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July 31, 2005

What is the Meaning of Life, Oh Gene?

Lance Mannion writes:

And that was Rodenberry’s most progressive idea. In the future he envisioned, everybody mattered. Everybody had an important job. Nobody was redundant. Nobody was a mere cog in the machine. What were all those people doing on the Enterprise, anyway? By the mid 1960s it was possible to see how computers would come to be able to do many jobs that people then did but do those jobs faster and more reliably and with fewer errors, with the bonus that the computers would not need to be paid.

But that's not true, is it? I mean, what of all those ensigns who, every time they were thrown in with the landing party, quickly got phaser'd out of existence? They were human plot fodder, getting mulched up so viewers at home understood the gravity of the situation. I guess in that sense, they mattered, but it seems a rather crummy purpose in life. Hell, if meaning means I gotta get blasted by a Klingon, I'm all for giving my job to HAL.

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» Academy of the Overrated from Lance Mannion
Reason I re-posted my piece on Scotty here is that after it ran Sunday, Ezra Klein spotted a weakness in my elegant argument and punched a hole right through it. The crux of my argument was Gene Rodenberry's humanistic vision of the future. I wrote:And... [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 5, 2005 11:19:48 AM

Comments

Picky, picky, picky.

At any rate, don't forget how HAL handled things when he decided that the astronauts needed to be downsized.

Posted by: Lance Mannion | Jul 31, 2005 1:09:34 PM

Horrible confession: I have never seen 2001.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | Jul 31, 2005 1:11:17 PM

The death of the red shirt is the second best star trek cliche, behind only shirtless kirk.

Posted by: Drew Miller | Jul 31, 2005 1:25:10 PM

I tried to watch 2001 some years ago. I got to the Hal part, but that was the only bit I could stand. I just couldn't watch the whole thing.

Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Jul 31, 2005 2:46:46 PM

2001 is one of the most over-rated movies of all time, I think.

The best job to have in the Star Trek universe is hallway walker. They're in every show. Red Alert sounds and they take to the hallways. Looks like a pretty cushy gig. You get a lot of exercise, you don't have any real work to do, and the worst that happens to you is you get tossed around a bit when the ship is attacked. If you're a guy hallway walker, every now and then when the ship is attacked and you get tossed around a pretty girl in a miniskirt lands in your arms.

Posted by: Lance Mannion | Jul 31, 2005 4:16:12 PM

hey i'd rather get blasted to atoms than listen to kirk's terrible stupid orders or spocks ultra-logic or bones' voodoo medicine myself.

i cant bring myself to watch 2001 for some reason. i rented it twice and returned it unopened, but if all the idiots who keep quoting from it are any indication, i should be glad that i havent subjected myself to it.

Posted by: almostinfamous | Jul 31, 2005 6:03:57 PM

besides, to grasp the true meaning of life, you have to ask yourself where that fish did go

Posted by: almostinfamous | Jul 31, 2005 6:06:58 PM

Come on Ezra - first, you really have to watch 2001 some time, yeah it's slow, but it's a classic. Second, do you ever look at an aircraft carrier and the thousands of men and women on board and say, gee, so many people, must be human fodder for military operations when the Marines have to go to shore? Running a big ship is complicated...

BTW, ensigns are the lowest ranked officers in the ship - most of the red-shirts were not officers but "enlisted" men...

Posted by: J. | Aug 1, 2005 10:34:31 AM

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 16, 2007 11:00:09 PM

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