Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin
queerbychoice

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Commence Star Trek Boycott Now

Uh, excuse me . . . Star Trek fans? Did anyone else here watch the new episode of Enterprise today? And is anyone else absolutely horrified by it?

So, the Enterprise crew makes first contact with an extremely friendly extremely technologically advanced species that just happens to have three sexes and genders. Approximately 97% of the species is male or female, and 3% of the species is a third sex, referred to as "cogenitors." To create a baby, a male/female couple have to be given a cogenitor by the government; the cogenitors are not given names, much less parental rights, and are kept illiterate and passed around as slaves to whichever male/female couple wants to have a baby at the moment.

Commander Charles Tucker is Enterprise's Chief Engineer and also the show's utterly sterotyped Dumb Redneck with a Southern Accent. The very thought of what sort of sexual acts might be involved in making a baby with a three-sexed species is so sickening to him that when Enterprise's doctor tries to explain it to him, Commander Tucker says, "No, I don't think I want to hear this"; and when the doctor volunteers to show him pictures of the sex act instead of explaining it in words, Commander Tucker turns slightly green and practically runs out of the room in a panic to avoid having to look at something so, er . . . queer.

However, it is Commander Tucker, of all people, who becomes terribly upset when he finds out the living conditions of the third sex, how the cogenitors are forbidden to even learn to read, even though brain scans clearly indicate that the cogenitors are in no way inherently mentally inferior to the males and females. Commander Tucker takes it upon himself to teach a cogenitor how to read (this is miraculously accomplished in a single day, due to the very advanced brains of this species). This cogenitor then chooses a name (wanting to name emself after Commander Tucker) and begs the Enterprise crew to grant em asylum, because the male/female couple who currently own em will punish em terribly for having learned to read. Unfortunately, however, not a single other person on Enterprise agrees at all with Commander Tucker's outrage at the enslavement of the progenitors. Bafflingly, Captain Jonathan Archer refuses to grant the cogenitor asylum. Apparently he cares more about all the advanced technology that the male and female members of this species are generously offering to donate to Enterprise than he cares about the cogenitor's rights. ("Human rights!" exclaims Commander Tucker. "But the cogenitor isn't human," Captain Archer glibly dismisses him.)

So the alien species takes their enslaved cogenitor back and happily flies off in their ship. A few days later, Captain Archer received a message from the captain of the alien ship: the cogenitor who Commander Tucker taught to read, and who Captain Archer refused asylum to, has committed suicide. Captain Archer then proceeds to lecture Commander Tucker very angrily about how IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT THAT THIS PERSON DIED, all because you idiotically taught this slave how to read and you idiotically permitted this slave to find out that ey wasn't in fact biologically mentally inferior to males and females like ey had been told and you idiotically taught this slave our notions of human rights and enables this slave to develop a sense of terrible injustices and oppression when ey would otherwise have been able to resign emself to coping with the misery of eir enslavement.

Funny, I always thought the Enterprise captain was supposed to be a good person, a thoughtful person, a person who really thinks over all the moral implications of his words and actions. Silly me. All that's clearly out the window now. Not once during his furious screaming at Commander Tucker "It's all your fault! All because you idiotically taught this person to read!" does he ever once pause to even consider the fact that DEAR CAPTAIN ARCHER, IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT BECAUSE YOU REFUSED THIS PERSON ASYLUM.

You know what I think? I think it was all a setup designed to test the moral character of the human species so that the alien species could decide whether humans really deserved all those offers of free incredibly advanced technology. What sense would it make to just give away a ton of incredibly advanced technology to some comparatively quite primitive species you've just met the very same day? If I were a member of some advanced species who had just encountered humans for the very first time, I'd want to find out about humans' moral character - and what better way to find out than by pretending to have brutally enslaved some of your own species, then offering to bribe the humans with amazing free technology beyond all their wildest dreams, but only on the condition that the humans conveniently refrain from attempting to help or grant asylum to the members of our enslaved gender? I observe that except for Commander Tucker, the humans on Enterprise utterly flunked the morality test.

But see, the way the Star Trek writers wrote the episode, that isn't the moral of the story at all. The moral of the story, the way the Star Trek writers actually wrote it, is that Captain Archer was absolutely right to refuse asylum, and Commander Tucker was absolutely wrong to teach a slave to read.

There has never been a time in my life, no matter how young or old I was, when Star Trek was not constantly on television in my household. There has never been an episode of any Star Trek TV series - not the original, not The Next Generation, not Deep Space Nine, not Voyager, not Enterprise - that I have ever not seen. Quite a lot of the episodes I've seen well over a dozen times. My family brought me up eating and breathing Star Trek on a daily basis.

But right now, tonight, I am thinking about smashing my TV screen and never watching a single additional episode of it ever again.
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