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  #81  
Old 01-28-2013, 12:47 PM
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Briar Patch, communication are down. Furthermore Picard doesn't wanna home phone (he is not fu*king ET ) as the Council is behind Dougherty. He has to turn rogue which is the point of the story, that he has to abandon his career in order to stand up for Federation principles.
But, and this is valid criticism, it is of course a fake sacrifice. But then again so is Spock's in TWOK, the show has to go on.
His plan was to protect the people on the planet long enough for Enterprise to get out of the patch and radio home to the Federation. That's my point. Call the Federation and all will work out. It's a cop out.
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  #82  
Old 01-28-2013, 12:52 PM
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We will all have different preferences of what constitutes Star Trek. I'm sure we embrace them all.

Granted, I am much more of an action adventure/space battle lover, but I still love and appreciate the ideals that episodes like City on the Edge of Forever, or Inner Light, or Far Beyond the Stars espouse.

However, we also need to remember that there is no such thing as a "True Trek Fan". One fan might appreciate the things that Gene Roddenberry had in mind, another might appreciate the directions that were taken when he lost control of Trek, one might appreciate every aspect regardless of direction. No one fan or lover of the series of shows or movies is any better than another. Fans and lovers of the show always come to this particular quarrel whenever differences raise their ugly head to this point.

For the record, Star Trek 2009 is my absolute favorite Trek film out of any that came before, especially when I used to keep TOS and TNG era films distinct because of their ideological differences in eras. Quite honestly, ST 2009 is the Trek film I waited my whole life for....hopefully STID will surpass that longing.

Honesty has been asked for. Ok....here's my honesty: I truly do not believe in the "perfection of humanity" as Roddenberry does. There's always going to be evil in the hearts of men and women. There's always going to be divisiveness based on race, creed, color, gender, what not. It has been this way for thousands of years, and to expect it all to just end in a couple of centuries?...quite honestly, felgercarb. (That's classic Galactica-ese for "bulls***".) There are always going to be terrorists because Allah says this, or God says that , or Elvis says "uhhhh-huh!". Even in the best intended of ideologies, there's always going to be that one subversive asshat who will see loophole opportunities, and manipulate and seize power for himself and his/her selected few....if only to have lackeys to push around and extend his/her power. And most of the time, left unchecked, that asshat will succeed...at least, for a while.

Yes, I am cynical. I trust very little, especially the current regime that sits in the White House. Cynicism, and questioning has kept me alive this long. (In fact, this is the oldest I have ever been.)
I think the beauty of Trek is that it shows that it is possible to life together peacefully ... even with a nationalistic Russian kid, a green-blooded hobgoblin and a drunken Scotmans.
Seriously, the galaxy is a dangerous place and even the Federation harbours psychopaths and people who wanna destroy it from the inside. So I don't think that Trek has ever been unrealistic, utopian in the literal sense of portraying a non-existing place. It merely showed its heroes fighting to improve this world or maintain it when it is threatened, be it by Romulans, Borg and megalomaniac or criminal fellow officers.
The respective stories are thus fairly conventional good vs. evil stories. They do not imply that the fight is over, that evil is annihilated or whatever.
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  #83  
Old 01-28-2013, 12:57 PM
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Again my tiresome argument about underlying ideology informing one's preferences. You want the Federation to be corrupt and cynical whereas I want it to be idealistic ... so naturally we love a story in which these traits we like appear.
I want it to resemble an actual society. I don't want it to be something that never sets a foot wrong. Never makes a mistake or never gets it principles seriously challenged. Every society has idealistic views of itself and it's leaders make grand speeches about those values, ideals and principles.

And then the day to day kicks in where reality becomes a ***** and bites your ***.

And yeah that's why I like DS9 because it tried to really put Federation principles under the turn of the screw to see what happened. Yeah, that's why I like Firefly because as Joss Whedon says himself he wantes to write a show about the people '........the Enterprise would just fly past without even noticing.........' (a paraphrase from his commentary I think on the pilot episode).

It's very easy to be an advocate for the Federations Greatest ideals as the comfortable Captain of that societies flagship glistening piece of technological achievement. But that isn't the only position from which a society can be viewed.

And this isn't about being cynical. But having the Federation always come sunny side up just isn't depicting things very well. Luckily that leant itself to some great stories along the way. Insurrection just isn't one of them.
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  #84  
Old 01-28-2013, 12:57 PM
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I think the beauty of Trek is that it shows that it is possible to life together peacefully ... even with a nationalistic Russian kid, a green-blooded hobgoblin and a drunken Scotmans.
Seriously, the galaxy is a dangerous place and even the Federation harbours psychopaths and people who wanna destroy it from the inside. So I don't think that Trek has ever been unrealistic, utopian in the literal sense of portraying a non-existing place. It merely showed its heroes fighting to improve this world or maintain it when it is threatened, be it by Romulans, Borg and megalomaniac or criminal fellow officers.
The respective stories are thus fairly conventional good vs. evil stories. They do not imply that the fight is over, that evil is annihilated or whatever.
And that is a fight that will always carry on. Hopefully, most of the time, without....God forbid within.

The utopian ideal is a nice one...don't get me wrong. But, as we've always seen, and known, the best of intentions pave the road to hell....literally or figuratively.
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  #85  
Old 01-28-2013, 01:04 PM
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And that is a fight that will always carry on. Hopefully, most of the time, without....God forbid within.

The utopian ideal is a nice one...don't get me wrong. But, as we've always seen, and known, the best of intentions pave the road to hell....literally or figuratively.
Again, Firefly and Serenity pop into mind. The Alliance wasn't evil per se but as a large spaceborne society it tries to create a Utopic society of peace by trying to manipulate a population via an experiment that goes dreadfully wrong. Because you can't have a Utopia if you have people in it. Ultimately.
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  #86  
Old 01-28-2013, 01:10 PM
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I, Borg works specifically because Picard has to weigh that decision. The entire episode is based on his coming to a decision.

And the counter argument is a completely valid one or he wouldn't have had to struggle with it. That's why it's a well written episode. The Borg destroyed countless lives after that moment. That blood is at least partly on Picard's hands. He had a chance to save those people.

It's the needs of the many argument. We're talking about a body count that may be in the tens of trillions. They destroy worlds wholesale.

Look back on the threads I start. I was always intrigued by the counter arguments in TNG. About Hugh, about Jellico and countless others. You made the arguement that I don't like Insurrection because we don't focus on what the Federation is about. That's not true. Those are often the best stories

They made it work on the show. Insurrection tried to be that, but it fell flat. That's the problem.
TNG has always been preachy and dogmatic. Measure of a Man, The Drumhead, these are not some "either or" ethical dilemma stories.
"I, Borg" can be read as ethical dilemma story but IMO it is fairly blunt. Picard, hardly objective here, misperceives Hugh as a drone and needs some time to perceive him as an individual and the point of the story is to create an aha moment: the Borg are evil as they only value their collective whereas we are good because we value singular forms of life so in order to remain good we may not sacrifice one for the sake of our collective, we may not turn Hugh back into a quasi-drone.
That's just the basic liberal human-rights anti-totalitarian position we all have. It is blunt propaganda and the eerie effect is that we often need some time to realize that this is what we already believe because the cases are so extreme with Borg and androids that are alife and so on.

Perhaps I am an idiot but I simply don't see many of such complex multi-faceted stories you talk about in TNG.
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  #87  
Old 01-28-2013, 01:16 PM
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And that is a fight that will always carry on. Hopefully, most of the time, without....God forbid within.

The utopian ideal is a nice one...don't get me wrong. But, as we've always seen, and known, the best of intentions pave the road to hell....literally or figuratively.
Sure but Trek isn't some socialist utopia where somebody who made all these changes from the top down. I am also opposed to this or any other political concept that is built upon the notion that you have to control or manipulate people because the elite knows better.
I think in Trek's fictional history it emerged spontaneously. After we nearly annihilated ourselves and realized that some pointy-eared fellows are out there and watching us we got our sh*t together. Ideological blank slate after WWIII plus the gaze of the Vulcan other (we don't wanna embarrass ourselves in front of them).
Any other problems that remained afterwards, well, perhaps I am simple-minded but most of the times good and evil are clearly distinguishable. Don't steal, don't murder, be kind, help your fellows, don't put the cat in the oven and so on.

Last edited by horatio : 01-28-2013 at 01:20 PM.
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  #88  
Old 01-28-2013, 01:16 PM
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I understand the nature of his choice. The dilemma comes in the form of the implications of that choice. Countless people paid for that choice with their lives.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:30 PM
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Yep. Picard was dogmatically legalistic whereas Nechayev was a pragmatic military officer. I think the episode is shocking because of this discrepancy between our intuition clearly siding with Nechayev and the revelation that our laws do not allow a trade-off between lives.
By the way, I forgot but did they tell Hugh about the virus idea and ask him whether he would sacrifice himself willingly?

On a sidenote, that his individuality proved to be contagious (at least for one cube) between "I, Borg" and "Descent" was a beautiful point of this story. The goal is not to kill the Borg materially but to undo their ideology. Borg ain't evil, their collectivism is. (The real world comparison is obvious, the USSR hasn't been invaded by us but crumbled from the inside.) This is the problem of post-FC Borg, unlike the fairly neutral Borg from TNG these zombie-like Borg play the Cronenberg card of bodily horrors.
Back to TNG, of course this beautiful peaceful revolution rhetoric was countered in "Descent" by the reminder that an ideology void can be filled by something similarly nasty.

Last edited by horatio : 01-28-2013 at 01:34 PM.
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  #90  
Old 01-28-2013, 01:33 PM
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Sure but Trek isn't some socialist utopia where somebody who made all these changes from the top down. I am also opposed to this or any other political concept that is built upon the notion that you have to control or manipulate people because the elite knows better.
I think in Trek's fictional history it emerged spontaneously. After we nearly annihilated ourselves and realized that some pointy-eared fellows are out there and watching us we got our sh*t together. Ideological blank slate after WWIII plus the gaze of the Vulcan other (we don't wanna embarrass ourselves in front of them).
Any other problems that remained afterwards, well, perhaps I am simple-minded but most of the times good and evil are clearly distinguishable. Don't steal, don't murder, be kind, help your fellows, don't put the cat in the oven and so on.
Oh, no no, I didn't mean to suggest that the Utopian state of the Federation came as the result of one person making changes, although Zephram Cochrane was a huge proponent for such change (once he got past his drinking binges and womanizing...LOL), but he wasn't the only one to effect change. Like you, I believe that the Federation was formed as the result of a spontaneous concensus of freedom loving peoples....but, my suggestion was that there will always be those who know how to straddle the gray areas to their advantage, making certain ideals that are generally good (like say, today's Second Amendment rights as provided by the Constitution) and making them seem evil through propaganda, and taking advantage of media sensationalized events to help adjust that brown tinged view. Those minor, subtle evils that arise from greater evils. Instead of starting big, such opportunists start small, and work their way up, so the transition isn't visible, and then, by the time it is, it's too late...usually.

I will agree with Captain Coughlin that Star Trek never really explored the story for Insurrection of why the Federation was suddenly willing to ally themselves with an outlaw faction (the Son'a...a regime known for usiing illegal weapons to expedite their own gains), and turn their back on the principles that made the Federation so strong a force for good in the galaxy. We have a techno explanation at best. "We have the territory, they have the know how and the means...so what does that make us? Partners." It was like they just made this switch from First Contact to Insurrection that seemed illogical. To have deepened the story a bit, to explain, even a little, of how such a change could've happened would've enriched Insurrection's story quite a bit. But from all we're given, Daugherty has the backing of the Fed government, and uses the alliance with the Son'a to achieve an end that is, for all intents and purposes, utterly evil.

And then the Federation becomes good again because Riker led the Enterprise out of the Briar Patch and sent them a PSA about the Bak'u?

I can see these points. The only real problems I has with Insurrection though was just that it looked like another overblown episode.

Back to my earlier point: Those regimes that say "I want to present a transparent government"? It's not that they want them transparent, it's that they want their intentions invisible until they're ready to strike.
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