Over the weekend, my pal and fellow LSFer Bill ran across a piece on BigHollywood discussing the Conservative virtues of Star Trek (TOS), specifically the episode "Patterns of Force" (the Nazi episode). This is the episode that was banned in Germany for decades because of the Nazi motifs.
Not having watched "Patterns of Force" in years, I sat down and watched it.
In the episode, the Zeons, another planet in system that contains two habitable (and inhabited) planets, serve as a metaphor for the Jews of WW2, while the Ekosians, who inhabit the second planet, serve as a metaphor for Nazi Germany. The rise of Nazism on Ekos comes about thanks to the meddling of a Federation researcher, John Gill, who was sent there some years ago to observe the Ekosians. Gill, being a professor of history decides to meddle in local affairs and uses Nazi Germany as the binding force, hoping to keep it benign and set himself up as dictator.
Andrew Price provides a good analysis of the episode, pointing out why, despite Hollywood's (and Roddenberry's) Leftist leanings, this is very much a Right-wing episode.
Liberals desire powerful government. They believe that even totalitarian regimes can be good so long as they are run benignly. Indeed, you'll often hear liberals suggest that we should suspend things like rule of law and free elections or give the state tremendous power so it can achieve some supposedly noble goal that can't be achieved the legal way.
A lot of this sounds familiar and explains why Hollywood Lefties like dictators such as Castro, Hugo Chavez, Mao, and a host of others, including (and especially) Castro's Lieutenant, Che Guevara. As those elected members of the Democratic Party here in the United States continue to push for more control over the American People, the more Hollywood Lefties love them.
Price makes a darn good point in his closing argument that "Patterns of Force" is rightwing in that it "warns that you cannot have a benign dictator. It warns the problem is the concentration of power itself, because the misuse of that power is inevitable. And no matter what the intentions may be for the creation of the state, the very concentration of that much power will attract someone who will misuse the power for evil." And yes, that is a very conservative message.
One last interesting point. John Gill was a professor of history, an Ivory Tower elitist who believed he knew what was best for the Ekosians. Sound familiar?
Over on Big Hollywood they have a nice write up about William Shatner's recent appearance at Wizard World Comic Con in New Orleans. Here's a bit of the piece:
Instead of delivering a prepared talk filled with anecdotes about his career in entertainment, Shatner told attendees that he would rather take their questions and concentrate on their interests.
"Have you ever hated Captain Kirk?" one audience member asked. In response, "The Shat," as he is commonly called now, described his romp down Bourbon Street the previous night.
"Last night we were having dinner, and the waiter comes up and says — what would you like? I said `oysters." And he said — ‘Beam Me Up Scotty!!!' — I mean come on."
"On the other hand…," he added. "I would not have been here ordering those oysters if it hadn't been for Captain Kirk. It's a two-edged sword. Imagine getting to do the things I've done as a result of playing the part of Captain Kirk."
Shatner is an entertainer, and has always been The Captain to me. There's a lot more to the piece, and it is a good read, but even better is the video from Wizard World. It's a bit short of an hour, but worth it.
Sunday night I found myself watching Star Trek (yes, the real one, from the '60s, with Kirk, Scotty, McCoy, and that pointy-eared hobgoblin) with my daughter sitting on my knee (she's five, for those of you not in the know). She had never seen Star Trek, especially not the original series, so it was her first REAL exposure to it (she has a Klingon outfit, and several Klingon t-shirts, thanks to her loving parents).
We digress. This is actually a review of the original series episode "Day of the Dove", which aired on Nov. 1st, 1968 and gust starred Michael Ansara as Kang, one of the great Klingons - the Big three in Klingon Lore (John Colicos as Kor and William Cambell as Koloth being the other two). Ansara is also a member of the Illustrious Clan MacDude. The episode was scripted by Jerome Bixby.
The story line is: Alien entity takes over Enterprise and forces a situation where a number of Klingons are on board; most of the crew is cutoff, creating a balance between Enterprise crew and the Klingons. The Alien entity then nurses the two crews' mutual animosity and mistrust, arming them with swords, and then feeds on their hatred and warlike actions. Simple, right? Until you look at the underlying themes of the episode.
Produced during the height of the Vietnam War, "Day of the Dove" is distinctly anti-war. Generally, no biggie. I don't know anyone who is pro-war, except a few power-mad dictators from the 20th Century. Bixby did a good job of mixing an anti-war message with an interesting and exciting story.
The alien entity, when you sit down and analyze the story, is an allegory for the Military-industrial complex, the Left's bogey-man of choice whenever the U.S. finds itself fighting an unpopular war (Vietnam, Iraq, Iraq 2, etc.). This really stood out when Kirk went on at the climax about how there is always some group that likes to sit back and laugh while others bleed. It's this realization that caused me to pause and give the episode some thought. Your basic "Holy smoke!" moment (feel free to use your own "s" word there.) It's also at that point I realized that "Day of the Dove" is anti-war, and specifically anti-Vietnam War.
This doesn't change the fact that it is a good story and one of my favorite Trek episodes (hey, it has Klingons! Of course it's great!), but using an alien entity as an allegory for the military industrial complex does show how Leftwing even the original series was.
"Day of the Dove" is available on the Internet courtesy of CBS, with occasional commercial interruption.
One of my friends on FB came across this video. Just had to post it. It's a real hoot.
Just to show that this site is not all about politics, I ran across this piece on telling the difference between a Trekkie and a Trekker by Miss Cellania (not, of course, her real name).
Here's a sample:
A Trekker has a Starfleet Academy window sticker on his car.
A Trekkie is cramming for the entrance exams.
There is a lot more where that came from.
On the upside, I am proud to say I qualify as a Trekker, and not a Trekkie. Thermians, on the other hand...
The guy playing the congressman is Clint Howard, Ron Howard's brother. He has also done at least one other video for Heritage Action for America.
Clint played Balok in The Corbomite Manuever (ToS, 1st season), Grady in Past Tense part 2 in DS9, and Muk in Acquisition in Enterprise.
Other SF work includes Space Rangers, The Rocketeer, The Outer Limits (1996 revival).
Also, check out Ed Morrissey's interview of Clint on Hot Air.
A while ago I had a debate with a friend about who was the toughest Star Trek character. My answer was immediate. Scotty was the toughest. By my figuring in every episode he was in he wore a RED SHIRT! Yet he always survived!. IMDB indicates he was in 65 episodes, how many other redshirts lived that long?
Hope you enjoyed this irreverent post. I still think Scotty is the toughest.