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How would you change Star Trek Nemesis?


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#121 Barbara

 

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Posted 05 September 2008 - 11:12 PM

With respect, I think that's a very reductive view of Shinzon's dilemma and one that sounds like an unforgivably religious judgement. It's too black & white, good and evil, rather than the murky shades of grey that makes this movie genuinely dark. I think I've successfully proven that "good" and "evil" are not fixed definitely in Logan's scenario, and certainly not afixed to Starfleet's official moral compass.

Yes, I think Shinzon could have been rehabilitated, but crucially not in the time allowed.

Shinzon could very well have been rehabilitated, if this were "real life", but that's why it's a movie.

I tell you what, try suggesting to your mum and dad that they played f-all role in creating a fine, young man like yourself, and see how insulted they feel. Better still, try telling your teachers that the time you spent in ecucation was a complete waste of time, because, after all, when it comes to being a productive member of a society that mostly gets along without killing each other, they had very little to teach you since you popped out into the world with your moral compass set firmly to North, South, East & West. If you attend church, then ask yourself why you bother.

Chill. We can choose to disagree with you. Some of us truly believe that we are born knowing good and evil. Some of us believe that, even at age 1, we know that taking the cookie when we've been told not to, is wrong. That is not your opinion. Okay. We can accept your opinion, but insulting our beliefs does not help the discussion. And since you brought it up, my friends, family and I go to church to worship God.

You learned morality from your community. I know I learned stealing was wrong the very moment I insitinctively decided to help myself to another kid's toy on a permanent basis and got my hand slapped and earned myself a stiff telling off. My instinct was to push my whining little sister down the stairs and rid myself of the nuisance because, actually, she was arguably affecting my survival chances my deflecting my parents' attention away from my own needs. Although sorely tempted, I didn't push her down the stairs because I'd already been taught that hurting other kids was WRONG from the time I broke my plastic Beatles guitar over the head of a playmate who wanted to snatch it from me.

And you can believe that if you wish, but I would say that you knew that it was wrong to steal and push your sister down the stairs. The fact that there were consequences to your actions prevented you from doing it or doing it again.

Do you see what I'm saying? One might argue the exceptions to the rule are the people who suffer horrendous abuse but don't turn into abusers themselves, but the rule still stands. Our jails are full of damaged people who learned criminality from others. If they came into the world knowing right from wrong, don't you think they'd be whole lot less susceptible to negative influences?

Absolutely I hear you. But I believe our jails are full of criminals because they didn't have to reap the consequences of bad behavior early on. They chose their lifestyle based on the thought that they could get away with it. My husband's a cop. We hear it all the time. They believed they wouldn't get caught, and they knew it was wrong to do what they did.

Now that we've all made our points, we can get back to the discussion of the actual "movie" - truly, we need to move on from this one issue. I accept the fact that you disagree. Please accept the fact that some of us disagree with you on this point.

Well, since the radiation destroyed all matter, I figure a split second miscalculation in beaming out might only burn off/singe/whatever term you would want to use most, if not all, of their clothing...

...not to mention leaving them with a righteous suntan too! :D

...that might have been an interesting ending.... at least it would have been totally different from ST normal.
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#122 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 04:35 AM

***Sigh***

Barbara, I was discussing the movie, and it's a big disappointment to me that you have chosen quite unecessarily to take offence at comments I made that were actually in response to Ensign Edwards ~ somebody who I have certainly had differences of opinions with in the past, but who I also respect a great deal. You choose tp disagree with me, well fine, since I'm a big girl and I can handle it, but you did not need to do so using such a tone in what has been an intellectual and respectful argument. In a way, you've actually put yourself into a debate that appears (from your response) to be turning uncomfortable for you when you really didn't need to, since you could have left it to the more than capable EE to respond to the points I was making directly back to him.

In all honesty, I did not intend to insult anybody's beliefs and if you have chosen to feel insulted by what I said, then maybe it's your good self that needs to "chill" and examine why you found the remark I made to EE quite so challenging. It doesn't change what my intention was, and I actually don't care about you and your family going to church because that, in my experience, proves nothing in terms of how a person behaves towards others. Speaking as an Atheist who has her lack of beliefs unsulted many times, quite deliberately, by people of faith, I find it quite extraordinary that so many Christians are quite so prickly around the mention of their religious beliefs and are quite reluctant to enter the zone of self-examination. For what it's worth, I was raised a Christian myself, but as an adult I found the lack of genuine intellectual thought behind Christian ideals far too stifling and too far removed from reality to be any kind of a guide for moving through the world, and by stepping away, I opened myself up to a myriad of possibilities that the Christian view of the world is not the only one of any value and that we share this world with many cultures.

In point of fact, and in the interests of clarification for the benefit of others, I was suggesting that the idea of "choice" as often quoted by Christians ~ such as homesexuals choose to be that way ~ is often a very reductive, one-dimensional reasoning device used to deflect the notion that "good" comes from God and therefore "evil" comes from Satan, as though the two don't coexist in the world as part of the broad range of human capabilities. The reality is that a huge number of factors influence our choices, but choices are something that we make based upon experience, and babies don't come into the world making choices: they have but one purely biological perogative, and that is to survive by making themselves hard to ignore.

I presented Ensign Edwards with the suggestion that he might like to suggest that he came into the world with his values already in place to his parents, as a demonstration as to why I think the argument that people know right from wrong instinctively is flawed. The "religious" comment was to do with how people can effectively shift "blame" by reductively making the assumption that a "bad" person is essentially faulty or "Godless" because they cannot overcome certain pressures in order to make the choice to behave well. If you can always blame the criminal for their choices then it conveniently means that the cops and the courts can overlook other factors as to why people don't behave like good little Christians, and then nobody has to act themselves, or indeed examine themselves, in order to make society fairer. In fact, that society isn't fair is down to the fact that most of us have a pretty shakey grasp on what is right and what is wrong most of the time, and most of us don't launch ourselves into charitable acts, or random acts of kindness. We'll extend kindness to our friends and family members only because we know that it will be reciprocated, but we don't care so much about the well-being of strangers. It's no accident that the highest crime rates append to the most impoverished areas, and the pressures that people are placed under in those areas often mean that choices aren't quite so clear cut as they are for middle class kids bought up in the burbs with the benefit of guidance from two parents. Don't get me wrong; I have zero patience with kids who commit crime and who ought to know better, but the point is surely that they know better because they were shown better. Your husband is damn right that people will choose to commit crime if they think they can get away with it and will do so right up until they are banged-up, and then will probably reoffend later, but the point here surely has to be that they know by experience that people get away with criminal acts all the time and many crimes go unpunished. In terms of choice; if the justice system turns criminals back on to the streets where they came from after jail, then damn right they're going to choose crime again even as they know it's wrong, but then again, equip these criminals with a functioning family, some money, some sefl-respect, and a college degree, then they may choose differently.

(This, of course, doesn't explain the well-educated who choose so-called "white collar" crime, but then maybe sheer greed, and not a small amount of thrill-seeking does! Away from the pressure of a sub-standard education and poverty, and maybe an arrogant belief that "Hell, I'm smarter than dumb law enforcement", then, yes, this is definitely a choice that we can all righteously abhor.)

In a way, you're junking your own argument by effectively agreeing with me that I knew that certain childish acts were wrong and that you knew that taking "the cookie" was wrong becuase you use the operative word "told". Being told that something was wrong usually came with a consequence ~ as you say ~ and in my case at least, it usually involved pain! We were both told these acts were wrong right after the time we were actually caught pushing little sis down the stairs of snatching the cookie. We already knew that an unpleasant consequence would be brought to bear as a reinforcement that certain actions were wrong, and so we weren't avoiding these acts of disobedience because we had an instinctive sense of right and wrong, but because we didn't want to be punished. My parents told me it was wrong to lie, but I'd still do it as a kid if I thought it would get me out of trouble ~ probably to avoid the consequences, or now if it might spare somebody else's feelings. So, you see, we're actually dealing with a continuum with good at one end of the scale and evil at the other, not two separate polarities. Kids all over the world are told by the parents, carers, the juvenile justice system, and schools what is wrong because none of us developed a moral compass or the ability to discern "good" and "bad" in utero. In fact, the "in utero" argument might have more currency if you had apended it to notions of the "selfish" and "altruistic" genes that are posited as part of the working theory of Darwinism, and the fact that these two genes ~ although coding for generally opposing forces ~ actually work in concert in order to ensure survival for ourselves, ensure the survival of our offspring, and our immediate communities, but a reductive notion of being born somehow "innocent" or worse, being born with "Original Sin", is both hopelessly sentimental in the case of the former and sheer Calvinism in the latter.

Going back to the continuum idea, what we're dealing with in Nemesis is not "good" and "evil" but acts that one, according to one's own personal beliefs, can be placed anywhere on that continuum. The matter of "personal beliefs" is really germane here too: during the dinner scene on Romulus, Picard says, with the benefit of having grown up in human society and espousing its values, "I can't allow my personal feelings" to effectively interfere with his duties to the Federation and to Starfleet, and Shinzon's response is "All I have are my personal feelings" ~ in other words, "I have grown up without the benefit of an education and proper moral guidance, and so I operate entirely on my own experience of opression and cruelty, a possibily distorted notion of fair play and justice, and I am guided in all that I do by my instincts because they are all I have."

This is where we get back to Shinzon and his inability to change due to the pressures (time, approaching death, the hopes of the Reman people, and keeping the Romulans at bay) placed upon. If Shinzon had quality time with Picard and had none of those pressures, and it wasn't a movie ~ as you point out ~ then I think he could have been turned around. I also imagine that he would never have been what we might term "normal" and would still have had enormous difficulty functioning in human society as it is represented in TNG.

An interest in what really inhabits a human being is why I have a particular interest in the Gothic and "fictions of unease" (which this movie most certainly is) and why I can analyse this movie to a very deep level. I have a good working knowledge of Gothic tropes and an interest in how these have changed from the 18th & 19th centuries, through the 20th and 21st. In fact, I get more than a hormonal buzz from this movie because ~ and as I said in response to Rakulp ~ it seems to be the most "problematic" of the ten movies, which I think proves my point that, in terms of being part of the Star Trek movie franchise, Nemesis failed because it was not a Star Trek movie. Trekkers were disruntled by a movie that was essentially a two-hander, and where one of the pair was a villain that nobody had ever met before. In point of fact, my opinion is that Nemesis was only using the TNG scenario in quite desultory fashion in order for writer Logan to present a quite radical shift from what Trekkers had been offered in the past. On several levels, Logan presented a 24th century version of Bram Stoker's original 1897 Dracula ~ and that's not just about the visual aspects that deliberately reference Boris Karloff's Nosferatu. In addtion, I think that Shinzon is a furtherence of the exploration of how a dysfunctional childhood creates monsters that Logan explored in his previous movie Gladiator. I seem to be the only person who has drawn distinct parallels betwen Tom Hardy's portrayal of Shinzon and Joaquin Pheonix's portrayal of the Emperor Commodus ~ both of whom are young men stuck in an eternal adolescence due to arrested development having been unwanted and unloved children. I think that's a big part of what Logan was doing in this project. Interestingly, both movie "tyrants" are also pretty camp, and that's an avenue worth exploring too ~ but probably not here!



Now that we've all made our points, we can get back to the discussion of the actual "movie" - truly, we need to move on from this one issue. I accept the fact that you disagree. Please accept the fact that some of us disagree with you on this point.


I have accepted that some "of us" disagree with me on this point, but plain acceptance of the fact of differing points of view does tends to limit further exploration of those differing opinions. If you find this level of exploration uncomfortable, then you have the choice to quietly withdraw yourself, but you shouldn't be seeking to police the thread or others' participation in it, because, clearly, I had related points still to make.

Edited by JulesLuvsShinzon, 06 September 2008 - 04:49 AM.


#123 Captain_Hair

 

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:08 AM

Oh good god, does this have to happen in every damn thread? Ad hominem arguments, no matter who they come from, are not tolerated on this forum. Knock it off.

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#124 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 07:53 AM

^^^You know what Hair, I'm seriously beginning to think that I outgrew this place a while ago and maybe it's taken me too long to realise it. It strikes me that nobody can have a decent high quality debate anywhere on this forum without you wading in like one of the Keystone Cops waving your big truncheon about. People should have the right to challenge other people's opinions and those people should have the right to defend them, and that's exactly what has been going on here. If somebody wants to challenge another person's views, then that person should have the right of reply as long as there as there is no actual abuse or anything else that would break the PG13 rule. I don't see that here at all. Tell me, has anybody actually made a complaint about this thread? Has there actually been anything here that has broken the forum rules? Has this conversation actually strayed so far from the topic in hand? Or is it more that you get irritated by certain things and let your personal feelings run away with you, especially when somebody is espousing views that you find hard to tolerate.

You know, I wouldn't have such an issue with you if you actually went about your modding duties with a degree of politeness, i.e. conducted yourself in the manner in which you expect the rest of us to. The bold print and the "knock it off" are completely uneccessary, as was the fact you focus in on the parts of the last posts that had to do with people taking issue with other people, and ignore the quality of the rest of the arguments put forward ~ I suggest wilfully. A guy who is a very experienced mod, and who I have a lot of time for, once said to me that moderation was like being the responsible person at a party: it is inevitable that things may escalate and a little beer gets spilled on the floor, but it isn't for the responsible person to try and tidy up by simply spilling more beer. You won't get people to respond to you in a positive way if you are rude and autocratic: this isn't the military. And, yeah, I'm telling you how to do your job.

If you have an issue with me personally Hair, then take it to the proper place ~ the PMs. If my views don't jive with your republican politics or any other sensibilities you have, then learn to accept that it's a diverse world, and that TU has to be a diverse community, otherwise all it will end up being is a load of "How hot is..." and the Countdown thread.

#125 Captain_Hair

 

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 08:21 AM

Again, please don't tell me how to do my job. My stance on political, social, economic, interpersonal, scientific, philosophical, psychological, or any other issue has little to do with how I conduct myself as a moderator. I have no issue with you personally - I have no personal issues with anybody on this forum. My issue is when threads that actually were engaged in meaningful discussion devolve into "if you don't agree, then you should leave so the rest of us can play."

I do not willfully ignore posts. Just because a post has 500 words of argument valid to the thread doesn't mean that it balances out the 1000 words of "I'm right and you're wrong" on a topic that has nothing to do with the thread. It takes two to tango, Jules, and you seem to enjoy dancing as of late.

I tried being polite. All that happens then is I get ignored. The argument continues to spiral down to the point where I have to issue warnings and suspensions and then nobody in the end is happy. I like reading the real debates, the deep discussions of the films and episodes. I like getting new insights into stories and thinking "Gee, I never thought of it that way before." I don't, however, like it when somebody takes unwarranted offense at somebody's disagreeing with their viewpoint. And then it escalates. That's not fun or interesting or intellectually stimulating. So, if that means that I have to knock a few heads and post in bold to get people to behave, then that's what I'm going to do.

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#126 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 09:03 AM

^^^This is just a suggestion meant in a good spirit. If you found somebody's viewpoint interesting and informative then why not post and say so? This is a serious suggestion meaning a bit of carrot and less stick: that way you can influence the discussion and keep prodding it along the lines you like. :)

It has always struck me that it's unwise to insert oneself into an exchange between two members simply to take offense. Surely, it's way easier to just let that exchange take place and keep out? If I had directed my comments directly to Barbara then that would have been different, but as it stands her accusation of my being "insulting" was unwarranted and surprising, as was her desire to see a discontinuance of that line of reasoning, and it would have been better had she have left it to EE to respond himself.

That's all I'm saying, and if we can't keep this thread germane to the movie, let's simply lock it down.

HOWEVER:

@Ensign Edwards:

I subsequently had a few more thoughts about your assertion that Shinzon chose to stay with the dark side. As I see it, the only time Shinzon could be said to be making a choice is during that conversation in Picard's ready room, in which Picard himself makes a big deal out of saying that Shinzon had the power to choose. However, my feeling is still that Shinzon didn't feel he had a choice and that has to do with his background. It's one thing for a person like Picard with the benefit of an education and good moral guidance to see clearly that Shinzon has a choice, but he fails to persuade the younger man that is the case. He can see it, but Shinzon can't because Shinzon is already so far down the path he has committed himself to. After all, if everybody in the world was alive to the possibility that we all have choices all of the time, then there would never be any depressed people or addicts. People don't actively choose depression or addiction, but both conditions can very effectively narrow down a person's perceptions of choice. I think it would be fair to see that sometimes people make choices without even knowing that they have done so, and this is either down to a state of mind or a genuine lack of options. Consider Shinzon's options: carry on with his fiendish plot or side with Picard. Going back to the comment I made earlier about the Jesuit conceit (Give me the boy until seven and I'll show you the man), Picard is actually suggesting that Shinzon side with a race that the Romulans have indoctrinated him into believing is the enemy even though he is a human himself. That's a lot of internalised message that has to be reversed inside a few minutes. Not only that, but Picard tries to insist that Shinzon make "the right choice" but actually offers no way in which Shinzon can even begin to do that. And he has to trust Picard ~ a man who could easily take his acquiessence as a sign of weakness and actually capture him and throw him in the brig. Don't forget, Shinzon has never has any reason to trust anybody except VKruk before, and he probably doesn't even trust himself having grown up amongst Romulans for whom deceit and double-crossing is a way of life. It's not Picard's fault because he hasn't got the time to explain how Shinzon can abandon his path and embrace his humanity, but from Shinzon's point of view it doesn't look like a plan, after all, he's spent the years since the Dominion War building himself up into this big leader figure and he may well have become addicted to the power. This is again where the novelliation adds value, because in the novel version of this conversation, Picard actually offers Shinzon his life in return for the assured safety of his crew and Earth, and asks what Shinzon would do with his life were that to take place. In the novel Shinzon does seem to make more of a genuine choice along the lines you suggest, but it still leaves us with an uneasy sense of why that I don't think makes his eventual fate easy to watch.

Edited by JulesLuvsShinzon, 06 September 2008 - 09:10 AM.


#127 Barbara

 

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Posted 06 September 2008 - 06:05 PM

You choose tp disagree with me, well fine, since I'm a big girl and I can handle it, but you did not need to do so using such a tone in what has been an intellectual and respectful argument. In a way, you've actually put yourself into a debate that appears (from your response) to be turning uncomfortable for you when you really didn't need to, since you could have left it to the more than capable EE to respond to the points I was making directly back to him.


Please understand that I am in no way using any type of tone here at all. I'm just commenting on your post. I apologize if you only wanted EE to answer. I'm fairly new here and was under the impression that anyone could comment on what was posted previously. I'm also not uncomfortable. I just disagree with your assessment on Shinzon's heart and inner struggle. Both of our opinions are based on what we believe is the basis of human life, growth, and survival. I believe that we are born with an inner clock that spells out good and evil from the day we enter this world. That means that my opinion of Shinzon is going to be based on that foundation.

In fact, that society isn't fair is down to the fact that most of us have a pretty shakey grasp on what is right and what is wrong most of the time, and most of us don't launch ourselves into charitable acts, or random acts of kindness. We'll extend kindness to our friends and family members only because we know that it will be reciprocated, but we don't care so much about the well-being of strangers.

Seeing that I've lived my entire life in the USA, I can only speak from my experience here. I have seen tremendous outpouring of love and kindness by total strangers to total strangers. Recently: The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center buildings - thousands upon thousands of strangers - poured resources, time, money, opened their homes, gave food, supplies, prayers, support and much more. The Katrina storm - thousands of people displaced. I witnessed thousands of people who opened their homes, donated time, money, clothes, supplies for total strangers. I could go on: earthquakes, tsunamis, world tragedies. Human beings do care about the well being of strangers - and definitely when we know it cannot be reciprocated.

In the movie - Shinzon was the ultimage stranger to Picard. Known by him and unknown as well. Picard reached out to help him not only because he knew him in one regard, but also because he didn't know him.


Your husband is damn right that people will choose to commit crime if they think they can get away with it and will do so right up until they are banged-up, and then will probably reoffend later, but the point here surely has to be that they know by experience that people get away with criminal acts all the time and many crimes go unpunished. In terms of choice; if the justice system turns criminals back on to the streets where they came from after jail, then damn right they're going to choose crime again even as they know it's wrong, but then again, equip these criminals with a functioning family, some money, some sefl-respect, and a college degree, then they may choose differently.

They know, as we all do, that people get away with "murder" (as we say). They still choose to do wrong - it's their choice. Shinzon's weakness is that he, too, believed he could pull this off even when he was getting careless.

In a way, you're junking your own argument by effectively agreeing with me that I knew that certain childish acts were wrong and that you knew that taking "the cookie" was wrong becuase you use the operative word "told". Being told that something was wrong usually came with a consequence ~ as you say ~ and in my case at least, it usually involved pain! We were both told these acts were wrong right after the time we were actually caught pushing little sis down the stairs of snatching the cookie. We already knew that an unpleasant consequence would be brought to bear as a reinforcement that certain actions were wrong, and so we weren't avoiding these acts of disobedience because we had an instinctive sense of right and wrong, but because we didn't want to be punished.



Some of us believe that, even at age 1, we know that taking the cookie when we've been told not to, is wrong. I said that I knew it was wrong to take the cookie after I was told the cookie wasn't mine to take. If the cookies were free to take, it would never have been wrong to eat one. Inside, I knew that if I took the cookie, I would be in the wrong. Not because I was told, but because it wasn't mine. And I knew that even the very first time. It was not a learned experience. It was an inner experience.

Shinzon knows what he's doing. He knows it's bad/wrong/evil - pick a description. He still chooses it because to him, revenge is sweet.

Picard says, with the benefit of having grown up in human society and espousing its values, "I can't allow my personal feelings" to effectively interfere with his duties to the Federation and to Starfleet, and Shinzon's response is "All I have are my personal feelings"

This is Shinzon's limited view of life. True he does say that, but I have a different feeling/viewpoint about why he says that.

This is where we get back to Shinzon and his inability to change. If Shinzon had quality time with Picard and had none of those pressures, and it wasn't a movie ~ as you point out ~ then I think he could have been turned around. I also imagine that he would never have been what we might term "normal" and would still have had enormous difficulty functioning in human society as it is represented in TNG.

Absolutely.

I have accepted that some "of us" disagree with me on this point, but plain acceptance of the fact of differing points of view does tends to limit further exploration of those differing opinions. If you find this level of exploration uncomfortable, then you have the choice to quietly withdraw yourself, but you shouldn't be seeking to police the thread or others' participation in it, because, clearly, I had related points still to make.

I didn't find any of this uncomfortable, but I just wanted to discuss the actual movie. I have no problem with leaving this area. There are other areas of TU where I'm welcome. I also have no interest in policing this thread and I'm very sorry you see it that way. I hope you find the discussions in the future enjoyable and interesting with whomever stops by to visit. Enjoy. "kirk out"


I don't, however, like it when somebody takes unwarranted offense at somebody's disagreeing with their viewpoint. So, if that means that I have to knock a few heads and post in bold to get people to behave, then that's what I'm going to do.

I'm sorry if I offended you Hair. I was trying to make the point that since we come from a different foundation of belief, we were not going to agree on the subject. It shouldn't be an issue anymore.
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#128 JulesLuvsShinzon

 

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 04:19 AM

Please understand that I am in no way using any type of tone here at all. I'm just commenting on your post. I apologize if you only wanted EE to answer. I'm fairly new here and was under the impression that anyone could comment on what was posted previously.


It's fine to comment on something in my post you find interesting because that's how these message boards keep going, it's also fine to disagree with me and take me to task, but it's not fine to suggest that I'm insulting anyone's beliefs because that couldn't be further from the truth.

I'm also not uncomfortable. I just disagree with your assessment on Shinzon's heart and inner struggle. Both of our opinions are based on what we believe is the basis of human life, growth, and survival. I believe that we are born with an inner clock that spells out good and evil from the day we enter this world. That means that my opinion of Shinzon is going to be based on that foundation.


That's the problem I have with this belief ~ it's far too rigid and it's overly optimistic, but also it carries with it the notion that if people do wrong, they have somehow either "chosen" to ignore that inner clock or that they are in some other way "faulty". Again, if you can reductively dismiss people's actions as a choice on every occasion then you ignore every other factor in their lives that could have made a difference to the way they think and operate, and this in my opinion is dangerous, because it's treating the symptons but not the cause.

Here, you are in fact taking up Picard's position: you are basing your views on your beliefs and the way you have experienced life and then applying them to humanity in general.

Seeing that I've lived my entire life in the USA, I can only speak from my experience here. I have seen tremendous outpouring of love and kindness by total strangers to total strangers. Recently: The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center buildings - thousands upon thousands of strangers - poured resources, time, money, opened their homes, gave food, supplies, prayers, support and much more. The Katrina storm - thousands of people displaced. I witnessed thousands of people who opened their homes, donated time, money, clothes, supplies for total strangers. I could go on: earthquakes, tsunamis, world tragedies. Human beings do care about the well being of strangers - and definitely when we know it cannot be reciprocated.


Well we had 7/7 over here and I've no doubt that there were a number of acts of kindness extended to total strangers on that day too. I didn't live through the Blitz, but my parents and my grandparents did, and the stories of help and kindness are legion. BUT, I've also known times when it was a risk to go to London in case I got ripped apart by an IRA bomb like hundreds of others have been in the past, and my mother has personally witnessed people on the streets of New York collecting money to fund the IRA to do precisely this. Seemingly, for every action there is an equal and an opposite, so I can't subscribe to your notion of inner clocks because clearly those members of the IRA had been indoctrinated into believing that every innocent Brit on the UK mainland, and anyone else who didn't support their cause, deserved to be blown to pieces.

In the case of Hurricane katrina, it was certainly in the news here that, besides the acts of heroism and community spirit, there was also an awful lot of looting, incidences of brutality, and a not particularly quick response from your government. But then again, I was really talking about how people operate in the everyday, and not how human pity and empathy wrenches people into action when a disaster occurs.

Like Shinzon, IRA terrorists believed in their actions because they believed in their cause, and any allegedly hardwired in notions of right and wrong were clearly and firmly shoved to one side, even in the face of knowing that it is the avowed intention of most governments in the world not to give in to terrorism. They chose to use bombs ~ an indiscriminate weapon in order to try and force their point of view.


In the movie - Shinzon was the ultimage stranger to Picard. Known by him and unknown as well. Picard reached out to help him not only because he knew him in one regard, but also because he didn't know him.


The part he didn't know was Shinzon's background. He couldn't put himself in Shinzon's shoes because it was beyond his ability to do so. All he had to go on was actually the very brief description Shinzion gave him at the dinner, and it would be hardly enough to go on in terms of understanding how corrosive racsim and slavery can be. Here I warmly recommend two texts by American writers who articulate these points far better than I can: William Styron's contraversial The Confessions of Nat Turner offers a treatise on the corrosive effect of racism and slavery upon the human soul until revolt and revenge seem to be the only options, and James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time about how the pressures of being black and living in Harlem in the 30's and 40's, made choice something of far off aspiration for most people regardless of what they knew as right and wrong.

They know, as we all do, that people get away with "murder" (as we say). They still choose to do wrong - it's their choice. Shinzon's weakness is that he, too, believed he could pull this off even when he was getting careless.


The fact is that he couldn't control the getting careless and I still dispute your notion that he knew he was doing wrong within the moral continuum which he has experienced. Shinzon's notion of "wrong" comes soley from how he feels about the way he was treated by the Romulans and yet, he sees them getting away with it for the entire period of his life. Beyond that, there has been nobody in his life to draw him a moral map that would show him any different. Picard has the potential to do that but it would take longer than the movie allows and first he has to bring Shinzon to a place where he would accept it.


Some of us believe that, even at age 1, we know that taking the cookie when we've been told not to, is wrong. I said that I knew it was wrong to take the cookie after I was told the cookie wasn't mine to take. If the cookies were free to take, it would never have been wrong to eat one. Inside, I knew that if I took the cookie, I would be in the wrong. Not because I was told, but because it wasn't mine. And I knew that even the very first time. It was not a learned experience. It was an inner experience.


I'm so sorry but I'm really going to have to respectfully disagree with everything you've said there. I thought I had some memories that stretched back a long way ~ usually to the amazement of family members, but, as impressive as my memory is for childhood events, there's no way that I can remember back to age 1, and I really doubt that you can honestly claim that you do. The more likely scenario is that you were somewhat older and that by that time you have received instruction from your parents about the notion of ownership ~ espcially with regard to food items. Small children learn about ownership through having their own clothers, eating equipment, and toys. They are also taught from the time they can grasp items not to snatch anything that isn't offered to them first ~ I know I was teaching my own daughter that from babyhood, discipline that I doubt she could remember. What you've expressed with that illustration is a mismatch between some kind of "inner experience" which probably resulted from having been well taught by your parents, and some quasi-reasoning that was probably more to do with already knowing that taking cookies without being offered them was wrong.

Shinzon knows what he's doing. He knows it's bad/wrong/evil - pick a description. He still chooses it because to him, revenge is sweet.


So Shinzon's motives stem entirely from revenge? I don't think so since he has the problem of delivering ~ or at least appearing to deliver ~ the promise of conquering earth to his Romulan backers. There's also the small question of consolidating the freedom he has won for the Remans. Compared to that, revenge would be a happy side effect for Shinzon.


This is Shinzon's limited view of life. True he does say that, but I have a different feeling/viewpoint about why he says that.


If you'd lived two thirds of your life in a black hole in the ground with no other of your species for company, and spending your days picking dilithium crystals out of a rock face, you'd have a limited view of life too. It's not like the Romulans gave their slaves culture breaks, schooling, or facilitated out-of-hours clubs for them to sit about discussing philosophy, literature, or great art.

The clue comes in the novelisation where Shinzon, upon seeing Deanna for the first time, says "where I come from there is no light, no beauty, I see that there's a different world" (or words to that effect). He really doesn't have a whole lot of time to assimilate any new stimulation even if his elaborate plan wasn't very well advanced by that stage.

I'm seeing a paradox here: on one hand you seem to have what I would describe as a very didactic notion that all humans are born with an innate sense of right or wrong and that, by inference, parents, schools, and religion (where it applies) function simply to reinforce those hardwired polarities of human thought and action, and on the other an attitude towards criminals and the fictional Shinzon that is pretty unequivocally pessimistic that human choice is always umittigated by any outside factors. In other words, since criminals always choose their path, nothing can ever change this tendency within them. So, I have to ask, is every criminal completely beyond redemption because they are simply choosing to ignore their inner clocks regardless of what experience of life they have? What use are inner clocks where there are feckless parents, absentee fathers, or bad schools failing to reinforce these inner moral leanings?

Or, more optimistically, might a few random acts of kindness directed at them mean that they learn to understand the same moral register as most of us and make the right choices?

The notion of "you chose do it therefore you are entirely to blame" strikes me as a convenient placing the blame "away" or someplace else in order to not to self-examine, or look too closely at one's own community. I should have thought that the Columbine shootings nine years ago, which, on the surface looked like a couple of disaffected kids choosing to commit a most apalling massacre, ought to have led to a thorough examination of the culture of popularity in American high schools and another look at the gun laws, but all the time you can reductively say it was a bad choice made my a pair of kids ignoring their inner clocks, then of course, it was always bound to happen again, and it has.

I make no apologies for taking this a bit further off-topic, but I think, since it pertains to disadvantaged young men, that it's still germane to what Nemesis has to say about two young Picards: here in the UK there is enormous concern in all sectors of our society about gang culture in our inner cities and the ever-escalating incidences of knife crimes and fatal stabbings of young men. Vitally, nobody is pointing the finger at gang members and pretending that it is their choice to behave in an immoral fashion, but rather, and increasingly, people are examining the pressures of living in such communities and most vitally listening to the young men themselves. Reformed gang members have underlined how impossible it is for even well-meaning people on the outside of these communities to talk about "choices", when they say that the young men who join gangs feel they have no choice but to carry knives and join gangs for their own protection. The paradox that everybody understands is that the streets would be safer is gang culture didn't exist at all, but try telling that to the individual young man who feels threatened everytime he has to cross another gang's territory to run an errand for his mum. He can't, single handedly, turn around entire communities and the creeping cultural incursion of the glamourised gang culture from the US. From where he's standing, his mum's told him it's wrong until she's blue in the face, and being stopped and searched by the police on a regular basis means that real gang life ain't glamorous, but he still percieves that his life is at risk if he is not in a gang and carrying a knife with which to defend himself.

The one constant refrain coming out of these examinations and initiatives to stamp out the cause of knife crime and gang violence largely boils down to one thing: absentee fathers and a lack of meaningful adult mentoring.

I rest my case.

You said somewhere back in the thread that I made a "lawyer's case" for mittigating Shinzon's actions. I don't think I did that so much as make a moral case that took notions of morality, and alternative moralities, far wider than the reductive norms, and I think this movie invites us to do that. Here's one place in which I think this movie surpasses TWOK. :)

Edited by JulesLuvsShinzon, 07 September 2008 - 04:28 AM.


#129 ensign edwards

 

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 11:15 AM

@Jules: You've made some very good points, and really made me think, and I must admit that some of my earlier arguments may have been oversimplified. But I still stand by my ultimate determination about Shinzon. Why? It comes down to the end, when Shinzon decided to use his thalaron weapon on the Enterprise. That would have killed Picard and, by extension, him, so he's not acting out of self preservation; he's not acting to help his Reman brothers. He's just trying to go out in a blaze of destruction and hatred. No matter how messed up your moral compass is, that's wrong.

Now, on the broader issues:

As far as nature vs. nurture goes, please understand that I'm not saying our upbringing has no affect. It's essential. But we also have an innate personality and innate sense of right and wrong. It's instinctual. This is my belief, anyway. If humanity did not have a built-in moral compass, I don't see how our grand notions of law and ethics could possibly have evolved.

Our upbringing is critical in shaping our morality, yes. I think a lot of criminals have never been given the chance to evolve past the early stages in morality where we only think about what's right four ourselves. But I also think that there are some actions so that are so wrong, and so obviously so, that there is nothing that can forgive them. I'm thinking of things like torture, genocide, or rape. You don't need nice parents and a good education to know those things are wrong. Not in my opinion.

My point here is balance. I don't think nature or nurture can be ignored in how they make up what we are. We must take the circumstances that led to a choice into account when we judge it, but we must also remember that it is a choice.

#130 Captain_Hair

 

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 11:45 AM

Law and ethics exist because cooperation (and the trust that goes along with it) is in the best interests of the perpetuation of our species. If there were no repercussions for murder, then there would be nothing to stop you from just killing somebody for no reason. In that world, everybody would be paranoid of the next guy, afraid that something - or nothing - will set them off to kill you. If everybody is afraid of everybody else, then nothing truly productive will be accomplished. Laws and codes of ethics, however arbitrary, are used to establish a certain level of trust upon which our morality is built. It's not wrong to murder because it's against the law, though that is a strong deterrent. It's wrong to murder because in most cases it's not going to result in an advancement of the species or society.

This notion evolved from our caveman days - strength in numbers was more important than acting out of a grudge. This is also where the concept of monogamy originated. With the long gestation period of a human child and the practical incapacitation of a pregnant female (she's not going to be much good out on the hunt) - not to mention the man's own vested interest in the perpetuation of himself - the man was required to be loyal to his mate.

Don't kill. Don't steal. Don't cheat. Don't lie. These societal rules and laws exist out of necessity, not because of some deep-seated moral compass in all of us. We're all out for our own best interests - and cooperating is in our best interests. Call it tit for tat, or karma, or game theory, or whatever you want. The advancement of the group as a whole is what is best for the individual members as well.

Now what am I getting to here? These rules and laws, not being biological in origin, would also be part of the Romulan and Reman societies. The Remans obviously are fully capable sentient beings with structured military rank hierarchies, extreme engineering capabilities, and concepts such a loyalty and respect for authority. They too must have laws and ethics to have achieved something as impressive as the Scimitar. Even under Romulan oppression, the ethics of cooperation survive - we did not see African slaves revert to barbarism under the whip of their owners, we should not expect the same of the Remans.

Shinzon is an aberration amongst Reman society. Just as Hitler was not representative of all Germans, Shinzon is not representative of all Remans. He embodies certain aspects of the Reman psyche and is in part working towards their common good [freedom], but Shinzon's blood thirst against the Federation makes little sense in this setting. as it is not the Federation who abandoned him. In fact, his bloodthirsty ambitions seem counter to what one would expect from how the Remans are described. Where is his acting out against the Romulans who abandoned him and oppressed his Reman brothers? He killed the Senate through a traitor agent. Big whoop - that's too small, it's too easy. What of the rest of Romulus?

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#131 ensign edwards

 

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 11:55 AM

^I almost agree with that. I think that the evolutionary need for cooperation which you talked about led to the creation of a moral compass.

Shinzon is an aberration amongst Reman society. Just as Hitler was not representative of all Germans, Shinzon is not representative of all Remans. He embodies certain aspects of the Reman psyche and is in part working towards their common good [freedom], but Shinzon's blood thirst against the Federation makes little sense in this setting. as it is not the Federation who abandoned him. In fact, his bloodthirsty ambitions seem counter to what one would expect from how the Remans are described. Where is his acting out against the Romulans who abandoned him and oppressed his Reman brothers? He killed the Senate through a traitor agent. Big whoop - that's too small, it's too easy. What of the rest of Romulus?


I think what he was truly after is what all young people feel the need for at one point or another: to establish his identity. He felt that he needed to do something grand and destructive to establish himself as an individual. As long as Picard as alive and more well known than Shinzon, he seemed to think he would just be a copy. Hence you get lines like "...witness the victory of the echo over the voice."

#132 ensign edwards

 

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Posted 07 September 2008 - 02:53 PM

Oh, and BTW, I had no problem with Zefram Cochrane in First Contact. You must be thinking of someone else, Jules. :)

#133 Section47

 

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Posted 08 September 2008 - 09:57 AM

I must admit, I've never been on the train that think Nemesis was a terrible movie. I for one think it's better than Insurrection. And it does have elements going for it - a good score, decent support cast and it tries to do a few things differently (the buggy chase).

However... I will agree with the consensus that Stuart Baird was the wrong guy for the job. Put him against Nicholas Meyer (the greatest Trek movie director) or even JJ Abrams (big fan of his here) and there's no comparison. This was the guy who made US Marshals, for heaven's sake! Good editor, no director.

I also didn't like B-4 and felt the ending was a complete cop-out of the brave move in killing Data - a character I never liked personally, plus the way his death was handled was incredibly anti-climactic. They shot for Spock levels of emotion, they failed.

The whole Troi 'mind-rape' sub-plot was also just frankly embarrassing. A decent idea on the page, executed badly.

So... get rid of B-4, ship in a talented director who knows/gives a damn about Trek and don't change the habits of lifetime by trying to give Troi or indeed anyone besides Picard & Data anything other than exposition in the movies. That's how I'd tweak Nemesis.
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#134 Discodirect

 

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 04:06 PM

How would you change Star Trek Nemesis


No win scenario. Now that would have made an interesting ending.

Edited by Discodirect, 11 January 2009 - 04:07 PM.


#135 Commander Lazar

 

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Posted 04 June 2011 - 12:50 PM

I have read the book and in it Worf stops hating Romulans because he is saved by a Romulan doctor.

#136 dominion_ruler

 

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 08:55 PM

I would change the box office number$ - they lie!!! Better movie than those numbers represent by far.

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#137 jonathan

 

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 03:36 AM

how would i change it? id bring data back.

#138 Benjamin Sisko

 

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 08:59 PM

I would have made several changes to improve the film:

  • Riker commands the Titan at the film's outset
  • Both the Titan and the Enterprise travel to Romulus
  • Worf's presence aboard the Enterprise is clearly explained, perhaps by including the deleted dialogue in which he discusses leaving his diplomatic position
  • Nemesis features Romulans as the primary antagonist
  • Starfleet's is asked to mediate a dispute between two competing factions within the Romulan government in order to avert a civil war
  • Tomalak, a former adversary of the Federation, leads one of these factions
  • Donatra, a bright and promising commander who has gained the support of a significant portion of the Romulan fleet, leads the opposing faction
  • Picard and Riker find themselves on opposite sides in this conflict, perhaps with Picard siding with Tomalak, who has come to view the Federation not as his enemy, but as a potential partner in peace
  • Seeing something of himself in Donatra, Riker supports her position, believing his former commanding officer foolish to trust someone with Tomalak's history of confrontation with the Federation
  • A battle ensues between the factions, a battle that features the exchange of fire between the Titan and the Enterprise: both vessels are heavily damaged, and suffer extensive casualties
  • The conflict is resolved, perhaps through the sacrifice of Data, who does not wish to see his friends destroy each other in a battle that may plunge the Federation into another war
  • Picard and Riker reflect on the loss of their friend and shipmate at the film's conclusion, and wonder if perhaps recent conflicts with the Borg, the Dominion, and others have caused the Federation to turn away from the ideals on which it was originally based, leaving the audience with the startling realization that the Federation's greatest Nemesis is not the Borg, the Dominion, or a Romulan Empire on the verge of civil war, but the Federation itself

--Captain Sisko

Edited by Benjamin Sisko, 21 August 2012 - 09:04 PM.

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#139 AmeliaCharlotte

 

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:16 PM

Despite my love for Data, i think they did the right thing in killing him off. I just wish they made it more emotional.
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#140 Ezri Dax

 

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 11:19 AM

Despite my love for Data, i think they did the right thing in killing him off. I just wish they made it more emotional.


I have no problem with the death of Data. If they need him, they can take his memories and place him in a new android body. In fact, they could place his memories in a womans body like 7 of 9! Or, in more then one android body. Thinking of Data in a android of 7 of 9 and he is talking with the Doctor.



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