Sunday, May 06, 2012

Snakes and Rifles

Sure, this guy's wig looks ridiculously bad. Sure, it doesn't make him look even slightly alien. But . . . er. Well, I guess Shatner's toupee looks pretty good by comparison.

"A Private Little War" is the second second season episode of Star Trek to bring in a pretty heavy handed Garden of Eden metaphor, where the Klingons and the crew of the Enterprise take on the role of serpent, as is directly mentioned by Kirk several times. The Adam here is the totally peaceful crude agricultural people who are so innocent they don't even know how bad those wigs look.

Kirk realises he needs to arm the more peaceful natives with flintlock rifles to compete with the villages the Klingons armed with flintlock rifles, this apparently being a pretty broad allegory for the Vietnam War, except the motives for the Klingons are never quite clear. Anyway, while the people of Vietnam were certainly victims of conflicts between larger world powers, I'd hardly go so far as to suggest they would've been perfectly innocent on their own--I wouldn't say that about any culture.

Still, I suppose it is a nice message about the virtues of non-interference. I was reminded of learning about the Yanomami in anthropology class, and how, although they were a people who frequently warred with one another, people died far less often before western traders started giving them guns. Still, there was rape and other forms of violence in their culture before that.

"A Private Little War" may have been a good episode without the religious influence. Something that really annoyed me about it was how it treated the one female character as a result of the Christian influence, the sexy witch wife of the tribal leader who heals a poisoned Kirk with an orgasm, which seems like something that ought to be celebrated on multiple levels.

Instead, the episode portrays her desire to protect their tribe with Kirk's superior weaponry as the antics of a two dimensional villain. When she manages to steal Kirk's phaser, she inexplicably takes it to the opposing tribe, then inexplicably doesn't use it when they try to gang rape her. This is all to provide the super peaceful leader of the good tribe with motivation to use guns against the other tribe.

There is something very evocatively sad about Kirk resignedly giving rifles to one tribe to balance power instead of letting one side annihilate the other. It's a shame so much got in the way of that idea.

Twitter Sonnet #382

Classist sandwiches spread coal on mayo.
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Tub aquarium dreams drenched Scott Baio.
Moonmen sold dim sketches of Chuck Berry.
Airplane upholstery tips a banana.
Heaven's a polaroid of a drugstore.
Cherry dilutes laughter in Montana.
The white shoes dance only for albacore.
Sudden seconds collapse for nerfed cheekbone.
Pizza's stricken by Satan's hula hoop.
Fate dives to stop the crimson vaudeville loan.
Donkey ears are but an incomplete loop.
Purple staples fix brightly cold rainbows.
Flintlock spells ignite the first latex rose.

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