Food for thoughtEdit
- Don't you ever wonder why, with thousands and thousands of registered users, only 100 or so (per Wikia stats) bother to write anything?
Why it's here Edit
I have been "accused" of being "wordy" which is probably true. I don't think that's automatically bad on a website devoted to the written word about a TV show/movie franchise. But it may sometimes make it difficult to communicate with people who have a problem reading or comprehending the English language which is the opposite of why I write so much. Rather than fill the talk pages with my verbosity, I'll put my more expository statements here. Some of what's here is already out there on talk pages. The opinions expressed here are mine and do not represent Memory-Alpha or its affiliates so don't blame them if you disagree. --StarFire209 01:56, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
Archivist Philosophy Edit
As I see it, Memory-Alpha is an attempt to make order out of chaos. With hundreds of TV episodes and movies, spanning multiple time frames in both the real and fictional universes, created by dozens of producers, directors, writers and technicians of varying degrees of skill, talent, competence, knowledge of what's gone before, adherence to that knowledge, and commitment to that adherence, plus the occasional snafu, there are millions of pieces of information. We are trying to take these bits and pieces and detritus and push, pull, prod and jam them into something coherent. It's like a huge jigsaw puzzle with some pieces missing and a few extras thrown in. I like jigsaw puzzles. I'm here because it's challenging and entertaining. Canon policy helps identify what pieces to use. But we need to be reasonable (or "logical") in how we work with these pieces. To be successful in this endeavor, an archivist needs to emulate Heinlein's concept of a Fair witness. Otherwise, we're not making order out of chaos, we're just stirring it around a bit. (Taken from something I wrote on a talk page and revised.)
The works of Robert A. Heinlein and Isaac Asimov inspired my love of science fiction before I ever saw Star Trek. (As a kid, I basically read only comic books and science fiction. They lacked the popularity they experience today. It's somewhat fulfilling to see that many of today's blockbuster movies and popular TV shows are based on comic books and science fiction. I believe the acceptance of these themes as mainstream is part of Star Trek's legacy.) It is Spock who inspired me to be more "logical."
The Meaning of Star Trek Edit
Some of the more brutal critics of Brannon Braga seem to justify their hatred because he doesn't know "the meaning of Star Trek." I'm no mind reader so I don't know what Braga knows, but I never got the memo that stated there was only one meaning of Star Trek. I can't read their minds either but it's a reasonable speculation that to the suits that funded it, Star Trek's meaning was return on investment. For Gene Roddenberry, it may have been a Utopian view of humanity's future, influenced by his secular humanist beliefs. But for some it seems that it's legitimate to hurl hateful, vitriolic speech at someone who's put himself out there while they have accomplished nothing and hide behind their anonymity. I'm not sure I could explain what Star Trek means for me never mind anyone else but that sure ain't part of it. (And I don't even like most of Braga's work.)
Drinking the Kool-Aid Edit
I made a reference somewhere else to drinking the Kool-Aid. In terms of Trek, what I mean by this are those fans who believe, almost religiously, that everything said about Trek and the general accepted perceptions of canon are some form of absolute truth. These are also the people who are so sure that they have the "meaning of Trek" down, that any alterations to their perceptions of Trek are blasphemy and the purveyors of such deserve to be vilified ad nauseum. These are the people who think anything that doesn't make sense by any rational analysis is still valid because "Trek is different" as if Trek exists in a vacuum totally unrelated to the world as we know it. These are also the people who will get really pi$$ed at this.
I hate the Prime Directive Edit
I have always hated the Prime Directive, even as a kid. Maybe because I had learned the Three Laws of Robotics before I ever heard of the PD, I felt that the notion of allowing sentient beings, even entire races, to die when you had the ability to help them was morally reprehensible. (I didn't use those words as a kid. I probably said something more urban that I can't repeat here.) The basic idea behind the PD was that letting a race know of the Federation could harm their growth. What could be worse than certain extinction? We have these warp engine thingies that could get some of those people off the planet before the sun goes supernova but we're afraid they might hurt yourselves with them so we're just let them all fry horrible meaningless deaths." Huh? In the later series the PD actually got worse rather than better, expanding the PD to even warp-capable species. The only saving grace was that the PD seemed ignored more than applied.
While I understand Roddenberry's inspiration was the treatment of the American Indian but that was the exploitive nature of the European (and, later, American) cultures not just the impact of advanced technology on the Indians' cultures. I would think that his Federation would have a way to address that kind of behavior without resorting to a rule that would allow billions to die while it stood by and watched.
Who's holding the reins? Edit
(This is expanded from something I wrote on the talk:Starfleet page. in response to a concern that the Federation is fascist.) I think fascism isn't quite accurate. That implies a collectivist view that supersedes the individual. The independence and near autonomy of Starfleet captains runs counter to that. Unfortunately, the term that better applies is military dictatorship. Starfleet nominally reports to the Federation President but pretty much does as it pleases. It controls everything military /exploratory /scientific /diplomatic /judicial. It has all the warships. It controls the starbases. It mines the wormholes. Whether or how the Prime Directive is applied seems to be at the whim of individual officers. You'll find instances where officers speak of Starfleet and the Federation as if they were the same entity. It could be argued that only the integrity and autonomy of individual officers such as Jean-Luc Picard has kept Starfleet in check but even has his flaws.
Not only does Starfleet control the Federation, Earth-humans control Starfleet. You can tell a lot about what people, places and concepts are important to a culture by how they name their warships. The majority of Starfleet ships have Earth-related names. Despite being only one (1) species out of 150+, the majority of Starfleet senior officers are human or human-hybrids. (The rest are humanoids. Silicoid and insectoid races need not apply?)
See for yourself. Take a look at the officers (lieutenant commanders and up) and you'll see that most are human. Get a list of ships and go through the names. Even if you assume that some names like Valiant are not species specific (bravery being a trait most races would probably want to honor), most ships' names are Earth-related. (Unless you want to believe things like there's a city called "Hood" on Andoria or "Lexington" is the name of a Tellurite politician.) And even more telling is the fact that most of the Earth-related names are themselves related to America, Britain or Commonwealth countries.
Despite the vision that inspired it all, the Star Trek universe is a very disturbing place when you look closely. :(
As a real world example of how vision can change, just take a look at the French Revolution. Although inspired by the American Revolution and chants of "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité", it soon degenerated into the Reign of Terror and eventually produced the First French Empire.
Starfleet comparisons Edit
Starfleet is sometimes compared to the U.S. Navy, probably because its rank system appears to mirror the Navy's. But Starfleet's behaviors are much more in line with the Royal Navy of the 18th and 19th centuries during the "Age of Sail". (Perhaps I should spell it "behaviours.") The Royal Navy, in addition to the typical wartime functions, also engaged in exploratory missions and scientific missions. Ships of the RN, particularly frigates, sailed on independent missions, much like the ships of Trek. The role that sail frigates played was often referred to that of the "cruiser". The term 'cruiser' was later applied to the type of ships that supplanted sail frigates. Starfleet is basically a navy of cruisers. It has no real capital ships.
Today's quotes (probably tomorrow's and next week's as well) Edit
Conjugation of irregular verbs Edit
Bertrand Russell had humorously conjugated an "irregular verb" as
- "I am firm; you are obstinate; he is a pig-headed fool."
Here's a few more...
- "I am a freedom fighter; you are a guerrilla; he is a terrorist."
- "I am a free market capitalist; you are a loan shark; he is a criminal."
- "I enlighten; you inform; he crams it down your throat."
- "I am eccentric; you are unusual; he is a deviant."
- "I am righteously indignant; you are annoyed; he is making a fuss about nothing."
- "I am open-minded; you are muddleheaded; he is easily outwitted by inanimate objects."
Don't read this if you have no sense of humor Edit
Suppositional Highly Imaginative Theorization
- Abbreviated S.H.I.T., although typically used in lowercase without the periods. Pronounced shĭt (rhymes with 'bit').
- In Ireland and much of the United Kingdom the equivalent term is Suppositional Highly Imaginative Theoretical Exposition. It is abbreviated S.H.I.T.E., also typically used in lowercase without the periods. Pronounced shīt (rhymes with 'bite').
- A statement or statements consisting of assumptions and/or presumptions, often compounded, which are not based on the established facts at hand.
- I have no requirement for further presentations of your Suppositional Highly Imaginative Theorization.
- You have maximized your capacity for presenting Suppositional Highly Imaginative Theorization.
- Your Suppositional Highly Imaginative Theorization is not the equivalent of reasonable speculation.
Why punctuation matters Edit
Same words. Which letter would you like to receive?
- Dear John:
- I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can forever be happy—will you let me be yours?
- Dear John:
- I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can forever be happy. Will you let me be?
Punctuation conundrum Edit
This doesn't make sense until you add a little punctuation. Answer is after my signature.
Help wanted Edit
You know where to apply.