Damar & Infidelity in the 24th Century

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Too Much Fun, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    So I was just watching "Tacking Into the Wind..." for only the second time in my life (about to finish my first re-watch of the series, excluding episodes I didn't like or was uninterested in the first time) and was surprised to discover that
    Damar's wife and son are killed by the Dominion
    in this episode. I had totally forgotten about that.

    My first reaction was to feel really bad for Damar, as I'd started to like to him a lot once he began to gradually turn on the Dominion and his interactions with Weyoun became increasingly spiteful (and quite entertaining as a result). Then I remembered how just a few episodes earlier he was shown fooling around with a Cardassian floozie.

    That memory made me feel a little conflicted. I guess I could understand him shacking up with a woman like that for companionship while his wife and son were in hiding for their protection, but at the same time, given my morals I find it hard to condone adultery under any circumstances. What do you folks think? Does his infidelity make him less sympathetic to you after the tragedy?

    I know that this is a harsh thing to say, but there's a part of me that almost thinks he deserves his tragedy after being so unfaithful. That's just the extreme moral high ground stance on it, though. I'm unable to simply believe he got what's coming to him. I respect and admire the character so much that I can't help but feel at least a little sorry for him when he suffers his loss regardless of his morally questionable actions.
     
  2. Morpheus 02

    Morpheus 02 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Damar seemed to me one of those bad guys that redeemed himself by the end.

    It's been a while, but i recall him being at best a jerk early on.

    Infidelity wouldn't surprise me. But i think their dying, among other things, changed his heart, and made him a better person.
     
  3. Navaros

    Navaros Commodore Commodore

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    I'm indifferent to Damar; he doesn't float my boat. I don't hate him, but I don't like him either. I didn't even know he was married (guess I never cared enough to pay attention to that line).

    To me, the most interesting thing about the Cardassian floozie is that IMO Weyoun was banging her too (which IMO also contributed to Damar's hatred of Weyoun), as evidenced by Weyoun commenting how lovely she is.
     
  4. Diddle

    Diddle Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    As far as I could tell from the episodes this seemed sort of normal among Cardassians, I mean,
    Dukat had about seven children with his wife, plus Ziyal with the Bajoran woman, not to mention the whole Kira thing. Tain wouldn't expose Garak as his son due the whole Obsidian Order thing, Mila would be his housekeeper, but I suppose Tain would hold a mistress or something to keep people out of the blue, etc, there might have been some more situations, but I can't recall right now...
    . Anyway, like I said those things seems normal among Cardassians, though I only mentioned "bad" people, so a small jump over the fence wouldn't be entirely unpredictable.

    I'm not particularly upset about Damar's actions, nor do I feel like he deserved, it seemed like he felt really terrible when he heard the news, considering too that family is very important for the Cardies. I prefer to believe that he really cared about his mate and son, but those actions being supposedly normal among his people, it didn't really mattered.
     
  5. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    That's being harsher on his wife and children than it is on him, isn't it? Why do they deserve to die for his infidelity?

    And, really, I'm sorry, but I don't think it's reasonable to say that someone who cheats on his wife deserves to suffer the pain of their deaths. At most, they deserve to suffer the pain of a divorce.

    Besides, what makes you think Cardassian marriages necessarily carry obligations of sexual fidelity? Maybe on Cardassia, everyone's allowed to screw around so long as they don't produce out-of-wedlock births and they stay in love with their spouses.
     
  6. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think there's a difference between the Cardassians who let their power go to their heads, and the ones who don't. Someone like Tekeny Ghemor wouldn't have been caught dead sleeping with another woman, as far as I can tell. My suspicion is that the social mores are actually very strong against infidelity--probably much stronger than they are for humans--but that those who have a lot of power think they're above the rules that apply to the "commoners."

    The fact that they actually bother with marriages, unlike most humans, points to the likely existence of this double standard.
     
  7. Withers

    Withers Captain

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    I would also like to give a shout out to the excuse "I was drunk." Not to be silly but, whether he regretted it or not, Damar could easily chalk up the hook up to a cheap bottle of Kanar. It isn't as though that never happens. In fact its nice to know not only humans can make that mistake.


    -Withers-​
     
  8. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I should add that we have ZERO actual evidence that Weyoun was sleeping with Damar's floozie. That's just Navaros' unsubstantiated theory.
     
  9. Diddle

    Diddle Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    ^ Yeah, did Weyoun ever said anything about it? The closest thing I recall is Weyoun saying "Dukat used to entertain lady friends as well" when Damar is called on his quarters after he helped Dukat turn Bajoran.
     
  10. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If I remember correctly, Damar's lady friend was back before he made the decision to rebel against the Dominion, and along with his alcoholism it was a way for the writers to show that he was a broken man who had lost his self-respect. He's like Jimmy McNulty from The Wire, whenever internal police politics led to him being screwed over he fell back on booze and floozies, but when he removed himself from being a detective he gave up the booze and settled down with someone. He was also exponentially less interesting.

    Presumably, once Damar regained his self-respect he gave up the loose women just as he had given up alcohol, and unlike McNulty he remained a compelling character.
     
  11. Navaros

    Navaros Commodore Commodore

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    Weyoun's comment is certainly evidence that substantiates the theory. It is completely reasonable to infer that the story is that Weyoun was banging her.

    There is no reason why that line needed to have been included in the story if it did not have a meaning like that. They easily could have edited it out, or not filmed it at all.

    There is however, zero evidence that Weyoun was not banging Damar's girlfriend.
     
  12. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's what I think as well. Plus after he'd made that decision, to find out that his wife and children were killed--I imagine that would've done the rest of the job, because then, to mess around would have been to dishonor the memory of his wife and children, who died because he made a stand.

    The only thing it's reasonable to infer is that Weyoun wanted to further shame and denigrate Damar so that he would be easy to control. Psychological warfare, nothing more.
     
  13. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Harsh is an understatement. Words like weird, creepy and disturbing come to mind. :wtf:

    Why should his wife and his children be punished for his infidelity? What did they do? As Sci said, someone who is unfaithful to their spouse only deserves a divorce; it is not a crime punishable by death, and neither by deaths of one's children or spouse. He doesn't even deserve to lose his children (as in, say, never being allowed to see them again), unless there is some evidence that he was a bad father to them.


    Exactly.

    He also seemed to not be that close to his wife anymore, maybe as a result of his issues, guilt, self-loathing and alcoholism (if we assume that they used to be close before) - he told his mistress "You are such a great listener, I wish my wife was so understanding."


    This is not a justification or an excuse. But I fail to see how one could be disappointed in Damar for this particular reason, when this same Damar had, up to that point, been nothing but a typical prejudiced, thuggish Cardassian soldier who didn't like Bajorans or "half-breeds", and a murderer guilty for the death of an innocent young woman. (Sure, in his mind, he probably thought she was guilty of 'treason'. Being a thuggish prejudiced Cardassian soldier.) I would have had more of a problem with him because of his murder of Ziyal than for cheating on his wife. He only showed signs of becoming a better man later - when we had already seen him as a screwed-up alcoholic sleeping around, so what disappointment are we talking about?

    Or maybe Weyoun and Damar were lovers, and Weyoun was jealous. :rolleyes:

    Sure, there's as much evidence that they were as that Weyoun was banging Damar's mistress (i.e. absolutely none at all, except in your imagination), but there's also zero evidence that they weren't. :cardie: So, there. Actually, there's more potential for slash fantasies there than there is for stories about Weyoun banging Damar's mistress - at least Damar and Weyoun interacted with each other onscreen. :rommie:

    For the record, I don't think Weyoun was banging anyone. It's unclear if the Vorta even have sex at all. The only thing that's certain is that he was interested in another people's sex lives and loved to make fun of them for it. Which was the very obvious context of that comment.


    You might as well say that "this seems normal among humans" (in real life, that is, not the 24th century) - stating all the examples of famous married men who are known to have had affairs.

    It's obviously not universally accepted or considered normal, not by everyone - or else Garak wouldn't have chastised Dukat for trying to impress Kira in "Civil Defense": "She has a much better taste than to be attracted to you... You, a married man!"


    Not according to Garak.

    My impression is that Cardassian attitude to marital fidelity is about the same as human (real life, that is - not Federation humans of the 24th century). You're supposed to be faithful, but many people aren't. Look at John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and many other politicians and other powerful men, whose wives remained married to them for years even though they - and pretty much everyone around - knew about their affairs. So, should we draw the conclusion that, for humans, everyone is allowed to screw around as long as they don't produce a public scandal? Screw around as much as you like, but present a nice 'perfect marriage' front for the public?
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  14. Too Much Fun

    Too Much Fun Commodore Commodore

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    Wow, you guys are pretty hard on me for the whole "he was kinda asking for it" statement. :alienblush: Don't get me wrong, I think what happened was terrible and the people who it happened to certainly didn't deserve it. I just meant Damar became a little less sympathetic to me when I remembered he had been fooling around.

    I guess in a way I was regretting what Damar did somewhat vicariously. I mean, if I were him, one of the first things I would have felt when hearing the news was regret for being unfaithful. Unless, as some have suggested, this arrangement was common in Cardassian culture (which sounds plausible to me).

    On the other hand, I find this speculation about Weyoun and the Cardassian woman rather silly. Wasn't it established that Vorta were completely asexual, and therefore could not have libidos or interest in women (just like Jem'Hadar)?
     
  15. snakespeare

    snakespeare Commander Red Shirt

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    The only pleasure the Vorta get is from eating certain nuts and fruits. It is something the Founders did to remind them of their roots; to remind them that they were just genetically enhanced animals.

    Damar, the floozie, and family... yes, I believe monogamy and fidelity are Cardassian societal values. They say the word "family" as if it's something sacred, as if it is the fundamental unit of their society. They endure hardships "for the family". They sacrifice their lives for "the family". Before the military dictatorship, there government was oligarchic. Their marriages are often marriages of convenience to tie politic factions together. Therefore, taking a mistress is probably common. Having a bastard is also probably common. We know they would kill their bastard children, and this was considered something to protect their honor.

    So I think we can assume that Damar was about as Cardassian as one can ever be, right down to the mistress. Which is why he was the one, in the end, who did what had to be done to free Cardassia.
     
  16. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Nobody has explained yet, if having a mistress is such a normal and accepted thing on Cardassia (i.e. more so than in the real life human society), where did Garak's moralistic rant come from? He always seemed to uphold Cardassian values and go on about Cardassian society, education, literature and what not, I really don't think he got that from the Federation or the Bajorans. And even if he did, he would hardly think that this would be a good way to rattle Dukat's cage, unless there was some rule against adultery on Cardassia, would he?

    In other words, there is no on-screen evidence that I am aware of that Cardassian society is any more accepting of adultery than (the real) human is, while OTOH there is evidence to the contrary.
     
  17. snakespeare

    snakespeare Commander Red Shirt

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    I think it's an 11th commandment situation. Don't get caught, it will embarass the family. But any time you have marriages of convenience, you're going to have extra-marital relations. The Una McCormick books (WoDS9: Cardassia and The Never Ending Sacrifice) add some ideas to this topic, FWIW, including a big nasty secret.

    And don't forget what Garak said to Julian, "They are all guilty, but who's guilty of what?" (or something)
     
  18. DevilEyes

    DevilEyes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well yes. In other words, it's pretty much like the prevailing attitude of humans as we know them. You're not supposed to do it, it is bad, but lots of people do it - just don't let yourself be caught.

    As someone once said about the sex scandal that destroyed the chances of US presidential candidate Gary Hart, "I don't care if he cheats on his wife, but if he is that careless to get caught like this in the middle of the campaign, he shouldn't be president". JFK never had a sex scandal despite sleeping around all the time, and people loved him.
     
  19. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You actually have no idea what the form of government was before the military takeover. We DO know that 500 years prior, before the creation of the Union, that the Cardassians (probably called Hebitians then) were peaceful and very religious.

    We may actually be looking at a more Bajor-like society pre-Union, and given that, all bets are off as to what their customs were before the military took over.
     
  20. maneth

    maneth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Dukat was far worse in the infidelity department, what with the Bajoran comfort women and all.

    Damar was a conflicted character, but compared with murdering Ziyal, his infidelity was a far smaller sin, and pretty much expected in the circumstances. Certainly not an admirable trait, but an understandable one. Still, it's odd that by the end of his story arc, Damar was one of my favorite characters on DS9.