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Author Topic: The Star Trek Thread  (Read 13718 times)
ergative
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« Reply #45 on: January 07, 2013, 7:04:49 PM »

I've heard that argument before--miniskirts as a symbol of societal freedom for women. But isn't that debate mostly miniskirts vs. longer "decent" skirts? And anyway, they were part of the required uniform (for women), which pretty much throws out any question of freedom of expression. I suppose the same argument might be made for requiring women to wear pants, but then in that case both men and women's freedom of expression in this utopian society is restricted in exactly the same way.

In the TNG pilot there were both men and women wearing both skirts and pants uniforms, which would have been pretty awesome if it continued, but it disappeared pretty fast.


It is kind of important to keep the fashions, etc. in perspective. Someone above mentioned not being very happy about the miniskirts, but it would be the height of hypocrisy for those of us who were around when the series was new to complain about that. We were wearing miniskirts, ourselves. They were not only the height of fashion, they were--no matter how they might be viewed today-- in themselves, making a statement very much in favor of women and our right to dress in ways previously forbidden; mostly forbidden by the men in our lives. Heck, pretty soon we were even allowed to wear slacks in public, although at that time you would not have been permitted in most restaurants while so dressed; you could, however, wear a miniskirt.

*bows to hegemony* Cool!
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mended_drum
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« Reply #46 on: January 07, 2013, 7:22:19 PM »

And there is absolutely no good reason that the reboot movie included the miniskirts.
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mended_drum
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« Reply #47 on: January 07, 2013, 7:28:39 PM »

True Fact: Last year at some point I got interested in the Amazon Singles program--mid-length original writing that sells for 99 cents or $1.99 and has made some writers a ton on money. Maybe I could write one, I thought. So I went to the Amazon Singles page to see what sells and the bestselling item that week was "Wesley Crusher: Teenage Fvck Machine."

http://www.regretsy.com/2012/03/06/wesley-crusher-teenage-f***-machine/

While it was on.. and eventually there will be another Star Trek series...TNG and DS9 were the only on-going series that accepted spec scripts.  That is, you didn't have to have an agent or be a member of the writers' guild to send in a script and have it actually read.  My friend Sarah Higley of the U. of Rochester (and medievalist) sold the script that turned into the first episode with Reginald Barclay, our nerd in space, in exactly that way. 
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dolljepopp
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« Reply #48 on: January 07, 2013, 7:29:21 PM »

And there is absolutely no good reason that the reboot movie included the miniskirts.

Agreed. I'm not so willing to condemn a television show of nearly fifty years ago for being caught in its time in some ways when it managed to be ahead in others. A lot of sixties' TV featured miniskirts and, well, less enlightened moments.

The reboot film has no excuse.
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ergative
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« Reply #49 on: January 07, 2013, 7:37:33 PM »

And there is absolutely no good reason that the reboot movie included the miniskirts.

Agreed. I'm not so willing to condemn a television show of nearly fifty years ago for being caught in its time in some ways when it managed to be ahead in others. A lot of sixties' TV featured miniskirts and, well, less enlightened moments.

The reboot film has no excuse.

Loyalty to the original!
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mended_drum
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« Reply #50 on: January 07, 2013, 7:47:16 PM »

Technically, the kiss in "Plato's Stepchildren" was not in fact the first interracial kiss on American television (Sammy Davis, Jr. kissed Nancy Sinatra on some variety show that I can't remember the name of), though it is usually cited that way, and the camera angle was such that you could not actually see lips meet.  And if you want to be technical about it, there is an interracial kiss in "Mirror, Mirror" an episode that precedes the Uhura/Kirk kiss in "Plato's Stepchildren."

Yes, I am a big nerd.

But here's a comment to send the masses into crazy-ville:  I never liked Data as a character in spite of Brent Spiner's wonderful acting.  Please don't hit me.  The endless amazing qualities of humanity theme that accompanies the development of his character is tedious, especially when he is surrounded by members of other species.  Just once, when he talks about becoming better by becoming human, I would have like Worf or someone to clear his throat meaningfully.  I mean, it felt so egotistical.  Or speciesist.  Or something.

Only Q ever had the nerve to ask him why he wanted to emulate humans specifically, rather than emulate characteristics from the different species he met in his travels.

But note that in the film Star Trek VI, a klingon notes that constantly referring to human rights is racist.  I liked that.

Moreover, I got sick and tired of the young men I dated in college who were TNG fans proclaiming, "I am Data!" which made him just an updated Spock.  That is, "I, a young human male, do not understand emotions or human behavior that you [implied female] insist on engaging in all the time."  Bleh.  Thankfully, both my dates and the character grew more sophisticated over time.

I feel better posting that.  But when I gave a paper with a thesis a bit like this at the American Popular Culture Association in the 90s, not only did people in the audience freak out, ["But you don't understand!  It's because he's not human!"  "Yes, I get that.  Why should he want to be?"  "You don't understand!"], I received appreciative letters afterward, all from members of racial minorities who did take my point.

Now who wants to talk about the pattern of writing out or killing the strongest female characters [Yar, Saavik, K'Ehleyr, Ro Laren, etc] in favor of keeping the nurturing ones instead in TNG and TOS?
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larryc
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« Reply #51 on: January 07, 2013, 7:49:48 PM »

The portrayals of women in the OS were very 1960s--they held positions of power, but were still expected to be eye candy, and they became hysterical the second there was trouble. Talk about mixed messages.
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daniel_von_flanagan
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« Reply #52 on: January 07, 2013, 8:25:51 PM »

If you look at the original series, however, highfalutin moral bloviations wrt the directive notwithstanding, Kirk and Co. violate it more often than Picard would 80 years later, often for explicitly selfish save-our-skins reasons, and on several occasions, at least two that I can immediately recall, they were specifically ordered to do so by Federation command, also for selfish reasons.
I expect all of Kirk's deliberate transgressions were covered by the 47 sub-orders of the directive, and I do not recall any times that Kirk violated it to save his own skin without also saving the skins of the people with whom he was interfering.

In aaaaany event...the directive was apparently Gene Roddenberry's commentary on the influence of missionaries on indigenous peoples, and an example of GR's idea of using the show to address real problems and "big" conundra.  The later series - even STNG after GR's death - increasingly lost sight of that idea.  One can argue that the ways the earlier shows addressed such issues as sexism, racism, the cold war, etc., were rather simplistic and naive, or that they, ahem, skirted other important issues, but really the show in his time was admirable for its ambition. - DvF
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larryc
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« Reply #53 on: January 07, 2013, 8:34:57 PM »

Maybe I am being glib, but it seems to me everytime the Prime Directive was mentioned it was violated in the next scene. Always with good reason.
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mended_drum
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« Reply #54 on: January 07, 2013, 8:41:33 PM »

Maybe I am being glib, but it seems to me everytime the Prime Directive was mentioned it was violated in the next scene. Always with good reason.

Heck, Kirk and company apparently had seventeen separate violations of the temporal prime directive alone.  :)
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msparticularity
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« Reply #55 on: January 07, 2013, 9:31:16 PM »


Now who wants to talk about the pattern of writing out or killing the strongest female characters [Yar, Saavik, K'Ehleyr, Ro Laren, etc] in favor of keeping the nurturing ones instead in TNG and TOS?

This isn't quite accurate. Yar was killed off because Denise Crosby wanted out of her contract, the Saavik character was recast less successfully after Kirstie Alley was unable to continue in the role due to other commitments, and the character that became Kira Nerys was originally written specifically to be Ro Laren, but Michelle Forbes turned it down.
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mountainguy
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« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2013, 9:44:45 PM »

Both the original series and TNG were a major part of my childhood. I'm just old enough that I can remember when TNG was in active production. It aired well after my my bedtime during the school year (I was in 7th grade when the series ended), so getting to see a "new" episode was a big deal for me. For some reason, my family's VCR could not record UHF stations, so unless school wasn't in session, I was out of luck. When the series finale aired, I remember that I convinced my grandmother to video-record it for me at her house.

Later, I watched the first few seasons of Voyager, but my interest in that faded as more pressing commitments came to occupy my young adult time. I've recently re-discovered it and am now in the process of catching up on what I missed. Last summer, I watched the story arc that introduced Seven of Nine. Great Stuff. FWIW, I've never been able to get into Deep Space 9, and I've never seen a single episode of Enterprise.
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mountainguy
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« Reply #57 on: January 07, 2013, 10:01:51 PM »

[sorry for the double-post]


Now who wants to talk about the pattern of writing out or killing the strongest female characters [Yar, Saavik, K'Ehleyr, Ro Laren, etc] in favor of keeping the nurturing ones instead in TNG and TOS?

This isn't quite accurate. Yar was killed off because Denise Crosby wanted out of her contract, the Saavik character was recast less successfully after Kirstie Alley was unable to continue in the role due to other commitments, and the character that became Kira Nerys was originally written specifically to be Ro Laren, but Michelle Forbes turned it down.

I think it's safe to say that the franchise has reinforced some stereotypical gender roles, but that it has evolved over time to be more progressive. I've also read that Nichelle Nicols (Uhura) and Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Christine Chapel) were slated to have major scenes Star Trek III film, but that those scenes were cut from the final production. There was some progress in TNG*, It's not really until Voyager, I think, when we see major female characters who are treated truly as equals to men. But that doesn't make the show less enjoyable.


*Marina Sirtis has said in interviews that she was ecstatic when Troi got to wear the standard-issue Starfleet uniform instead of the goofy purple cocktail dress, because it meant she was a professional.
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msparticularity
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« Reply #58 on: January 07, 2013, 10:11:06 PM »

[sorry for the double-post]


Now who wants to talk about the pattern of writing out or killing the strongest female characters [Yar, Saavik, K'Ehleyr, Ro Laren, etc] in favor of keeping the nurturing ones instead in TNG and TOS?

This isn't quite accurate. Yar was killed off because Denise Crosby wanted out of her contract, the Saavik character was recast less successfully after Kirstie Alley was unable to continue in the role due to other commitments, and the character that became Kira Nerys was originally written specifically to be Ro Laren, but Michelle Forbes turned it down.

I think it's safe to say that the franchise has reinforced some stereotypical gender roles, but that it has evolved over time to be more progressive. I've also read that Nichelle Nicols (Uhura) and Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Christine Chapel) were slated to have major scenes Star Trek III film, but that those scenes were cut from the final production. There was some progress in TNG*, It's not really until Voyager, I think, when we see major female characters who are treated truly as equals to men. But that doesn't make the show less enjoyable.


*Marina Sirtis has said in interviews that she was ecstatic when Troi got to wear the standard-issue Starfleet uniform instead of the goofy purple cocktail dress, because it meant she was a professional.

Still, things were improving by TNG. Certainly Troi was written in a rather stereotypically feminine manner, but Dr. Crusher was considerably less so, and several of the regular guest stars were very powerful women--the blonde admiral, for example (can't remember her name). Let's not forget, either, that we had plenty of male beefcake roles to go around--both in Classic Trek and in TNG.
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punchnpie
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« Reply #59 on: January 07, 2013, 11:14:10 PM »

I went to ST conventions before punch jr was born, and then dragged him with me when he got old enough to appreciate them. I am a big fan of the original series and am a firm believer that everything I need to know, I learned from Star Trek. I used ST (or more precisely, decision-making and Vulcans' inability to deal with the unexpected) in my comps. I love thinking of the people who became excited about physics and engineering because of ST and the inventions that have come about because of the series.

Strangely, though I loved STNG when it came out, and it was mandatory viewing, I don't watch the reruns (BBC America has them) that much. Don't know why. I will watch 'The Inner Light,' in which Picard lives the life of a man on a dying planet. And 'Darmok' with the wonderful Paul Winfield. Punch jr and I will still look at each other and say 'Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra' when we don't understand something.

Voyager didn't hold my attention, neither did Deep Space Nine, though I saw a lot of the shows. I thought the Firingi were rather one note (as Klingons tend to be) and just couldn't get into the show. I liked Rene Auberjonois' character, however. Obviously, I've seen all the movies.

I've met all the major actors from the original and a good number form STNG and Deep Space Nine. Two postcards from Riverside, IA (Capt Kirk's birthplace) adorn my office bulletin board. Although not every show/series has it the 100% mark, my life would have been poorer without it.
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