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January 1999, Week 4


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Lang Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 11:03:04 -0500
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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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>- The Star Trek crew is multicultural, bigendered and even interspecies.
>Is there a member with a physical disability too - I haven't really been
>watching for some years.  Is the guy wearing a funny thing round his eyes
>supposed to be blind?  Was there any significance in gettng a British actor
>to be leader of the new Enterprise crew (all the rest are Americans, aren't
>they)?  What happens with babies - do any of the Trekkies ever get pregnant
>and if so, what do they do about it?  And could anyone give me the correct
>wording of the mission statement - 'to boldly go where no man/one ? has
>been before'.

Actually for a discussion like this, you'd be much better off with "Babylon
5" which not only has a broader range of characters (including at least one
major gay character) but very explicitly deals with the problems of
conflicting cultures, in fact that's probably the show's main theme.  On
"Star Trek: The Next Generation" the characters work together as a unit and
are to a larger degree interchangable, as best indicated by a former enemy
Klingon being a member of the crew.  Cultural differences are mostly used
for coloration and in the eternal Star Trek optimism are usually something
that can be fairly easily resolved.  (The original ST had even less
difference, as does Voyager while Deep Space Nine has much more.)  On
"Babylon 5" these differences are actual differences, many times
irreconcilable, other times they can only be worked out on a personal level.

As for STTNG, Geordi is indeed "blind" though since the visor allows him to
see I'm not sure how much of a handicap this should be considered.  Captain
Picard is indeed played by a British actor but the character is supposed to
be French; again this makes no real difference in the show.  There are in
fact nurseries on board the Enterprise as seen in one of the recent movies
(Generations I think) but the implications of this (or anything involving a
long-term storyline) aren't really explored.  It's interesting that
Roddenberry and a significant number of fans insist that the Enterprise is
not a military ship despite the military protocol, structure, behavior,
training, etc; again it's that ST exploring the future outlook.  And of
course the point of military training is precisely to erase differences
which is why ST has an "inclusive" family.

>The Truman Show/Pleasantville - the way things used to be

The Truman Show has widely been interpreted as how things are *now*, though
I didn't see how it engages with any kind of reality, cultural or political.

>Unit Two - The Black experience
>The Color Purple
>Malcolm X
>Do the Right Thing

These films don't have any direct bearing on the "experience" of any black
person that I know, none of whom were ever slaves, revolutionaries or
rioters to the best of my knowledge.  Perhaps, a Charles Burnett film like
"To Sleep With Anger" or something like "Soul Food" might provide a better

Lang Thompson

"Goethe once proposed that a museum of the
inauthentic be created in Rome, in which plaster
casts of all the antiquities that had been
discovered could be displayed." - Moatti, Search
for Ancient Rome

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