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5 Political and Ethical Lessons from The Drumhead

Unapologetic political post with opinions!

I’m writing this post under my own name as with everything in politics. It’s a personal thing. It’s also collective. And it feels good to share.

I’ve been open about my political leanings. I’ve worked in that battle field. I’ve stood for election many times and served public office for some years. My underlying principles have been always been Liberal and Star Trek was the influence and educator for me.

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But I was born in Hawaii!

When I went to bed the night of the US Election, I noted that I felt the same as I did the night of the EU referendum. Smug reassurance that everything was going to be fine and go the way I thought it would… and should.

Watching the results come in that night  I felt like the crew of DS9 checking on the weekly casualty reports during the Dominion war.

Whilst Star Trek appeals to Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, the overwhelming majority of us all share it’s core philosophy.  That’s why campaigns like ‘Trek Against Trump’ gained such widespread support. And why I have only encountered a handful of a Trump and Brexit supporters – hey we’re all internet friends!

But the next morning as I sat drinking my 4th Diet Coke at 6.30am, with a screaming 2 year old, a vomiting dog, news that a relative had passed away and Trumps face grinning through the TV. I nearly surrendered to the fact that humanity is in the midst of a self destruct phase. Then I heard Captain Picard’s voice calmly speaking. img_1226

That’s when I remembered that doing nothing isn’t an option. So I rewatched The Drumhead and in my angry, defeated mindset, Picard reminded me to keep fighting the cause.

You’ll recall a Klingon exchange officer is accused of smuggling information to the Romulans but denies causing an explosion in engineering. This leads to an investigation into the crew which reveals a young officer lied about his Romulan heritage when applying to Starfleet. The Drumhead is one of Star Trek’s finest hour. But Picard’s words to Worf chime true at anytime and during any political climate.

This was the moment for me I realised that Star Trek isn’t just a ‘utopian vision’. It’s a working political model. It is continually tested and challenged. This is where Star Trek can give us hope during these times.

So whether you’re feeling sorry for yourself and the frightening shift away from liberalism, freedom and common sense, Or if you’re conservative and believe in devolving power to the lowest possible level, Here’s five lessons we can take away from the TNG episode The Drumhead. Let me know what you think. Are there any you’d add?

  1. Constantly reevaluate your own beliefs and hold them to account.

I have put this first as I believe it is the most important and key to our development and growth as a person.  Picard does this early on in the episode when talking to Admiral Satie. She wants to begin the investigation by limiting Tarses movements based on her Betazoid assistant’s intuition (that Tarses is hiding something). She makes excellent points. She speaks calmly, she’s intelligent and her argument has plenty of merit. You can see Picard considering carefully. When she asks if Picard would act on similar advice from Counsellor Troi, he acknowledges the hypocrisy of his stance and resolves to correct it instead of making excuses for himself. I’ve rarely ever seen a politician .. or person admit this during a confrontation.

2. Let your logic and emotions work together in harmony.

There’s a reason why that guy in your office, who claims ‘he identifies mosts with Vulcans’ because he ‘doesn’t let emotions get in his way’ – is a complete Jerk. This is because unlike Vulcans, he has not completed the Kolinahr and he doesn’t follow the teachings of Surak. When human beings try to suppress their emotions, things go bad. This is where Picard excels and Admiral Satie fails. Picard can sometimes seem cold when in fact he is always congruent with his emotions. Perhaps this is why they don’t always come bursting out (unlike that guy in your office!). He is quick to notice his gut feeling and tells Worf “This doesn’t feel right”.

Admiral Satie on the otherhand seems very ‘in control’ of her emotions, which in our culture is applauded. She is quick to loose control though when her buttons are pushed. There are similarities to Trump here. They both are capable of provoking intense feelings in others – particularly fear. However when Picard used Satie’s fathers words against her and when Alec Baldwin, Cher and every media outlet used Trumps words against him, their fragile inner emotional state can’t cope.

3. Everyone believes they are the goodies and doing what’s best.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that no matter how awful or misguided someone’s beliefs are, Everyone thinks they are doing what’s ‘best’ or ‘necessary’ despite the actual outcome. The same is true with Picard and Satie. In fact they have much more in common than not. They both want the truth, they both want to protect the values of the Federation.

I often had to remind myself of that when I was working with (what I now consider) moderate opposition parties. The difference is in the policy and how you will achieve the goal. Satie believes that the overarching importance is “protection of the Federation” – and any measure however unsavoury is worthwhile for the great of good. However Picard sees the rights of the individual as sovereign. That by protecting the one, you are upholding the values of the Federation which you seek to protect. We see Picard implement a person centred policy many times, e.g. Measure of a Man, The Offspring, Insurrection.

On a side note, I once considered taking an action that was morally questionable but for a good cause. I watched the DS9 episode “In the pale moonlight” where Sisko brings the Romulans into the war. After watching that episode I was convinced it was the necessary thing to do. But after weeks of considering it I thought to myself “Would Picard have done that?”. I thought of the Drumhead and realised that Picard would have found another way. For me and my conundrum, it wasn’t the ‘right’ thing to do.

4. Step up to your duty.

Whether you’re a voter, party member or president-elect. We all have a role and responsibility.

When Picard sees that Tarses will need legal representation he calls on Commander Riker who steps up to protect Tarses without hesitation. When it is suddenly revealed that he is part Romulan, the audience gasps and we’re all thinking he is guilty as hell. Riker may have reacted with a presumption of innocence and jumped to Simons rescue. Or he felt the same as the audience but knew his duty was to protect Simon. Either way. Classy.

Not only is this a reminder on how to treat others but with lots of big news stories hitting out headlines almost daily it’s vital to continually scrutinise, challenge and determine what is actually important.

5. Lecturing other people about their beliefs rarely changes their mind.

Picard eloquently explains his position to Satie, as does she. As she won’t change her mind, Picard needs to remove her power. He does this by enlightening others. He provides evidence so Admiral Henry from Starfleet Security, the rest of the crew and even Satie’s staff can see her for what she really is.

Hateful words spread fear but silencing them can give their cause credibility, as they claim to be repressed. Picard puts the spotlight on Satie and allows her to reveal the full extent of her fanaticism.  This allows followers like Worf to re-evaluate their own stance. Picard took a person centred approach again as he is aware that change comes from within and given the full facts, a person can make an informed decision. The draw back is that the person receiving that decision changing information generally has to be well balanced, constantly re-evaluate their own beliefs, has harmonised their emotions with their logic and will step up to do their duty. Which is why it worked so much better in 2367 than in 2016.

Shaka … When the walls fell.

 

Star Trek Beyond Event – Review

Star Trek is cool again! That was the vibe from last nights special fan event held at Paramount Pictures.

Considering very little detail about the event was released prior, it was a spectacular affair with Paramount pulling out all the stops for an epic celebration that went ‘beyond’ showing us a trailer for the new movie. The event also encompassed a celebration of 50 years of Star Trek with Hollywoods biggest names like Rihanna and Slash paying tribute to the franchise and declaring their Trekkie status.
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When we arrived at Stage 31 we were led through an Enterprise corridor to reveal the bridge style theatre where the Q&A’s would take place.

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The Q&A was moderated by Adam Savage from Myth Busters (and huge Trekkie) who sadly didn’t blow anything up.

JJ. Abrams and Justin Lin spoke very well about the importance of Star Trek and how highly they regard the Star Trek fan base. JJ then mentioned the Axanar lawsuit which probably made the Paramount/CBS legal department flinch more than we did although we know every word was very well prepared. He stated that Justin and he were not happy with the alienation of Star Trek fans caused by recent decisions and fan productions will be allowed to continue. We look forward to the influx of Kickstarters in all our Facebook groups.

JJ also announced that everyone in attendance at the fan event will receive an invite to the premiere of Star Trek Beyond which will be shown at San Diego Film and Comic Con on July 20th in an outdoor IMAX with live orchestra! We are assessing our airmiles, prospect of loosing our jobs and possibility of getting thrown out by our partners to attend this!

Then the moment we had tried to prepare for (with plenty of lipgloss) Chris Pine, Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto took to the stage! **Carry us to sickbay**

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The rapport between them is like a current day version of Kirk, Spock and McCoy.

After a Q&A session, quiz and behind the scenes look at Star Trek Beyond we were invited outside to witness and celebrate the naming of the street ‘Leonard Nimoy Way’.

The Nimoy family turned up and we all toasted to the new street name. Zachary Quinto’s speech was the perfect balance of uplifting, celebratory and touching. This was a HUGE honour for us, one we are grateful and privileged to have been involved in.

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**spoiler alert but nothing you couldn’t deduce from the trailer **

Next we piled in to stage 32 where we surrendered our phones to some beautiful Orion Girls (they just wanted your phone, guys, not your number!) and watched the trailer for Star Trek Beyond.

Firstly, what a wonderful and fitting idea to hold it in the very stage that was home to Star Trek The Original Series. To be in the very room where it all began was an inexperience in itself.

The trailer was fantastic of course. But the real treat was the extra scenes. These included a look at life on the Enterprise, a talk scene between Kirk and McCoy and the Enterprise getting destroyed.

We were stood next to Scott Mantz, film critic, producer of Access Hollywood and Uber Star Trek fan. He said out loud during the Kirk/McCoy scene “This is Star Trek”. And he is right. The extra detail they showed us demonstrates that this is a film about the characters and the family they have. And of course one of those characters is the Enterprise herself.

The destruction of the Enterprise is unlike any Starship demise we have seen, we don’t want to say much more detail than that as we can’t do it justice. It is much more realistic but just as heartbreaking.

With that, there was nothing left to do, but party and celebrate!!
 With a free bar, great food, a Starfleet DJ and plenty of green girls, it wasn’t hard!

The rest of Stage 32 was revealed with props and costumes from the movie, transporters, a turbo lift, CAPTAIN KIRKS FRICKIN CHAIR!!!!

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Overall it was an amazing night. We have so many people to thank. Firstly our Trekkie In Training Sarah for being a good TiT, entering the competition and winning! Tressa our Yeoman for the weekend for taking our photos and looking after us. Paramount Pictures for the tickets and hospitality. Larry Nemecek for introducing us to the ‘LA’ trekkie scene, we met some great people. And finally to Steve at Paramount security who worked on the Star Trek sets and stayed up into the wee hours with us on the studio lot with Larry and gave us an amazing insight into life on Paramount when Star Trek was filmed there.

Seeing the places where Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, Ron Moore and Gene Roddenberry worked was such an incredible experience and one we will treasure forever.

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Check out our Instagram for more photos.

MAC Cosmetics Trek Inspired Collection

Load credit card and prepare to fire glitter! We are LOVING this! MAC Cosmetics and Star Trek are going on a joint mission to create a Trek inspired collection.

As MAC enthusiast myself I think this is a perfect collaboration. Why? MAC has a culture of acceptance. It’s ethos is to celebrate diversity and it’s own words “we are for All Ages, All Races, All Sexes.”

They have taken the ‘all races’ part literally this time as their collection boasts Orion, Betazoid, Borg and Human influences as this image/advert indicates.

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Guessing they didn’t want to pay Jeri, Marina and Nichelle for use of their image!

The irony is, the day before this was announced we were on the MAC Cosmetics site eyeing up their body paints for our Orion Slave Cosplay we are hoping to achieve at the Star Trek Las Vegas and Destination Star Trek conventions later this year,

Perhaps a specially commissioned Green Paint will be included?

I’d like to add how refreshing it is to see new markets being explored for collaboration with Star Trek merchandise. It’s great to see it branching outside novelty and collectables.

When purchasing Star Trek products I choose ones that express my interest, but are also useful and beautiful in my home. This ticks all three of those boxes which is actually rare for Star Trek merchandise these days.

Here’s what we’re hoping to see….

Seven of Nine

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Seven is all about dem lips! That’s Borg Perfection right there. Actually, they should name a lipstick ‘Borg Perfection’!

Seven isn’t heavy on the makeup, it’s all rather subtle. What would be nice is eyeshadows that work well with hooded eyelids (Like I have – Sam!). Also this would be a great time to bring back the Taupe eyebrow pencil that was discontinued. Rename it ‘The Queen’ or something!

Deanna Troi

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MAC have a few options available to them  thanks to Deanna’s changing looks over the series. But I think this is my favourite. Its just so 2370! umm I mean 90’s!

The 1990’s seem to be having a moment so let Deanna and her 50 shades of brown eyeshadow, the smokey eye and power blush rule!

Uhura

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Uhura’s look is iconic and is practically the ‘go-to’ look for most women cosplayers when doing a Star Trek look.
For the Uhura collection the obvious look is recreating that perfect eyeliner with the feline flicks. Some whispery falsies would work well too. The rest of Uhura’s look is in her amazing complexion which is as clear as her hailing frequencies. We’ll also be needing some nail polish because Uhura is always well manicured.

Orion Slave Girl

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There’s a couple of directions they can go with the Orions. If we are to take their image as a clue, I’d suspect they’ll go with the Enterprise look over the nu-trek style (yay!). ce4d22c260b1e6c0529a7733c0457bd6

There isn’t much difference between the Enterprise girls and the iconic Vina from TOS. The only major difference being the shade of lipstick. Personally, I think the dark lip suits the Green girls better. (Don’t even get me started on the orange colour from the movie!).

Not only am I hoping for a body paint (purely selfish reasons!) but also someway of blending that look into the eyes. – A green smokey, some glitter? A contouring and finishing product would also help recreate this look.

 

So we will wait and see. And wait a long time too, because it won’t be available until 25th August online and inshore 1st September. We hope this is internationally, but we’ll let you know!

Here’s the garb from StarTrek.com:

This summer, MAC will introduce a collection of makeup inspired by Star Trek and, more specifically, Deanna Troi, Uhura, Seven of Nine and the Orion Girl, Vina. The 25-piece special deco collection will encompass lip, eye and face products.

Star Trek is an iconic pop culture phenomenon whose storylines pushed gender and racial boundaries,” MAC creative director James Gager said in a statement. “For its 50th anniversary, we celebrate each of Star Trek‘s powerful women in a transcending, transformational makeup collection.”

Follow ‪#‎MACStarTrek‬ for updates

24th Century Socialites. Often found in Quarks, Ten Forward and the VIP bars of Risa