So, we’ve discovered the newest iteration of Star Trek on TV.

First, I find Michael Burnham to be a laudable character, at least, as far as her bio suggests she should be. Supposedly educated by none other than Spock’s father, Sarek, it is hinted that she might be the only human to ever have attended Vulcan schools. However, through her actions during the first episode it might be understandable to assume she is an average emotionally volatile human. Only a day or so after Capt. Georgiou discusses a command of her own, Burnham commits blatant mutiny in order to initiate what can only be considered war with the Klingons, a hereto misunderstood and feared enigma to the Federation and Strafleet; hardly a logical course of action.

Secondly, the rest of the crew seems an afterthought, barely worthy of their names appearing in the end credits. The interaction of Burnham, Georgiou, and Saru are splattered across every scene with almost no interaction from the rest of the crew. This might seem acceptable for a pilot episode, but with Trek, the ensemble cast has always been introduced with an easy simplicity in the premiere episodes. This is yet another thing that seems difficult for DSC to learn from its predecessors.

Thirdly, the Klingons seem to be taking center stage. And despite the obvious outward redesign, they also do not behave exactly like other Klingons throughout the Trek universe. This might be explained during the rest of the first season, but even then it seems as though a more fitting title for the show would be “Star Trek: Exposition of Klingons”. There also seemed to be a thick layer of a Game of Thrones paint slathered all over the interactions among the Klingons. While this may be the norm for modern TV, it is an anathema to the Trek universe. Star Trek has always had an air of big “D” drama, as it should given the varying degrees of danger the crews find themselves in, but the majority of that drama has been more than a few paces away from Soap Opera style drivel.

Lastly, the effects…this show so obviously and painfully is drawing from the JJ Abrams style of cinematography that I wonder if they might be paying him royalties. The style of Trek on TV has always been more-or-less in-line with the rest of non-sci-fi TV. That is, no flares, no tilted camera angles, dramatic close-ups only when deemed necessary. I can imagine a few people were actually mildly dizzy watching the cyclonic movements and frenzied lighting that made-up the majority of the first two episodes. This is without-a-doubt, not the Trek of old, and it may very well have changed too much.

I know quite a many people fell in love with this show as soon as it aired. Those are the people that would have also bought a pet rock, chattering teeth, or plopped down a bundle for a sliver of land on the moon. This show may, after a while, prove itself to be the incarnation of Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future, but it failed in the first 90 minutes to convince me that it isn’t much more than a marketing ploy by CBS to entice people into paying for a streaming service that will still force viewers to watch commercials and probably have buffering issues with horrifying regularity. I, for one, am not sold.

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Trek Rant, sort of

So, lately I’ve been writing a few opinion pieces for a Star Trek blog. While I have been a long-time fan, and I enjoy writing, I’ve noticed that there are a multitude of serious fans that do not take kindly to having their precious sci-fi put to scrutiny. This is not a serious issue for me, as I am inclined to write and let my writing stand without much regret. However, it isn’t a goal of mine to ridicule or take away pleasure in a franchise that has endured for half a century.

My general view of the news series, starting on September 24th of this year, is that there have been multiple delays; key personnel have left the show, only to be replaced by others with less stellar resumes, and the overall look of the show has veered toward a Abrams-style that many fans found off-putting in the latest trilogy of films.

The tricky thing here is accepting a realistic assessment of a sci-fi television show…I say that because certainly a portion of the fan base wants to simply watch and be entertained, and not have the fantasy of it all be criticized or revealed as such. That’s completely understandable, but what would be too far? How much change is acceptable before a fan looses interest? Or, is it the fan, through aging, that no longer can accept the fantastical nature of a show like Discovery. These questions are perhaps too philosophical and overly analytical for a TV show, but they seem relevant none-the-less.

One possibility, that with a newer generation running things at CBS and Paramount, as well as a younger audience to entice, things need to change, things need to be fresh in order to be successful. My guess is that no one will ever reach a definitive answer for all of the consternation felt by so many for all of the various reasons they might voice could very well simply be veiled crotchetiness.

As for me, I’m well passed it all. I’ve lost interest in the whole debate; the Klingons, the style of the show, the uniforms, the characters…etc. I have seen every episode of Trek that has ever been shown on TV, but this newest series might be the one I skip, based on nothing more than wanting to have plausible deniability to avoid discussion and debate about its various controversial aspects.

Tweets and Twerps

If you have seen the obvious misspelling tweeted by #45 (yes, I refuse to use his name, as that is his most prized possession and his only truly marketable asset) then relax, you, like everyone else, have been bombarded in what can only be described as the increasingly common approach to news taken by most news outlets. Was there something sinister behind this tweet? That is highly doubtful as #45 seems to barely understand the consequences of his tweets, to say nothing of his actions. Was there anything other than his garden variety, disturbingly frantic, nonsensical ranting? Not likely.

What is important, at least to me, is that this one typo, this small moment, meaningless as it is, set the internet, and thus the media ablaze. Why, in the name of lemons and lime does anyone spend more than 20 seconds on whether or not this man misspelled something? Why, with the Paris Climate Agreement on the line, escalating tensions with North Korea, Iran, and Syria, does anyone worth a damn, pay any attention to this inane tweet? Because it distracts. It defocuses.

This man, who some have ridiculed, insulted, and dismissed out-of-hand, is still very much the President. Regardless of whether anyone might like him, he quite literally has his finger on the most destructive buttons in the history of mankind. Therefore, instead of celebrating his asinine twitter feed, or making memes that do not refocus him, or for that matter his seemingly inept staff, we, as a nation, as a people, should demand, not ask politely for, not request through some bureaucratic labyrinth, but demand that our elected officials (regardless of how we might feel about how they won an election) focus their time and energy on issues that are not just topical or trendy, but ones that actually effect our quality of life.

If we let ourselves be distracted by this sophomoric nonsense, and let our public officials frivolously spend their days devising schemes to lead us down those idiotic paths, then I say we are not worthy of anything else. We do not warrant leadership of the caliber we have had in the past, and we might as well turn the office of President into a 24/7 reality TV show, as that seems to be what the majority truly wants.

As a veteran of the military, it disgusts me that anyone would not demand that the President of The United States of America spend his time actually working on policy and diplomacy. I also find it disturbing that #45 seems to relish his fans (I use “fans” rather than “supporters” as most don’t seem to know what his views really are and simply LIKE him) apologetic views of his behavior. His inability to admit mistakes has already been, and will likely continue to be, detrimental to the US’s standing on the international stage, and more significantly, through the lens of history.

Star Trek Discovery vs The Orville

This is the new Star Trek Discovery trailer. And as exciting as it is, I’m uneasy about much of the aesthetic choices, most especially the Klingons. Yes, I know the Klingons have changed a few times, but never this drastically, or for seemingly just the heck of it. Some will point out that when he had the money, Roddenberry changed the look of several aliens…well, yes, he did, but he did it to what we know from the ’80s and ’90s, not this new version. I’m not trying to make the case that new aliens and a modern aesthetic are contrary to good storytelling, that judgment will need to wait until the show actually airs. However, what many fans have come to expect from Trek is a certain level of consistency, and this seems to disregard consistency for what I can only assume is renewed interest.

Keeping in mind that this show will air only its pilot on network television, and then reside behind a paywall, CBS is banking on serious interest that this trailer only barely stirs, at least in someone that has watched Star Trek most of his life. I hope that the show will have success, but given the issues they’ve had with the roll-out, delays, budget and personnel, I fear this show may be shorter lived than Enterprise was.

Meanwhile, this is the trailer for a new show on Fox, starring Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, American Dad, and so much more. This show looks to be a lighter look at the future and space exploration, almost refreshing given the numerous dystopian themes running through much of network and cable television. This seems like a bit of a coup for Fox as “The Orville” looks more like Trek than the new Trek. It also, by using humor, might have an edge over a show that seems like it might be focusing a bit to much on the drama of space travel…and doing so in horrible stylistic contrast to its predecessors.

I will admit that I am looking forward to both of these shows, but there is reason to bet on the latter having more success than the former if nothing else but because people might want a healthy dose of funny and interesting rather than space battles galore plus drama. The current political climate might just be the thing that sets the shows against each other.

Power

구마 마나 오바 |타 거 마라하 토미 마 거 다마하 브가 |아막 나 냐 마나 더약 |마나 냐 뷰도고터 다허라기 냐 어타 디그 여담버

kuama mana opa | tla ke malaha tlomi ma ke tamaha puka | amak na nya mana teyak | mana nya puetokotle tahelaki nya etla tiku yetampe

always power danger | 4sg O bad-AUG attract and O good-AUG corrupt | never 1sg for power request-NEG | power for be.ready-AG-REL low-MOT-REFL for P.4sg pick-up give-LIM

Power is always dangerous. It attracts the worst. And corrupts the best. I never asked for power. Power is only given to those who are prepared to lower themselves to pick it up.

Bonveni

veni a nosa casa
tua carga es pesosa

el ia dise no
ma nos dise tota no

come con nos
e iniora la ante cuandos

La popla de la mundo debe junta per combate la odia de persones con mentes pico. Ama es plu potiosa ce odia. Vade abrasa lo!

“Arrival” (spoilers)


Various coffee stain rings that the audience is meant to accept as actually imparting meaning and nuance.

Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that “Arrival” is about linguistics. Not at all…other than a few mentions of pseudo-linguistic perspectives about how language (and time for that matter) works. I watched with what is commonly referred to as an “open-mind” in the hopes that I would appreciate the lengths the filmmakers went to incorporating linguistics into the story line. I was disappointed. While there is mention of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, and some weird attempt at explaining “nonlinear orthography” (not really a thing, by the way), as well as a few examples of Dr. Banks speaking Chinese and understanding Russian, that’s all there is.

Much of the rest of the story is sadly an emotionally driven plot about her deciding to give birth to a daughter that she knows – by way of being able to perceive time like the aliens, in a “nonlinear” way (eye roll) – will eventually die of an incurable form of cancer.

This is silly. And, yes, I mean that in a completely dismissive way. The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is debated as much as any other contentious theory and has been studied at length without much evidence to suggest its validity. But, again, this movie only uses linguistic theory as a plot device, relying on it in very much a Sci-Fi trope-ish way, including a healthy dose of “if you could time travel and change stuff, would you?”

Lastly, as someone that has studied virtually every writing system known to have existed, I just want to point out that partial circles that closely resemble coffee stains do not a written language make. If you’re looking for an entertaining movie that has a healthy helping of linguistics, this movie isn’t for you. If, however, you want to have your heart tugged at with the backdrop of science fiction, then, by all means go get some popcorn and enjoy.