“First Vulcan to graduate at the head of her class”

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Bryan Levy, May 13, 2021.

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Same reply -- being the top academic student doesn't automatically make one the best performer in the military side of Starfleet. Anyway, I don't agree that Saavik would automatically be the top student just because of who her mentor was. If anything, she struck me as somewhat naive and inflexible, still struggling to fit into a human-dominated organization and adapt to her colleagues' ways of thinking. She had "the book" memorized, but hadn't learned how to adapt its rules to more ambiguous real-world situations. That's hardly top-of-the-class material.

    Also, if you acknowledge her characterization in the tie-in fiction, Saavik had a traumatic, feral upbringing and struggled to learn emotional control. She was far from being the perfect Vulcan. She may have had discipline problems, earned demerits on her record, or (like me in my school days) had trouble overcoming her personal turmoil to focus on academics. It's simplistic to assume that just being Vulcan or just being Spock's student would automatically guarantee that she was the best. People are more individual than that.


    In any case, being "on top" is an arbitrary standard. Our culture is too attached to the simpleminded idea that there has to be one "winner" and anything less is worthless. That's silly. There can be many entities in a group who excel in a variety of ways. Any standard for declaring only one of them the "winner" is bound to be arbitrary and artificial, and should not be assigned too much importance. (Which is why I stopped taking awards seriously decades ago. Look at how consistently the Emmys snubbed TNG and DS9 in the non-technical categories even though they had much of the best acting, writing, and directing in the industry.)
     
  2. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The novels reflect what's onscreen.
     
  3. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I went to a grammar school - selective, 90 people a year across the county. One chap was routinely bottom of the year, but must have been top of his class before then, so inevitably became a bully.
     
  4. Extrocomp

    Extrocomp Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Why do people keep thinking I'm unaware of the obvious?
     
  5. Tuskin38

    Tuskin38 Admiral Admiral

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    Not always. Sometimes they can be based on an earlier version of the script or cut of the movie, before things are altered or changed for the final release.
     
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  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    That only applies to novelizations. The original poster asked about a "lit-verse answer," which suggests books like Cast No Shadow which were written years after the movie and made use of its ideas. Any such book is obligated to avoid contradicting what's onscreen. It can tweak and finesse and reinterpret what was stated onscreen, but not just ignore it.
     
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  7. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Didn't Kim Cattrall come up with the name Valeris herself?
     
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  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    It beggars belief to me that in the course of 110-120 years of cadets graduating from Starfleet Academy, none of the valedictorians were Vulcan.

    To me, the simplest explanation is to simply assume that Starfleet Academy didn't rank its graduating cadets until the 2280s.
     
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  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    As we've established, the grading standards probably include military performance, and Vulcans are usually pacifists, or at least not militarily inclined. Also, let's face it, Starfleet has always been a human-biased institution as portrayed onscreen.
     
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  10. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And since Valeris is clearly NOT a pacifist...well, we do the math.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
  11. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    And all the more martial Vulcans would probably be more likely to have the Vulcan nationalist streak to go along with that attitude, and be more inclined be educated at a Vulcan institution and transfer in to Starfleet like Burnham did, rather than get an inferior education designed by illogical humans at SFA.
     
  12. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I really don't mean to be difficult, but...how much evidence do we really have that Vulcans, in general, are pacifists?

    Surak definitely seemed to be, but I'm not aware of Vulcans as a species trending that way. Surely a true pacifist would not even want to serve in Starfleet in the first place?
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Essentially. The name suggested was "Eris" and it became "Valeris".

    Eris was the Greek goddess of chaos, strife and discord. The daughter of Zeus and Hera.
     
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  14. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    So that's where she got it from...
     
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  15. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

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    The Vulcan Academy Murders has Spock interrupting his kahs-wan save another Vulcan's life.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
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  16. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks. I hadn't thought of that one.
     
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  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I can't quite accept that as a rationalization. Star Trek is full of Vulcans who are not pacifists in even the most generous sense of the term. Over the course of 120 years, it's not plausible that at least one of them wouldn't be at Starfleet Academy and become valedictorian.

    Just assuming that Starfleet Academy did not have valedictorians before the 2280s is consistent with the canon, avoids implausible outcomes about the academic performance of thousands (if not millions) of people over the course of 120 years, and is itself plausible given the Federation's egalitarian ethos.
     
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  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    I think that's greatly overestimating the number of Vulcans in Starfleet service in the 23rd century. Yes, the Intrepid existed, but it was one ship out of the entire fleet, and otherwise every 23rd-century show to date gives the impression that Vulcans are comparatively rare within Starfleet. For that matter, do we even really know for sure that the Intrepid was a Starfleet ship? We never saw it onscreen (unless you count its brief cameo in the remastered "Court Martial"); for all we know, it could've been a Vulcan Expeditionary Force ship, and "Intrepid" could've been the translation of its name. (It basically means "feeling no fear," so it fits the Vulcan mindset.) Even if it was a Starfleet ship, the fact that its crew was apparently racially segregated is telling.

    After all, you left out the part I mentioned that probably carries considerably more weight than the military thing: That TOS-era Starfleet is pretty damn racist. Good grief, even in the TNG era, we almost never see a non-human admiral. Clearly there are some deep-seated institutional biases there. If they apply even to the admiralty, surely they'd apply to the Academy as well.
     
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  19. diankra

    diankra Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Savar in Conspiracy. But otherwise I think all human.
     
  20. The Return of Zombie Cheerleader

    The Return of Zombie Cheerleader Moar Nu Trek Pleeze Premium Member

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    Has every state in the Union produced a valedictorian at West Point?