A question regarding "Patterns of Force"

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Mario de Monti, Jul 19, 2013.

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  1. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, that's how I always took the line, too (especially compared with Spock's own very different appearance).

    The joke works on two level, too, as it might also double as a quip about Kirk's command style, but with Spock's usual deadpan, it's hard to tell. I guess that's Vulcan humour for you.
     
  2. The Old Building & Loan

    The Old Building & Loan Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    It's double entendre. The "face value" meaning is that the disguise should be convincing on Kirk. The "under the surface" meaning is a humorous implication about Kirk's command style. Whether or not Spock meant for it to be double entendre is debatable, but clearly Kirk recognized the "under the surface" implication. If you put the same line in Data's mouth, we'd probably assume that the double entendre was unintended..."out of the mouths of babes".
     
  3. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The thing that makes the Nazis convenient villains is the label of Nazis not German.

    Although of course Nazis are often shown to be German in media we can still separate them from the culture of Germany, since Nazis have their own specific culture if that makes sense.

    But yes Germany of today should never be associated with Nazis. I have never been there but have met many nice people from there.

    And besides Germany has admirably admitted their guilt during WWII, more so than many other countries for that matter.



    When you say you enjoy Hogan's Heroes do you mean the German version or the US version? I understand in the German version much of the dialog was changed to remove things associated with Nazis. A lot of the jokes are different too.
     
  4. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I always took it as a joke. The irony of Shatner and Nimoy being Jewish is just icing on the cake.

    Man's inhumanity to man is a serious subject, but sometimes humor can bring a serious subject to a much larger audience than a lecture ever could.
     
  5. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    Wow, you guys have certainly been busy posting, while I enjoyed yet another gorgeous summer day :D

    After all that has been said here, I think my initial question has been answered: For one, we Germans really seem to be dealing with that part of (our) history differently than other countries do - or with their histories. But mostly I guess it comes down to whether or not you take Spock´s remark serious or as a comic relief.

    Well said, I basically see it the same way. Like I said it just never occured to me, Spock´s line was supposed to be a comic relief.

    That of course is a matter of personal taste :) But I don´t really think the German dub made TOS a silly children´s show. I like it as much today (at age 39) as I did as a child. When I´m in a bad mood, I just have to pop in the German version of "That Which Survives" and I´ll laugh all troubles away :lol:


    I stand corrected, regarding the episode being banned. But still the facts remain, that it hadn´t been shown in Germany for some 20 years, and that it got a completely different dub (and thus a different feel to it) as the rest of the episodes. That´s what I was going for.

    Not really, no. They just added funny remarks and jokes, but basically to all the main characters. That of course made them appear "lighter". As to why Nena chose Kirk in her song, I´m not sure. But I guess it just rhymes well with the next line "Es gab ein großes Feuerwerk".

    Thanks for saying that :techman:

    You´re absolutely right, thanks for seeing it that way. And of course Nazis are convenient as villains in movies because - well they were! At least those responsible for the death camps, human experiments, slave labor and all sorts of unimaginable artrocities - not the simple soldiers or civilians who just joined the Nazi party because everybody did so and because of the advantages it brought them. So yeah, go ahead and use them as villains or ridicule them, I have no problem with that. No problem rooting for Indiana Jones and laughing about the incomepetence and stupitity of the Germans :lol:


    I actually wasn´t aware of this difference, I only know the German version. Sounds like the perfect reason to finally buy that great show on DVD :lol:


    So once again thanks to everyone for your opinions, comments and nice remarks :techman: And since my question is now answered, we can all go back to more important things - namely obsessing about some other minute bits of Trek :lol:

    Mario
     
  6. Shawnster

    Shawnster Commodore Commodore

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    I know you find the humor to be jarring in such a serious episode, but that may have been intentional. The creators may have felt such a serious subject that was still fresh in the memories of the viewing audience needed to have the comedic moments (Spock's line, McCoy's uniform issues, Kirk's comment about being "utterly destroyed" by the missiles, the hitting the broad side of a barn scene, etc...) were necessary to balance the darker elements of the story.
     
  7. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    It's a joke, nothing more. It combines a bit of ribbing the captain, common enough in films of the time such as the raw egg trick in Spartacus where Tony Curtis sets up a magic trick then pulls a switch so Kirk Douglas splatters a raw egg on himself. It also is a dig at the Nazis themselves as we, the audience, know Kirk is nothing like the Nazis. That, too, is done frequently in comedies and dramas of the period. It is also was way, in story, for Spock to ride Kirk over his own commenting on the Gestapo uniform being the more attractive uniform.

    KIRK: Yes, it's a shame yours isn't as attractive as mine. Gestapo, I believe.
    SPOCK: Quite correct. You should make a very convincing Nazi.

    God, spare us from the humorless.
     
  8. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    Quite so. And I believe I have made it clear, that I´m not one of them :)

    Mario
     
  9. Mr. Hengist

    Mr. Hengist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    1. OK, I just took a look at the clip where Spock says "Your uniform, Captain. You should make a very convincing Nazi."

    Spock was dressed in an SS uniform and they had just knocked out a Nazi so Kirk could also get his uniform and get out of his civilian clothes. So they could both infiltrate.

    Spock says the line totally deadpan. So "in universe" I don't think it's supposed to be Spock deliberately making a joke. I think it's an example of Spock being "totally logical" and just referencing that Kirk will be able to disguise himself convincingly enough as a Nazi so they can infiltrate. I didn't find a clip for the prior part of the episode but Spock's uniform has a helmet, which I recall is to hide his pointy ears, and I believe there was dialogue earlier in the episode about how hard it would be for Spock to disguise himself because of his ears. So "logically" it follows directly from that.

    HOWEVER--I do believe on another level it's a screenwriter's joke because we see the offended double take Kirk does when Spock says what he says.

    So in universe it's showing us that logical Spock can be totally tone-deaf to the emotional content of what he is saying, even going so far as to not really being aware that he could be saying something totally accurate and logical on the literal level, but on another level, it could be very offensive. So it's also another one of those little "moments" in Star Trek where we glean a little insight into the personalities of the characters. That is Spock as the logically brilliant character but emotionally lacking in insight.

    But of course it's also intended by the scriptwriter to be a joke, but the "punchline" of the joke is Kirk's offended double take.

    Another aspect to this interchange is the context of the whole episode in relation to the Spock character. Gill's argument for replicating Nazi culture is that it is logical and efficient, yet even emotionless Spock who is depicted as totally clueless on the interpersonal emotional level, logically understands that a totalitarian culture is not really "logical" because it lacks the fundamental value of human life and freedom.

    So it shows a contrast between the superficial notion of mechanical logic and efficiency which is sort of the surface shallow portrayal of the Spock character vs. the whole notion of Vulcan philosophy which is much deeper and life-affirming and not simply mindless and heartless "logic."

    It may also have been a very subtle dig at the sort of militaristic ethos embodied in Star Fleet itself. Very subtle though. Remember these shows were all being produced during the Vietnam war.

    So I think there is a lot of stuff going on there on a lot of different levels. I don't think it was "just a joke."

    2. As far as the Southern civil war slave episode, they probably have done it on TNG on the holodeck by now, or in one of the spinoffs. If TOS had lasted a few more years they would have undoubtedly gotten to it at some point. Just like they did a Chicago gangster episode, the Nazi episode, Omega Glory episode, they would inevitably have done the Gone with the Wind/Southern Gothic setting for an episode on the parallel Earth where the South had won the civil war, or maybe they would have arrived on a new planet which based its entire culture on Gone with the Wind, and done a little science fiction morality play based on it.
     
  10. The Old Building & Loan

    The Old Building & Loan Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    ^The closest thing I can think of to something dealing with racism in America would be the DS9 episode in which Sisko has a vision of being a black science fiction writer in the 1950s.

    There was a VGR episode that used the Civil War as a visual metaphor for a Q civil war, but I don't think it got into the sociological issues of the setting.
     
  11. Kinokima

    Kinokima Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I remember reading Deforest Kelley and Nichelle Nichols wanted to do an episode about racism or slavery since he was a white Southerner and she was African American but obviously that never happened.

    Oh well the fact that they were real life friends is probably a better example than any episode could have done.
     
  12. Kevman7987

    Kevman7987 Captain Captain

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    I believe the idea would have had the dark skinned alien characters being racist against the light skinned ones that used to be slaves. It used the skin color reversal as its hook. I read that somewhere.
     
  13. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    @ Mr. Hengist

    Thank you for your thoughts and your extensive post, I appreciate that :techman:

    And of course, welcome to the TrekBBS. I hope you´ll enjoy it.

    Mario
     
  14. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Just rewatched Patterns of Force.

    Am the only one who doesn't see anything wrong with Kirk and Spock blowing up a bunch of Space Confederates?

    I'm from the South and see no reason why they shouldn't be villains.
     
  15. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    In my social environment being referred to as Hitler or a Nazi doesn't have the terrible connotations that it probably has in Germany or with Jewish people. Its just means that the person being accused is a bit of a dictator or fancies themselves in a uniform. I probably should restrict my use of the term if it offends people,

    I used to love Hogans Heroes as a kid but now I feel that it paints the German military in too good a light.
     
  16. Herbert

    Herbert Commander Red Shirt

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    I really don't see it that way. It's farce and clearly presented that way. If anything, it paints the German military as pretty incompetent, which it clearly wasn't.
     
  17. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Such a story, in abstract, was part of the Great Bird's "Star Trek Is..." pitch, which read...
    "The Conscience of the King" scribe Barry Trivers took that germ and wrote the unmade episode, "Portrait in Black and White", which is just that. But basically it's Kirk captured and locked up and Uhura and McCoy don't factor into the story at all. Besides the script being basically a premise that isn't explored, Kirk is essentially a passive observer, and his decision at the end (to not warn this planet's "Lincoln" he's going to be assassinated, and to let history play out just as awfully as it did here) is just appalling.
     
  18. MAGolding

    MAGolding Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I think that most people in this discussion should stop and remember that most of the people involved in making 1960s television shows 15 to 25 years after Nazi Germany was totally defeated were people old enough to have been aware of politics back during at least part of the period of 1933 to 1945 when Nazi Germany existed and during at least part of the period of the Holocaust from 1941 to 1945. And since a lot of people in American show business are Jewish, belonging to the ethnic group the Nazis tried to exterminate, a lot of the people involved in making American TV shows in the 1960s were people who the Nazis would have killed if they could, or had relatives and friends that the Nazis would have killed if they could.

    And some of the people involved in making 1960s TV shows fought against the Nazis. To them Nazis were not historical bogymen like the Mongol hordes, the way they seem to many contemporary people, to them Nazis were real live bogymen they had fought against.

    So it seems to me that as a group the people who made 1960s American TV shows probably tended to be on the average even more anti Nazi than most people in the last 70 odd years have been.

    Thus if the people who made 1960s American TV shows thought that a Nazi themed joke or comment was in good enough taste to put on the air, there should be little reason for modern persons much younger than them to question it.
     
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  19. dswynne1

    dswynne1 Commander Red Shirt

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    It's called "levity". Kirk and Spock are deep undercover. At any moment, they could be caught and killed. So, in order to help Kirk, who is "human", relieve some of the stress he is probably under, Spock makes a "joke" in his usual sardonic way as a means of relieving that stress. In fact, in many of the TOS episodes, Kirk has used humor to deflate a dramatic moment or tense situation. Not always, but he has done so. IN PoF, Kirk takes the mission very seriously, but not so seriously as to be so tightly wound up.
     
  20. 1001001

    1001001 Pull Up a Groove and Get Fabulous! Moderator

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    This one's been dead over 4 years. RIP

    https://www.trekbbs.com/rules/#post-11662568

    " Resurrecting dead threads. If you find a thread that has not had a post in it in over a year, don't post in it. Start a new thread instead. You can, if necessary, link back to the old thread if something crucial is in the thread."

    Thanks
     
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