A Private Little War

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by MAGolding, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. MAGolding

    MAGolding Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Some plot elements seem somewhat goofy:

    So apparently some minor difference like the absence of fighting between different groups is enough to make a world like a Garden of Eden?

    There was no death and no struggle to survive in the biblical Garden of Eden story. But in real primitive societies there is death and struggle to survive. Quite the opposite of any paradise or Garden of Eden.

    In a society less advanced than western society in the last two centuries or so, most of the people who were born died of various diseases in the first few yeas of life. People who lived to be teenagers or adults were a minority compared to people who died as little children.

    And a large proportion of the people who were born were actually killed or left to die by their parents in the first few days of their lives.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infanticide

    So the accepted minimum estimates is that in primitive societies at least 15 percent, and possibly a much higher percentage, of all the people born were murdered soon after birth.

    And this would have been the practice among hunter gatherers for tens or hundreds of thousands of years until agriculture was developed. Agricultural societies could raise all of their children (who survived various diseases) to adulthood and didn't need to murder newborn infants. And so various agricultural societies gradually dropped the practice of infanticide, slowly over thousands of years.

    So if that planet is anything like Earth, and the natives look a lot like Earth humans, and Caucasians at that, it is possible that the villagers no longer practice infanticide (though they might still practice it) and it seems very probable that the Hill People still do practice infanticide.

    But even if nobody on the planet ever practiced infanticide, childhood diseases should kill a majority of all the people born while they are still little children. And they will continue to suffer such high death rates for centuries or millennia to come until the society becomes advanced enough to prevent and cure most of the diseases that kill children.

    So I think that the creators of "A Private Little War" and any members of the audience who accepted the description of that primitive society as a "Garden of Eden" were very naive and unaware of reality.
     
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  2. Ricky Spanish

    Ricky Spanish BillJ Premium Member

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    It was Kirk's idea of a simple, perfect life. Something he sometimes pined for. I don't think it is meant to be taken literally.
     
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  3. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    They also had some really bad hair days on that planet. :whistle:
     
  4. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It was an example of the romanticizing of primitive ways of life, including notions of being more "in harmony with nature," the archetype of the "noble savage" untouched by the evils of civilization and industrialization, nostalgia for idyllic simpler times, etc. Such ideas have been circulating for a few centuries.

    Kor
     
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  5. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    From "Tribbles"
    BARIS: You heard me.
    KIRK: I heard you.
    SPOCK: He simply could not believe his ears.

    Then Kirk gives Spock a look, and Spock is momentarily mortified to have made an accidental joke, at his own expense no less. :)

    EDIT: this was put in the wrong thread. Disregard.
     
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  6. Mr. Spook

    Mr. Spook Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    A funny moment, but why didja quote it? I'm confused at how it works into A Private Little War.
     
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  7. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm in the wrong thread. Or all of you are, but that would be crazy. :alienblush:
     
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  8. Poltargyst

    Poltargyst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is the best answer and most likely correct. It was only an Eden from Kirk's point of view. Also, it's a way of informing the viewers that life on this planet for these people was just fine until the Klingons showed up so by the end of the episode we understand what they've lost.

    On the other hand, this is Star Trek. Maybe there isn't the high mortality rate for these people like there was on Earth. Wouldn't be the first time we encountered a planet whose evolution deviated from Earth's.
     
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  9. johnnybear

    johnnybear Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Even if none of the above ailments killed you growing up on the planet Neural let us not forget the savage, monstrous, poisonous, Mugato's!!!! :wtf:
    JB
     
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  10. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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  11. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  12. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    ...wearing an orange fur bikini top.
     
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  13. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If this story is an allegory to the Vietnam conflict, and while the landscape was beautiful, Vietnam was flush with civil wars over the ages. So the episode is a very fast and loose parallel. Which isn't to say it's bad, since a small country in real life is supplanted by a fictional utopia and in fiction they can make a whole world any way they want and take bits of real life and chuck those in as plot points. In other words, what was I talking about?

    Very true.

    Just like in TNG's "Sub Rosa", to really want to live in an area with no running water or proper heat.. pneumonia and other things... very easy to forget about.

    Yikes!

    Makes ya wonder if civilizations like The Aztecs turned infanticide into a more palatable ritual. Or tolerable, I do not recall reading they engaged in cannibalism but if they did then "palatable" becomes a very unpalatable choice of word. Ugh, I hate euphemisms. Well, usually...

    Bingo. Agrarian societies did develop any number of advantages. As well as instilling a work ethic. Apart from the other extreme, that of slavery...

    Most planets supporting life we could step foot on likely would have similar characteristics. As fun as TOS showed purple planets, chances are rare that atmospheric, gravity, and other conditions would be suitable and TOS didn't often wallow inside protective domes. Strangely enough, Norman's androids apparently did. For the sake of their owners, all to be addressed in a prequel few would likely want to sit through.

    Fun fact: Many people of the India and surrouinding regions are Caucasians despite having brown skin (because of equatorial region and melanin and all that...) That and, on the APLW planet, they hadn't done air travel or boat travel or explored other continents yet and I don't recall the episode stating this quaint village was at the equatorial zone.

    No worries, new diseases will kill teens - especially if they go along having coitus with lots of strangers they don't give a damn about.

    Sci-fi plays with reality all the time, in different ways. And within a 49 minute episode block of time, circa 1967, or 43 minutes circa 1987. The whole encyclopedia set just can't be crammed into a drama like that.
     
  14. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I didn't like the fact she got killed but I need to watch the episode again, it's been a while...

    And she has an impressive set of hair extensions the kids could jump rope with! Especially if it's a wig, so much less to deal with if there's no person stuck in the middle...

    Unless that's her real hair... Wow, she really was gorgeous... Granted, Tyree was a bit of a :luvlove: too... I could watch the episode for all the eye candy alone but I do want to watch it for all the reasons, forgetting they're all great grandparents by now so I'll make that lunch sandwich later... and, of course, everything except the un-menacing Mugatu monster again. The scene with the maca root was cool. (Also, look up maca powder in real life for a chuckle...)
     
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  15. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes. I believe she was referring to it when she smooshes the aphrodisiac-inducing herb into Tyree's upper arm and says with much interest:

    :guffaw::guffaw::guffaw::guffaw::guffaw:
     
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  16. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe its a Garden of Eden from Kirk's perspective.
    Special guest of the tribe leader of the good tribe.
    The 'bad' tribe were talking about giving Nona to the best killer or something as if it were nothing.
    So if you were a friend of the tribe leader, it was a paradise.
    For the ladies perhaps not so much.
     
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  17. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Which is a strange title, not because I wasn't around 5 decades ago and not because the attempt to homage Culture Club was even weirder, but because my posts are always a little bit strange.

    It really is visually stunning, this episode. Vasquez Rocks is indeed so large that they could film from any number of directions and it would look completely different. I don't recall the Trek nonfiction book that stated it, but they were telling the truth and then some.

    Keep in mind this episode took place before modern day terrorism took off, which makes things a lot more complicated and not just about two empires. But in a 48 minute span of time, obviously this episode couldn't have had introduced or referred to a smaller empire in some corner with the equivalent to Leila Khaled popping in to say "Hi".

    One thing this episode has going for it is right at the start. The opening scenes are nicely handled and very much action-packed, though by the time they beam up Kirk should be skedaddling to the bridge upon hearing the klaxon instead of standing there worried about Spock. And this is the second time the ship has to leave the crew stranded for a while.

    The way the Enterprise is kept away from the landing party is fairly brilliant, to keep hidden on the other side of the planet in a way that they cannot be detected by the Klingons. A shame they didn't have a parallax scan, but Tarrant knows all about that... oh wait, wrong show, I'm getting terribly squirrel at doing that... ask by best friend Bullwinkle about it, now get me back to the Zero Room stat.

    The episode states research is something Klingons don't do, and supported by supporting characters. If Klingons are that much not into doing research, how did they advance in space travel or any other technology? Or build upon anything they took from conquered planets? There's another slant to this "they don't do research" I'll get to later.

    Nona is arguably the most interesting character, though in many ways she's quite the character and 50 years on there can be so many other ways to perceive other metaphors to her mannerisms and intent but at the same time those are in some ways generic. Indeed, after looking beyond some lame stereotypes (and the fact that the actor was - much to my surprise upon looking up the name and finding her list of roles as well as seeing her true visage - wearing about two tons of boot polish because she's mystical and has mind altering substance in the form of tree leaves and therefore has to be some other hue) as she's more or less right in that Tyree, as leader, needs to fight back. Her being written off the episode feels as ultimately contrived as it was brutal as well. The scedne arguably showing violence being met with violence, which loosely ties into the Garden of Eden allusion and other Biblical expressions if not expressions of the 1960s/early-70s, this theme would be covered in other shows and most surprisingly in the episode known as "Archie is Branded" in the sitcom "All in the Family". Except for all the ideas sprinkled into this episode, they all feel like less than the sum of their parts.

    Kirk's solution to this issue he's seemingly tripped into is frankly stupid because there's already been series/plot development with the treaty between the two empires (the Organian Treaty?). So who is mediating that treaty between the Federation and Klingons in the first place? There's no need for the tit-per-tat, never mind Kirk was only going to order replicated flintlocks and not teach Tyree and crew how to make them -- which means they are STILL at a disadvantage! Those who make the serpents usually are better off, probably. The episode could have spent less time showing the goofy drum beating ritual with Nona and her magical practical joke dog poo root in the cave where the only thing missing were columns of love beads draped across the entrance and more tying in of the story's various plot threads and ideas, though one could surmise Kirk was going to do this as a gambit until a proper follow-up regarding the treaty took place. I guess. The story and teleplay writers were onto something not half bad with this story (despite apparent conflicts between them which led to one of them using a somewhat interesting pseudonym to be used...) but the episode often feels like one of my typical posts -- a jumbled mishmushmash. Which reminds me, I need to buy for Alice some blueberry applesauce and mashed porkchops for Peter and Cindy...

    Why does Scotty wander into Sickbay and at just the right moment, did he get a paper cut when turning the page of an engineering manual? That could have been any other crewmember but why Scotty? At least show this episode before "Wolf in the Fold" if they're aiming for Scotty in becoming a scapegoat as Jack the Ripper. Also, I've seen episodes where male charadcters are called "man" so shouldn't that be as offensive when Chapel is referred to as "woman"?

    Doctor M'Benga gets a great introduction, to the point I wish he had more episodes since he'd be a great foil for McCoy and Spock. He could easily have been part of the ensemble and given more time to discuss and spar with McCoy, but then we'd be out on all that Spock/McCoy banter the show is trademarked for...

    "Sterilite" sounds like a real medical device, if not a plastic container to store food to keep it cool until you get it into the fridge, and while UV light can kill bacteria how would a light-based device harm only the bad cooties and not injure needed tissue? Still, it's a lovely idea and felt like a genuine technological advancement instead of the magical pen that emits blue light and the split skin and rash disappear in milliseconds like in TNG and even prequels.

    I find it hilarious that the lead Klingon in league with the hill people talks of profit and fame. The Klingons were Star Trek's metaphor for Communism. Unless they're now a parody if not a generic force of "bad guys"? Or the Klingon was lying through his teeth, which makes TOS' biggest nemesis (from all six episodes they were in) far more detailed and dimensional as a result. After all, the inhabitants of this planet were little more than playthings". Is that the real serpent in this allegory of an Qui'Tu? (Which surely might be an interesting place for Klingons since TOS Trek tells us Kahless is a real evil baddie but TNG says something rather inverted, and in the end the truth might be closer to the middle and TNG's handling of the character since the rock lobster creature was taking what Kirk believed Kahless to be as much as it took from him what Lincoln was seen to be... fascinating!)

    Why is Tyree angered to the point of using the flintlock when he's blatantly starting at Nona ringing Kirk's chimes by her rubbing directly onto Kirk's arm the psychedelic leaves conveniently collected from the local tree o' LSD around the bend, especially as Tyree has said on multiple occasions she's manipulated him?! Yet Kirk is the one about to be shot??!

    Worse, it's as if she really needed to dope up Kirk to turn him on to begin with? Good grief, just ask him to explain "what is this Earth emotion called love" and he'll promptly show her for a three hour tour... (TOS really didn't engage in that fan-made sterotype too often, but I'll use it then point out he wasn't banging every woman in the galaxy in every episode...)

    Indeed, if these leaves react to humans as they do any ol' species and in the same way, why didn't Kirk pick a peck or two on his previous visit? Oh, wait, he doesn't need to do anything like that...

    And now, a quick intermission with something typically off-kilter:



    And now back to the other show.


    McCoy has a great barb at Kirk's expense:

    Okay, two:

    And the lead villager looks like Micky Dolenz, how cool is that! Remember that song, "Zor and Zam"?

    (Two cuts of the song exist, interestingly enough: )



    IMHO, one has better vocals and the other has better tonal quality... both are good for what they were, though - which becomes a post in another forum altogether! :D

    Well, imagine of the people of that planet actually realizing that the Federation and Klingon empires are both there for-- uh, what was the reason for them to play with the inhabitants again? Not research, nothing's said about mining dilithium (unlike in "Friday's Child", which also got the landing party stuck on the planet for a good while) Are Klingons really just getting jollies from giving some weaklings a little power for a petty bloodbath for no reason? Remember the line that pretty much puts the kibosh on any reason for the Klingons being there,

    as after all, let's say that the Klingons are there to build a base/wayside rest with free cafeteria and bathroom facilities as planning for a major incursion of war and thus breaking the treaty. Why bother with two pesky lifeforms with bad hair that's larger than anything the 1980s put out that they wouldn't see as being any better than anyone in the Federation? Of course, being the 1960s and in a cold war, suggesting the commies are infiltrating wouldn't have begun to get past the censors, who were wanting more drum-beating scenes.

    So in the end, it's got great location scenery, great dialogue, a bunch of ideas that simply cannot be told in 45 minutes, complete with subplot where the Enterprise goes away for a while.

    And all in an episode that states as a major plot point that phaser use is outright forbidden but the first thing that happens is that one is dropped and nearly lost, and one is later stolen and somehow neither the villagers or hill people get their hands on it and somehow all of that ends up being the story's least interesting points. If only Nona knew how to press the buttons, after noticing which way she was pointing it. Wasn't it intriguing that, in the end, she didn't want to rule them all?
     
  18. 1001001

    1001001 Pull Up a Groove and Get Fabulous! Moderator

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    There's already an active thread about this episode.

    Merging.
     
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  19. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks much! I wasn't sure if I should have placed it here; in retrospect I should have and certainly will for future posts will tagline in.
     
  20. Smirky-Spock

    Smirky-Spock Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    I think you all are giving Nona a bad shake, so, I feel the need to defend her. She is a skilled healer and herbalist. She probably SAVED the lives of many infant and young children with her skills. She can even cure the poison of the mugato, something even McCoy couldn't cure. She's also a leader who wanted to strike back at their enemies. In the end, she was right when Kirk orders to arm Tyree and his tribe. Besides, she does all this while wearing an orange furry bikini top to boot.
     
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