Multiple monitors inject (their) information into my brain every morning. The fun usually begins before six a.m. but on this particular morn it began at five. The information, of course, is the freak-show known as (the current iteration of the grand social, national, greed-show) #americant. Most of this information comes to me in the form of news. I get this news from either reading (what remains of RSS feeds, various news aggregators, blogs, etc.) or watching podcasts or krapptube… youtube. As I was catching up on the top-rated freak show of the century, aka The Donald running for the republican party’s nomination as president, a scene and a character popped into my head from a Star Trek film as demagoguery has been elevated to new levels in American politics. The film? The Wrath of Kahn. Remember it? Of course, I’d seen that movie before but it had been a while. So I gave the film another look and then realised that the scene I was looking for wasn’t in the movie. Keep in mind, dear worst-reader, I’m a pseudo trekkie. I own all the Star Trek movies, all three seasons of TOS (the original series), TNG (the next generation) and Voyager. Obviously “pseudo” applies because I don’t own, nor have I ever seen any of the other instalments from this sci-fi universe. Even though I like all the films, except, maybe, The Final Frontier or The Undiscovered Country, The Voyage Home and The Wrath of Kahn are my favourites. But, as usual, I’m off subject again. Nomatter. The subject is #americant demagoguery and what scene in what movie it all reminded me of. And so. On this particular morn the right monitor was catching me up on the madness of The Donald. The left monitor was showing me “Space Seed”, i.e. S01E22 of Star Trek (TOS). For there was my error, dear worst-reader. The scene I had been looking for was not from the movie but instead from the TV show. And after much-much deep thought and tv-soul searching I had finally found it. Indeed. The Donald freak-show that #americants are lapping up got me thinking about the origin of Kahn. Not the origin of the movie but the origin of the character himself and the humanity that created/fostered him. I knew that the movie was a continuation of one of the shows from the original series–but it took me a bit longer to get to the actual scene that was so deep in my memory. Which brings me to Khan Noonien Singh, The Enterprise and the transcript/scene below. Kahn was the product of late 20th century eugenics in which a few of the “last tyrants” ran various parts/countries of earth. Eventually these tyrants were all defeated but Kahn managed to make a spectacular getaway. He and his crew of fellow supermen and superwomen made it to some new fangled space ship. There they (somehow) put themselves into suspended animation and, well, they were found two hundred years later. Keep in mind, this particular episode of Star Trek was written in the late 1960s. I can only assume that the generation of writers that were working at the time in Hollywood were well aware of the eugenics madness that came out of Europe in an earlier part of the same century. And so. After watching it, it hit me like a rock the thing that connected a character from a 1967 TV show with Donald J. Trump of 2015 #americant freak-show politics riding on the edge of societal danger. For your worst-reading pleasure, the transcript is below. For those of you with easy access, the scene takes place at about 29min into the episode.
Star Trek – “Space Seed”, Season 1, Episode 22.
The scene is a briefing room on Enterprise. Seated around a table are Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scott. They are drinking (coffee?) out of cups. A picture of Khan is on a large screen behind them.
KIRK: (Picture behind him is that of Kahn when he left earth.) Name, Khan, as we know him today. (Spock changes the picture Kahn of now.) Name, Khan Noonien Singh.
SPOCK: (Abruptly.) From 1992 through 1996, absolute ruler of more than a quarter of your world. From Asia through the Middle East.
MCCOY: (Obviously aware of this part of earth’s history.) The last of the tyrants to be overthrown.
SCOTT: (Ditto awareness.) I must confess, gentlemen. I’ve always held a sneaking admiration for this one.
KIRK: He was the best of the tyrants and the most dangerous. They were supermen, in a sense. Stronger, braver, certainly more ambitious, more daring.
SPOCK: Gentlemen, this romanticism about a ruthless dictator is…
KIRK: Mister Spock, we humans have a streak of barbarism in us. Appalling, but there, nevertheless.
SCOTT: There were no massacres under his rule.
SPOCK: And as little freedom!
MCCOY: No wars until he was attacked.
(All but Spock laugh.)
KIRK: Mister Spock, you misunderstand us. We can be against him and admire him all at the same time.
KIRK: Totally. (He moves to activate ship communication system.) This is the Captain. Put a twenty four hour security on Mister Khan’s quarters, effective immediately.
-end of scene-
Here’s the thing, dear worst-reader. This scene reminds me of the mindset of #americant right now as it dabbles so energetically and naively in right-wing extreme politics thanks to one political party and the power of its propaganda. And just like Spock, only a few people can actually see what’s really happening both within the party and with those that vehemently support it. While #americant giggles and ogles over how, for the first time ever, a national figure rises out of the ashes of an obviously broken political system, no one recognises what’s really going on. With that in mind, does The Donald sound familiar? Or does this mean that the only cure for #americant is a rational and logical thinking Spock who tries to understand how/why humans romanticise the way they do.
In closing. Let’s not forget how this particular Star Trek episode ended. The threat of the demagogue Kahn was thwarted only after quoting Milton: It is better to rule in hell than serve in heaven. How fitting for what my beloved America has allowed itself to become. Now go buy something and enjoy The Donald show you have earned.
Rant on. -tommi
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