Deep Space 9

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Moogie
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Deep Space 9

Post by Moogie » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:43 pm

HUZZAH! I DID IT!

While it took me far too long, I finally completed my very first complete Star Trek viewing of Deep Space 9. It was the first of the series to really appeal to me and I cried like a baby for that final episode.

I thought it might be fun to prompt discussion on the series if anybody has any thoughts or feelings they want to share! ^_^

To start, i'll go ahead and say it (since I said it the entirety of the final season)... UGH, EZRI WAS THE WORST. Though, I understand it wasn't the actress' or character's fault.

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Re: Deep Space 9

Post by JM1776 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:18 am

I enjoyed DS9, but hold that it's the most overrated of the Treks.

Elements of the series that irritated me:
  • Too many asinine Ferengi episodes
  • Avery Brooks' annoying and in my opinion dangerous tendency to inject his personal views into a series that didn't remotely need it, in particular "Badda Bing, Badda Bang" and "Far Beyond the Stars" (and if you don't agree with me on this, I'm perfectly willing to crush you in a debate)
  • The portrayal of the Dominion as an invincible juggernaut that should have won the war in three weeks and the Federation as essentially helpless against it
  • Julian Bashir's appalling tendency to nail current patients, which is wholly at odds with medical ethics ... and is arguably sexual assault
There are others, but that should spur some discussion.
"Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus are controlled by spacemen. They're moving fast and they're near the heart of the city."

If you're feeding your cat a vegan diet your head is so far up your ass that you can lick your own tonsils from the back way.

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Re: Deep Space 9

Post by JM1776 » Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:49 pm

Well?
"Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus are controlled by spacemen. They're moving fast and they're near the heart of the city."

If you're feeding your cat a vegan diet your head is so far up your ass that you can lick your own tonsils from the back way.

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Re: Deep Space 9

Post by captainuniverse » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:13 pm

I agree on the subject of the Dominion.
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Re: Deep Space 9

Post by Moogie » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:16 pm

I can't speak for DS9 being overrated given my Star Trek experience is relatively limited, but I can say that it was the first series that got me hooked.

As you might assume, given my username, i'm a huge fan of the Ferengi in DS9. I loved Quark as a character and appreciate when Trek gives us any kind of background for alien races. Some appear, you learn a few factoids, but you otherwise know very little about their societies/cultures.

I am unfamiliar with Avery Brooks' personal opinions, though i'd be happy to hear out the specifics to your argument!

I super agree with your sentiment about the Dominion coming across invincible, while the Federation was helpless. I think that there were a lot of interesting components to the War, but I definitely don't think it was my favorite part of the series. I almost felt like it should have stretched over a longer period of time. I would have loved to see more about how the effects of the war impacted various planets.

Ah, Bashir. Absolutely questionable ethically. He still remains another favorite of mine, haha.

What series was your favorite?

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Re: Deep Space 9

Post by JM1776 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:29 pm

I addressed my perspective on Avery Brooks' attitude in this essay first published at the Star Trek: Liberty website over a decade ago.

"Black Like Me ... Whether You Like It or Not"

Let me preface the following rant by saying this: I do not know Avery Brooks personally. He at one time associated with one of my ex-wife's former co-workers (in that their daughters played together), but that's as close as I come. We've never argued, spoken, exchanged waves or even glances. He wouldn't know me from Adam, and I wouldn't know him from Benjamin Sisko.

Some Liberty readers, however, know me. A few of them attended my alma mater, Carroll College, where they were imposed upon by my presence for anywhere between two and four years. They could, thus, assure you of this fact: I myself am not what you would call political. I'd probably fall into the fairly broad category of "idiosyncratic dilettante interested only in his own insignificant little piece of the intellectual landscape"—of which, obviously, Star Trek is a large part.

It's my fairly well-educated guess that Mr. Brooks is somewhat more political than I am.

I've seen him in only a few parts: As Hawk, of course—a role for which he conveyed barely-contained ferocity and 'tude almost perfectly. [For those who've not read The Compleat Robert Parker, well ... suffice it to say this: Hawk is a machine—sex machine, killing machine, all around mean machine, a shaken-not-stirred-stereotype-with-a-twist so wonderfully portrayed (by Parker in the novels, and, to a lesser extent, Brooks in the TV series Spenser: For Hire) that he transcends his pedestrian origins and instead becomes an archetype.]

He (I'll let you decide whether I mean the actor or the character) made quite an impression ... so much so that ‘Our Mr. Brooks’ was given his own series, imaginatively enough entitled A Man Called Hawk.

It didn't do so well.

The series, from where I sit looking in my rearview mirror, could have been so much better if they hadn't attempted to immediately remake him into, "Hawk, African Renaissance Man—Master of Many Disciplines." Such a transition, which might well have been necessary to maintain an audience's interest over a number of seasons, should have been in my opinion far more gradual. Instead, it felt like we were supposed to believe that Hawk simply loomed at Spenser's side, lacking past and perspective, for four seasons, then read a book on black pride during his plane trip from Boston to Washington D.C. and so became fully actualized.

Um ... no.

I never thought much of this until years later, when I was watching the Deep Space Nine episode, "Badda Bing, Badda Bang." A brief synopsis: Vic Fontaine, the holographic lounge singer, is imperiled by a goomba nemesis hidden within the program where he 'lives' … and the DS9 crew must help him get back the good old days.

Sisko assists, too ... but not before a scene that puzzled me when it occurred, and angers me to this day.

The character, whose affection (affectation?) for his African heritage (or at least African objects d'art) had been decently if not well established during the series, expresses irritation that his otherwise intelligent senior staff cares so much about photonic goings on. When asked about it, Sisko launches into a tirade about 60's Las Vegas’ discrimination and oppression, during which he employs the single phrase that most aggravated me [see below]. Kassidy Yates—played by Penny Johnson, a beautiful woman and accomplished actress who is, astonishingly enough, black—attempted to defuse his fury by pointing out that she considered Vic a friend—one who had always made her feel welcome.

Her boyfriend wasn’t having any of it—for reasons that, on reflection, seemed to me abundantly clear.

I may be wrong (and I freely acknowledge this), but ... in that moment, I flashed back on A Man Called Hawk, and heard the actor far more clearly than I did the character he was supposed to be playing.

Deep Space Nine is set in the 24th century, not the 20th. Man is supposed to have left these kinds of prejudices far behind; yet here is a Starfleet captain, a man who should both know history and be able to put it in perspective, growling about a harmless fictional speak-easy populated by an easygoing, well-loved literary character.

To me, Benjamin Sisko had suddenly become Benny Russell, or even Avery Brooks, and the scene resonated with me—though not in the way it was intended. All it did was make me think Sisko was more of a hypocritical, self-righteous jackass than "For the Uniform" and "In the Pale Moonlight" already had. I’m not interested in the actor’s [or, for that matter, the writer’s] causes, but the character’s issues, especially mid-episode … and nothing to that point [not even the Benny Russell eps] had ever led us to believe that Sisko had an angry black man seething with resentment over long-past racial prejudices lurking inside him. In other words, Brooks had for the most part played his character competently for seven years … and then, for me, had undone much of his hard work with that 45-second diatribe.

Is there anything wrong with espousing social issues in Trek? Nope. Was this particular instance of it both unsubtle and unwelcome?

It was in my living room.

Too many people (including Avery Brooks himself, in my opinion) find racism where none exists.

Then, again, perhaps it is present … just not in the way we think. Consider these questions:

  • Why must Sisko be an aficionado of African art, simply because he's black? There's nothing inherently wrong with such an interest, granted ... but it's not exactly a daring decision, either, now is it? Why not art of the Chinese T'ang Dynasty, or Mycenaean Greece, or (if you’re looking for Trek continuity) even figurines wrought by the Master of Tarquin Hill? Of course, if he'd had one of those interests instead, it couldn't possibly have meant he was a man of eclectic tastes. The omission would have instead been condemned as 'further de facto disparagement of African culture, when even a black man has no inherent admiration for his forbears.'

    Of course, there’s the reverse, as well: If a white man had recommended that Sisko have an interest in African art, I wonder if someone would have said, “Oh, yeah, sure … give the black man his beads and rattles. What’s the matter? He’s black, so he’s only allowed to like ‘black things’?” Ridiculous in either instance, if you ask me. Sisko is a man of class and refinement. His interests should be unique unto himself—dictated neither by societal pressures nor the director’s/scripter’s/performer’s mistaken and myopic agenda.
  • Why, in "Badda Bing, Badda Bang," must he refer to blacks as "our people," an infuriating moment that might well be one of the most insidiously racist in the history of Star Trek? Granted, Sisko is perhaps sensitized by his experiences as Benny Russell. That does not change the fact that he is a brilliant, highly educated Starfleet officer—one I would have thought possessed an ability to discern between genuine discrimination and holodeck hi-jinks. I'm ‘white’ [at least according to those obsessed with visual box-stuffing; actually, as most of you know, I’m Sicilian], and I'd be one of his "people," too ... at least in the 24th century, where the definition has expanded wonderfully—except when bigoted tirades are cloaked in half-assed indignation then paraded as 'concern for historical awareness.'
  • Why is every woman Sisko's involved with sexually a person of color, with the exception of the 'twisted' Mirror Universe, where he [and his deceased counterpart] are 'forced' to service Kira and have an involvement with Dax, as well—a reversal of the ‘black man conquers white woman’ cliché that is equally reprehensible? Sisko isn’t responsible to me for his romantic choices, until it becomes apparent that it’s not about Sisko’s taste, per se. One could counter with, “Yeah, but, didn’t he have a romance with an alien woman, too—some sort of psionic construct?”


Yeah, he did … and she was played by a black woman, too. Things that make you go, “Hmm.”

Every time I sense Benjamin Sisko channeling Avery Brooks, my 'self-righteous bullshit' detector goes off, full force.

As Steve Martin says in Parenthood, "Gee, I ... I wonder why?"
"Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus are controlled by spacemen. They're moving fast and they're near the heart of the city."

If you're feeding your cat a vegan diet your head is so far up your ass that you can lick your own tonsils from the back way.

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Re: Deep Space 9

Post by amehatrekkie » Mon May 01, 2017 11:19 am

JM1776

i would like to talk to you about this essay in PM at your convenience.
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Re: Deep Space 9

Post by JM1776 » Mon May 01, 2017 8:38 pm

You know how to contact me.
"Mechagodzilla and Titanosaurus are controlled by spacemen. They're moving fast and they're near the heart of the city."

If you're feeding your cat a vegan diet your head is so far up your ass that you can lick your own tonsils from the back way.

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Re: Deep Space 9

Post by Gazomg » Sun May 07, 2017 7:02 pm

DS9 had its few faults, but it was outweighed with its plusses.

The best trek show ever for me.
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