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The Federation

OtakuJo

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 16362

Report this Mar. 17 2012, 3:59 pm

I would have to disagree with you there, because that is simply not what we see in the real life effects of globalisation. What we see is a more homogenised society with more and more people (to varying extents) adopting Western cultural values.


In part, they diverge from the original concept of the Federation. Mostly I think you'll find they did not.


The writers did not say:


* That Earth itself was not the "paradise" that Roddenberry imagined.


* That the Federation was not generally diverse and accepting. (If you look at the major Federation characters, they are not portrayed as the "bad guys" in this -- although they do have their foibles; O'Brien has to overcome a deep-rooted prejudice against Cardassians which incidentally was established not by DS9 but TNG. But this makes him a more, not less, interesting character.)


If anything, the conflicts between the characters would create a positive view of future relations, more than a reductionist one. No, you can't "change" a Jem'Hadar to be more peaceful, that is who they are. TNG characters are very prejudiced against Ferengi -- eg Riker: "And find them some quarters. Just not to close to mine." DS9 just carries that through to the point where its characters have to deal with Ferengi on a regular basis.


In both TNG and DS9, the Federation essentially failed its border colonies. Were they ever likely to bring about a successful resolution? That's for another discussion entirely! But in TNG, TOS, and one might argue, Voyager, the central characters all had so little confict -- mostly due to an order from Up Awn High. The "Other" was so often an externalised entity, something from outside, that generally went away as the ship did.


Yes you could argue that Spock was "Other", but I would say not really -- he was not truly Other, because he was too well understood and too easy to define according to our human perameters. You might argue that Worf is "Other", but through much of TNG, this is kept very much in the background. The difference with DS9 is that you see how "our people", the Federation, have to deal with this Other and how to come to an understanding on what I would consider "half-way" terms.


The Ferengi, Cardassians, and Bajorans are very different people, who probably can't be understood on Federation terms. You see on other shows how the Federation defines alien races according to Federation values. They cannot entirely do that here -- Nothing is essentially changed in the definition of "Federation" here; the difference is only that it is constantly and inescapably set against "Otherness", and it is by its relationship to this Otherness that the Federation's own flaws are exposed.


Now, you would I guess argue that exposing the flaws of the Federation is a reductionist message. I would say not. Principally because when they engage with Other races, such as Cardassians and Ferengi, they have to learn how to "meet them halfway", so to speak. Kirk dealt with the Other by defining the Klingons as "animals". Riker, by dealing with the Other (in this case Ferengi) only on the most distant terms. Sisko tries at first to think of the Bajorans and Cardassians in the same way -- but I think it is their very closeness that forces him to develop a more complex relationship from initial conflict.


Forcing the Federation members to relate on a semi-permanent level with different, exotic, and sometimes scary aliens presents, I think, not a reductionist message, but a far more hopeful one.


Have you ever danced with a Tribble in the pale moonlight?

Pooneil

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1023

Report this Mar. 20 2012, 6:17 am

Quote: OtakuJo @ Mar. 17 2012, 3:59 pm

>

>I would have to disagree with you there, because that is simply not what we see in the real life effects of globalisation. What we see is a more homogenised society with more and more people (to varying extents) adopting Western cultural values.

>


Except that we're not talking about globalisation. The galaxy is a lot bigger than the Earth, the distances are much more vast, and the cultures much more diverse than anything that any one planet could produce (and that's an understatement). The sort of globalisation you're talking about, and which is shown on DS9, should simply not be possible on a massive galactic scale -- especially considering the huge numbers of non-humanoid species and different types of worlds. For example, we've seen Vulcans and humans living side by side for a two or three hundred years, yet there's little or no sign of a loss of cultural distinctiveness. And the biological differences between humans and Vulcans are tiny by comparison to some of the aliens on the show.

OtakuJo

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POSTS: 16362

Report this Mar. 20 2012, 3:16 pm

You know what -- though. That is pretty much what we're talking about. The cultural and economic spread of certain influential powers over a large physical space. Yes, the distances are large. But to our ancestors the Pacific ocean was just as insurmountable once sea levels rose at the end of the Ice Ages. And what we see is a "smaller" community arising from expansion and contact. Kirk's original exploration sees him venture into unknown territory, but one hundred years later we see the inevitable consequence. The parallels are there, certainly enough to make globalisation into a valid precedent. There simply isn't any part of "globalisation" that goes against what Star Trek is presenting, albeit on a much larger scale.


And it is a valid concern for the Bajorans and Ferengi, that the Federation looks down on those things they hold most dear. One of the tenets of the Federation is that they have "evolved beyond" religion, but to the Bajorans this is everything. Likewise, greed to the Ferengi. That aside, though, DS9 does not present a view of the Federation that agrees with Eddington's. Rather, it acknowledges the (entirely valid) concerns of other people's as they decide for themselves how much they wish to be influenced by this powerful political entity.


Have you ever danced with a Tribble in the pale moonlight?

Pooneil

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 1023

Report this Mar. 21 2012, 11:53 am

I like arguing with you, Otaku. It's a nice change of pace from the usual timbre of internet discussions. We've managed to fill up four pages without swearing at or threatening each other (or mentioning Nazis).


Here's something else for us to disagree on: Did the Federation "evolve beyond religion", or just Earth? (I'd be more specific and say that religion is no longer a major part of people's lives, though it still exists -- check out http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/religion.htm).


At the risk of going round in a rhetorical circle, I'd argue that the cultural values of Earth got unfairly transferred onto the rest of the UFP by the DS9 writing staff. Maybe that's only natural: most Federation characters we see are Starfleet officers and humans, so their culture is the only one that gets any real representation to both the audience and the non-UFP characters on the show. That just brings up another question: Why did those DS9 writers forget about the rest of the Federation and its hundreds of different races and cultures?


I've always preferred the idea of a new show like TOS, but maybe a series that strongly featured the melting pot of the Federation wouldn't be a bad idea.

kkt

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POSTS: 170

Report this Apr. 01 2012, 1:22 am

Quote: OtakuJo @ Mar. 01 2012, 10:01 pm

Quote: stovokor2000-A @ Feb. 28 2012, 5:51 am

Quote: kkt @ Feb. 28 2012, 12:37 am

>

>

>

>I don't think they are.

>Federation citizens:  Sisko, Dax, Worf, Bashir, O'Brien, Jake, Eddington, Nog (after Starfleet Academy), Ezri Dax, Kassidy

>Not Federation citizens:  Kira, Odo, Quark, Rom, Dukat, Garick, Winn, Damar, Martok, Weyoun, the female shapeshifter, Leeta, Vic Fontaine, Zek, Brunt, Ziyal.

>
of your fedarastion citizen list....Sisko, Dax, Worf, Bashir, O'Brien, Jake and Ezri Dax are all Major characters.

of your non-fedaration citizen list only Kira, Odo and Quark are major characters.

 

That's what I meant. Some of these "minor" characters like Garak and Nog did end up getting a significant part, but for the purposes of discussion I would define a "major" DS9 character as one whose name appears in the title sequence.


 


I clearly disagree with that definition.  Who gets regular star billing has to do with a lot of things besides how important their character is to the show -- actor's commitment to do so many shows per season, actor's reputation, etc.  To me, it's what the writers do with the characters that makes them important or not.


 

stovokor2000-A

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POSTS: 2001

Report this Apr. 01 2012, 9:13 am

Quote: kkt @ Apr. 01 2012, 1:22 am

>I clearly disagree with that definition.  Who gets regular star billing has to do with a lot of things besides how important their character is to the show -- actor's commitment to do so many shows per season, actor's reputation, etc.  To me, it's what the writers do with the characters that makes them important or not.


I believe your confusing "importance" with regular/major.In this context they arent interchangable terms.


in a series, the top billing characters are the regular/major characters while guest stars are not but can still hold a posting of importances.


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kkt

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POSTS: 170

Report this Apr. 01 2012, 12:04 pm

Quote: stovokor2000-A @ Apr. 01 2012, 9:13 am

Quote: kkt @ Apr. 01 2012, 1:22 am

>

>I clearly disagree with that definition.  Who gets regular star billing has to do with a lot of things besides how important their character is to the show -- actor's commitment to do so many shows per season, actor's reputation, etc.  To me, it's what the writers do with the characters that makes them important or not.

I believe your confusing "importance" with regular/major.In this context they arent interchangable terms.

in a series, the top billing characters are the regular/major characters while guest stars are not but can still hold a posting of importances.


"Major characters" is the phrase I used.  It's confusion on your part to think that a character who is not a regular star cannot be a major character.  For instance, many of the characters I listed were in more episodes and played a bigger role in the series than regular star Ezri.  "Major" is not the same thing as "regular star billing".

stovokor2000-A

GROUP: Members

POSTS: 2001

Report this Apr. 01 2012, 1:08 pm

Quote: kkt @ Apr. 01 2012, 12:04 pm

>"Major characters" is the phrase I used.  It's confusion on your part to think that a character who is not a regular star cannot be a major character.  For instance, many of the characters I listed were in more episodes and played a bigger role in the series than regular star Ezri.  "Major" is not the same thing as "regular star billing".

>


Sorry friend, but theres no confusion on my part at all.You might want to go back and RE-READ the post that lead up to this, yours included.


You werent the one to use the term "major character".........OtakuJo was the one to use that term, you just replied to his post.


Now, maybe you view the term differently then most others, but in the common vernacular, and in the context of the post you were replying to, Major character is synoymous with Regular characters.



Sure, Dukat may have had a bigger part and more apparances then Jake, but he was a guest star.Not a regular.And in the common language, and the contect of the conversation you replied to.....Dukat wasnt a major character.


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kkt

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POSTS: 170

Report this Apr. 01 2012, 10:26 pm

You're right that Otakujo used the term "major character" and I only quoted it.  But I don't believe most people equate "major character" with "regular starring role for the actor who plays it".  I won't argue that your definition is wrong, just that it's only useful if you're comparing the status of 1990s actors rather than how the Star Trek world works or how the stories work as literature.


 

stovokor2000-A

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POSTS: 2001

Report this Apr. 01 2012, 10:40 pm

Quote: kkt @ Apr. 01 2012, 10:26 pm

>You're right that Otakujo used the term "major character" and I only quoted it.  But I don't believe most people equate "major character" with "regular starring role for the actor who plays it".  I won't argue that your definition is wrong, just that it's only useful if you're comparing the status of 1990s actors rather than how the Star Trek world works or how the stories work as literature.


well, it only my opinion that most people use regular and major the same ways, but the post you were replying to certinly meant regular cast members when he said "major".


anyway I'm glad we/re done with that.


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