Skip to comments.Gene Roddenberry, the "Prime Directive," and First World vs Third World Leftism
Posted on 11/10/2004 2:09:47 PM PST by Zionist Conspirator
You know, I've been trying to understand the bizarre ideological inconsistencies of the past week as our blue state liberals advocate Voltaire out of one side of their mouths and Russell Means out of the other. This spectacle of us "rednecks" being pummeled by a "tag team" of Charles Darwin and Sitting Bull has been bothering me for a very long time (for years, even). It's just that the whole issue has been omnipresent over the past seven days as the coasts fume at us for both rejecting Darwin and unforgivably altering the beliefs of "indigenous" religions (all that is lacking is a pulpit in some backwater rural Black Pentecostal Church being used to attack chr*stianity). So pardon me as I continue to ruminate on the keyboard so that my frustrations may be shared with others.
It is indeed puzzling to the point of maddening to be called "neanderthals" (as an insult yet!) by evolutionists, animal-worshippers, and fans of "indigenousness." Were not the "neanderthals" closer to Our Forebears The Beasts than modern man, with his genocidal destruction of Eskimo mythology? The whole "cave man"/"neanderthal" insult is simply loaded with irony (considering that no Australian aborigine or native of New Guinea will ever be so designated). Yet liberals are ultimately Hegelian idealists, whether they ascribe historical evolution to a "world soul" or the class struggle, and Hegelianism teaches that human history is teleological, flowing in one direction from the alpha point of the past to the omega point at "the end of history," and the term "neanderthal" suggests that one is violating this flow by refusing to "keep up with the times." Do these people not realize they are contradicting themselves when they insist that "indigenous pipples" must never be defiled with Western rationalism or forced to "keep up with the times?" Evidently they do not. Unfortunately, many conservatives simply accept the double standard and wear the liberal invective as a badge of honor. Sometimes I wonder if I am the only person to see the incongruities in the alliance between Voltaire and the "noble savage." But that alliance seems to be at the very heart of the "rednecks should be vegetarian rocket scientists while 'natives' should be shamanistic hunter-gatherers" theme.
I have found what I believe to be a pop culture analogy to the liberal schizophrenia that declares one person's "low intelligence" to be another person's "legitimate cultural expression." And I have found it in, of all places, Gene Roddenberry's definitive secular humanist vision of the galactic future, "Star Trek." Allow me to explain:
As you will recall, Star Fleet's prime directive was never to interfere in the internal development of other planets. This was of course routinely ignored in any episode whose plot would have been stymied by it, but I think the general idea of a "prime directive" directed toward "others" is operating in the liberal mind. The Federation was made up of many races and cultures, and I doubt very seriously that they showed this extreme latitude toward each other, as it would have made "federation" impossible. They could quite legitimately conduct coups or discipline unruly planets or cultures of their own. But when it came to "the other," they were determined not to judge. So the "prime directive" translated as "we hold our own to a standard; we refuse to judge 'the other.'"
By now the reader can easily see where I'm going with this. The liberal elites seem to regard whites (or perhaps more correctly, Anglo-Saxons) as visitors from another world come to study this one and its quaint peoples. Therefore, we require the strictest standards of our own (we cannot afford to subscribe to "fantasies"), but we do not wish to leave so much as a cultural "fingerprint" on anyone else. Liberals become furious when "rednecks" forego this "obvious" mission and insist on the perks of "indigenousness" for themselves (eg, their own "motherlands" and supernatural beliefs). Poor rural Anglos who continue to subscribe to their ancestral "mythologies" and taboos are savages--but woe betide anyone who applies this term to "the other!"
This theory explains the double standard with regard to South African apartheid. Cultural relativism had no bearing here. South Africa was not "the other" but "us," and "we" were interfering with and depriving the "natives" of freedom. At the time of the anti-apartheid crusade it was Communism that was being given a free pass, but I think the example becomes even more stark if we choose to compare liberal anti-apartheidism to a contemporary and decidedly non-Communist exampe, ie, the enslavement of Blacks by Arabs in the Sudan. Unlike South Africa, "we" are not doing anything. Because "we" have not interfered, Sudan becomes the beneficiary of the "prime directive" ("this is their culture") in a way the rulers of old South Africa did not.
Let's summarize my theory so far: "we" are here to study "them." "We" must confront and acknowledge reality and rationality in order to perform our studies successfully. However, "they" cannot be polluted by our rationalism. "We" may exact any number of approprite punishments of those members of "us" who want to participate in the life of this planet, but "we" do not make any value judgements whatsoever about "the other."
This actually goes beyond mere politics. Has anyone else ever noticed that vegetarians and anti-hunters do not object to hunting, trapping, skinning, or meat-eating by "indigenous pipples?" In fact, they are assumed to have the same right to hunt and kill animals for food that wolves and other predators are (perhaps liberals believe deep down inside that "indigenous pipples" are still "animals?"). Not only must the "invader" not kill the animals of this planet for food, but he must not interfere in predation by the native species (spiders, wolves, South American Indians, Southern Blacks). It is truly astounding that this condescension (camouflaged as it is by inward-directed ridicule and outward-directed solidarity) is not noticed by more people. At any rate, I would gladly bear that condescension rather than the compulsory "observer" status that has been assigned me by my "betters."
Anybody know what planet we "observers" are from? I'd like to return there now, please!
I would like to point out another dichotomy caused by the "prime directive" mentality. All our liberal dissidents are threatening to move to Canada or Europe. Considering the celebration of the heritage of "la raza" by the Left, why do none of them plan on going to Mexico instead? My theory is that the "us/the other" worldview splits Leftism into two varieties, what we may perhaps call "First World Leftism" (the kind we are supposed to suffer under) and "Third World Leftism" (which is going to "liberate" everyone else). American Leftists can go to Canada because its "indigenous" population has already been decimated (too bad, but oh well, there's nothing we can do about it now) whereas Mexico is still the Sacred Mother Soil of La Raza Unida, its "autochthonous" children who emerged from her bosom and alone have the right to live there. While Canada will become a secular yet somehow multicultural paradise, Mexico will be restored to its former and rightful greatness under the Aztec Emperors, before the Foreign Devil violated its virgin soil and imposed his vile religion on the rightful occupants, effacing the unparalleled wisdom with which their "gxds" had graced them. Canadian Leftism will be that of Voltaire; Mexico's will be that of his "ally," the "noble savage."
This example illustrates the vast differences between the "first world" and "third world" Leftism. First World Leftism is rational, secular, and scientific (though refusing to judge the "cultures" of "the others" in its midst). It is pacifist and anti-nuclear, guilt riddled over its past "crimes," perhaps vegetarian, and ultimately committed to blend into an abstract "family of man."
Third World Leftism (though considered the "fraternal comrade" of First World Leftism), is quite a different matter. It is devoid of any sense of guilt but rather furiously, mystically nationalistic. It has no intention of ever ceding its national sovereignty to foreign devils or international bodies. While the First World Leftists (FWLs) are destroying their military establishments the TWLs are engaged in a military buildup of monumental proportions. While FWLs are dismantling their nuclear reactors and erecting solar panels the TWLs are exercising their Right As A Sovereign Nation by building nuclear reactors. FWL nations contract into themselves, TWL ones engage in blatant military adventurism. FWLs critique their religious heritage in the light of "reason; TWLs celebrate their "glorious heritage" and how the "foreign devil" was unable to quench The Ageless Wisdom Of Our Forefathers with his vulgar, upstart religion. The FWLs instill disdain for their national heritage even while teaching docile submission to a totalitarian government, while TWLs are ready to pour out every drop of blood for the Sacred Socialist Motherland Which Has Been Our Home For Untold Thousands of Years.
Perhaps the easiest way to concretize these differences between First and Third World Leftisms is to imagine a May Day celebration under each one. In the First World Socialist State there would be long-haired, drug-addled, guilt-soaked hippies flashing the "peace" sign or throwing rocks. But under the Third World Leftist regime May Day is quite a spectacle. Millions upon millions of short haired, clean shaven, well-armed young men and women in military uniform (from ages five to fifty) march in lockstep across the Plaza Of The Revolution to the sound of martial music, carrying the National and Party Flags and, above all, pictures of the Great Leader, the Personification Of The National Essence, The Husband Of Every Wife And Father Of Every Child; and the whole gigantic party ends with a rousing, fist-shaking, arm-waving speech by the Leader as he assures his people that they have never ever done anything wrong in their history ever. Then he invites his First World Leftist hippie guest to join him in condemning the evils of fascism.
Anyway, this represents some of my thinking in trying to come to terms with liberal/leftist hypocrisy in regard to these matters. I wish that my fellow conservatives would stop gladly accepting the "ignorant neanderthal" label and actually force liberals to confront their hateful hypocrisy. This is not likely to happen, but it would be interesting to learn how liberals justify their inconsistencies in their own minds (assuming they've even thought that far).
Enough of the "I'm an ignorant redneck and I'm proud" reactions. Let us write liberal publications and ask liberals with whom we come in contact if they have indeed adopted a "prime directive" that justifies their corrosive scientism toward our beliefs and their awed respect of everyone else's.
Ping for your interest. Please ping to others whom you think might be interested.
Ping for your interest. Please share with others who might be interested in the topic.
Ping to others who might be interested.
For your possible interest. Please share with others who might be interested. Otherwise, pardon the intrusion.
Er . . . um . . . ping?
I'm an infamously tough grader, too.
I once gave a young lady a D on a college term paper and wrote, "This is a gift."
She dropped out of college.
Now you just need to get it published in the NYTimes
Bump for later read.
I know how to win over the other side to vote for me I'll call them dumb, ignorant, bible thumping knuckle draggers. </sarcasm>
A good book to read is called "The Mystery of Capital" by Hernando de Soto. The guy is a Peruvian. The book came out in 2000. Its become something of a sensation in the academic world. The book asks the basic question "why are some countries rich and some countries poor."
The answer is that all the rich countries have monetized their properties. They are surrounded by a halo of "invisible wealth" as de Soto puts it. That is you can buy and sell and--most importantly--borrow against-- land and most assets in the rich countries whereas you cannot in poor countries. You can't buy and sell with any ease most of the land and assets in poor countries. These countries don't have the political, legal and bureaucratic infrastructure that supports property. So its dead.
However, it would be in the interests of these countries to create the infrastructure that would support respect for property.
They just don't get it yet.
Just a talking point.
Also reject closed federal/state/local union shops.
To the disciples of Voltaire and Hegel, "noble savages" are useful only inasmuch as they can be used as a controllable mob to storm the ramparts of their ideological adversaries. They have no real "love" for the proletariat, the peasant masses, the brownshirt mob. They only wish to control them and to use them.
Not being this articulate, or on the other hand, being this articulate and burned out, I haven't found any Liberals classically liberal enough to engage in discussion. The all seem to get red faced and white knuckled and revert to ad hominem attacks. But then I haven't read Ann Coulter's latest book yet...
Interesting article though, and worth a second read.
I fully agree with your "we are here to study them" theory. The left do think this way. However, I think, they tend to choose the First World leftist escape holes because deep down, they know where the life is better and the freedoms they grew to take for granted are available and not under the imminent threat (apart from the Left themselves, of course.)
Of course, there are always some particularly delusional characters who choose various dictatorships as places to search for that 'ideal' (but that's just Darwin's theory in action.)
I have thought about "Star Trek" and the Left as well.
But I have not gone to such depths as you have or the same direction.
My observation of the Left is how they have reacted to the threat of Islamofacism. They truly believe that we can talk out our differences -
I call it "The Star Trek Assumption".
They seem to think we are living in a "Star Trek" world.
That you can solve any problem with talk.
Their idiocy can only make this world more dangerous.
I too have understood leftism in terms of their subscribing to a sort of "Prime Directive" for a while now. My reasoning and basis for coming to this conclusion ran along different lines than yours (I actually like yours better).
To recapitulate my thinking in this area a bit: I think any analysis of lefty thought has to take into account their millenial utopianism. The future will be utopia; the utopian monoculture will cover the world; this is a given. The only question is, what will be that monoculture be like? Or rather, what current culture will form the seed or root of, and evolve into, that monoculture? Clearly this question must plague most leftists, because they look around, and what is there to root for - especially with USSR gone?
Here's where I believe that the "paradox" you've discovered can be resolved and understood. Basically, the Prime Directive needs to be obeyed because lefties don't like our culture enough to be willing to see it become the future utopia. Other "indigenous" cultures therefore need to be coddled and firewalled because if they are not, lefties know we will swallow them up. This is intolerable not because our swallowing up other cultures will harm those cultures (in most cases they'd benefit) but because then there would be no alternatives.
And the main thing the lefty wants to preserve is alternatives to our society. Why? Again: because he does not like our society.
So, a lefty has a lot of trouble advocating the use of force against even the most vicious of "indigenous" killers. Yes, sure (says the lefty subconscious), we could save a lot of indigenous lives doing it, but look at the down-side: (1) we increase our power and prestige, (2) we reinforce our precedent for "interfering", and (3) we will inevitably influence that culture in our direction.
It's "better" to let other cultures, even vicious/murderous ones, to stay out there, protected from us. Think of it as a sort of extension of lefty thinking on the benefits of "diversity". If each Culture is a member of the Culture-Gene-Pool, then (since diversity is good) it's better to keep them around than to risk them being swallowed up by larger, more dominant (even if better and kinder) cultures!
Hence: the Prime Directive.
Within the context of the Star Trek show, my understanding of why lefties like the Prime Directive fulfills a metaphorical function. The effect of the PD on Star Trek is to ensure that the "Federation culture" is never going to be the only one in the universe. There are always going to be "strange new worlds" to explore, "new life forms" - if a Star Trek viewer had ever been concerned about this, the PD ensures it. This is obviously necessary on a TV show whose main appeal is often the alien encounters. In fact, the humans of Star Trek are often rather boring, so of course a rule to ensure others survive, is a priori a good thing.
Well, lefties, perhaps by definition, think that "our" culture is rather boring (=should NOT be the sole root of future utopian monoculture) thus find it necessary to "protect" others with a PD. Even if this leads to apparent betrayal of their principles.
The betrayal is only apparent because the truth is their principles have less to do with their oft-professed devotion to "human rights" etc., and more than anything else to do with fundamentally disliking their own culture.
Very well thought out. This goes far to explain why liberals can
rail against bigotry/racism while being bigots and racist
My first paper as a freshman in philosophy 101 (it was ultimately my major), I got a C on which the prof wrote, "I wouldn't be surprised if you thought you worked hard on this, students tend not to know what real work is."
I was seriously offended for 10 minutes, until I thought about how right he was. My 25th reunion is next year. Some things stick with you.
That prof turned out to be my advisor when I went for the honors degree, (I passed), but I did get to spike his a$$ during a student / faculty volleyball game.
My first blush reaction is: thought provoking. I think it is a natural human response to engage in contrary behavior: we hold "us" to both higher standards and lower ones, depending on the context. No prophet is with honor in his own town, no great person is great in his valet's eyes. But we also tend to give "our folks" the benefit of the doubt and assume that, when they conflict with "them", they are in the right. I like the way you've mapped this split onto leftism, but I wonder if it doesn't apply more broadly. We hold our children to higher standards than their guests in our homes, yet defend them against criticism by outsiders.
If you could go back to the planet that you came from and not have to be a dispassionate observer any more, what would you do? Be native (as opposed to going native)? Just live an unreflective life immersed unquestioningly in your folkways?
bump for bookmark
Sounds very pleasant. Sure beats having to eternally fight liberals in defense of everything good.
Then of course there are the "palestinians" who are "piss loving pipples."
As originally formulated, it only applied to cultures that had not achieved spaceflight.
Essentially, once they'd gotten off-planet, other cultures could be told to play nice with others--and it could be made to stick.
To further expand and clarify your analogy the prime directive does not allow The Federation to interfere in pre warp drive cultures.Once a planet advances enough to achieve warp drive then first contact can be made.Once said planet achieves a global peace and one government then they can apply for membership in the Federation.
I think Japan has been accepted in the "Federation" and is effectively considered and treated as "White/European." Eskimos can hunt whales,that is perfectly acceptable but the Japanese can not.They must now live by "Federation Rules."
Thank you for commenting on and expanding upon my analogy (I've watched "Star Trek" but I'm not a fanatic or anything).
Japan is an intersting case. They have been absolved of guilt for their World War II era atrocities ("it was their culture"), but Pat Buchanan regards them as "white" (as did the apartheid regime of South Africa).
Why do the Ainu never get any press? Is it because they're indigenous "caucasians" in a country ruled by "people of color?"
Good thing I currently have no beverage anywhere near me.
I like it. It has a certain internal consistent and some broad insights into the demented mind of the left.
The Ainu. Aboriginal caucasions. Almost sounds like an oxymoron. A native any redneck could love.....
Ping for later. Great read. The dicotomy of diversity. Gotta be a haiku in there somewhere.
Bump for bookmark & later read
While your figuring out third world leftists, can you tell me why socialist/collectivist (thinking about what that means) revolutions in these geographic latrines turn immediatly to the task of tribal warfare and genocide?
But why are Fundamentalist Protestant Blacks, whose religion is at least theoretically the same as that of the "knuckle-dragging neanderthals," treated as something strange and exotic and "other?" Granted, we conservatives often forget that before they were discovered by the radical left they were often mercilessly and cruely persecuted by their "anti-evolutionist co-religionists," but why do today's liberals see something so different from Rev. Jimmy Swaggart's religion? Perhaps it is merely a passing fancy, just as the Left once celebrated (and then discarded) the white Okies of the Dust Bowl days?
Re the idea of a plurality of cultures vs. the monoculture, it is interesting that the European-style "right" identifies the Left with a rootless universal monoculture and call for "multiculturalism" among cultures just as leftists call for it within (Western) cultures. This gives them a certain amount of common ground with the advocates of mystical indigenous nationalism.
Thank you for the thoughts.
>> All our liberal dissidents are threatening to move to Canada or Europe. Considering the celebration of the heritage of "la raza" by the Left, why do none of them plan on going to Mexico instead?
My theory is that leftists are racists, similiar to the Southern plantation owners of the old South. Their Uncle Tom's, such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, enforce the old-South tradition of keeping the slaves dumbed down.
Mr. Rodenberry was one of those strange people whose belief that the universe was the result of random, meaningless chance led to a romantic notion of man creeping up and up the ethical ladder, spitting in the face of the randomness that created him to become a gradually more ethical and humane species (these are the same people who swoon at the "martyrdom" of Galileo even though martyrdom and even truth would have no objective moral value in such a universe).
The advocates of meaninglessness are so up-tight. If it weren't for their childish rejection of sexual taboos, they'd worry themselves into distraction.
Thank you all for your kind support and encouragement.
Are you suggesting that Star Trek and the Federation of Planets isn't real?
I enjoyed your essay. Thanks!
I have found this website titled,
Psychological analyses of trek fans.
("It's long but interesting!")
BY Maurice Cusack Donncha Kavanagh
Department of Management and Marketing
University College Cork
From website at:
Extended Abstract, The phenomenon of stigmatization has been studied in depth in the fields of medicine (especially psychology) and sociology. In these literatures, the term stigma is usually reserved for groups like the physically handicapped, the blind, ex-convicts, racial minorities, homosexuals, and so on - people who are deeply discredited in some way or another. In contrast, our research has focused on a different group, namely those whose share a common form of symbolic consumption that results in their stigmatization. Or, in other words, we are interested in the particular instance of stigmatism associated with the consumption of particular products where the identity that is decoded from the assemblage of symbols is a tarnished one. We refer to this as stigmatic consumption, which we define as consumption that causes a devaluation of the consumer in the eyes of others. Thus, our focus is on what one might refer to as deviant consumers and the process of consumption whereby the consumer becomes part of a social group that is stigmatized by others.
Our study has focused on one particular group of deviant consumers, namely fans of the American television series Star Trek (Trekkies). Surrounding the series there is a well-developed and widely recognized and accepted negative stereotype of its archetypal consumer. According to this stereotype Trekkies are social misfits, they are feminized and/or desexualized, they are infantile, emotionally and intellectually immature, they are mindless consumers who are willing to buy anything associated with the series, and they are unable to separate fantasy from reality (Jenkins 1992). Our study examines the manner in which this by-product of their interest in the series impacts on them, and in particular, how they react in this atmosphere of antagonism. We could have chosen from any number of empirical sites. We chose Star Trek fans because, unlike other deviant consumer groups, the continuation of consumption in the face of antagonism is voluntary, rather than reflecting a compulsion (alcoholics, drug addicts) or a lack of feasible options from which to choose (the poor).
In media accounts, film representations, and academic studies of the fan, the overwhelming image is one of deviance and pathology. He/she is either the infatuated and obsessed loner who stalks, threatens and kills famous personalities, or the hysterical member of a crowd causing crushes at rock concerts, screaming and weeping at airports, rioting at football games (Jenson 1992). In her examination of the depiction of fans and fandom in Hollywood film, Lisa Lewis (1992) found that in every case the fan impulse was problematic. The movies she scrutinized ranged from sympathetic celebrations like Hollywood or Bust, to darker, accusatory statements such as The Fan, but several key representations and issues were present in all: Fandom is overwhelmingly associated with adolescence or childhood, that is, with a state of arrested development or youth oriented nostalgia, not mature adulthood. Furthermore, the fan impulse is presented as feminine, not masculine . Although nine of the major fan characters in the films are male, and only eight female, a feminine sensibility structures all portrayals (1992: 157-158). In their narrative resolutions most of these fans achieve a degree of stardom, which is presented as the solution to their yearnings. In other words, fandom is presented as stemming from loneliness and oppression, from a lack of recognition, and therefore it is a condition that fame resolves. This implicit notion that fandom is a sort of psychological compensation is explicitly endorsed in popular press and academic accounts. Celebrity-fan relationships have been characterized as instances of erotomania (a psychiatric disorder in which someone has a delusional and idealized romantic fixation on another person), or as borderline erotomania (where the individual is not delusional but consciously entertains distorted interpersonal attachments) (Harrington & Bielby 1995).
The paper reports on a two-year study of fans of Star Trek. Data was drawn from a variety of sources. The most important source was in-depth interviews with a convenience sample of eighteen Star Trek fans regarding their interest in Star Trek and their experiences of being a fan. The sample consisted of eleven men and seven women (most of which were university educated) and comprised a variety of nationalities. Ages ranged from late teens to early fifties. Half of the informants were very active in fandom - i.e. five were STARFLEET captains, two ran an official Leonard Nimoy fan club, one wrote and performed Filk music and was fluent in Klingon. The remaining nine informants were not members of Star Trek fan clubs/organizations, but considered themselves fans nonetheless. Activities engaged in by these fans included watching the program regularly, collecting videos, books and memorabilia, decorating accommodation with Trek posters, wearing T-shirts, chatting with friends about the series, publishing web pages, etc. These activities allow us to make a useful distinction between fans and ordinary viewers: a viewer is characterized as being a passive consumer whereas a fan is much more active. This is a somewhat arbitrary division and part of our study examines this boundary and how it is patrolled. We also conducted a number of briefer and more structured questions/answer sessions. Throughout the study, the Internet was used as a source of background information and empirical data, and we visited numerous Star Trek newsgroups, bulletin boards and chat rooms that were devoted to a variety of Trek related topics, and downloaded over a thousand pages of posts.
The research followed the interpretative approach, seeking to represent the fans view of their world. However, the nature and complexity of the research topic meant that there was also a necessity that we read between the lines, and in certain places, that we even read against their interpretations. We drew on a variety of theoretical frames - from consumer research to communication studies to the labeling theory of deviance to Foucaults writings on power and Bourdieus concept of Taste - to gain an understanding of the phenomenon under examination.
The central findings of our research can be summarized as follows:
1. In terms of social control, we found it useful to distinguish between the macroscopic gaze (of the media and academics) and the microscopic gaze (of those that are closest to Star Trek fans). An important point was that the social control of fans should not be seen as a simple top-down dichotomy in which fans are disciplined and controlled by a more powerful elite. Instead, the stigmatized consumer often holds as valid the same basic beliefs and values, the same notions of good taste, and the same concern with self-control and rationality that those closest to him/her does. Foucaults concept of the disciplinary gaze a form of social control that results from the sense of being under constant surveillance proved to be especially useful in understanding the phenomenon. In particular, the paper explores how fans escape the gaze of others and the disciplinary gaze of self-criticism.
2. Humor is a primary way whereby Star Trek fans are stigmatized, socially controlled, and chastised, and fans are routinely faced with the dilemma of how to deal with Jokes about Trekkies. The difficulty is that humor operates in such a way as to protect the Joker and the Joke against attack. Jokes take place in a framework where actions and words are defined as not serious or significant as being without consequence. The ultimate defense of the joker who has been challenged is to simply claim with disbelief I wasnt serious or I was just joking. Such a response quickly shifts the blame back on the critic by accusing him of not having a sense of humor and implying that he is over-sensitive or that he cannot take a joke - and therefore is not quite a normal person (Powell 1988). If the Trekkie does not get the joke it is doubly incriminating. Not only is he too serious, he is also too serious about Star Trek, which was the basic point of the joke in the first place. Conversely, fans themselves often use humor and an ironic attitude to Star Trek to manage their own feelings of guilt and potential stigmatism.
3. In contrast to much of the consumer research literature, the study indicates that symbolic consumption is contested ground, where at best meaning is negotiated, and at worst, definitions are forced on the consumer. Furthermore, many of our respondents describe their behavior as an addiction, craze, or compulsion although they were also ambivalent about whether this was a positive or mild addiction, or basically deviant behavior. In other words, our respondents had co-existent and contradictory viewpoints reflect their oscillating feelings of guilt regarding their interest, and they employed a range of techniques to resolve this ambivalence.
4. The question of what they should call themselves is a hotly debated topic amongst fans of Star Trek. This is because the act of labeling may be seen as part of an effort to gain control over the object or phenomenon that has been labeled. Thus, many see the label Trekkie as a media construction that was foist upon them and which is belittling. Similar to other stigmatized groups, they adopt various strategies to deal with this labeling issue so as to reclassify themselves as normal. One strategy is to reclaim the term by redefining its meaning in positive or openly resistant terms. Another is to suggest and promote an alternative label that circumvents the negative connotations of the original. Yet another is to embrace the term, but in an ironic manner.
5. In Goffmans (1963) analysis of stigma, he distinguished between two categories of stigmatized individuals - the discredited and the discreditable. What marks the discredited as different is immediately apparent to all (e.g. burn victims), while for the discreditable their difference/deviance is not conspicuous or known beforehand (e.g. ex-convicts). The problems faced by the two are therefore quite different. Because he cannot hide, the discredited is forced to manage the tension generated during social interactions. In contrast, the discreditable manages information about his failing: To display or not to display; to tell or not to tell; to let on or not to let on; to lie or not to lie; and in each to whom, how, when, and where (p. 57). Star Trek fans are most appropriately classified as discreditable since they can decide when and to whom they wish to reveal their deviance. Thus, the strategic management of symbolic cues is especially important for fans, and our paper describes how this is affected in practice.
6. An important way through which stigmatism is managed (or organized) are through the development of alternative, more affirmative and fan-friendly discourses of Star Trek. These alternative discourses present reasons explaining why it is a quality television series, and in turn why being a Star Trek fan is to be valued. So, for instance, they convert Star Treks status as an undifferentiated commodity (just a show) into a decommoditised phenomenon invested with special meaning by its followers. This decommodification or singularisation of a commodity is effect through a variety of consumer practices, such as the addition to a collection or through ritualistic behavior (Belk et al 1989, Kopytoff 1989). These alternative discourses may also lead to the (partial) neutralization of the dominant cultural critique. In effect, if fans have at their disposal logical and legitimate explanations of their tastes there is a greater chance that they will be able to reduce their ambivalence towards those tastes. The paper explores the most common alternative discourse invoked by Star Trek fans.
7. This section of the paper examines the process of being and becoming a fan. The research suggests that Star Trek fans seem to drift into a stigmatized category without considering that membership of this group is liable to bring them oppression. Stated differently, the deviance of being a fan is not crystallized around the committal of a single deviant act. We can contrast this with, for instance, tattooing or aesthetic plastic surgery where entering the category of deviant consumer is clearly and unambiguously marked by a single event. The ambiguous relationship between the individual fan and the wider Star Trek community/organization is also considered in this section of the paper.
Finally, the paper considers how a study of fans and fandom can contribute to our understanding of organizations and organizing practices. If we are concerned with simply the organization of production, then it is unlikely that this study will have much to contribute. However, if we take a broader understanding of organization, to include the organization of identity, then our study provides some useful insights. First, just as Star Trek fans are stigmatized for being deviant, Star Trek clubs and organizations are also stigmatized for being deviant organizations and these, in turn, can be considered part of a wider Star Trek community that is itself stigmatized at a more macro level. And while individual fans may not be a member of any club and may balk at the notion of a Star Trek community, they nevertheless negotiate/organize their identity within a relation network wherein these deviant actors have a role (which, at an individual level, may be of greater or lesser importance). As we have seen, fans ambivalent attitude to other fans and fan clubs is part of this negotiation process and symptomatic of the stigma of organizing.
Secondly, the dismissal and stigmatization of Star Trek activities says something important about our understanding of normal organizations. Drawing on Brewis and Linsteads (2000) recent study of sex work, we can consider Star Trek fandom as another instance of the abject the unacceptable part of experience that we reject or suppress. Following on the writings of Bataille and Kristeva, they see the abject as the loathed and denied part of the self [that] continually flows back into the subjects experience (2000: 26). Applied to our study, their argument suggests that the very existence of Star Trek clubs and organizations is troubling because it reminds us that normal organizations and normal organizing practices lack something important and are therefore unfulfilled. Paradoxically, Star Trek clubs and organizations are important at least to students of organization precisely because they are dismissed as trivial and inconsequential. In other words, these clubs and organizations are crystallized instances of the hopeless (that which is cast aside or stigmatized; the lack in the normal) and it is this that makes them important and worthy of study. Furthermore, it is in this sense that we can say that stigmatism inhabits the normal organization.
Belk, Russell W., Mellanie Wallendorf and John F. Sherry Jr. (1989), The Sacred and the Profane in Consumer Behavior: Theodicy on the Odyssey, Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 16 (June), 1-37.
Brewis, Joanna and Linstead, Stephen (2000), Sex, Work and Sex Work, Routledge, London. Fiske, John (1989), Reading The Popular, Boston: Unwin Hyman.
Goffman, Erving (1963), Stigma: Notes on the Management of a Spoiled Identity, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Harrington, C. Lee and Denise D. Bielby (1995), Soap Fans: Pursuing Pleasure and Making Meaning in Everyday Life, Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Jenkins, Henry (1992), Textual Poachers: Television Fans & Participatory Culture, London: Routledge.
Jenson, Joli (1992), Fandom as Pathology: The Consequences of Characterization, in The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media, edited by Lisa A. Lewis, London: Routledge.
Kopytoff, Igor (1986), The Cultural Biography of Things: Commoditization as Process. in The Social Life of Things. Arjun Appadurai (editor), Cambridge: Cambridge U.P. pp. 6491.
Lewis, Lisa A. (1992), Something More than Love: Fan Stories on Film, in The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media, edited by Lisa A. Lewis, London: Routledge.
Powell, Chris (1988), A Phenomenological Analysis of Humour in Society, in Chris Powell and George E. C. Paton (editors), Humour in Society: Resistance and Control, London: MacMillan Press.
 In using the word deviant we are mindful that this is a contested term and that many sociologists believe that designations like normal and deviant have lost their true significance and that consequently any study of them is logically incoherent (Sumner, 1994).
How to transform America's First World left wing into a redneck-friendly Third World one--in five easy steps:
1) Join the ACLU en masse,
2) Assume leadership,
3) Change its name to Provisional Mystical Nationalist Armed Renascence,
4) Name Zionist Conspirator el jefe maxima, Great Helmsman, and Father Of The Redneck Nation,
5) Require all members to pause in whatever they're doing at precisely 1600 hours UTC each day and do the Loyalty Dance. (That'll drive out any lame @$$ "First World" hippie types; can you imagine a Pete Seeger pothead having the gumption to do such a thing???)
Chill and serve!
The liberal elites seem to regard whites (or perhaps more correctly, Anglo-Saxons) as visitors from another world come to study this one and its quaint peoples.
the key word here is article is Anglo-Saxons. A couple things to note here. First, there have been no Northern Presidents in the USA since FDR. Ever wondered why not? When you understand that then you can go on to answer why it is that Northern Republican Anglo-Saxons who ruled the US after the Civil War for nearly 100 years--would now be considered to be from another planet.
One of my favorite Sci-Fi writers Orson Scott Card used in his Ender's universe an interesting classification of aliens. The classification is based on how much understanding between peoples or species is possible.
Swedish words utlanning, framling, raman, and varelse are used for the terminology that was introduced by one of the major characters (Valentine) after spending time on a planet populated by Scandinavian descendants. This classification is known as the "Hierarchy of Exclusion," appears in the "History of Wutan in Trondheim," a fictional work described by Orson Scott Card in his novel "Speaker for the Dead," of the Ender's universe.
I don't know if this classification is used or has real roots in Sweden, or is an invention of the brilliant mind of Orson Scott Card. I'd appreciate any insight.
The original classification as appears in the book:
1 Utlanning (Otherlander): the stranger we recognize as a human of our world, but of another city or country.
2 Framling: the stranger we recognize as human, but of another world.
3 Raman: the stranger we recognize as human, but of another species.
4 Varelse: the true alien, which includes all the animals, for with them no conversation is possible. They live, but we cannot guess what purposes or causes make them act. They might be intelligent, they might be self-aware, but we cannot know it.
Utlanning, or otherlander
source 1-the stranger we recognize as a human of our world, but of another city or country. someone of another city or country literally. Those who are closest to you but are other than you.
-Swedish word: utlînning [u:tlen:ing] utlînningen utlînningar (noun)
-English translation: foreigner, alien
-Compounds: utlînningslag -enAliens' Act
source 1-"human" but of another world. Someone substantially different than you, but descended from the same people, and cultural source.
-Swedish word: frîmling [fr'em:ling] frîmlingen frîmlingar (noun)
-English translation: stranger, foreigner, alien
-Compounds: frîmling(s)|skap -etalien status, alienation
source 2 A framling is a member of one's own species that dwells on another planet. For example, if I am a human being and an American, then a person who lived on Mars would be a framling to me; a Ukrainian would be an utlanning.
Raman (pl. ramen)
source 1-Beings not of your people, but can be related to, spoken to, and communicated with. They come from other lands, and other sources, but common ground can be established. Nature, properly approached, spirits of the lands and skies, and any other entity in which any form of communication is possible falls here. This is literally the limit, after which no relation is possible.
-Swedish word: ram [ra:m] ramen ramar (noun)
-English translation: frame / (figuratively "limits, bounds")
-Examples: inom mñjligheternas ramwithin the limits of possibility
-Compounds: ram|avtal -etskeleton (blanket) agreement
source 2 A raman is a member of a species of intelligent beings (different from your own) with whom one can achieve meaningful dialogue. Whether or not dolphins are ramen or varelse has not yet been satisfactorily determined...
source 1-Alien, no "conversation" is possible, they might be intelligent, they may be self aware, but you have no way of knowing it. These are foreigners with whom no understanding is possible.
-Swedish word: varelse [v'a:relse] varelsen varelser (noun)
-English translation: being
-Examples: levande varelseliving creature
source 2 A species of beings with whom one cannot achieve meaningful dialogue. Contrast with raman.
They live, but we cannot guess what purposes or causes make them act.
One is expected to understand and to be understood by utlanning and framling. Its more difficult with ramen. Some of their actions and motivations can be totally alien to us.
For example, a raman race of pequeninos is killing a human colonist. Because their life cycle includes transformation into a tree like being, the only stage when they can procreate, and the stage reserved only for the most distinguished of the previous stage, the killing of the human was meant to be a highest honor possible for them. It was a murder for humans. A dilemma, but nevertheless, an understanding is achievable.
There is no understanding possible with varelse, because they are too alien. If you move to understand them somehow, they are not varelse anymore, but become ramen to you. The process of understanding may not be mutual.
The original villains Ender was fighting were aliens called buggers who did not recognize humans as sentient beings at the beginning and almost wiped out humans completely. When they finally recognized the mistake, the roles reversed: the humans seen only the deadly enemy, never understood why the buggers stopped the advance on Earth, and ended up wiping out the buggers' race. Humans became ramen for them when they stopped fighting, but they still remained varelse for humans, until they learned how to communicate with Ender.
OSC explores Prime Directive from a different angle. Pequeninos make case to humans to share all information, because, as they say, every minute of not sharing, only increases the gap between them making future understanding more and more difficult. They don't see any value of the Prime Directive to them.
While in the Ender's universe utlanning and framling supposed to be able to understand each other, they are not, of course, conflict free. There are wars and power struggle. A fact of understanding does not imply automatic agreeing.
Which turns into the application of this classification to our current conflicts. A cursory search of the internet brings up liberal fans of OSC calling Bush supporters ramen at best, or even varelse. Seeing that as a gross oversimplification, I myself is guilty of lamenting of a huge gap in applied logic (or lack of it) in conservative - leftists debate. It would be better to reserve the terms to the real aliens.
Anyway, applying them to here and now, I see a mistake that leftists make. They equate understanding and acceptance. They refuse to judge moral coordinates in which different groups operate.
Yes, I can understand what makes our current enemies tick. No I can still judge them wrong. And when they display their desire and ability to harm us, I'd say smash them smartly with a full understanding.
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