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The Best of Both Worlds; Part II

Okay, so a single Borg ship kicked Starfleet’s butt (39 ships) at the Battle of Wolf 359, and advanced to Earth with the clear intent of assimilating the Federation homeworld.

Unfortunately for them/IT, the cybernetic equivalent of a Vulcan mindmeld permitted Lt. Commander Data to effect direct interface with the abducted Locutus, whereupon the re-emergent Picard-identity assisted Data in putting the entire Borg complement to sleep, so the cube blew up, turning the irresistible Borg invasion-threat into a resounding defeat.  Ho hum.  Agincourt, it ain’t.

It seems worthy of note that the abduction of Locutus was accomplished by the plucky crew of Enterprise with Borglike, split-second efficiency and explicitly unPicardian, Riker-formulated unorthodoxy, or so we’re unsubtly told.

I’m glad it wasn’t necessary to wait several months for the anticlimax this time.

The point I wanted to resolve in this second post revolves around the corporate continuum from Serenity through Enterprise to the apparently-nameless and undifferentiated vessels of the Borg.  It’s about conscience.  Individual Borg combat units have none, and best way to make the corporate minions of Enterprise look like paragons of soul is to force them into combat with Borg ultra-corporate drones.  “Death to The Cubicle! Yay Starfleet!”

Nope.

Corporations were invented to do big things while reducing personal liability to zero:  Borg Citizens United.

Ultimately, the Federation’s objectives greatly resemble the Borg’s; the incorporation and assimilation of the diverse Culture(s) into a viable galactic union bound by ties that nobody finds objectionable.  (That just means nobody’s Liberal.  [That’s a handy Sorkinism])

I guess I just prefer Independents, Starfleet rejects, and unregenerate rogues living wittily on the razor’s edge at the fabled intersection of No and Where.  And I prefer them a lot!  YoSaffBridge needs her own show!

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30 Jun 12 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Best of Both Worlds; Part I

The Borg are a unified extrapolation of the comparatively-disunified Starfleet entity.  They mark the opposite pole in continuum from the Independents of Firefly through the military/industrial, uniformed group-personality of Starfleet to the embedded (conflict-free) insectlike protocols of Borg reality; collective impersonality.

But wait, there’s more.  It’ll probably seep into print when I’ve seen the other episode, on the other side of the third-season-ending cliffhanger.

30 Jun 12 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tin Man

Episode 68 in the Star Trek:  The Next Generation series guest-stars Harry Groener as a mutant Betazoid, Tam Elbrun, whose empathic/telepathic powers are unusually acute.  Harry also played the Mayor of Sunnydale, Richard Wilkins, in another universe, a largely-unrelated star system.

Unlike the vast majority of empathic Betazoids, Tam Elbrun’s sensitivity to the thoughts of other people appeared at his birth, rather than in adolescence; a crippling, terrifying power that predisposed him to reclusive avoidance of others — until his introduction to a massive, living, alien vessle known as Tin Man.  Tam’s emotional discomfort with people is mirrored in Earshot, a third season episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (the one that proximally paralleled the Columbine High School disaster).

The purpose of this post is to suggest value in the pursuit of transnarrative media reading; to suggest that the relatively-standalone format of Star Trek:  The Next Generation links surprisingly-interestingly with the serial-narrative of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (for instance) like stardates and hellmouths and character-arcs align across the seemingly-vast, insurmountable distances/barriers of differing broadcast networks and series/franchises; constellations.  The links show up in the people who write, perform and produce these tales.

Joss Whedon has spoken of his Firefly series as a kind of loving-yet-acerbic critique of the Star Trek franchise(s) in which the spirit of enterprise is expressed differently; not-so-much as the conquest or exploration of The Final Frontier as a chronicle of a voluntary family of misfits bound together on a homey freighter (rust-bucket) that the sleek, sterile, military uniforms in Starfleet would customarily ignore/interfere with scornfully, while pursuing some Greater Good, per orders.

The Tin Man episode states explicitly that (at least one of) the purpose of life is to care for others; a purpose that creeps out of subtext on the U.S.S. Enterprise, and waves like a radiating banner on Serenity.

I’d like to believe that my current pursuit of marathoning select old television shows is providing me with the means to see moments that inspired the U.S.S Mutant Enemy (for example) to create the alternative cosmologies to which I’ve lately become addicted, to assemble the writers, actors and crews that mean far more to me than the expensive logo-banners flown by competing studios, broadcast networks and distribution channels.  And the quickest, most-satisfying, and fruitful means to find relevant, resonant, meaningful bridges between moments-that-matter is by concentrating attention on the PEOPLE who make this stuff, rather than moves of the monied interests that fund it.  That’s all, now I’m on to Hollow Pursuits, the ironic title of episode 69, but not without noting that Tam Elbrun’s name put me in mind of Gabriel Tam’s appearance in Safe, a key episode of Firefly that led me to see (possibly-ridiculous) links between Gabriel’s tie bar, the interrupted boardroom meeting, BlueSun and Christopher Buchanan, Bill Moyers, David Simon, David Milch…

Even if these pursuits are hollow, they’re fun.

Apologies for nearly-identical triple post.  I’m looking for the means to delete the two previous entries, and training myself to proof this stuff before endeavoring to publish it so goddamned repeatedly.

30 Jun 12 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I had low expectations, based on previous disappointments in this franchise.

This one turned out to be a good deal more than a reasonably-plausible, remarkably coherent, intelligent origin story.

It’s also wondefully satisfying as a dovetailing, standalone emotional rollercoaster that peaks in an ecstatic declaration of independence;

the single word, “NO!“, spoken by a chimp (played passionately and believably by the incredible Andy Serkis).

 

On the second pass, this film’s cleverer turns (quotes, overt and implicit references) do stand up to closer scrutiny.  There are also goofy elements that absolutely don’t stand up.

When the viewer has already experienced the emotional tempest that makes this film go, the second viewing reveals unfortunate (wishful thinking) peculiarities:

  1. Star research scientists don’t get to fixate for 5-6 years on failed projects.  They get terminated.
  2. All apes don’t brachiate.
  3. References to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and to astronauts lost on a failed Icarus mission to Mars may set up still more sequels, but they ring pretty false and pointless in the close confines of this one.

There’s another level of peculiarity on which this film operates.  The human lead, played by James Franco, isn’t the protagonist.  About 24 minutes into the film, he’s shown to be a turncoat whose inability to experience the narrative from the real hero’s perspective makes him completely unreliable.  In fact, all of the humans in this piece exhibit disturbing flaws, ineptitudes and vices based in self-serving attitudes, myopias and blindnesses; greed, carelessness, cruelty, stupidity, drunkenness, lust, rage, sloth, general dickishness and complacency.  Non-human primates are presented as shockingly cooperative, self-sacrificing for the greater good and dedicated to the proposition that all of us are created equal, except for the really, really stupid ones;  humans.  That’s an intriguing proposition made more fascinating by virtue of the fact that much pivotal information is delived in this movie verbally by people whose interest in elocution is obviously negligible.

On your second pass, try turning on the necessary evil of subtitles.  They’re no ALZ113, but they help shortcircuit wishful thinking.

 

28 Jun 12 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Endgame

I just spent the last six weeks stranded in the Delta Quadrant, watching all 171 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, courtesy of NetFlix.  In my estimation, the very best of these remarkably-inventive stories, The 37’s, opened the second season and ended the entire  seven season series with the ringing resonance of Endgame, an episode so rich in internal quirks, twists, character and irony that the shock of mythic satisfaction I’m presently experiencing impels me toward the other sagas in this franchise (except Enterprise) with unparalleled enthusiasm.

There’s probably no better way to overcome the helpless futility of cliffhangers, commercial interruptions and appointment television than marathoning juicy, chewy, moralizing, spiritually-elevating junk like this.

Tastes great, less filling; highly recommended!

16 Jun 12 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Pomography

Since nobody’s asked what’s meant by my occasional abuse of the term, POMOGRAPHY; it is, in my mind, very-directly related to the semi-popular corruption of the term, “POMO” (“post-modern”), to mean damned-near anything.

I like the fact that the lower case of most typed fonts make POMOGRAPHY practically-indistinguishable from PORNOGRAPHY.  And that a Google search turns up, among other things, photographs of Pomeranian puppies, Indians of Northern California, apples, and remarkable knots of confusion pretty-much wherever it’s dropped in a sentence.  And that temporarily skipping over it (and jamming it, eventually, into some kind recognizable context) requires an incredible act of interpersonal faith.

I’m also really fond of the idea that “pomography”, particularly in graphic and photographic art, endlessly crawls the razor’s edge between sexual eccentricity and creations that engage the viewer/creator in fanciful flights of conflict over unconscionable subject matter and uncomfortable self-awareness.   Once upon a time, the key to recognizing PORNOGRAPHY was explicit evidence of a publisher’s commerical interest in the undivided attention of the sweating, addicted (and usually-deeply-hypocritical) viewer.  I think that’s far less true, anymore.

Blindly and typically; “I get off on sophisticated erotica, you’re just a PORNO-FREAK!”

The Apple-connection, it seems to me, is extra-especially fruitful as a means to immerse the user (I think PORNOGRAPHY is primarily a utilitarian trigger to sexual abandon [involving stimulus mechanisms that vary tremendously and unpredictably from user to user]) in unrequited thought.  It’s the customer-oriented, ease-of-use aspect, and the sleek&tempting packaging of an ultra-attractive manifestation of whatever’s expressly forbidden, specifically because, by its very nature, the lure of that thing inspires doubt, logistical juggling, self-examination, and careful evalutation of fundamental, agenda-driven conflicts between intimate desires and arbitrary rules.  To totally estrange yourself from your prefered platform and operating system, in mid-sentence, try it today.

I think it’s a great word for puncturing pomoposity and thinkering with gravity.

I’m confident that clarifies absolutely dick.

16 Jun 12 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Edge of America

I cried like a baby and laughed like a fool.  Simultaneously.

There’s a powerful, vibrant celebration of humanity in the films of Chris Eyre I need.

Smoke Signals, Skins, Edge of America knocked me out more than enough to look forward with great enthusiasm to

The Doe Boy, Skinwalkers, A Thief of Time, A Thousand Roads, Imprint, After the Mayflower…and all my relatives.

07 Jun 12 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment