Janice Lester grievance....

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by TOSalltheway, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. TOSalltheway

    TOSalltheway Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Finally, an answer once and for all. Dr. LESTER hated Starfleet and Kirk as Starfleet did not allow female Captains. Even when Kirk agrees that it is not fair I always felt that he was keeping a mentally deranged patient calm by simply agreeing with them.

    Now we have canon that over a decade earlier Caption Georgiou was in fact a female Starfleet ships Captain.
     
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  2. 1001001

    1001001 VERY STABLE GENIUS!!! Moderator

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    Great.

    Gentle reminder going forward: no spoilers for Discovery here please.

    Thanks!

    :techman:
     
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  3. TOSalltheway

    TOSalltheway Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Sorry....Is it a spoiler when her existence was in every commercial ?
     
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  4. Spock's Barber

    Spock's Barber Commodore Commodore

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    I guess a Kirk/Lester combo on a starship just wouldn't have worked out too well....

    Lester : "We could have roamed among the stars."
    Kirk : "We'd have killed each other."
     
  5. 1001001

    1001001 VERY STABLE GENIUS!!! Moderator

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    "Gentle reminder going forward...."
     
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  6. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    I already thought that Lester was just delusional and incompetent, and that Number One from "The Cage" must have been out there somewhere commanding her own ship by that time.

    My views of TOS are not informed or justified by anything in any other Trek series or movie. STDisco is its own thing, and TOS is its own standalone thing.

    And besides, there's also Captain Hernandez from ENT.

    Kor
     
  7. UnknownSample

    UnknownSample Commodore Commodore

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    Just based on visuals alone, Discovery is some weird sort of standalone reboot. Any overlap in the fictional histories of this show and other Trek shows is "coincidental".
     
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  8. Brennyren

    Brennyren Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    FWIW, I'm old enough (though not by much!) to remember the era when "Turnabout Intruder" was filmed and originally aired, and I remember when I first saw it -- back in the early 70's -- believing that Lester's words were intended to be true. They weren't that inconsistent with many attitudes in RL at the time.

    That said, they were pretty inconsistent with Trek's professed ideals, so I don't really have a problem with seeing Lester retroactively proven wrong.
     
  9. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Same here.

    Though trying to put the best spin possible on their conversation, I interpret Lester's words as meaning that Kirk wasn't going to take a girlfriend into space with him, that Kirk's world of Starship captains wouldn't allow any personal attachments. That he knew his ship would be his mistress and he wouldn't allow a woman (any woman) to interfere with that.
    Him pacifying a nutter works for me too.
     
  10. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I have no trouble brushing the Lester dialogue aside. It's not as though there aren't already a bunch of other things in TOS that we willfully ignore or retcon away.
     
  11. Charles Phipps

    Charles Phipps Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Erica Hernandez in Enterprise beat her to the punch.

    I also think the line doesn't need to be taken literally even with Janice. She didn't say it was ILLEGAL, just didn't have room for a female captain.
     
  12. Captain of the USS Averof

    Captain of the USS Averof Commodore Commodore

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    Lester's remark to Kirk, that his world of Starfleet captains did not admit women, wasn’t about female captains. It was about Kirk's inability to maintain a long-term relationship, due to his responsibilities as a starship captain. That’s how I understood it since the first time I viewed the episode.
     
  13. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think "putting a better spin to it" is relevant in this particular case...

    ...There is no way in hell the writer would originally have meant there are no female captains.

    After all, this would mean that Janice Lester wanted to be a female captain.

    And she did not.

    She very explicitly wanted nothing to do with space or Starfleet, except if it involved being together with Jim Kirk. She hated her career, her "space job", and discontinued it when it turned out Kirk had blockaded himself inside "his world" which allowed for no girlfriends.

    So, no point dragging "female captains" into a discussion that wasn't about captains in the first place, but exclusively about Jim Kirk.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  14. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    On the same show where Captain Pike wasn't comfortable with a women on his bridge?

    It was sexist as hell, and has rightly been ignored and reconned away by Enterprise and Discovery.
     
  15. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    I once read that Roddenberry responded to alternate interpretations of Lester's statement by admitting that the line was simply sexist. In the late 1960s, it was hard to imagine a woman commanding a capital ship like the Enterprise. And nobody but comedy writers thought women would even go aboard submarines, let alone become crew members, let alone take command. That would have been outright fantasy back then.

    No U.S. Navy ship of any size would be commanded by a woman until 1990, and the ship in question was smaller than some luxury yachts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Opportune_(ARS-41)

    Later came this unfortunate case which reads almost like a Janice Lester-type in real life.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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  16. Brennyren

    Brennyren Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    But, as I interpreted it, Janice's purpose in taking over Kirk's body was to become a captain. And she was willing to lock him up, away from her, forever, in order to do so. She hated her career because it was dead-end, because she would never be able to reach her highest ambition. And she had grown to hate Jim Kirk because he did not share her frustration, so he became the target of her plot. (There was an element of opportunity, of course.)

    Yes, she was nuts, and wouldn't have become a captain no matter how egalitarian the Federation was. What was obnoxious about the episode, as written and presented at the time, was the implication that only a woman who was crazy would not accept the limitations of her gender.

    Remember Kirk's line, "Her life could have been as rich and full as any woman's." (Emphasis mine.) And the even-worse response (from Spock of all people!) in the Blish adaptation: "If only she had been able to accept the limitations of being a woman." Thank goodness that latter line never made it to screen, or we would have no room for interpretation at all.
     
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  17. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Ugh. You said it about that line from Blish. If that line had aired we might not have had a franchise.
     
  18. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Whether the episode was sexist or not is not the question - all of TOS, and indeed all of television and all of the world of course was.

    It's just that the idea of "a line in this episode says that Starfleet didn't allow females to become captains and Lester was angry about this" is hogwash. It's not something in need of retconning because it never meant what some people want to think it meant.

    Roddenberry was in no position to "admit" anything here - he didn't write the line, and clearly he didn't understand it, either.

    Her two stated grievances with life were

    1) being alone, and
    2) the "indignity" of being a woman in a woman's body.

    Her originally stated ambition was to become Kirk so that she could kill Kirk. She fumbled that one (perhaps she never really wanted to proceed with this Plan A, despite what she told Coleman), so she proceeded with the Plan B of remaining Kirk so that she could utterly destroy Kirk. She "loved the power" of being Kirk, but till the very end she emphasized this is because she now has triumphed over Kirk in his own game, and finally lamented she has lost to Kirk in that game.

    Becoming a starship captain would clearly not have satisfied her if it did not involve defeating and destroying Kirk. So it's very difficult to believe she would have been interested in receiving a starship CO job even if she won it for free in a lottery.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
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  19. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    Wait... I thought for sure that Blish's line for Spock was more like "If only she had been able to take pride in being a woman!"

    As in, Blish trying to challenge the obvious sexism of the episode in some small way. I'll have to go dig out my copy now to check.

    Kor
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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  20. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I believe Spock's actual line was, "At least she wasn't Irish."


    Or not.



    :D



    What?
     
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