Skip to comments.Rant About Star Trek: Enterprise That Does Probably Not Belong Here
Posted on 03/13/2002 3:13:17 PM PST by ReveBM
Okay, let me first off say that I am a big fan of the newest Star Trek series, Enterprise. I thought that the last series, Voyager, had gotten tired and had too many episodes revolving around the masturbatory holodeck. And, don't even get me started on the series before that, Deep Space 9, with its "angry pissed-off black man in space" theme.
The new Enterprise series has a freshness about it not seen in my opinion since the original series of 1967-69, what with the swashbuckling Captain Kirk. A good slice of the new series' appeal for me is its handsome, rugged, all-American Captain, Jonathan Archer.
One particular episode, though, rubbed me the wrong way. If you've watched the series you may remember the pivotal episode where they visit the "Great Plume of Agasoria", a stellar object that has religious significance for many alien peoples. Smack in the middle of this episode, the alien doctor pointedly asks Captain Archer whether he has a faith (I don't remember the exact wording, he may have used religion or some other wording).
Captain Archer's response: "I try to keep an open mind".
Let's step back a bit and realize that in the Star Trek universe at this point Earth is just emerging from a hard 100+ years of recovering from nuclear war. If there were ever a time for people to turn to God, perhaps it would have been in the aftermath of that holocaust. However, not so for the boys at Star Fleet.
Perhaps in the Star Trek future, people who are religious do not go into space, staying on their farms (as shown in the first episode of the series) or perhaps forming small communities on spacefaring cargo ships (as shown in another episode). However, religious people don't seem to go into Star Fleet, to my knowledge. It's fine and understandable to run across aliens who are committed religiously, particularly the Vulcans, but I have yet in my memory to run across a significant Star Trek character who is committed to Christianity. You might think I'm harping on Christianity in particular, but it's not only a major and still-growing religion in our world today, but it's the dominant religion in the United States, which fields a large portion of visible Star Fleet personnel, perhaps due to the San Francisco location of its training center (or perhaps many other people in the world died during nuclear war)?
Wait, I get it, maybe religious people are somehow screened out during Star Fleet Academy, perhaps for unacceptable views they might have on one or another topic.
Let's also not forget that in the future, at least according to Star Trek, there is no capitalism at some point. The description of how this happens and in what century is vague, but I vividly remember more than one Star Trek Captain saying that in the future they don't use money anymore, just look to expand their "human potential". Thank God for the Ferengi.
Star Trek is written by writers and reflects their view of what the future will be like. They obviously seem to assume that Christianity and capitalism will die out over the generations. This reflects the fondness of liberals in particular to enter our schools and inculcate our young people so that they don't have unacceptable, politically incorrect views among the future generations, whether regarding homosexuality or some other topic.
It would have been extremely refreshing to have had Captain Archer at LEAST say "Yes, I have a faith, but it's very personal to me" and leave it at that.
Whether Christianity could survive the discovery of intelligent life on other planets is a topic for another day. I have read some science fiction suggesting it could. Others may disagree.
Have a nice day!
I AM - Strap Me UP!!!
Perhaps it was a nuclear war based on religious conflict...not altogether unthinkable given today's situation.
I recall Yeoman Rand sneaking up to Kirk and whispering quietly: "Captain, you remember what we did after the Christmas Party last year...." and Kirk would turn purple and and himself to go inspect the anti-matter containment vessels or some such crap.
I also recall Spock getting the Vulcan version of the "Seven Year Itch" and Nurse Chapel (played by Roddenberry's wife) having to fight off his manly advances. Nyuck, nyuck!
Yup, those were the days.
Deus ex machina. One of the worst cop outs in writing. Bleah.
I think that was Pournelle's hand. Niven seems more of an agnostic sort.
Heck, any of Jerry Pournelle's CoDominion books are quite good in this regard.
Yes; the future history in which the story is set (which drives assumptions about the background culture) is Pournelle's.
If you want to see some really good stuff, watch Smallville.
I think they need to have an episode where the entire crew gets ripped off by some wily natives like a bunch of unsuspecting rubes, like exchanging some critical fluid to run the warp drive for WD-40. Wait, did they already do that episode?
You're leaving out a few details. First, governments can't "commit" the time of people, unless of course the government is a totalitarian one. (Yes, I suspect totalitarian societies have been fairly efficient at building "Monuments"; cf. the pyramids...)
But the society of Star Trek is inevitably portrayed as completely free. Of course, you will probably retort that the future government of Star Trek has no need to be totalitarian in this sense of "committing" its' subjects' time to building "Monuments". After all, they just tax their citizens at a sufficient rate to build this stuff!
Small problem: they've "abolished money". (!) I heard Picard state this explicitly himself, either in an episode or in one of the films. (Which is weird in a way, because I don't think this was true in Kirk's time, I think they did have money; apparently the Federation of the future "abolishes money" within a span of 70 years or so....)
So if the future society of Star Trek is a free society, and has no money, then how is their government "committing" anything to "Monuments"? What, are people just doing everything that is necessary (sweeping the floors, serving food, etc), voluntarily?
Well, that was the communists' dream, after all.... Nope, sorry, "capitalist" Star Trek ain't.
You've nailed it!
Has anyone ever heard a decent rationalization of how the Federation economy worked?
Sure, we've all heard such a rationalization: "From each according to his needs, to each according to his ability."
They do call it science fiction, after all :)
Ah, the cryogenic people... and one had cancer, one was an alcoholic, etc. Yup I think I remember that one. Pretty early one if I recall correctly.
That's the problem with trying to casually insert something PC into science fiction. Obviously, they didn't think through the ramifications. They just wanted to put a Good Anti-Greed Message into the episode. It's stuff like that which makes me sympathize with people who hate Star Trek and don't consider it serious sci-fi....
BTW, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Trekkie, too.