat and vice versa.

    If we're honoring the lives of those sacrificed, then would it be acceptable or repugnant to have a USS Dachau, USS Auschwitz, etc...?

    We had a topic a while ago where the OP was berating the idea of naming a ship the USS Cortez (or was is USS Coronado?). History paints these explorers as just that, explorers. However, history also reveals these people were murderers, rapists and conquerors bent on pillaging and subduing indigenous peoples.

    One person's hero is another person's savage. "Why is your ship named the USS Crazy Horse?"
     
  7. Praetor

    Praetor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Well, of course. No one wants to remember when they lose a fight.

    Ah, but the problem there, for example with the Yorktown, is that we know the fictional vessel was named after the real one, which we know was named after the Revolutionary War battle.

    In the case of the original Charleston from 1798, she was named after the city in which she was built. I would conclude that later vessels were both named to honor previous ships and the city, rather than the battle.

    So that's yet another important point, and may make it all make sense; perhaps ships that appear to be named after battles are actually named to honor previous ships.

    I don't think that's quite the same thing - those poor people didn't meet honorable deaths, but were rather mass murdered.

    Agreed there.
     
  8. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Instead of being named the USS Thasunke Witko, which is in the original Sioux language.

    We would quietly sit them down and explain that Humans through warfare have brought about positive things like freedom, liberty, equality and the end of negative things like tyranny and slavery. We would also admit that it doesn't alway work.

    This is who we were and who we are, and if with this knowledge the "peaceful, war-hating alien race" wishes to have nothing to do with us, we go about our way.

    In other words Forbin, we'd be completely honest with them.

    :)
     
  9. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    ^Best answer yet, T'Girl. Thanks for directly answering the actual situation I postulated.

    Now, what if said alien race's first reaction is to "eliminate the infection" that has visited their planet and instantly destroy the ship and crew? And what if there isn't time to send a warning back to Starfleet, and they send another ship to see what happened?

    (Yes, I guess that's kind of similar to A Taste of Armageddon and/or Return of the Archons)
     
  10. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Beam down a "peace offering" of two metric tonnes of antimatter, materialized in the middle of ther planetary congress while their president in there giving a flowery speech on how peaceful they all are.

    At least we won't be the hypocritics.

    :)
     
  11. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If they take the time to find out what the name of the ship means, why wouldn't they be willing to talk beyond that? And if they're so high-strung about historical allusions to violence, you'd think they'd react first to the very idea of an armed starship.
     
  12. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    Y'all are not very good at sticking to a plot. :lol:

    "why would they do that, instead of this?" Squirm, modify, rationalize, if, but...
    They wouldn't. I say: They do THAT, period. This is how they think, period. They're alien minds, they think differently than us. Why, Squirm, modify, rationalize, if, but, doesn't work with them.

    They find out the ship is named after a battle. To their mind, we glory in war, we're a disease. They kill us. Period. It's done.

    Hence, my earlier thought that it might not be a good idea to name ships after battles. That's all I'm sayin'.
     
  13. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Ya gotta name 'em somethin'. You could just as easily run into a martial culture that has the same kind of reaction to scientists or whatever.

    ALIEN: Welcome to our system. I see your ship is well-armed; we respect that. Hmm... USS Gandhi. What is the origin of that name?

    SF CAPTAIN: Gandhi was a renowned pacifist from our history who helped win independence for his nation through non-violent civil disobedience.

    ALIEN: Pacifist? Pacifists are a scourge on the galaxy! Prepare to die!

    So I'd say just name the ships after whatever you want to name them after, because you're not going to be able to control someone else's reaction to any given name.
     
  14. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    ^:lol: Good point.
     
  15. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    While it was Roddenberry's intention to have a more international name with "Enterprise" I wouldn't be surprised if he also had similar thoughts that made him decide to drop "Yorktown".

    While the names are admittedly Earth-centric most are derived from sailing ships. Since Vulcan doesn't have oceans for ships to sail on, it didn't have any ship names to suggest. :D

    But how many times did the Enterprise or one of her sister ships actually conduct "first contact" in TOS?
    Often there had been other ships before doing that like the Archon, the Horizon or the Valiant.

    For all we know the starships with the militaristic names may have mostly been assigned for patrol duty but not deep-space exploration.

    However I can't help myself to imagine this scene from an alternate scripted version of "The Omega Glory":

    "I'm Captain Ronald Tracey of the USS Constitution, I've come in peace"
    "Cursed Yang! He is using the blasphemous words of the Yangs, chop his head off, rightaway!!!" :lol:

    Bob
     
  16. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Spock: "Fortunately, my ancestors spawned in another ocean than yours did."
     
  17. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Militant Feminist Alien: "You dare to named this ship of yours after a MAN?"

    Twenty-six times.

    :)
     
  18. The Old Mixer

    The Old Mixer Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Isn't that what we do around here, tear apart bad plots?

    To quote Picard, "If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for who we are." Letting some hypothetical high-strung alien race determine what you name your ships after is silly. If the Federation were that timid, they wouldn't be exploring space.
     
  19. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    @ GSchnitzer

    Yes, Spock's ancestors spawned in another ocean several or dozens of million years ago. Does this ocean still exist by the time of the UFP or has Vulcan become a desert planet (which appears to be the suggestion taking all the visual footage into account)?

    @ T'Girl

    My mistake, actually I had been wondering about real first contact scenarios on planets where the protagonists actually sit down with the natives and talk. ;)

    Bob
     
  20. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
    THAT's the spirit! :lol:
     

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