Thursday, March 6, 2008

In Command

Bink is right: Spock would vote for Clinton, not Nader. Not because it's the pragmatic thing to do, as Bink contends, but because Spock has a thing for commanders. He doesn't care about sex/gender, race, or even species. What fascinates Spock is mastery.

Last night, I watched "The Naked Time" again, with L&M. In this episode, an inhibition-destroying virus makes the crew reveal their deepest feelings.

On this viewing, it struck me how entirely uninterested Spock is in Nurse Christine Chapel, when she corners him and tells him she's in love with him. After she infects him with the virus, he doesn't give her a thought. Instead, he confesses his shameful "feelings of friendship" for Kirk.

I hate Nurse Chapel. She's just like a former coworker of mine, who disguised her need for control as sticky motherly concern.
Spock doesn't hate Christine; he's baffled by her, as befits a nonhuman encountering human emotional weirdness. He looks at her like, "What language is that you're speaking?" and basically ignores her throughout the series, except to take pity on her sometimes.

Spock has no interest in codependency. He likes direct exchanges of power. The only woman he is straight-out attracted to, without any impetus from plant spores or male Vulcan hormonal cycles, is the unnamed female Romulan Commander (above) in the episode "The Enterprise Incident." In fact, she's the only other humanoid he ever wants to touch for fun, of his own free will, besides Kirk.

(Some nonhumanoids also attract Spock: e.g. Kollos, the male Medusan ambassador in "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" Kollos is another masterful being, but he exists only as a Beautiful Mind. And there was Gary Seven's black cat, Isis, whom Spock can't stop stroking. )

The Romulan Commander is terrific. She's got the right stuff, all right, and she's not play-acting like Uhura in "Mirror, Mirror" [much as I admire that, see 4 posts below]. She's the real thing, a filmic ancestor of Sigourney Weaver's character, Ripley, in Alien.

Unfortunately, the plot of "The Enterprise Incident" isn't as strong as its heroine. Kirk and Spock unbelievably act as spies for the Federation, out to steal the Romulan ship's cloaking device. Spock distracts the Commander while Kirk sneaks around. When the Commander realizes that Spock's willingness to be seduced was a ploy, she's outraged and doesn't hesitate to condemn him to death.

After Spock is rescued by the Enterprise and the Commander is captured, she tells him he's stolen a military secret that the Romulans will soon break and that is all he has gotten.
But while Spock was pretending to be a turn-coat to gain her trust, his attraction to her was no pretense, as he makes clear. He tells her, "You underestimate yourself, Commander," and adds, "Military secrets are the most fleeting of all. I hope that you and I exchanged something more permanent."

So: who in this American presidential campaign could master a starship? McCain is an unstable planet. Obama? Still working his way up. Nader doesn't have the support of the crew. But Commander Clinton? That would be fascinating.

P.S. I am not Spock.

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