JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

 

 

Notes

1. I am building on the ideas developed by Daniel Leonard Bernardi in his provocative study Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1998). Bernardi argues that Trek mounts an ideal of whiteness that has broad political and cultural implications — that the Trekkian vision is one in which non-white races conform to a white ideal. Bernardi examines TNG primarily, which he treats as neo-conservative in ideological character. Enterprise seems the chilling fulfillment of neoconservative tendencies in Trek, which are always at war with its formerly predominant progressive values.[return to page 1 of essay]

2. Hoberman, J., The Dream Life: Movies, Media, and the Mythology of the Sixties (New York: The New Press, 2003), 265

3. See Robin Wood, Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan (New York: Columbia UP, 1986), 62.

4. See Wood, Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan.

5. “Not yet embracing science fiction films as an art form or as a medium for social comment, American society yawned at Star Trek. In retrospect, Star Trek's creator and contributors appear in many respects to have been unsung heroes, bravely saying through poetry what few others were saying in prose. .... [But for Star Trek's fans,] Star Trek was *real.* Star Trek *meant* something. Star Trek spoke the *truth.* Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were ... flesh and blood people who could serve as role models. .... [The show's intergalactic conflicts were] fights for human rights, human freedom, and human destiny.” Robert Asa, “Classic Star Trek and the Death of God: A Case Study of ‘Who Mourns for Adonais?’” Star Trek and Sacred Ground: Explorations of Star Trek, Religion, and American Culture, eds. Jennifer E. Porter and Darcee L. McLaren (Albany: SUNY Press, 1999), 34.

6. See Bernardi, especially Chapter Four.

7. Even more decisively than Bernardi, Kent A. Ono finds in Trek the master narratives of colonialism and empire. He argues that The Next Generation produces a unique space wherein viewers may imagine the continuous recreation of empire through the simultaneous articulation and elimination of difference.” See Ono, “Domesticating Terrorism: A Neocolonial Economy of Différance,” Enterprise Zones: Critical Positions on Star Trek eds. Taylor Harrison et al (Boulder, Co: Westview Press, 1996), 157. For an opposing perspective to both Bernardi and the Ono views, see Michele Barrett and Duncan Barrett, Star Trek: The Human Frontier (New York: Routledge, 2001), who argue that all the Trek series and films productively and daringly explore the nature and mysteries of “the human.”

8. James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet (New York: Penguin, 2004), 90-91.

9. Richard Chase, Herman Melville ( New York: The Macmillan Company, 1949), vii.

10. Thomas Schaub, American Fiction in the Cold War (Madison: Wisconsin UP, 1991), 7-11.

11. D. H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature, (1923; reprint, New York: Doubleday, 1951), 63.

12. To be fair, Manny Coto, who oversaw the show’s final season, seemed determined to right some of the series’ multivalent wrongs, and he gave Hoshi some of her best moments, albeit in the penultimate episode of the series, “Terra Prime,” in which Hoshi unflinchingly takes command. Sadly, the other great Hoshi moments occur for a different character: in “In a Mirror Darkly, Part II,” evil Mirror-Hoshi takes command in the end. This two-parter’s use of Hoshi unfortunately conforms to dragon-lady Asian-woman stereotypes, thereby undermining the effort to enlarge Hoshi’s role.

13. See Barbara Creed’s The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis (New York: Routledge, 1993).

14. Cited in Jonathan Culler’s 1982 On Deconstruction (Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1994), 51–52. See also Fetterley’s The Resisting Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction (Bloomington, IN: Indiana UP, 1978).

15. “I have mixed feelings about all that. It was very difficult for me to justify. Why would T'Pol want to do this to herself? Why are emotions so important to her? I felt that she lost herself there. She lost her culture, she lost her person–she lost T’Pol. She even lost her reputation!” “T’Pol to Evolve in Season Four, Says Actress,” http://scifipulse.net/Trek%20Archive/September2004/JoleneBlalock.html

16. See Bernardi, 140-2.

17. For a visual comparison, see pictures of Surak then and now at Star Trek.Com:
http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/library/character/bio/1115257.html

18. In an episode of Trek’s early 1970s Trek Animated Series, which aired on Saturday mornings for a children’s audience, “The Lorelai Signal,” written by Margaret Armen, the crew is also besieged by siren-like women. The male principles — Kirk, Spock, McCoy — are all entrapped by the siren-women, who deplete them of energy. In “The Lorelai Signal,” Uhura and Nurse Chapel beam down to the siren-planet and save the crew, an especially thrilling resolution given the paucity of opportunities for the female characters, especially Nichelle Nichol’s beloved Uhura, and the women who played them, on Classic Trek. While one can easily grimace at seeing the TAS women being sicked on other women — underrepresented Uhura and Chapel come into their own by attacking predatory women — the radicalism of seeing them swing into action provides partial compensation.

19. “In Greek mythology, the Sirens are creatures with the head of a female and the body of a bird. They lived on an island (Sirenum scopuli; three small rocky islands) and with the irresistible charm of their song they lured mariners to their destruction on the rocks surrounding their island (Virgil V, 846; Ovid XIV, 88). The Argonauts escaped them because when he heard their song, Orpheus immediately realized the peril they were in. He took out his lyre and sang a song so clear and ringing that it drowned the sound of those lovely fatal voices. When on another journey Odysseus' ship passed the Sirens, he had the sailors stuff their ears with wax. He had himself tied to the mast for he wanted to hear their beautiful voices. The Sirens sang when they approached, their words even more enticing than the melody. They would give knowledge to every man who came to them, they said, ripe wisdom and a quickening of the spirit. Odysseus' heart ran with longing but the ropes held him and the ship quickly sailed to safer waters (Odyssey XII, 39). Homer mentions only two sirens, but later authors mention three or four. They were regarded as the daughters of Phorcys, or the storm god Achelous. According to Ovid, they were nymphs and the play-mates of Persephone. They were present when she was abducted and, because they did not interfere, Demeter changed them into birds with female faces (Ovid V, 551).” “‘Sirens’,”by Micha F. Lindemans, Encyclopedia Mythica, http://www.pantheon.org/articles/s/sirens.html

 


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