Eruditorum Press

Watch this space, you poor doomed motherfuckers

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.

7 Comments

  1. Bob Dillon
    November 6, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

    I feel moved to comment:

    I'm really really enjoying this blog and I feel you need to know that there a people reading and getting a lot out of it. I don't have anything beyond that to say, but I felt I ought to say it

    Bob dillon

    Reply

  2. Josh Marsfelder
    November 6, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

    Thanks so much for stopping by! It always means a lot to me to hear my writing is capable of touching people.

    Reply

  3. Adam Riggio
    November 6, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

    This is actually one of my personal favourites of the original series. I grant you all the critiques of the episode (especially the idea of 'normalizing' people, even though the episode stacks its own deck by showing the malevolence of Garth and Marta's madness). But it is an absolutely uproarious story, one of the cases where the tendency to make its scenery eminently chewable by constructing the sets and actors from pure ham improves the story immensely.

    I know 'inmates take over the asylum' is an old theme. But the tone of the episode goes along with that to such an extent that the whole thing becomes a circus. It's literally the story of Kirk and Spock trying to maintain their sanity in an isolated world that's literally gone insane. The story doesn't make sense, but I like to interpret it as purposely not making sense.

    I finally got around to watching My Son My Son What Have Ye Done a few months ago, one of the most disturbing films Werner Herzog ever made. The idea was simply to depict someone who had gone insane, not try to diagnose or explain him, just to depict violent insanity matter-of-factly. Even though the cinematography and tone of the script have a documentarian quality, everything that comes out of Michael Shannon's mouth is pure campy nonsense. It's disturbing because everyone takes it seriously. When I watch this episode, I feel like "Whom Gods Destroy" could be just as disturbing and strange if played completely straight. Under all that camp is a very unsettling narrative.

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  4. K. Jones
    November 14, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    Camp-Nirvana.

    And Shatner definitely plays Kirk as a 'traveler'. It's the biggest redeeming quality about his tendency toward cliched romance with every space-woman he meets; exploring strange new bodies, seeking out new babes. But it's not played for laughs (a massive failure of the Abrams reboots). It's neither good nor bad (well, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, but that's realistic in all relationship histories).

    He seemed pretty genuinely reticent about engaging a mental patient like Marta in any kind of salacious rendezvous.

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  5. Josh Marsfelder
    November 14, 2013 @ 11:54 am

    Absolutely: Despite Kirk's Girls-of-the-week being studio-mandated, Shatner tries very hard in each case to remove as much problematic subtext as he can. The way he plays Kirk it seems like he truly does care about all of these people and that means a lot. And, not necessarily to knock the other cast members, but this is something that does seem to be occasionally missing when they get one-off romances.

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  6. BerserkRL
    December 21, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

    The only reason Garth would explore is to find new worlds to conquer and expand his reach into. Meanwhile Kirk seems to explore simply because he enjoys travelling and learning from others

    DOCTOR: You're a genius. You're stone cold brilliant, you are. I swear, you really are. But you could be so much more. You could be beautiful. With a mind like that, we could travel the stars. It would be my honour. Because you don't need to own the universe, just see it. To have the privilege of seeing the whole of time and space. That's ownership enough.
    MASTER: Would it stop, then? The noise in my head?

    Reply

  7. Froborr
    October 10, 2014 @ 2:50 pm

    I get what you're saying, I really do… but I'd volunteer to have a "false" self implanted in a heartbeat if it meant making my brain healthy.

    Reply

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