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Rant About Star Trek: Enterprise That Does Probably Not Belong Here
Reve BM, Editorial, rant | March 13, 2001 | Reve BM

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!


TOPICS: Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: atheist; starfleetmafia
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To: The Iguana
Otherwise known as the intern's seat.
51 posted on 03/13/2002 8:16:39 PM PST by piasa
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To: ReveBM
We could theorize that the Christians of the day are too advanced to waste time serving in Star Fleet and flitting around the galaxy. They already know the truth.
52 posted on 03/13/2002 8:23:22 PM PST by DouglasKC
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To: Free2think
By attacking Archer's statement about his faith I'm also obviously indirectly attacking people who think "keeping an open mind" is one of life's highest virtues. I respect people more who've thought deeply about various things and have opinions about them.
53 posted on 03/13/2002 8:27:40 PM PST by ReveBM
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To: superdestroyer
Most economist would disagree with you. It takes a large government to commit the time and resources to build what one economist calls "Monuments." ...

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.

54 posted on 03/13/2002 8:28:48 PM PST by Dr. Frank fan
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To: Dr. Frank
Small problem: they've "abolished money". (!) I heard Picard state this explicitly himself, either in an episode or in one of the films. It's in the episode where they unfreeze those 3 people from roughly our time: the housewife, the businessman, and the musician.
55 posted on 03/13/2002 8:32:10 PM PST by Jason Kauppinen
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To: PatrickHenry
Star Trek lost me as a fan years ago when they dropped capitalism from the future. A post office style economy can't build starships, so the whole series became absurd.

You've nailed it!

Has anyone ever heard a decent rationalization of how the Federation economy worked?

56 posted on 03/13/2002 8:34:44 PM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: <1/1,000,000th%
Maybe they use lots and lots of robots?
57 posted on 03/13/2002 8:40:11 PM PST by ReveBM
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To: <1/1,000,000th%
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 :)

58 posted on 03/13/2002 8:40:18 PM PST by Dr. Frank fan
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To: Jason Kauppinen
It's in the episode where they unfreeze those 3 people from roughly our time: the housewife, the businessman, and the musician.

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....

59 posted on 03/13/2002 8:46:39 PM PST by Dr. Frank fan
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To: ReveBM
FWIW, in the aforementioned episode with The Great Plume of Agasoria, Dr. Phlox said he had attended Mass at St. Peter's (in addition to spending time with Buddhist monks). So we know that the RCC would possibly last until then ;)

BTW, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Trekkie, too.

60 posted on 03/13/2002 8:51:52 PM PST by roachie
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To: Dr. Frank
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....)

Actually, there is a conflict on this topic within the "original series", when extended to include the feature films. In several episodes of the old TV series, there are references to the use of money by people aboard ship. While on board a Space Station, the crew members on "shore leave" have to buy drinks. Uhura asks: "how much for the Tribble". People are heard wagering in monetary units which are simply called "credits". The "parallel universe" Kirk tries to bribe Spock.

However, when we fast-forward to Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home, there is at least one scene that leads the audience to think that money is not used in Kirk's time (the restaurant scene). That might be explained away as a cashless (as contrasted with moneyless) period. Kirk's 23rd-Century debit card would probably not work at Pizza Hut.

61 posted on 03/13/2002 8:56:20 PM PST by Cloud William
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To: Reagan Man
A generic statement, like what you mentioned, "Yes, I have a faith, but it's very personal to me", would have been appropriate.

I agree. However, I was a bit surprised that the religion question was not the usual set-up for a response dismissing religion as a silly superstition, discredited since the 21st century. We'ver certainly seen that one beore.

62 posted on 03/13/2002 9:01:30 PM PST by Cloud William
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To: Hodar
Then Voyager came out, and introduced the first Black Vulcan... whoomp ... the entire rationale for having Vulcan's be a monothlistic society just came crashing down. With multiple races, each with diffent views, a planet as Vulcan would not have evolved as it did. They lost me... I don't care if you make the Captain a black, bi-sexual, or a black heterosexual, or make the entire crew ethnicaly diverse. But, when you inject diversity into a culture that developed soley due to a lack of diversity, they killed the series in my mind.

You must've missed the Vulcan ritual scenes in Star Trek III - The Search for Spock. Several of the Vulcan guards had prominent "Asian" features. Also, the Vulcan IDIC symbol refers to "Infinite Diversity, in Infinite Combinations". I suppose they managed to evolve beyond the need to be "hyphenated-Vulans"!

63 posted on 03/13/2002 9:14:07 PM PST by Cloud William
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To: 1/1,000,000th%
They have the transporters and the synthesizers, so manufacturing and short range transportation are no longer economic considerations. Energy is, but appears to be even more plentiful than water today.

Long range commerce seems to be largely in luxury goods. Remember some of Quark's trading concessions?

I don't think that the Star Trek universe's economics stands up to scrutiny any better than its physics or its military science.
64 posted on 03/13/2002 9:18:17 PM PST by VietVet
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To: Hodar
the entire rationale for having Vulcan's be a monothlistic society just came crashing down. With multiple races, each with diffent views

One would think a lesser feat of reason of a race devoted to exclusively to logic would be that melanin content in the skin has no bearing on one's capacity for logic.

65 posted on 03/13/2002 9:22:59 PM PST by Pistias
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To: ReveBM
I stopped watching Enterprise after the first episode because they brought time travel into it.

This was the great curse and silly deus ex machina of Voyager: when things get tough, roll out the tachyons!

I also wished that Enterprise had been pre-transporter and pre-replicator. These two technologies are so preposterous and deus-ex-machina-up-the-wazoo, that they undermine any logic (of which there is very little) in the shows.

Finally, if Trek wanted to be truly PC, then a large percentage of the crew would be Chinese and Indian. Unless of course they are nuked into oblivion before the all-out move to space. Or maybe they didn't fit the genetic profile of the fascist state that is the Federation!

66 posted on 03/13/2002 9:29:28 PM PST by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: ReveBM
And, don't even get me started on the series before that, Deep Space 9, with its "angry pissed-off black man in space"

Damn! You sound like you think every "black man" on TV is angry and POed.

In fact you sound like some black guys who think every white guy is out to get them.

Oh, and currently Enterprise is the worst Star Trek of the five. It's stories are too drab and unexciting (might change though).
DS9 is the best. IMHO

67 posted on 03/13/2002 9:33:51 PM PST by rwb
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To: ReveBM
people who think "keeping an open mind" is one of life's highest virtues. I respect people more who've thought deeply about various things and have opinions about them.

"Keeping an open mind" about something and having an opinion about it are not mutually exclusive, though you appear to believe so.

68 posted on 03/13/2002 9:37:24 PM PST by rwb
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To: egarvue
I'm glad to see adventure come back into the Trek universe.

Me, too, and not only for the adventure.

Tonight the Enterprise engineers built their first "phase cannons" and kicked alien bug-eye.

69 posted on 03/13/2002 9:40:50 PM PST by Jay W
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To: ReveBM
It's a crazy insane Rant. wink wink And for the record Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the best Star Trek ever!!!!And they only had a couple of angry black man episodes which aired near the end of the shows run. And were completely out of place.

I think that you are missing the bigger issues on ST:E. For example they just had an episode called Dear Doctor. Where they encounter a pre-warp race threaten by an uncurable desease. There is a second less advanced race living on the planet as servants for the first race. After lecturing the humans not to judge the treatment of the servant race, the Doctor tells the Capt that he doubts a cure can be found. But surprise surprise, the very next day he finds a cure and determines that they second race would be better off if the first race died out. So he tells Capt Archer that he wants to withhold the cure. Because, get this, he does not want to interfere with evolution. The Doctor has concluded that the second race might be evolving into something better. And if they are evolving, they might be better off on their own. So he thinks that it would be just great to withhold the cure, let the first race die out. So that maybe thousands of years in the future the second race might be better off. Archer ends up taking the "enlighten" view that they should let the first race die out so that they don't interfer with evolution. In the "Scientific" future they don't want to interfer with blind chance.

They also have an anti-hunting show coming up. Where they visit a planet of hunters. It turns out that the hunters favorite prey is intelligent. See animals are people too.

70 posted on 03/13/2002 9:41:17 PM PST by Sci Fi Guy
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To: Dr. Frank
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....)

They did, and they said that they didn't eat real meat. Picard made a big anti-religion speech in one show. Which is why I think Deep Space Nine was so much better. They had crime, vice, and the mob. They had shows dealing with faith, conversion, and other religious issues too.

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?

You've given several examples of why Star Trek: The Next Generation was the worst of all the Star Treks. Picard was the liberal ideal of a military officer. And ST:TNG was the liberal paradise. No religion, No money(and by extension no business or private property), and an authoritarian social order with the perfect liberal giving the orders.

71 posted on 03/13/2002 10:03:40 PM PST by Sci Fi Guy
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To: Jonah Hex
Did you see JMS' latest - "Jeremiah" - on Showtime? What did you think? I liked it, and will watch the series. JMS is a great, imaginitive writer!
72 posted on 03/13/2002 10:37:55 PM PST by B5Lurker
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To: <1/1,000,000th%
Has anyone ever heard a decent rationalization of how the Federation economy worked?

In Kirk's day the federation economy seemed to be more or less like ours. They had dilithium miners out there, trying to get rich (battling the horta), and there was that fat slob of a trader who sold them the tribbles. Only in the next series -- with Cpt. Pickard and that idiot "counselor" with the jugs whose job was announcing her feelings -- did the economy vanish, as in a Hollywood scriptwriter's Bolshevik fantasy.

73 posted on 03/14/2002 2:47:31 AM PST by PatrickHenry
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To: ReveBM
In the the "Great Plume" episode, the Doctor participates in a religious ritual. The Vulcan babe has been shown expressing her beliefs in something that resembles a combination of yoga and pantheism. A cogent argument could be made that Enterprise advocates freedom of religion, not exactly a novel concept to our Founding Fathers.

With regard to the capitalism comments on this thread, the transport ship episode showed interstellar commerce, and multiple episodes show businesses in a favorable light. However, it seems entirely appropriate to separate the commerce from the military. To criticize Enterprise for not spending more time showing capitalism is kind of like complaining that "Saving Private Ryan" didn't focus on the merchant marines.

74 posted on 03/14/2002 3:03:58 AM PST by Young Rhino
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To: ReveBM
You can actually watch it?
The acting is weak.
The stories are poor.
The dialog is worse.
The predictability of the situation is beyond boring
The Star Trek Universe - what ever bad happens at the start, will be set right in under 55 minutes.

The only thing it has going for it is the opening song. Richard Dean Anderson, StarGate SGI is much more fun. (ShowTime)

75 posted on 03/14/2002 3:15:08 AM PST by Utopia
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To: B5Lurker
Nope, I hadn't. (I've been traveling a lot lately.)

I watched all of the B5 series, however, and Crusade. JMS definitely earned his "chops" writing for other series and proved it with his own.

76 posted on 03/14/2002 3:29:00 AM PST by Jonah Hex
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To: PatrickHenry
(Although it's rumoured around Star Fleet Academy that once you go Vulcan, you never go back.)

The only problem is that Vulcans only do it once every seven years!

77 posted on 03/14/2002 3:34:55 AM PST by reg45
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Comment #78 Removed by Moderator

To: Dr. Frank;PatrickHenry
I've gotta agree. Socialist dribble (tribble?).
79 posted on 03/14/2002 4:42:39 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: ReveBM
I think your dead on! This has always been the thing that turned me off about startrek most. Other than their leftist views its been a good show. We should hope our future is as productive as the show depicts. Of course they will have to quit being godless socialists or it will never happen except in the movies.
80 posted on 03/14/2002 5:17:45 AM PST by Khepera
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To: ReveBM
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.

I always hated what TNG did to Star Trek history. In the original there was a eugenics war, the nations of the world united after this and went on to populate the solar system. They sent the first insterstellar voyage to Alpha Centauri where they established contact with the Centaurians, one of which was Zefrem Cochrane, the first warp capable starships were built by the time the first interstellar mission returned to Earth. The idea that an alcoholic Cochrane could've built a warp-capable ship in a post apocalyptic world is laughable.

81 posted on 03/14/2002 5:48:53 AM PST by Brett66
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To: PatrickHenry
inter-species miscegenation

If they are different species there will be no issue.

82 posted on 03/14/2002 5:52:39 AM PST by ASA Vet
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To: PatrickHenry
They were all great-looking. And human!

The chick who's tears made men their slave,
and the green dancing girl were not of the human species,
although they appeared to be humanoid.

83 posted on 03/14/2002 6:01:42 AM PST by ASA Vet
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To: Samwise
Wesley Crusher saves the day! I wanted to smack the little brat. Oh, and then at the end, Wesley evolved into a higher life form.

Actually, he was abducted by an intergalactic child molester known as the Traveler.

84 posted on 03/14/2002 6:10:35 AM PST by Sloth
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To: ReveBM
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.

Since the original Kirk Star Trek the shows really have dealt with "earth based" religions (you know what I mean) other than Chakotay's (sp?) dealing with his Native American heritage. There may be other references I'm missing.

The Next Generation sort of dealt with the "all powerful Q" but even with his powers, he was certainly flawed.

I haven't watched Enterprise that much because of when it's on (I'm probably usually on FR). But I'm not bothered by the lack of "Christian" characters. I can't imagine they would be portrayed in a favorable light. So, I'm actually happier they just leave them out.

85 posted on 03/14/2002 6:13:41 AM PST by Ward Smythe
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To: PatrickHenry
They have replicators, when you can replicate any product that you want the capitalist system takes a nosedive.
86 posted on 03/14/2002 6:19:10 AM PST by Zeroisanumber
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To: hellinahandcart
Actually, the new TNN is going to have all the DS9 episodes in the near future. They paid well over $300 million for the broadcast rights of TNG, DS9, and Voyager (yawn).
87 posted on 03/14/2002 6:26:27 AM PST by Future Snake Eater
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To: <1/1,000,000th%; Dr. Frank
Yeah, Earth in the Star Trek universe is the perfect utopia realized. Everyone does what they're supposed to do, no one tries to be greedy (and the ones that are greedy get it in the end, i.e. Star Trek: Insurrection), and everyone just works to better themselves. Definitely fictitious, but enjoyable nonetheless (except for Voyager).
88 posted on 03/14/2002 6:30:25 AM PST by Future Snake Eater
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To: ReveBM
I love the Ferengi. My favorite line:

"Are we going to take the elevator? But it's so expensive!"

Second favorite line:

"It's very wet on the Ferengi home world. In the Ferengi language there is no word for crisp."

89 posted on 03/14/2002 6:31:28 AM PST by DManA
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To: ReveBM
You want Babylon 5.

I was a longtime Trek fan, but B5 edged it out for me on a number of fronts. One of the most remarkable was that the series' creator, J. Kichael Straczynsi, though an atheist, peopled B5 with sincere and credible practitioners of recognizable human religions, along with alien religions.

Trek is totally counter, by contrast. But then Roddenberry was a thoroughgoing humanist who hated Christianity.

Dan

90 posted on 03/14/2002 6:32:08 AM PST by BibChr
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To: rwb
Actually, I'm just having fun with Sisko. I thought it was funny when he got angry in various episodes, and funny having it as part of his personality. Then I read an interview with the actor somewhere where he expressed a lot of alienation from Star Trek, American society, etc., which made me emotionally distance myself from him. Therefore, since then, I've just thought of him in shorthand as "angry pissed-off black man in space" with a ship that doesn't go anywhere.
91 posted on 03/14/2002 6:39:15 AM PST by ReveBM
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To: rwb
Maybe keeping an open mind and having an opinion are not mutually exclusive, but I think that in the way most people in American society use the term (as cliche) they are. For example, I think John Ashcroft has a pretty open mind.
92 posted on 03/14/2002 6:42:00 AM PST by ReveBM
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To: Sci Fi Guy
They also have an anti-hunting show coming up. Where they visit a planet of hunters. It turns out that the hunters favorite prey is intelligent. See animals are people too.

Voyager did this already with the Hirosians (spelling and phonetics questionable - it's been a while).

93 posted on 03/14/2002 8:31:50 AM PST by hattend
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To: Zeroisanumber
They have replicators, when you can replicate any product that you want the capitalist system takes a nosedive.

No, the replicators are like Napster. Someone has to create the original, and he wouldn't do it without patent protection, etc., and if you eliminate legal protection for property, there won't be anything to replicate -- except food stamps.

94 posted on 03/14/2002 9:24:35 AM PST by PatrickHenry
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To: hattend
They also have an anti-hunting show coming up. Where they visit a planet of hunters. It turns out that the hunters favorite prey is intelligent. See animals are people too.

Voyager did this already with the Hirosians (spelling and phonetics questionable - it's been a while).

I never got the impression that those shows were anti-hunting. I would compare them to the movie predator which I don't think was anti-hunting. From what I heard about the upcoming show, Archer declares that Earth stopped hunting generations ago. Which is interesting since in the opening show a farmer shoots a klingon with what looks like a (laser) shotgun. Why a farmer would have a hi-tech gun if there's no hunting, and Earth is a peaceful paradise, is never addressed.

95 posted on 03/15/2002 11:49:55 AM PST by Sci Fi Guy
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To: Sci Fi Guy
Hmmm, that sounds like the pilot episode. Enterprise has to take the wounded Klingon back home which is why the Enterprise is launched against the Vulcans' wishes (and why T'Pol is on board - kinda/sorta spying at first).

I don't remember getting an anti-hunting message from that episode at all since the scene you describe is only used to give a reason to launch Enterprise.

96 posted on 03/15/2002 12:02:47 PM PST by hattend
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To: Sci Fi Guy
Oops, disregard...I read your reply wrong...sorry. Guess I'm still waiting for the "anti-hunting" episode.
97 posted on 03/15/2002 12:05:52 PM PST by hattend
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To: Utopia
Richard Dean Anderson, StarGate SGI is much more fun. (ShowTime)

10 sharp. The only show the whole family watches together.

98 posted on 03/15/2002 12:13:01 PM PST by Samwise
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To: ReveBM
The Saudi Ambassador to the U.N. has just finished giving a speech, and walks out into the lobby where he meets his American counterpart. They shake hands and as they walk the Saudi says,

"You know, I have just one question about what I have seen in America."

The American says, "Well, your Excellency, anything I can do to help you I will do."

The Saudi whispers, "My son watches this show 'Star Trek' and in it there are Russians and Blacks and Asians, but never any Arabs. He is very upset. He doesn't understand why there are never any Arabs in Star Trek."

The American laughs and leans over..... "That's because it takes place in the future."
99 posted on 03/15/2002 12:15:08 PM PST by Tickle Me Pank
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To: Future Snake Eater
Actually, the new TNN is going to have all the DS9 episodes in the near future. They paid well over $300 million for the broadcast rights of TNG, DS9, and Voyager (yawn).

That may bore you, but I appreciate the info. Thanks. I can't figure out the relationship between country music and Star Trek, though.

100 posted on 03/15/2002 12:18:14 PM PST by Samwise
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