Apology/clarification/thingy

In my post on the DS9 episode ‘A Man Alone’ I included several references to the musical Avenue Q, including quoting the number ‘Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist.’ I did not realise anyone would actually be offended by what I thought was just a silly joke, but I now know from feedback that at least one person was.

Honestly, I’m in two minds about this. I don’t want to offend people for no good reason. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings or put them off reading what else I have to say. I’m just writing opinions about Star Trek and there is no earthly reason for me to turn that into some kind of bitter wrangle. For that reason, I offered that person an apology, and I did mean it. (Who knows whether it sounded sincere to them, though; any time I get feedback like that I start to gravely doubt my ability to say what I mean without it sounding like something worse.)

On the other hand, I still think ‘Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist’ is a very funny number, Avenue Q is overall a very funny show, and I like to quote bits and pieces of whatever I think is funny in whatever I write. I guess I can’t anticipate every reference that might bother somebody with a different perspective from my own, every phrase that just seems silly to me but may seem nasty to someone else. (Many, yes, every, no, and a lot obviously depends on context and mood, not to mention whether I’m fully alert at the time.)

I hope people will understand that while I may sometimes say something tactless, without realising how it may sound to another person, I do not mean any harm, and if given the benefit of the doubt and a concise explanation of why what I said bothered you, I usually catch on and try to put things right. I don’t want to be one of those people whose attitude is ‘I didn’t mean it that way so you are in the wrong for taking it that way,’ because I’ve dealt with some of them myself and know how irritating they are.

Am I attempting to justify/cover myself? Yes, I suppose I am. It’s never any fun to hear that you offended someone while joking around; there’s always an element of wounded amour-propre from the clash between one’s intentions and the way the remark was received, especially when you’re usually fairly careful about these things. Even when you habitually try to be considerate and fair, you can still fuck up sometimes in unguarded moments, and all you can do is listen to what the other person says, explain yourself, and try not to repeat that particular mistake.

So I’m sorry about that, I can’t promise I won’t unwittingly make that kind of mistake again, and I ask you to bear with me, I guess. At least I thought about it?

TNG Episode 1.9: The Battle

In which Wesley is unusually annoying.

Memory Alpha says: A gift to Captain Picard from a Ferengi military leader may have more sinister intentions.

My Review

This should be my last one before Christmas, because I actually have a life for the next few days – and it will also be the last one until after New Year, because guess who’s moving house on the 29th? Yes, I shall be a busy bunny indeed.

So in this episode we get some more repellent military Ferengi – I do want to continue with my assumption that Marauders are just the dregs of their society, sent out into space to stop them getting in everyone’s way – and the origin of the Picard Manoeuvre, the actual spaceship one rather then the one you do with your pullover. I have spelled it Manoeuvre because it’s far more French that way and I feel sure Jean-Luc would like that.

Allons-y!
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TNG Episode 1.8: Justice

In which there are many little pink playsuits.

Memory Alpha says: The Enterprise takes shore leave on a pleasurable and peaceful planet. However, things quickly turn ugly when Wesley Crusher is sentenced to death for a seemingly slight rules violation, a matter made more complicated when the Prime Directive is in effect. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
This is a lavishly dumb episode, and as such I shall be reviewing it only in point form. I am psyching myself up for the dumbness by drinking soda and listening to Sailor Moon music. Speaking of which, I am vaguely impressed by how this manages to make me think ‘Star Trek‘ and ‘Sailor Mercury’ at the same time. Okay, Starfleet Prism Power, let’s go.
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DS9 Episode 1.7: Q-Less

In which Julian gets right up my nose – and up Q’s too.

Memory Alpha says: Archaeologist Vash arrives from the Gamma Quadrant as Q plagues the station and an unknown force threatens to destroy it. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
I’m getting blogger’s anxiety about whether people are enjoying this, because I haven’t had any comments in the last couple of days, and as I type this my Blogger stats suggest people actually haven’t been viewing the last couple of entries. I realise that the format or style of my reviews has been changing around; in some cases I just gave commentary while in others I recapped the episode with my commentary seeded in. (I fell into this, I suppose, because it’s standard on Television Without Pity, and I usually enjoy that site – Keckler’s reviews of Enterprise are well worth reading, because she gives the show credit for what it did well but never lets its many weak points slide, and is funny, and includes interesting cookery anecdotes, and she did some one-offs of TOS, TNG and DS9 episodes as well.) I hope that’s not annoying people. On the other hand, I realise that it’s the end of the middle of December and a lot of people are travelling to spend the holidays with their families, shopping, cooking and decorating for Christmas, going to parties, and generally less inclined to sit on their bums reading about Star Trek, so I’ll try not to fret.

To take my mind off it, today I shall wrap presents (I’m using a ‘brown paper packages tied up with strings’ theme, and anyone who doesn’t like The Sound of Music can sit on it), help decorate the tree at my parents’, and watch Star Trek. I see I’ve surprised you! Okay, let’s tackle the only Q episode of DS9, which would otherwise be Q-less, and you see what I did there.
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DS9 Episode 1.6: Captive Pursuit

In which O’Brien makes a friend, and Quark is a more effective counsellor than Deanna ever was.

Memory Alpha says: O’Brien helps an alien from the Gamma Quadrant as hunters descend on the station searching for their humanoid prey. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Although O’Brien wasn’t exactly the main focus of the last episode, he was our way into the story. I would say ‘Captive Pursuit’ is the first proper O’Brien Episode, so it’s an interesting one to look at in terms of how O’Brien is used in DS9. His initial purpose in the series, besides ‘mend the station,’ is to be a familiar face from TNG, someone reliable and relatable who we know and like, a bit of an anchor as we get used to the new characters and setting. The foundation of the ‘O’Brien Must Suffer’ policy was the fact that O’Brien was so relatable and likeable, that he had an Everyman quality in the midst of space opera. And of course now that O’Brien got to be a main rather than supporting character, he could be much more developed than there was ever time for in TNG. Good opportunity for the writers, and for Colm Meaney, of whom I am fond (see The Snapper). So this is the start of O’Brien’s new phase of development.

‘Captive Pursuit’ also features some far more convincing reptilian alien makeup than ‘Lonely Among Us’ did, just in case you really like reptilian alien episodes. Let’sssss go.
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TNG Episode 1.7: Lonely Among Us

In which Data smokes a pipe and floats my boat.

Memory Alpha says: While transporting delegates, Picard and his crew are enveloped by a cloud that seizes control of their minds and alters their behavior.

My Review
And that’s why I don’t trust clouds. I have no real memory of this episode to go on, other than some blue lightning, and I think that at some point Riker comes off as a smug vegan. Since Riker looks like he lives on raw steak and ice-cream, I find this amusing. On with the show.
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DS9 Episode 1.5: Babel

In which O’Brien commences to suffer, and Quark has an adventure.

Memory Alpha says: A virus infects the station’s residents, making everyone unable to speak coherently. (Please click the Memory Alpha link for detailed information.)

My Review
Star Trek writers really like the word ‘Babel,’ because it’s been in the title of multiple episodes, including the awesome TOS ‘Journey to Babel’ in which we meet Sarek and Amanda, everyone looks extra classy in dress uniform jackets, and McCoy is just elated to hear that Spock had a childhood teddy bear.

I love his eyes. Furthermore, I felt quite unnerved when I realised that in the JJTrek universe, McCoy has brown eyes and Kirk has blue; what an inversion!

This episode is the most literal use of ‘Babel’ in Trek, because the name originates in a Biblical story that purports to explain why people in different places speak mutually unintelligible languages. Once upon a time all the humans got together to build a great tower at a place called Babel which was going to reach Heaven and really annoy God. So God caused them all to speak different languages so they couldn’t understand each other and co-operate, and the project was abandoned. I think this means the Universal Translator is an abomination, like eating shrimp, wearing poly-cotton blends, and Garak’s personal life. ‘Babel’ also, like ‘The Naked Time’ and ‘The Naked Now,’ introduces a contagion that messes with people’s minds, but to my eternal gratitude, nobody is going to get awkwardly laid.
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