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Abracadabra! (We just destroyed capitalism)

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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.

4 Comments

  1. K. Jones
    January 24, 2014 @ 11:11 am

    Bem's big contribution to Star Trek for me is basically his uniform. While I feel the Original Series costuming is highly underrated and highly original, vivid, memorable and even now slightly cutting edge and sophisticated, one thing they never pulled off for me was the idea of a highly designed uniform for a non-Starfleet hierarchy. Even civilian Federation sailors' uniforms basically looked like the simple (effective) Starfleet uniforms.

    Bem's uniform is starkly different and yet somehow akin to an ally of the Federation (as well as adhering rather strongly to Silver Age sci-fi design).

    I've really found the Pandronian uniform, as well as those of the Orion privateers to be incredibly successful Silver Age designs, and they're designs I'd be delighted to see made into real costumes by a fan-production, or "updated" into modern homages by fan-illustrators with realistic rendering software, at any rate.

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  2. K. Jones
    January 24, 2014 @ 11:13 am

    • I should add that these are prophetic things; The Motion Picture is on the horizon, as is a heavy dose of capital-d Design.

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  3. BerserkRL
    January 24, 2014 @ 11:32 pm

    you can't really tell anything objectively

    What way of determining something could there be other than an objective one? If it's not objective, what's getting determined?

    were Gerrold a woman, Bem would absolutely have been declared a Mary Sue at this point

    I see the Mary Sue accusation made against male authors reasonably often (Steven Moffat, for instance).

    This is, of course, a very Christian, and thus Western, conception of divinity

    I don't get this. Crass authoritarianism and arch-manipulation on the part of the gods are not exactly ideas confined to the West. And for the broader motif of divine testing of humans, what about, say, the Buddhist story of Asanga and the dog?

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  4. Josh Marsfelder
    January 26, 2014 @ 6:28 pm

    "What way of determining something could there be other than an objective one? If it's not objective, what's getting determined?"

    I reject pure objectivity, alongside pure subjectivity, with the realism/relativism divide and the facts/values one in favour of a conception of situated knowledges. In this vein I'm very much in the tradition of Hilary Putnam, and especially Donna Haraway, c.f. this: https://edmundsiderius.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/donna-haraway-and-hilary-putnam-on-gods-spectacles/

    "I see the Mary Sue accusation made against male authors reasonably often (Steven Moffat, for instance)."

    Not nearly as often as you see it made against female authors I'd be willing to wager.

    "I don't get this. Crass authoritarianism and arch-manipulation on the part of the gods are not exactly ideas confined to the West. And for the broader motif of divine testing of humans, what about, say, the Buddhist story of Asanga and the dog?"

    Perhaps not, but the concept of the test is intrinsically bound up with Western thought in a way I don't think it is with many other cultures. You don't see that kind of fetishization and taking-for-granted of the test as a central aspect of the way life works in, say, a number of indigenous cultures.

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