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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
Azizi 08 May 09 - 03:59 PM
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Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 08 May 09 - 04:02 PM
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clueless don 08 May 09 - 04:32 PM
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Art Thieme 08 May 09 - 09:10 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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