Discussion in 'Star Trek: Enterprise' started by Admiral Buzzkill, Jul 23, 2003.
Yep, and every one of them is human. What part of my sentence are you having trouble with?
^Would it be alright if he were a black guy or a Chinese guy? Maybe she'll show him how it is.
Cheap shot. Game over. Buh-bye.
You should have saved that one up for an occasion when it would have fit. Impatience is a failing of youth...
The words only and way which are singular. You're not referring to humanity - you're referring to the point of view presented mostly by Archer and Trip. A small slice of humanity, really.
When Enterprise gives us human, it gives us Archer or Trip telling someone what's right and what's wrong. Their way is pimped as the human way (usually as the best way). What happens to the rest of humanity? What happens to other points of view? They become alien views - they're not viable, they can't be understood, or they've got holes in them so big that even Archer can spot them. Good thing our boys are there to show them the real way
A wonderfully horrible example of this is in Stigma, where the idea of "primitive" humanity was abandoned in favor of showing how superior humans have become when compared to Vulcans.
They're not going to explore T'Pol - they're going to rebuild her, and she's going to end up as a Vulcan who realized that humans (Archer/Trip) are right. Right about what? Life! Living! Something! Who cares?! But it's reassuring to know that we are right, which is why we get this sort of mindless bullshit.
"I swear, when they were handing out color vision, you Klingons were out the back disemboweling someone."
I'm referring to the fact that no one has access to any sentient POV other than human -- certainly Hollywood writers don't -- and that the choice always being made in "Star Trek" is whether to portray individuals as individuals or as members of some stereotypically-defined group with narrow -- but wholy human -- parameters of thought and behavior that the writers (and too many fans) then call "alien".
Star Trek -- modern Trek in particular -- does way too much of the latter. It's a better show when they at least attempt the former.
Probably that's why Kirk was so popular.
Hey, at least I don't take small snippets of quotes out of context!
You know what prompted this don't you? All the shipper threads that were on this list a couple of weeks ago. B & B turned up on this board, saw the T/T'Pols were ahead in the polls of which was the more popular ship and went with it.
Personally, I'm something of a T/T'Pol shipper but only because these two characters have an extreme amount of chemistry together, a thing sadly missed in Season 2. Cold Front was one of the best eps of Enterprise and it had to do with their interaction, even if they don't go the romance route, a deeper friendship between the two could be a good thing. In light of the Expanse, it may actually make sense. Trip's running high on emotions right now and he probably needs T'Pol's sense of calm to steady him and T'Pol in attempting to experience human emotions, may need a guide in this, ie. Trip.
Finally, I wouldn't mind seeing a Vulcan on a trek show that did not feel it to be somewhat embarassing to acquire human traits. Spocks did it under sufferance and only in the films, did we see him finally accepting his dual heritage.
Tuvok, who is cool, no matter how lousy Voyager was, is more or less the same way. Trying to remain true to himself, but still managing to show suprising sensitivity to his crew mates without losing his Vulcan discipline.
The journey to understand her own emotional core oculd be T'Pol's way of defining herself from the very large shoes left by Spock and to a lesser degree, Tuvok. We may be seeing the origins of Sybok's order.
Live with what you post, or don't. No matter to me.
Glad you liked it. I had fun making it up. I just keep seeing T'Pol opening a scene by saying, "Mr. Reed, take off your pants," and I finally came across a scenario in which that line made any sense at all.
They can use it, but only if the credits say "Written by Rick Berman and Brannon Braga."
I'd prefer to see them go with something like this:
It'd be interesting to find out if the "Stigma" is an issue for Sybok and his posse, and if they've found a way to control or eradicate it.
Lots to think about up there. I hope the B Boys are listening.
Let's remember to keep this polite, folks.
It sounds like they're returning to the 'Big 3' structure we saw in season one, Archer, Trip & T'Pol. And while I love Hoshi and Phlox, I can't say that this is a bad idea. If they're actually going to flesh out these three into fully dimensional characters then that will naturally lead to better stories overall. And the rest of the cast will benefit from that.
And while I'm very happy to hear that T/T will heat up again, what I'm most pleased with is the idea of Archer becoming a "darker" character. I have to be careful not to let my hopes get to high on this, but if executed properly, it could finally give Bakula the material he needs to be great again.
I think I have to come down on the side that Trek has always said that the human way is the best way. DS9 was the only one to really question the idea that humanity and the Federation did anything wrong. All other Trek proclaims that humanity is the greatest thing in the galaxy and can defeat any enemies from the Borg to the Q and all inbetween. If Trek man is grest than God and everyone else's god too.
Congratulations! You're now the proud owner of an assertion that has absolutely no bearing on the argument or on what Enterprise actually does with humanity!
Disagreeing with someone works better if you have an argument that actually disagrees with them
I couldn't have sumarized it better myself. Actually I could have, but with clearer definitions of "western/human" equalling good and fair and right, and "other/alien" as stupid and unworkable and unfair. With Archer playing the face of humanity, Archer is representative. Same goes for whenever one of our favourite characters start putting definitions on what human is. Of course you'll argue on the point of the definition - you wouldn't be Bailey if you didn't, Bailey - but ultimately it makes no difference to what Enterprise does with humanity and aliens.
And what it does gives all the interesting character points to aliens and all the boring stuff to the regulars. Think of the awesome things that could be done with a multi-species Xindi covenent. Caste systems, inequality, prejudice and revolution. Same with the Suliban-Cabal-Tandarran stuff in Detained, or the Klingon social transformation in Judgement. And through it all, our crew is there talking about how great it is to be a perfectly reasonable, rational human. And now T'Pol is going to found out too.
It's a pity that these situations - the Klingon shift, the Cabal-Suliban link - disappear when the aliens in question move off-screen; a more divided humanity would have allowed our characters to explore these things without needing proxies that dissolve after 40 minutes. Ah, the things that might have been...
Absolutely. Unfortunately having T'Pol being the body-to-be-colonized in the tradition of every other character who "explored humanity" is going straight into latter territory. Once again, human=good, other=unworkable. At least in the original series when Spock stopped McCoy or Kirk or various other crewmen in their tracks we could get a feeling that maybe being human wasn't that good.
Which is something Red Dwarf managed too
Oddly enough it doesn't work with Archer. When he tells me that humanity abandoned bigotry nearly a hundred years ago, you Vulcans bigots, it kind of cracks the suspension of disbelief
This wouldn't be that bad, considering that Enterprise was meant to feature a more primitive humanity - crap like this really should be expected. This wouldn't be that bad if Archer didn't win so often. Congenitor was a nice kick in the pants, although since the pants were on Trip they were probably on the wrong person.
"I swear, when they were handing out color vision, you Klingons were out the back disemboweling someone."
Not sure what that last sentence says, Galactus; did you leave out a word or something?
I think it's not only possible, but preferable, to not simply make everyone and his brother 'human' when trying to tell a story, and certainly not to waste the opportunity that presents itself when you have an ongoing character that is 'non-human' by making her motivation "to discover her humanity." Despite Dennis's argument, it is entirely possible to explore a non-human perspective without actually being non-human, and that's what these characters can do. It's not about creating a Vulcan culture; it's about the dramatic potential of an admittedly narrowly-defined culture through which you can compare and contrast our own. They are two-dimensional because they are supposed to be; it's the dimensions that you do see that are used to shine a light onto the much deeper and broader canvas of humanity. Make T'Pol a human in Vulcan's clothing, and that's exactly what she's worth, nothing more. She might as well be Jolene Blalock sitting naked on the stage, and while that appeals to many, it's not drama; it's just window dressing.
How do you make your characters grow if the underlying theme is that their viewpoints and culture are "correct," and everything they encounter has to be somehow "less correct?" It's the common theme in this show: remove the obstacles so the characters never need to question themselves nor their abilities, nor are they ever tested. You might as well make a series out of a tank that rolls over everything in its path, week after week; it might be interesting once or twice, but keep doing it, and it's monotonous, and that's a great deal of what we've seen already. It's bad enough when you do that with your FOTW aliens, but now to do it to your Resident Objective Viewpoint is -- well, it's stupid. It's colonial. It's homogenizing. And it's non-dramatic.
These people are out here to explore, to meet new cultures and discover new ideas. Even Phlox has said it, numerous times, probably because the writers seem to think that you don't have to actually demonstrate anything as long the characters get it recorded into the log: "Archer is a good diplomat. Other cultures and new ideas are valuable." But these concepts are not what the show demonstrates: "Other cultures would be better if they were just like us. Vulcans would be better if they were just like humans, but better smelling." It's not about learning anything, about ourselves or others; it's about wrapping ourselves in a cocoon of our own prejudices and calling it a positive outlook.
This is the dramatic depth of a cartoon, and there have been a number of cartoons with considerably more depth, not to mention characters that were far less two-dimensional. I don't think that even the previous series were as black-and-white, Us-over-Them as they are being painted here. The Horta was not about how cute and cuddly it was because it was a mom, an entity to which we relate on familiar terms; it was about questioning our own preconceptions and prejudices when something that is not like us does things we don't at first understand. It didn't 'humanize' the Horta; it expanded the human understanding of our own fears and motivations. "Gee, maybe this creature is different, even potentially deadly, but maybe if I didn't shoot first and ask questions later, I'd find that we can coexist." Sure, you can simplify it to "Gee, it's a mommy, and that's a human thing," but all that is good for is supporting a weak argument in the face of facts.
And presenting other viewpoints and cultures as unique and valuable is not the same thing as questioning the "rightness" of humanity. Asking why one does something is in no way making a statement that it is "wrong"; it's only trying to comprehend the motivation. If everyone is just like you, will you ever question anything you do? Probably not; it's the norm, it's comfortable, and it's accepted. You do what you do and you do it over and over, and even if it is self-destructive, you don't question it because no one ever gives you any reason to. You might as well be operating solely on instinct, and while that's a great subject for Animal Planet, it's a terrible theme for a show that supposedly is about exploration, both outward and inward.
I have to disagree that Trek has always said the human way is the best way. It's the "human way" to kill for sport, or for greed, but as Kirk said, "I will not kill -- today!" Even when Kirk was abandoning the Prime Directive, it wasn't about tearing down perfectly beneficial constructs that honored the sanctity of their citizens. Archer is prejudiced against Vulcans for reasons that have nothing to do with saving them from anything, with protecting them from destruction, even self-destruction; he simply doesn't like the way they make him feel about himself. He doesn't like that they question his values, his beliefs, and so he attacks them. "Why can't you be like me? I'm better than you." He's not offering them a chance at something that's truly better; he just thinks they'd be more tolerable if they weren't so 'different.' And now, with T'Pol aimed at satisfying her human master's prejudice by making the point, "Yes, maybe humans (read "Archer") have more to offer than my own beliefs. Maybe I'll be better, more successful if I am more like them," we lose the value of having her there in the first place: we should see our hero, Archer, looking into the mirror that is T'Pol, and growing as a result of seeing how others see him. Which is what real drama is about, and what makes real heroes.
As for Trek proclaiming that humanity is the greatest thing in the galaxy, defeating every enemy, that's an overly simplistic reduction of those struggles. It's not about showing humanity as invincible, and thus "better"; it's about demonstrating growth through adversity. They didn't just defeat their foes because they were great to begin with; they had to overcome significant obstacles in order to become great, and that's what drama is, as well.
So do most producers I'd say. Very few producers are adept at that sort of thing which is why the studios have a public relations department. Most producer interviews I've read aren't that great. Plus we only seem to get bits and pieces of what's being said. In depth interviews are much better than some quotes from an article.
No, it wasn't always that way. TOS sometimes seemed like it, but if you look more closely there was more depth like your quote by Kirk above.
However during the 80s Roddenberry reimagined Star Trek in a terrible way. TNG, more so than ENT, always put humans above everything else and made aliens always wrong. But you already explained that in great details.
Unfortunatly the producers, as well as a lot of the fans, now think that this is what Trek is supposed to be about
It was late and I have no idea what it was suppose to be now and I actually took the time to proofread it. No sleep is a bad thing. I think I was trying to say that in the Star Trek universe humanity is the greatest force in the universe, they are greater than God and they are greater than everyone else god.
In TOS Kirk and Bones constantly told Spock he should be more human. I am not talking about today's human but the 23rd century human who once they rose above their failings brought peace to the galaxy. How many speeches have we gotten from TOS to ENT about how my human nature, or my human emotions this, or my human sense of that, means that your alien way of doing things is wrong.
The whole idea behind the Marque (sp) was to finally challenge this point of view. Instead of helping Bajor when the Cardasians invaded it, the Federation simply let them rape the planet and its people. Some Federation citizens thought this was wrong but the all mighty humans on their new higher plane had no problem with it. This is about the only time I remember humans and their behavior actually being questioned.
I am really sorry that I oversimplified my comparisions of the different shows and their plots, but I just think that is what it all comes down to. I don't think that the reasons people do things are complicated, I think that the reasons they come up with to justice them in their minds are complicated. It is just like my kids, they do something first cause they want to, then they come up with a reason why they did it so they don't get in trouble if it goes bad.
(Added quote at end of Ptrope's statement)
Absolutely Right. This is why I think that DS9, above all Treks, comes closest to the TOS feel - because just like Kirk's line, above, it was about "[the Federation] under attack" and that wasn't simply a physical attack but an attack on one's morals and ethics as well.
I've said it before, but..
TOS established what it was to hold to the Federation ideal.
TNG preached the Federation ideal to the frontier colonies.
DS9 was the Federation ideal under attack.
VOY was the Federation ideal far from home.
TOS wasn't afraid to show us those same ideals being pressured and broken by the cowboys out on the wild west frontier. It also didn't go about humanizing characters, but instead used them to explore the many facets of humanity. The "big three" wasn't actually three people (even though they were) but represented three aspects of one person: McCoy the emotion and passion, Spock the logic and reasoning, and Kirk the identity and decision. That, I believe, is why they work.
As much as some would like to assert Enterprise does NOT have any "big three" other than the most basic way. There's no three way dynamic of characters, and humanizing T'Pol is to rid Enterprise of what little "detached" logic and reason is left, what little "alien-ness" can be used as a mirror on ourselves, and replace it with one big boiling pot of emotional humans.
It seems that in trying to be like TOS, they've forgotten what TOS actually was. Sadly, I can't help but agree with 8-4-7-2's assertion that many of the fans have bought into this simplified, "we're good - they're bad" view which in reality is the exactly what TOS wasn't.
Oh, you can say that making her human means we can relate. But contrary to some belief, we don't need to turn them into a human to understand and enjoy them. I don't recall Spock becoming a household name having much to do with his 'experiments with emotion'. But I look forward to the next cheap shot from the popcorn gallery
The notion that ideas of non-violence or non-interference or the simple sentiment "I will not kill -- today" are one whit less "human" than violence would be news to philosophers, religious leaders and politicians ranging from Ghandi to Bill Wilson to the folks who wrote the Bible -- not to mention billions of adherents to such beliefs throughout time.
This kind of argument always reminds me of a magazine feature writer -- I've long since forgotten his name -- who attended a couple of Trek conventions in the 70s and came away with the durable observation that "while it's admirable that trekkies embrace philosophies of peace and brotherhood, it's disturbing that so many of them seem to think that these are original ideas unheard of before 'Star Trek'" (paraphrase).
So now that we've redundantly reestablished that TOS wasn't the first to philosophise.. I can't help but wonder what your point of contributing that tangent actually was?
Separate names with a comma.