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August 18, 2008
September 3, 2008
September 17, 2008
On watching some Next Generation episodes
(mostly from the second season, I think)...
Structural problems between
plot and premise: the
enterprise is in deadly Some mysterious
danger, but they insist on phenomena is eating
alternating that with the ship's brain, and
domestic soap. then it's "Wesley,
I'm worried about
you. You've been
working so *haaard*
They're going for the *MASH*
format of multiple interlayered
stories -- but to get that to
work, you need a conglomeration
of minatures, and Star Trek
(and Science Fiction in
general) is about grand sweep.
They were trying to soften
stories based on intellectual I understand that the
abstractions by forcibly show apparently did
injecting "human interest". remarkably well with
female audiences. FAULT
Maybe they knew what
they were doing?
Given the stories
they're interested in, In a tense diplomatic
Troi is Superman-- and situation it is Riker's skill at poker
they neglected to cruicial to estimate not withstanding, it's
supply a kryptonite the sincerity of all insane that you would
fix. concerned. not have Troi do
Because she's female,
Spock through she's not allowed to
the mirror. be tough & manipulative?
RULE_OF_REVERSALS Instead, they
have her play
Though this is Cathy Guisewite.
obscured by the
presence of a (Both "generations",
"spock-type" on despite their
stage. best intentions
But Data too is a by sexism).
reversal, but a
They have to pretend reflection around
that she's not there, another axis: the
except when needed for "logical being"
quick plot resolutions. that *wants* to be
Oh, how can we tell than in denial of it.
if this Romulan is
lying? A reassuring premise:
it remains valuable to
So much smarmy, to be human.
dialog-- the In the 1960s Star Trek,
incessant the point was to reassure
sentimentality that "emotions" were still
is the most valuable: man does not
off-putting live by grim contemplation
thing about the of strategy alone.
MAD: destroying humanity
in order to save it.
The premise of "Next
Generation" is the ultimate Human beings remain
triumph of romantic humanism. at the helm. Human
beings-- funny ears,
And also: and lumpy foreheads
Wisdom is possible, remain at the
and can avert disaster. negotiation table.
The prescence of
In retrospect, that vision autonomy in a
of conflict resolution through machine necessitates
a diplomacy that is backed by a human face.
force, but that wisely
forebears using it... that (In reality, given the
all looks sadly, desperately technology and political
relevant. situations of ST, actual
space battles would pass in
If they had done a better job an eye-blink, faster than the
with this show, could they long-feared nuclear spasm.)
have prevented the excesses
of the Naughts?
Could they have psychologically
prepared the United States
to deal with a 9/11 attack
without going insane?
If they'd been less smarmy
about it, could they have
gotten people to take it
Maybe they could've created a
bulwark against "Incredible DAISY_CUTTER_DIPLOMACY
Hulk" foreign policy.
It's really *not*
impossible for fiction to
achieve that sort of The Ferengi weren't a
thing (e.g. "1984" was bad try at satirizing
pretty effective on corporate values -- it's
through 1984 or so). too bad that they seemed
so much like Shylock
with funny ears.
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