The social commentary of Star Trek

A month back I was exceptionally bored of my usual routine, of playing video games. Much like the old, tired cliche of how a woman can look into a full closet and have nothing to wear, I had nothing to play. So I went on something I don’t normally go on – Netlfix.

Now, unlike most people, I don’t like Netflix. Or more specifically, I don’t like a lot of shows. I find them dull, boring, or uninteresting. A few of the shows I did like were The Walking Dead, The X-Files, Doctor Who – dystopian or dark shows with airs of mystery. I also like funny things, like W/Bob and David, a very funny but short series.

My most recent interest was shown to me by my mom, like The X-Files beforehand: Star Trek. Specifically, Star Trek The Next Generation.

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image taken from: p://jamesadomian.com/2014/08/

Now, I want you to know that I don’t plan on dressing up like aliens or whatever, speaking in made up languages…but what I liked about the show is how they blended social commentary into some of the episodes.

For example, one episode deals with the Enterprise hosting two factions very hostile only to each other. I saw parallels between the Soviet Union and U.S., and the Enterprise the U.N. At what point is it acceptable to interfere with the relations of two nations? At what point must you become the peacekeeper? These questions were asked in the episode, and were answered with the Enterprise’s Prime Directive – never interfere. And because of this, some delegates died, much like how people died in Proxy Wars like the Vietnam War.

Another episode is one where they find a planet where women hold all the power, and men are sexuallized and given jobs like secretaries and prostitutes. In the 24th century, humanity is truly equal, and the crew of the Enterprise find this display just as disturbing as the misogynistic past of the U.S. Is it justifiable to put men in this position just like women had been in the past? Is oppositely tilted balances true justice, or just another side of the coin?

Then another episode deals with a society where committing a crime in an area chosen randomly is punished with death. This creates a society full of pleasure and fun, with no crime or chaos at all, with death as the only punishment. Is killing criminals an effective deterrent to stop crime?

I have so far watched about three seasons, and find it fascinating to see the inspirations of some episodes in history and today.

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