Friday, June 19, 2009

Star Trek by the Minute 015

An Emotional Response

Previous: Vulcan Prep Schools are Elevated Dungeons

Young Spock approaches a group of older bullies he "presumed" were determined to try a new set of insults. Spock says: "This is your thirty-fifth attempt to elicit an emotional response from me." "You are neither human nor vulcan, and therefore have no place in this universe." Anyone schooled in the most basic attributes of logic will recognize this proposition is a non-sequitur, uses an undefined term, is factually inaccurate and appears prejudicially racist. Whether or not Spock is X or Y species has no bearing on "having a place in the universe" which in turn, is undefined and a poor excuse for an insult with any intellectual strength. "Neither human nor vulcan" appears both factually incorrect, and commits the fallacy of the false dilemma by excluding the obvious middle possibility. The racism of the comment coming from a member of what was proposed as a noble and serene alien race of Stoics. In some given conditions, Spock could very well be a superior hybrid in some ways.

The lead bully starts shoving Spock and asserts: "He's a traitor you know, your father… for marrying her, that human whore." Spock then decides that he should share that in fact it is possible to evoke an emotional response from him, and that it would be "morally praiseworthy, but not morally obligatory" to provide empirical results to assist this inquisitive fellow scholar's quest for greater knowledge and enlightenment. In other words, he yells and leaps on his tormenter like a pint-sized Nero (with ears instead of tats), pushes the bully into one of the test pods, and starts pounding the kid's head. The older student's gratitude for this educational opportunity and to have his curiosity satisfied so concretely must have been profound!

We see Sarek approaching young Spock with the rosy lips with a dribble of green food coloring. "They called you a traitor". Apparently, the insult to his mother was not worth mentioning, since she is merely a woman – probably on a level with Kirk's mother, you know… down there somewhere in the grand scheme, one might guess if one wanted to waste one's time for some reason. At this point, Sarek replies, "Emotions run deep within our race, in many ways more deeply than in humans. Logic offers a serenity humans seldom experience." This hints at Epictetus, the sage of self-reliance who advised us to "control our passions" to prevent them "from taking vengeance on us", and that "only the educated are free."

Next: Sarek Lies to Young Spock


Steamblade said...

Given everything we have seen in the past regarding Vulcans, even with their superior attitudes, it strains credibility to think that the bully would refer to Amanda as a "whore".

BurntSynapse said...

Yeah, that was pretty stupid writing, hard to believe and very un-vulcan. Apologists could say that the bully had researched human insults in preparation for tormenting Spock, but that's a stretch within a stretch. Pinnochio's nose is needing a customized semi-trailer at that point...