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  #71  
Old 06-03-2013, 06:45 AM
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kevin kevin is offline
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Speaking for only myself, and removing the nuts and bolts aspect, I don't actually agree that the story itself is particularly hard to understand or follow in terms of themes or ideas and what they seek to parallel. For my money, I believe I can see what they were trying to do. It's most evident in the first portion of the film but what I will agree on is that the focus gets wobbly in the final half.

It is not a perfect film. But the first half is much stronger and in fact why I don't agree it's particularly dumb. It's not groundbreaking, but it's not totally dumb.

It's why I'm not complaining about the inversing of TWOK at the end of the film, because after reading the spoiler but then actually watching the scene within the context of the events preceding it I feel they use the same event to make a different point than TWOK about Kirk and Spock. And it's a point which entirely works. But I can do absolutely nothing about fans who seem more intent on the overt repetition rather than what they did it for or what the scene is doing. And it isn't even especially hard to divine, but it works for the characters. I'm sure that would be liable to disagreement anyway, but hey ho. That's life.

Re INS it actually is the film that features the most TNG like story. The problem the film has is it's content to remain a simplistic moral lesson when it's central premise instead (which has been noted over and over as a flaw) could have been the basis of a really meaty debatable issue. But it took the easy option.
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Last edited by kevin : 06-03-2013 at 06:49 AM.
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  #72  
Old 06-03-2013, 07:29 AM
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There is as little to debate in INS as in I, Borg or Measure of a Man. The Feds do not steal or kidnap and if they do it is unambiguously wrong and the mistakes are amended like the main characters in TUC or FC do.
TNG was not DS9 and did not feature many ethical dilemmas. It was most often fairly black and white and if you want to accuse INS of not being something else, an ethical dilemma or a Heart of Darkness like story (As pointed out above, you can go to the dark side in Trek but only if you return; if you stay you change the very fundamentals of Trek. Let's not forget that Sisko did just allow Garak to kill a few people, he did not steal from another species, kidnap them and condemn them to die. And my impression is that people who want to push the boundaries further than DS9 under the disguise of "ethical dilemmas" basically want the franchise to become something authoritarian like BSG, a show which featured many pseudo-dilemmas which just served to validate its political-ideological position. TNG was at least more honest about its blunt left-liberalism.) instead of a typical righteous Picard vs. the evil Admiral type of story, you would have to say the same thing about TNG in general.

In my eyes the main problem of INS is that Picard's correct position got intertwined with the pubescent effects of the planet, thus deluting the decent motivations of the crew. Not to mention that the fanwank / continuity obsession / eternal reptition of the same already started back then, the movie tried to be TNG's TSFS but the rebellion did not feel as natural as in TSFS (and I doubt that it would have worked significantly better without the fountain of youth).

Last edited by horatio : 06-03-2013 at 07:36 AM.
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  #73  
Old 06-03-2013, 07:36 AM
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I seem to remember a little episode called 'The Enterprise Incident' where Kirk and his merry men went on a Starfleet sanctioned escapade to steal a cloaking device from an enemy power that almost allowed Spock to get his freak on with a Romulan. Not to mention an episode much later where the Federation tried to abrogate a Treaty it had signed in order to develop a piece of technology it was banned from developing by said treaty.

Let's not get started on the secret matter of genocide. Picards pro-Federation stance is admirable but at times he seems remarkably ignorant of the Federations activities. Well, when you're a well fed and luxuriously kept Federation Captain you can afford to have high principles I guess.

But I don't need to comment on the deficiencies of INS. Roger Ebert did it so much more succinctly.
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  #74  
Old 06-03-2013, 07:54 AM
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I never liked The Enterprise Incident and The Pegasus, an episode which is more relevant when we talk about TNG, clearly condemned the actions of Starfleet intelligence. Same in case of the last DS9 episodes, they cleared condemned Section 31's plan. Same in INS, you see Doughtery and the Federation Council making a dire mistake and the movie condemns it. So whether you like it or not, INS is not structurally different from similar DS9 stories.

To repeat my TUC&FC point, you can show Starfleet engaged in all kind of nasty sh*t as long as the characters or the subtext says that it is wrong. Paradise should be in constant danger, it should be something you have to constantly strive for in order to just maintain it.
But when the subtext says that nasty sh*t is OK Trek becomes something which it is not: reactionary crap. I do not wanna talk badly about the dead but Ebert's utilitarian argument concerning INS is an implicit argument for imperialism. Now if we did not talk about an inter- but an intra-society issue I am all for "the needs of the many" type of arguments. I couldn't care less about a bunch of stubborn fu*ks who wanna continue living in Cardassian space. Peace is more important than satisfying the whims of people who wanna continue living in the "Outer Rim" instead of the "Core". But stealing from ANOTHER people, kidnapping them and condemning them to die instead of simply talking with them to gain access to a resource of medical relevance is plain wrong.


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Originally Posted by kevin View Post
Picards pro-Federation stance is admirable but at times he seems remarkably ignorant of the Federations activities. Well, when you're a well fed and luxuriously kept Federation Captain you can afford to have high principles I guess.
And if you are poor you cannot? Bullcrap. Last time I checked it were mainly the down-trodden who changed things for the better in history. Pretending that the rule of law and common decency is a luxury for the rich or implies costs for ordinary people is plain preposterous. It is the other way around, the elites profit from war, not the common men.

As I indicated in my previous post, the implicit basis of this discussion is politics.

Last edited by horatio : 06-03-2013 at 08:02 AM.
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  #75  
Old 06-03-2013, 07:58 AM
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Not liking the episode has little to do with the actions depicted. And you never specified a time frame with the general comment that 'Feds don't steal'. Well, they do.

But then that's the question INS is unwilling to even ask: was the basic idea wrong? Something that could benefit millions and all you need to do is move 600 people? That's an entirely debatable proposition and you know it. There's probably a lot of reasons they went with the storyline they did and perhaps believing it to be consistent with TNG's approach was the main one. But that doesn't mean the main issue isn't a question rather than a predetermined answer. The idea of their death is put in there purely to simplify the issue down so it's even easier not to supposedly question Picard's moral stance. It's rigged. OK, that happens in drama all the time but still. So the question becomes why steal it instead of negotiate or just ask? Well that's where INS falls apart itself because you basically have a senile Admiral taken for a ride by a man who just wants to get back at mommy and daddy for kicking him out the house.

Of course you wouldn't care about people on the Outer Rim. You would never deign to be among them in the first place. But the problem with dismissing them and not giving a **** is you can't complain when they don't give a **** about your precious peace and fight back.
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Last edited by kevin : 06-03-2013 at 08:29 AM.
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  #76  
Old 06-03-2013, 08:11 AM
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My argument was that Ebert's utilitarian arguments, forcing a minority to do something for the benefit of the majority, can only be applied inside of a democratic society as the minority can influence this political decision democratically.
Your argument is "you are a pus*y" (which I am indeed, I heard ample of stories about WWII atrocities from my grandaunt so I prefer peace and prosperity over an exciting and dangerous life at a not so peaceful border) and "peace is bad".

Dislikes the rule of law, check, likes war, check, dislikes a Starfleet captain, a member of the elite who fights for the interests of the common man, check. Never thought that you are a right-winger.

Last edited by horatio : 06-03-2013 at 08:15 AM.
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  #77  
Old 06-03-2013, 08:16 AM
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Peace isn't bad, but it's a fallacy to assume it benefits everyone. 'Peace' comes at the definition of the winning party.

In the case of the DMZ it didn't benefit the people who had shed blood, sweat and tears to build a life and a home for themselves. I can see their point of view over a cosseted and protected Starship Captain who can Warp away and never have to bother himself with them again as much as I can see his point of view from the high ground of ending a conflict.
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Last edited by kevin : 06-03-2013 at 08:25 AM.
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  #78  
Old 06-03-2013, 08:29 AM
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I understand these people. As you pointed out there are selection effects like during the settlement of the New World, the daring and stubborn people move to the border whereas the timid and risk-averse do not.
But unlike in the real world history where economic forces played a large role (Land was far more scarce in Europe than labour whereas in America it was the other way around (after the Indians who were on the land were killed) so wages were higher in America.) in the fictional world of Trek people move to the border not because they have to but because they want to.
There is peace and prosperity in the core world of the Federation but people do not wanna lie on the sofa all day. They wanna actually do something constructive with their lives, they wanna feel useful and create something even when they are not economically forced to do so. So I perfectly understand why the people in the DMZ did not want to leaves their homes, it was their lives' work.
Just like Picard cannot imagine to leave Starfleet or his brother cannot imagine quitting to produce wine these people cannot imagine another life.

But these are just psychological issues and they hardly outweigh the benefits of peace. Less corpses matter more than people having to abandon their life's work ... unless you really wanna go down the "blood, sweet and tears" path and praise the harsh and dangerous life of real men in the colonies over the comfortable life of decadent Starfleet officers. But I do not think you really want to as this real men vs. decadent (Jews) is basically fascist ideology: "The weak must be chiselled away. I want young men and women who can suffer pain. A young German must be as swift as a greyhound, as tough as leather, and as hard as Krupp's steel."

Last edited by horatio : 06-03-2013 at 08:33 AM.
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  #79  
Old 06-03-2013, 08:41 AM
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I think you're confusing political ideology with the right to choose which kind of existence you want to have in a society where supposedly boundless possibilities exist.

I do admire people who choose a life that is considerably more self-sufficient and self- built over having it all provided to you. People do that today and choose to make a harder life (but one not bound to the convenience society developed now) for themselves in the process. But I figure putting these types of people in an office job would kill them. It takes a certain character of individual to try and live a different life like that.

One can't deny the lifestyle of Starfleet officers and the Federation's core worlds seems extremely well provided for materially. But that would be unlikely to appeal to all and sundry. This was at least a theme partly explored by DS9.
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Last edited by kevin : 06-03-2013 at 09:08 AM.
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  #80  
Old 06-03-2013, 09:13 AM
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Self-sufficiency is an illusion and it is not coincidence that the people who are most obsessed with being independent are right-wingers, be it plain old nationalists or hyper-federalists who play their militia games in American forests. It is also the key reason for a hawkish foreign policy, you are self-sufficient and beat everybody else into submission instead of creating a cooperative international order. Over here a conservative politician once said something similar than Hitler to a youth organization, it is a pity that there will be no war anymore (as a war cleanses all the decadence and makes us able to start from scratch).
In Fight Club you have the same theme, the good emancipation from a boring and decadent life (isn't that what the supposedly decadent Picard achieves with his discipline and asceticism?) descends into fascism.

The illusion of self-sufficiency also exists in the case of Trek. The settlers are not self-sufficient, they are citizens of the Federation. They have the right to democratically fight for the interests and they have the duty to obey the decisions of the Federation Council. Of course there are exceptions: if something is illegal like the decision of the Council concerning Ba'ku democratic citizens have the duty to resist and if something is legal but not legitimate/just a citizen has the obligation to consider civil disobedience.
It is obvious that Federation ignorance/tolerance of Cardassian violence was wrong and the colonists had every right to notice the Federation of their suffering. I am even fine with initial acts of violence against Cardassians as it is the old Intifada logic of the Palestinians (you can also take the IRA), their counterviolence created publicity. But once you have established the publicity you have to consider political solutions lest your counterviolence becomes a self-runner. The Maquis violence became such a self-runner, no political solution was even considered anymore. I am not against violence, as I just showed it can be a useful tool. But to achieve long-run changes violence is more often than not useful.

It is clear that the initial kind of peace was not proper peace as there was no peace for the colonists. Yet the actions of the Maquis did not amend this unacceptable situation but made it worse.
The other way to read it is to claim that the Federation implicitly acknowledged that their citizens in the DMZ will be mistreated, i.e. that it was a 'land for peace' treaty, and then the obvious path of action for the colonists is to get out of there before the Cardassians start to bully them.

This is not a lifestyle but a political issue. You can live whatever life you want in the Federation but when it impacts the way other people live it stops being a matter of lifestyle and becomes a political issue. And one's political opinions clearly influence how one perceives this problem. Of course you are not a fascist but using fascistoid arguments about real men who want a hard life and self-sufficiency you are on a slippery slope (Goebbels total war speech is the ultimate example of masochism. He asks the audience whether they wanna work 12, 14, 16 hours and they enthusiastically cry yes.). What the fu*k is wrong about not having to worry about your material and existential well-being? There are ample of other challenges in a peaceful and prosperous world and as already mentioned above, Picard is a great role model in this respect.
My position is an olf-leftish one, I am for good centralized progressive rule which implies that people have to give up their way of life if it serves the common good. This is the only way in which the fictional humans in Trek could achieve United Earth, you have to stop being a bourgeois and start being a citoyen.

Last edited by horatio : 06-03-2013 at 09:17 AM.
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