Thoughts on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as a Commentary on Present Day Issues

I’m just over 80 episodes into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and there’s a couple of episodes that I think people should watch because they offer a really great commentary on what I see in America today.

To me:

  • Duet is about a persons right to have a fair trial, no matter where they came from or what they did. It echoes some of my feelings about Guantanamo Bay detention camp. I also recommend listening to NPR’s This American Life: Habeas Schmabeas 2007.
  • In the Hands of the Prophets is about Christians demanding that religion be taught in schools and/or decrying the teaching of evolution.
  • Homefront and Paradise Lost are about power, fear, and control. They are about what happens when something you love so much (freedom and America) are taken away from you because a few people threaten you. It’s not a perfect analogy, yet there are definitely a lot of parallels to what has happened over the last six and half years. I think the best quote comes at the end: “If the Changelings want to destroy what we’ve built here, they’re going to have to do it themselves. We will not do it for them.” – Benjamin Sisko. Now, replace Changelings with terrorists.

What I think is interesting is that these episodes are about 12 years old. I don’t think the writers intended this as a commentary on the current events of the time. Yet, somehow, twelve years after their air dates, these shows provide such a great reflection of the current times!

Other thoughts I’m going to throw in:

  • There are a surprisingly large number of sci-fi TV shows with episodes named “Paradise Lost”.
  • I am now 51.59% the way through all the Star Trek episodes/movies made.
  • I have seen 372 episodes/movies with 364 (actually, 365 if you count the upcoming Star Trek movie) left.
  • I have watched about 286 hours of Star Trek thus far in this project.

Six Years Later

Patrick Smith is a commercial airline pilot and writes a section for the New York Times Blog called Jet Lagged: Navigating the Unfriendly Skies.
Here’s an excerpt from his latest article, The Airport Security Follies.

From jetlagged.blogs.nytimes.com:

Conventional wisdom says the [9/11] terrorists exploited a weakness in airport security by smuggling aboard box-cutters. What they actually exploited was a weakness in our mindset – a set of presumptions based on the decades-long track record of hijackings.

In years past, a takeover meant hostage negotiations and standoffs; crews were trained in the concept of “passive resistance.” All of that changed forever the instant American Airlines Flight 11 collided with the north tower. What weapons the 19 men possessed mattered little; the success of their plan relied fundamentally on the element of surprise. And in this respect, their scheme was all but guaranteed not to fail.

For several reasons – particularly the awareness of passengers and crew – just the opposite is true today. Any hijacker would face a planeload of angry and frightened people ready to fight back. Say what you want of terrorists, they cannot afford to waste time and resources on schemes with a high probability of failure. And thus the September 11th template is all but useless to potential hijackers.

The entire article is a great read. The TSA is easily one of the greatest failures of America in the 21st Century, perhaps even greater than the war in Iraq. I suppose it’s fitting then that the TSA is now tied with the IRS for least popular government agency in America.

via Photo Matt and BoingBoing