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Attention, Star Trek Culture Warriors: Stand Down from Battle Stations

What you read on Quillette two weeks ago is true. As Barrett Wilson argued in his essay, “What Is This Thing You Call Social Justice?,” Star Trek: Discovery did indeed prove to be a polarizing new front in the culture war—at least for a few months. But that’s mainly because the conservative forces in that conflict have grown to be as sensitive and performative as their leftist counterparts. Discovery, like so much else these days, has become fodder for wearying debates over identity and virtue.

The CBS show, the sixth live-action television Star Trek series, just launched its second season this year. The new season is a form of “soft reboot” (in the words of one reviewer) after a tortured first season, which was marred by long production delays and changes of top-level creative talent. Though it’s too soon to say whether the second season will address some of the real failings of the first, even after only a few episodes, it’s become evident that the tone has changed. Discovery season two is lighter, funnier, more action-packed—and judging from the (admittedly small) sample size on display, notably lacking in anything particularly controversial.

Trek fans find things to be angry out, of course. An inaccurately rendered photon torpedo tube can dominate web boards for days. But the specific controversies that beset Discovery’s debut are, unlike most Trek controversies, mostly connected to issues that lie outside Trek subculture. Wilson noted, correctly, that Discovery has proven divisive among fans, and that a perceived emphasis on progressive virtue signalling was one of the common complaints among a vocal segment of Trek’s fanatically passionate fanbase.

But in fact, Discovery’s at times heavy-handed progressive social commentary didn’t actually last all that long. Indeed, the griping about it lasted longer than any of the alleged virtue signaling.

The show’s protagonist, a female human officer named Michael Burnham (yes, “Michael”—that one hasn’t been explained yet, as Wilson noted), is played by African-American actress Sonequa Martin-Green. Commander Burnham’s superior officer and mentor, Starfleet captain Philippa Georgiou, was played by Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh. This meant the show’s new leaders were two strong female characters, in commanding positions of great power and authority—and both women of colour, to boot. White men weren’t absent entirely from the crew of the Starship Shenzhou, where the first episodes were set, but the junior officers of the ill-fated ship were themselves a diverse bunch (including the usual assortment of aliens). After the Shenzhou is wrecked in battle, some of the crew transfers over to the newly built Starship Discovery, which—gasp— also has a diverse crew, including two men in a stable, loving same-sex relationship. So yes, the cast is unusually multicultural and diverse (as I will discuss below). But by itself, that doesn’t really provide evidence of a social-justice agenda. Multiracial crews, in particular, have been part of the Star Trek universe from the get go.

Discovery’s first season depicts a war involving the Klingon Empire, which has united after a long period of internal strife to wage war against Earth and its associated alien allies, which together constitute the democratic United Federation of Planets. Discovery’s Klingons had been heavily reimagined, with new costume and makeup designs, new starships, new weapons. They waged war against the Federation not only to unite their squabbling Great Houses once more under the banner of a single empire, but also to resist the expansion of the Federation, with its multicultural and democratic values. “Remain Klingon!” is the rallying cry that unites the alien warriors.

And, insofar as social justice messaging goes, that’s about it. If you’re wondering what the big deal is, join the club. Seriously. With the exception of a single line of dialogue later in the season that evokes Donald Trump’s slogan about making America great again, the above constitutes the sum total of Discovery’s progressive posturing.

Discovery had other problems. According to numerous widely published reports, the development of the series was a disaster. Show creator Bryan Fuller was out of the top job before the first episode even aired. His successors were replaced before the second season premiered. Martin-Green, in the series-leading role of Commander Burnham, struggled for much of the first season. It’s impossible to say if that was because of inconsistent writing or simply the learning curve many performers encounter when trying to master the particular nuances of acting in sci-fi. (You try to sound convincing when yelling about the made-up thing that will happen if a fictitious device doesn’t properly break the laws of physics in an impossible way.) Some plotlines seemingly led nowhere, others were wrapped up and then forgotten about with obvious haste.

Discovery is more diverse than previous Star Trek series. But only by a character or two. Excluding two alien characters and focusing only on the humans, the main characters portrayed on the Discovery during the first season include six HoC (humans of colour) and four Caucasians. (The two non-human officers are both portrayed by Caucasian performers.) Male characters outnumber female seven to five. The inclusion of two characters in a same-sex relationship was long overdue for a franchise that once prized breaking barriers, and was portrayed movingly and professionally by actors Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp. Again, even with sensors set to maximum, I’m not seeing much here to be outraged about.

The criticisms of the Klingon as proxies for Trump voters doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny, either. It is true that the Klingons portrayed in Discovery are xenophobic, hyper-nationalist and thuggish—and they’re repelled by the Federation’s liberal-democratic values. But any suggestion that this is somehow a proxy for Trump voters misses a key point: These Klingons are entirely consistent with how Klingons have always been portrayed. The Klingon Empire has always been aggressively expansionist, has always been bigoted against non-Klingons, and has always distrusted the Federation’s liberal ideals. The Star Trek canon is absolutely littered with instances of this.

In Star Trek III, a rogue Klingon captain laments that the Federation may soon dominate the Empire. In Star Trek VI, Klingon elites openly scoff at the Federation’s professed tolerance for equal rights for aliens. In Deep Space 9, the third live-action TV series, the Empire launches a series of invasions of rival powers in large part because it has concluded that its long peace with the Federation has sapped its warrior ethos. Other races are routinely dismissed by Klingons as weak and inferior. Even Discovery’s much-derided Klingon battle cry of “Remain Klingon!” is only slightly different from an oft-spouted Klingon cliché that turns up in series after series and film after film: “We are Klingon!”

This is not an overall defence of Discovery. The show’s Klingon plotlines were among the weakest of the first season and seemed to be rapidly de-emphasized in later episodes (which were produced after Bryan Fuller’s departure ended his creative control). The decision to have all Klingon characters speak Klingon all the time, with English subtitles, was odd and seemed to be unpopular with fans. The new makeup was also not well received by many. These are creative failures, and they have seemingly not gone unnoticed by CBS, which produces Discovery. The show is now on its fourth showrunner. The tone of the second season is wildly different. There is an obvious effort underway to adjust, if not outright reinvent, the series after its difficult maiden voyage. It’s hard to read an insidious social justice agenda into what actually looks a lot more like an acceptance of fan criticism and a sincere effort to course correct. Only in today’s bitterly divided culture war atmosphere would that fail to be noticed.

In many respects, Discovery has ended up being, when at its best, an entirely worthy addition to the Star Trek canon. Old characters, such as Vulcan Ambassador Sarek, father of Spock, and irascible human con-man Harcourt Fenton Mudd, have been given new depth (the latter, in particular, played by comedian Rainn Wilson, has been an absolute delight to see on screen). The events of the first season have added nuance and understanding to plotlines that are later taken up by Kirk, Spock, and McCoy in the original series (which was produced 50 years ago but takes place 10 years after the plot arc of Discovery). The Mirror Universe, where Spock has a goatee and Earth reigns over a conquered empire instead of finding a home in a peaceful Federation, has been explored with deeper more frightening realism. And many topical issues that culture warriors on both sides should regard as important—including terrorism, the targeting of civilians in wartime, post-traumatic stress among military personnel, and degrading abuse of captured POWs—have been explored in that uniquely Star Trek way.

Late in Discovery’s first season, the war with the Klingons is going very badly for the Federation. Starfleet’s defences are collapsing. A major battle near Earth has been fought and lost. The Klingons are advancing on the solar system. The genocide of mankind seems imminent. And at this darkest hour, apparently leading the fight for the good guys is…a blue alien: The Andorian Rear Admiral Shukar. An officer from an entirely different world, of an entirely different species, is desperately rallying Starfleet forces to protect the home world of humans. Because in the future, being from another species, not just another race, isn’t a problem. We’re all in it together. Andorians aren’t aliens anymore. Nor are Vulcans or Tellarites or all the rest. They’re mankind’s kin.

It was a classic—and classically liberal—Star Trek message, true to Roddenberry’s original vision of a better future. And for all the whining about Discovery’s blunt virtue signalling, it was delivered with total subtlety. It’s a shame so many viewers apparently were too busy fighting the culture war on planet Earth to watch the much cooler war being fought against Klingon forces in the inky vastness of space.

 

Matt Gurney is a broadcaster and columnist for Canada’s Global News. He argues about Star Trek on Twitter at @mattgurney.

142 Comments

  1. STDtds says

    Very, very happy to see a review of STD with a *minimum* of subtlety, context, and perspective. Thank you for this. <3

  2. The show is so bad that it is hidden behind the CBS access paywall as advertisers are shunning the show. The show is not original, the production is spotty, continuity is a bad joke, the writing and dialogue is the worst I’ve heard in quite some time. The show wouldn’t survive on a major network for lack of fanboy eyeballs and clicks. Your its not so bad defense of the show demonstrates your true Canadianism.

    If you want to see how Sci-Fi should be done, watch the Expanse on SyFy.

    • Andrew van Trigt says

      Your description sounds like just about every other Star Trek series! (excluding the original series on the originality account)

      • Captain Spam says

        And you don’t sound like a Star Trek fan at all. Don’t expect to be persuasive when you basically insult anyone who liked what Trek used to be.

    • Nicholas says

      You know the expanse was cancelled right? I guess not enough fanboy clicks? Now it’s going behind Amazon’s pay wall, go figure ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      • Andrea O says

        The Expanse is just wrapping up Season 4 this week. I work on the show

    • It’s always nice to be denigrated as whiners and treated like annoying children by the entertainment authorities. “Star Trek isn’t the way you like it? It’s not the way it used to be? Listen up retard caveman, Regan is dead and so is your Star Trek. You’re the problem. Just like what we tell you to!”

      As someone who knows Star Trek far better than the author, he is too ideological to perceive the extent of the SJW cultural engineering and virtue signaling in the show.

      Cases in point… HoC (humans of color)? I think you mean adHoC. And Malaysians are considered colored people too now? The fuck?

      Can’t wait for the next episode, where you get to explore human sexuality, adHoCs, and identity politics rather than the galaxy!

      “To boldly go where no trans womyn has gone before.”

  3. Michael’s character was setup as the disgraced hero in her path for redemption. She might have been sold as a strong female character by the marketing campaign but that’s not her role in season 1.
    I think that some of the clash against her comes from people not understanding this, and because the marketing campaign was deliberately misleading about the plot of the pilot episode.

    • Captain Spam says

      Star Trek fans are smarter than the SJW writers who infest Star Trek Discovery (STD). Michael is a thoroughly unlikable character due to her behavior in causing the deaths of millions of innocent lives, her arrogant attitude and insubordination, mutiny, and oh BTW, being portrayed as the ultimate Mary Sue who almost always saves the day and is right. She’s like a feminist version of Wesley Crusher, whom the fans hated. And you want to write the series around her? Good luck with that.

      I checked out about halfway through the first season when the bad story telling and obvious political messaging become intolerable.

  4. Stephanie says

    I agree the diverse cast is a silly thing to be offended about, but the reason the Klingons were taken as a slap at Trump supporters is because the creators literally said so.

    Of course, if we truly want to consider the perspective of other (alien) races, the Federation’s expansionism, colonialism, and corrupt bureaucracy is also frequently explored. Are the Klingons wrong for not wanting to be assimilated? If there is a modern geopolitical parallel to be made, Hungary’s resistance to EU domination would be more appropriate.

    That Trump was mentioned at all, and alluded to on the show, reflects the explicit desire to engage in the culture war. Maybe those on the right shouldn’t take the bait, but the right has ceded enough cultural space, and the consequences of that are appalling already. So, no thanks.

    • D-Rex says

      Yes, the author is being disingenuous about the Klingon Trump connection as the producers bragged about it several times and said that the Klingon cry was actually maga. This is about as politically motivated a show as I’ve seen and couldn’t stomach more than 2 episodes.
      Watch the Orville, It’s what real Trek should be.
      The best sci fi ever made is still Firefly.

    • Lightning Rose says

      I’m all for remaining Klingon. Qu’a’Pla! 😉

    • Scott says

      The interesting thing here is that I don’t see this as a left/right issue. I consider myself a left leaning moderate, but honestly I’m sick of politics being shoved down our throats in entertainment. It is no wonder that Trek fans (whom I would largely consider left leaning) are revolting, because the series has always preached egalitarianism and to be wary of identitarian cults. Well it turns out that messaging has stuck in the minds of the fans and they are disgusted by the sight of social justice (the exact opposite of everything Star Trek has stood for) infecting a cherished franchise.

      What makes this even worse is that it seems that these young politicized writers don’t even have a passing familiarity with the Trek universe and characters as evidenced by their portrayals of the Vulcans for example, which are seriously askew, further insulting the fans. When you start messing with classic characters such as Spock, and writing them as if you have no clue as to how they should behave you are in trouble.

      Discovery is the perfect storm of corporate indifference and greed, mixed with identitarian politics, which will almost certainly be doomed to fail. It was tainted from the start when the creators basically warned us what it would be and no matter how hard they try, they can’t wash that stink off.

  5. R Henry says

    ” The inclusion of two characters in a same-sex relationship was long overdue for a franchise that once prized breaking barriers, and was portrayed movingly and professionally by actors Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp. Again, even with sensors set to maximum, I’m not seeing much here to be outraged about.”

    I deeply disagree. I believe homosexual acts are deeply disordered. I am not alone this, though may be among a very small cohort willing to express my opinion in the mattter.

    I had hoped to make Discovery a show my 12 year old daughter and I could watch together. But no, the producers decided to intentionally, and flagrantly antagonize me and other who believe what I believe…by displaying two men kissing. They also gave us two gay men brushing their teeth together in their shared bathroom while wearing their cute little matching Federation pajamas. How adorable! The show seeks to normalize deviant behavior and predilections. There is much to be outraged about.

    • Lightning Rose says

      The Left, because they remain ensconced in their blue bubble, are in denial that portrayals of overt homosexuality make most heteros deeply uncomfortable. And heteros are still 97% of the Earth. It’s been that way since we came down from the trees. Why can’t these people (like most of us) do their billing and cooing behind their bedroom door instead of slamming it down our throats? PDA, of any stripe, is TTFW! (Too Tacky For Words). Obviously, the ratings are the verdict.

      • Ghatanathoah says

        @Lightning Rose

        It’s precisely because portrayals of overt homosexuality make heteros uncomfortable that such portrayals need to happen. Frequent exposure will lessen that reaction until it goes away. If a harmless activity makes you uncomfortable the solution is exposing yourself to it more, not less. Trying to isolate yourself from it will just make you more sensitive to it.

        That’s why all those SJW college students are so misguided when they call for “safe spaces” and “deplatforming” because hearing opposing viewpoints makes them feel “unsafe.” The reason they feel so unsafe and uncomfortable is because isolating themselves from disagreement has made them supersensitive. They wouldn’t feel “unsafe” if they exposed themselves to disgreement.

        @R Henry

        It’s actually the opposition to homosexual acts that is deeply disordered. In particular, it is usually caused by being unable to separate one’s physical disgust reactions from one’s moral sense. I am frequently astounded that so many people have this problem, I find brussel sprouts disgusting, but don’t think people who like them are disordered and deviant!

        I’d recommend watching the show with your daughter. It may prevent her from developing your disorder, and it may help you recover.

        • Lightning Rose says

          I fully realize that the human condition includes not only sodomy, but also bestiality, BDSM, pedophilia, necrophilia, cannibalism, abortion, name your flavor–it has been ever thus. What’s brand new is the entertainment industry is “normalizing” acts many consider deeply immoral and attempting to grant it moral equivalency in the eyes of children.

          This agenda goes FAR beyond “anti-bullying” or “diversity.” The rainbow minority now demand that heteronormatives not merely “live and let live,” but “celebrate” what civilization from the dawn of time has taught us believe is downright perverse. Furthermore, they would eliminate our right to associate with whom we please–OR NOT. Change the channel!

          • Yeah, cause dudes kissing is totally on the same level as… cannibalism?!

        • Captain Spam says

          Per UJN’s comment below, it sounds like he is uncomfortable with cannibalism and is not sensitive to cultures who embrace this practice. Wouldn’t you agree that we should use Star Trek to expose him to this behavior, so he doesn’t find it repellent? When did this become a thing? Can’t we just have our entertainment devoid of desensitizing people to fringe behaviors?

      • Dan Love says

        @Lightning Rose

        That’s it for me. It’s fine if my shows have homosexual couples, but I don’t want it shoved down my throat with implicit “points being made” and implicit leftist morality lessons.

        It’s utterly impossible for mainstream writers to write homomsexual characters without trying to use them as infantry in a culture war. I’ve never seen it.

        It’s also interesting as I think homosexuals should be angry about being used as ideological infantry for someone’s ideology. The same can be said for racial minorities and women.

  6. STDdts says

    Dear Henry.

    I believe you when you say that you don’t think it’s appropriate for you to expose your terrac year old daughter to a same sex kiss and matching pajamas.

    What I don’t understand is why you are so concerned about a kiss but seemingly unconcerned about the prolonged torture, multiple abductions, rape, and multiple murders … In STD.

    Do you think it’s better to expose her to all of that?

    • R Henry says

      STDdts: Yes, the violence was also over the top and entirely unnecessary.

      • STDtds says

        Well, Henry, I believe your many public expressions of utter disgust are completely sincere.

        I also sincerely hope that your daughter will find the necessary support and love if she ever finds herself to be the target of your disgust. Wouldn’t it be better if she grew up not to have such a visceral reaction to a same sex kiss?

        • Craig WIllms says

          @STDtds
          Outside of Modern Family, where no one is off limits to ridicule and even scorn, gay characters are universally portrayed as above reproach and wise. They are always the sober and reflective foil for the blind, stupid and impulsive heterosexual main character. It gets so tiring to watch.

          I’m sure there are examples of dark homosexuals in cinema, but the obligatory positive and put-together gay character or gay couple in every production is nauseating in it’s predictability. It would be nice to see gays as flawed as the rest of us.

          • STDdts says

            Dear Craig,

            Thank you for the message.

            I would also love to see gay women and men represented in full diversity (some are boring, some are cute, some are lazy, some are kind, etc.). And I also feel uncomfortable seeing this diversity reduced to a minor role that is quite superficial.

            But I always have to remind myself of three counter-points:

            1. Even such a superficial role is met with quite formidable and uncompromising push-back from some people. You’ll find some of those people in the comment section of Quillette, by the way. They tend to be very vocal.

            So: what should producers do in practice? Continue the marginalisation of gay people? Create major roles and story lines about same-sex relationships? Make a compromise by representing gay people and same-sex relationships in incremental ways? I am genuinely asking what people expect of the producers.

            2. We should be a little nuanced: not all gay women and men are represented as “above reproach and wise” (or decent). Without wanting to spoil anything, I can mention a show that very recently came on Netflix: “You.”

            3. Until relative recently, gay men and women were (almost) only seen through a very, very, very negative lens. So I do understand why producers would want to be extra careful not to give the impression that the media are still casually hurting gay men and women.

            I’d love to hear your thoughts.

        • Craig WIllms says

          STDdts
          You know, I haven’t given it any deep consideration because I’m not forced to face the topic much. I just know that I tire of the induction of the scenario described with no benefit to the story. It seems like a checkbox half the time. Look for the black character, the Hispanic, single mother what have you, to complete the rainbow. Sure, now I sound like a bigoted, racist diatribe, that’s not what I’m getting at, I’m getting at is why they feel it’s necessary to the plot and story.

          I recently watched the Prime series ‘Bosch’ and every possible race, class, sex partner and creeper form every walk of life was represented. Not once did I feel was being manipulated or showered with window wash. Everyone was there to serve the story. Perfect.

          That’s all

          • STDdts says

            Craig,

            You don’t sound bigoted at all. It just sounds like you are frustrated by the fact that some series get it right, but most other series just haven’t figured out yet how to imitate that success formula.

            If that describes your feelings accurately, then I feel the same way.

          • John Davis says

            STDdts wrote:
            3. Until relative recently, gay men and women were (almost) only seen through a very, very, very negative lens.

            Well, I’ve been living in the UK and watching TV and films since for 40 years and I can’t remember EVER seeing gay men or women portrayed very negatively on screen. Treated as a bit of light-hearted comic relief, certainly. The butt of the odd joke? yes. With normal human failings? Sometimes. But they are almost never portrayed as evil or villainous, and are far more often the victim than the perpetrator.

        • R Henry says

          I believe advocates for the normalization of sexual deviance do themselves a great disservice by ignoring human nature. I am not disgusted by the sight of two men kissing due to how I was raised. The reaction is innate, cross cultural, unaffected by age, generation, Faith, or philosophy.

  7. R Henry says

    The biggest problem with Season One was its inability to give us a hero. The Captains were killed. The tyrants were successful. The scenes were dark, the action needlessly violent and coarse. Only a few characters were even moderately likable, notably the alien named Saru, brilliantly portrayed by Doug Jones.

    The lead female character, Michael Burnham was completely “meh.” Nothing about her for us to like, or hate…the character was just ….there. I fault both the writers and the actress for that.

    Season 2 has introduced a hero figure in Captain Pike. A dashing, confident, white male! He even speaks sympathetically of religion..and God!! He is not beta, he is not toxic. He is the kind of man that Hollywood and Feminists don’t really want to acknowledge in this #metoo era. He is a GOOD man…who seems to lead with integrity, sensitivity, and fairness. In short, Captain Pike is like most of the men we know in everyday life. Our fathers, our uncles, our coworkers–NOT the imaginary “Toxic Masculinity” straw men so widely imagined on campus and social media today.

    Season One prompted me to silently scream at my television…angry that the producers made such a politically correct hash of the Trek legacy. Season Two has me hopeful again…which is how Gene Roddenberry wanted Trek to make us feel: Humanity’s brightest moments remain in the future!

    • Daniel Farnsworth says

      I grew up with TNG. It was only re-watching as an adult that I realized how much that show, especially while Gene Roddenberry was still alive, was already a politically correct hash promoting a democratic socialist utopia. What Roddenberry didn’t predict was how much his leftist utopia was going to be hijacked by “shut up, whitey!” Freedom of speech and conscience was still a liberal feature. I take the collapse of naive preachy moralism into perpetual outrage to be a natural evolution, but I’m not sure it’s inevitable.

      Irrelevant aside: Worf’s toughness as a Klingon was a hilarious plot device for showing how tough a bad guy was. The only time he wasn’t getting his ass kicked was when he was defending his family’s honor.

  8. The aspect that more bothers me is the replacement of the masculine with the feminine. It’s the same aspect we saw in the latest Star Wars movies, in which we’re meant to believe a rather skinny woman can beat men in combat.

    Men are depicted as bumbling fools, whilst women hold senior military positions. The traditional feminine was also replaced by the masculine, showing it’s actually a problem for both genders (yes, only two) since women are now shown this is what is expected of them… which is utterly ridiculous.

    I’ve never been a Star Trek fan. I watched the first two episodes of Discovery, and I found them wanting in general. It’s the same rubbish that’s pushed by shows such as Supergirl, which is hyper-SJW.

    I believe most people simply reject having progressive ideas shoved in their face all the time. I’m getting sick of it, too.

    • E. Olson says

      Mark – when John Wayne or Clint Eastwood punched the lights out of the bad guy it was halfway believable (although it was amazing they never seem to break a bone in their hand) because of their muscular build and size, but somehow we are supposed to believe a 5’3 105 pound woman with no super powers can somehow destroy a team of trained rogue Army Rangers waiting in ambush without even messing up her hair. Movies and TV shows must show strong women in leadership positions, who just happen to be super-model thin and in their mid-20s, in order to provide positive role models for the increasingly obese female audience who generally don’t watch science fiction or action adventure. Yet somehow we are living in an era of toxic masculinity and must protect women from rape culture?

      • quidnunc says

        Martial arts movies and anything else using its tropes are built on the fantasy of excelllence in skill overcoming chaotic situations that is an unreality in itself so the complaints about size difference are a bit silly. Michelle Yeoh who is an actor in this series starred in multiple martial arts films and no one complained about her back then, probably because the choreography was not just good but better than anything the west was doing at the time. I don’t even like wire-fu and I consider the sword fight between her and Chow Yun Fat one of the best choreographed fights I’ve ever seen.

        Seems like a bit of a double standard though when Keanu Reeves can judo throw a bunch of eastern european goons in the middle of a gun fight and no one questions how unrealistic it is. There’s taste in judgement of more and less grounded styles of fighting in movies but ultimately it comes down to how well it’s executed not who is doing it.

        • E. Olson says

          quidnunc – I’m sorry that you don’t see any difference between 6’1 200 lbs Keanu and 5’4 105 lbs Michelle in the likelihood of prevailing in a fight with 6’1 225 lbs goons. Given all the worry about female body image I also have to wonder why all the female “fighters” are always built like Michelle instead of being 160 to 200 lbs that is more typical of the “average” female today, and might also be a more realistic victor in a fight with a goon.

          • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

            @E. Olson

            The one ism that is still permitted is lookism. Whatever their species, sexual hobbies, race or whatever, we can be sure that those characters who have selected ‘female’ as their gender will be attractive. Social Justice won’t be finished until we have a blob in a leading role — and needless to say she too will be able to take down and entire squad of Rangers or equivalent killers without mussing up her hair.

          • E. Olson says

            I agree with you Ray, but it is interesting that with all the concern about female self-esteem and body image issues, etc. that PC movie makers haven’t broken the “lookism” habit.

        • Daniel Farnsworth says

          Quidnunc – exactly right. Also, the handsome protagonist of a John Wayne or Clint Eastwood still sells a ridiculous idea of a “tough man.” Nobody who looks like Audie Murphy, except Audie Murphy himself, is going to be cast as a war hero. Which means that all our complaining about catering to an audience with political correctness is shallow ignorance.

          The old movie heroes, displaced by the new ones, were already manufactured and fake pandering to get us to watch it. That the themes changed only reflects what Hollywood thought would sell, not that it shifted from something inherently more realistic to something less. If realism were the objection, we’d have no monologues, and when the hero got shot in the gut and survived, he’d carry a colostomy bag for the rest of his life.

    • Lightning Rose says

      It’s the error of Progressivism to think they need to change things that aren’t broken.

  9. Maximilian says

    In the words of 30 Rock’s Tracey Jordan: “Why ain’t there any Puerto Ricans on Star Trek?? They have every race and life form in the UNIVERSE, except for Puerto Ricans. Whatsup with that??

    • R Henry says

      How do you know Burnham doesn’t have black Puerto Rican heritage?

  10. E. Olson says

    Given that the only parts of the world that have fertility rates above replacement are the global underclass and Africa, together with the widespread promotion and popularization of non-reproducing homosexuality and transgenderism in the developed world, I would predict that a more accurate depiction of the future is a darker pigmented version of the movie Idiocracy, where the smartest person on earth has an IQ of 100. Of course such a future wouldn’t bode well for space travel or fighting off Klingon invasions.

    • STDtds says

      Hi Olson,

      Is this comment of yours going to be followed up with some constructive feedback (“how to improve the show” or “what was missing”)? Or did you just want to change the topic to your socially irresponsible obsession with scientifically unsupported racial theories about intellectual hierarchies?

      If it’s the latter, then I find your priorities rather disturbing …

      • E. Olson says

        STD – just what about my comment is “unsupported” or are you one of those science ignoring PC “blank slaters”? The whole premise of Idiocracy is based on projecting into the future recent and current trends in fertility (i.e. low IQ people are having the most children), with the biggest PC inaccuracy being the portrayal of virtually the entire world being full of white idiots except for the black president (who is one of the smartest dummies), and a black hooker/girlfriend of the 100 IQ “hero” who seems to also have a similarly “high” IQ.

      • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

        @STDtds

        Sorry, but his implications regarding ‘racial theories’ are as rock solid as anything in science, and now that we are looking into genomes very deeply, we can not only link certain genes with intelligence very strongly, we can demonstrate that the differences in IQ across various races are very real.

        Now, you give yourself away when you say that, in your opinion, this is ‘socially irresponsible’. However, it seems to me that our 60 year long attempt to imagine-away scientific facts has not proven to be a successful strategy. Perhaps we need a new approach to social responsibility that rests on reality?

    • Pirus says

      Repulsive comments there by E.Olson, but he is entitled to his views. Not all Quillette readers hold such views, hence the purpose of my commentary here.

      • dellingdog says

        I recommend ignoring E. Olson. He’s a sexist and racist troll who rarely contributes anything constructive to conversations. He’s fixated on advancing his views that blacks are intellectually inferior and women were happier when they were second-class citizens. Everyone is entitled to their views, no matter how repellent and reactionary — but they’re not entitled to have them taken seriously.

        • STDdts says

          Thank you, Pirus and Dellingdog, for briefly stating where you stand.

          And I agree: there are certain advantages to ignoring people like Olson and their comments. But there are also disadvantages to that approach.

          For example: the comment threads of Quillette do have a worrying level of racism, sexism, and homophobia. And, even though trivial statements can get a lot of push-back, I haven’t seen much constructive push-back to the racism, sexism, or homophobia (such as “You do not represent the readers of Quillette”).

          So it looks like most readers of Quillette care about correcting trivial comments. But it doesn’t look like they care much about the prominence of these extreme ideologies in the comment threads.

          In the long term, this will give the frequenters of Quillette a very bad reputation.

          • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

            @STDdts

            Quite a few Warriors on this thread. Quillette normally does not attract them. But you can’t hide behind the skirts of the censor here, because Quillette is uncensored. Prepare to be blown out of the water. Or you might prefer a Safe Space echo chamber somewhere else.

          • STDdts says

            Dear Ray Andrews,

            You misunderstood my comment and I don’t understand why you did. I was quite clear: I did not ask for censorship. In fact, I merely wondered why the people of Quillette feel comfortable being associated with certain extreme ideologies.

            I did not ask anyone to be censored. On the contrary: I wanted to know what people really thought. If you can read “what do you think” and interpret it as “he must be stopped from talking” then you should probably read more carefully.

            XXX

          • curiositas says

            Speaking for myself, I do find I’m generally more willing to push back on a random “trivial” comment or perhaps a less-weighty aspect of a given comment than on a racial tirade or the like. And the reason for that is the simple fact that I write off most people prone to making such tirades. Also, there’s good evidence to suggest that one is more likely to change people’s minds at the edges, rather than by trying to uproot their worldviews entirely. I estimate my chances of making headway with someone are often much higher on less-weighty, less-entrenched matters, so that’s where I’m more likely to engage. It certainly shouldn’t imply agreement with a person’s positions on everything else. But you have to pick your battles, to some extent.

          • curiositas says

            It’s also worth noting that I find “guilt by association” to be of limited use. There are people with extreme or weird or downright stupid opinions everywhere. If such you seek, such you shall find. I prefer to hold people accountable for their actions as individuals, because one can only, ultimately, be responsible for one’s own actions.

          • E. Olson says

            STD – so your best answer is that a darker pigmented version of Idiocracy (an actual 2006 movie premised on recent demographic and fertility trends) is a far less likely future 300+ years from now than Star Trek scripts that are based on recent social justice themes? I think you have been to a few too many Trekkie conventions, but given your political sensitivities I expect you are no friend of William Shatner.

          • Dan Love says

            @STDdts

            “For example: the comment threads of Quillette do have a worrying level of racism, sexism, and homophobia.”

            The threads do not have a worrying level of these things. You perceive the threads to have worrying levels of these things because your ideology demands it of you. The difference is profoundly important, yet ignored by people of a certain ideology. That’s why we have safe spaces where everyone else is like “why?”.

            The most insane people on Quillette have been SJWs. dellingdog is not as crazy as he is the very stereotype of smug – divorced from reality and thoroughly unwilling to honestly consider an alternate point of view. Nakatomi Plaza is off-the-walls batshit crazy; she writes a comment on here any time she gets internet access after escaping the local asylum. Bubblecar is our resident SJW troll; everything she writes is an attempt to troll-poke and virtue signal. She doesn’t even have the ability to allow herself to consider another point of view, much less the ability to live a life.

            Your concern for only one direction of bigotry on Quillette reveals your deeply seeded ideology as well as your own bigotry. Quillette is not a leftist echo chamber, therefore you have a problem with it.

            At least try to be more open-minded, balanced, and rational, even when you find it threatening – no, especially when you find it threatening.

        • E. Olson says

          DD – hey I’ve been missing your witty repartee – so often offended so seldom factually correct.

          • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

            @STDdts

            “I did not ask for censorship.”

            No, you didn’t and I did not suggest that you did. However it is very common for Warriors to attempt to have their opponents de-platformed or censored and I was merely trying to be helpful in pointing out to you that in this forum you cannot expect a Safe Space. I’d not want to Trigger you. But I myself am engaging in a bit of sarcastic stereotyping there, so I apologize for it. Perhaps you are able to engage on an adult level. If so, please lay off with the smarmy condescension and make sound arguments.

            “with certain extreme ideologies”

            If facts of science are taken as extreme ideologies we are in deep trouble are we not? As I said, for 60 years we’ve considered that we can imagine our problems away but it does not seem to be working. Reality keeps intruding. We need to come to grips with it. You suppose that @E. Olson must be a bad person for his mentioning difficult facts. Perhaps he is a good a person as you, but he has noticed, as I have, that imagination is not working and we need a new approach. Stop labeling him and engage with his arguments.

          • SDTdts says

            To Ray Andrews and Olson:

            You want me to engage with the arguments. You’re clear about that: thank you.

            But I am not sure engaging would be the right thing to do (we don’t want to give even more legitimacy to unsupported but popular claims that have dangerous implications). I am also not sure it would be possible for us to have a serious conversation about nuanced aspects of science and science when it interacts with other forces in society.

            In fact, from your comments, I’m not sure you even understand the definition if IQ. From your comments, I can tell you have only a limited understanding of science.

            Do you even realise what it would take to obtain a complete genetic homogenisation of the population? The social engineering? The totalitarian implementation of it by a world government? Do you think all nations on earth would just fold? (And that is assuming your assertions about genetics and IQ are supported by scientific consensus.*)

            I have honestly never even heard of a dystopian SF story that grim and that unrealistic. Better start writing!

            From your previous comments, I am also not sure you can fairly represent the claims of those you perceive as opponents.

            For example: the accusation of heresy in the context of race below is just embarrassing. You can’t just string words together in an intentionally absurd way and then claim to have proven that the opponents’ views are absurd or inconsistent or hypocritical. That example of intellectual dishonesty, by the way, is called “creating a straw man.”

            So I have given you three decent reasons why I should not engage with your claims any further. Can you give me three equally good reasons to continue to engage?

            (*) This is the second reason I am hesitant to continue the conversation: the cherry picking and the conspiracy theories that are usually come out of interactions such as these.

        • Craig WIllms says

          @dellingdog
          Crap, what does that say about me then? I read E.Olson and say “there you go, someone had to say it”

          Seriously when I watch TV/movies these days I roll my eyes regularly when the producers and creators are obviously shoehorning progressive BS into everything. How can you not see it too? it’s not making the story better.

          E.Olson is at least honest – maybe too crude for certain sensibilities, but it’s an opinion as valid as yours. It doesn’t make him a troll.

          • dellingdog says

            @Craig: there’s a simple solution. If you don’t like the show, don’t watch it. If the politics of a program make you roll your eyes, it’s obviously not intended for someone like you. Fortunately there are over 500 scripted series being produced every year so there’s plenty to choose from.

          • dellingdog says

            My opinion that E. Olson is a troll is based numerous comments he’s posted in response to dozens of different articles. I’ve concluded that he’s not intellectually honest and isn’t worth engaging. You obviously have a different view — good for you. I’m entitled to mine.

          • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

            @SDTdts

            Ok, sticking to the issues then — and pardon my being too quick to caricature you:

            “(we don’t want to give even more legitimacy to unsupported but popular claims that have dangerous implications)”

            You beg the question sir. In fact the claims made by Olson and others regarding IQ are more robustly proven than almost anything you can say in the social sciences. Your wishing it were different does not change reality. Reality does not care about our feelings and our very real social concerns. I say again that our efforts to pretend our way out of difficulties is not working. The emperor has no clothes. This does not mean that I hate the emperor, only that the fact is that he is naked.

            “nuanced aspects of science and science when it interacts with other forces in society”

            Yes, there can be difficulties when science interacts with various social factors, but IMHO we should conform ourselves to reality, not pretend that the facts are other than they are. If it worked I’d be all for it, but it isn’t working. It does not follow that I am any less concerned over various social issues than you are, we just have different ideas on how to move forward.

            “Do you even realise what it would take to obtain a complete genetic homogenisation of the population? …”

            Sorry, I have no idea what you are saying there. Who is suggesting homogenization or world government or anyone ‘folding’?

            “That example of intellectual dishonesty, by the way, is called “creating a straw man.”

            I believe that my claim was coherent and quite accurate: The most woke interpretation is that race is a social construction. You disagree? The claim may be disputed but is it intentionally absurd? Or is this an attempt to use insult to avoid argument?

            I have not suggested a conspiracy theory and do not intend to. You are engaging is subtle caricature yourself.

  11. An inaccurately rendered photon torpedo tube? The horror! The horror! Hell is not hot enough nor eternity long enough for such a transgression!

  12. I’m not sure where the perception that conservative over-sensitivity is abundant regarding ST:D, but I can confirm that an article showed up in my Google feed a week ago in which the author effectively cheered the death of Connolly as he was “mansplaining”.

    I don’t get the need to polarize the show one way or the other. I enjoyed season 1, and I’m happy with Season 2 so far. It’s a brand new Star Trek show, with an awesome, hardworking cast. The special effects are beautiful, the aliens are awesome, the science is…very Star Trek, and the crew is interesting.
    What more could an honest Star Trek fan want?

  13. Shatterface says

    They have every race and life form in the UNIVERSE, except for Puerto Ricans. Whatsup with that??

    Wilson Cruz’s (Dr Culber) parents are Puerto Rican.

    It’s almost like the impulse to bitch about fuck all overwhelms the instinct not to look like an idiot.

  14. I think any Trekker upset by the direction of the new show should be strapped into a chair with his eyes wedged open like Alex in A Clockwork Orange and forced to rewatch ‘Spock’s Brain’ or anything at all from the first season of Next Generation

    • Nicholas says

      I recently rewatched all of tng, and whew, the first 3 seasons were all pretty rough. And honestly, tos has a few gems, but is mostly clunker-town too. Deep sleep 9 wasn’t anything to write home about, never even finished the series, nor vygr. Std isn’t doing too bad compared to the average of st shows, not really fair to compare them to the peak of tng out of the gate.

    • M Barclay says

      The point IS that Trekkies have already gone through season 1 of next Generation. We don’t need that again. Shouldn’t we get annoyed that we have to relive another stupid season to get the progressive weeds of the day out of the story arcs? I know I am

  15. Somewhat perplexed... says

    Nobody has mentioned what seems, to me, most out of place in Star Trek Diversity, the character Sylvia Tilly, a Starfleet Academy cadet. Previously, Starfleet has been portrayed as something for only the “best and brightest” with tough entry requirements. But the Tilly characters comes across as particularly “special needs”. It’s all very wonderful watching how the low self-esteem Tilly finds herself in leadership but it does not come across as particularly believable. Maybe in the desperate war against the Klingons Starfleet was taking in anyone they could get? The character seems to lack the inherent dignity that permeated Starfleet personalities in other series.

  16. jimhaz says

    Our minds conflate everything. Reactions do not occur due to just one show, but the trends in all related shows and the actions of the persons creating the works.

    STD is under the spell of the Pareto principle – it is one of the “vital few” and enough people were filled with general distaste of identity politics progressives at the one time to cause a emergent social media pareto effect.

  17. Sam V says

    >And, insofar as social justice messaging goes, that’s about it. If you’re wondering what the big deal is, join the club … But any suggestion that this is somehow a proxy for Trump voters misses a key point: These Klingons are entirely consistent with how Klingons have always been portrayed.

    You mean, aside from the breathless coverage and assertions prior to the show’s release, egged on by official channels, and actor interviews, that it would in fact be a direct allegory of Trump’s America? It seems STD’s writers aren’t the only ones engaging in revisionism.

    As for the portrayal of Klingons… what STD does is more something out of the worse parts of Farscape rather than anything Trek did previously. Discovery’s Klingons are apparently the space-faring equivalent of warring nomads, with inexplicable technology and an empire that shouldn’t exist.

    The charge against the regressive left is simple: that they want to downplay white and male members of society, and disproportionately push minorities, in defiance of population-wide demographics. 72.4% of the US is white. To check my own impressions, I did a count based on IMDB. Of the people who appeared in more than one episode, I count 30 out of 52 to be white, so that’s 57%. If we only look at people who did 10 episodes or more, that’s 8 out of 15, or 53%. But this includes people who wear prosthetics and doesn’t account for actual screen time. So that’s a bit on the low side. What is more difficult to deny is that there was only one visibly white and male character in the core cast who did not turn out to be a sociopath, with only a handful of minor side characters like Sarek to even it out. To pretend that this is in any way similar to e.g. TNG or DS9-level casting is ridiculous… it’s simply too on the nose.

    The progressives want their “strong female characters”, apparently never having seen Alien, and apparently unaware of how to write them too.

    • dellingdog says

      Sometimes it seems like aggrieved white men are more obsessed with representation than SJWs. I’m a straight white man and feel in no way threatened by the fact that the casts of TV shows and movies are more diverse than they were in the past. If the characters are compelling and the actors are well cast, I could care less about their gender, sexuality, skin color, etc. Are white men really so “oppressed” in today’s society that we suffer from a dearth of positive role models? In my view, aggrieved white men indulge in just as much victim mongering as SJWs.

      • Lightning Rose says

        The obvious answer to the proportional “diversity” on all modern TV shows is simple; they want to expand their audience to non-traditional demographics who are black and brown. The more people the show appeals to, the more money for advertisers. Period. Accurate relative representation has little to do with it. ALWAYS follow the money with TV.

        BTW; this is an obscure show, on an obscure platform, behind a paywall yet. Which sounds to me like they know the Star Trek fandom is a cow to be milked, and they’re mostly preaching to the converted with the SJW stuff. The show’s been doing that since the 60’s.

        The bottom line is if you don’t enjoy it, don’t waste your time and money. Don’t worry about its influence on society. At this point, it’s a grease spot on a wide, fast road.

      • I think there is definitely an over correction when white people are booed for talking in meetings at major corporations, and writing “it’s okay to be white” is investigated as a hate crime.

        I’ve personality been told (by a non-asian, btw) that I wasn’t allowed to comment on urbanization in rural China, as I couldn’t possibly understand Chinese lived experience with my ‘white privilege’. This was a middle class American telling me this, a few drops of minority blood in her veins doesn’t lend her any better insight into the lived experience of traditional Chinese agricultural laborers, but since my skin is the disfavored color she feels entitled to tell me to shut up….

        I think any reasonable person has to conclude it’s a little out of control these days.

        But I agree, the casting in std seems perfectly fine to me.

      • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

        @dellingdog

        “feel in no way threatened by the fact that the casts of TV shows and movies are more diverse than they were in the past”

        Good for you. However, were the situation reversed — were there insufficient Diverse characters — we’d certainly be hearing about it, wouldn’t we? The Warriors have been playing the Diversity game for a long time now, and we conservatives are forced to play whether we like it or not, tho mostly we play defense. So, occasionally we try to score a goal. Should we not?

        • dellingdog says

          @Ray: you feel obliged to play the “diversity game” to make sure that more straight white male characters are included in TV shows? Good for you, I guess. If you’re triggered by the presence of diverse characters, you can always take refuge in the decades of entertainment which excluded or caricatured people of color, gays, etc.

          • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

            @dellingdog

            Not really. I’d rather the issue didn’t come up, but it is the Warriors that constantly bring it up and one can hardly escape from it. But you evade my query: surely if there was too little Diversity we’d be hearing about it from the Warriors? Surely every case of lack of Diversity is brought to our attention?

          • dellingdog says

            @Ray: So what? What’s wrong with diversity? I honestly don’t understand why you feel so threatened by the inclusion of more diverse characters on TV shows. Welcome to the 21st century! Like I said, there are plenty of older shows you can watch which reflect the less diverse times you evidently miss. It takes two sides to fight a “war”: if you’re so upset by the SJWs’ pleas for more diversity, stop paying attention to them. You’ll be much happier!

      • Captain Spam says

        It’s an interesting straw man argument that you bring up dellingdog. However, in realityland “white men” could care less about representation. See other popular Sci-Fi featuring women prominently, such as the Alien franchise, The Expanse, Battlestar Galactica, Voyager, etc. etc., which are universally loved by the same people who object to the identity politics that drive the creative decisions behind STD.

        BTW, just so you know, many women and minorities dislike STD. You stereotyping everyone who hates the show as “white men” makes you sound like a shill.

    • STDdts says

      Dear Sam,

      Thank you for helping me understand how you personally see the Star Trek universe. It seems important to you that humans in the United Federation of Planets in the 23rd century look very much like the humans in a country called the United States of America during the 20th or 21st century. Some people care passionately about imposing quotas for representation, and you appear to be one of them. Fair enough.

      Some respectful remarks to add a little context to your views, though:

      1. I don’t know why you select that particular time (why not 500 years earlier? why not 800 years?).

      2. I also don’t understand why you chose that particular country, since the United Federation of Planets was explicitly modeled on the United Nations, rather than on the United States of America.

      3. And, for the record: the average person in the United Nations certainly does not look like most Americans.

      Do you still believe that your argument and the assumptions that it is based on make much sense? Any sense at all?

      • Lightning Rose says

        Because Gene Roddenberry’s vision was a One World Government under the UN, extrapolated out to the stars. “America” wasn’t even a “thing” in his fantasy future. Remember that the context was the 1960’s Cold War when many young people thought we’d self-immolate before they ever saw age 40. He wanted to give the world a vision of a more hopeful future, and if you read the timeline of the Star Trek Canon he imagined us going “globalized” after a catastrophic nuclear WW3. We wouldn’t be ready to move “off-planet” in his view until we had overcome our human tribal differences.

        The question is what shape YOU believe the human future should take . . .

      • Sam V says

        @STDdts I’ll just ignore the ridiculous smug tone here, like you’re lecturing a child. Really shows the good faith in display, though.

        It makes sense to use US demographics as a reference point, because that’s the pool that’s being recruited from, and ostensibly, progressive ideology demands racially blind casting, because race is irrelevant. I’m just holding them to their own standards, though I know they don’t actually act like that in practice. The prior history of Star Trek is also not exactly a strong argument in a show that ignores almost everything done prior in the franchise, with mushroom drives and a starfleet that is unrecognizable.

        You also didn’t seem to notice that I concluded that on paper, it doesn’t appear to be that far off, and rather, that you need to factor in characters and writing to understand why this show irks people so much in its composition.

        Given that you ignored every other point I made, I assume you’re either in agreement or have no counter.

        • STDdts says

          Dear Sam V,

          I’m sorry I upset you with my comment. I see you are also not happy because I engaged with only a subset of your arguments. Let me explain why I did that: I have no counter because you have no argument.

          To be a little more precise …

          Your arguments, in general, appear very unclear to me. Don’t get me wrong: the emotions are clear (you’re angry at STD and annoyed with my posts) but the arguments themselves are not. And I didn’t want to ask a list of seventeen questions for you to clarify the structure of your arguments in a single post. That would just look bizarre.

          If you don’t entirely get what I am trying to say, I can explain with an example below (a single sentence). But, if such an analysis makes you feel uncomfortable: please just stop reading. You opened your previous post with:

          “It makes sense to use US demographics as a reference point, because that’s the pool that’s being recruited from, and ostensibly, progressive ideology demands racially blind casting, because race is irrelevant.”

          – “It makes sense” for what? For whom? By which principles and values?
          – “That’s the pool that’s being recruited from”: How can that be true for Michelle Yeoh? I don’t think Yeoh is American.
          – “Progressive ideology demands racially blind casting”: It doesn’t. Who told you that? Which quotes are you cherry picking from? Which radical sub-community are using as a substitute for progressives?
          – “Because race is irrelevant”: Not true. Who told you this? Where do you get this misinformation from? I’m pretty sure there are many articles on Quillette that deplore the commitment of progressives to things like “minority identities” and “intersectionality.” You’re just making things up as you go along and you don’t seem to be very committed to truth or clarity or generosity or understandability.

          Suppose now that you patiently clear up all of this confusion and misinformation, I fear we will still not have anything resembling an *argument.* We’ll probably still have an incoherent mess of emotion and misinformation.

          So, yes: I responded very cautiously because I wanted to get a good argument (assumptions, logic, reasoning, goals, strategies, compromises, etc.) out of your original posts. Was I foolish to even try?

          • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

            @STDdts

            You are guilty of heresy:

            – “Because race is irrelevant”: Not true. Who told you this? Where do you get this misinformation from?

            I would recommend you consult with a woker friend before you say such things. You will be instructed that race is a social construction created by The Patriarchy as a System Of Oppression. That which does not exist cannot be relevant to those who know it does not exist.

            Your efforts at condescension are zealous but not really very good.

          • STDdts says

            Dear Ray Andrews,

            I see you would rather pick a fight with false claims than actually understand the world or explain your thoughts to those who are genuinely interested. It’s a shame, because I had hoped to learn something from you.

            I wish you all the best

          • SDTdts says

            Dear Ray,

            Showing why your accusation of heresy is silly would be rather easy.

            The real question at this point is: does it even matter if I do?

            I have punctured several holes in your previous posts and you seem unconcerned about any of those holes. I suspect you only care about potential holes in other people’s arguments.

            Fair enough, but then you’re not trying to understand, then you’re not trying to be honest, and you’re not trying to share your thoughts.

            So, what do you hope to get out of this conversation? Say I refuse your claim. Will you keep bombarding me with bad logic, false facts, unwarranted accusations, and ambiguity until I become too tied to continue this interaction?

            What do you want? It’s a sincere question.

          • dellingdog says

            @STD: I don’t think you were foolish to try, but I’ve discovered that the comment sections at Quillette are populated by ax-grinding ideologues who are unwilling to engage in good-faith dialogue. It’s a shame, but the anti-SJW mindset is no less intolerant and myopic than the worldview of the regressive left.

    • STDdts says

      Sam V,

      I’m not entirely sure about this, so maybe you can help me out. I remember reading that Scott originally wrote Ripley to be a man, and then cast Weaver for the role. I can’t immediately remember the source material, so I am not 100% sure about this.

      But, if true, it would make your final comment “The progressives want their “strong female characters”, apparently never having seen Alien, and apparently unaware of how to write them too.” quite interesting: the best strong female character ever (in your opinion) would turn out to be a gender-flipped character …

      • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

        @STDdts

        That sounded genuine. But I do think you committed heresy, how do you respond? This is not a fight, it is a point of engagement between your world view and mine.

        • dellingdog says

          @Ray: I think the conversation would be more constructive if you actually engaged with what STD is saying rather than arguing against a straw-man caricature of what SJWs supposedly think. I know the latter is your go-to move, but it’s not terribly useful.

          • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

            @dellingdog

            That’s fair. I do tend to be a bit too quick to caricature, mind that’s what STD is doing to Olson. But if I don’t like it, I shouldn’t do it myself. Point.

    • Well, actually says

      You’re reading that census data wrong. Hispanic and Latino are ‘white’ with an optional separate checkbox. Non hispanic/latino white is 60%, so not too far off. ….I think it’s safe to assume if you’re *that* concerned about the representation of white people, you mean non Hispanic/latino whites.

      Now that I think about it…. funny that you’re not more concerned about accurate representation of whites in police abuse statistics though 🤔

  18. The Cookie Monster says

    Does anybody know that George Orwell was one of the original left-wing social justice warriors?
    Yes Orwell was always a man of the left.
    Yesterday I came across a reference to his attempt along with Bertrand Russell and Arthur Koestler to create a Human Rights Manifesto. For one reason or another the proposed Manifesto never saw the light of day.

    • peanut gallery says

      Yes, but he was also quite critical of academic social engineers that also, in his opinion, held the common man is low-regard. Which still tends to be true IMO.

  19. Thank you for this article; it perfectly sums up my own opinions about Disco.

    Prior to watching it, I read the rants, I saw the YouTube-pundits hate on it, I watched as the (alt)-right side of the Internet lit up in indignant fury over this show. And when I first started watching it, I was ready to give up before the pilot was over as I found it to be horrible. The behavior or the crew, and in particular Michael, was just absurd even by Prometheus standards (the Alien movie no one likes).

    Thankfully, I endured. And Michael’s subsequent fall from grace after the pilot, and her long journey to redemption was masterfully done. And then it hit me, the people who hate Disco the most, are the people who never managed to get past the pilot.

    Disco is a modern sci-fi, and the season-long plot is breathtakingly well-made. The plot-twist towards the end of it took me by surprise and added yet another layer to an already remarkably fleshed-out world. The amount of “SJW agenda” that people kept being outraged by, doesn’t exist. And even if it does, it’s not nearly as much as they would have you believe. Only a fool that is addicted to outrage porn would see Trump supporters as in the Klingons.

    To me, Disco is a great show by itself.

    • Heike says

      The show’s creators literally said that the Klingons are Trump supporters.

    • @nick….

      Only a fool that is addicted to outrage porn would see Trump supporters as in the Klingons.

      “The Trump phenomenon was “front and center in our minds,” Harberts admits when talking about the post-Fuller production process. “We felt like it would be interesting to really look at what’s going on in the United States.” He mentions that among the show’s antagonists are an ultra-religious and violent Klingon faction whose rallying cry – “Remain Klingon” – is intentionally reminiscent of “Make America Great Again.”
      “It’s a call to isolationism,” the showrunner says in reference to the slogan. “It’s about racial purity, and it’s about wanting to take care of yourself. And if anybody is reaching a hand out to help you, it’s about smacking it away . . . That was pretty provocative for us, and it wasn’t necessarily something that we wanted to completely lean into. But it was happening. We were hearing the stories.”
      ““We’re living in monstrous times, let’s not dance around it,” Jason Isaacs says, in a separate interview. “Hideous, divisive times, when all sorts of stuff we thought was long buried is coming to the surface, and being encouraged by the most powerful people on the planet. We’re living in disgusting times.”

      The show was introduced as slap against Trump and his supporters, and there are plenty of direct quotes from the shows creators that the Klingon’s were modeled on a caricature of anyone who voted Trump in 2016. So I guess the shows creators are fools, addicted to outrage porn?

    • Captain Spam says

      So everyone who hates STD is “alt-right”? You’re pretty hilarious. I guess hating identity politics and voting for Obama twice makes me alt-right, huh?

      Michael’s long journey to redemption? Seriously? That was like one episode. She would’ve reallisticially been locked up for life for what she did. If you think STD is breathtakingly well made, then please do not watch the Expanse. Your head might explode. STD is garbage for identitarians and simpletons.

  20. Liam Malone says

    Why was same sex relationship “long overdue”? I think there were only one or two relationships in ST anyway. For the most part ST characters are single, which makes some sense as they are all away from “home” for the entirety of the show. Aside from the odd romantic entanglement to serve a plot point, the sexual preferences of the crew are not known Why this needed to change I don’t know. Perhaps, a better approach would be to weave same sex relationships into plot-lines. Indeed I think this would be a more progressive approach. Imagine having a lead character’s sexuality be revealed naturally as part of a storyline rather than signalled in advance, this would offer all sorts of options: ignore that sexuality and treat it as entirely normal (suck it up homophobes); or explore issues arising, with all sorts of typically ST devices available.

    • And this isn’t the first same sex relationship. In DS9 Jadzia Dax had a lesbian relationship. In Star Trek Beyond Sulu was married to a man. In TNG Riker had an affair with an alien that was asexual (not a same sex relationship but not a heterosexual one either).

  21. I am a fan of the sci-fi show The Expanse, in which many of the themes discussed here are echoed, though perhaps to a lesser extent.

    Whether someone is annoyed about a “diverse” cast that is unrepresentative of the U.S. population, it seems, owes primarily to their ideological disposition. People who see identity politics as a rapidly growing morality structure for the left recognize “diversity” in the context of a show’s cast to be a super-imposition of that moral meaning structure upon a domain that did not formerly have it. It would be like incorporating Christian themes deliberately into a show’s plot. Annoying. People don’t like having some other religion shoved in their face.

    The masculinization of female characters is somewhat different, as I believe a previous commenter noted. Here, the moral meaning structure being asserted goes beyond a kind of window dressing into direct conflict with reality. Instead of statistical demographics being stretched, we have a kind of defiance of gender realities. The writers of the show either don’t know or don’t care that psychological gender dimorphism exists. An ideological agenda that is not consistent with reality is being promoted. It’s a powerful moral theme . . . even I, someone who recognizes what is going on, is not immune to the emotional payoff of a sexy woman kicking ass just like a man.

    • peanut gallery says

      When every once in a while a woman is ass-kicking it’s cool. (Ripley, Terminator 2 mom) When every one of them is, it’s too unrealistic. Like a trans-woman that still can’t remember to close their legs when sitting down. It’s a glitch in the Matrix and I can’t stop noticing something feels off.

    • barael says

      I’d consider myself a fan of Star Trek, but Expanse is indeed superior to Discovery in just about every way.

      • I tried to like Discovery, I even found redeeming things about Enterprise and the animated series, however, the first season just left me meh. I cancelled my CBS on line subscription, and have wondered if season 2 was better but not enough to renew my subscription. In my opinion The Orville is the best new sci-fi show last year. I agree about the Expanse, and am disappointed about Dark Matter, I hate when they don’t wrap up a storyline. Though all in all, I am a Brown Coat forever.

  22. peanut gallery says

    Everything I’ve heard, aside from any progressive propaganda, stuff has been bad. Personally, I hate prequels and going back in history. It’s George Lucas’ fault. His prequels suck and his prequels “inspired” every prequel after. And they all or mostly all suck (please correct me). The Hobbit movies were awful. Solo was completely unnecessary. And on and on. I don’t need to KNOW what happened before. I already know cause I saw/read the first one. I really liked the Trek universe they created with DS9. Sisko is still my favorite captain. The end of the plot line for his prophet business was a bit limp, but they overall did some good stuff in DS9 and I’d have liked to see that story line continue forward. But no, they just keep going back to pre-federation or early federation times and retcon everything and Spock won’t stop showing up. It’s like the they hired the writer for the most obnoxious anime writer to plan the Trek universe. I’m not even that big a Trek fan.

    As far as the races being the from the same source, this does have canon from TNG. At one point humans/Klingons/Romulans(who are technically Vulcans) converged to find an ancient precursor race left-overs. The idea that it might be a dope weapon or something. But then a projection of the “ancient alien” pops up to all of them and is all like “Yo dawgs, we seeded all life in this system, so you’re basically all related. Be friends and stuff.” The Picard and the Romulan share a knowing look and the Klingon is like “BoooooOOOOOOrriiiiiing” and stomps of in a huff.

    Last year I watched a about half of TNG and all of DS again, because it’s on Amazon Prime. It’s kind of an interesting cultural time capsule. I hadn’t seen them since they originally aired on TV so I remembered very little. They question women being positions of power in some TNG. And homosexuality? Whoaaaaa! But the politics of those shows are liberal and acceptance and understanding are the watchwords. They obviously present a sort of ideal and then have it bump up against people or forces that are less so. Sometimes it’s goofy. Sometimes it pretty good. Trek was frequently aspirational, but the first season of STD seems like a dark and gritty reboot. “It’s dark now, so it’s more DEEP.” Yeah, ok 16 year old me. Shut up, you don’t know what’s good you little shit.

    • Peter from Oz says

      It’s all about flogging a dead horse in the pursuit of filthy lucre, whilst pretending that the reason for producing this piffle is to spread ”progressive values”.

  23. The original star trek was full on truth, justice and the American way. Sounds like this one is full on resistance. Whether life imitates art or vice versa, our nation is likely doomed. It was nice while it lasted.

  24. Harry M says

    The real problem is Michael Burnham. BUT (big but!) it’s not her name, not her sex, not her skincolor, not her Vulcan upbringing, it’s her moronic I-know-better-asshole-but-below-average-performance character that is completely butchered. I pity the actress for playing her and therefore effectively ruining herself.

    I forced myself through some 5 to 8 episodes (long-term Trekkie) and I ended up skipping through all scenes with her face in. They should simply kill her off and never talk about her again. That would improve the show dramatically.

    Still though, it wouldn’t be much Star Trek. Canon is important and they broke it in a thousand pieces. Then, there are too many lense flares (even in non-space scenes; sic!), too much aesthetics, too much action (especially pointless action), too much focus on special stuff (section 31, mirror universe; the only thing missing is Q so far), too little day-to-day diplomacy, too little character development and overall too little Star Trek.

    The best so far – well, the only good element – was indeed Harry Mudd. That episode was very well done. And I also liked Lorca. Although, I wished they would’ve revealed his background from the beginning and focused the show on him infiltrating this-universe Federation. That would have made soo much more sense from the end of storytelling.

    As too many other viewers stated before me: The Orville may be a parody-homage to Star Trek, but that is still by far better than this lenseflare-death-cult-abomination acronymed STD.

    • Morgan Foster says

      @Harry M

      “The real problem is Michael Burnham. BUT (big but!) it’s not her name, not her sex, not her skincolor, not her Vulcan upbringing, it’s her moronic I-know-better-asshole-but-below-average-performance character …”

      Another problem with her – I see it as a problem, the show’s writers evidently identified it as a social virtue – cropped up rather vividly in the first episode.

      Going from memory, Michael commits mutiny and tries to seize control of the ship in the middle of a crisis. Her mentor, friend and commanding officer tells her, quite rightly, that mutiny is punishable by death.

      Commanding officer then holds a pistol (phaser?) on Michael, retaking control of her ship – again in the middle of a crisis – and says “I forgive you. Because I believe in your good heart.” Or words to that effect.

      It becomes clear in the next few episodes that despite some grumbling, Michael is never going to be seriously punished – by anybody – for her act of mutiny in the middle of a crisis.

      It also becomes clear that none of the major characters has a strong moral anchor. Not even the ship’s commanding officer.

      In this show, there can be no criminal or immoral act committed by a major character that will lead to any serious or long-term consequence commensurate with the act itself.

      Rehabilitation is universal, swift and painless. Forgiveness, a universal right.

      In this show, lies, deceit and betrayal are considered to be mere acts of momentary rudeness. To be forgotten as soon as possible, for the good of everyone.

      Rather like present day Hollywood.

  25. Morgan Foster says

    “And for all the whining about Discovery’s blunt virtue signaling, it was delivered with total subtlety.”

    The entire article oozes this sort of smug, condescending and rather disingenuous tone.

    It’s more than a little difficult to take this television show seriously when it’s supporters are even more irritating in their blunt virtue signaling than the show’s script writers.

  26. M Barclay says

    This “grinding my gears” is I know kinda silly but it somehow sticks with you when you have enjoyed a show only to be told that your Star Trek show was not progressive enough. Hmmmm…okay… Oh and that we are introducing a female POC lead…..ummmm…we had a female and POC captain that were badass.
    Maybe for the laymen who only know Spock and Kirk is this a new “progressive way”, but dammit they made an effort before and somehow it has got lost by all the pundits. And those efforts(Deep Space Nice, Voyager) should not be thrown into the recycle bin.
    It just seems silly to continue to talk about diversity when in reality we already did do that with the Captains. How bout just be diverse and get on with the plot without making a stink about it.

  27. Perhaps if the crew had not published on the premiere date a picture of them all on one knee as a sign of solidarity with NFL football players and against President Trump, my SJW radar would not be as heightened in connection with Discovery. In the end, however, it was the poor product rather than the political leanings of the show’s makers that led me to quit watching.

    • Dan Love says

      @J P

      It’s as if the author of the article intentionally avoided doing any sort of research on the topic he’s writing about.

  28. The problem with the Discovery isn’t its politics. The problem is it’s a dramatic departure from previous series in its tone and substance. Gone are exploration, ethical issues around science, and an optimistic outlook about humanity. In is grimdark, unlikable characters, and angst more suitable to a young adult melodrama than to Star Trek. It’s also the first Trek I can’t watch with my kids.

    The producers went with a different approach targeted at a different audience from previous trek, and it looks like the gamble failed. Most trek fans prefer the Orville, which even with its fratboy humour, is much closer to the spirit of traditional trek than the dark, snarky, YA fashionings of Discovery.

  29. Coolius Caesar says

    I think the author is looking at this from far too shallow a view point. “Conservatives” complaints aren’t with this new Star Trek as an individual entity of SJW cancer, which the author does debunk (as far as i know, I haven’t seen the show). However, this show is just one piece of a wider cultural movement full of SJW, progressive cancer. That’s what people have a problem with, the culture, not this individual show. Women leaders? Diverse crew? Few have a problem with that (Katherine Janeway was popular in Voyager) but when taken in part with the rest of the cultural movement there is a stink that arise. It does seem that there was an active choice to neuter any white men of any authority and position in favor of “diversity”. Another example of this is in the new Star Wars movies. The only white men with any authority are? Oh yeah, either dead/killed off or are part of the Empire, you know, the villains. There’s no way it’s just a coincidence that the evil enemy is all white men while the good heroes of “The Resistance” are all minorities and led by women…come on.

    As an individual show, i’m sure it’s fine…it’s when it’s part of a cultural movement full of progressive garbage, then people are justified in their outraged.

    • dellingdog says

      It’s hilarious that aggrieved white men are playing identity politics and competing in the “oppression Olympics” more fervently than actual minorities!

      • Peter from Oz says

        Point of order, delingdog. White men are in fact aa actual minority.
        People like you have been encouraging minorities for years to distinguish themselves from others on the basis of sex or skin colour. Now you have the gall to challenge white men for doing the same thing. The hypocrisy is wonderful to see. It shows your kind is scared that your rainbow coalition will fall apart in the blaknaisation of our society that you seek to impart.
        For the record, I think that it is wrong for anyone to engage in identity politics. But I won’t stand for those who approve of identity politics for some, start whining about others using the same tactics. Those tactics are wrong for all people.

        • dellingdog says

          @Peter, you’re making unwarranted assumptions about my political views. I oppose identity politics and support colorblindness as a guiding principle. In the U.S., white men continue to dominate society both politically and economically. It’s absurd to depict them (us) as a besieged minority who suffer from misrepresentation.

          • Captain Spam says

            If you oppose identity politics, why does everyone of your posts basically resort to idenitarian tactics? I call BS.

          • Dan Love says

            @Captain Spam

            The obviousness of dellingdog’s SJW identitarianism along with his claim he opposes it reveals how seriously you should take him. It’s a motif in throughout his comments.

      • Re. Wazoo! says

        @dellingdog – “It’s hilarious that aggrieved white men are playing identity politics and competing in the “oppression Olympics” more fervently than actual minorities!”

        It’s even more hilarious that those who let that genie out of the bottle are surprised when it transpires they can no longer bend it to their wishes. Obsessive race awareness (and sex, sexual orientation etc) and insisting this is a valid way to view the world and to organize socially indeed has great power but is contagious.

        White men are about 37% of the US population, so a clear minority but I’d agree that they and other minorities aren’t necessary exploited as such and that applies most other minorities so please stop using the term as if it automatically conferred an “exploited” status on the group so designated – and implied and “exploiter” status for those not so designated.

        Meanwhile, trumpeting the need for all and sundry to prioritize organizing around such designations obviously invites unmentioned ones, such as, yes, white males, to do the same. This result was always obvious; the hilarity/tragedy ensues when the audience sees the protagonist(s) foolishly create their own demise through they’re own greed, ego and wilful blindness.

        It will end as comedy if we can get the genie back in the bottle and tragedy if we can’t.

  30. Peter from Oz says

    Go Klingons!!!
    Smash the nacy boys of the Federation to bits and rid us permanently of the wankery that is Star Trek.

    • SDTdts says

      This message is for Ray Andrews (Sorry, there may be something wrong with my browser. I can’t reply directly to your message.)

      I appreciate that you are trying to keep the conversation going, but I’m honestly running out of energy here. I feel like you’re not even listening to half of what I am saying, no matter how much I try. So, I hope you understand why I won’t respond to all of your points. I’ll try to keep it brief:

      1. I suspect that the claims of IQ you’re thinking of have not been robustly proven. I suspect a more accurate claim would be: “There’s a lot of data out there. Only some of the data supports my views, and only after some serious re-interpreting.”

      2. I also used the term “socially responsible” because science is based on (among other things) lots of trial-and-error. That implies we should expect to get a great deal of error (influenced by our desired outcomes) before we get some robust results that will hold up. And we know from history that societies are very happy to accept any kind of partial evidence (true or not, shaky or robust, conclusive or inconclusive) in order to implement racial policies that disadvantage some groups.

      So, all I am saying is: you had better be right about these things before you offer such racial weapons to the masses and to the people in charge. And I happen to be far from convinced that you are right about these things.

      Again, to be clear: study these subjects all you like. I just will not publicly pretend that the research holds up.

      • SDTdts says

        3. I can also clarify my statement about the “complete homogenisation,” if you like.

        The distribution of IQ is approximated very well by a Bell curve with mean and average of 100 (by definition). So, if the smartest people in your future world have an IQ of 100, then everyone has the same IQ. (That does not, by the way, imply that everyone is “less smart than a person with an IQ of 100 today.” They could all be “smarter” than we are or all be “less smart” than we are right now.)

        If we combine this complete collapse of IQ with the (your?) assumption that IQ is essentially a result of genetics, then we need everyone to have essentially the same genetics. The rest of my previous explanation (how to get from our current situation to the future one you described) should speak for itself.

        4. You did create a straw man with your accusations of heresy and the subsequent clarifications. You wrote:

        “I would recommend you consult with a woker friend before you say such things. You will be instructed that race is a social construction created by The Patriarchy as a System Of Oppression. That which does not exist cannot be relevant to those who know it does not exist.”

        There are so many things wrong with that paragraph that I sincerely wonder whether you are wrong or just trolling.

        • dellingdog says

          @SDT: I admire your persistence. I would have abandoned this conversation long ago! The Regressive Right’s obsession with IQ is rather puzzling. It’s certainly possible that certain populations of humans are predisposed to be less intelligent (as measured by IQ) than others, but there are so many confounding factors that it would be virtually impossible to prove one way or another. Even if it could be demonstrated that average differences in IQ can be attributed, in part, to group-level genetic differences, would that change how we treat individuals? I don’t think so. We’d still want to give every person an opportunity to achieve their potential so they can lead a satisfying life and contribute to society. I think Sam Harris is right: research about the influence of genes on intelligence should not be forbidden, but it’s not clear what purpose is served by focusing on “race.” Perhaps conservatives are seeking scientific justification for their policy agenda. They generally oppose social programs that redistribute wealth in order to expand opportunity. If it can be “proven” that people with African heritage are less capable of succeeding in modern economies, then we can stop worrying about the massive wealth gap between Whites/Asians and other people of color. Conversely, I have a colleague who’s a socialist, and he refuses to acknowledge that genes play a significant role in influencing IQ. In other words, he’s denying obvious scientific facts because they contradict his ideological commitments. Perhaps the Regressive Right falsely claims that scientific facts about race and IQ *have* been demonstrated in order to bolster their views. That’s certainly the strategy used by White Nationalists who advocate for racial separatism and white “ethnostates” — and our friends here at Quillette don’t seem all that far from such avowedly racist views.

          • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

            @dellingdog

            “but there are so many confounding factors that it would be virtually impossible to prove one way or another”

            The difficulty is real, but multivariant analysis now demonstrates IQ to be 80 – 82 percent genetic. Vast amounts of data are now available, and every study only reduces the uncertainty yet further. You can no longer hide. Blaming folks like me for what you do not want to face is no longer working. Blank Slate is about to collapse entirely.

            “would that change how we treat individuals?”

            You hit the nail on the head. No, it would not. Every individual must have every opportunity to realize her potential. It is just that simple. However quota-based thinking is based on the error that we are expecting proportional representation by all Identities and if we do not have it, it is because of Oppression. We should not expect that. The Identity that is actually Systemically Oppressed is Asians. The Identity that is Systemically Privileged is Blacks.

            “Perhaps conservatives are seeking scientific justification for their policy agenda. ”

            Yes. Stop quota-based social engineering experiments. They waste money and are not working. Nor will they ever work.

            “then we can stop worrying about the massive wealth gap between Whites/Asians and other people of color”

            Or perhaps we can put money where it can achieve some actual results! I am your doctor, you come to me with a cough. After some tests: “I hate to tell you Delling old boy, but you have lung cancer. We’ll start chemo right away.” After a few months your cough is not going away, but, strangely, it seems to be no worse, although you feel horribly sick due to the effects of the chemo. “Delling, I’m afraid you have only days to live.” Yet, months later you are still alive, and your cough is no worse. Then you get a new doctor: “Ahhh … Delling, I’m embarrassed to say this, but you don’t have lung cancer, you have a tiny benign cyst in your airway causing a minor irritation. We’ll have it surgically removed next week.”

            Treat the real problem and you might just beat it!

            “he refuses to acknowledge that genes play a significant role in influencing IQ. In other words, he’s denying obvious scientific facts because they contradict his ideological commitments.”

            Yes. And you are doing the same. You presume that fact-facers like myself have some dark, evil motive and that only people who agree with you can possibly be good people. I have news for you: I’m as good a person as you are, so fuck off with the greasy ‘regressive right’ stuff ok? You are not the solution, you are the problem. Like your socialist friend you should get real. Start by figuring out that you do not have a monopoly on virtue. Descent people can disagree on what to do with difficult facts. Understand?

            Sorry for getting rude there.

        • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

          @SDTdts

          “If we combine this complete collapse of IQ with the (your?) assumption that IQ is essentially a result of genetics, then we need everyone to have essentially the same genetics.”

          We do? Eye color is 100% genetics, does that mean we need everyone to have the same eye color? The bell curve will always be with us. That means that not everyone will be a genius and it also means that there will be fewer Australian Aborigine (average IQ = 62) geniuses than Ashkenazi Jewish (average IQ = ca. 115) geniuses. If there is less of one than the other this is not evidence of Systemic Oppression, it is the reflection of the genetic reality of those groups.

          “that race is a social construction created by The Patriarchy as a System Of Oppression”

          We’d have to get some authority on that. I’m sure I’m right, but how can we resolve the disagreement? Google “race constructed oppression” and you should get about 9,790,000 hits. Here’s a quote from the first hit:

          “As a social concept, ‘white’ is profound in its meaning,” Robin DiAngelo, an educator and consultant in Seatle, told me. “It means people who either come from or appear to come from Europe, but it’s necessarily a construct of oppression.”

          I could cut and paste a hundred quotes like it.

      • Ray Andrews (the dolphin) says

        @SDTdts

        “So, all I am saying is: you had better be right about these things before you offer such racial weapons to the masses and to the people in charge.”

        True! I am right about them tho, one may as well wonder if the earth is really round. So then we face the next issue which is how to handle reality without offering such racial weapons to … the people in charge. The Imaginers are still mostly trying to pretend their way out of the problem — if only Haters such as myself would Imagine properly then we’d have racial equality and Equity and utopia, but we keep breaking the magic spell by disbelieving. The one thing you never do at a seance is open your eyes it ruins everything.

        I used to be an Imaginer. I believed HARD. But decades of evidence to the contrary slowly broke my faith. And — here’s the main point — Imagining just isn’t working. The nasty facts are not going away. 60 years of effort, billions of dollars spent, and we still do not have Equity. What we have is Donald Trump because folks are sick to death of Equity that isn’t working.

        Time to face reality, AND face it in such a way that we do not offer such racial weapons to evil people. This won’t be easy but we have to do it. Here is the key:

        • dellingdog says

          Ray: I’ve never defended the blank slate view. Genetics has a massive influence on intelligence. However, lots of other factors also play a role: prenatal conditions, malnourishment, early exposure to lead or other toxins, traumatic experiences, chronic stress, lack of intellectual stimulation, etc.

          You seem rather thin-skinned for someone who readily attaches labels to others and makes unwarranted assumptions about their political views. I don’t think I have a monopoly on virtue, but I am convinced that the regressive right is just as toxic as the regressive left. I would have more respect for Quilletters like you if you acknowledged that fact instead of reserving all your indignation for SJWs.

          For the record, race *is* a social construction. Populations differ, but the idea that everyone with dark skin or African heritage can be lumped into the category of “Black” is a fallacy.

  31. SDTdts says

    Ray Andrews,

    Thank you for your patience and thank you for responding.

    I think this incoherent stream of unconsciousness is also a fine place to end this exchange: I have probably learned from you what I can and I won’t benefit from being exposed to any more of these emotional concatenations of slogans disguised as thought.

    I know you didn’t ask, so feel free to ignore the next sentence. But, if you’d want any advice from me, then I would suggest you learn to listen to people who are are trying to have a constructive interaction with you and who are willing to do most of the hard work for you.

    Good luck

  32. Great article, thank you. Love Discovery, love it’s cast, happy to see the tone get lighter. I’ve watched all Star Trek series, as well as the movies, and don’t find this one to be a departure in any way from Roddenberry’s vision, especially as it returns (hopefully) to more family-friendly viewing. If I have a complaint with season one, it’s this last point: some parts of it were not suitable for younger viewers, or even those of us who prefer less gratuitous plot lines.

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