(Content Warning: PTSD, addiction, incest, the Holocaust.) This week, Becca and Ryan take Soji's return as a jumping off point to discuss Fembots, the Pygmalion myth, and Pinocchio. Also (mild spoiler) Hugh is back! Plus, how is Raffi holding up? Join us for our analysis of The Impossible Box.
On Free Cloud, crime queens dress like pop queens
Seven of Nine is back in a bomber jacket! We are here to chat Borg, crazy costumes, queering villains, and more space socialism. What happens in Free Cloud stays in Free Cloud, but spoilers lie ahead. Also, more wine.
Welcome back, Ryan!
Becca is curious if Ryan ate guinea pig while away on adventures in Argentina, but apparently this is more of a Peruvian dish. There is a Short Trek where H Jon Benjamin eats a tribble, which is basically space guinea pig.
Do these look delicious?
We speculate that Star Trek's version of socialism is predicated on machines taking the shitty jobs. What is Fully Automated Luxury Communism by Annie Lowrey via The Atlantic provides a good analysis. One element of this Utopian vision is likely predicated on having a Universal Basic Income - check out friend-of-the-pod Owen Poindexter's TEDx talk on the subject. Outside of the Star Trek universe, The Expanse presents another example of what this future may look like.
Data's Family and Friends
Ryan gives us a mini-synopsis of the extended universe novel Cold Equations, in which Dr. Noonian Soong is resurrected in B4's body and also incorporates Data's consciousness. From this, we know that Data and Dr. Bruce Maddox became pen pals after the events of The Measure of a Man (but still, fuck that guy). In Inheritance, we meet Data's mother Juliana Tainer, who is probably the earliest in-universe example of an android who passes for human.
Hi there, Robo-Mom!
Shoutout to Director Hanelle Culpepper
Hanelle Culpepper directed a number of Discovery episodes, making history as the first black woman to direct a Star Trek property. She continued on to work on Picard, and we commend her directorial acumen!
Still Stuck on the Queer-coded Villains
We meet a new villain in this episode, Bjazl. While being a badass who has the best costumes, she's also another entry in the too-long list of villains who are queer-coded. She is also a representation of another problematic trope - Bury Your Gays - which sees queer characters die disproportionately to their hetero counterparts. Finally, consider Evil is Sexy; she's ticking all the boxes, and not in a good way.
Seven of Nine is back in a bomber jacket! We are here to chat Borg, berets and bedazzled body suits, queering villains, and more space socialism. What happens in Free Cloud stays in Free Cloud, but spoilers lie ahead. Also, more wine.
Special Guest Host Molly Sanchez (@seriousmolly) fills in for Ryan this week! She and Becca get deep in Planet Vashti - permanent refugee camp for the Romulan diaspora. We ask the tough questions: who’s going to make out with whom, what do all of Captain Rios’s emergency holograms do anyway, and where can Becca get that hat? Also, we meet Space Legolas and some ninja nuns. Strap in!
Florida Picard smiles. Florida Picard wears a hat.
Check out this Medium article by T.S. Mendola which also recaps this episode - thanks so much for crediting us for coining Dr. F*ckboy, T.S.!!!
Important Doggo Update
Molly solved the mystery of Captain Archer's dog Porthos! Apparently dogs DO live decades longer in the future (yay!) so this was, indeed, the same dog from Enterprise. Scotty disappears--but doesn't kill!--Porthos in Star Trek (2009), and rescues him in a subsequent comic book. Phew. Confirmed by
Porthos the Beagle: extremely old and not dead.
What's going on with Planet Vashti?
Are we supposed to infer some relationship to Queen Vashti from the Book of Esther? It seems like a stretch, but here's a great article on the feminist overtones of the Purim holiday - Vashti and Esther: A Feminist Perspective by Wendy Amsellem via My Jewish Learning.
The Qowat Milat are a sect of nuns who follow the Way of Absolute Candor. It seems that Absolute Candor is similar but not really the same as Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Nevertheless, if you're a manager, you might consider picking up this book.
Divergent fans might have noticed a similarity between the "Way of Absolute Candor" and the "Candor" faction, who also practiced radical truth-telling, and were pretty much hated by all the other factions for being dicks.
Michael Chabon making Jewish Trek happen
This image is already trending on Twitter.
The Prime Directive vs Savior Captains
Check out The Original Series episode "The Apple" for a worst-case scenario of Kirk interfering with a culture and breaking the Prime Directive in the name of his human savior complex. Via Memory Alpha.
Here is some more information on broken treaties between the United States and native peoples, similar to the Federation's broken promise to the Romulans. Via the African American Policy Forum.
The Three Musketeers is a pretty great book by Alexander Dumas. It's in the public domain and you can read it for free on Google Books. The Count of Monte Cristo, which he also wrote and which Molly also discusses, is a much better book. Last we checked it was free or close to it on Kindle.
Alexander Dumas was black French novelist. You can read about the role of race in his books and his sort of messed up relationship with his white father in this cool article in the Independent. We also recommend this podcast episode about Alexander Dumas from Stuff You Missed in History Class.
Check out Molly's friend and author Meg Elison, whose novel The Book of the Unnamed Midwife won the Phillip K. Dick award.
Dr. Jurati was giving off major Shut Me Up Kiss vibes, which is a trope where women who talk too much get taught to do something for the patriarchy with their face instead of blabbering. via TV Tropes.
Geordi can get it
Levar Burton's "Special Talent"
You can hear Levar Burton brag about his special talent (tongue strength? dexterity?) in the episode "Kunta in the House" on the Another Round podcast.
Special Guest Host Molly Sanchez (@seriousmolly) fills in for Ryan this week!
She and Becca get deep in Planet Vashti - permanent refugee camp for the Romulan diaspora. We ask the tough questions: who’s going to make out with whom, what do all of Captain Rios’s emergency holograms do anyway, and where can Becca get that hat? Also, we meet Space Legolas and some ninja nuns. Strap in!
Picard Episode 3 InterTREKtional coming right up ***SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS***
Picard enlists his frenemy Raffi, bad-boy Captain Rios, and our fav Dr. Anges Jurati to finally engage in his space adventure. Dr. F*ckboy seems to only exist in a state of sexy-danger-flirting, even with his sister...? Soji plays Tarot-Cataan with a Romulan-ex-Borg mythologist, as Chateau Picard gets a surprise visit. Join us as we discuss all this and more!
***SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS*** Picard enlists his frenemy Raffi, bad-boy Captain Rios, and our fav Dr. Anges Jurati to finally engage in his space adventure. Dr. F*ckboy seems to only exist in a state of sexy-danger-flirting, even with his sister...? Soji plays Tarot-Cataan with a Romulan-ex-Borg mythologist, as Chateu Picard gets invaded by goons. Join us as we discuss all this and more!
We love the 14-years-ago Starfleet uniforms. Hear, hear! to costume designer Christine Clark and concept artist Greg Hopwood. P.S. Greg has seen our instagram page (squeeee!) and also worked on Birds of Prey.
Look! They're so great!
The Paradox of Tolerance
In 1945 Philosopher Karl Popper wrote in The Open Society and Its Enemies:
Less well known is the paradox of tolerance: unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.—In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be most unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right to not tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.
Much more recently, this comic went all around the internet, and we like Skepchick's take.
The Tragic Sense of Life
The Tragic Sense of Life is the book of philosophy Captain Rios is reading when we meet him.
“The truth is that reason is the enemy of life.” Regarded as Spain’s most influential thinker, Miguel de Unamuno was a prolific writer of novels, essays, poetry, and plays. Tragic Sense of Life, published in 1912, was his most important philosophical work and is now generally considered one of the great existential texts of the 20th century—as provocative a work in its own right as anything written during the post-war period by Sartre, Camus, or Heidegger. In it Unamuno rejects the life of reason for one of intense passion, faith, and love, establishing Don Quixote as the great role model for contemporary man. — Amazon description
This page was important enough to get screen time
This week on, We watch TNG so you don't have to:
That episode where Picard goes back to Chateau Picard and immediately gets a job offer -- check the privilege! It's called Family. Also, Jean-Luc and his brother mud wrestle in it.
Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression - and the Unexpected Solutions is a very insightful book which Becca highly recommends. It outlines 9 causes of Depression, only one of which is biological, and really expanded her understanding of her own mental illness.
There you are, Hugh!
Now that Hugh's back, it's a great time to (re)listen to our episode The Borgeousie.
Becca references one of her favorite shows, Killjoys. In this case, she's postulating that Freecloud (where our heroes are headed at the end of this episode) is akin to Killjoys's Utopia which the character John Jacobis describes thusly, "Sex, drugs, meds, and tech. Everything illegal and freaky... is for sale in Utopia."
Is this what Freecloud looks like?
Socialism in the Military
We talk about the US military being an example of socialism. Here are a few people who agree with that take!
The US Military Is a Socialist Organization via The Nation
Military Life is Socialism and I Love It via Military.com
Troops of the Uniform Unite! The Military Is a Socialist Paradise! via The Daily Beast
He finally said it!
Robots have to work on a holiday, and honestly that's kind of BS. Picard argues with his Romulan housemates, and his doctor. Soji hangs with Dr. F*ckboy and helps cute new trill Dr. Naáshala Kunamadéstifee fasten her belt. Dr. Agnes Jurati drinks Earl Grey. Hot. Spoilers abound. Spoilers abound.
We are shipping these doctors and no one can stop us.
Robots have to work on a holiday, and honestly that's kind of BS. Picard argues with his Romulan housemates, his doctor, and Star Fleet, but still doesn't step foot in a ship. Soji hooks up with Dr. F*ckboy and helps cute new trill Dr. Naáshala Kunamadéstifee fasten her belt. Not all Romulans are spies, but there are a lot of Romulan spies. Dr. Agnes Jurati drinks Earl Grey. Hot. Spoilers abound.
Commodore Romulan Spy
Woman in Motion
Becca went to see Woman in Motion, about Nichelle Nichols. Check out their website to learn more about this documentary.
In 1977, with just four months left, NASA struggles to recruit scientists, engineers and astronauts for their new Space Shuttle Program. That is when Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura, challenges them by asking the question: Where are my people?. She embarks on a national blitz, recruiting 8,000 of the nation’s best and brightest, including the trailblazing astronauts who became the first African American, Asian and Latino men and women to fly in space.
Sci Fi Burlesque
Becca also saw The Hubba Hubba Review perform a sci fi set complete with Commander Riker. We’ll post the video on our Instagram, or you could follow their Instagram, or go see them personally at the DNA Lounge.
Doctor Fuckboy is seriously Meh.
A lot of people work on Labor Day.
Lots of people work on Labor Day, with data, and history, via Business News Daily
Dr. Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail.
Be nice to Siri and Alexa or the may not be nice to you. Just kidding. But seriously, Should you say 'please' and 'thank you' to virtual assistants? via The Verge.
We mention "Brothers" from TNG, when Data and Lore go visit their dad, Dr. Noonian Soong, just before his death.
Happy Birthday, Brent Spiner!
From last week:
Last week we did a fair amount of kvetching about fear of robots and the singularity, and I (Ryan) forgot to make citations.
Roko’s Basilisk is the thought experiment that presupposes that an artificial super intelligence will take over the world and punish those who knew about them and didn’t help bring them into existence. You are all doomed now. We don’t feel guilty, because this idea is dumb. (Although, please, someone make this movie, it sounds like fun to watch). It is basically Pascal’s Wager, which is kind of about believing in God just in case, and honestly makes a tiny bit more sense, but we could be wrong.
More on Captain Grumpy Pigtails next week, we hope.
InterTREKtional Season 3: Picard! is here with your first dose of feminist analysis of Star Trek: Picard. Episode 1: Remembrance. *****SPOILERS ABOUND***** Data is pretty busy painting and teaching cryptic lessons about poker bluffing in Picard's dreams. While awake, Jean Luc takes his tea sans caffeine (but continues to indulge in the real stuff where wine is concerned), shares his home with kindly Romulan refugees, and tanks a cable news interview. He meets a very special graduate student named Dahj and pledges his eternal assistance and protection to her for reasons we won't reveal in this summary. 9/11 is still on Michael Chabon's mind, and we wonder: do you assume androids are male or female?