La'an: Missed Opportunity?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds' started by Death Ray, Aug 3, 2023.

  1. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sisko initially had issues with the Vic Fontaine program hundreds of years after the period in which it was set.
     
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  2. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    When does the post atomic horror happen?

    And will it be on the test?
     
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  3. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    They waited until that episode to raise the issue, however. And then, it was a one-off, specifically dealing with a topic that the audience could connect with.

    Good comparison, though.
     
  4. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    At this rate? Probably about a month.
     
  5. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk A Spock and a smile Premium Member

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    They were smooshed in "Space Seed", Then unsmooshed. Then smooshed again.
    I'm sure there are people who would based simply on the name. Old hatreds die hard. This world is full of them. Based on religions, culture, geography, history....
     
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  6. JHarper

    JHarper Commander Red Shirt

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    Hang out at a match between England and Germany and you'll hear worse than that.
     
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  7. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I mean, this is not new in storytelling. Especially not in Star Trek, since Stiles is all kinds of angry at Romulans, for a war he didn't fight in. So, yeah, this idea of prejudice hanging on, lasting for centuries, is 100% inside Trek's wheelhouse.

    Two, in the contemporary world, people are being blamed time and again for actions of their ancestors. It's still very much a problem that warrants commentary in a scifi action/adventure, of people wrestling with their past, names and people's perception of their history.
     
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  8. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    Well, walk down the a street in Boston with a Yankees cap and you will hear worse still.

    And that is my point: They need to establish that a seething hatred of people descended from augments is a regular feature of Federation society for La'an's anxiety to be realistic. Obviously, that is not the case in Star Trek, nor should it be.

    It is also why Una's situation feels a little forced. Her people are not refugees-- they have whole planets to themselves. And while paranoia over augmentation is a recurring theme in Star Trek, I think they have done more on the various shows to prove that bigotry is mostly a thing of the past that the rancorous anger towards Una doesn't sit well.
     
  9. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    Of course. But the Star Trek way has typically been to show that the Federation has evolved past this, so that other alien races can be the metaphors for the people we are today.

    In a way, Una's story is a step backwards. They already tackled genetic modification in DS9, through Bashir. That is why I think using La'an as the target for paranoia is a far better choice. Being an actual descendant of Khan is a fresh hook, especially if you fold in my idea of a community of Khan-descendants who are treated like Space Gypises wherever they travel.
     
  10. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk A Spock and a smile Premium Member

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    There's no evidence the "seething hatred" was a regular feature of Federation society. Just that La'an experience abuse because of it.
    No it hasn't been. The Balance of Terror, The Drumhead and The Wounded show it's there beneath the surface.
     
  11. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think there's an example of this in American cutlure -- slavery.

    My ancestors owned slaves. One of those ancestors fought for the Confederacy. I could tell you the name of one of the descendents of the slaves my ancestors owned, and a good many posters here would recognize the name. (There's even a tangential Star Trek connection; no, it's none of the actors. I won't share it, so don't ask.)

    I personally am disgusted with this knowledge. I judge my ancestors harshly for what they did.

    Not all Americans with slave-owner ancestors feel this way. Southern pride is a thing. My late aunt, who was not descended from that branch of my ancestry and whose only Civil War ancestors fought for the Union, used to post neo-Confederate propaganda on Facebook in bygone days. I live in Pennsylvania, a northern state, yet I see various Confederate flags here frequently. (The house across from where I used to vote has flown a Confederate flag for years. A back road here is the only place I've ever seen the Blood-Stained Banner in the wild. A nearby house flies a flag that mashes the US flag with the CS battle flag.)

    But that cultural pride on an individual level has also become a political movement. Look at the nonsense surrounding "woke" and "Critical Race Theory" on the right. Look at the promises by Republican candidates to restore the names of Confederate traitors to recently renamed Army bases. Look at Florida's new education standards that tries to paint a rosy picture of slavery, that it taught slaves valuable life skills.

    This isn't new. You go back in time ninety years, to before World War II, and you have things like the German-American Bund, an organization that didn't just promote German pride; they held summer camps for children to indoctrinate them in Nazi ideology and staged a Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden, melding pride in German heritage with American patriotism and creating an American fascist movement.

    The point is, some people will take pride in their ancestry, no matter how repugnant it was and is, because it lets them connect who they are to where they came from. And others look back at where they came from and repudiate it.

    La'an is clearly one of the latter. The past happened, she can't change it, it disgusts her, and she carries the knowledge and the guilt with her. I totally get that. I also get why she can't or won't change her name to bury the past, because her name is part of her identity. She can't run from her name any more than Robert E. Lee's descendents can run from his. Maybe she thinks she might even redeem it.

    So La'an carrying her full name doesn't bother me. La'an's parents and their ancestors carrying it doesn't bother me. It's just the reality of living with the knowledge that your ancestors did monstrous things.

    What does bother me is Kirk and Spock not saying right away, when they meet Khan in "Space Seed," "'Noonien Singh'? Why, that's funny, I know someone with the same surnames, what are the odds...?"
     
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk A Spock and a smile Premium Member

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    Too be fair, they don't know his full name until after they do a deep dive into the "fragmentary" records. My head canon says the name "Khan" and their past association with La'An is why they did a deep dive.
     
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  13. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    I believe the "eternal vigilance" caution from Picard was meant to hang a lampshade on the fact that of course bigotry is always there, waiting to return like locusts. The "trial" episodes of Star Trek exist to prove that humanity are not angels. But the theme of Utopia is far more often reinforced.

    That's why the NuTreks are so out of step with the classic shows (Picard, and his "Fox News Interview" being the worst offender). The franchise has changed hands too many times now, and the people in charge have an entirely different agenda for the stories, one where the Trek future is less optimistic, meaning they can throw in more grit and drama.

    With Una, let's see the writers push all their chips on the table. Let her become an actual activist for people with DNA mods, even leading to real social tension. There's the "progress" I'd like to see.
     
  14. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    And this, again, is why La'an is so paradoxical, She bears her family name out of pride, but shits on her heritage at the drop of a hat. It needs to be one or the other, not both.

    Wouldn't it be more interesting if, despite repudiating Khan's tyranny, La'an actually held an admiration for the Augments, and that is why she won't renounce her name? Aaugh! There are so many missed opportunities with this character.
     
  15. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    BWAH HA HA HA! Win.

    (Goes in the "Why hello there! Are you the same R2 unit I knew all those years ago? Let's keep that our little secret. Now let's go help C-3PO. Hush up about that too." file)
     
  16. Allyn Gibson

    Allyn Gibson Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Humans are paradoxical creatures. This says it best, I think:

    Do I contradict myself?
    Very well then I contradict myself,
    (I am large, I contain multitudes.) -- Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
     
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  17. Death Ray

    Death Ray Commander Red Shirt

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    Mmm. I think bad writing is the more obvious culprit. Walt Whitman would have known how to handle La'an.
     
  18. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk A Spock and a smile Premium Member

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    To quote myself
    Much like "Star Trek is about exploration" its a fan concept of what Star Trek is that doesn't hold up under close examination.

    Trek is always evolving. It reflects the times in which it is made. And that's a good thing. Even Roddenberry changed Trek, first in TMP and then in TNG. Trek changed again in DS9 under Pillar, Behr and Moore. Even VOY and ENT changed things up (or maybe back). Kelvin Trek. Streaming Trek. the same. Frankly, taking the "grit" of Trek is never a good idea. Drama is a good thing to have as well. The optimism is still there, it never went away.

    Una's future is currently unwritten.
     
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  19. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk A Spock and a smile Premium Member

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    Nope. Not writing what you want is not "bad writing."
     
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  20. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Nope.

    It comes down to the needs of the story. Stiles, O'Brien, Riker's biased against 20th century humans, Sisko against Ferengi, anti-Borg sentiment, anti-Romulan sentiment, all of it comes in to play based on the drama of the story.
    Nope.

    Humans are complex, and contradictory creatures.
     
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