Rebirth of Reason

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Saturday, May 14, 2005 - 10:31pmSanction this postReply
Well its all over, in more then one way.

And you know what, I still can't believe this, I was like...what...five when The Next Generation started. My first TV memory that I can still recall is Encounter at Farpoint.

Through watching the broadcast, reruns, DVD's, and downloads; I’m sure I’ve have watched every second of all six series Star Trek produced, and waited for more the next season. Now there isn't going to be anything in the fall for the first time in 18 years.

Its funny, my graduation from college is in like 8 hours and I entered kindergarten the fall TNG premiered. I can say for sure my life would have been very different without Star Trek, the optimism that people can do better in the future was an inspiration to me and directly led me to what I've wanted to do. I'm going to be working for a lobby/conservative grassroots activism organization in the fall in Washington, doing my best to make the world a better place for myself and the rest of America.

And I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels that way. Probably half the people at JPL, NASA, and other similar institutions were at least partially inspired by Star Trek.

A lot of people have accused Star Trek of promoting socialism and relativism, the former I grant although is really isn’t promoted, its just in the background. The latter is absolutely wrong, morality is the central focus of the show. Good and evil are prominently contrasted and in the end, good always wins. For instance, my favorite show was “Deep Space 9”, one of my favorite lines is from the very end of the episode “Waltz”

Sisko - "You know, old man, sometimes life seems so complicated. Nothing is truly good or truly evil. Everything seems to be a shade of gray. And then you spend some time with a man like Dukat, and you realize that there is such a thing as truly evil."

Dax - "To realize that is one thing, to do something about it is another. So what are you going to do?"

Sisko - "I'll tell you what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to let him destroy Bajor. I fear no evil. From now on, it's him or me."

Post 1

Saturday, May 14, 2005 - 10:50pmSanction this postReply
Clarence, nothing to add to your Star Trek reflections but congrats on earning a college degree! If you survive the next 8 hours, that is. :-)

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Post 2

Saturday, May 14, 2005 - 10:57pmSanction this postReply
Bah! The franchise has gotten so terrible it deserves to end. Nothing after the classic Star Trek series and the original crew movies were good. Try Babylon 5, now that's real Sci-Fi.  Star Trek TNG and everything after that was just a bunch of socialist crap with poor story-telling and pointless techno-babble. 

Post 3

Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 8:15amSanction this postReply
I agree Babylon 5 is way better than any incarnation of Star Trek, but the latter played a huge part in my formative years also. For many years The Next Generation had a 6pm slot Wednesday evenings with Deep Space Nine getting the same slot on Thursdays. To this day both are continually rerun in daytime on pay tv.

Enterprise probably won't finish over here for a few months yet, but I heard the finale is bloody brilliant - something to do with a couple of TNG characters apparently?


Post 4

Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 12:50pmSanction this postReply
Well graduation was great, we don’t have commencement speakers although honorary degree awardees do get to make speeches. The overall theme was a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit, not just of businessmen but of everyone who creates something new for themselves and society.

The graduating class was around 700 so we split into departmental ceremonies where I got my diploma (BA – Political Science). And thanks Lance.

Now about Star Trek. John, TOS is my least favorite although I love it all the same. They over dramatized too much and I never really liked comedy in my Trek.

Matthew, I’m a general science fiction freak so of course I’ve seen every epp of that too. IMHO, JMS had a great story with a great premise and a lot of damn good storylines; he just isn’t the best writer out there. A lot of the time, the dialogue just sucked. I do feel for him though, season three was one of the best seasons in TV science fiction history followed by season four. Problem is, he pretty much ended the show after four and season 5 was an add-on. The season finale for season four “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars” looked to me like a series finale. Plot wise, it also reminds me of another recent series finale that was shown last Friday (hint hint Matt).

Enterprise was a great show and season 4 is tied for 1st of my all time favorite sci-fi tv seasons.

1st – DS9 Season 6
1st – ENT Season 4
2nd – DS9 Season 7
3rd – B5 Season 4

- If you lie all the time, no-one is going to believe you even when you're telling the truth.
- Are you sure that is the point, Doctor?
- Of course; what else would it be?
- Never tell the same lie twice.

Bashir and Garak about the story about the boy who cried 'Wolf!

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Post 5

Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 1:09pmSanction this postReply

"Continuance is futile!"

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Post 6

Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 3:08pmSanction this postReply
Watched it every week, I'll miss Enterprise. But I loved all those sci-fi shows: Stargate, Babylon5, Serenity, Battlestar Galactica... And you're right, the optimistic future premises were much more enjoyable.

Clarence I always was curious about the apparent socialism in Star Trek universe, especially Next Generation. Wasn't the Earth socialist because they discovered how to transform energy into matter? Socialism is bad now because resources are finite and requires sacrifices, but if resources are relatively unlimited, then isn't socialism a somewhat defacto economy? I don't mean strict class-war socialism but a general sharing.

I would argue that with the advent of unlimited resources, acquiring wealth is no longer necessary, but people would still compete for intangible goods like fame and happiness. In such a society I think crime would drop dramatically but not disappear, as there still are finite resources like people and power/control. Or am I remembering Star Trek completely wrong?

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Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 6:11pmSanction this postReply


Post 8

Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 6:34pmSanction this postReply
Hubba hubba

Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine in Post 5) can assimilate me any time!!!

Post 9

Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 7:29pmSanction this postReply
A lot of the apparent socialism you seen in Star Trek is just them trying to reconcile the affects of an advanced technological society with what we know about economics. For instance, power generation becomes more efficient the more you produce, its not hard to bring that to its logical conclusion and say there will one day be a planetary power net.

I think the main problem comes with being able to produce so easily. The marginal cost of producing item X is so low in an insteller economy that every persons purchasing power is high.

Post 10

Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 7:33pmSanction this postReply
Stephen K:

Clarence I always was curious about the apparent socialism in Star Trek universe, especially Next Generation. Wasn't the Earth socialist because they discovered how to transform energy into matter? Socialism is bad now because resources are finite and requires sacrifices, but if resources are relatively unlimited, then isn't socialism a somewhat defacto economy? I don't mean strict class-war socialism but a general sharing.

The philosophy of STNG was a mixed bag. This isn't surprising, given the number of writers who contributed to the show--not to mention what's done to the writing afterward.

I believe there is a book which examines philosophy from the various perspectives of Star Trek, but I've not read it.

I would argue that with the advent of unlimited resources, acquiring wealth is no longer necessary, but people would still compete for intangible goods like fame and happiness. In such a society I think crime would drop dramatically but not disappear, as there still are finite resources like people and power/control.
Happiness is not something people would compete for, being an internal state of mind, and fame may become less important as more people become more secure in their own intrinsic worth. The self-esteem movement may be a precursor of that. That's probably true for power as well, which seems to spring from many of the same motivations.

I'm not surprised that Star Trek has come to an end. I didn't care all that much for DS9, and while I liked Enterprise more, for weeks on end I would forget to watch it--which must be saying something.  

Roddenberry's vision of hope and optimism for humankind was ahead of its time, given the dark fiction and gloomy political scenarios which prevailed in the world of that day. Now that we are living in a brighter, more optimistic time, it no longer stands in such vivid contrast. Perhaps it has done its job.

Thank you, Gene Roddenberry and Paramount.

Nathan Hawking

Post 11

Friday, May 27, 2005 - 1:03amSanction this postReply
Like Mr. Hardy, I grew up watching Trek: I have vague memories of reruns of The Original Series from when I was five or younger, and then in 1987, The Next Generation series premiered - truly the best of the franchise.  There are some excellent episodes with a distinct Objectivist, or at least rationalist, slant:

11001001: Involves an intriguing and well-developed romance between Commander Riker and, of all things, a hologram.

Elementary, Dear Data: A holographic representation of Dr. Moriarty achieves sentience.  What is to be done with him (or it)?

The Measure of a Man: The android Data is put on trial to determine his sentience and, therefore, his rights.

Q Who: The omnipotent Q introduces the crew of the Enterprise to the Borg - a cybernetic collective bent on assimilating the galaxy and, in the process, eliminating individuality.

Who Watches the Watchers?: A startlingly clear refutation of mysticism as delivered by Captain Picard.

The Most Toys: Another excellent episode centering around Data, whom a notorious trader kidnaps and holds prisoner as the centerpiece of his collection of objets d'art.

The Nth Degree: The introverted and passive Lieutenant Barclay transforms into possibly the most intelligent and capable man in history after being "zapped" by an alien satellite.

The Drumhead: A defense by Captain Picard this time of individual rights.

The Perfect Mate: Despite some corny moments, this episode deals effectively with a romance between Captain Picard and an empathic alien woman whom he was unknowingly transporting to an arranged marriage.  Treated in the manner in which Rand would have done had she written for Star Trek.

I, Borg: A member of the Borg is separated from the collective and assumes an identity.

Thine Own Self: Data loses his memory and must live among comparatively primitive aliens.  A conflict between science and irrationality/mysticism.

As for the supposed socialism of Star Trek, here's a link to a thorough article on that very subject: http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/economy.htm

I'll close with a quote - that could very easily have come from Rand - from Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry:

"I condemn false prophets, I condemn the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will -- and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain. Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain."

Post 12

Friday, May 27, 2005 - 8:28amSanction this postReply

Dr Who is my favorite (I devoured the novels in Nigeria as a kid), but Star Trek has lost me in recent years.  I loved TNG, and it was primarily because of the incredible acting of Patrick Stewart.  He brought so much gravity to the role of Jean Luc-Picard that I think that he pretty much set a bar that could not be matched.


Post 13

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 - 8:31pmSanction this postReply
    Oh, man...could I rave...and rant on this.
     Re the TOS, Roddenberry started something in our culture that was really necessary: acceptance of SF ideas re 'the universe beyond our globe' as being 'mainstream-media' seriously discussable. He went way past Serling and others (extremely good, in their own way, cultural-effect-wise), especially when he fought for the 'satanic' looking Spock to not be 'kept in the background,' as the suits wanted him to be. And his multi-ethnic (which of course won't exist by that century) orientation which benevolently preceded the near-malevolently multi-cultural PC we have nowadays was itself groundbreaking at the time. Yes, the stories had flaws (easily seen with 20/20 hindsight nowadays)...as Harlan Ellison (a GREAT writer) would be the 1st to list all therein...but it had 1 thing stressed more than any other show of the time, which carried through ALL it's spin-offs: mutual respect for all disagreers (to-a-point!), especially amongst the 'family' of the given crew...even including alien children...and Q (and I loved Q, from TNG's pilot-ep all the way through.).
    Mutual respect for all disagreers (to-a-point!): Something many SOLO posters could still learn from.
    I think that the problem with the spinoffs essentially came down to 1 thing only: the writers hired for the last spinoff (Voyager, I believe?), as the writers at the ends of DS9 and TNG, had little conception of 'where to go' beyond where they and others had already been, story-wise. Their writing became 'hack' (as the last season of TOS did.) --- They introduced a 'hologram-doctor' who was to be as unique (and maybe similar to, re 'questioning the meaning of being human') as Mr. Spock or Data...but who ended up being merely another crew-member who's quarters were in a computer; ergo they brought in Borg-Space-Babe '7-of-9' (Not that I'm complaining there...except for what I see as the reason. That Borg needs no 'reasons' to exist! Talk about a MakeMeSilly-milation! I can only wonder why Kate Mulgrew put up with that. As an aside: I always preferred Uhura anyway.) The 'idea' got tired, because the decision-makers for writer-hirings got tired; they sure couldn't put up with outside imaginations (re Harlan types), and the inside ones ran out of theirs.
    I could list *my* faves (oh, since you insist, ok. just one: TNG's "The Measure of Man." I'll leave it to you to guess why), but, I shan't. Most of those listed in prev posts pretty well cover them (uh, ok; 1 more: Harlan Ellison's TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever.")
   But, overall, really what kept the series, and spinoffs, so popular was: the relationships amongst the characters, though such couln't carry chronically 'hack' stories. From TOS to Voyager, this is why I think that they'll be re-run for-near-ever: they've gone where no civilisation has gone before.
Reason to see mutual trust in the benevolence of each other, conflicts notwithstanding.


P.S: Some may consider Star Trek: Enterprise as part of the spinoffs. Sorry, I don't. It's a wannabee by the same company, but it's lack of imagination already was showing right from the beginning. The horse broke a leg getting out of the gate. And I like Scott Bakula (and Jolene isn't bad either...ntl...)

(Edited by John Dailey on 8/10, 8:38pm)

(Edited by John Dailey on 8/10, 8:42pm)

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