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Retro Review: Past Tense

Posted by Michelle - 26/10/12 at 06:10 pm


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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season: 03 Episode: 12 (s03e12)

Original US airdate: 01/09/1995

A transporter accident sends Sisko into Earth’s past, where he accidentally causes the death of the man who led the social revolution that triggered vast economic reforms.

Plot Summary: On the way to Starfleet headquarters in San Francisco, a transporter accident sends Sisko, Bashir, and Dax into Earth’s past in the 21st century. Sisko and Bashir are taken by policemen to a Sanctuary District, where the homeless and unemployed are trapped in a cycle of poverty from which there is no escape; Dax is rescued by wealthy media mogul Chris Brynner, who helps her retrieve the identification documents she needs for freedom of mobility and to work. While Dax hacks Brynner’s computers to learn about the century in which she finds herself, Sisko and Bashir are taken to a processing center, where Sisko realizes that they have arrived days before the Bell Riots – a world-altering event in which a homeless man named Gabriel Bell sacrificed himself to save hostages taken by angry Sanctuary residents demanding their freedom. After receiving ration cards, Sisko and Bashir set out to blend into the Sanctuary without changing history, but during a fight over food, a bystander who tries to help them is killed and Sisko recognizes the man as Gabriel Bell. Meanwhile, Kira attempts to send a message to Starfleet about the missing crewmembers and is shocked to discover that Starfleet no longer exists. Guessing from particle residue that Sisko and the others have been trapped in an altered past, she and O’Brien decide they must visit the most likely dates where their crewmates might have materialized. Dax learns from Brynner that Sisko and Bashir have been put in the Sanctuary District and insists that she must try to find them. Behind the walls, Sisko realizes that he must try to keep history on course despite Bell’s death, and assumes Bell’s identity at the processing center, where a group of Sanctuary residents led by the unstable B.C. have just taken the workers hostage.

As the angry residents begin to riot, Sisko insists that B.C. protect the hostages and asks Webb, a socially conscious resident, to round up reliable people to testify about the conditions in the Sanctuary District. A police detective named Preston cuts off their net access but agrees to meet with Webb, who says they want the Sanctuaries closed and the Federal Employment Act reinstated so that they can have jobs and proper homes. Preston warns that if the hostages are not released, the governor will send in National Guard troops. When Dax sneaks in through the sewers, Bashir introduces Sisko to her as Gabriel Bell and helps her track down her missing comm badge, taken by a mentally ill Sanctuary resident. Sisko stops B.C. from shooting a hostage and asks Dax to persuade Brynner to give the residents net access so that they can tell their stories, which is what the real Bell did to sway public opinion in favor of closing the Sanctuaries. But the stories incite unrest in other districts, and the governor decides to send in troops just as Kira and O’Brien successfully locate Dax in Brynner’s office. When the troops burst into the processing center, Sisko and Bashir are able to protect the hostages, though Sisko is shot in the arm and both B.C. and Webb are killed along with hundreds outside in the streets. The policemen who initially apprehended Sisko and Bashir agree to let them go after switching their ration cards with those of two men killed in the violence. The policemen promise to tell Gabriel Bell’s story, and Kira is able to retrieve the DS9 crewmembers who find that history as they know it has been restored.

Analysis: The first time I saw “Past Tense,” I thought it was a brilliant allegory of the possible consequences of Newt Gingrich’s economic policies, so imagine how much more relevant it seems on the eve of the Obama-Romney election when we’re debating the same issues about how best to help people who want to work but can’t find jobs or afford homes or health care. As much as I appreciated DS9′s use of Bajor as a parallel to Earth history and some of the problems of the contemporary Middle East, I was delighted to see social issues explored on Earth, with some attempt to explain how we got from the mess of the late 20th century to the paradise of the 23rd century in which the original Star Trek was set. There’s no doubt that the two parts of “Past Tense” are political episodes, but rewatching them now, it’s apparent that the writers did an excellent job of not rooting them too deeply in the events of their own moment in history; the date may be 2024, but it’s easy to believe that the events of the story could take place a few years closer to Zefram Cochrane or even a few years earlier, closer to our own era. The device that triggers the time travel seems pretty contrived since they’ve beamed on and off the Defiant lots of times after using the cloaking device and going through the wormhole, and I’ve never understood why in some time travel episodes, like “The City on the Edge of Forever,” let the crew keep their memories and/or their technology, while in others, like “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” everything changes simultaneously. But it doesn’t really matter, because once the storyline gets going, the past Earth becomes more interesting than the mechanism by which the crew gets there. And Sisko, at least, doesn’t have to let anyone get hit by a truck to restore the timeline.

Curiously, though I thought the storyline about how Dax’s pretty face got her right into the halls of power was annoying the first time I saw the episode – not that it’s unrealistic, just that watching Sisko work so hard while Dax can bat her eyelashes and save the world is frustrating – this time I really liked seeing that side of the social revolution, the role of the futuristic internet in conveying information and bringing people from very different walks of life together. How fascinating that Paramount in the 1990s was so willing to acknowledge the shallowness and insensitivity of corporate media moguls and to acknowledge the growing role of the news cycle in creating as well as reporting the news. Star Trek’s second-generation communications technology can start to seem awfully retro, considering the internet explosion that took place during TNG and DS9′s era, the fact that communicators and library computers were becoming reality, even if we’re probably still lifetimes if not universes away from warp drive and replicators. When these episodes first aired, the real power of all that technology was only just becoming apparent to individuals and corporations alike, so it’s great to get a storyline that looks at both the opportunities for open communication and the dangers of regulation all at once. It’s a shame that the actual past is shown in such broad cliches – O’Brien gawping at flappers, Kira trying to talk over blasting Hendrix music – and how regrettable that we don’t get to see the alternate future they visited after Bell’s death, since an image of the dangers of time tampering would be more effective than yet another lecture about it. These are small complaints, though, and it’s fair enough not to distract from an alternate future that’s already disturbing enough.

I wish we got to see more of Kira and especially O’Brien, since Earth is his planet; it’s understandable that Quark and Odo can’t really be a part of the story, since for obvious reasons they can’t visit Earth looking the way they do. But the supporting cast is excellent, though most of the characters have to reveal great depths of personality too quickly to be believable. Vin, the bitter older cop, is the most interesting of the lot because his anger and disgust ring entirely true; B.C.’s violent tendencies are too quickly muted and Lee gets awfully hysterical for someone who’s counseled Sanctuary residents for a long time – I wanted her to contribute positively. Really, though, Bashir doesn’t do much beyond token medical stuff – every time he says, “I’m a doctor…” I have the perverse hope that he’s going to follow it up with, “…not a terrorist!” or something – and he serves primarily as an excuse for Sisko to explain the history of the Sanctuary Districts, which Avery Brooks does with appropriate outrage. Overall I like the pacing of the second half of the two-parter, directed by Jonathan Frakes, better than the first, but perhaps that’s unfair since the first has to do so much background and setup of the crisis; on the other hand, it seems like it’s perpetually night in the first episode and the scenes with Dax in Brynner’s office really drag even though he has a killer view. It’s a bummer that her brief angry intensity is tossed aside for the silly “I’m an alien, may I have my brooch back?” scene, with the mentally ill guy used for comic relief rather than representative of how bad life in the district can be. The discussions of baseball, including the uncanny prediction in a 1995 episode that the Yankees would have a great year in 1999, makes for a much better break in the tension.

This is Sisko’s episode, or perhaps I should say Sisko-as-Bell’s episode. What an interesting Occupy Sanctuary movement he leads after initially having to seethe on the margins because of his fear of interfering with a history that seems destined to have been altered from the moment they arrived, making me wonder whether we’re supposed to think this is one of those time loops where it was always Sisko-as-Bell who created the world as we know it, and it was his desire not to be involved rather than Bell’s death that caused the timeline changes. We’ve seen Sisko as a capable 24th century Starfleet commander but we see so many more sides of him as a leader here, both the sacrificial hero and the man who’ll take a policeman aside to shout sense into him. Interesting that although sexual double standards seem to linger in 2024, there’s no racism apparent in the Sanctuary gangs (and surprisingly few people of Asian or Latino descent in San Francisco). Money and access to its perks are shown to be the great social dividers, which is a comforting thought because unlike long-held ethnic and religious prejudices, that’s a situation that can be resolved with a strong economy and growth, like, oh, perhaps, a thriving space program. I usually deplore gratuitous violence in science fiction, but the National Guard scenes in these episodes are effective if surprisingly bloodless, not quite scary enough to be believable as a police state; I was betting that it would be Webb’s son, not Webb, who would die, and that that would be a catalyst for change even among people who didn’t trust Webb himself. The show chooses to put verbal politics ahead of terrorism, even though Dax learns that student protests in Europe have become frightening enough to discourage tourists. We were told on TNG that Ireland would reunite the same year – 2024 – because of political violence. I have concerns about what starts to seem like the inevitability of violence before true unity is possible – on Earth, on Bajor, even on Vulcan – as a bridge to Roddenberry’s idealism, so I greatly appreciate the extent to which Webb and Bell are the heroes of this revolution.

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  • Guest

    “What an interesting Occupy Sanctuary movement he leads”

    Holding guns on hostages. “Interesting.”

  • Ryan Ellis

    I love how Hollywood writers always think that a “Federal Employment Act” or a “Full Employment Act” is all that’s standing between the world as we know it and everyone having a job. “If only Washington would just pass that bill, man (whatever that bill is), everyone would have, you know, JOBS!”

    These writers’ meetings must look and sound a lot like “The Californians” sketch from SNL. This is why I’ll start listening to Hollywood types on politics when they start listening to me about not writing in the Temporal Cold War.

    Trek, in particular, has always had a naive and juvenile idea of money and capitalism. This episode is a great example, with their use of the “Full Employment Act” empty vessel and capitalists putting working white poor people into concentration camps.

    The stupidity on stage here is second only to Trek setting up a universe where the Federation simultaneously has no currency, yet trades with the Ferengi and others who do. What are they using, barter? How is that an advancement beyond a convenient means of exchange like currency? And why would they need physical specie in the 24th century? Heck, in 20 years no one in the 21st century will have tangible cash in their pockets.

  • Sheldon

    I’m glad Kira wasn’t a big part of this episode. She’s unbearable. What a horrible actor.

  • fainodraino

    Excellent post!!!

  • SJStar

    “American capitalist pig” comes to mind, but that might be construed as too harsh…

    As for your last over-the-top paragraph…

    The Federation has no currency because it uses its collective resources to benefit all. In this future there is no need for money because the essentials of life — food, shelter and energy — are provided for by the organisation. Even medical care and manufacture are created by either replicator technology or by the freeing investigation of technological advances without the need for capital. Furthermore, the population of the Earth is presumably much smaller in the 23rd / 24th Century, caused by the massive effects of eugenics and nuclear wars in the 21st Century. This was Gene Roddenberry’s own state of mind for our collective futures. His vision for the sociological change between today and the future was having to survive without destroying ourselves, and these event enforced new drastic changes for all people; biologically, morally, and even for their economic values. Exploring — both the Galaxy and the human condition (literature, art, etc.) or looking after (or creating) the environment, is mostly where people use their creativity. Their ‘needs’ are just provided by the ‘freely’ available replicative technology. Furthermore, ‘trading’ is probably done by some societies within the Federation but mostly with others who are not members. Obviously this is a transaction of technology or ideas, and not necessarily just the physical or manufactured resources.

    Is it realistic? Hell, it is just a story… an exploration of a possible future change in human existence. It’s a moral tale wrapped in an entertaining story to pass some time Really. Star Trek was never meant to be documentary on economics!!

  • Ryan Ellis

    Ah, I see. Magic machines give us everything we want. Let’s say you were a magic machine repairman. In your neighborhood community prefecture-unit, you are responsible for making sure the replicators stay online, don’t start replicating cat shit, etc.

    What is your incentive to do a good job? You don’t get paid. That means your compensation ($0) is the same whether or not you’re the best replicator repair goldshirt in the Federation, or whether you’re someone with the clumsiness of Reg Barkley mixed with the bad attitude of early B’Lanna Torres. Human nature being what it is, your replicator career will look like the shit end of Picard’s life in “Tapestry.” Multiply that by an entire population, and you have a planet of people looking for things..to…make…us…go.

    For a small example of this, though not as great, look at government employees vs. waiters. Most government employees (think DMV) don’t care, because they get paid the same no matter what. Most wait staff hustle, because there is a direct correlation between their effort and higher compensation. You see, INCENTIVES MATTER. It’s what makes humans productive.

    The economic world of the Federation has already tried and been found wanting. It’s called communism. And only idiot liberal writers in Hollywood missed the message that this theory got discredited with the last Red Army troop leaving their Checkpoint Charlie post. Too much sunshine, drugs, and dumb/easy girls out there, I guess.

  • Mike

    You claim that trade doesn’t happen between the Federation itself and outside entities… and that’s just patently untrue, start to finish. Quark isn’t a member of the Federation. Quark is in business… a business that makes a profit… a profit in latinum… latinum that comes from his patrons… patrons who, among others, primarily consist of Starfleet officers and enlisted… How do they pay? It’s certainly not through barter… and, for whatever reason, Latinum can’t be replicated… so, we’ve seen them all at the bar… how do they pay?

  • Horatius

    Regarding the political comments here–half the nation is not a believer in modern liberalism. If Star Trek or Star Trek fandom or Trek Today requires one to put up with or espouse tenets of the Left-side of the aisle on a consistent basis, then I for one am not going to have anything to do with that mindset, and if that means I don’t have anything to do with Star Trek, so be it.

  • Horatius Redux

    I want to reemphasize that point–half the nation. Half. If someone wants to go around writing like this is the Huffington Post, fine, but half your fellow countrymen think you’re full of it. Naturally, the response is often “well, they’re ignorant”, but at some point that’s a little too much dehumanizing for my taste.

    Someone doesn’t like Newt Gingrich, fine, but I’m not exactly seeing an economic masterpiece from a Democratic office holder right now, so understand I may just put you in the “Daily Kos” category and tune you out.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go calculate the specific speed for a LOX/CH4 centrifugal fuel pump.

  • SJStar

    “Furthermore, ‘trading’ is probably done by some societies within the Federation but mostly with others who are not members.”

    So here I did NOT say as you state. “You claim that trade doesn’t happen between the Federation itself and outside entities.”

    Also I am only giving an opinion. Mike said; “The stupidity on stage here is second only to Trek setting up a universe where the Federation simultaneously has no currency,…” I don’t see this as stupid at all. It is like saying the only way transactions can be made is via some capitalist system I.e. Like the current American system.

    Also today we transact purchases by electronic means and we don’t see the cash at all. Perhaps in Star Trek all purchases are drawn from a large cash pool, which the buyer is allowed to buy anything up to a nominated limit without question. Exceeding the limit and you might have to make a more formal request.

    Ideals in Star Trek are mostly a Utopian dream — like the general concept of Heaven (or do you also have money, profit or bater in Heaven?) Do only the Ferengi believe in the Divine Treasury?

    If you and everyone else had a trillion dollars, for example, would you ever worry about buying anything? A rich man or woman would even bother as they wouldn’t waste their time as such trivialities. (In Star Trek I have not seen Federation few people staving, poorly dressed, or below the poverty line, unless they wished to inflicted it on themselves. Yes they may do so during desperate time in wartime, but mostly people seem to want to be active participants in their whole society or want to help others. How come Federation starships are always so willing to help others in need, giving their time or rescuing other spaceships in trouble. They never seem very bothered to want to trade, they do it because it is the right thing to do.)

    Perhaps too, you are free to live without cash or making a profit, but you are also quite free to do so too, with anybody you care to negotiate with. Besides, the only thing that would stimulate trade, is having something you don’t have but wish to own yourself. I.e. Latinum, as you point out.

    Frankly I don’t know totally how society fully works in the Star Trek Universe, but I know they dumped the capitalist system because it was a path that almost lead to the extinction of the human species. They changed and adapted, to evolve into a more sustainable and more mindful of their fragile future. (Living in 1960s America with the real threat of nuclear annihilation made everyone desperate to question their existence, and this was projected by Roddenberry’s own vision of Star Trek. He believed technology was the key, and he has been proven to be almost correct in lessening the mundane problems of human lives.)

    Also read this on-line article How do we get to Star Trek’s vision of a future utopian Earth“. It may help you.

  • SJStar

    Really. What a bitter and twist reply. Want to improve humanity? Negative responses like this one doesn’t auger for the future
    You must be an American, and so you must already realise your own country has $11.3 trillion dollars in foreign debt.

    This might just explain you grossly aberrant views.

  • Ryan Ellis

    of course, you’ll note that you didn’t actually respond to any of my points. probably because there isn’t a good answer to them. an economic system without incentives is like a diet without reduced caloric intake or exercise.

  • Guest

    I’m feeling indoctrinated already.

    Get over yourselves. It’s just a freaking TV show!!!

  • Horatius

    Ahhh…so you have an informational pamphlet to hand out that may “help” the benighted. Some things are starting to resolve themselves here.

  • Horatius

    SJStar, I didn’t meet you in an airport last month, did I? Handing out flyers?

  • Horatius

    Mr. Ellis is not the one slipping his philosophies in everywhere, whether they fit or no. I believe that honor may belong to a different portion of the ideological spectrum. But I could be wrong.

    If only I had some examples….

    By the way, be sure to check out the Future Children Project on YouTube. For some reason, it comes to mind when I hear the word “indoctrinate”.

    Have a nice day.

  • Guest

    It is just a TV show!!!

  • SJStar

    Oh you’re one of those…

  • SJStar

    What unsympathetic and horrible, horrible people…

    (Michelle. Feel free to delete most of these submissions, including mine too!)

  • Mike

    You are right about one thing: I misread your initial comment about trade… But that doesn’t change the rest of it… and it doesn’t change the fact that they aren’t trading just anything with Quark. They’re conducting a business transaction that is clearly based on pecuniary reward for Quark himself… When he gets their thumbprint, they’re paying him, not setting up a meeting so they can trade some replicator rations… as you point out, trade only happens when one entity wants something that the other has… In this instance, it’s Quark’s booze… and the only thing we’ve seen Quark interested in trading for said booze is gold pressed latinum. So, if that’s something that is precious and everyone doesn’t have access to, what is Quark getting? Or does this go back to the single giant account where everyone has a ration of credits? And are those credits latinum backed? See, I know you don’t have the answers to this… mostly because of two basic reasons: 1) we’ve never remotely been given these actual answers to these tough questions… and 2) that’s because communism is fantasy more than lightsabers. Communism is a utopian dream… one which cannot exist. And yet, your defense of the indefensible is to decry the capitalist system… that’s cool… worked well for Marx, Lenin, and Stalin, I suppose. But in the end, reality shows that capitalism has been the single biggest driving force in the education and freedom of humans… ever. Full stop.

  • Horatius

    Let me translate this for the rest–”Michelle, I thought I was smarter but ended up somehow losing. Could you please remove the evidence by deleting the posts, including–sadly–my own brillant expositions. Thanks. Image is everything, you know, as we fight for the revolution, and none of the enlightened can be seen as having lost to mere Rethuglicans, or whatever they are. The work we do is too important.”

  • Horatius

    To the guy that keeps leaving the dislike arrow–well, you’ll always have your certitude. At least you got that.

    And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the local angry white male meeting where we are trying to figure out a new way to grind the poor up and use them for mulch. Toodeloo.

  • Horatius

    One last thing–I will note for the record I am going to miss being able to back and read SJStar’s brilliant opening gambit in his first response on the issue–”American Capitalist pig”. But, we apparently have never been at war with Eastasia.

  • SabreCliff

    It’s funny Quark’s getting a lot of mention even though he was barely in this episode. But of course I’d like to make my own mention as well since he would indeed get his own time travel trip later in “Little Green Men” which would air the following season. And they even referenced this two-parter as Nog read the entry of the Bell Riots in the Earth history book Bashir and O’Brien gave him. They likely didn’t tell him of their roles in the event since Nog said Gabriel Bell looked a lot like Sisko from the picture he saw in the entry. Guess it’s fortunate the Roswell group didn’t find the book or unable to extract from it, let alone any data from their ship, otherwise history would have really changed!

  • Enterprise1981

    What I’m gauging from these comments: a quasi-socialist society that seemingly doesn’t rely on currency isn’t believable, but time-travel is??? Okay, then.

  • Mike

    Time travel is presumably based on a scientific discovery that we, as humans, have yet to make… Compare that with discovering something that prevents human nature… What are we going to discover that removes our passion for being better or doing more or having more? I think it’s pretty silly to equate a future scientific achievement with changing the basic nature of humans…

  • Horatius

    And to the dislikers–look, he said it, not me. He later said “you must be an American”, to Ryan Ellis. I take it you don’t like the People’s Great Work being retarded by a reactionary who makes the effort look bad. So you hiss, not being able to say much else.

    Standard. Some guys don’t appear to like the free enterprise system, and lot of us don’t like those guys because of the cultural imperialism they have. This kind of dislike carried on long enough, that’s how civil wars get started. And having been a professional in that field of endeavour–armed conflict–let me tell you–the Left is not going to win if one gets started. Period. Don’t even think it’s a possibility, because this is not 1917 Russia.

    If a modern Mr. Bell starts a riot and intends to take it on the road, he might be surprised at the reaction generated.

    Consider this your reality check. Have a nice day.

  • Enterprise1981

    That was simply a variant of the line from “Far Beyond the Stars” that a black man captaining a space station isn’t believable, but “men from Mars are?” It’s also human nature to be suspicious of that which is different, but we’ve overcome that some extent. What amazes me is that people who haven’t commented on these Retro Reviews before are using this particular one as a pretext to trot out the same tired rhetoric, to get all worked over a work of fiction, an allegory to real life but a work of fiction nonetheless, supposedly spreading misinformation among the masses.

    Star Trek is just one of the sci-fi franchises that paints a picture of what humanity can strive to become, even if it takes more than three centuries, that we can move beyond the petty things that drive us apart. Is there a better economic system than capitalism right now? No. But that doesn’t mean there won’t ever be. It is not a conspiracy by one side of the political spectrum to impose their views on the rest of America, and suggesting that it is serves no purpose here other than trolling.

  • Horatius

    Look, dude, it ain’t trolling. I am tired of “drive-by” liberalism, and see more than enough of it, and it is a very real phenomena.

    If a gratituous political comment didn’t get made in this post in the first place, the “trite” arguments don’t get pulled out. If someone doesn’t want a political flame war here, don’t put in the conditions to start one.

  • Enterprise1981

    “Yes, you are.” “No, I’m not.” “Yes, you are.” “No, I’m not.” Yet, you said in your first post “then I for one am not going to have anything to do with that mindset, and if that means I don’t have anything to do with Star Trek, so be it.” Yet, you’re still here responding to the every little perceived slight against you.

  • Horatius

    Look, dude, I know you want your side to win.

  • Horatius

    I posted a comment in reply to Enterprise 1981, but it is not displaying. Look, I now fully understand this is overwhelmingly a liberal site for liberals. This all started with a gratitutous comment from Michelle about possible consequences about someone’s economic policies. Entirely entitled to the posting of it, and I appreciate the chance to comment from the proprietors. But….I disagree with it, and really didn’t want to see it when I just wanted a light diversion from the day. Like I said–half the population is not liberal. Heck, only 20% or so may truly be liberal, in the Progressive sense, the rest just vote Democratic. So I fet irritated at the cultural imperium, because that is what it is–an imperium. And….the only thing close to “Bell riots” I am aware of is England, last year–and I’m sorry, those gents doing the rioting have not exactly been abadoned by the English state. Far from it, and in my mind their is a direct linkage between the two.

    So, we now have a flame war, Enterprise1981 is out to win it, I’m not exactly happy that I got drawn into one, and I in fact now consider this basically yet another of those liberal sights where the thought orthodoxy will hold sway. Nuts to that. This website has been taken off my list of must-sees, as in coming here I was looking for an escape, not yet another round of political content.

    And so, yes, Enterprise1981, I have *zero* issues in abandoning Star Trek and all those in it if it is just going to be another bastion of the young juvenile hipster douchebag liberal-type guys/gals cultural dominion. And I was a Trekker before the first movie cane out. I’m a lot older and have done things you probably haven’t or couldn’t, so I’m not in the mood for much. Snark as you will–and you will, even if not here. Have a nice day.

  • Mike

    I post here regularly… Secondly, it’s not the commentors that brought up politics and modern government as a way of discussing this episode. The reviewer, in the review, did. The reviewer sets the basic terms of discussion. Sure, someone can bring up something the reviewer didn’t, and in many cases that can be perfectly fine and legit. What is always legitimate, however, is actually discussing what the reviewer did, in fact, post. And she did, in fact, post about modern American politics. If she didn’t want to discuss liberal or conservative principles, one might consider not bringing up Newt Gingrich or anything akin to that in the first place… But to bring them up, have your say, and then try to stiffle someone else’s perspective ON THAT EXACT ISSUE is pretty ballsy. If Michelle didn’t want this review’s comments to be about modern politics, her review shouldn’t have been about modern politics.

  • Mike

    And what are you doing? Trying to stop him from commenting on a review… were his comments not directly related to the actual content of the review you might have a point… However, the review did contain those things, so him commenting on them seems to be reasonable to me… and thus, what was your point again? He has an opinion. It doesn’t match yours. One would think, since you’ve taken up the liberal cause here, that you’d be all for freedom of speech to the extremes! Oh, but that’s right… Liberals are almost always in favor of censorship when other’s opinions aren’t their own… because liberals are the only ones with real answers and the truth of things and anyone else is just trying to be dastardly and lie. Oh, please…. If you want to be irritated at someone, be irritated at Michelle for turning this review political IN THE FIRST SENTENCE.

  • Mike

    There’s definitely an agenda… but running from it rather than standing up to it isn’t the answer. You haven’t said or done anything wrong here, you’ve expressed your opinion, just as the reviewer did hers. Allowing liberals to be the sole voice, even if countering it isn’t what we want to do on a site like this, isn’t right… We know that… And so, as distasteful as it is that we have to hold up the banner of rationality when all we want to do is talk about some fun sci-fi, if this is the battlefield of their choosing, this is where it must be done. Kids come here. Kids shouldn’t be exposed to rampant liberalism without a conservative perspective also being offered. Leave if you must, but you aren’t alone… and a defense against this stupidity must be mounted… in perpetuity. I’d certainly prefer to have another voice of reason, but I can understand how this whole thing would’ve turned you off… but wasn’t that their goal? That’s always their goal… make us look like bad people with nefarious intent… that’s not what conservatives are… and as long as the reviewer and commentors are making that case, I’ll be here to make the inverse and defend reality. With that said, I’d much rather talk purely about Star Trek… but it’s hard to get to Trek when a review starts with an attack on half the population.

  • SJStar

    Please I wish you would just shut up and let it go. You seem so hell-bent on making sure you are right, that you miss the whole point of the review and the TV show it discusses. Smart-A comes to mind… but that will make you rabbit on about the unfairness of it all.

    Please don’t bother to respond, as I no longer give a toss.

  • Enterprise1981

    And what am I doing? Simply pointing out that when people try this hard to convince others of their way of thinking, they are really only trying to convince themselves–that “drive-by liberalism” comment for example. I was initially responding to Ryan Ellis’s claim that only a “dumb liberal Hollywood writer” would portray a futuristic society the way the Star Trek universe does. I said that suggesting the Star Trek franchise is part of some “leftist conspiracy” serves no purpose besides trolling. So far, he hasn’t responded, but others have jumped in to vehemently deny they were trolling, which seems rather peculiar. I am not trying to subvert anyone’s free speech.

    If you’ll excuse me, I have to go slander the exalted Newt Gingrich by quoting words he actually said and in context.

  • Guest

    Looks like Moochelle is at it again, now adding liberal hate speech to her generous supply of militant feminist BS.

  • Enterprise1981

    Enlighten me, please. Why would the comment Newt Gingrich be so upsetting if it had no truth to it?

  • Enterprise1981

    “Kids come here. Kids shouldn’t be exposed to rampant liberalism without a conservative perspective also being offered.”

    That was the master plan. Bwa-ha-ha!

    Okay, for every ten people on this site who correctly point out that Barack Obama is a natural born citizen of the United States, we’ll have six people who say, “No, he isn’t.” Is that satisfactory?

  • Enterprise1981

    Thank you. I regret that I had to be drawn into a back and forth verbal war of attrition that started with a few commenters taking one little isolated incident and multiplying it by a million. And I admit, I sometimes let my inhibitions go in the online communities. Let’s try to understand that these reviews are one person giving their opinion on a particular episode and I commend Michelle for trying to rise above the usual petty bickering that goes on in these comments. It is not about promoting any agenda, as one of our recent “guests” suggested. Not everything is about solving world issues or making sure liberals and conservatives have an equal voice on every little topic of discussion.

  • Mike

    You were perfectly fine conducting the conversation until it wasn’t going your way… then you have all your posts deleted. I don’t have any interest in talking with someone like that. Dumb-A comes to mind…

  • Mike

    Yes, these reviews are her opinion… and these comments are the correlary opinions of those commenting… What’s your point? When she makes a political statement, I don’t see remotely how it’s unfair for us to follow up on that. It’s not like we brought up Newt Gingrich just to talk about him… he was brought up in the first sentence of the review… Now, you are free to ask what Newt Gingrich has to do with this episode, and you’d have a very valid point… but that point wouldn’t be directed at us, it would be directed at the person that brought him up in the first place, not to those that are responding in the comments section of a review on the review itself. You claim there’s no attempt at ideological chicanery, so what is the first sentence of the review meant to do?

  • SJStar

    Fine. But please, stop acting like a two year old child!

  • SJStar

    Again, fine. But please, stop acting like a two year old child!

  • Enterprise1981

    I’m admitting that I myself overreacted. But I stand by my assertion others overreacted, especially Mr. Ellis.

  • Mike

    You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t take behavioral advice from someone of your ilk… after all, nobody has actually been particularly disrespectful to you about your person… you, on the other hand have referenced people as “American Capitalist Pigs”, dismissed them by saying “Oh, you’re American,” etc. What part of that is supposed to make you the arbiter of the discussion or people’s behavior therein? You’re just a whiney little brat that wanted to have the last word but can’t handle the merits of the actual discussion… You were fine with the discussion until you lost the discussion patently on the points… and then you asked for not only your losing points to be deleted, but all of our points as well. And then, when that didn’t happen, your only recourse is to act like you weren’t being petulant and beg for it all to stop… oh, the humanity… you poor thing… If you don’t want the discussion to continue, stop posting. If you don’t click on the link, you don’t see the discussion. But once again, that’s not enough for you… you have to CONTROL the discussion… if you aren’t going to take part, we should all stop talking, right? Don’t think so, chum… I’m not going to respond to myself, so if you’re done here, stop responding and so will I… respond with something else inane or controlling and see if that ends it…

  • Mike

    I think you should re-read what Ryan Ellis wrote without YOUR emotional baggage attached. He was talking about the episode and the review. Within the episode, the concept of full employment from the government arose. Combine that with the bias of the reviewer, and he was well within reason to make the comment he did. He pointed out the pure fiction of a full employment act… If you don’t like that, that’s fine, discuss it on the merits… but that’s not what this has been for some time… No, this discussion turned into a, “if you don’t like the leftist sentiment, shut up and take it, or leave”. And that’s not right… it’s sure not in the spirit of Star Trek… He had an opinion, and it wasn’t his opinion that got attacked… it was his right to have it and his right to state it without being personally attacked here…

  • Enterprise1981

    Let me clarify. If I think the manner in which Ryan Ellis responded was an overreaction, that’s my opinion, too. Thank you and good night.

  • SJStar

    Yawn…