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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. thepoparena.com
    September 29, 2014 @ 3:10 pm

    Television in the 90s was crucial in my development, from finding my sense of humor through late night Mystery Science Theater 3000 binges to realizing some deeper identity issues through glimpses of Jerry Springer-esque shows (yes, that's pretty horrible, but there's not a lot of visible representation for these things when you're eight). And yes, I watched a ton of TNG growing up, and I'd like to think it it helped shaped my world view and my sense of morality, but I have less clearly remembered examples of this. I at least know The Outcast didn't shake things up for me like a shitty episode of Jerry Springer, take from that what you will.

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  2. K. Jones
    September 29, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

    Memories are such an important part of a perception of "self" that it's almost identity-death to deny them. I tend to flit from one memory to another, and really live inside my own head. Admittedly, with little success either in being a functional human being in the present or using it as a comparison to better my own future. But I don't want to say I'm stuck there … startlingly for someone who isn't even thirty yet, there are entire spans of years already missing. It's impossible to be stuck there … but very easy to be stuck pondering the meaning and implications of say, completely forgetting your early twenties. It's a mystery. It's the wrong TNG episode, but a mystery to a human can be just dying to be solved. Catnip. It's dangerous for the past, especially your personal past, to become a mystery – dangerous for your present identity, as well as your presence.

    But moreover I think it's kind of neat that what Bok does is use Picard's memories as a weapon against him. Nostalgia, from friends or from enemies or enemies pretending to be new friends is ever what will drag you back into old lifestyles and repeating old mistakes. "You used to be …" or "What happened to you, man?" or "For old time's sake …" have been the preludes to a lot of regressive moves.

    We all know somebody we're probably better off leaving in the past, lest we get ourselves into trouble. For Picard, it's not really Bok (though beware the wares offered free by a Goblin), but the Stargazer herself, and who he used to be when he commanded her, and the mystery of where she'd been.

    The lack of closure.

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  3. Ross
    September 30, 2014 @ 12:42 am

    The thing that stuck me, even at eight, is how fast we're accumulating "Picard isn't quite in his right mind" episodes, relatively speaking. And more than that: in "Lonely Among Us", the crew becomes suspicous when Picard shows… scientific curiosity. In "The Battle", they become suspicious when Picard… knows about the first law of Newtonian motion. Sort of weird how quickly "Non-sciency character having a basic interest in science" becomes a signifier for mind control.

    (The Battle is a double whammy on this front, since the "Picard Maneuver" is based on the idea that Jean-Luc's tactical brilliance is based around being the only person in the galaxy to know what 'faster than light' means. I mean, also, the whole strategy is dumb since the basic principle is "Move in a straight line toward the ship you're attacking, and they will shoot at the wrong image because they are stupid. Seriously, shooting at random they'd have a 50-50 shot, and we know that ships can target 2 things at the same time, and also the real one can only ever be the one that just appeared and is closer.")

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  4. brownstudy
    October 1, 2014 @ 12:49 am

    I remember reading somewhere that Stewart's habit of standing up and straightening his tunic would be referred to by the cast as "The Picard Manuver."

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  5. Daru
    October 22, 2014 @ 9:19 pm

    "What about you? What are some of the memories that help you understand the truth about yourself?"

    Great question Josh. I have so many that it feels like a whole cosmos inside me. At this point in my forties, I feel like I have led multiple lives as I have gone through so many changes and previous times now feel akin to 'past lives'. It feels quite wonderful at this moment in my life, even the painful times I have had to learn from, to feel all of this experience built up as layers of soil, forming distinct strata of memory – each with its own particular colour and texture.

    I mentioned in the last post about my community of camps. These are based in Oxfordshire, Somerset and Shropshire in England and have been a really formative place for me in the last 13 years. They've been a place where I could not only meet cherished friends, but also have met my partner (who also is a big Trek and Who fan!) and taken the journey to develop my skills so I could share them with the world (as with many of the crew on the Enterprise). I have so many sweet and rich crazy moments from there – as well events I was part of which due to my own unconscious behaviour, near broke some friendships and caused pain. These times also though, as you say are part of what forms us and I believe I have reached the point where I can embrace, rather than deny those experiences and see that I am made up of the whole sum of my experience, not just by one layer of soil that may shine brighter.

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  6. Josh Marsfelder
    October 23, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

    I'm a firm believer in the notion that people go through different lives and selves over time, like in that scientific fact I love to cite that every cell in your body is replaced every seven years.

    And our experiences, as good or ill as they may seem in the moment, all play a part in shaping the person we are at any given moment. Indeed right now, my own life is in substantial turmoil and upheaval, and as painful as it can feel, I always know in the back of my head it's clearing the way for the lives of myself and those around me to get better.

    I guess the Lovely Angels invoked the Tower after all 🙂

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  7. Daru
    October 24, 2014 @ 5:51 am

    Thanks Josh – yes I do really appreciate the invoking of the image of the Tower. I really agree that all of our experiences that all of the experiences we have help make up the totality of our being and assist the shaping and sculpting of our inner self. My own life has felt like in the last three years that I have been put through the mill with challenge after challenge, feeling a bit like climbing a mountain and before the summit meeting a whole series of false summits. You get so tired then, but the moment when the summit is attained can feel like such an elating time. So yes, these challenges shape me and help me grow. The Tower is a great symbol for this, as the ego-structures are eroded , the ground burnt and the vitality of experience is allowed to flourish – as the Lovely Angels encourage.

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