J.J. Abrams enters The Twilight Zone

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by HaplessCrewman, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. Cubic Centimeter

    Cubic Centimeter Admiral Admiral

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    Well, then, let's be clear. There are two different "tests" here. One is playing the scenario itself, to try to rescue the people on the ship. The other, the real test, is the test of character in reacting to the no-win scenario. To avoid confusion, from here on I'll refer to the former as the scenario test, and the latter as the character test.

    If the scenario test is fair, then it is fair because taking the character test requires taking the scenario test as it's given. So, if the scenario test is fair, then altering it in any way fails the character test by avoiding it. Ergo, if it's possible to pass the character test by altering the scenario test, then the scenario test can't be fair.

    We saw the scenario test played out as it was intended only in the Prime Universe, and we saw what Kirk did to alter the scenario test only in the nu-timeline. But if we assume the two versions are compatible, then we do get a picture of what Kirk did in both timelines and why.

    The way in the Prime Universe scenario in which evidently the Enterprise was gimped and the Klingons were buffed constituted nothing other than rigging, to force a loss in the scenario test. Assuming compatibility of the two versions, lowering the shields on the Klingon ships in the nu-timeline attacked the rigging directly and basically says, "I see how you were rigging the [scenario] test." That's what I meant by the following.
    I was referring to the scenario test. The character test is fair, and wasn't compromised by altering the scenario, at least in Kirk's case.
     
  2. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Gray Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Everybody doesn't know it's a no-win scenario, that's a secret you are not allowed to divulge, and Starfleet sure doesn't share that information upfront
     
  3. The Pumpkin Spice Must Flow

    The Pumpkin Spice Must Flow Locutus of Bored Moderator

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    Kirk was taking the test for a third time when he finally reprogrammed it, so he knew what it was about.

    Plus, I don't care how many safeguards and honor codes you have in place, there's no way an unwinnable scenario test remains a secret from cadets for decades. People talk, rumors are passed. Are officers who have already graduated from the Academy never going to talk to their younger siblings or friends or family about the crazy test they had to take in command school?
     
  4. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Gray Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Decades? Spock programmed the test. He hasn't been in his capacity at Starfleet Academy for Decades? Of course Kirk assumed after a couple failures that something was up.

    Sure, there will be some who will pass it onto their siblings or best buds, but, that's far from "Everybody"

    There are all kinds of examples in real life where tests are kept secret by those who had to endure taking them. Do you think every student with a Biology test in 6th period would already have been told by the 1st period students who took the test already what all the questions are? No, sure one or two kids will probably know what questions are on the test, but, it's far from everybody.
     
  5. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    If they really wanted to keep some of the surprise to the test it would be part of a series of ongoing tests and that particular scenario would show up at random sometime during the series. But yeah, even with that all you have to do is look at all the websites dedicated to collecting "quest" information in MMO's today to see how long that would remain a secret.
     
  6. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Much of the above is irrelevant. So what if people tell others about the Kobayashi Maru test? If the program has random variable variations so each test is different, there won't be any significant cheats. Even more to the point, why would they inform anyone of when they're taking this test?

    A little more to the point is how they manage to program the no-win scenario, except by inserting arbitrary elements. As suggested, leaving the opponent immune to any adverse random factors might be one part of that. Programming in equality between opponent and test-taker would be more fair in one sense.

    In the Abrams version, Kirk programmed in a no-win scenario for the opponent. Since the original Kirk doesn't believe in the no-win scenario, the distinct implication is that is not what the original Kirk did. The difference does show a difference in the Kirks' characters, and it is a difference that reflects badly on the new version.
     
  7. Ricky Spanish

    Ricky Spanish Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Man, you're really shoveling the shit there to make one look good over the other. They both CHEATED on the test. When Kirk "...reprogrammed the simulation so it was possible to rescue the ship." he went in and knowingly changed the scenario. They both violated the LAW, as we know it, as well by hacking into a system they didn't have express consent to access.

    Both made douchebag moves, the only difference is that you don't like one of them.
     
  8. RJDemonicus

    RJDemonicus Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

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    Actually, it was cranky little David Marcus who called it "cheating." McCoy said Kirk was "the only cadet to beat the no-win scenario" or words to that effect.

    Well, if I could beat the no-win scenario, I'd be Captain Kirk. :rommie: But, basically, it would have to be something that could happen in the real world. No commander would be able to make a bunch of Klingon ships blow up just by smirking at them like Q. It would have to be some kind of bluff, maybe, like in "The Corbomite Maneuver." Or some way to stall them to make time to beam the survivors aboard-- maybe challenge the Klingon commander to arm wrestling, or some such thing that his honor could not refuse. Something that could really happen. Just vandalizing the program is a punk-ass move by a dumb kid. It would just make Starfleet say, "Throw the bum out." Whatever he actually did made them say, "This is a kid worth watching."

    Exactly. It's a test of character. And Kirk's character did not believe in a no-win scenario.
     
  9. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Gray Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    But, it was a no win sccenario, the only way to win is change the program, to allow whatever "Real World action" Kirk took. Once he hacked into the system and started monkeying with the program, there really aren't degrees to the offense. You either condem winning by monkeying with the program, or you don't condemn it. you can't condemn one instance, but, not another.

    Going by PrimeKirk, in the movie, the way they said "solution" definitely hinted at PrimeKirk's solution being outside the parameters of the test.

    There really isn't a difference between using a copy of the test answer sheet to answer 5 questions versus using it to answer 20 questions, both instances, IMHO, are still cheating and you either approve of both isntances or you condemn both.
     
  10. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    That has got to be the silliest stretch of logic I have ever read.
     
  11. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You're watching the movie in your head, the one where the original Kirk acted like the new Kirk. We are specifically told that the original Kirk doesn't believe in the no-win scenario, but we see that the new Kirk most certainly does...for his opponents. There most certainly is a difference.

    Logic? Understanding dialogue and visuals are not logical argument. The only hope you have is to argue that the original Kirk's version was merely a self-justification, that his narration of the event is unreliable. I think Wrath of Khan clearly did not mean Kirk to be dishonest, and that your version is the silly stretch.

    The logical argument is that both versions, the no-lose scenario the new Kirk wrote and the original Kirk's possible-win scenario, are cheating because they alter the test parameters. But an ethical argument that does not distinguish degrees of guilt is not much of an argument.

    The amount of thought expended on this is extraordinary. In The Wrath of Khan, the Kobayashi Maru scenario was a foreshadowing of the plot and a metaphorical announcement of the true no-win scenario, the inevitable end of life by death. Kirk can be expected to think the test is as unfair as death. In the Abrams movies, it's not really about anything except "Badass punks the teacher!" No amount of twaddle or even bizarre-world indignation is going to make one Kirk's action the equivalent of the other.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2013
  12. Ricky Spanish

    Ricky Spanish Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  13. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    I love different interpretations but some of this stuff frankly hits me as a hit job against Abrams and the film which is too bad. It prevents real discussion on the film's themes and it's actual shortcomings when stuff like this happens. Of course, this is by no means limited to here but it's always depressing to see.
     
  14. DalekJim

    DalekJim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I love how nobody is actually addressing his points.
     
  15. Ricky Spanish

    Ricky Spanish Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Because his points are beyond ludicrous fueled by his dislike of a character. Kirk in both timelines broke into computers he had no business in and reprogrammed the test. Both cheated.
     
  16. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    When something is so outta left field I'm not sure what the point of debating is. Yesterday I was talking with a friend about the film The Shining and we both had different readings on it but neither of us were acting like we were seeing totally different films. With RJ and stj, and frankly yourself, I feel like saw a different film from me and are arguing from a very dishonest viewpoint. I'm not a huge STID fan. It's a B grade film. Good but I'm not dying to see it again so I'm not some insane defender of it.

    I don't have a doctorate in film but I'm pretty good at discussing it and the discussion here is so completely bizarre that I'm not even sure how to respond to them and I don't know that they even deserve responses. Because what's happening here isn't just criticism but hatred and hatred should be held for films that are hateful and not just films we don't like. It's not just an overreaction but it sometimes comes as a series of personal attacks against the creators which is not only nasty but extremely entitled.

    It reminds me of the attacks against Lena Dunham's Girls. I'm not a fan of the show, not my thing, but the attacks against her are nasty and needlessly personal. Scenes from the show are twisted and interpreted in dishonest ways just to be mean to to Lena Dunham. It's very destructive towards art. I'm an extremely harsh critic but the attacks I see against Abrams are beyond the pale and cross lines. It's bothersome, to be honest. Damon Lindelof gets death threats because of the ending of LOST and I feel like some Star Trek fans are headed down the same path with the way they treat Abrams.
     
  17. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Gray Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    JJ Abrams/Lindeloff - Today's Berman/Braga :rolleyes:
     
  18. Ricky Spanish

    Ricky Spanish Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Pretty much.
     
  19. Zombie Cheerleader

    Zombie Cheerleader JJ Abraaaaains Premium Member

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    Yeah, I don't get how anyone could think otherwise. Do they think Starfleet cadets are allowed to reprogram the the simulations they are about to take, to ensure they win? It's like rewriting a test, so you know the answers.
     
  20. The Pumpkin Spice Must Flow

    The Pumpkin Spice Must Flow Locutus of Bored Moderator

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    I was talking about the span between Kirk taking the test and Saavik taking it in TWoK, which would have been around thirty years.

    And going from ST09, I would think cadets would be more inclined to talk around campus about the new, totally unfair (from their perspective) unwinable test they had to take, much like McCoy was with Kirk. After a long time it becomes like old hat and a traditional cadets have to slog through, but I could easily see the earliest cadets really resenting it and making their complaints known on campus, especially in a highly competitive, ego-driven environment like Starfleet Academy where winning is everything to a lot of cadets.

    So, your contention is now that there may have been like, five people who were completely unaware of what was going on with the KM Test? I can accept that, even though you were clearly arguing that its secrecy was widespread. Any more than a few people at the Academy not knowing about it stretches credibility.

    The cadets know the test is unwinable in advance. In fact, the psychological aspect of knowing that it's coming and seeing how you face the prospect of even taking the test at all is probably something you're evaluated on too. You know the people who stress over upcoming tests to the point of taking pills to help them concentrate or stay awake? Can you imagine the kind of pressure an unwinable scenario test would have on them? Some cadets might even just quit. Then, on the flip side, you have the people who --knowing that it's unwinable-- would totally just blow off preparing for the test and not take it seriously.

    Both extremes; cadets who freaked out, and those who didn't "take the simulation seriously" (remember this is what Kirk's test evaluators in the booth were most concerned about in ST09) would be judged poorly. Those who took a middle ground approach would probably be deemed reliable command material. Kirk in ST09 baffled them by seemingly not caring during the simulation itself but obviously caring a lot since he took the risk to rig a method of winning.

    You don't see any difference at all between the difficulty and risk in copying every question on a test to pass on to later students and just telling their friends "Yo brah, you won't believe this totally bogus unwinable test they gave us today" (23rd century slang is based on Bill & Ted). One is hard to do and carries a much greater risk of being caught, and the other is speaking a few words that is completely impossible to monitor or enforce even if you were trying to keep it a secret. Plus, one is actually cheating, whereas the other is just talking about a shared or soon to be shared experience.

    That wasn't the point of the post I was responding to, though. He stated that the fact that it was a no-win scenario would likely remain secret among most of the cadets, which is what I was addressing.

    Kirk in TWoK must have known the test was coming up or else he wouldn't have had time to reprogram the simulation. The same goes for Kirk in ST09 (plus, Kirk and McCoy and later Kirk and Uhura were discussing taking the test the next day).

    All that we know is that Kirk distinctly says he "reprogrammed the simulation" and "changed the conditions of the test to make it possible to rescue the ship" in TWoK. It's explicitly stated in both cases that he reprogrammed the computer to allow him to win. Anything else you're tossing in there to make TWoK Kirk look better in this situation because of your dislike of ST09 is just baseless speculation.