A good read. It’s enlightening to see someone analyze the air dates to provide more context to some of my favorite episodes. Still, I thought “the Omega War” was pretty stupid with it’s extreme parallel evolution, and that really broke the 4th wall for me.
I wish Gene Rodenberry were still alive and writing. I’d love to hear his take on our modern problems, just as I’d love to have heard Hitchens have a field day with the Christians who wanted to massively retaliate against the Sengalese islanders who killed their missionary last week.
The “Little War” episode which focused on maintaining a balance of power was pretty inconclusive and I honestly wasn’t sure what to think of it. (I actually thought Kirk had decided at the end to leave the planet without giving them the flintlocks.)
It never occurred to me that “City on the Edge of Tomorrow” was supposed to be commentary on the Vietnam War, and I thought instead that it was commentary on WW2. Of them all it was my favorite episode, I loved the tragic drama, and how Kirk had to make a hard ethical choice and choose the ends over the means.
I also wasn’t aware of how much of the war wouldn’t have been familiar to Gene Roddenberry when the series began. So much of the war is obvious to me now, but back then no one knew much and there definitely wasn’t as much information or the internet. I had sort of thought the intellectuals would have knpwn netter, but it probably did take a long while for information and the truth to trickle back to America.
I would have liked to have seen Gene Roddenberry have a discussion with Christopher Hitchens on whether it made sense to invade Iraq, and to keep occupying it for 20 or more years. I also think “Day of the Dove”, should have been included on the list.
I get the impression Star Trek opposed war, and believed in self-defense and self-determination, and struggled with interventionalism. It did seem to oppose American exceptionalism as a form of arrogance like in that episode where Kirk and another Klingon commander were stopped from starting an interplanetary war by indigenous people they had thought were more primitive than them. Star trek tends to say leave the people alone until they’re ready to engage with you: That’s the idea of the Prime Directive. It’s the intuition pump Star Trek has popularized.
Still, religion based terrorism and refugees have changed the world and challenged Cold War era political doctrines. I wonder what Gene would say if he had lived through 9/11? Betrnard Russel sorta stopped being a total pacifist in the face of the Nazis, as Hitchens did in the face of “theocratic fascists” (which often meant non-secularists.) In all the Star Trek episodes that dealt with WW2, they just coincidentally intevened on the side of the allies. So much for that prime directive: clearly Gene hadn’t figured out a short algorithum with a better ethical calculus, and had to include unwritten exceptions to his rules.