Responding to my previous post on Jean-Luc Picard, commenter Divine Right has given us a very interesting and detailed essay on the degeneration of Star Trek. The destiny of the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises is instructive. Whatever one thinks, and beyond politics, there used to be some heart and even philosophical or mythical elements in these shows/films. Today, one has superb special effects and technical prowess, absolutely no substance, considerable vulgarity, and utterly empty melodrama and hyperemotionality over nothing. This is a good mirror to our civilization as a whole today.
My take on modern Star Trek compared to the old:
Star Trek very much embodied what liberal American white males of the 1980s and 1990s thought the future would (or should) look like: secular, sexually liberated, humanistic, meritocratic, equitable, and technological – a man’s world, basically. In this world, religion plays practically no role in public life. Problems are solved with diplomacy instead of violence. Money doesn’t exist, so there is no capitalism, greed, or want. People spend their lives bettering humanity and doing other such noble things like negotiating peace with aliens or exploring the universe in one of Starfleet’s advanced starships, each equipped with a plethora of miraculous technologies. In their leisure time, the crews of these starships visit a holographic room, the holodeck, which can conjure any fantasy into a photorealistic facsimile of the real thing.
Probably the only place in the Western world where this mentality can still be found is California’s Silicon Valley. As in the fictional world of Star Trek, men do most of the work; they advance through meritocracy; and there is something akin to a fraternal culture, irrespective of the prevailing progressive ideology. Silicon Valley is also still largely free of the odious diversity requirements imposed on the rest of society.
That was also once true of Hollywood itself, and it showed in the television they produced — Star Trek, for example. That franchise, spanning hundreds of television hours and a number of theatrical releases, was mostly helmed by men who got their jobs through merit – actors, writers, ship designers, show runners. The main characters of each of the television series were also men. The Original Series (TOS) featured a lead triangle of male actors – Kelley, Shatner, and Nemoy. The sequel, The Next Generation (TNG), featured mostly male characters, certainly all the most popular ones. These characters often featured something educated men are interested in: the second officer is an android; the chief engineer has a technology-supplemented vision; the executive officer is a ladies man and a master strategist who plays games of skill underpinned by mathematical rules; the captain is a wise and cultured authority figure who reads Shakespeare; the security chief is a noble warrior from an alien species whose culture is based around rules of honor.
Spinoffs like Deep Space Nine (DS9) and Voyager were more diverse, but still roughly comported to what the male audience desired. DS9 featured a male captain, and the most popular characters were all men. Voyager had a female captain who mostly avoided gender politics outside of a few instances in the earlier seasons (written by a woman) – a rarity these days. In that show, one of the two most popular characters was a male and the other was a sexy Borg chick, Seven of Nine.
The high point of the franchise, The Next Generation, featured a mostly white liberal cast and various things white liberals liked at the time – sex appeal, food, pseudointellectualism (although handled capably by talented male writers), cutting edge tech, meritocracy, optimism, exploration, and the white man’s moralism.
Starfleet, the Federation’s military and scientific branch, was a rigorous meritocracy, just as Silicon Valley is today. Members were admitted only through a combination of senior officer recommendations, high scholastic achievement, and phenomenally high standardized test scores. Character was also paramount. Crew evaluations feature prominently in several episodes of TNG, and it was made clear to underperforming members that the starship Enterprise cuts a standard above the rest; perform or hit the road.
In the diverse world of Star Trek, the white writers imagined meritocracy would ensure whites like themselves would still have a position at the top of society (just as in Hollywood then and Silicon Valley now) despite soon becoming a minority in real life America. You’ll notice progressive humans are at the center of the Federation in Star Trek despite being a small minority in that fictional universe as well. That’s by design, conscious or not.
You can tell the creators desperately wanted to believe this sweet little lie about diverse societies. I’m sure they imagined their tolerance would be reciprocated when they were on the receiving end; we now know that’s not true, unfortunately. Remember, this was the generation that famously cheered President Bill Clinton’s college commencement speech where he lauded the idea of America soon becoming majority minority. The primarily white crowd roared in approval.
White Male Star Trek Alum Denied Directing Job on Discovery Because He’s . . . White Male
In this imagined future, white liberals would still get to feel morally superior to contemporary white conservatives, just as they often strive to in today’s world. In TNG, this is accomplished through various means – cooperation with hostile aliens (demonstrating philosophical supremacy, superiority of intellect and temperament), bravery, tolerance of differences in others, multiculturalism (the show almost never celebrates an earth holiday like Christmas but often supports alien cultures, including breaking Starfleet’s rules of dress for aliens), standing up to corrupt superiors (usually white conservative caricatures).
In the TNG episode The Drumhead, Picard faces down a witch hunting admiral — a woman, no less. The plot revolves around an incident that occurred on the starship Enterprise. Sabotage is suspected, and the situation is tense. The initial evidence points to a low ranking crewman who is later discovered to be of mixed race, one-quarter of the Federation’s most feared enemy. This all but convicts him in the eyes of the admiral’s tribunal. The admiral mercilessly presses her case, threatening to destroy anyone who gets in her way. She’s meant to be a caricature of conservative jingoists of the era – always scared of the Russians, racist against minorities, emotional. In Hollywood’s view of history, those were the people behind the McCarthy hearings, which this episode obviously pulls from.
Aside: it could be said that American SJWs have gotten so extreme of late that the admiral in this episode could easily be mistaken for one of them, a point a few critics have already made. Over in the American comic book industry, prominent SJW social media figures have chased out conservatives or even publicly announced they’d black list anyone caught voting for Donald Trump. In Hollywood, actor James Woods has claimed (probably correctly) that he’s been blacklisted for his – rather mild – views. Other actors have gotten the message and have now shut their mouths: Clint Eastwood, who spoke at the 2012 republican convention, endorsed democrat Michael Bloomberg in this year’s 2020 Democratic Party primary … probably to avoid a similar blacklist.
Toward the end of the episode, Captain Picard confronts his antagonist and gives a fine speech about principle, temperament, and morality in the process. The admiral is defeated when a fellow admiral, a black male character, stands up and walks out in disgust at her actions.
This is one of the reasons why fans liked the character of Jean-Luc Picard: he was a decent, honorable man despite not being perfect himself. He had a code he lived by, and he led by example. Men like that sort of thing. Star Trek Picard, in contrast, portrays him as a bumbling moron who is always wrong and continually berated by female underlings. His view of the world is portrayed as naive or just wrong, requiring strong SJW women to take it to the enemy themselves, often employing violence – including rank murder and sadistic violence.
In another episode of TNG, white male commander Riker stands up to his white male superior — an admiral — who wishes to break the terms of a peace treaty to gain a military edge over a mortal enemy. Riker prevents him from doing so and exposes the dastardly plot. Moral of the story: principle trumps Machiavellianism.
Star Trek was very much a pre-Millennial liberal morality play whereby inspired characters (mostly white) would often stand up to authority figures (mostly white) in order to promote a general moral code — a greater authority — among fellow whites.
Consider some of the following things about Star Trek: The Next Generation and ask yourself if any of this would be allowed on television today without controversy.
- There is a planet where men and women wear skimpy clothing and have casual sex whenever they choose (or so it is implied). The women are all very attractive and lightly dressed.
- The female characters are free to wear revealing clothing if they so desire (or not), even on the bridge of a powerful starship. This was also a feature of the original series (TOS) – premiere date: September 1966. Series creator Gene Roddenberry imagined it to be a rebuke of the more culturally conservative era of his time. Later in the early seasons of TNG, when Roddenberry still exercised influence, even the men wore skirts.
- Implied heterosexual attraction is present – Riker and Troi, Picard and Crusher; this is true of the spin-offs as well. The male characters all have numerous romances throughout the show’s run. Even the android, Data, has a romantic encounter with a woman.
- The black characters are portrayed as white people with dark skin, for the most part. Michael Dorn, Worf, is a proud Klingon warrior; he’s a noble character the audience looks up to for his courage and good sense (even if the writers comically ignored him). Whoopi Goldberg, Guinan, is the show’s Delphic Oracle; she gives advice even to the wise Jean-Luc Picard. Levar Burton, Geordi, is the ship’s chief engineer. He’s a black male nerd who has trouble dating girls but is otherwise a genius.
- Basically, TNG was what white male liberals of the time hoped the future would be. “Threatening” minority characters would act safe and white, technology would trump superstition, and reason would prevail over emotionalism. The future would be a paradise where all problems had been solved and white men would still have a place at the table they created – it being governed by the same rules they originally put into place.
Consider some of what we saw in the spin-offs – DS9, Enterprise, and Voyager – and ask the same thing.
- In DS9, the black male captain Sisko feels uneasy about entering a holodeck program featuring a stylized 1960s Las Vegas casino. His reasoning: black people were discriminated against during that time period, so it’s unrealistic and even offensive to go there. It’s important for him to do this in order to save a friend, so his black girlfriend explains to him that his criticism is not relevant because racism doesn’t exist anymore; it’s the far future, after all. Sisko agrees and overcomes his objection in order to do the right thing.
- In one of the early episodes, captain Sisko puts his female executive officer in her place after she goes outside the chain of command to criticize him.
- Captain Sisko (Avery Brooks) is the wise leader who exudes bravery, honor, and integrity. He puts other people in their place when they step out of line, and he’s NEVER disrespected by underlings, including women, without severe consequence.
- Some of the attractive female characters still wear form-fitting suits. All the principal female cast members are attractive. The same is true of Voyager, most famously represented with Seven of Nine.
- Quark, the alien bartender, is a sexist who steals his employees’ tips and requires women to dress seductively in order to scam male customers at the gambling table. He expresses outrage when his mother starts dressing in clothes, which is forbidden for the house-ridden, oppressed Ferengi female demographic. There is also an episode where he tries to take a picture of the female executive officer in order to make a real-life sex object based on her likeness for a customer. The Ferengi are also obsessed with accumulating wealth and often scam people out of their money.
Despite all of that, Quark is often a moral character (sold medicine and blankets to sick aliens during a war). There is an episode where he points out that Ferengi at their worst aren’t as bad as humans have been in recent memory – no genocides or slavery or concentration camps. Quark is supposed to represent much that is wrong with the contemporary world. He is also representative of the writers’ moral relativism – bad guy isn’t all that bad depending on perspective. But even that reasoning probably wouldn’t allow such a character to exist in modern Star Trek.
- In DS9, the Bajorans turn away poor immigrants who wish to settle on their planet. Their reasoning: Bajor is poor and can’t support them; they have their own problems to worry about.
- The Ferengi, Nog, needs a recommendation from a senior officer and phenomenal test scores just to be considered for entry into Starfleet academy. No affirmative action at all.
- The Cardassian antagonists have segregated their society along gender lines – men serve in the military and women serve as scientists. Female Cardassians think male Cardassians are bad at math and male Cardassians think female Cardassians are emotionally weak, so they are mostly excluded from the military leadership. The few female Cardassians who appear in the earlier seasons are mostly evil – a cruel judge and an intelligence official in the Obsidian Order (KGB equivalent). Dukat, the Cardassian male military officer, is once pitted against his female Obsidian Order boss and turns out to be the more compromising of the two characters before the end.
- In DS9, multiculturalism can sometimes have a dark side: the diverse, authoritarian, Dominion wages war against the diverse, but cooperative, Federation.
- There are lots of romantic relationships among friends and not as much of the Millennial hookup culture trash seen in the modern Star Trek iterations.
- The male characters are often the center of attention – leaders, philosophers, diplomats, family men, scientists, doctors, comic relief.
- Klingon females aren’t allowed to run family estates.
- The planet where people dress skimpily still exists.
- Several alien races are played exclusively or predominately by white actors with little make-up.
But as America’s demographics have changed, so too has the ethos of the Star Trek franchise. Starting with Enterprise (2001 – 2005), the former paragon of stoicism, the Vulcans, are continually denigrated – treated as paternalistic, deceptive, and even belligerent towards other alien races. Notably, Vulcans are more intelligent, more accomplished, and much stronger physically than humans; they are a paragon (sometimes a foil) of what pre-Millennial humanist white males imagined themselves to be … or hoped to be in the far future. Their treatment is odd. It’s almost as if the new – feminist – writers now feel they have to use the Vulcans as stand-ins for the white males they envy.
The new shows by Alex Kurtzman, Discovery and Picard, are helmed by a diverse set of writers decidedly unlike the target audience of straight white males. They’ve predictably produced shows denigrating that demographic: the lead characters are usually female; the male characters are continually insulted by wiser female underlings (Pike, Picard); many of the former straight characters are now gay (Picard, Data, Seven of Nine); aliens which were previously played exclusively – or nearly so – by white actors are now bizarrely multicultural in skin tone, just like humans. Can’t have too many whites on screen, I guess.
The female lead of Discovery is the bestest ever, she even appropriated the male name “Michael”.
The diverse new cast of Discovery and Picard mostly excludes white males. The only principle white men who did not appear in make-up during Discovery’s first season were either villains or openly gay. The show’s lead is a black woman who’s the best at everything, acts bizarrely hostile towards the crew and later berates the male commanding officer, captain Pike – introduced in season 2. There’s also an assortment of other female archetypes more typically seen in network television crime dramas – the dorky female comic relief, the bestest ever leader, the tech guru.
Star Trek: Picard’s white male actors, aside from TNG cameos, are mostly villains when they appear at all. Picard himself is a senile old man who contributes essentially nothing to the show. He is used as the butt of criticism from the cast. It’s clear the writers are using him as a canvas to paint their grievances with the real world. Picard — white male America — stands in the new boss’s empowered way. He lives in luxury as minority characters live in poverty. The (white) institutions he represents are all corrupt and racist. To rectify this injustice, the diverse cast must defy Star Trek convention – up to and including committing acts of cold-blooded murder (even villains don’t deserve that).
The new shows also – bizarrely — feature a dearth of straight black male actors. TNG had two; Voyager had one; DS9 had several, including a masculine male captain. The feminists who write this newer junk must feel threatened by their masculinity, a common phenomenon in modern Hollywood movies, comic books, and in network television: black men are usually removed (Star Trek), made gay (Marvel’s New Warriors), or turned into female servants (Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel – a pet to Brie Larson). So, they’ve almost entirely been excised as primary leads in the new shows. The mostly unaccomplished female writers of Discovery even reported the more accomplished (read: threatening) black male writer, Walter Mosley, to Human Resources for uttering a racial epithet (in context with writing about racism), causing him to quit the show in disgust.
Discovery and Picard are both written by a crowd that obviously hates the demographic they are writing for, so they pepper many of the episodes with things they know that demographic will take as insults – female characters insulting male characters, underhanded jokes about masculinity or mansplaining, obnoxious female leads, incompetent white male characters who need female instruction, excessive melodrama, denigration of lore. It’s patently obvious. They aren’t even being subtle about it.
The Klingons, once a proud masculine race, are now reduced to xenophobic Trump voters in Discovery. The show runner directly stated this in an interview before the series premiere. Klingons now speak in subhuman, guttural-sounding vocals. They redesigned them to look like hairless Tolkienesque goblins – hideous primitives. Klingons were previously boastful, proud in speech and in manner … threatening black men, basically. Feminist writers can’t have that. Bye.
Fundamentally, these new shows struggle because they are written by people wholly unlike the target audience, so they are not able to appeal to them (the same is true of other ruined male franchises like Star Wars – but I’ll save that for another time). These new shows aren’t for the old audience. The new — diverse — show runners have made that clear. Star Trek now serves as a vehicle for airing out racial and gender grievances against the perceived white male audience. It’s akin to planting your tribe’s flag on another tribe’s territory. The aggrieved gets a rush from being able to rub their enemy’s face in their loss. It’s intentional.
Women are very cognizant of the fact that they’re in charge now.
Regardless, the primary audience for a show like this is heterosexual men, disproportionately white … And when minority male characters appear, they’re not supposed to be losers upstaged by their sassy, disrespectful and arrogant female subordinates. In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the black male captain put his hothead female executive officer in her place more than once. In the new Treks, men are continually insulted, often for no good reason, by female crew members.
What do men like in Star Trek?
Men like technology. So, the writers of Picard introduced a magic wand to the newest iteration.
Men like adventure, not melodrama. So, obviously the female writers feature an inordinate number of episodes of characters crying.
Most of the adventure element prominent in previous shows is absent or poorly constructed in the newer ones … or ripped off from other properties, including video games. Paramount was being sued a while back for copyright infringement.
Men like friendships, not … what the writers did to Jean-Luc Picard and Data at the end of Star Trek: Picard. The season finale of the new show ends with Picard confessing his amorous affection for Data, the male android – totally out of character. The writers thought they were being subtle, but it’s clear what they meant. It’s an implied gay relationship between the two most popular male characters in TNG, two characters that were never really that close to begin with. It was meant as a deliberate insult to the audience.
Note: This is supported by 1. writer Michael Chabon giving an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, I believe, where he was asked if there was something he wanted to do with the season 1 finale that he didn’t end up doing. He hinted that there was (my guess: a direct gay relationship with Picard and Data) by attacking “anti-SJWs” and “toxic fans” 2. Repeated gay scenes with the formerly male favorite Seven of Nine – implied relationship with a woman she killed and a completely unexplained hand holding scene with a female crew member 3. There is a clear affection beyond friendship between Picard and Data as he tells him that he loves him … or did before he died, something he always wanted to tell him. 4. Patrick Stewart bragged about how they did something special with the ending here.
Men like relationships with women, so that’s almost totally ignored – even the subtle implication of male / female attraction; there is some casual sex between characters we hate, but few meaningful or traditional relationships in the newer shows. The female characters in nuTrek are now also disproportionately lesbians (literally – no exaggeration intended), closing off that male fantasy for the audience. For example, the once sexy Seven of Nine is now also a lesbian. I’m sure that was deliberate. The rest of the women are physically unattractive, emotionally disturbed, or otherwise weird.
Men also like ship design, which was a major component of the old shows. They provided countless hours of free fan promotion across message boards and websites, they were cool locations for new episodes, and they inspired fan movies. So, obviously that had to be sidelined in the new shows. The ships, once iconic and profitable selling toy items, are now generic CGI models – totally uninspired trash hastily put together as an afterthought. The new shows can’t sell the merchandise, so the retailers have refused to license much of it.
Another thing men like? Group service – following rules, meritocracy, sacrifice for the tribe, defending territory (even the non-violent philosophical variety), that kind of thing. Well, that’s almost totally absent in Discovery and Picard. The once-honorable and meritocratic military-like Federation is portrayed as corrupt and unequal; the black female lead of Picard berates Jean-Luc in one episode for living “in his fine chateau” while she lived in poverty – again, a totally antithetical concept to the old shows.
The whole Federation is a dystopia with criminals and drugs and injustice all about.
Various Federation admirals in the new movies and television shows are belligerent, short-sighted, and rude; one is an outright war criminal. TNG featured at least two episodes with corrupt Federation admirals, but our show’s male heroes put them in their place by the end of the episode. Even the female captain Kathryn Janeway did this once in Voyager. Not true of these newer shows, though. Admirals berate the male characters, then go away – never to be redeemed or brought to justice.
Many of the characters in the new shows act entirely unprofessional towards each other. They are sometimes even cruel or sadistic. The female captain of one Discovery short Trek allowed a bumbling white male crewman (whom the female writers mocked the entire episode) to die horribly and then simply shrugged it off when asked about it, “he was an idiot” (implication: he deserved to die because he was annoying her). I’m guessing this occurs in the new shows because women don’t generally like things such as military service. Sure, women serve in the armed forces, but that’s just a gig for a lot of girls. Tactics, uniforms, codes of behavior, and group work are all things men sit around and think about when they aren’t being paid to do it.
Sadism is a new feature of these shows, too.
Not surprisingly, the biggest internet critic of these two incarnations is an Israeli Jew (I suspect); he compiled many of the clips above. It’s not hard to understand why. Israel is a masculine country that requires compulsory military service, is based around codes of principle (Jewish heritage), is partly multicultural (maybe 20% of the population isn’t Jewish), is group-oriented, and has a high percentage of intellectual figures. These are all things you might vaguely see in Star Trek’s The Federation, especially in The Next Generation.
The biggest supporters of these new incarnations, not surprisingly, are the show’s American writers – along with a few “critics”. These people lack any loyalty to a higher cause (other than themselves), are nihilistic, are sadistic, enjoy berating “the other” (men, whites, themselves even), and have practically no respect for anything they aren’t personally invested with. In other words, they are thoroughly Americanized losers.
There would be a college thesis in that observation if we lived in a better timeline. In this one, the world where the bad guys won, you are stuck reading it in a random internet comment.
I think that observation explains much of what is wrong with modern culture: the past, in many ways, was better than the present and probably will end up being better than the near future. That’s intolerable to a lot of political extremists, the very people who put us in this position in the first place. So, the past has to be destroyed; it serves as a foil to the current reigning madness. “Let the past die, kill it if you have to.” That’s why pop culture had to be denigrated. That’s why Star Trek is trash nowadays.
When conquering armies of the ancient world subdued an enemy, they often defaced the conquered tribe’s symbols – destroyed the statues, burned the temples, desecrated anything sacred; both Muslim and Christian conquerors were famous for this. Same thing here. The new regime is burning the cultural bridges so you can’t go back to the better world left behind, the one not ruled by them.
Although, in fairness to the ladies, it’s mostly men like Alex Kurtzman who have ruined the new shows. The guy once stated in an interview that he has a problem writing male characters. Hollywood: let’s hire that guy for Star Trek!