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Mission Log: Supplemental 006 – The One with Scott Mantz

Access Hollywood movie critic Scott Mantz stops in to talk about his love of Star Trek and to re-argue “This Side of Paradise.” Plus your feedback to us and our feedback to your feedback.

 

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  • I think Ken made a good point that the point of view we get in the episodes via Kirk and Starfleet in general is kind of a biased one, because they’re the people who have chosen to base their lives around seeking challenges and problems to solve. Starfleet is kind of a military organisation, but it’s one made up entirely of volunteers – people who have sought out that lifestyle and had to jump through a lot of hoops to prove they’re really invested in it. For most people in the Federation I imagine it’s something a lot more like the Culture in Iain M Banks’ books, a mostly post-scarcity life where you can do pretty much whatever you like because striving for things is no longer necessary for survival.

    Of course, that lack of struggle may be precisely what makes a certain type of person want to sign up to a potentially deadly job like being on a starship. But the majority of people are probably happy to just live their lives in a pretty carefree manner. It’s funny to me then that Kirk seems to look down so much on that sort of hedonistic lifestyle when it’s what he’s fighting to protect and pass on to others.

    I don’t agree with the argument in This Side of Paradise that Kirk is dragging the colonists away from their happiness though, because the very fact that these people have chosen to go somewhere and colonise it suggests that they too had chosen a life where they wanted to strive and build – so the spore-induced happiness was something coerced onto them (even if it made them happy about that coercion). If Kirk had gone to a world where a native population had chosen an “artificially” happy lifestyle and then forced them to change it’s a different story – which of course is what happened in The Apple.