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Vulgar, Obscene, Blasphemous, and Profane Are All Different Things
Trek TV! I'm writing a bunch of curse words here. I think they're funny as all get out, and I think y'all will too. But just in case you employ 6-year-olds to work as your secretary, I mention it now. You read one email from a guy who talked about masturbation though, so I'll take the liberty. In defense, that movie made over $100 million worldwide on only $40 million. Also I want to watch it now. I’m writing another long email, mainly because I have the time. I’m actually working on an MA in German at OSU here in Columbus and will be spending the summer reading up on the various texts we will need to know for our end exam, and watching the things we need to watch. It’s a lot less fun than I thought it would be, but life has been letting me down a lot lately, so I don’t really give a fuck. This cock sucking email will be divided into two damn parts. The first piss quaffing part will be shorter and about “Conspiracy” and Claymation. The second pope raping portion will focus on “The Neutral Zone”. I Piss Quaffing Part One of the most interesting topics raised in the discussion in Episode 117 - Star Trek: The Next Generation - S01E25 – Conspiracy was Claymation. A lot of people have been going back and forth between practical effects and CGI since at least the 80s. Tron (1982) was disqualified from the Academy Award for Special Effects because of their use of CGI. And I would refer anyone to talk about The Hobbit movies vs LOTR to see a contemporary difference between the practical and the CGI. A good starting point is this reddit page. I don’t think one can say practical effects are better than CGI, it’s like comparing oil paintings to mosaics. They have different effects. One will do some things better and so will the other. Claymation, or stop motion, will always have a special place in my heart too. I grew up on Gumby, the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer holiday special and its like, and even though I didn’t get into Ray Harryhausen until much later, it’s there too. If anyone really likes this sort of thing, I would also recommend The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (1993) and East German Claymation porn. Yes, pornography was illegal in the GDR, but like the adaptive tentacle porn of Japan, the makers of the Trabant also made something else. I’m not sure how wide spread or popular they were, but here is a link if you don’t believe me. I don’t think I would put this in the same league as pornography, especially Hentai, but inventive it was definitely. II Pope Raping Portion In Episode 118 - Star Trek: The Next Generation - S01E26 - The Neutral Zone, the most interesting issue was the acclimation of the three individuals to their new times. The most interesting comparison here seems to be Bloch’s idea of non-synchronism (Ger: Ungleichzeitigkeit). Bloch did many things, but with this idea he helps apply Marxist ideology to a post-Marx world. Marxism is all about a progression in stages, from feudalism to capitalism and ultimately to a utopian communist society. If this were true, the obvious question would be: Why are there still capitalist governments and communist governments at the same time? In “The Neutral Zone” Picard and the crew are forced to confront relics of our time even though humanity is supposed to be more evolved in the 24th century. This comparison of Bloch might not be the most pertinent though. Bloch is credited with this term, though perhaps not the exact idea. But in any case, it had definitely come into use in the 60s. What’s less clear is whether the writers of Star Trek: TNG were familiar with that work. I can’t seem to get a clear picture of who wrote what in the series. I would like to know more about this. Maurice Hurley wrote the teleplay, and was apparently heavily involved in the series (especially with the first season). I’ve been looking to see what sort of background Hurley has and cannot find any sort of socialist/communist or even any philosophical background. Firebird 2015 AD (1981) doesn’t seem anything more than a cheap sci-fi a la Mad Max, though I have no intention of watching it. I looked at some of the other episodes Hurley is credited with writing by Memory Alpha: “Hide and Q”, “ Datalore”, “11001001”, “Heart of Glory”, “The Arsenal of Freedom”, “The Child”, “Time Squared”, “Q Who”, “Shades of Gray”, “Galaxy’s Child” and “Power Play”. I wonder if perhaps I have missed something. Such an absence really starts to make me think of Adorno’s early interpretation of television as a tool of destruction. His contention seems to have been that the danger inherent in television is twofold. Firstly, it was broadcast directly into our homes – the area where we are most vulnerable. Secondly, and much more importantly, television, like its predecessor the radio, is a one-way communication. The telephone or Morse code are great because they allow communication over mass distances, but television provides only an opportunity to listen, and usually to the messages of huge corporations, either directly through commercials, or indirectly through their chosen program. In the case of “The Neutral Zone”, the question then becomes: Is there something to this? Are the ideologies of Bloch and Neo-Marxism being propagated? Or is it merely a formulaic show that happens to have taken place many years in the future. Cryogenics are still alive and well after all, and are a frequent topic of scifi. Tracey even pointed out that the desire for immortality such as in the process of mummification has been around for thousands of years. All of this evidence suggests that the show bears no formal philosophical influence. There were, however, two other authors credited, not including Gene Roddenberry. Deborah McIntyre and Mona Clee are credited with the story. The former apparently only also worked on MechWarrior 3 and the latter has no further credits to her listed at all. This really does bring up a larger question of authorship in television and film. I always have a hard time believing that a World War II pilot turned police officer could be a communist, especially one in Los Angeles during the Cold War. I’ve been browsing the Wikipedia page and have not read a full biography of him, but he started his writing career as a police officer writing about traffic safety and from there moved slowly into writing for television. To call the Star Trek franchise communist, I would say is wrong. There are certainly general tendencies to be drawn. The future is a utopia, but when all the writers of a series have no previous background either in politics or philosophy, or even in supporting anything communist, where does this opinion come from? We seem to try to interpret television and film the same way that we do literature. This isn't a good approach. It’s much better to see the works as amalgams of various influences. If one sees a reference to Bloch in an episode, it might be there but it might not. You can’t view Star Trek as merely a manifestation of Marx’s theory of a utopian, communist society then say, that the use of unfrozen humans from our time reinforces Bloch’s opinion of the non-synchronous. Tracing influences like that requires knowing much more about the production. So much of th the history of “The Neutral Zone” focuses on the writer’s strike. This helped force a rushed production. And it’s pretty clear that working with a team of writers in television often creates a mush of influences that call on many different things but rarely any one thing in particular. Look at all the pop culture references in DS9, Voyager, or even Enterprise – not to mention any of the non-Star Trek TV shows like The Simpsons. TV shows often draw on many sources to appeal to a larger audience and to make their work easy to understand. Nowadays we can watch and re-watch things on Netflix, pause at certain scenes, and check Wikipedia for more information. Only a little over a decade ago these things weren’t possible. If a show was to be broadcast from coast to coast, it needs to be able to be understood. While a discussion of how the non-synchronous individual does play into a one of Marxist Utopia, it doesn't necessarily to a Star Trek viewing audience, even if it may to their creators. As interesting as it may be to talk about the practice of mummification, cryogenics, and how this is reflects an inner and innate desire for immortality, I don’t think it’s appropriate for a television show. Television is still very much a one-way form of communication. These sorts of Jungian ideas, the collective unconscious, would likely be more present in TV shows that are inherently “dumbed down”. If there are any Star Trek fans that due see Ernst Bloch in this episode, and have any new evidence to support it, I would be both surprised and elated to learn of it. Anyway, you guys are awesome! I’ll try and write to other people too over the summer and not just swamp you a bunch of stupid emails. Your fan in Columbus, Seth