Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Vger23, Mar 17, 2015.
Check the comment thread for Gerrold's post. She posted in it, a hundred or so replies in.
I always thought Chris Rock's approach to politics made sense: That's where I am pretty much.
The thing that baffles me a bit is how many narrow minded people actually watch Trek, knowing full well what it embraces, and yet are offended when they see it feature a topic or scene based on that.
Kirk and Uhura's kiss. The same sex kiss almost 30 years later. A female captain
It seems some people/fans want both worlds--the advanced prosperous society where everyone is happy, and yet insist that certain prejudices still exist in those societies, because it makes them comfortable.
Speaking as a narrow-minded old coot who can be a problem, I think there is a point where one has earned the privilege.
You know that quite a large number of fans love the show because it depicts actioin/adventure in space and has interesting characters, and couldn't give a toss about any supposed message that the show carried.
I've watched the show since I was a small child and only a few years ago "discovered" that there's this fantasy utopian side of the show.
The problem with Trek, is that it 90% of the time they delivered their message with about as much subtlety as a dump truck plowing into you at 80 mph.
It's my belief that the people who enjoy those shows, only enjoy them because they agree with the message, not that the episode was actually good.
I (generally) don't have a problem with expressing an opinion on an issue. I just like to to be a thoughtful one, and to have it presented in a thoughtful, intelligent way.
I know, right? I have said this a lot myself; that people watch Trek for oh so many different reasons!
Bunches of the OriginalSeriesIsTheOnlyTrueTrek people *I* know... began watching as preteens. So they were mostly seeing deeeep thought episodes? I think not.
A lot of people I know began watching Trek in the OriginalSeries re-runs 'before' NextGen showed up on the scene; some of them youths, some of them young to older adults. So were these two ages viewing, enjoying, looking at Star Trek the same way? I think not.
A few people I know began watching first run OriginalSeries when it was airing in their thirties. Seeing different layers of thought in the episodes than their young ones were... and yet they watched as families and everyone enjoyed it. Everyone in their own way/perception/interest.
And that's the thing; Star Trek offered/offers multiple ways to enjoyment. The dreamers and scientifically curious minded inspired to become scientists and astronauts. The science fiction enthusiasts drawn to science fiction stories. The action/adventure enthusiasts who watch it for that reason. The philosophy minded who zeroed in on that. The sci-fi comics metal bra people who watched it for the sci-fi slinky girl of the week. The people who watched it for the Hope Of A Better And More Enlightened Future Time. The children (and adults of course) who watched it for the exciting alien of the week and flying around in space ships.
The thing is.... it's all there! EVERYbody's version of the OriginalSeries is there! And you know what? I think this is AWESOME!
Now, 'everybody' does not believe the other versions are important or even there at all. Lots of them do not because that is not what 'they' see when they watch it and I have seen them devolve into Righteous Rages that their way is 'The' way. Well, it is if everybody is them.
Phil Plait, The Bad Astronomer guy highlights this. He said he was astounded...ASTOUNDED... when he learned that people watched Star Trek for any other reason than because of the science:
"They don't watch it for the science? Of course Star Trek is all about the science! Who ARE these people?!"
He laughs about this now, but he was dead serious when he first discovered this.
Which I have discovered has led to veritable wars about what is True Trek. Factions staking claim to their own experience as being the true way. That the only True Faithful Fans are the ones who fall in line with their thinking.
Which of course excludes the possibility in their minds that diversity also extends to what people respond to in Trek.
This can get so very very disheartening to me at times.
Star Trek is a fun, cool show about space adventures. That's about it.
Everything that's "wrong" with Trek is pretty much just the superfans. Directly, indirectly, whatever.
Sorry, but it has to be said--just like voting in Chicago: early and often.
I agree with this point, at least for me. The whole "message show" is not the reason I watch Trek, in any form. I enjoy science fiction, I love world building, I like spaceships, and blinky lights, and uniforms and aliens and the like.
The politics of it? I can give or take it. There are some messages I agree with and others that I don't. I don't care about interracial kisses, same sex kisses or female captains. I would like interesting characters, good stories and fun world building.
I don't need a TV show to make up my mind about politics.
In these examples, it's not so much about the message of the episodes, but the premise of the series itself.
I watch certain episodes because they're interesting, exciting or just good. I even think some 'message episodes' are boring.
But I'm still aware of the show's basic concept about human society.
A future human society where bigotry is gone. Sexism is gone. All the races and both the sexes get along and work in harmony.
Once I get that, I'm not going to be too surprised if they show a woman giving orders to a male. Well, I can't be. After watching so many shows, how could I miss it?
This is an amusing call the producers got after Rejoined aired;
I mean unless there are people who watched Trek for years, know what it's about and yet still get shocked when they see humans behaving as if bigotry or social problems didn't exist?
Odd that so many parents want a TV show to teach their children values. I thought that was the job of the parents.
The premise of Trek may be one thing, but that still doesn't it mean I watch it for its political views. I watch it for the fun and thought provoking nature, just like most science fiction.
This. So much this. Roddenberry liked to think that he was far more daring than he actually was, pat himself on the back for being innovative, and bask in the adulation of fans.
Number One didn't get axed from TOS because the evil network suits didn't want a woman as first officer. She got axed because the network didn't want Roddenberry's mistress to be a costar on the series.
When it came to stuff like "Blood and Fire", Roddenberry talked it up at conventions & killed it behind closed doors. Shame.
Well yes, but there are some shows that are also just downright excellent at teaching kids, too. And I'm not saying one should hold Trek to be some sort of moral paragon, but I learned more than a couple positive lessons from Picard and Co., too. But one could argue that that would be more of a side effect than an intention, and I think that point would have some merit.
It's like role models. Not everyone asks to be one, but sometimes we are when we least expect it. If not to children, then to subordinates or students or constituents or fans, etc. etc.
Not saying that TV shows can't have an effect upon kids. To the contrary, I was a shut-in child and learned much from the time I spent watching Trek and various other shows. My point is that the parents should be providing the moral base, and monitoring what their kids watch. The networks are not our babysitters, and like it or not, their primary role is focused on getting and keeping viewers, not providing role models. Today's kids are especially under fire because today's programming is far more racy than anything ever produced in the Star Trek universe. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to find something Trek to which I wouldn't want to expose my children (but they're teens now)..
In terms of it being "okay" for children, it would likely be relevant why the first woman was shooting the second.
But again, you might be seeing a "premise" that simply isn't there. Seeing what you want to see, and dismissing evidence what doesn't fit with you preconceptions.
When Sisko referred to Earth as a paradise, that simple statement likely meant vastly different things to the audience. Each of us thought of our own version of paradise and then projected that onto future Earth.
When I see Robert Picard and the large house and the vineyards, I see a successful business man who has prospered, obtained a level of wealth and provides for his family. Others (from postings here) see land that is own by the state and Picard is "permitted" to work it, he receives no monetary compensation, he does it solely because he loves the work. We both can't be correct.
It's also a Human society that includes Vash and Harry Mudd. Where in the 24th century there is a complete absence of gays. Where the majority of Human admirals and Human captains are still male.
Of course they still exist (did I mention the lack of gays?).
8 pages... I don't know if this has already been stated, so sorry if I'm repeating anyone.
The more I think about this topic, the more I've realized that, with a few exceptions, none of the main cast in any series reflected the stereotypical 1950s "Leave it to Beaver" conservative values. Now, before I continue, I want to state there is a difference between setting examples to strive to and depicting reality as it is. Nobody in the television audience wants to strive to have a divorce. I think we all would agree that being 16 and pregnant is also not a goal a mature individual would set for themselves. Yes, these things do happen, but they are not the example people strive to achieve.
Regardless, our heroes really didn't reflect some idealized lifestyle. They all had typical, realistic family lives. The drawback was that Trek never explored these lifestyles or how they impacted the characters.
Kirk - Lost his father while a child. Had an early romantic relationship with a woman about 20 years older, String of romantic relationships. Never married.
Spock - Estranged from his father, failed arranged marriage to T'Pring. Apparently married much later in life but spent a long period of time apart from his wife (or divorced) before being thrown into an alternate past.
McCoy - Divorced with a daughter. Apparently never remarried.
Scotty - Apparently never married
Uhura - Apparently never married.
Sulu - Had a daughter but no indication he ever married.
Chekov - Apparently never married.
Picard - Estranged relationship with his brother. Only married in an alternate timeline where he divorced Crusher.
Riker - Lost his mother as a child. Estranged relationship with his father. Finally married Troi but after a long, up and down, on and off relationship.
Troi - Lost her father when she was younger. Finally married Riker after some years.
Crusher - Widowed with a child. Apparently only remarried in an alternate timeline where she divorced Picard.
LaForge - Parents lived separate lives in Starfleet. Spent his youth living from parent to parent. Never married onscreen except in an alternate timeline.
Data - Never had a childhood. Apparently never married. Lost a daughter shortly after her "birth."
Sisko - Widowed with a young child. Mother abandoned him. Went to live with the prophets just as his relationship with Cassidy was taking off.
Kira - Lived in a labor camp as a child. Lost both parents to Cardassian occupation. Had one major love of her life murdered.
Bashier - Had a nuclear family growing up. Never married onscreen.
O'Brien - Nuclear family. However, his son was carried by a surrogate.
Quark - Does not appear to have married onscreen. Viewed women more as objects. Lost his father at some point prior to DS9.
Odo - Abandoned as an infant by his entire species.
Dax Symbiont - Married again and again. Nuclear and non-traditional families. If anyone's Facebook should say "It's complicated" it's Dax.
Worf - Parents killed as a child, adopted by aliens. Failed relationship with K'ehleyr, who was murdered. Raised son alone. Married Dax, who was murdered.
All of Voyager had a major lifestyle disruption when they were thrown into the DQ.
Janeway - Doesn't appear to ever marry. Hopefully Mark moved on.
Chakotay - Tried to develop a relationship with Seven. No on-screen marriage.
Tuvok - Nuclear family.
Paris - Troubled past. Disapproving father. Married B'Elanna.
Kim - Well, he had a girlfriend before getting thrown into the DQ
B'Elanna - Married Tom.
Neelix - Had a relationship with a child. Finally found love at the end of the show.
Kes - Poor thing never had a chance.
Seven - Abducted as a child and parents murdered by abductors. Brainwashed and assimilated into their lifestyle. Probably suffers Stockholm syndrome. Dated Chakotay.
The Doctor - Only had a fantasy nuclear family on the holodeck. Apparently abandoned this family after the death of his fantasy daughter.
Archer - Single
Tripp - Complicated but unfulfilled relationship with T'Pol.
T'Pol - Arranged marriage to someone she did not love prevented her relationship to Tripp.
Sato - Single
Mayweather - Single
Reed - Single
Phlox - Polygamous marriage with 3 wives.
The Borg queen presented Seven's father to her in one episode, he's alive as a Borg drone (if you call that being "alive").
Maybe there is a broader way we can look at it than parents wanting TV to teach values.
There will be parents who want their children, if their children want to watch TV, want them to watch TV they approve of. One reason they might approve is perceived values supported in the writing of a certain show. So if their children wanted to watch TV that would be one show they would want them to watch instead of others, what with it promoting the values they teach themselves.
I have information on this.
Mr. Roddenberry did indeed want episodes that incorporated diversity of sexual preferences in the writing. He did indeed shop 'Blood and Fire'.
He also had issues with B&F that the author chose not to accept. The author wanted it 'as is'. What Mr.R was looking for was a script that presented sexual preference as being commonplace, a natural aside in everyday TNG. The author wanted the script to make a BIG STATEMENT TO EVERYBODY. Even Mr.R's close friend (openly gay by the way) says and told Mr. R. that he was embarrassed by the script. Even in the re-write by H. Wright it never matched GeneR's vision.
The script was dropped. BTW- as many many many scripts are. And the author has been extremely irritated over this for decades.
Mr. Roddenberry kept a standing offer out, even at conventions, for a script he liked that would finally bring same sex preference 'normalcy' into TNG without the Grand Opening Factor.
And then GeneR's health began to decline rapidly and he turned the show running over after the third season. (He had 'tried' to turn it over after the second season because of his beginning failing health)
Not using B&F was not a simple matter. These things never are. And, yes, Roddenberry squashed it. He liked the material. He did not like the story/script 'as it was'. The author wouldn't budge and he couldn't get a script that made it work for him. This script was dropped. Though other scripts that incorporated differently sexual preferenced continued to be sought by him. The search was interrupted because he got sick and had other things on his mind. Then he died.
Probably also irritated over Roddenberry forcing him off the show and not crediting him with the large amount of creative work he did in bringing TNG into existence.
Roddenberry simply having one of the hero main characters be openly gay would have accomplish that in the pilot. Captain Picard would have been a excellent choice.
Separate names with a comma.