Brainy Quote of the Day

Friday, April 14, 2017

Requiem for Moab...

Spock's comment that "Change is the essential process of all existence" remains one of the most memorable lines of dialogue ever uttered on Star Trek. - See more at: Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
Topics: Diversity, Existentialism, Futurism, Martin Luther King, Politics, Star Trek

It is Good Friday in the United States and elsewhere around the world.

The Biblical name Moab means "of his father" in Hebrew, the apparent product of the illicit, incestual coitus between Lot and his two daughters during a drunken seduction by both of them to ensure the continuance of his lineage. Several double entendre examples emerge to mind, salacious, lascivious and darkly ironic: manliness, missiles and spermatozoa. We tend to cheer presidents when they lob missiles, even the draft-dodger ones. In one case to conceal a consensual sexual peccadillo; the other to deflect from an active FBI investigation (with one revealed FISA warrant) regarding collusion with a foreign power... to "win."

I re-posted "Last Battlefield," a poignant episode in the third season of the original Star Trek as its ratings declined, eventually going into syndication and rabid fandom for what would or perhaps always was called futurism, a world Roddenberry envisioned beyond the assassinations of a president (John F. Kennedy), his brother (Robert F. Kennedy) and sandwiched between them Civil Rights icons Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. A world where humankind's progeny lives and survives.

This is the third rendition in the age of "mother of all bombs" as a madman plans to up-the-ante in oneupmanship penis envy on the Korean peninsula, a megaton yield promised proportional to 16 Hiroshima's. It may be bluff; it may be bluster. World wars have started on less: WWI, WWII. There is a plan to preemptively strike North Korea to hamper any nuclear program it may have, and at whatever stage. The madman has a "big brother" in the formerly-known-as currency manipulator, China, that will under obligation of treaty challenge such a plan. The impact of escalation would first immediately be felt by South Korea, Japan; world markets and stability.

We also have in this nation, a leader that prevaricates like middle school children generate flatulence. The Air Force drilled us in war games incessantly, then on deployment to the actual exercise or theater, we learned to change on the fly. We derisively called it "rigid flexibility." For the 45th occupant of the Executive Mansion and holder of the nuclear codes, the best description should be "consistent inconsistency." He promised to be unpredictable on the campaign trail, this being the only thing approaching a "doctrine." We - the hapless electorate - follow as best we can with a mixture of angst, attention-deficit, PTSD and whiplash.

What is more frightening than a president that makes obfuscation an Olympic sport is our collective cultural arrogance that the Earth as we know it will always be, and unlike the dinosaur we will not go extinct.

The exception to us with respect to the dinosaurs is they did not know about the missile-meteor that generated the Chicxulub crater off the coast of Mexico... nor did they design it or tempt Apocalypse in 140 characters (or less).

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This was first posted in August of 2013, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. I can hope Star Trek's return in 2017 to CBS has as much cultural impact as this episode did with me at its time and timing.

The vitriol and violence of the 2016 presidential campaign I've seen at political rallies; the racism, misogyny, tribalism and xenophobia purposely designed appealing to our lesser angels will not solve any problems, nor have any substantive policy proposals been forwarded by this particular camp. Sometimes art is a reflection of life. In this case, I sincerely hope life does not imitate art.

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One of the most powerful Trek episodes for me as a youth was "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." Recall, the 60's weren't just "make love, not war": there was a lot of both. Vietnam overseas, protests of the war and Civil Rights/Voting Rights marches at home. Suspicions that any deviance from the John Birch Society authoritarian "norm" was judged subversive; communist, therefore necessarily purged and crushed from existence. Judging from the date of airings, its first showing came nine months after the sad assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

It also aired during the climate of the Cold War, a period many seemingly LONG to get back to (that madness), where the nuclear "plan" was called MAD: mutually assured destruction. We still possess that insane power, essentially holding humanity hostage; guns to our own heads.

Gene Roddenberry put an interracial, international crew together: Nyota Uhura (literally: "Freedom Star" in Kiswahili); Hikaru Sulu (for the Sulu sea, meant to represent all of Asia, but of fictional Japanese origin); Pavel Andreievich Chekov (a RUSKIE for crying out loud!). You could say in this fictional treatment, Bele and Lokai "stood their ground" until the end. Roddenberry, as I've commented before developed his own eschatology, yet positive and relevant that we might just survive our own hubris, essentially stemming from old tribal conflicts and current contemporary displays of breathtaking stupidity and arrogance.

This episode was a stark warning; the inevitable consequences of NOT...

Source: Wikipedia

"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is the fifteenth episode of the third season of the original science fiction television show Star Trek. It was first broadcast on January 10, 1969, and repeated on August 12, 1969. It was written by Oliver Crawford, based on a story by Gene L. Coon (writing under his pen name "Lee Cronin") and directed by Jud Taylor. The script evolved from an outline by Barry Trivers for a possible first season episode called "A Portrait in Black and White". The script was accepted for the third season following budget cuts. The episode guest-stars Lou Antonio and Frank Gorshin, best known for his role as The Riddler in the Batman live-action television series. Contrary to popular rumor and articles, Gorshin was not Emmy nominated for this role.

In this episode, the Enterprise picks up two survivors of a war-torn planet, who are still committed to destroying each other aboard the ship.

Amazon link

Once the Ariannus mission is completed, Bele takes control of the Enterprise again, but this time he deactivates the auto-destruct in the process and sends the ship to Cheron. Once there, the two aliens find the planet's population completely wiped out by a global war fueled by insane racial hatred. Both Lokai and Bele stare silently at the destruction on the monitor and realize they are the only ones left of their race (or, as they see it, their "races").

Instead of calling a truce, the two beings begin to blame each other for the destruction of the planet and a brawl ensues. As the two aliens fight, their innate powers radiate, cloaking them with an energy aura that threatens to damage the ship. With no other choice, Kirk sadly allows the two aliens to chase each other down to their obliterated world to decide their own fates, consumed by their now self-perpetuating mutual hate. Forlorn, Lt. Uhura asks if their hate is all they ever had. Kirk ruefully says no...but it is all they have left.

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"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

"The choice is not between violence and nonviolence but between nonviolence and nonexistence."

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,

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