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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.


  1. SK
    July 15, 2015 @ 12:33 am

    There was never any predisposition that this would become the default mode of social organisation

    Well, except the fact that people are basically shits, of course.


  2. K. Jones
    July 15, 2015 @ 4:35 pm

    I was ready to launch into the allegorical comparison of rape culture being presented through the lens of "male privilege culture", being ultimately self-defeating, but there you had it as your pithy final few sentences.

    I'll warrant that it was definitely a lesson nerd-culture needed to learn in 1991-92. And I'll even warrant that compared to some (not all, but maybe most) of their contextual peers, Star Trek's foresight here was probably considered quite advanced. The early 90s, after all, were a very long time ago and by god have we made some leaps and bounds since then, and those I feel like (maybe because I grew up ensconced in it) may more have been the result of Neo-Feminism more than anything else, which was happening at the same time as TNG.

    We certainly praise Next Gen when it's showcasing early examples of things we hold as truisms today, but we shouldn't forget ever that it's essentially something that exists at a halfway-point between The Original Series and "Now". (God, even now if Star Trek went back on TV would we ever see a majority of women writers, and women producers? At least now there'd be the chance of a more 50/50 split.)

    As for the episode itself, I can't watch it either. Though I find myself less discomforted and more embarrassed. Even in my less empathetic teen years I thought this was a little too Junior High Health Class and could use some nuance and like, "real life human experience".


  3. Daru
    July 15, 2015 @ 9:49 pm

    It was such a clunky and clumsily constructed episode, made all the more worse by the fact that as you say most of those attacked were women and the first was Deanna!

    Yeah I do not think it was enough just to leave us there, saying "well we just accept this is as a part of our culture and it's up to us to deal with how to live with it". That's putting your head in the sand and removes all thought of agency.


  4. David Faggiani
    July 15, 2015 @ 11:48 pm

    I believe this was the first episode of TNG I ever saw. God knows what I made of it at the age of 8.


  5. David Faggiani
    July 15, 2015 @ 11:49 pm

    Oh god, and we've got The Outcast coming up….


  6. David Faggiani
    July 15, 2015 @ 11:49 pm

    Thank god for Cause and Effect.


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