Friday, July 31, 2009

STbtM 034: Distress Call from Vulcan

Previous: Why Spock Never Made the Debate Team 1

Spock claims that maintaining personal and command control "…is a quality expected in every Starfleet Captain." While arguably true, Kirk's performance during three tests, convincing his mock crew to appear, convincing his test administrators and even Spock himself to show up repeatedly for the simulation suggests that Kirk maintains control and persistence. With all this evidence right in front of him, Spock appears unable to see any of it – and for no good reason. Pride would be a good motivator, but that would require some explanation since this is an emotion that vulcans like Spock are trained to manage so that it serves their judgment, not the other way around.

In response to this pitiful excuse of a criticism, Kirk hangs his head and melodramatic strings swell in the background, as Kirk is suffering over the haunting memories of his lost father…which he really doesn't have, since he never met the man… But never mind, because the film is best enjoyed if the fore does not interfere with the hind brain.

An aide walks in and delivers a pad to the Admiral Barnett, (leading the inquest) who announces "We've received a distress call from Vulcan. With our primary fleet engaged in the Lorenzian (sp?) System, I hereby order all cadets to report to hanger one, immediately. Dismissed." In this timeline, the Federation may be involved in the Erselrope Wars, a series of conflicts that occurred prior to 2364. Much about these wars is unknown in the prime timeline. In TNG: "The Arsenal of Freedom", it is established that the planet Minos became rich and famous weapons suppliers to both sides of the Erselrope Wars, sort of like the U.S. is today.

As the auditorium clears, McCoy walks up to Kirk who appears still weakened from the traumatic mention of his father being killed in action, and Kirk sensibly asks him, "Who was that pointy-eared bastard?" McCoy answers "I don't know, but I like him." This reply makes sense if we have some certainty that Kirk will be cleared by the inquest committee, but since McCoy later emphasizes how dicey the outcome actually is, voicing that he likes Spock is close to being disloyal - particularly when Spock's discussion was so irrational. It seems clear the line is an attempt to establish the underlying affection between McCoy and Spock, but it is completely inappropriate for the situation, and McCoy's already-established relationship with Kirk.

The film cuts to the hanger, where cadets are marching single file into the hanger at evenly space intervals, which looks so unnatural, the obviously choreographed Riverside shipyard scene (STbtM 025) seems far less stiff. The crane-cam zooms into a rank & file collection of cadets as we hear the male Commander announce ship assignments to vessels like the Philpott, Farragut, Enterprise, and the Hood. He finishes, and then blesses the cadets with a quick "Godspeed." Apparently, Starfleet is also a religious organization.

If an officer under my command was invoking the blessings of his invisible friend who has supernatural magic powers, a detailed counselling session with individual apologies to the cadets with a reality-based worldview is the least that would happen! Kirk looks to McCoy and says: "He didn't call my name… Commander! Sir, you didn't call my name: Kirk, James T?"

Of the 5 speaking roles in this segment, none are women.

Next: Uhura Gets the Enterprise

8 comments:

Steven said...

I'm loving the "Only men speak in this segment." thing. Hell I'm loving all of it :D

muser said...

The actual military has chaplains and holds religious service in the current day, for better or worse. A blessing by a superstitious officer is unlikely to result in discipline (and "Godspeed" is the traditional Naval wish for those departing on an important mission).

I have to take issue with "sort of like the U.S. is today". The US is hardly the only nation to supply weapons to other nations. Look at Russia, China, or the exportation of nuclear tech from Pakistan to North Korea for some examples. Does the US do it? Sure. But let's not single out ONLY the US for this behavior. Israel, South Africa, and the UK also supply military tech and hardware to various other nations that can pay. It is done by nations of every political persuasion.

BurntSynapse said...

First, I clearly did not say "ONLY the US", however, the crimes of the US appear to deserve special attention from me for several reasons:
- Its military budget dwarfs that of any other country.
- Largest problem root causes should be addressed first.
- The US is the most powerful nation.
- The US is my home.
- I can theoretically influence US policy, whereas complaining about China is like complaining about antebellum slavery: useless.

If this justification for singling out the US is weaker than another position for which you would like to advocate, or if you believe my position is invalid for some good (and stronger) reasons, I would gladly consider them.

muser said...

I think that I in fact have influenced US policy, albeit not enough, and I'm sure you can figure out who I voted for if you try.

You can single out our country if you please, that's a right I think both of us would fight for.

I simply think it merits pointing out that the problem, and therefore the solution, is not solely of our making. Unlike war, it is not possible to unilaterally wage peace. If we were to disarm tomorrow, we'd probably all be dead by next Tuesday. I suppose that's peace of a kind.

I am hopeful that at least our latest nuclear
treaty seems to be a step in the right direction. And before I'm flamed by a bunch of conservatives I'll point out that Ronald Reagan was the one who first called for a reduction in our nuclear arsenal of 1/3, and that the treaty makes exceptions if we are attacked.
Anyway I think I've digressed more than sufficiently from actual discussion of the movie.

BurntSynapse said...

The certainly correct observation that one "can single out our country" if they please does not address my claim that ignoring primary causes about which one has some potential influence is a responsibility if one wishes to claim any credibility or courage. We would not properly call Germans in the 1940's criticizing U.S. massacres in Hawaii as credible or courageous. Ethical views apply such rules to everyone, especially ourselves.

Describing massive slaughter as a "problem" with justifications that that it is not "solely of our making" sounds very much like the Soviet generals to describe their invasion of Afghanistan as "a mistake", the same as most Japanese consider the Rape of Nanking.

BurntSynapse said...

I would also claim that for their to be peace and justice, someone MUST make the first move, and by disarming and withdrawing US' various occupation forces and our thousands of foreign bases in hundreds of countries an orderly and stable way, support for extremist violence would dissolve like mist.

The reason this does not happen is that war is simply too profitable, as Smedley Darlington Butler exposed in the pamphlet "War is a Racket"

Haaris Qureshi said...

You certainly like going out of your way to express your disdain for religion. Where it's really out if place is the mentions of 'God' are used as a natural part of speech. As someone commenter on an earlier blog, saying 'oh my God' is a phrase used by the religious and secular alike.

Haaris Qureshi said...

*of

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