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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.

8 Comments

  1. K. Jones
    December 13, 2015 @ 8:51 am

    So yeah.

    Pop Christian is not only on the nose and overbearing here, it's also wildly inappropriate. I mean realpoliticking Klingon government versus Klingon belief structures in and of itself is some of that heavy fantasy race-building stuff, but seeing as how the Klingons are already a viking/dwarf pastiche, and layering all of that allegory on top of it, giving them a singular Christ figure is kind of missing the point.

    Why explore an alien take on Northern European pre-Christian culture and NOT take the opportunity to portray them as polytheists? In my mind the Klingons almost have to have a pantheon of gods. Not the most writerly of cultures, and constantly harping about their primal hunter instincts, their stories would have been oratory, full of bold men and fierce women slaying monsters and shagging each other. Sto-vo-kor is Valhalla, after all (the word Kor itself inherently amplifies the importance of one previous Klingon governor's bloodlines). Kang of course once famously said that Klingons have no devil. No "One Great Enemy" pulling the strings, which indicates a more balanced approach – their gods are klingon paragons, but are also subject to klingon weaknesses and character flaws, like the Pagan gods of Earth.

    But no, we get a singular messianic figure operating under the auspices of no gods, or a hands off god, in particular. No Klingon Odin the Wise, no Thor the Bold, no Loki the Trickster, no Freya the Mighty. Hell, no mention whatsoever of Fek'lhr, the Klingon Hades, torturing the dishonored dead.

    But hey, so it goes. I've already written more than I wanted to in response to this episode. I'm still bitter about the switcheroo that took place after TOS, where the Klingons became honor-bound cultural rivals to the Federation and the Romulans became duplicitous "Others".

    Reply

  2. Daru
    December 22, 2015 @ 12:40 am

    "You know, I think I'm just done listening to stories about Worf and Klingon heritage. Especially as told by Ron Moore."

    Yup. I don't really have any time for these "manpain" stories, and I don't think that Worf has generally been served well as a character by Moore and others. I would actually love to have seen him turn his back on Klingon society and embrace his true liminal self and forge his own identity.

    And I find Klingons as presented here so dull – I too would have dearly loved to have seen non-warrior Klingons, ah that would be so refreshing!

    Reply

  3. Ross
    December 24, 2015 @ 6:22 am

    There are little hints (Mostly, of all places, in Enterprise), but they've never really gone all-in with the non-warrior Klingons. What I want to see is them applying that "warrior culture" ethos to non-military roles. They push so heavily on the idea that Klingons are all fightin' all the time, but, like, Klingons still wear clothes and eat prepared meals and use manufactured goods. I want to see a Proud Klingon Warrior Tailor engaging in noble combat against hem lines; a Proud Klingon Warrior Barber, fighting to liberate his customers from the tyrrany of split ends; maybe even a proud Klingon Warrior Wal-Mart Greeter, helping customers achieve victory in their hunt for the elusive $5 socks.

    (But more seriously. One suspects that if Ron Moore were writing a story with a Klingon doctor in it, his job would be primarily to mock the patient for being so weak as to get sick, when you could actually achieve something very good by just having him approach the patient as the battleground in his noble battle against the disease)

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  4. Daru
    January 10, 2016 @ 1:50 am

    Yeah sorry took ages for me to reply, but totally with you! I was going to also comment on wanting to see Klingon barbers, dentists, doctors, bakers, suit makers, etc. I don't really see how the could have a fully functioning society with such a warrior based society.

    Reply

  5. Daru
    January 10, 2016 @ 1:51 am

    I mean warrior based society as they already have in the show, not disagreeing with you.

    Reply

  6. Ross
    January 10, 2016 @ 8:02 am

    I think there's an episode of Enterprise which at least acknowledges this as a problem. Klingon Lawyer complaining about how it used to be that you could do any kind of job in a honorable warrior sort of way, but kids these days are only interested in the punchy-stabby sort of honor.

    Reply

  7. Daru
    January 10, 2016 @ 9:04 am

    Brilliant! I haven't seen any Enterprise yet, but that sounds good.

    Reply

  8. Publio Vestrone
    June 14, 2016 @ 2:32 pm

    Hilarious post…and a truly brilliant send-up of self-prepossessed, presumptuous, self-important twits who have to criticize everything they never could have done to make themselves feel better. I especially liked the inclusion of the idiotic “tad bit” phrase—an obvious but nonetheless right-on slam at the morons who don’t realize that “tad” means “bit”…you know, like the idiots who say “PIN number” (personal identification number number) and “AC current” (alternating current current). A nice touch.

    Oh, wait…you were serious…

    That’s even funnier.

    Reply

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