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BS: 'Star Trek- movie

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Azizi 08 May 09 - 03:54 PM
gnu 08 May 09 - 03:57 PM
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Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 08 May 09 - 04:02 PM
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Subject: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Azizi
Date: 08 May 09 - 03:54 PM

I've just read these three articles about the new Star Trek movie "Star Trek-The First Contact":

http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/content/view/114/1/

**
Race to Space: Asian Americans, stereotypes in Star Trek's Final Frontier                 
Written by Harry Mok | Illustration by Gary Gao   
SUNDAY, 02 NOVEMBER 2008

**
http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/content/view/127/1/

John Cho's Getting High: Actor takes over the role of Sulu in Star Trek movie                 
written by Sylvie Kim | Photograph by Soybaby   
Sunday, 02 November 2008

**
http://www.racialicious.com/2009/05/08/kirking-out/
Kirking Out
written by Latoya Peterson May 8th, 2009 at 7:00 am

-snip-

Each of these articles (and multiple comments included with the 3rd article which is actually a blog post) discuss that movie from the perspective of race in pop culture as demonstrated by all of the Star Trek television series and by this Star Trek movie in particular.

I've not seen }Star Trek-The First Contact" yet. But I certainly intend to see that movie as I consider myself a trekkie (full disclosure I like Spock more than Kirk, and I also like Uhuru).

In this thread I'll share some excepts from those articles whose links I gave.

This thread is also a place to share your reactions to those articles, to the Star Trek series, to other Star Trek movies and/or to this particular movie.

Thanks in advance for your participation in this discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: gnu
Date: 08 May 09 - 03:57 PM

"... and I also like Uhuru)."

Well, who wouldn't? Maybe not in the same way as me... >;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Azizi
Date: 08 May 09 - 03:59 PM

Excerpts from "Race to Space: Asian Americans, stereotypes in Star Trek's Final Frontier"                 
Written by Harry Mok | Illustration by Gary Gao   
Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Space … the final frontier. These are the voyages for Asian Americans, who've boldly gone where they never have before—on five Star Trek TV shows and 10 movies. Star Trek is a pop culture phenomenon spanning more than 40 years and is considered groundbreaking for diverse casts that have always included Asian characters...

The cast of The Original Series (TOS), which is what fans call the first iteration of Star Trek, also had a black female character (Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols) and, at the height of the Cold War, a Russian character (Chekov, played by Walter Koenig). In later shows, there are Latino and Native American characters.

"The message of Star Trek was all about tolerance, and the diverse cast reflected that message," says Trekkie Susan Sun of San Francisco. "To have (Asian Americans) be part of such a mainstream show made me feel like the future is all about people who look like me … I feel more connected to it."

The utopia envisioned by the producers of Star Trek is one in which humans, having survived an apocalyptic war, have overcome racism and prejudice to live peacefully with each other and, with the advent of interstellar space flight, species from other worlds. But not all is well in the United Federation of Planets if you look beyond the polyester Starfleet uniforms and prosthetic makeup.

"There are serious issues of racism, in an academic sense, and you can see how it plays out in how Asian men, black men and Asian women are represented," says Daniel Bernardi, author of Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future. "Yes, you put some people of color on the show. Now that's good, but how did you use them and to what end?"

Bernardi, an associate professor and director of the Film and Media Studies program at Arizona State University, says he's a fan of Star Trek, but the show perpetuates white superiority and renders the non-white characters as sidekicks or servants.

"What Star Trek is really about is a future that is quote, white, and white is really articulated as a metaphor for being human," Bernardi says. "We can all get along if humans—read white—are in charge, and we all try to be like them...

Outside of Star Trek, not much has changed for Asian Americans on television since Takei first donned a yellow-polyester Starfleet uniform. Juicy roles for Asian American actors are few and far between. "Given the nature the rest of TV (Star Trek) is groundbreaking. It's iconoclastic and going against the grain in having people of color in the cast," Yu says. "It works toward the stated mission, that vision, so I would give them credit for it."


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Azizi
Date: 08 May 09 - 04:01 PM

Hey gnu. You're right. I probably didn't/don't like Uhuru for the same reasons you do/don't.

But it's all good.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 08 May 09 - 04:02 PM

Wasn't there a rare interracial kiss on Star Treck in the early years? I wonder whether the producers thought it potentially less controversial due to the future (and thus 'abstracting') context?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Azizi
Date: 08 May 09 - 04:06 PM

Here's another Star Trek article: which is probably inspired by the new Star Trek movie:

http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2009/05/07/obama_spock/index.html

**

Oops! I'll gotta leave the computer for a while. I'll post some excerpts from those other two articles or blog comments when I return.

As someone said in another movie-"I'll be back."


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: clueless don
Date: 08 May 09 - 04:32 PM

Just to be nit-picky:

The new movie, which goes, I believe, into general release today (May 8, 2009) is called, I believe, "Star Trek".

"Star Trek: First Contact" was a movie released in 1996, featuring the cast of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" series.

Don


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Azizi
Date: 08 May 09 - 07:46 PM

Don, you are right about the title. I stand corrected. Well actually I sit corrected.

Sorry about that mistake.

**

Crow Sister, here's an excerpt about that kiss from that racialious.com article which quoted Nichelle Nichol's (Uhuru's) Wikipedia page:

"In her role as Lt. Uhura, Nichols famously kissed Canadian actor William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in the 1968 Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren". This is often referred to as the first interracial kiss on US television, however that milestone actually took place when Sammy Davis, Jr. and Nancy Sinatra kissed briefly on the variety program Movin' With Nancy in December 1967. It wasn't even the first interracial kiss on Star Trek, as Shatner had kissed an alien played by Vietnamese-French actress France Nuyen in the episode Elaan of Troyius, which was screened earlier that season.

Nevertheless, the scene provoked protest and was seen as groundbreaking, even though the kiss was portrayed as having been forced by alien mind control. Despite a smattering of protest, the majority of the feedback of the incident was positive."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nichelle_Nichols


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Azizi
Date: 08 May 09 - 07:58 PM

Here are 5 of the 50 (to date)comments from readers of the "Kirking Out" blog post: http://www.racialicious.com/2009/05/08/kirking-out/


Jess wrote:
I gotta say, I was always one of those who, while acknowledging the show's political shortcomings (this is coming from a guy raised to be a Socialist) I have a soft spot for Roddenberry's vision of the future, in which ethnicity didn't matter and it was important to recognize our humanity.

I mean, he had a famously multiracial and multiethnic crew on the ship, and that was a big deal in 1966-67.

Not that there aren't issues– Roddenberry's original vision was very much a technocratic sort of utopia, along the lines of the stuff that Arthur C. Clarke would come up with, and very "traditional" in a science fictional sense (the New Wave really wouldn't make itself felt in science fiction television for a while, I'd say it took until the 90s for that to go mainstream, but you could argue the point depending on how you define things).

In any case, I was just thinking of George Takei — I mean, Asian, gay, (and compared to many people in TV at the time, rather openly so, though closeted by today's standards) and playing a key role in many episodes.

I'd call the show's racial politics pretty good for its time. Yeah, when we watch it now it doesn't look as progressive as we would like, but I bet more than half the readers of this blog weren't born yet when it aired. Things have changed a bit, in ways that hen I think about it, are pretty damned huge. Remember, it's been forty years(!). [I am officially old, having caught the series in its first syndications as a kid in the mid-70s].

All of which makes me want to see the movie. I'm interested to see how Abrams takes on Roddenberry's concept. I think it could be a fun ride.
Posted 08 May 2009 at 8:02 am

&&

Jehanzeb wrote:
I was never into "Star Trek," in fact, I was conditioned to hate it because I was a die-hard "Star Wars" nerd. Every day in middle-school, my fellow "Star Wars" geeks would engage in intense debates and arguments with the Trekkies who sat on the other side of the lunch table.

Because of this, I have never seen a single "Star Trek" movie. Now that I am older, I had to admit that the trailer for the new "Star Trek" movie looks pretty cool. I have only just begun to realize how diverse their cast is (not just in this film, but in their other movies and television shows, particularly Voyager and Deep Space Nine). I still haven't fully watched a "Star Trek" movie or episode, but after reading this post, I'm curious to see how people of color are portrayed.

But that inner geek is making me feel like I'm betraying "Star Wars" if I say anything positive about "Star Trek." Ha!
Posted 08 May 2009 at 11:05 am
**

Eva wrote:
"I think the Klingons were originally supposed to be the the Russians then morphed into a representation of black people. I think the Vulcans and Romulans were supposed to be Asians."

I watched TOS when I was a child in 1966. It was very revolutionary, I was amazed to see a black woman on the bridge, an officer.
Originally, the Klingons were supposed to be the Russians, however when TNG came on, Michael Dorn, a black man, played Worf, that meant they had to find another black person to play his brother (Tony Todd) and so it went. I don't think it was intentional for the Klingons to be black people. But when I was a teenager in the 70's, we all thought the Vulcans were supposed to be Asians, so you're right on that one.
Posted 08 May 2009 at 11:30 am

**

Eva wrote:
One more thing, the Vulcans and the Romulans were originally one people. I can't remember why they split up. I do remember the Vulcans believed in logic while the Romulans didn't.
Posted 08 May 2009 at 11:31 am ¶

**
Daniel wrote:
I'm also a trekkie and a huge sci-fi fan. Haven' t seen the movie yet, maybe much later on. It's pretty cool because this media franchise is one of the few where we did get that wide range of minority characters with quite a lot of depth in their acting…relatively speaking. I watched and enjoyed/disliked parts of all the series, TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise plus the movies.
I think if Star Trek does get revitalized, the series will change in a way that might reflect more of the demographic variety (not just people but in terms of different cultures, religions, philosophies) of today. It's done that before of course, but I suspect it will change further.

The strange thing about these science fiction shows is that we know it's fake but compared with other genres, the acting and mini-plots make it quite realistic. Half of the time it's just drama with a space background. Pretty good drama as they don't hide the mundane parts plus flaws and "amoral" traits of their characters. At least, it's what I think.
Posted 08 May 2009 at 2:49 pm


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Azizi
Date: 08 May 09 - 08:03 PM

Here's an excerpt from an interview with actor John Cho
http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/content/view/127/1/

John Cho's Getting High: Actor takes over the role of Sulu in Star Trek movie                 
Written by Sylvie Kim | Photograph by Soybaby   
Sunday 02 Novenmber 2008

[JC=John Cho]

"Soon audiences will see you as Sulu in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek. Did you watch Star Trek as a kid and did the diversity of its cast have an impact on you?

JC: I didn't watch it religiously. I was sort of between generations. I was too young to have seen Star Trek originally, so I was more of a Star Wars kid. But over the years I would catch it on occasion and really enjoyed it and it meant a lot to me seeing George [Takei] on television. It was like, "look at this guy who isn't wearing a cone-shaped hat" and it was stunning. He was just alone on television as an Asian American. So when this project came along, I was very keen on doing it because it was a legacy I really wanted to be a part of. It was a really important thing in my mind that he had been on the Enterprise. It's funny how important these fictions are, these narratives. It meant so much for me as a child. And it shouldn't. It's really just outsized, the amount of importance we place on it, but having said that, it's what it is. It meant a lot to me. I just couldn't be more happy to follow in his footsteps and hopefully I won't disgrace his name.

Is it hard to reinterpret a role that is so associated with George Takei?

JC: Yeah, some. I mean in a way you just have to not worry about it at all. First of all, I'm unable to speak like him. It's a physical impossibility [laughs]. In that way, I'm not sure I'd be able to do an imitation so that frees me right there. There's such a fan base out there. You don't want to piss anybody off or disappoint anybody. But I've seen a little bit [of the film] and I think people will be happy and I also think it'll make new fans as well."


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Art Thieme
Date: 08 May 09 - 09:10 PM

And the Madoff family are the tip of a huge iceberg made of millions of Ferenghis living innocuously among us and sucking billions of dollars from us all.

Oh, the humanity! But now we know!

Art


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 May 09 - 09:16 PM

Are Ferengi human, Art?
Gee, and all this time, I thought they were Republicans.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: MAG
Date: 08 May 09 - 10:32 PM

Just got home from seeing it; liked it just fine.

Holes in the plot, but then it IS Star Trek.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Ron Davies
Date: 08 May 09 - 10:58 PM

Both the Washington Post and the Wall St Journal, predisposed to be negative, came away really loving it. Said it was great to see how the characters developed--the actors were plausible younger versions and the origin of some of the continuing plot lines was also believable.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 09 May 09 - 07:53 AM

Whan I first saw a Ferengi in a Star trek or spinoff I was pretty amazed at the boldness of showing such a brazenly antisemitic stereotype.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 09 May 09 - 08:36 AM

Ditto those thoughts RB.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: jacqui.c
Date: 09 May 09 - 09:37 AM

The Star Trek spinoffs went even further down the route of multiculturalism.

In the DS9 series the commander of the space station, a major character in the series, was black, with a woman as his second in command. In the Voyager series the captain was female, with a Latino second in command.


Whan I first saw a Ferengi in a Star trek or spinoff I was pretty amazed at the boldness of showing such a brazenly antisemitic stereotype. - that never occurred to me at all - they were just alien creatures! If you watched the DS9 series they developed the Ferenghi characters, some of whom became quite heroic as the series went on.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek-The First Contact' movie
From: Azizi
Date: 09 May 09 - 10:18 AM

Here's an interesting online article about Star Trek:

Space-racism is bad: And 17 other not-so-subtle lessons learned from Star Trek
By Josh Modell, Keith Phipps, Tasha Robinson, And Zack Handlen May 4, 2009

http://www.avclub.com/articles/spaceracism-is-bad-and-17-other-notsosubtle-lesson,27462/

Here's the first paragraph of that article:

1. Racism is bad (original series, "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield")
Star Trek has a long-running habit of recasting social situations via none-too-subtle metaphors, using far-future scenarios packed with androids and aliens to highlight some of the flaws in stodgy old 20th-century human thinking. One of the most pointed such shots at social commentary came in the 1969 original-series episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," as Captain James T. Kirk and the Starship Enterprise ran across two powerful half-white, half-black aliens with a long cultural history of mutual suspicion, oppression, and hatred that led to their world's destruction; in the end, they were the only survivors. Why so much hate? As one explained, he was white on the left side and black on the right side, whereas his enemy was the opposite. Of course, Kirk and his (nearly all white) crew didn't get it; to their advanced civilization, the distinction between skin colors and the prejudice attached to those colors was arbitrary, ridiculous, and hopelessly backward. Hint hint, racism-plagued '60s America.

-snip-

Here's the link to a YouTube video of that classic Star Trek (The Original Series TOS) episode entitled
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi7QQ5pO7_A&feature=player_embedded Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"

And here's a reader's comment about that episode:

The 'white on one side, black on the other 'was used to exemplify the inconsequential difference between Commissioner Biel and Loki. His insistence that black "on the right side" was inherently superior to those who were white on the right side is entire basis for his argument.

His stated beliefs are clearly absurd and serve to illustrate to 1960s audiences which other prejudices of their own might also be fallacious.

Don't forget the time that this story was written.
-sunnchilde (3 months ago)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 May 09 - 01:36 PM

It certainly never occurred to me that the Ferengi were supposed to resemble Jews?????????? Huh? In what way?

To me the Ferengi were simply aliens who represented the worst side of capitalism...the present ruling order in the world, which is based on limitless greed. The Star Trek society had completely done away with money! The motivation for getting ahead in that society was the sense of accomplishment and pride you get from mastering a trade that interests you, the enjoyment you derive from practicing that trade, and the respect you earn from others by doing a good job at it.

That's brilliant! That is the foundation of a truly enlightened and free society. That is the accomplishment of genuine equality and social justice.

They had no poverty. They had no class divisions. If you needed shoes, you went to the commissary and picked out a pair you liked! For free! No need to be like Imelda Marcos and hoard 3,000 pairs of shoes in a society where shoes are free, is there?

You want to eat lunch? You go to any one of many local restaurants and you eat lunch for free! No need to stuff your face at the "all you can eat" buffet, because you won't be "saving" money if you do...

And what was the part required of you? Simply participate and do your part. Go to school (also free), learn whatever you are inclined to to the best of your ability, and find a job or career that suits you, and participate!!!

By God, if we had a society like that, and if our parents and our kids had all had a chance to grow up in a society like that from day 1 and develop with that set of ideas we would have virtually none of the problems we presently have with crime, poverty, and all the other ills of the greed-dominated Ferengi-like culture we are presently living in.



That was the greatest thing about Star Trek...its social philosophy. Well, and the cast, of course... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: ClaireBear
Date: 09 May 09 - 02:01 PM

I simply thought that the Ferengi were an entire civilization of Ross Perots.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 09 May 09 - 02:02 PM

Anti-Semitic Caricature

Bald 'alien' Anti-Semitic Caricature


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: jacqui.c
Date: 09 May 09 - 02:13 PM

I suppose it depends on how you view any particular culture yourself.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 May 09 - 02:17 PM

I see little resemblance between the two, Crow Sister, but I guess if you're looking for anti-semitism in something, you'll find it.

How about the usual caricatures I see of Osama Bin Laden and the typical "Muslim terrorists" in western political cartoons? It seems rather along the same general lines (hairy, creepy, nasty, gloating, grasping, etc), so is that all "anti-semitism" too?

Every age and every society has its chosen favorite scapegoats and black sheep to pick on. "Muslim religious fanatics" are at the top of the list in North America these days....so I think that Muslims have even more to be paranoid about lately than Jews, should they be inclined toward paranoia. Hopefully, they won't be. It doesn't help.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 May 09 - 02:46 PM

Ferengi? Anti-Semitic!?

That never occurred to me. And I have never heard it before. Until I just read it above!

No. I always took them to be examples (as explained by, I think, Data, in the first episode in which they appeared--TNG) as "The worst examples of what might be called the 'Yankee Trader mentality.'" That's not an exact quote, but close. In short, the Capitalist mentality run amok.

I never made that anti-Semitism connection. I have never before heard that idea advanced by anyone. And Gene Roddenberry was not one to have allowed anything like that to have been implied in the show.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 May 09 - 04:11 PM

One of the things I've always liked about the Star Trek movies and TV shows, is that they are morality plays. They explore all the moral issues of our time, in a context my kids were able to accept. I'd never be able to discuss these things with my kids directly, but I can in a Star Trek context. My kids and my stepson are nonreligious former Catholics and wouldn't dream of discussing these issues in a religious context, but they have no problem discussing the very same things in the context of science fiction.
Heinlein and Asimov and Bradbury started the practice of science fiction as morality play, and the Star Trek series has carried on the tradition very well.
I'm looking forward to seeing this latest movie, and I hope the series will come back to television in some form soon.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: jacqui.c
Date: 09 May 09 - 04:16 PM

We can get the original series on TV here, quite regularly. NSG and Enterprise are both on Sci-Fi channel and I have seen Voyaer and DS9 on, I think, Spike.

I'm looking forward to the movie too - this may be one of the few that I will go to the cinema to see.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: GUEST,MAG at work
Date: 09 May 09 - 04:41 PM

In fact, Picard specifically referred to Ferengis as related to Yankee traders.

Seems to me they went out of their way to pick a different stereotype.

Yankee traders of old were notoriously tight-fisted, and drove a hard bargain.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Benjamin
Date: 09 May 09 - 04:45 PM

Interesting review of the movie here.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 09 May 09 - 04:53 PM

Come off it, Ferengi is a classic historic European anti-Semetic hideous grasping stereotype as one could wish to imagine: bulbous nose, whining voice, yellow skin, crooked teeth, bulbouseyes and so on it goes.

No I don't need to be anti-Semitic to *recognise* centuries of classic anti-Semitic European 'farytale' baddy imagery being echoed in the Ferengi. The Ferengi are very obviously a pastiche of a loathsome, yellow skinned, warty, money grasping Shylock - just bald and safely on a spaceship. Wake up.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: GUEST,mag
Date: 09 May 09 - 06:54 PM

chill, Crow.

Ferengis clearly hit a nerve in you, but you need to accept it might be your nerve and not the reality.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 May 09 - 07:44 PM

How about the Bajorans then, as an alternative spin on Jewish stereotypes?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 May 09 - 11:32 PM

If you look for something all the time, you will find it. That's because the problem is existing primarily in your own mind, and you see it reflected in the world around you. You frequently see it even where it doesn't actually exist.

Some of the principle members of the cast of Star Trek have been Jews. Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner are Jews. It seems really rather ludicrous to think that the show they played such a big part in would create an alien race, the Ferengi, as a deliberate quasi-Jewish evil stereotype. It's absurd, in fact.

Gene Roddenberry was the primary creator of the show's philosophical outlook, and his beliefs are summarized below by Wickipedia:

"Although Roddenberry was raised as a Southern Baptist, he did not embrace the faith; he viewed religion as the cause of many wars and suffering in human history. Roddenberry considered himself a humanist and an agnostic atheist.[11]

According to Brannon Braga, "In Gene Roddenberry's imagining of the future [...] religion is completely gone. Not a single human being on Earth believes in any of the nonsense that has plagued our civilization for thousands of years. This was an important part of Roddenberry's mythology. He, himself, was a secular humanist and made it well-known to writers of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation that religion and superstition and mystical thinking were not to be part of his universe. On Roddenberry's future Earth, everyone is an atheist. And that world is the better for it."[cite this quote] This would seem to contradict the Star Trek episodes as aired; in an original series episode, Captain Kirk refers to the fact that mankind is largely monotheistic; the episode "Data's Day" of The Next Generation refers to a presently occurring Hindu festival.

******

From watching pretty well all the shows in the first series and Star Trek Next Generation, I would say that the show absolutely went out of its way to promote every form of non-prejudice, of equality for all races, of equality for men and women, indeed every sort of equality, freedom, and social justice.

But if someone is determined to imagine that the Ferengi are an anti-semitic stereotype, then there's nothing anyone else will ever do to convince them otherwise, is there?

It's like the guy who tells you that all his neighbours and the people in his town secretly hate him. And you find out later that it isn't so. But will he ever believe that? Will you ever convince him that he's in error and that his neighbours and the people in his town don't hate him...that they mostly aren't even thinking about him? Not a chance. It's not even worth the trouble of trying, matter of fact.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 May 09 - 11:40 PM

Well, the Ferengi triggered my stereotype of Republicans, and Crow Sister's stereotype of Jews. I guess that means I'm prejudiced against Republicans, which I freely admit.
Crow Sister, what have you to say for yourself?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 May 09 - 12:05 AM

One can be triggered either into "attack" mode or "defense" mode by something, Joe. I think in your case that it was the attack mode that was triggered... ;-) You don't like Republicans.

Obviously in Crow Sister's case it was the "defence" mode that was triggered. She is defending Jews against what she sees as an attack on them.

That's two very opposite reactions, but both interesting in that it says something about the person who is doing the reacting.

Now in my case, what do I hate most? I hate the way that greed for MONEY has perverted society, corrputed the political system, and largely ruined the planet. So I do not see the Ferengi as "Jews", and I don't see them as "Republicans", I see them as the very WORST kind of capitalist money-addicts gone wild...kind of like the people who created this recent financial catastrophe.

We are each seeing in the Ferengi the specific stereotype that most concerns us! ;-D

Now the only question is: What did the producers and writers of Star Trek intend the Ferengi to symbolize? My bet is that it was not Jews, not Republicans, but (as the record shows) "Yankee traders"...that is, the most aggressive and greedy form of capitalist wheeler-dealers possible. The Ferengi are not "Jews". They are not "Republicans". They are ultra-capitalists gone mad with greed and acquisition.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Azizi
Date: 10 May 09 - 12:18 AM

Here's another interview of John Cho, the actor who portrays the character of Sulu:



Here are some excerpts from that interview:

I did feel pressure, John Cho explains of his role as Sulu in the new "Star Trek" movie. "You're doing a role that another actor did and you certainly don't want to dishonor that. And I felt pressure to honor the Star Trekkers, the fans, to do right by them. They're very passionate about this mythology and you don't want to mess with that," Cho tells Hollywood Today.
"It's a younger, more action-filled, more athletic version of "Star Trek," so, I think both camps will be happy," Cho says, of the new film...

At first, Cho was concerned that some Japanese-Americans might take issue with the fact that now Sulu was being played by a Korean-American as opposed to a Japanese-American. So he brought his concern to George Takei, the actor who originally portrayed Sulu in "Star Trek" the series, and who has recently become a gay-rights activist.

"He informed me that Gene Roddenberry, the creator of "Star Trek," actually meant for Sulu to represent multiple Asian countries. The Sulu Sea is what his character is named after. And it touches many Asian countries. He didn't want Sulu to be Japanese-American he wanted him to represent a part of the world that he wanted on the bridge of the Enterprise."

He explains that one of his biggest goals in Hollywood is to help make Asians more visible in major roles. Part of that mission is being accomplished through his work on "Star Trek."
"Star Trek" is a classic Western. Going westward, looking for new territory. But without the restrictions of race...

[Cho's thoughts about Star Trek] "I think that Star Trek…represents a very optimistic vision of America, different races and cultures and colors coming together for a peaceful mission. It's a very hopeful version of America and I think that's one of the keys to its success."


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Azizi
Date: 10 May 09 - 12:20 AM

Sorry. Here's that hyperlink:

http://www.hollywoodtoday.net/2009/04/11/star-treks-cho-speaks-out-on-hollywood/

Star Trek's Cho Speaks Out on Hollywood
Saturday, April 11th, 2009
John Cho, Trek's new star on the horizon
By Darrah Le Montre


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: MAG
Date: 10 May 09 - 12:31 AM

For that matter, I believe the actor who played Quark happens to be Jewish.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Azizi
Date: 10 May 09 - 12:31 AM

Here is another excerpt from the article that I quoted on 08 May 09 - 03:59 PM

"[In addition to Sulu in Star Trek (The original series)] Other Asian American Trek series regulars were Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim in Star Trek: Voyager and Linda Park's turn as communications officer Hoshi Sato on Star Trek: Enterprise. Recurring Asian American cast members were Patti Yasutake as nurse Alyssa Ogawa in the Star Trek: The Next Generation and Rosalind Chao as botanist Keiko O'Brien (she marries a white character) in The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. "They have service jobs that serve the interests of the white lead characters," Bernardi says of people of color in Star Trek. "Sulu is the classic Asian-male stereotype: His sexuality is not at all competitive with the white males."

(Daniel) Bernardi, [author of Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future] cites an episode of TOS in particular, "The Naked Time," in which an alien virus infects the Enterprise crew, causing them to act out their inhibitions. In one of his most celebrated scenes, Sulu goes on a shirtless rampage, molesting Uhura and challenging all comers with a fencing sword. "That's Star Trek revealing itself," Bernardi says. "That's what they think Sulu is inside, a threat to women and wild beast that needs to be tamed."
The producers of Star Trek realized they had a problem, according to Bernardi. "They had this reputation as being egalitarian and pioneers. Deep down, they knew they were perpetuating stereotypes." That's one of the reasons the Borg, a species of cybernetic beings that assimilate and destroy anything in their path, were introduced on The Next Generation, according to Bernardi. "They were critiquing assimilation and the series itself," he says."

http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/content/view/114/1/
Excerpts from "Race to Space: Asian Americans, stereotypes in Star Trek's Final Frontier"                  
Written by Harry Mok | Illustration by Gary Gao   
Sunday, November 2, 2008


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 May 09 - 04:50 AM

I find it quite fantastic that the bunker mentality denies the obvious fact that the depiction of the Ferengi is extraordinarily similar to typical antisemitic depictions of Jews.

The idea proposed above that Crow Sister's observation of the fact of that similarity (NB, the similarity with such depictions, not the similarity to actual Jews) makes her an antisemite is both fantastic and despicable.

I remember the "black and white" episode when first broadcast here in the UK. We left the hall bar, where the TV was at university, in mixed bemusement and hilarity at the thought that the show originators could envisage that anything so simplistic and "Kumbaya" could effectively illuminate reality. I remember two other stupidly naive episodes - the "Murphy's Angels" one, in which self-belief was the only thing necessary to make ugly women beautiful (and vice versa) and the "Eden" one in which the acceptance of hippy non-violence and music rendered the crew dysfunctional.

The objectification of 7 of 9 and T'pol, however may have been less obvious but very retrogressive: the idea that the repression of female sexual desire renders it exciting was common to the Victorians but surely has no value today. The permission to Jadzia Dax to be a sexual predator albeit largely downplayed was surely healthier.

The male sexual predators - Kirk and Ryker - seem rather pathetic, and the message from the "Two Kirks" episode that it is the danger and violence in a leader that makes him effective was surely inapproproate.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Donuel
Date: 10 May 09 - 10:11 AM

I watched a 2 hour Star Trek special regarding the Christies auction of Star Trek production props and costumes.
If you ever see it you will probably feel rather old.

The auction was before the bust so seeing space ship models going for half a million dollars and non working flutes going for $40,000 is over the top.

Admittedly I have done a couple paintings from Star Trek that included fiber optic effects and techniques that make another look authentic to the episode in which the painting appeared. -right down to the mostly scratched off property of MGM sticker


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 May 09 - 10:42 AM

The depiction of the Ferengi may be extraordinarily similar to typical antisemitic depictions of Jews, Richard, but it is also extraordinarily similar to typical negative depictions of other cultural stereotypes such as the rich and evil Islamic fanatic.

As I said before, villains are typically depicted in our media as...

- facially hairy (although Ferengi mostly are not, except in their ears sometimes)
- swarthy (Ferengi have darker gold skin)
- creepy
- dishonest
- lying
- nasty
- evil grins
- beady eyes
- grasping, greedy attitude
- gloating
- lusting

And so on...

Now, I think you will agree that it is not just (evil) "Jewish" stereotypes that are shown that way, but stereotypes of a huge variety of villains in popular culture that are shown all basically in a very similar way. We see in villains various characteristics that people universally find creepy, okay? It's that simple.

The "bunker mentality" you allude to is the one that insists that this particular set of characters, the Ferengi, MUST be intended to depict Jews. They are not. They are intended to depict greedy and acquisitive people, period. Those people could be of ANY cultural group. The problem isn't the cultural group, the problem is the attitude and philosophy that the Ferengi adhere to, which is one of gross materialism.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 10 May 09 - 11:08 AM

Rather unsurprisingly, Richard Bridge and I, are not alone in our (quite independently arrived at) paranoid delusions as a quick google demonstrates:

"Bernardi also explains that Star Trek fans have argued on the electronic mailing list that the Ferengi are comparable to Jews while other fans object to the racist implications of these comparisons. The point of this current study is not to argue that the Ferengi are or are not consciously patterned after racist Jewish stereotypes. However, there are some striking similarities between the creators' description and common negative Jewish stereotypes as described by Wilson. Wilson explains that "overtly malevolent and clearly anti-Semitic [stereotypes portray] Jews as pushy, covetous, clannish, ill-man-nered [sic], ruthless, dishonest, mercenary, grasping, overbearing, sloppy, loud, money-loving, and uncouth." (23)" J. Emmett Wimm - Highly Offensive Ferengi: Racial Issues and Star Trek's Multicultural Deep Space

"Some have accused the portrayal of the Ferengi of being antisemitic.[9] In the book Religions of Star Trek, Ross S. Kraemer wrote that "Ferengi religion seems almost a parody of traditional Judaism... Critics have pointed out a disturbing correlation between Ferengi attributes (love of profit that overrides communal decency; the large, sexualized head feature, in this case ears) and negative Jewish stereotypes."[10] Commentator Jonah Goldberg wrote that Ferengi were portrayed in The Next Generation as "runaway capitalists with bullwhips who looked like a mix between Nazi caricatures of Jews and the original Nosferatu."[11] The fact that the four most notable Ferengi characters, Quark, Nog, Rom and Zek, are played by Jewish actors Armin Shimerman, Aron Eisenberg, Max Grodénchik and Wallace Shawn contributes to this theory." Wikipedia

I have no particular feelings about Jewish people in any direction, but I do recognise a classic historic stereotype when I see one. I'm rather surprised that more people on this list do not. And frankly I've absolutely nothing to say to Joe Offer in response to his personal slur.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: MAG
Date: 10 May 09 - 01:45 PM

Actually Armin for one got the job because he is the right size.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Don Firth
Date: 10 May 09 - 01:53 PM

Some years ago, comedian Penn Gillette (of Penn and Teller) wrote a humor column in PC Magazine. Often, he would use his bully pulpit to comment on the human condition, generally triggered by something he had observed in the computer world.

Someone had thoroughly examined a group of symbols and "wingdings" in one of the early versions of Microsoft Word and noticed that there was a skull and crossbones just a few spaces away from a Star of David. This person concluded from this spacial proximity that the program contained a hidden message, saying "Kill all Jews!" and from this, he now knew—no shadow of a doubt—that Bill Gates is anti-Semitic.

Penn Gillette remarked, "There are people in this world who can find something to be offended by just walking through the rubble after an explosion in a Scrabble tile factory!"

If you are the kind of person that manages to find hidden symbols in everything, that says more about you than it does about the symbols.

Simmer down, folks!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 May 09 - 03:11 PM

Anyway Quark is basically a good guy.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 May 09 - 03:52 PM

Well, I just got back from seeing the latest. It's OK. Too much comedy for me, one major loophole in the plotline, an obvious path to a sequel - and far, far, too much of the American love for the troubled rebel an iconoclast without cause becoming a world-saving hero. Just how many sub-teen car thieves and destroyers of a Mk II Corvette have genius IQ's (and does anything Kirk do demonstrate any such?) or indeed go on to do anything useful?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Donuel
Date: 11 May 09 - 06:51 AM

Ferengi are not all Madoffs some are as honest as Bear Stern or Lehman Bros executives.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Azizi
Date: 11 May 09 - 07:19 AM

Here's another blog post about the new Star Trek movie:
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2009/5/10/730051/-In-an-Alternate-Universe,-Spock-Kisses-My-Hand
In an Alternate Universe, Spock Kisses My Hand
by blksista
      
Sun May 10, 2009 at 07:35:06 PM PDT

Published Friday, May 8 at ThisBlksistasPage.wordpress.com

**

Here's an excerpt from that post:Warning!!There's a bit of movie plot spoiler information included.

..."I think that there is more affection for Nimoy than there is for William Shatner; more affection for Spock than there is for Kirk. I think it's because the character of Spock revises the view of biracial people; he chooses to be Vulcan; he chooses to use his intellect before he speaks. Yet Spock cannot help but display his humanity: his geekiness, his irritation, the significant lifting of his eyebrows, and the way he would signal or mask his emotions by saying, "Fascinating," or "Interesting." Not so noted was his quiet understanding of and affection for people like Christopher Pike, his mother Amanda, Flint, and women like Droxine and Liviana, the Romulan commander, and even for Tribbles and the Horta.

And Spock is not destroyed because he is different, but he is enhanced and made more interesting and attractive by it. That there is a portrait of Barack Obama going around wearing Star Trek gear and wearing pointed ears--Mr. Cerebral Cool--proves that Spock will continue to live on in the American cultural repository...

At 13, I had heard about Star Trek, but I was more into Batman and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. until one night, when I came upstairs to visit my childhood friends, Meemsy and his brother, and their mama, and they were watching the show. Of course, I was hooked. I think it was when NBC threatened to get rid of the show, that I began to write my universe. And it wasn't just because I was fascinated with Spock. I was also ticked that Uhura wasn't getting as much action or attention from the men on the Enterprise, and why not from Spock, who was not completely white. When I saw Tuvok and his brown pointed ears on Star Trek: Voyager decades later, I smiled. Now women are ticked off that the new Uhura and the new Spock are getting it on....

Leonard Nimoy's Spock represented Otherness as well as acceptance, a pride in ancestry as well as in being different, even for a black girl who wanted to be loved. "


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 May 09 - 10:19 AM

If an alien character is presented in a way that has echoes of an unfavourable stereotype of some group of humans, how is that offensive to that group of humans?

The offence of such stereotypes surely only arises when they suggest that the people in that group of humans actually are similar to the stereotypes, and I can't see how that can apply in this situation.

The only people who could reasonably be offended by Quark and co would have to be Ferengi, if there were any Ferengi.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 May 09 - 11:39 AM

Right on. ;-) I bet that there are a lot of Ferengi out there who are deeply offended by Star Trek. I expect we'll hear about it one of these days, and then the shit will hit the fan.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 11 May 09 - 02:50 PM

I really shouldn't get into this - seems to be a hot button emotional issue, but here goes anyway....

I wasn't offended by the Ferengi (though I found them annoying and overplayed) - but I did note the similarity between them and the way Jews were often portrayed in old anti-Semitic stereotypes. It's hard to miss the similarities between the portrayal of the Ferengis and the first minute or two of, for example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZftD3gfW3g (And that clip is tame, portraying the gentiles as just as bad.)

I don't think this was because of any intention on Gene Roddenberry's part - his anti-racist, multicultural credentials are impeccable - but rather because the things in society he wanted to criticize also happened to be traits that at one time people laid at the feet of Jews. That doesn't make him or anyone on the Star Trek writing team an anti-Semite, but they probably could have been more sensitive to what some people would see and adjusted their direction accordingly.
Some of these stereotypes are VERY old - read The Merchant of Venice for a prime example.

As I say, I'm not offended, because I don't believe there was any real connection between idea of the Ferengi and the old stereotypes. Instead, I think that the list of traits Roddenberry and others wanted to condemn just happened to have much in common with those old stereotypes. It would be nice if those stereotypes had passed completely out of memory (and apparently for some, they have) but sadly, there are living people - some of my relatives included - who have had to face that kind of thinking.

On another, and far more interesting (to me) topic - I understand that Roddenberry wanted to go much further in his vision of a crew made up of a variety of cultures, with men and women both serving in roles of authority, but the networks wouldn't let him - especially as regards women. After a few early episodes with a strong women as second in command, the network forced them back to women in servile or secretarial roles, with short mini-skirts. Too bad.

I'm looking forward to the new movie.

Dan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 11 May 09 - 03:04 PM

Oops! My mistake. Did the link backwards - it should be
this movie here.

Dan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 May 09 - 03:26 PM

In the first pilot that Gene Roddenberry submitted to the network, with Jeffery Hunter as Capt. Christopher Pike, his first officer was played by Majel Barrett (later Nurse Chapel and Deanna Troi's flaky mother), and was known only as "Number One."

She was one strong lady! And perfectly capable of taking over command of a star ship and mounting a rescue mission, which she did when Capt. Pike was kidnapped by the Talosians.

The network do-dahs had wall-eyed fits, objecting to

1. – That woman! Get her off the bridge!
2. – That guy with the ears. He looks like the devil, and he might offend our religious viewers!
3, – That's an intelligent story, and it expects people to be able to think! This is television, for Chrissake!!

Yup! That's television, all right.

Don Firth

P. S. But we must have made some progress, because some years later, we had Captain Katherine Janeway in command of the Voyager, with a Native American first officer and a black Vulcan as second officer and chief of security.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 May 09 - 04:11 PM

The lack of respect that the entertainment industry has for the intelligence of the general public is legendary. Put into practice, it sadly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because if you feed people nothing but empty, predictable garbage for entertainment then the tastes and expectations of the public rapidly become shaped BY what they are watching, and they actually DO start to get stupider! (in general, that is...but not in every case)

Roddenberry was on the right track, but it took decades for the corrupt industry he was working for to catch up with his progressive thinking.

A very famous and extremely capable actress whose name I can't come up with right now for some reason said that Hollywood is run by a little club of "stupid, prejudiced old men", and that is why, for instance, there are so few good roles for women in Hollywood films. I expect she is right about that.

They do not create to enlighten. They do no create to educate. They do not create to inspire people toward a better life. They create strictly to turn a profit. That and only that. They figured they could make a better profit by putting the women on Star Trek in subservient roles and miniskirts.

I used to feel sorry for Nichelle Nichols who played Uhura, because about all she ever got to do was hail some aliens on some other starship....and..."I'm hailing them on all frequencies, Captain, but they aren't responding."

Stood up again! ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 May 09 - 05:02 PM

And for that matter Quark's nephew ends up in charge of a space ship as a respected Star Fleet officer.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 May 09 - 06:06 PM

One of the reasons that, when my wife and I watch television, we usually watch our local PBS affiliate. They play lots of stuff from British television on things like "Masterpiece Theatre" (now, "Masterpiece Classic" with things like the complete works of Jane Austen, Dickens' dramatizations, etc.; "Masterpiece Mystery" with "Inspector Lynley" and such; and "Masterpiece Contemporary"), not to mention some good, intelligent and funny comedies ("As Time Goes By" with Judi Dench and Geoffery Palmer and "The Good Life" with Richard Briers and Felicity Kendall [voted as having the nicest butt in British telly]. They also run "Nova," other science programs, "Frontline"--generally television aimed at people who have considerably more brains that the average stalk of celery.

"I think if I ever have to open another hailing frequency, I'm afraid I'll run screaming!"
                                                                                                   --Nichele Nichols
Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 May 09 - 06:23 PM

LOL!!! Poor Nichelle...

We are blessed with a national public radio channel in Canada, the CBC...and it has always aired the more intelligent stuff that commercial radio simply can't be bothered with. Why? Because it's run as a public service, that's why. Same deal as PBS in the USA, but the CBC was set up from the start AS a government-supported and fully funded national radio station. It's a wonderful alternative to the many commercial radio stations and it is blessed by NOT having any advertising intruding on the programming.

That's one of the great merits of having a socialist media outlet in a democratic society that also includes plenty of capitalism. That's what I believe in: a healthy combination of the two.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 11 May 09 - 06:37 PM

None of which means that Star Trek wasn't pretty good much of the time (especially after Picard got into the captain's chair).


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 May 09 - 07:17 PM

Um, sorry, one point - "The utopia envisioned by the producers of Star Trek is one in which humans, having survived an apocalyptic war, have overcome racism and prejudice to live peacefully with each other and, with the advent of interstellar space flight, species from other worlds" is not the case, as in the Original Star Trek they had learned to overcome racism and prejudice and live peacefully with each other and so AVOIDED the apocalyptic war. It is only in The Next Generation that they say we had it, the war that is.

Just saw the movie (was afraid to open the thread before!) - 4 stars, I'd say!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 May 09 - 07:18 PM

Oh, and the Ferengi aren't jewish, they are the mutated Americans that have united under Bill Gates and formed a planetary empire of greed.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Don Firth
Date: 11 May 09 - 09:38 PM

Mmmm, well, Mrrzy, in several episodes of both TOS and TNG, there was mention of wars that took place in the late 20th century, or at some indefinite time shortly thereafter, such as the "genetic wars" (1990, in "Space Seed," with Khan and his shipload of genetically modified "superior humans") and I think Q sneered at Picard a few times about humans almost annihilating themselves with global wars.

But they weren't really all that consistent with their "future history."

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 May 09 - 09:47 PM

Well, I just saw the story, and I'd give it five stars. My stepson worried about the inconsistencies, but I just enjoyed the movie.

I told him it's like the Bible, which (to my mind) is full of inconsistencies. Some people reject the Bible as fraudulent because it isn't absolutely consistent. Some dance around in circles trying to rationalize the inconsistencies and prove it's all true. I dont think either perspective is worthwhile.

With Star Trek, why not just watch the movie and enjoy it, and learn the lessons it has to teach us?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 May 09 - 12:25 AM

Bingo!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: BK Lick
Date: 12 May 09 - 01:49 AM

Roger Ebert's review is here. He didn't much like it (two and a half stars) and opened with:
""Star Trek' as a concept has voyaged far beyond science fiction and into the safe waters of space opera,
but that doesn't amaze me. The Gene Roddenberry years, when stories might play with questions
of science, ideals or philosophy, have been replaced by stories reduced to loud and colorful action.
Like so many franchises, it's more concerned with repeating a successful formula than going boldly
where no "Star Trek" has gone before.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 May 09 - 11:50 AM

Right, after TOS, they started saying that there had been an apocalyptic war. But in the ORIGINAL series, they had avoided that one, although they had had plenty of smaller ones, that didn't threaten the whole planet like the ones they talk about in TNG and later.

And the rule with ANY Star Trek is, no harshing on the plot! (That means no pointing out the gaping holes. Just wait for the next one to come along and either plug them, or give you new ones to harsh on {but not while watching, only while rehashing!})


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 May 09 - 11:51 AM

Are you allowed 5 stars? I thought the max was 4. If there are five available, I give it all 5.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:05 PM

Ebert's right really, this was about characters and not issues. The threat to be dealt with was an individual; there was not a real culture clash or anything, which would have made for deeper issues to be dealt with.

However, it was a fun introduction to the characters...

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 May 09 - 02:13 PM

The thing I loved about Rodenberry's original Star Trek was that it was about great ethical and philosophical and social issues, generally speaking, as Ebert said in his review. So, I may be a little disappointed with the new movie for not doing likewise, but we'll see.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: astro
Date: 12 May 09 - 04:39 PM

Just a question regarding the Ferengi and Gene Rodenberry, I believe that they were introduced in Star Trek TNG which I believe came after his death. They were brought in by the new producers and creators.

I liked the new characters a lot. I thought that they were consistent with the previous actors that had those roles...I give it a good cheer...

Astro, live long and prosper (oops, is that really an autographed picture of Shatner as Cap. Kirk hanging there!)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Mrrzy
Date: 13 May 09 - 11:38 AM

Just saw it again (with the second of my twins). Still *****!


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 13 May 09 - 12:03 PM

Roddenberry was still around for the first few seasons of TNG, and very much involved until the last year or so of his life.

Dan


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 May 09 - 01:09 PM

I think TNG was the apex of Rodenberry's philosophy being clearly expressed in the show, much moreso than the original Star Trek show, because Rodenberry's progressive ideas got far less cooperation from the studio heads in the 60's.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: MAG
Date: 14 May 09 - 08:48 AM

I'm scared to ask, Mrzzy, but how old are the twins now?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: astro
Date: 14 May 09 - 05:33 PM

Interesting Dan, I'll have to look at the first few seasons with this in mind...astro


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Mrrzy
Date: 14 May 09 - 09:25 PM

MAG - are you sitting down? Almost 14!! I don't believe it either.

They have watched all the Treks and totally by themselves both developed a fierce preference for The Original Series, really, I didn't even have to use the machine on wherever that "insane" asylum was! (See, I'm a trekkIE, that is, I like the show, not a trekkER, who would know the name of that planet! Tantalus V? Yikes!)


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Mrrzy
Date: 14 May 09 - 09:28 PM

OK, confusing 2 things. Tantalus V was a penal colony, not an insane asylum, but it did have the machine to which I referred; the insane asylum one didn't have the machine. Whew. I feel better now.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: SPB-Cooperator
Date: 15 May 09 - 08:21 AM

Ref: posting 8th May - couldn't copy and paste the fragment - re comparing alien races to different races/nationalities..

I like to think that the different races 'Romulans', 'Klingons' reflected different societies throughout history. For example the similarities between Romulan Society and the Roman Empire (Senates, Slavery - Remans, the equivalent of an emporer), and surely the name can't be a coincidence. I haven't got my head round the other parallel societies yet...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 May 09 - 10:57 AM

The Klingons seem a lot like the Samurai warriors of feudal Japan to me...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Azizi
Date: 18 May 09 - 12:35 PM

More Spoiler Alert comments re the new Star Trek movie. I'm posting excerpts from this article because it augments those that I posted earlier about Uhuru and the role/s of race in the Star Trek series.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE RACIALICIOUS REVIEW OF STAR TREK
By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

..."No, the new Star Trek (iTrek, for short) is not anything like the original series. That's the whole damn point, one that's acknowledged early on. This is a different timeline – doesn't mean prior canon doesn't count; just that the game is different from here on out.

And even then, this story and this ensemble nailed the most important aspect of any Trek movie – the relationships between the Enterprise's core group – while at the same time redefining them. In short: Uhura hooking up with Spock? Good. Uhura hooking up with Spock over Kirk? Great!

Speaking of Kirk, he's at the center of the biggest difference between iTrek and 8-Track Trek: Chris Pine's version is decidedly not the Alpha Dog here. In this instance, JTK is more like a wolf in the old Kipling poem: without the pack around him, he's effectively useless. He needs Pike to motivate him; he needs Uhura to confirm he's not talking out of his ass; he needs Sulu to save said ass on Nero's mining platform; and he needs both Spocks and Scotty in order to save the day. Everybody gets to shine, and the ensemble is so much the stronger for it."...

[Character Scorecard]

Uhura: No character benefited more from both the reboot and the re-vamp of their origin. Here Zoe Saldana got to fill Nichelle Nichols' roles and give us not just a determined, successful cadet, but one who brought a real skill-set to the table...

Sulu: Again, Kirk only survives the fight atop the first drilling platform because of young Hikaru – in a lesser movie, Sulu's "fencing" confession would have been a set-up to make him look inept in actual combat. We got quite the opposite here...

Spock: And now we come to the Big Other. The nature of Spock's heritage gets addressed early on, and it was a little ham-handed to see Vulcans being so openly prejudicial for two reasons:
1.Would Logic not show racism to be … well, illogical?
2.We never saw him encounter racism from anybody in Starfleet – weird to think of that as "wrong," but we'll talk more about Starfleet in a bit...

Starfleet: Ok, so all of the power players were men. This is nothing new, unfortunately. (According to Memory Alpha, of the admirals seen in prior canon, most were men, only four were POC, and the only female was Vulcan. Six women, including Voyager's Kathryn Janeway, were Rear or Vice Admirals.) But the shots of extraterrestrials and POC serving together, without anybody looking at anybody else as weird – Kirk was a misfit because he's just that big of a clueless putz – was encouraging in the sense that, rather than the audience getting the "lesson" of tolerance handed down as a plot point, we got to see it in action. Let's hope for some more active examples as the series continues. One more note: the doomed Capt. Robau of the Kelvin was played by Faran Tahir, an Angeleno of Pakistani descent."


http://www.racialicious.com/2009/05/12/back-to-the-future-the-racialicious-review-of-star-trek/#more-2439

-snip-

"POC" is a widely used (in Black blogging) abbreviation for "People of Color". "People of color" means people of all races & ethnicities except White people.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Azizi
Date: 18 May 09 - 12:48 PM

Here are 3 out of 54 reader comments that were posted by readers of Arturo R Garcia's article "Back To The Future: The Racialicious Review of Start Trek" [IMO "54"reader comments appears to par with articles on that blog which engender a lot of comments]


JC wrote:

*** Spoiler Alert ***

I loved this movie. It could be better, and it could do without some of the glaring plot holes (if you can teleport to a moving starship in warp speed light years away - do you even need starships anymore?) , but it has become the first movie I'd want repeat viewing since the LOTR Trilogy.

I loved Sulu's ass-kicking even though he could be developed further (hope for the sequal!); I thought Uhura was tastefully portrayed as a smart, powerful women who has strong influence over, well, everything. Notice how she got Spock, a everything-by-the-rules Vulcan, to assign her to the Enterprise? Yeah they're a couple but he's a VULCAN for crying out loud. I do enjoy the romance though - I've always thought from the original series that the Vulcans were symbolic of Asians in the ST universe (and the Klingons were the Russians), so I've always though of Spock as an Psudo-Asian anyway. I also thought the movie is more about Spock than Kirk too.

They could add more diversity to the crew, but I suppose it would be too much of a change to add another POC into the main cast. But PoC were really everywhere in this movie - I mean if you look at the ceremony scenes where the entire Academy was presence, you can see that whites is not the majority. I also liked that the Asian paramedic early in the movie got a line or two. I was half expecting him to die.

I was a little disappointed that they kept mentioning George Kirk as the hero when the original captain of the Kelvin was just as heroic as Kirk and later Captain Pike. Maybe they did but I sure missed it. I AM glad he's of middle-eastern origin though… first casualty of the 9/11 of the 22nd Century.

I think JJ Abrams is sensitive to the issue of racial imbalance in Hollywood casting, and I get the feeling that he's doing his best to address the situation. He still has to get the movie green-lighted so Star Trek and Lost still have to feature whites has main characters - but he's really sneaking them PoC in there in non-stereotypical roles. I wish there are more of him in Hollywood.

Posted 12 May 2009 at 9:32 pm ¶

**
napthia9 wrote:

..."Before I saw the movie, I was worried that Uhura was mostly going to be eye candy... Of all the cadets, she seemed the most prepared, mature and professional. Even going after Spock seemed like the sort of calculated risk that accurately evaluated the impact it'd have on their professional lives. (Also, their scenes were great! I don't see Uhura/Spock in the original series, but movieverse? Wow!) While I also want to see more female characters being physically strong and powerful, a la Ripley & Vasquez in Aliens, Uhura's non-physical strength was great"...
Posted 15 May 2009 at 3:47 am

**
allheavens wrote:
.."this film is more Spock's journey than Kirk's. Spock as not yet acquire the poise of Spock Prime and Zachary Quinto invests Spock with a chilly, smoldering sex appeal that simmers just beneath the surface. Spock is beset by emotion and all its complexities. Maybe now Spock can finally be the winner of the "cool kids" sweepstakes because he is no longer just the emotional juxtaposition to Kirk's swaggering hero"...
Posted 15 May 2009 at 12:29 pm

http://www.racialicious.com/2009/05/12/back-to-the-future-the-racialicious-review-of-star-trek/#comments


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Peter T.
Date: 18 May 09 - 02:47 PM

I saw the movie last night, and thought it was great. Certainly the best of the movie versions (but then they were all hopeless smoking turds).

But I have to underscore, reading these remarks, that the whole Star Trek universe is hopelessly racist and stereotyped. It promotes the American view of the world, immortalized before Star Trek in those Superman comics where everyone in the United Nations is white except their faces are coloured and they wear their national dress. Or, in a similar vein, the way American tourists abroad, not speaking the local language, respond by speaking English louder. The idea is that behind the ridiculous language these people babble away in, behind that is really English. You can hear the exact same racism in 99% of the debates over Iraq and Afghanistan. The same complete blindness to the realities of other cultures, in spite of (or because of) the universalist American rhetoric. The same is true for Star Trek.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: robomatic
Date: 18 May 09 - 10:51 PM

There are so many good sub-threads in this thread that I'll add about 8 cents (4 sets of 2):

I think Ebert's distinction that the latest Star Trek movie represents good ol' fashioned Space Opera (as opposed to the world of ideas that TOS strived for) is right on. JJ Abrams was out to develop a prequel setting up the main characters, he did this through excellent casting and a plot that never stood still, barely cohered, through pretty much everything at the screen from parallel worlds to time travel, and didn't have a moral thought in its head. It was for me entertainment that moved quickly through the ears without leaving much there to stick. Clearly the main characters were chosen for their resemblance to TOS characters, and were encouranged to speedily adopt the speech pathologies of the timeless dialog of sci-fi in the sixties.

I enjoyed it for what it was and I don't think it put on airs of being much more than that.

JJ Abrams is an interesting character. He is capable of originality, as in "Cloverfield" which I loved, and he is capable of some pretty blatant re-framing of other folks' ideas, as in the television show "Fringe" being an attempt to warm over "X-Files", (and not fully successful).

As for racism, TOS was an obvious attempt to transcend both racism and nationalism. The episode about the two races with coloring mismatched left-for-right ready to fight to the death was an attempt to show the stupidity of racism and its persistence in spite of the stupidity. There was an episode where one of the most brilliant scientists of the age introduced robotic control to the Starship Enterprise which put the crew in fear of being replaced by machines. The brilliant scientist was played by a black actor. In another episode Lincoln is revived for some reason and he addresses Uhura as a 'negress' at which there was a brief discussion about words no longer in use.

I preferred STNG for the effects, sophisticated story lines, and of course, Jean-Luc! I also liked DS9 for its darker themes and variety of characters, Ferenghi included, and of course, Sisko.

In the new movie I enjoyed the Chekhov character exchanging 'Vs' for 'Ws' just the way the original Chekhov character does (and the OPPOSITE of what real Russians do!).

As for alien depictions of 'Jews', everyone who KNOWS TOS knows that its the Vulcans who are the Jews. Star Trek NG had an alien race who made commerce their chief raison d'etre. They have characteristics that have been aimed at Jews but they are not depicted as Jews in any other sense. Therefore, saying that the Ferenghi are 'Jews' is more a judgement on the person who makes the association, less a perception of Ferenghi as Jews. If you yourself associate Jews as people dominated by the acquisition of wealth, then you will associate Jews with Ferenghi.

In actuality, the Ferenghi represent the greed inherent in all us humans. And as mentioned by McGrath, Quark's nephew went against type and enrolled in Starfleet thus demonstrating that great Trek theme that no one is excluded from redemption (though all his relatives thought he was nuts).


Now, if you want to go after some real depictions of aliens with Jews, you have to exonerate Star Trek and go over to Star Wars. Star Wars Episode I the Phantom Menace had two, no, three, pretty nasty human race associations. The first, as everybody knows, is that horrible character Jar Jar Binks, who was interchangeable with early movie depictions of persons of various colors as cheerful brainless ones, (not to mention a downright offense to Gungans everywhere, but presumably they're too cheerfully inane to register the insult). Then there were the nasty ambassadors who appeared early in the flick in the snoozy delegation scenes to be downright Nipponese stand-ins of the sort that killed Jimmy Cagney in "Blood On The Sun". And finally we have Watto, the fat, elephantine nosed junk shop slave-owning cheapskate with an accent that sounded like jackie mason with a headcold. There's your sci-fi nazi scapejew!

Getting back to JJ's Star Trek. I think it is a valid introduction of the 'next generation' of young moviegoers to the characters if not the ideas of the Roddenberry universe. And the effects were head and shoulders above those of any other ST movie.

Two and three quarter stars.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 18 May 09 - 11:03 PM

Can anyone explain why Capt. Christopher Pike who had the nasty bug dropped into his mouth to make him talk (remember, it was supposed to attach itself to his brain stem and render him at the Romulans' mercy?)
appeared to be perfectly normal when rescued by Kirk?
He was able to draw Kirk's phaser and shoot the Romulan baddie during the rescue.

Either they're not making those bugs like they used to, or it should have been put in his ear á la Chekhov in Wrath of Khan.

Seamus


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 May 09 - 11:22 PM

They might be saving Captain Pike's "problem" for the next movie.

Well, I saw it today and it's GREAT!!! Way better than I'd ever have expected. Matter of fact, it's almost perfect.

Peter T, you're quite right about the blatant (and largely unaware) perpetuation of the American-centric view of the world (and life) that is embodied in the very fabric of Star Trek...hell, the ships are labelled "USS" whatever...how likely is that???

But it's virtually inevitable it would be that way, because the series was invented and made IN the USA. Most movies we watch are made in the USA and they all repeat the old myths. So what else is new? The USA is a country that sees itself as the center of the Universe, the one place on planet Earth that really matters, the place that is the home of liberty, freedom, technology, justice, government, and God. That won't change until some other nation on this planet becomes a much greater military and political power than the USA...and that will happen...but not for a little while yet.

In the meantime, the American myth will, like Celine Dionne in the Titanic song, go on and on...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Peter T.
Date: 19 May 09 - 10:29 AM

The unbelievable Jewish and black stereotyping in Star Wars Episode I was so blatant that I sat openmouthed throughout. The only consolation was that the two white lovers were so wooden and boring and bland that they gave white people everywhere a bad name too.

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 May 09 - 10:36 AM

That was just a plain lousy movie, period. Poor script. Bad acting. Cliched thinking throughout.

Look at the exaggerated "Black" stereotypes we've been bombarded with for the past 40 or 50 years on TV...until a lot of Black people actually started imitating them! It's downright embarrassing, but what can you do?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 May 09 - 12:05 PM

I can' think of anybody either jewish or black in Star Wars...


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 20 May 09 - 06:29 PM

How could there be possibly be any Jewish people in the Star Wars Universe? It's all happening "a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away". There aren't any Jews there. There aren't any Christians, or Moslems or Hindus or Buddhists.

As for colour I seem to have seen "people" of all colours in the films - green, purple, blue, black and pink.
................................

"The unbelievable Jewish and black stereotyping in Star Wars Episode One" - since the characters Peter T is referring are not humans, let alone   Jewish or black, and the "stereotypes" would not be accurate representations of Jewish or Black humans, where does the offence actually lie?


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Azizi
Date: 20 May 09 - 08:08 PM

There is a great deal of damage to the psyche and self-esteem of people of color (POC) that is caused by the cumulative effects of
1. having few positive characters in movies/television programs who resemble us
2. having characters who resemble us look who portray weak or negative
3. in contrast to images of POC, having movie/television characters of White folks being heroic, attractive, intelligent, leaders

Overtime, what do you think the messages that these movies. televisions shows, books teach and reinforce?

As to what can be done about this:
1. raise awareness
2. advocate for change
3. protest
4. boycott
5. use the financial resources of POC and those White people who support the goals of more culturally competent mass media to create such media offerings

**

Here's an example of a website that raises awareness about "yellowface", the "practice
the practice of applying prosthetics or paint to simulate a crude idea of what "Asians" look like [and]is non-Asian bodies (usually white) controlling what it means to be Asian on screen and stage, particularly in lead/major roles.
http://vejiicakes.livejournal.com/254810.html

Yellow (and brown)-face: A History in Pictures

Jan. 29th, 2009 at 6:07 PM

"Yellowface, at its core, is not only tied to blackface and the portrayal of African Americans on the stage by whites in the nineteenth century, the term yellowface appears as early as the 1950s to describe the continuation in film of having white actors playing major Asian and Asian American roles and the grouping together of all makeup technologies used to make one look "Asian." Thanks to the power of film executives in casting, Asian and Asian Americans who had decades of theatrical experience in vaudeville were unable to find work or were relegated to stereotypical roles--laundrymen, prostitutes, or servants."
- Krystyn R. Moon
Yellowface: Creating the Chinese in American Popular Music and Performance, 1850-1920s (page 164)


**

Here's an example of a website that is protesting an upcoming movie "The Avatar-The Last Airbender"
http://racebending.com/faq.php#movie

This upcoming movie is based on" an Emmy award-winning American animated television series that aired on Nickelodeon... Avatar is set in an Asian-influenced world, and drew on elements from East Asian, South Asian, Inuit and Western culture, making it a mixture of what were previously traditionally separate categories of anime and US domestic cartoons."
-snip-

The upcoming movie changes the concept of a heroic Asian based world to make that world populated by White people. After vigorous protests about that the four stars of the show were White, the producers replaced one White actor with an Asian actor. Unfortunately, the character that actor portrays is the villain.

The fans of this show were angry
" Because the world is supposed to be Asian-based...but Hollywood has deemed that only white actors can populate it.

Because Nation that was clearly Inuit-based are now white-washed as Caucasians

Because according to the actors and creators of the movie, ethnicity is just a white person with a tan and some make-up.

Because it is cultural appropriation (ie, Market research tells us that Asian things are cool! Just not the actual Asian people)

Because this is a children's film and children are being shown that only white heroes can exist in a fantasy world.

-snip-

Is the cumulative effect of media products like this harmful to people of color and, in different ways, to White people? Hell yes.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 May 09 - 01:54 PM

Stereotypes can be in the mind of the beholder, too; I recall the difference in reactions to the fact that in The Passion, Mel Gibson had Judas bargain for his info, ending up at 30 pieces of silver but but not starting there. I took that to be completely normal behavior, and a good friend of mine took it to be an anti-jewish stereotype...I was just wondering what in the world was the "unbelievable Jewish and black stereotyping in Star Wars Episode I" that so astounded Peter T. I also thought of JarJar as being a yokel stereotype, not a black one, as I was later informed I should be outraged about.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 May 09 - 02:05 PM

People always find exactly what they're looking for, don't they? This is how the Inquisition was able to find millions of supposed "witches" and "heretics" to burn among the population they terrorized and murdered.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Elijah Browning
Date: 21 May 09 - 03:23 PM

"I have a sad story to tell you.
It may hurt your feelings a bit.
Last night when I walked into my bathroom,
I stepped in a big pile of ...

Shaving cream, be nice and clean.
Shave everyday and you'll always look keen."
-Benny Bell

Where does the prejudice lie? A character has a tendency to hold monetary gain as a personal ethic, and we assume that this is a bigoted reference to Jews. I am not saying it is definitively not, but our sensitivity projects as much as reflects. I have big ears and a big nose. An inheritance from the French Canadian in me. My Jewish bloodline had more Aryan features than my F.C. forefathers. Yet when I tell people I have Jewish blood in me..."ah, yes, I can see it..."

It isn't that it isn't there, but I would contend that prejudice bigotry and racism exists as much in our expectations as in actuality. And also that this expectation immediately erects walls where communication might have been and by this can create prejudice where none existed originally.

The only two things in the human condition that do not discriminate are prejudice and love. Neither is bound to a particular subset of humanity. Perhaps if we stop asking, "where is your bigotry?" and start asking, "where is mine?" we might be able to stop beating each other into the ground and begin lifting each other into the stars. This, I believe, is the most important message in Mr. Roddenberry's legacy.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 May 09 - 05:36 PM

I saw the new film yesterday. Too much computer game style whiz-bang stuff for my tastes, horribly confused plot - and the Kirk character was a real pain throughout. At one point (spoiler comiig up) Spock arranges to have him thrown off the Enterprise into deep space, and I fully sympathised. And also felt it was definitely the logical thing to do.

Spectacular to look at, but for my money almost the least satisfactory of the Star Trek films. Carrying on the tradition that it's the odd numbered films that are OK while the even numbered ones never really measure up.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 May 09 - 06:41 PM

"Perhaps if we stop asking, "where is your bigotry?" and start asking, "where is mine?" we might be able to stop beating each other into the ground and begin lifting each other into the stars."

Beautifully said, Elijah Browning! Bravo.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: robomatic
Date: 21 May 09 - 08:45 PM

For those asking inanely where's the race characterization in Star Wars, you didn't read the thread very thoroughly. See my last post.


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Subject: RE: BS: 'Star Trek- movie
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 May 09 - 09:13 PM

The gross toe-curling thingies that sought "peaceful coexistence" in TNG went in the mouth, and then out again, so I just assumed when they had what they needed it left. I don't think those were the same species that got Chekov in the ear...


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Mudcat time: 15 October 1:55 AM EDT

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