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We’d do a “your mom” strapline, but honestly with Christine here it’s a bit weird

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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.

9 Comments

  1. desktopregulatorystate
    October 25, 2013 @ 4:37 am

    There's also a bit of asymmetry in the Klingons remaining enslaved to propaganda until Federation officers help them free themselves from it, implying the Federation's worldview is more self-evident and less propagandistic than the Federation's.

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  2. desktopregulatorystate
    October 25, 2013 @ 4:43 am

    There's an old Iraq war joke where an American and Iraqi soldier exchange taunts across a highway ("Bush is a motherfucker!" "Well, Saddam's a son of a bitch!") and get hit by a truck when they run out into the road to shake hands.

    But whenever it appeared on a right-wing site like Free Republic, Bush is changed to Ted Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi. It's like the teller wants to keep the parallelism of troops on both sides being victimized by politicians back home, without the implied condemnation of the war itself or the "good" Republican leadership that started it. So the joke falls flat because the teller is obviously straining to take the edge off the parallelism (the Iraqi would really hate Pelosi worse than Bush, or even have heard of Pelosi?).

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  3. K. Jones
    October 25, 2013 @ 6:26 am

    The late Michael Ansara was Syrian, which interests me greatly at this time when people of Middle-Eastern origins are far more likely to come under abjectly unjustified racism – but that's the least interesting thing about him. I don't think anyone would have cared at all, at the time, in fact as a hard-working actor being 'browned up to be a Klingon' probably didn't seem that big of a deal (though it was stellar, years later, to see all the Dahar Masters, save Koloth who was always just a white guy, made up with their own natural skin tone – DS9 really provided a lot more Klingon pigmentation diversity than TNG had ever attempted.) After all, this is a guy who was married to Barbara Eden in the Sixties, and who voiced the definitive Mister Freeze.

    I'm fond of this episode for many of the same reasons, and I see an incredibly direct parallel in this episode back to "Wolf in the Fold" and the Redjack entity. That entity fed on fear, this one hate. The explicit nature of them being Other is absolutely innately Pop Christian – they aren't just "Other", they're incorporeal Demons.

    But the irony of Demons being the cause is that it's actually critical of any kind of "Entity"-based line of thinking. I'd recently read an article about the rise of Patriarchal society (centered in the Mediterranean regions, given rise because war, religion and money all became intrinsically linked) and this episode reeks of these connotations. Masculinity amped up by a hate demon that acts like a testosterone fueling machine. The demon of ideology, rather than faith (which links quite well to another recent article I'd come across featuring an anti-ideology philosophy of Pope Francis.)

    In every instance this episode, if you take the Demon to be a parallel of "Invisible Entities", (and frankly, in any Soda Pop Art where a "Satan" figure is influencing your characters), the argument can be made that outside forces other than your own reason centers are bad news.

    It also interests me that the artificially inflated racism the Demon instills toward the political rivals, the Klingons, is something that evaporates from most of the crew … but is something that Kirk struggles with greatly in the years to come. The hate demon hangs over his head for a long time after this.

    Anyway, here it might be a shallow read, but the fact that the entity could wreak so much havoc in what is a "progressive", but is still very much a patriarchal, warlike, and ideologist environment, shouldn't be any kind of surprise to us. Whenever I watch the episode I laugh and think, "this never would've happened if there were more women in Starfleet or the KDF.

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  4. Josh Marsfelder
    October 25, 2013 @ 9:54 am

    "It also interests me that the artificially inflated racism the Demon instills toward the political rivals, the Klingons, is something that evaporates from most of the crew … but is something that Kirk struggles with greatly in the years to come. The hate demon hangs over his head for a long time after this."

    Indeed, and it will be interesting to see how much of this comes out of the Kirk we know from this show and how much comes from Nicholas Meyer and Leonard Nimoy's attempts to give Kirk more character development in the film series.

    "Whenever I watch the episode I laugh and think, 'this never would've happened if there were more women in Starfleet or the KDF.'"

    I don't think it's possible for me to agree more with a statement than I do with this one.

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  5. BerserkRL
    December 20, 2013 @ 6:07 pm

    The best possible reading I could muster of this would be to say the entity represents distant politicians who send soldiers off to fight wars for their own political gain with no concern for the sanctity of life, and the worst would be that it represents what it looks like: A dangerous Other.

    An intermediate reading is that the entity represents certain harmful ideas, ways of thinking, patterns of activity.

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  6. BerserkRL
    December 20, 2013 @ 6:10 pm

    “Day of the Dove” remains pop Christian by depicting human(oids) as inherently savage and violent and who must struggle to keep their instincts and inhibitions under control

    Again, hardly an exclusively Christian idea.

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  7. BerserkRL
    December 20, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

    I remember a Star Trek record by David Gerrold called "In Vino Veritas" in which it was revealed that both the Klingons and the Federation had shaky grounds for their claims in some diplomatic negotiation. that profoundly disturbed me as a kid — I thought the Federation's motives should be pure.

    "I got better."

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  8. BerserkRL
    December 20, 2013 @ 6:19 pm

    The explicit nature of them being Other is absolutely innately Pop Christian – they aren't just "Other", they're incorporeal Demons.

    Which is not distinctively Christian, or even distinctively Mediterranean. After all, one of the characters in this episode is even named … Mara.

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  9. Froborr
    October 10, 2014 @ 1:28 pm

    For “Day of the Dove” to become the “Balance of Terror” or “Enterprise Incident” for the Klingons, it would have needed to show them as absolute equals to the Starfleet officers, and it never quite gets there.

    I am now intensely curious what you have to say about the Animated Series episode with the tribbles.

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