Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Charles Phipps, Jun 18, 2013.
And? Who says Klingons need to be perfect?
And? Klingons are individuals.
No one's saying that at all. My point is that most of the Klingons in Star Trek are depicted as people who change the definition of honor to fit their actions rather than changing their actions to fit with an accepted standard of honorable behavior. They treat honor like an excuse to justify poor behavior instead of something to aspire to as a means of self-improvement.
I dunno, I'm pretty sure Martok would have been justified by Klingon honor in stabbing the guy to death--let alone not having him on his ship.
And because they're individuals, they should each be held responsible for their actions. If a Klingon behaves dishonorably, he should be punished. That he defines honor differently doesn't matter, as a concept that's such an important part of Klingon society shouldn't be treated like it's in the eye of the beholder.
What Kor did wasn't right, but two wrongs don't make a right, even among Klingons. Martok had a chance to be the bigger person, and he blew it.
I don't think Klingon Honor venerates "live and let live" or forgiveness from what we've seen.
You're right, but that doesn't excuse Martok resorting to such juvenile behavior. Why didn't he just challenge Kor to a fight and get it over with?
Oddly, by Klingon standards, that would have solved everything. Kor gets a warrior's death, Martok gets prestige *AND* revenge, plus the memory of Kor is unsullied by dementia.
I thought the same thing watching that episode. Martok didn't handle it as Klingon as I pictured he would. I liked the ending though, Kor went out a way a Klingon should and I always liked Klingon songs.
At the end of the episode, whether I think Martok's actions against Kor were right or wrong up to that point, he did the right thing in the end.
He acknowledged Kor's courage and sacrifice, and allowed his crew to sing his praises.
Not quite water under the bridge though, as IIRC Martock didn't join in the song.
Now that right there is Klingon Honour - allow Kor to be celebrated for his deeds, even though you still hated the guy!
^Well said. That song was a great way to cap the episode and was an extremely moving moment. I've always thought of Kang, Kor, and Koloth as the Klingon equivalent of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. To see the final member of their trio sacrifice himself for his crew always leaves me choked up when I watch the episode.
As far as Martok not singing, I think he was trying to avoid hogging the moment and wanted his crew- who treated Kor better than he did- to have a chance to say goodbye to their comrade.
Klingon honour may be a useful social institution, but the way Klingon society was presented in later Star Trek is 'hooey'.
From the other thread:
Even this is one dimensional - a society needs to diversify in order to function. Vikings were civilians when not engaged in war and trade. They fished, hunted, and farmed - trading furs, visiting brothels, crafting tools. When their chieftans saw that modern statehood and trade would earn money from taxation faster than from plunder - they adopted Christian institutions (out of a practical desire for trade and access to learning institutions, not any romantic idealism) and the institutions of medieval kingship. By the end of the 'Viking era' the Vikings weren't 'pagan barbarians' at all - most were Christians preying on other Christians - and half of them probably no longer even ethnic Scandanavians, but also including Scots, Irish, English and Slavs.
The Klingon state isn't populated by an eternal caste of soldiers, all raised in the Shaolin Temples of Kronos (that would be monumentally ridiculous, as the instinct of all animals is to lead the easiest life possible - and it takes a great deal of cultural propaganda to make people take on duties that are against their best interests). They probably have 'realists' who recognise class divisions, have a cynical view of their politicians, and don't give a shit about military service, as well as 'reluctant patriots' who see collaboration with the ruling state as their best chance of a good life - already two vastly different viewpoints!
So presumably many of the 'warriors' we meet are engaged in a term of military service, and have lives beyond the Klingon Defence Force - some will be simple blue collar or white collar workers, or civil servants, or work in a Klingon hospital. Some might come from military families, but in real life, this does not necessarily entail fanaticism. They would probably be more like servicemen with a family history in the British armed forces - perhaps having built a good classical understanding of war, and that 'fearlessness' is stupid; service is about doing a professional duty in spite of fear. Dumb fanatics don't make good empire-holders - pragmatists do.
Take the example of Klingon armour to illustrate why later depictions of Klingon society are so stupid. Rationality wins wars. Armies are some of the most 'hard rationalist' of organisations. They will make their soldiers do things that might not be glamorous, if it improves the chances of winning and survival. A soldier might have to eat local insect wildlife, in order to survive in conditions where supply lines are poor. Religious dietary requirements and other romantic notions fly right out of the window. They wear practical fabrics, carry practical weapons, and don't do things for glamour. If a Klingon commander tells troops to 'cook' their gagh in order to release more useful protein for digestion, they will have to do it. If they are issued standard bars of field rations, that contain some unpalatable formula, they must eat them.
The Romans dug miles of defences around their camps. When besieging a settlement in Gaul, they encircled in in a wooden palisade. So warfare, in the most organised military machine the world had seen, was as much about digging latrines and infrastructure as actual combat. That is why they won. Discipline/coordination triumphs over zealotry/fanaticism. The Battle of Teutoberg forest only succeeded because it was a surprise attack - the romantic hollywood view of barbarians as unstoppable warriors who cut down ten people for every one casualty is poisonous nonsense. If that were true, the casualty rates in wars would be vastly different - the US Army suffered far less deaths than Imperial Japan in WW2.
Thus the Klingons from TOS, with their practical uniforms, rationalist behavior, make more sense than the barbarians presented in late-TNG, DS9 and VOY. I rationalise this ridiculous change as having been a social regression - a repealing of the 'Klingon enlightenment' - a Klingon anti-renaissance in which social institutions regressed after Praxis's explosion ruined society, and the Gorkonites had to rebuild. Where perhaps during TOS, the Klingons had adopted the fascist idea of 'class collaboration' to resolve their class war differences, the old bourgeoisie re-siezed power in a corrupt post-Gorkon empire.
Einstein, I raised this in point in another thread about Sto Vo Kor - Klingon society is vast. We have also seen a few examples of this.
Kolos was an advocate, who's parents were a teacher and a biologist (ENT)
Kahlest was a nurse (TNG)
Kurak was a scientist (TNG)
The Viking historical precedent is very relevant to Klingon Society. To the people of Southern England who faced Viking raids, they were only a group of savage warriors, yet back across the sea there were numerous farmers, lawmakers, and administrators running the country.
I admit, I had a hilarious theory that the whole "Viking outfit" stuff was a fashion after Praxis--the result of Klingons trying desperately to pretend they were still cool after having the Federation export food to them like North Korea.
So Klingons wanting to go back to a simpler way of life?
New Age Klingons?
But bat'leths instead of healing crystals!
The Federation and Empire.
"We're samurai and Vikings! Scary! The galaxy trembles before us!"
"So, you want us to send you some more replicators for that new Khalass theme park?"
"Aww, you're so cute!"
Despite joking about it, the cultural change after Praxis makes perfect sense.
The Klingons have been humiliated by asking the Federation for help, so a growing number reach back to antiquity, embracing a more "simple" time, when Klingons were real Klingons! Maybe there was a resurgence of the following of Khaless, as he's hardly mentioned until TNG.
It would also inadvertently explain why Gowron said women could not be on the High Council, when Azetbur was in charge in Star Trek VI. "A woman ruled the High Council, then we ended up crawling on our hands and knees begging for for help from the Federation!"
I might take that Gowron snippet more seriously if he hadn't offered K'heylar a council seat his previous appearance.
You're saying a politician might be a hypocrite!?
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