Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mind Fucks

I've watched almost the entire first season of Star Trek TOS this month--mirabile dictu--but Netflix just sent me the mid-season episode "The Menagerie,"
and so I ended up watching it out of order, right after "This Side of Paradise."

Here's what I have to say about that:
I have HAD IT with Star Trek's use of mind fucks!

In "Paradise," a blond Earth woman makes sure plant spores fuck with Spock's mind so he'll have sex with her [signaled by his change of clothes in the scene after they kiss].
In "Menagerie," aliens fuck with Capt. Pike's mind to coerce him into having sex.

And there are several more episodes which rely on these mental-rape "solutions" to the question of How to Get a Date, including "Amok Time," "Plato's Children," and several more.

Who's writing these things?
They're the sort of sociopathic ideas awkward, tormented teenagers--like Charlie X (or a mind like Bobby Fischer's? may he r.i.p.)--would come up with.
The sort of mind that can figure out how to get to outer space but not how to get to first base.

I'm sick of them, but I admit that as a former teenager, I can kind of relate.
Plant spores and aliens forcing you to express or act on your secret desires seems like a way out of the social agony of dating or admiting to shameful emotions (as in--oh shoot--which episode is it when Spock regrets he never told his mother he loved her and admits that he's ashamed of his "feelings of friendship" for Kirk?).
I'm not responsible--a twinkie made me do it!

Worse yet is the use of force as a supposed political solution, which is also all too common in S-T.

Besides the plant rape in "This Side of Paradise," (it's even painful, remember?--Spock screams and falls to his knees),
the episode also features Kirk forcing an entire population to move planets because---get this---they are not productive enough.

I'm not kidding. These Earth colonists are--gasp--living like the Amish! What perverts.
Kirk makes a grand speech about how the colonists are not following man's manifest destiny to struggle to create.
(Like, even if true, that makes it OK to force them out of their homes, if they don't want to live this way?)

In fact, as so often when leaders get on a high moral horse, the problem is obviously economic: the colonists are not exploiting the land to feed the Federation.

Mind-fucking is not just bad writing (like time travel, it's almost always a cheat inept writers employ--it provides an easy way out of a plot problem or an easy way to artificially develop character or relationships);
it's evil:
In the same era S-T was producing this crap, the U.S. government was forcibly relocating Vietnamese villagers "for their own good,"
and its enemy, the Soviet government, was doing the same thing to increase wheat yields in the -stans and the like.

I wouldn't be quite so disgusted and distraught about this if it were all in the past. But our own continuing "solutions" to political systems we don't like is in the same vein.

Kirk says he can violate the Prime Directive not to interfere with other cultures in "Return of the Archons" because, he says, it only applies to healthy thriving cultures.
Seems like George W. and his ilk (Clinton, Putin, et al.) took a page right out of his book.

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