Nerd Alert: Trek Round Table Discussion

Ok I enjoy talking trek and so wish to start a group of discussions for you die hard fans on the board. If this discussion should get good results I’d like to open others.
The only rules I’d like to have people adhere to is that they stay on general discussion topic and not stray too far/
Roddenberry gave a bold vision of the future without racism or divisions among people. However with the creation of Alien species a hidden racisim seems to be visible.

Two things give me this thought:

The First is the fact that Earth is the centre of the entire Federation. It’s importance is incredible. It is the Home of Starfleet Headquarters, The place where the President resides and The Council is also based there. Why if there are three founding members does one get so much priority?

The second comes from Enterprise were we are given new origins of Star Fleet as an Earth Organization run and manned (no pun intended) by Humans, or more specifically Terrans.
Alien species (As they are still refered to by Human’s) seem to have only a tolken appearence in Starfleet.
Could it be that despite the platitudes and make up of the Federation Starfleet is still a mostly humans only club?

Please discuss

well, aliens don’t show up much partially because it is cheaper to just have human actors than human actors in rubber noses. Starfleet seems to give the impression that humans are very interested in exploring the galaxy, while many other alien races just want to sit home and wait for the galaxy to come to them. In Enterprises time, it doesn’t even seem like their are any aliens in Starfleet, the doctor is in an exchange program and T’Pol is on loan from the Vulcans. As the Terrans become a galactic power over the next few seasons via being annoyingly in the way when Klingons want to smash things (K’Og smash!!), other races will probably take notice and line up with the pinkskins (what will the Andorians think when they see Maywhether?)

Probably because, A: it’s easier to use a pre-existing planet for filming rather than building another one, and/or B: other planets may not be as nice as Earth. Have you seen Vulcan lately? The place is a hellhole.

Well, that is Enterprise, when Starfleet was still in its fledgling stages. There probably hasn’t been much of a chance for aliens to be integrated into human culture.

True, but if you look at later series the number of aliens serving on Starfleet vessels is quite low.

On the Enterprise of TOS there is 1 Vulcan. The animated series added two more. By the Enlightened STNG the number went up very little. A klingon one Betazoid, 1 Bolian Barber, and a couple of Vulcans in the background.

DS9 was a bit better but only because they were on an alien station, however look at the Starfleet personnel, 1 Klingon, one Trill, one Ferenghi, the rest were human.

Voyager: 1 Vulcan 1 Klingon, One little girl with horns…

Yes I understand the reality of creating a television show makes the makup too expensive to have a large qty of aliens, but when you look at the crew make up in that “reality” there is little representation shown. Little are mentioned (Aside from one Vulcan) the Admiralty has been human, other crews mentioned have been primarily human.

As for Vulcan being a hell hole… that would prove my point, The location has to be to human tastes.

Maybe the spacing and environments matter? maybe Earth is spatially close to the center of the Fed, and maybe it’s climate is the median - cold weather folk maybe be unable to withstand Vulcan’s heat unless they were always indoors, and Vulcans may be unable to withstand cold? Maybe gravity too, although Vulcan is apparently approx 1 g.

And maybe the humans are just the pushy organizers.

I think it’s mostly due to budget constaints. The books seem to be much more diversified. (My personal favorite was the series of books with the Horta crewmember.) Don’t forget the cartoon had two alien crewmembers never seen in any other series. (What the heck were their names?)

Arex and M’Ress, IIRC

…who, I should note, have been plucked out of animation obscurity by Peter David and now dropped into his New Frontier novel series. They first appear in the “Gateways” novel Cold Wars.

For unconscious irony through the use of political correctness, I nominate TNG for changing the opening speech from “no man” to “no one”. While at first glance this change seems to be more inclusive, it carries at heart the same message that seems to piss off Native Americans no end; that Columbus “discovered” America, i.e. the millions of people already living there didn’t count.

In most of the episodes of the various Trek shows, they meet up with aliens. Fine. So why are you claiming to go where “no one” has gone before? The alien societies don’t count because they don’t resemble some idealized form of Western democracy?

The Horta as a crew member? Ok this is why I can’t handle too many of the novels, not only do the authoris try to put their personal stamp on the trek universe (only to have it blotted out by an episode which contradicts their ideas) but they try silly thing or create silly aliens which just don’t work.
How the Hell DO you feed house and uniform a lump of old Boyardie made out of stone?

That aside (breaking ones own rule is bad) I’m not sure there are that many non human crew members out there. Maybe I’m labouring a point (YES yes I am) but if you notice the knocks people make at the expense of another crew member on racial bounds. Examples Bones remarks to Spock (without repremand from his Captain) Picard and Rikers reaction to the Ferengi, Bashir and Obrien making jokes about Mr. Worf’s Klingon Musk. the Reaction of Most human’s to Vulcan’s in general. There is a slight edge and anger towards the Vulcans that may be evident.

Just some more food for thought.

You also have some racial epithets:

Cardassians=Cardies or spoonheads
Klingons=turtle heads

A racial epithet shouldn’t count if it sounds like something a 2 year-old would make up.

The books are the Rihannsu series by Diane Duane. She not only has a Horta crewman, she does a fantastic job of exploring the history and culture of the Romulans. The books are made obsolete by TNG, but they are worth reading anyway.

As for feeding a Horta, old computer chips, the odd piece piece of metal, things like that. Housing? A room just like every other member of the crew. Uniform? When he isn’t undercover (really, he goes undercover in one of the books), he just needs an insignia glued to his skin. It isn’t like anyone will be turned on by his nakedness. :slight_smile:

Some of the books have established that Starfleet tries to “man” its ships mainly with people from one species, so that the gravitational and environmental standards can be set easier. Remember, in Trek, the Enterprise was mostly human, but we also heard of all-Vulcan ships (a couple of them). And of the three Presidents of the Federation we’ve met, two have been alien.


Good points, The Presidents are a very good counter point Unless there are more non human voters than Human (just kidding there is no proof either way so that type of argument is usless).

Actually you jogged a memory (Perhaps it was the novelization from STMP) where it was also mentioned it was easier to deal with there own culture as well as fully integrated crews did not work and there were too many conflicts.

Was the All Vulcan ship mentioned (“The Imunity Syndrome”) a Starfleet vessel. My memory may be hazy but wasn’t it reffered to as a Vulcan Science vessel? I was always under the impression it was independant of Starfleet (kinda like a Vulca Calypso).

Something to think about:

The Federation is a political organization. Starfleet is a military one. I’ve been under the impression (both from books and the series) that Starfleet had its origins with Earth, and remains mainly a human run enterprise (pun intended). Perhaps as the United States and other nations often act as the military branch of the United Nations, Earth’s Starfleet is the primary military arm of the Federation.

OOOO you took up potential topic 2 Is Starfleet a Military organization despite Rodenberry’s claims otherwise?

I think after DS9 everyone would answer Yes.

But as to your point I’m not sure. If you look at the UFP as an anology of the USA that would make each planet similar to a
state. Would one State operate or dominate the entire military for the entire country?

Well, the analogy isn’t quite UFP = USA, it goes like this:

Starfleet = USA

The UN (as far as I understand) gets all of its military power from the standing armies of its member nations. As the USA has by far the largest military of all members, it is most often called upon by the UN.

Similarly, Earth (or perhaps Humans) is a member of the UFP. Starfleet, being an Earth organization and clearly the center of military might in the Federation (exploration, schmexploration), becomes the willing tool of the Federation.

There are other organizations who build and operate fleets of ships (aside from Vulcan starships in Starfleet, I believe they’ve got their own slew of ships as well), but none as large or powerful as Starfleet. Why? Because only humans have that truly human urge to boldly go where no man… where no one… has gone before! (Oh the drama)!

This actually brings up another, and in my mind more significant argument about the racism inherent in Trek (come see the racism inherent in the Trek, come see the racism inherent in the Trek!). Despite the fact that it’s a brave new world out there, Earthers can’t seem to abide by other attitudes about life. We constantly see how every alien can be “human” at heart (Spock being the obvious example, as well as the Klingons, and even the Borg). We all heave a collective sigh when Spock emotes a bit and expresses his feelings for Kirk, McCoy, Sarek, or whomever. See, he really is human. Maybe we all could be human. Then we would never need to have sickness or evilness or bad people, and the whole universe could get along, if we could only bring out the “essence of humanity” in other races. But of course, humans are the arbiters of this essence.

Don’t get me wrong though, I think Star Trek is one of the best proponents of peace and anti-racism and all that happy stuff that we’ve ever seen on TV, they just didn’t always get it right.

Oh, and for the record, most of my comments are about the original Star Trek, but also the Next Generation. Beyond that, my expertise gets a little fuzzy.

The reason I equate the UFP with the USA is due to the very attitudes put out by the UFP are clearly (North?) American values and ideals (This is not a bad thing) rather than say a European sensibility or Asian for that matter.

And the reason I disagree that Starfleet would be analogous to the United states is becasue the United States can, will and has opted out of peace keeping missions of the UN or request that they run the operations as an independent body under U.S. control.
Starfleet can not opt out of a Federation mission much the same way that say South Carolina can’t refuse to send its soldiers to a War zone if the Federal Government requests.

Ok if there are any hangers on at all How about a shift in gears

Is the UFP more like the UN or the USA?

That, and the UFP headquarters are in San Francisco (yea San Francisco!) (yes, the Prez office is in Paris, ignore that). Having just moved here, i can’t wait to see the Federation Council Hall (note: just kidding, will not actually go wandering down downtown looking for a fictious building. but may go wandering to see where it might go from the paintings, if i am bored) The Vulcans still have their own ships up to the 24th century, they were used in the Spock TNG episodes and showed up in a DS9 episode. The Bolians are also mentioned as having their own ships. The Feds are probably more humans because of a desire to stay with your own kind, and all other species see going to Earth as leaving home for years, and the reality of that may not be acceptable to the majority of Andorians, Tellarites, Zaranites, Saurians, gold midgets, and Green women. Starfleet’s loss.