Lion of the Blogosphere

Star Trek, S01E21, The Return of the Archons

It begins with Sulu (who we now know is gay, but when I watched this episode as a kid I had no clue) and some random crewmember desperately calling the ship asking for emergency beam up. But there’s a really long delay before someone activates the transporter, and by that time it’s too late, this robed guy touches Sulu with a long rod and Sulu becomes this mindless religious fanatic.

So Kirk, Spock, and a bunch of random crewmembers beam down to the planet to figure out what’s going on, and to find out what happened to the USS Archon which disappeared here a hundred years ago. The question of why it took Starfleet a hundred years before they could finally spare resources to investigate the Archon’s disappearance is never explained. Perhaps because Starfleet is a huge inefficient bureaucracy?

They wander around a quaint 19th century style town where everyone is a mindless religious fanatic like Sulu, but then at exactly 6 PM everyone goes crazy and they start fighting and having sex. We don’t exactly see anyone having sex, but I assume that’s what was really going on and explains why “Landru,” the god of this world, lets his people run wild for twelve hours every so often. It’s so they can reproduce.

The religion is very reminiscent of Catholicism. Star Trek was a very atheist show, because it shows every planet having a stupid religion, and the smart non-religious people of the Enterprise look down upon the idiocy of the natives. I credit Star Trek for opening my eyes to the fallacy of religion when I was a little kid. Thank you Gene Roddenberry.

Then they stay overnight at an inn. I wondered why they didn’t just beam back to the Enterprise to go to sleep. How did they pay for the inn if they didn’t have any local currency?

It was a lucky coincidence for Kirk and Spock that two of the innkeepers were not brainwashed by Landru, and they give them some help, but despite the help the Kirk, Spock, and the other random crewmembers are captured and put into a medieval-looking prison. Meanwhile, back on the Enterprise, Scotty is on the bridge and the ship is under attack from “heat beams” coming from the planet surface which prevent the ship from leaving orbit.

Eventually, Kirk and Spock figure out that Landru is a computer, and Kirk leads the computer down a logic trap, and faced with cognitive dissonance, the computer starts smoking and then flames come out of it. I am 100% certain that when we eventually do create sentient machines, you won’t be able to destroy them by out-logicking them in a verbal conversation. But Gene Roddenberry or whoever was writing these scripts really loved that plot device, I recall a whole bunch of episodes where Kirk took down the evil computer by leading it into a cognitive dissonance trap.

This is said to be the first episode where the “Prime Directive” is mentioned, and thus the first episode where Kirk ignores the Directive to get results, as he does in every other episode where the Prime Directive is brought up. In this case, Kirk makes up the rule that the Prime Directive doesn’t apply when the society is run by a computer with mind-control powers.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 8, 2016 at EST pm

Posted in Politics

27 Responses

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  1. “Star Trek was a very atheist show, because it shows every planet having a stupid religion, and the smart non-religious people of the Enterprise look down upon the idiocy of the natives.”

    I always found that annoying. Atheists are obnoxiously arrogant as are most liberals. Since most atheists are liberals it’s a common trait.

    “Kirk leads the computer down a logic trap, and faced with cognitive dissonance, the computer starts smoking and then flames come out of it.”

    Atheists think they’re more logical than everyone else. Without going into a long discussion of Moral Foundations Theory, most atheists are atheists for emotional reasons not logical ones. For example, it’s much easier to reject religion when one is a degenerate. Since religion gets in the way of their drugs and promiscuity. A truly logical atheist would recognizes the value of religion and morality.

    destructure

    December 9, 2016 at EST am

    • Another reason that doesn’t hold up logically is when someone rejects their religion because of a personal tragedy like the death of a child, when they knew from the very beginning that some people’s children die and this never caused any problems.

      Jokah Macpherson

      December 9, 2016 at EST am

  2. So the Jedi mine trick should be credited to Roddenberry. A whole decade before Lucas

    K.l. Asher

    December 9, 2016 at EST am

  3. “Eventually, Kirk and Spock figure out that Landru is a computer, and Kirk leads the computer down a logic trap, and faced with cognitive dissonance, the computer starts smoking and then flames come out of it. ”

    I hope you’re wrong and we still have a logic trap that we can toss at an intelligent AI when they start to get uppity.

    NORMAN: But there was no explosion.

    MUDD: I lied.

    NORMAN: What?

    KIRK: He lied. Everything Harry tells you is a lie. Remember that. Everything Harry tells you is a lie.

    MUDD: Listen to this carefully, Norman. I am lying.

    NORMAN: You say you are lying, but if everything you say is a lie then you are telling the truth, but you cannot tell the truth because everything you say is a lie. You lie. You tell the truth. But you cannot for. Illogical! Illogical! Please explain.

    (Smoke comes out of Norman’s head.)

    Mike Street Station

    December 9, 2016 at EST am

    • This is an example of what philosophers and logicians call the liar’s paradox.

      Lewis Medlock

      December 9, 2016 at EST pm

  4. “But Gene Roddenberry or whoever was writing these scripts really loved that plot device, I recall a whole bunch of episodes where Kirk took down the evil computer by leading it into a cognitive dissonance trap.”

    It’s how Matthew Broderick stopped the evil nuclear war computer too. It’s kind of a deus ex machina except really it’s more of the opposite.

    Jokah Macpherson

    December 9, 2016 at EST am

    • Next generation stumper: “No. You’re the racist.” (smoke comes out of Norman’s head)

      Actually, AIs no longer use logic so whatevs rednecks.

      Glengarry

      December 9, 2016 at EST am

  5. Trump attacking the union boss instead of the cucks running carrier isn’t a crowd pleaser. Hope we don’t get George Bush the III to complete the magic trifecta of cuckoldry, paedophilia and economic destruction.

    He may even invade Iraq again.

    The Philosopher

    December 9, 2016 at EST am

    • Everyone is corrupt, including union leadership. Spread around the twitter anger Mr. Trump.

      Now, if union leadership weren’t so cucked themselves, buying completely into feminism, anti-whiteness, anti-male, islamophilia, etc. then maybe you’d have a point.

      Andrew E.

      December 9, 2016 at EST am

    • He attacked the union boss not out of TruCon ideology but because the union boss attacked him first. Tump never allows an insult to go unanswered. It is one of his core values.

      PerezHBD

      December 9, 2016 at EST am

  6. the smart non-religious people of the Enterprise look down upon the idiocy of the natives.

    Meanwhile, their kids back on Earth are getting deep into post-colonial identity politics. “No, dad. Klingons can’t be racist. Only Starfleet can be racist!”

    Glengarry

    December 9, 2016 at EST am

  7. “It begins with Sulu (who we now know is gay …”

    If we didn’t live in such an SJW/cucked culture, SNL or the like woukd parody ST:

    [Kirk, sweeping onto the bridge]: “Where’s Mr. Zulu?”

    Spock: “currently sucking cock, captain.”

    Kirk: “well, when he’s finished swallowing, get those shields up.”

    Marty

    December 9, 2016 at EST pm

  8. “touches Sulu with a long rod and Sulu becomes this mindless religious fanatic”

    “Ooooooooo”

    Lion of the Turambar

    December 9, 2016 at EST pm

  9. Is Sulu gay? I know that the actor who plays him is, but I wasn’t aware that the character is also supposed to be gay.

    gothamette

    December 9, 2016 at EST pm

    • Well there were Star Trek episodes in which Kirk, Spock,Dr. McCoy and even logical Mr. Spock all had romantic interests, but never Sulu. I think the hints were there.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      December 9, 2016 at EST pm

      • It was the 1960s. One, Asian men were considered to be fairly asexual so giving Sulu a love interest may have never crossed any of the writers’ minds. Two, Sulu would only have been allowed to have a love interest in a chracter played by an Asian woman, and that would have been a casting complication. Although I think the evil Sulu in Mirror, Mirror did show a sexual interest in Uhura?

        Peter Akuleyev

        December 9, 2016 at EST pm

      • If Kirk could have sex with aliens, surely it would have been OK for Sulu to have sex with a non-Asian human woman?

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        December 9, 2016 at EST pm

      • “If Kirk could have sex with aliens, surely it would have been OK for Sulu to have sex with a non-Asian human woman?”

        Certainly not. Star Trek was famous for having the first inter-racial kiss on American TV. Do you think people who were bothered by that kiss were equally bothered by Kirk regularly ‘chucking one up’ green alien women? For a start we all know the aliens aren’t real, and in any case it didn’t have the real world social and political repercussions of black/white sex for America.

        On the other hand…a series in which alien explorers came to earth and started having sex with human women might be a different proposition. A white man’s pride is not wounded by the thought of future white men going out and seducing hot green women all over the galaxy, I suppose.

        As a side note: can you imagine how busy the genito-urinary ward must have been on the Enterprise? There should have been an episode about some intelligent alien genital warts that spread from Kirk’s cock to his brain and theatened to take over the ship. Would have been a very useful message for the Woodstock generation too.

        prolier than thou

        December 9, 2016 at EST pm

      • When the “Hot Fuzz” guy was promoting the last movie Takei made a public announcement that Sulu wasnt gay and they should never have added that sub plot.

        Lion of the Turambar

        December 9, 2016 at EST pm

    • Can someone explain why making Sulu gay is even a thing? Sure there seems to be some rule now that minorities have to be shoehorned into everything, but Sulu is like the only Far Eastern guy on this ship and now he’s gay? Its not bad enough that Far Eastern guys are seen as less manly and virile, but now the only one on the Enterprise is gay?
      Is Hollywood TRYING TO PISS OF THE FAR EAST?

      Joshua Sinistar

      December 12, 2016 at EST am

  10. “Kirk makes up the rule that the Prime Directive doesn’t apply when the society is run by a computer with mind-control powers”

    This is something of a sore point for me with a lot of television series. It’s common for theme to rely on the flash of genius and inspiration to solve the case, win the war or cure the patient. Not only is this lazy and too convenient, but it also robs the story of some of the interest that could be had from understanding the kind of deliberations that go into making decisions in professions like law, medicine or in sci-fi space exploration. Obviously for a man like Kirk a great deal of the job requirement would be digesting and then applying a huge amount of protocol and regulations. If we were shown some of this in the series we would be able to see him as the more brilliant and clever man he is supposed to be, as well as giving the writers more imaginative free rein over what kind of regulations a spaceship and her crew would require (I’m aware that this might be a niche interest on my part). As it is Kirk’s answer to everything is to trust his gut instincts, which I suppose might be appealing in an everyman sense, but then I’d rather see him as a unique man than just some guy off the street whose answer to everything is to either punch it or to try and stick his dick in it. Did he really need all that training to do that? (Incidentally, this head-heart dichotomy seems to be one of the main themes of Star Trek and I suppose it’s in keeping with it’s ’60’s origins that it almost always comes down on the side of heart, feelings and instinct over logic and rationality, which is pretty odd for a sci-fi series).

    These type of storylines also contribute to prole and underclass minority resentment of middle class professionals. All they ever see is doctors, lawyers and generals making an inspired guess and just going with their feelings and it always comes off. People watching these shows think that’s how life really is if you are a top doctor or lawyer, and because everyone naturally trusts their own instincts it feeds an idea that they could equally be a top doctor or Star Fleet captain if only they were given the chance.

    prolier than thou

    December 9, 2016 at EST pm

  11. It’s only in this new timeline brought about by the events in the 1st of the last 3 ST movies that Sulu is gay. In the original series and movies he (at least according to Takei) was not.

    beancrusher

    December 9, 2016 at EST pm

  12. I am not familiar enough with Star Trek and I am not always sure if may re-interpretations of fictional characters as gay are meant as a joke but I find it very puzzling that apparently people under 35 or 40 have a hard time to except heterosexual male friendship and (temporary) celibate characters or those very discreet about their sexuality (so there are simply not sufficient clues whether they are supposed to be gay or straight). Obviously, for many fictional characters this is not important so the author might simply not have bothered. But from this comes the nonsense of seeing Holmes and Watson (marries, later widowed), Frodo and Sam (who has a gf/crush before and later marries) or Ernie and Bert as gay.
    Despite humanities degrees they are usually also unaware of how new (19th cent.) categories like homo- and heterosexual are and in their (re)interpretation of historic and literary characters they commit the very same “essentialist” fallacies wrt “sexual orientation” they deplore as a root of evil in current “cis-normative patriarchy”.
    How about recognizing that, especially in fiction not focussed on romance or with sidekick characters, “sexual orientation” is NOT what fixes their “identity” (in the nonsensical postmodern sense)? How liberating could that be for enjoying fiction?!?

    parrhesia

    December 10, 2016 at EST am

    • There is also a wider point that acceptance of homosexuality and gay culture has created a wider awareness of it, which has impacted on the friendships of heterosexual males and made them suspect, as well as altering the way we view masculinity. So it turns out that straight men did indeed have a vested interest in keeping homosexuality a taboo subject and a fringe subculture, and those who made the argument that ‘you have no business telling other people how they live their lives’ were failing to understand that accepting their lifestyle would involve unwelcome changes to ours.

      prolier than thou

      December 10, 2016 at EST am

  13. There are lots of things about Star Trek that become disturbing if you look closer, but the built in hostility to religion is definitely one of them. The Original Series couldn’t go after Christians directly, but they had all sorts of “gods” that Kirk and Crew knocked off and berated with the silly excuse that mankind has “evolved” and no longer needs gods. Unless of course the Klingons are invading, in which case the primitive Organians become a quick and easy way to force peace on them through their god-like abilities. Or if the Gorns kill a Federation Colony and the strange Metrons prevent war by making Kirk fight a slow reptilian Starship Captain. Then its not religious at all.
    This episode is bad, but “The Apple” is worse. Kirk and crew bring a landing party to a planet, and quickly redshirts are dying. Suspecting these natural defenses are actually artificial devices to prevent invaders, Kirk naturally ignores them and forces his way in. Finding an Eden-like paradise where the natives are peaceful and live forever, have their environment controlled and plenty of food and clean water, Kirk naturally decides to destroy Vaal, the alien mechanism that maintains this paradise because these natives call him a god. Apparently immortality, eternal youth, peaceful existence and plenty are just horrible if there is religion involved.
    Say what you will, but Kirk and crew started it, and Vaal was just trying to make them leave and not contaminate the peaceful and indigenous natives. Of course they end up destroying Vaal, the Eden is gone, the weather is no longer controlled to provide enough food, and the natives have no ability whatsoever to adapt cause their only source of information was destroyed. A job well done, against the very nature of “The Prime Directive”, Kirk just leaves them to their uncertain fate and tells them to figure it out.
    OH, NICE JOB. You know, they’re probably all dead now.

    Joshua Sinistar

    December 11, 2016 at EST am


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