Tag Archives: star trek

Link Dump: #94

pricelorre_kitty

A while back, I showed you a photo of Peter Lorre with two kitties. Well, to top that, here are four photos of Peter Lorre and Vincent Price with two different kitties! Summer is over. Autumn is here. It’s time to stop fucking around. Now here are a bunch of links I’ve been gathering for the past couple months:

Finally, search terms! Like “spying wife pussy blogspot.” And “pussy trazan.” And incoherent strings of vaguely pornographic keywords like “catherine keener cameltoe pussy, tube8” and “las princesas de disney pusy”!

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10 Beloved Star Trek: TNG Episodes

I recently finished watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Only seasons 3-7, I should add, after I was loudly and repeatedly warned away from the first two.) I loved the show as a kid, and I had a lot of fun revisiting it with adult eyes, seeing wisdom and thematic depth I’d never realized were there—although, that said, my basic reaction hasn’t changed much since age 11: “Ooh, cool space adventures!” It is, wonderfully, a show that can be enjoyed both as literary sci-fi and as spectacle, even if its low-budget special effects invariably lagged light-years behind its ideas. Uneven as its run may have been, TNG was broad in scope, huge in ambition, and usually an entertaining hour of TV.

So I figured I might as well write about a handful of my favorite episodes. I chose to leave off iconic favorites like “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” “Best of Both Worlds,” “The Drumhead,” and “The Inner Light,” because I feel like by now they’ve been praised nearly to death. (Though it bears repeating that “The Inner Light” is just stunningly good. As is “Chain of Command,” for that matter.) Instead, I selected ten episodes that may not yet have received their due, but which thrilled me, intrigued me, and moved me more than I expected…

(I’ve listed the seasons and episode numbers after each title. And if these aren’t enough, here are five more that almost made my list: “The Hunted,” “Remember Me,” “Disaster,” “Relics,” and “Parallels.”)

"The Survivors" (S3E3)

“The Survivors” (S3E3)

This episode has all the economy and power of a classic sci-fi short story. Nothing superfluous: just a near-deserted planet, a pair of elderly guest stars, and a wrenching twist. The Enterprise gets involved, of course, and Picard employs some deductive reasoning to unravel the planet’s mystery, but “The Survivors” is primarily about its title characters, the Uxbridges—about the intensity of their love, and husband Kevin’s commitment to nonviolence. Through them, the episode investigates ethical concerns already familiar to TNG viewers, but in an unusually thought- and emotion-provoking manner.

"The Most Toys" (S3E22)

“The Most Toys” (S3E22)

As an android, Data’s fundamentally different from every other character on the show, and that difference was exploited by many solid episodes, with “Brothers,” “Hero Worship,” and “Thine Own Self” high among them. But I prefer “The Most Toys,” where he’s imprisoned by obsessive collector Kivas Fajo, played by Saul Rubinek. The relationship between the dickish Fajo and his emotionless captor makes for meaty drama, as well as an object lesson in Data’s personhood and unshakable moral high ground. And the ending, wherein Data tells Riker a chilling white lie, is icing on an already delicious cake. (…with mint frosting)

"Sarek" (S3E23)

“Sarek” (S3E23)

This is how you draw on ancient franchise history, courtesy of a script by fantasy legend Peter S. Beagle. Bringing back Mark Lenard as Spock’s father, now a wizened ambassador, “Sarek” throws the Enterprise into the middle of a diplomatic crisis and the outbreak of an emotional epidemic, then ties them both to a tragic metaphor for Alzheimer’s and the ravages of age. Rarely has the loss of self-control been illustrated as starkly as it is in Lenard’s agonized performance and in Patrick Stewart’s ferocious breakdown scene, both of which grant startling rawness to such an elegant episode.

"The Mind's Eye" (S4E24)

“The Mind’s Eye” (S4E24)

Geordi is maybe the most lovable character in TNG: friendly, hard-working, and incredibly nerdy. So it’s disturbing to see him thrust into the Manchurian Candidate scenario of “The Mind’s Eye,” programmed by the Romulans to be a perfect assassin and saboteur. The episode takes the form of a procedural, with Geordi leading an investigation into espionage he doesn’t realize he’s comitting, and Data gradually piecing the clues together. “The Mind’s Eye” is a tense and sharply written hour which expertly raises the stakes by playing on the audience’s built-in fondness for its characters.

“Redemption” (S4E26/S5E1)

TNG, for a variety of reasons, was never especially good at “epic.” It’s not for nothing that most of these episodes are small, intimate, and Enterprise-centric. But with the two-part “Redemption,” they at least gave it a shot, forcing Worf to resolve his divided loyalties as the Klingon empire explodes into civil war. The Romulans are involved again, and the plotting’s a little too busy, but nonetheless it’s fun to watch Picard navigate his own conflicts of interest, or Data take command for the first time. Between the convoluted interstellar politics and Worf’s identity crisis, “Redemption” is the show going big in a way I can’t resist.

"Darmok" (S5E2)

“Darmok” (S5E2)

This episode delivers the pleasure of Patrick Stewart acting opposite Paul Winfield, who plays an alien captain trapped with Picard in the wilderness. It also has the Enterprise crew doing what it does best, i.e. devoting all their expertise to a big, vexing problem. But it’s on this list for one big reason, which is its unforgettable conceit: that the alien’s race communicates solely through culturally specific metaphors. Like all great sci-fi, “Darmok” makes me reexamine my world; it encourages me to ponder just how strange and impressive an achievement language itself really is.

"Cause and Effect" (S5E18)

“Cause and Effect” (S5E18)

This is the “Groundhog Day… in space!” episode, one of my favorite “fun” episodes (along with “Clues” and “Conundrum”) and one which toys with TNG’s bread and butter: some weird phenomena is affecting the Enterprise, and the crew has to figure out what, then stop it from killing everyone. The narrative structure here is unusually experimental, the gradual discovery of the time loop is very satisfying, and the cold open is probably the most memorable of the show’s run. Nothing too weighty here, but it’s fleet and imaginative just like good genre fiction should be.

"Face of the Enemy" (S6E14)

“Face of the Enemy” (S6E14)

This one really shocked me. Its premise, with Counselor Troi forced onto an undercover mission aboard a Romulan vessel, is certainly tantalizing, but in execution it’s a masterpiece of rising tension. (Admittedly, I might just be especially susceptible to stories like this; I spent roughly half the episode physically shaking.) Watching Troi bluff her way through a high-pressure mission provides no end of pleasure, as does seeing her go toe to toe with Carolyn Seymour as the ship’s unyielding captain. Few TNG episodes develop an atmosphere of danger quite as thick as the one in “Face of the Enemy.”

"Lessons" (S6E19)

“Lessons” (S6E19)

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here’s a rare episode that’s quiet, tender, even Ozu-esque. The slender story is that of two middle-aged professionals (Picard and Nella Daren, played by Wendy Hughes) who meet one night, slowly become interested in one another, play some duets—she on piano, he on his “Inner Light” flute—and fall in love. It’s a little awkward, especially since he has his “gruff captain” persona to maintain, but they push through any workplace difficulties… until duty forces him to endanger her life, and they decide a break-up would be for the best. It’s sensitively handled, unlike so many TNG romances, and a precious glimpse at Enterprise life in between big missions.

"Preemptive Strike" (S7E24)

“Preemptive Strike” (S7E24)

Finally, here’s the second-to-last episode of the whole series. It’s a story that could only have been told so late in the show’s run, reversing our POV so we can experience the Enterprise and the Federation from the outside looking in. Using Ro Laren, a recurring character known to bristle at authority, the episode turns morality on its head and tacitly asks that we empathize with terrorists. It’s a daring gambit, and it’s tough to imagine a show pulling it off outside of a sci-fi context. Like many of the episodes listed here, “Preemptive Strike” acknowledges that sometimes, the right thing to do is anything but obvious.

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Link Dump: #59

This week’s kitty comes from the mental illness drama Girl, Interrupted. Its owner hangs herself, but HEY kitty! It’s also my birthday, so it’s especially cool that I get to spend it thinking about kitties, movies, and some great links…

Finally, we have a pair of amusing search terms: “most tasteless house warming present,” which would be what, a swastika doormat? And “is disney making a movie about lesbian princesses,” the answer to which is pretty obvious. (It’s “no.” What, do you think we’re living in the 21st century or something?)

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Link Dump: #38

Hey, look! It’s the cutest kitty in all of science fiction! Of course I speak of Jones, resident feline of the spaceship Nostromo. He may have led Ripley to risk her life needlessly, but really, look at him. You can’t be angry with that kitty. Now here are some links:

Not much lately in the way of search terms, but I did enjoy “why copy editors are important.” In case you were wondering, it’s because copy-editing makes writing coherent and professional. Hurray for correct grammar and spelling!

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Link Dump: #35

This pretty white kitty comes courtesy of Lee Grant, playing the wealthy matriarch in Hal Ashby’s debut The Landlord. It’s a very underrated satire of class warfare and racial tension in the early ’70s. It’s also includes a kitty. Now here are some links!

We had a pretty fantastic assortment of gross/bizarre search terms this week, like the vaginally themed “cunt eat mouse” and “bloddin on pussy.” We had the aggressive “bash your fucking skull,” and the gentler “pornfor a nice man.” My absolute favorite, though, was definitely “tutu fecal.” Seriously. What in the world does that mean? I’ll let you ponder that one.

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Link Dump: #15

It’s that time of year again! The “most wonderful time”! The time when you start feeling bad about how inadequate all the presents you’re giving are (and all the people you’re forgetting), when you feel guilty over not being able to spend enough time with family, when it’s cold as fuck outside and a new year is looming around the corner. Wonderful.

This week’s special Xmas kitty comes courtesy of Rankin/Bass’s stop-motion classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), because Ashley vetoed my selection from A Garfield Christmas (1987). And now I have an inadequate present for you, dear reader: links! Here’s the best of the Internet for the past week:

  • Andrew Pulver of The Guardian wrote this terrifically in-depth essay on Jules Dassin’s great noir Night and the City.
  • From the “What If?” Department: Victorian Star Trek, complete with sepia tone.
  • The verse may not be great, but Adam Watson’s “Dr. Seuss does Star Wars” drawings are hilarious. Especially Jabba.
  • Vulture has “2010’s 25 Best Performances That Won’t Win Oscars,” many of which are dead-on, and contain a few more end-of-year overlooked movie suggestions.
  • Slate Magazine has 17 overlooked Christmas movies, including All That Heaven Allows and Eyes Wide Shut. That’s my kind of list! Keith Phipps of The A.V. Club has three more, one of which features Jimmy Durante and a squirrel.
  • The San Diego Film Critics Society gets my admiration for 1) being one of the few critics’ groups to break with the Social Network solidarity and 2) actually making interesting, wide-ranging choices. Scott Pilgrim! Shutter Island! Never Let Me Go! Variety!
  • Here’s a hilarious top 10 movies list from Lisanti Quarterly. I seriously can’t wait to see The Super-Loony One.
  • But with all this year-end cinematic partying, we can’t forget the year’s worst movies: here are lists from The Film Doctor, The Telegraph, and The A.V. Club.
  • The ultimate holiday present: zombie-centric reinterpretations of beloved movies!
  • You know what’s really threatening America? Businesses that say “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Thankfully, some clever Who down in Whoville came up with GrinchAlert.com, where irate customers can put Baby Jesus-hating stores on the “Naughty list,” and presumably boycott them. (Go sarcasm!)

As your reward for receiving the above gift, here’s a bonus: the past week’s wacky search term action! I was greatly amused by the horny redundancy in “i like sex and pussy also” and the saccharine overkill of “animated smiling heart.” Someone accidentally created a porno spoof title with a dash of Latin by searching for “dr. jekyll et mr. hyde fuck.” (Let’s not dwell on the mechanics of that action, by the way.) Lastly, I’m kind of baffled by all the hits from “fogging cockroach.” Maybe they’re searching for an exterminator? FYI: Pussy Goes Grrr is not a bug extermination website. We also can’t recommend any good ones. Sorry, and have a happy winter!

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Star Trek fanzines and sexual freedom

A few months ago, I briefly mentioned “The Ring of Soshern,” an early example of Kirk/Spock slashfiction. Since then, searching for “Ring of Soshern”-related information has led a number of intrepid netizens to this blog. Thus, I’ve decided to devote some time to talking about this story as well as Star Trek fandom in general. You see, growing up, one of my best friends was a self-described “Trekkie” (he identified me, with my lesser devotion to the franchise, as a “Trekker”). I think his enthusiasm has waned some since 5th grade, but my point is that I was exposed to a wealth of Trek-related phenomena in my formative years. Hell, I used to play a game that involved listing off TNG episode titles for fun. (Did I mention I was a weird kid?)

The point of this autobiographical detour is to say that I have some small experience in the world of fandom, which is sometimes funny, sometimes depressing, and other times enjoyable. And Star Trek fandom is one of the oldest, best-established realms of nerdiness. The original series (aka ST:TOS), in its original run, lasted only from 1966-69, but had a profound impact – eventually leading to a Trek resurgence in the form of a film series, 5 (and counting) additional TV shows, and a wealth of peripheral media, including countless novels.

Then there’s everything made by fans, and that’s where we find “The Ring of Soshern.” Unfortunately, I can’t find the story online. I’m not sure why it hasn’t made the jump to the Internet; you’d think that as a nonprofessional, pseudonymous, but highly sought-after work, it’d be easily accessible. And yet. I’ve discerned that it was first distributed via photocopies around 1976, so about 7 years after TOS ended. In her essay “Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and the Study of Popular Culture” (published in, among other places, Cultural Studies), Prof. Constance Penley of UC Santa Barbara describes “Soshern” as a “highly revered and imitated story.” In 1987, it was anthologized in Alien Brothers, a high-quality fanzine that collected K/S stories.

From there, however, I have no idea where “Soshern” is gone or how to find it. Tracking down a copy of Alien Brothers would probably be the next step. As Penley’s essay suggests, K/S slashfic, and slashfic in general, evokes some worthwhile questions about free speech, homoeroticism, and the subjectivity of female fans. E.g., issues of obscenity – since slashfic is usually just glorified porn – or, for Penley, whether Kirk and Spock, as portrayed, are intended to actually be homosexuals, or whether other psychosexual processes are at work here in the mind of the author.

Something else I find fascinating (as Mr. Spock would put it) is the aesthetic divergences that fanfics and fan artwork can take from the original material. For example, just glance over the covers depicted in this index of Trek fanzines dating from around 1970-2005. I’m a huge fan of zines in general, looking at the evolution of independently printed publications prior to the existence of the Internet, and so for me, these are just gold. Nowhere in the canon of Star Trek would you find a visual sensibility like those on the cover of Spockanalia 5, Precessional, Two-Dimensional Thinking, Nova Trek (by the editor of Alien Brothers), or Spock 61. It’s just beautiful.

I feel like these little discoveries should at least somewhat counteract the popular perception of diehard Star Trek fans as nerdy losers who resemble Comic Book Guy; instead, they’ve sometimes been revolutionaries in terms of creative independent press and sexual openness in amateur literature. Decades ago, they took material produced for commercial television and adapted it into something personal, prized, and different, a format through which they could explore freedom and desire. In short, they went where no one had gone before.

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