* "Patriotism in the age of Donald Trump:" ( Embed: )
* "Who is Jay Sekulow?:" ( Embed: )
* "Healthcare: Repeal and delay?:" ( Embed: )
* Resist. "House Bill Axes Monument, Opens Public Lands To Logging:" https://gearjunkie.com/cascade-siskiyou-national-monument-public-lands-logging
* "Does the DNC overlook its most loyal voters?:" ( Embed: )
* "Newark Police Looking For Men Who Attacked Trans Woman:" http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2017/07/newark-police-looking-for-men-who.html
* "Clothing and Corruption in Liberia - States of Undress:" https://www.viceland.com/en_us/video/states-of-undress-clothing-and-corruption-in-liberia/5936fe3346a8744e4af773b4
* Sunday was frustrating. I could not at first figure out how the fixtures worked, which meant I took apart way more than I needed too. For a brief, shiny moment I actually had a working light, but foolishly decided to use a bulb to test the third fixture. In the middle, Tavy attacked and in the resulting struggle a container of tiny screws when flying, I lost track of which bulb was which, and apparently, the bulb got damaged, which it took another half hour to figure out, which means I need another bulb I have no money for and a big pile of disassembled fish lights to show for three+ hour's work. I am pretty sure I won't have money for second bill when it comes, which means picking sacrifices and devoting a whole evening to eBay soon, but not today. I wrote this whole entry once, but Tavy deleted it with a single paw, because of course.
* "Catelyn, Smart:" http://turtle-paced.tumblr.com/post/160827696482/catelyn-smart
* The Dragon at the Bridge: http://gwydionmisha.tumblr.com/post/162505872562/xain-russell-xain-russell-dragon-halt
* That was my question too. "The Mist: Season 1, Episode 2: Withdrawal:" http://www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/07/the-mist-season-1-episode-2-withdrawal.html
* TNG Rewatch, Season 6:
- Realm of Fear. They invited Barkley on purpose. Barkley has what looks like a panic attack or something panic attack adjacent in the transport room. (It turn out to be a phobia). I keep thinking about this: that their original response to his mental illness was not kindness and therapy, as one would expect, but group bullying that eventually required command intervention. I have trouble believing that there has been zero improvement in treatment of mental illnesses in the intervening century, and one would think Starfleet officers and the civilians on their ship would have a high incidence of PTSD and trauma just based on things we've seen happen in the series, so how is there no policy, training, and support for crewman with mental illnesses? Yes, our military is shit at this, but one would think there would have been some improvement in societal attitudes and a more compassionate and rational approach generally, but I guess not. After all, they chose to write Diana Troi as terrible at her job for no obvious reason. I am thinking this says some terrible things about Star Fleet and the federation as a whole.
Anyway, I get that they are trying to show confidence in Barkley by including him, but they decide to ignore the whole obvious signs of impending panic attack. It would seem to be kinder and more tactful to read the body language and not push him. I mean, it's the same logic that one uses when picking kids to speak in class. You want everyone to participate and feel safe volunteering, so you let the kids who have more trouble answering for whatever reason (shyness, difficulty with English, difficulty with language processing, intellectual challenge, etc.) get first crack at a question if they raise your hang and you make sure there is enough time for people who take longer to process verbal questions to work out an answer. you always call on those kids first if they do volunteer, because YOU WANT THEM TO SUCCEED. They are more likely to participate in future if when they are called on it turns out well. The goal isn't to shame them in front of their peers and catch them out. The goal is to let them show off what they know. You do not surprise a kid with Autism, or Tourettes, or anxiety (especially if you are spotting tell tale physical signs that they are struggling) or who may not have the English vocabulary to know exactly what you asked with a question when the hand isn't up. It's cruel and traumatizing someone is going to mess up the rest of their day for sure and contributes to an aversion to school. There are plenty of ways to assess if they are actually learning the things, but calling on people really isn't about that. It's about getting them used to being involved in their own learning and in discussions. It's about getting them used to speaking in front of peers. At minimum it keeps them awake, but it's mostly about things like social learning and useful skills they need for the education. That hand up in class is a building block that things like debates, whole class discussion, small group discussion, speeches, oral reports, and group presentations are made of.
My point is, Geordi thinks he's helping, but he really, really isn't. It's pretty well established by this point that Barkley has serious anxiety and a bunch of other related issues. Including him is important, but it should be a setting him up to succeed situation. Instead of pushing him to panic attack in front of a coworker in a way that the whole bridge crew knows about, include him when he's not obviously struggling and in less high stakes situations. Give him support, effective management strategies, and safety net instead of making it super high stakes which is likely to make things worse. Work up to the bigger situations. Exercise some fucking tact. I feel like knowing the people under your command and learning to warning signs of stress etc ought to be a basic command skill thing the way it is in teaching. Read the room. Know the people you have direct charge of. WTF are they teaching them in Starfleet Command School? No wonder they mutiny at the drop of a hat.
Look, I know this is actually about the McGuffin, but that doesn't excuse the systemic problems with the Starfleet Command Training and Counseling system in both ToS and TNG. Barkley tells Troi that he is afraid to get help because having a phobia will kill his career, so at minimum he's internalized negative attitudes from the culture. You know, the same way soldiers are afraid to get help in our military because the stigma really can damage careers there. So the stigma is still a thing in Starfleet culture and presumably Federation culture at large. Good to know the memo about the brain being an organ somehow still hasn't penetrated. Not. It's nice to know they haven't lost 20thcentury desensitization tech somehow, but why doesn't she explain how desensitization works first. Not doing that looks like setting him up to fail.
I do appreciate that Geordi takes Barkley seriously instead of dismissing him, which is progress. Something weird happened with the transporter on the Mystery ship, so all telemetry is important, including observation. I do not want to give the impression tat I think Geordi is some sort of monster here. I'm just saying something is systemically wrong with Starfleet training and services, and that something crops up quite a bit in one for or another in ToS and TNG. The tendency to mutiny under stress or for racist reasons (when Spock or Data is put in charge of a crew), the crappy counseling services throughout TNG and the non-existent services in ToS, command behavior around Barkley in particular, but also some other situations in ToS start to feel like a pattern, the way the lack of barrier protection against unknown biological threats is a pattern. Seriously, how many times has the refusal to take basic chemical and biological contamination precautions bit them in the ass? It feels like a lot.
The psychology on hearing symptoms of a dread disease and believing one has it does seem spot on.
For once, they actually use level five containment and take other afety precautions when it makes sense.
I am glad it worked out in the end, and I do appreciate the way Barkley was shown to be brave and resourceful in the face of his phobia and a generally dangerous life or death situation, thus saving four lives, but the bigger questions about the world building.
- Man of the People. Captain Tallmadge of the Dorian. Snerk. So Captain spy of the Good ship Famous Ridiculously Sexy Bisexual who is eternally young and kills the occasional sexual partner. On purpose or not? You decide, but I think so. The Dorian Grey imagery is apt.
Yet another another abusive slime bucket pretending to be a nice guy targets Diana Troi.
I hate these one when someone is being manipulated this way and this one is extra hard to watch because Marina Sirtis' acting is so good. In fact, when this aired the first time in 1992 I used it to prove to my friends that she really was good and it was the writing that usually sucked when it came to her character. My memory is that next season was when she really got to shine, and yes, at the time we connected the improvement in the writing of her character and the improvement in season seven scripts to Roddenberry dying in '91. Look, ToS was amazing when it was new and so many groundbreaking things happened in it, but I am am aware of both the good things he did (fighting for the inclusion of two main caste characters paid by people of colour, fighting to keep it ensemble cast, making due with next to no budget, trying to do big ideas and social comentary in the face of suits who don't get it), and a whole lot of shitty things too (I've read all sorts of things including Nichelle Nichols' autobiography and there was backstage douchebaggery and some of the crappy things that happened to the women of TNG because of sexist backstage culture and I've a belief that it wouldn't have been so systemic over so long a stretch if Roddenberry had been a feminist ally instead of the way he actually was, his writing and both ToS and TNG are pretty sexist while trying to look feminist rather like a lot of Joss Whedon things are, a whole bunch of his stuff doesn't age well for one reason or another.). I and my friends were perfectly capable of keeping both the ground breaking bits and cool characters that we liked and rational criticisms of Star Trek and Roddenberry in our heads at the same time. The thing we felt was the greatest weakness of TNG (Yes including the huge wasted potential and mishandling of Tasha, and a host of other weaknesses I've written about during this project), was the way Roddenberry's some decisions, particularly his order that their not be conflict between the main characters hampered development and natural flow of story. I'm not saying I want irrational conflict for the sake of conflict, because I hate that most. I'm just saying that it renders TNG flat. The soda (or pop depending on your coast) still tastes fine, but the fizz has gone out of it. What few conflicts there are tend to get muted, or disappeared (whither ensign Ro?). There are debates, which I've written about, like the ones are Data's personhood, or prime directive, etc., but something is missing because emotions and stakes are not allowed to run too high. It's like driving with the parking brake on, a constant drag on acceleration. There are a lot of things we liked about TNG, but there is a reason we thought season seven was the strongest and season six the next strongest, and a reason DS9 is far and away my favorite star Trek.
(I have not seen the new series coming out, but it looks good and I've great hopes for it reigniting my love for the franchise. Voyager got on my nerves for a long list of reasons I don't want to get into here, but which are definitely to do with the writing and the systematic sexism and not even a little the fault of the people doing the acting. Enterprise was so terrible I bailed very early in season one. I hate the reboots because the director fundamentally doesn't get what was good about Star Trek specifically and a long list of bad decisions that have everything to do with the script and nothing to do with the people doing an excellent job playing the characters. I really want to love this new show though and can't wait to see it. This is not an 'I hate everything new' problem. For me this is equivalent to me not liking the Star Wars Prequels, but being completely onboard with TFA and Rogue One. I want to be given something new, but that something new needs to be 1. Fundamentally Star Trek: debates and illustrations of big ideas/societal problems and grand vision for a better future with characters I really enjoy spending time with, and 2. reasonably well written and acted. The rebooted movies completely lack one, and the plots of the two I bothered with had problems so big I couldn't play along anymore).
Anyway, even though this episode is hard for me to watch and taking me places I didn't particularly want to go, they actually gave Ms. Sirtis something to do that she could really work with and I think it's the first episode where we can see the writing shaking free of the parking break. Slowly, tentatively, like the first crocus shoots poking up through melting snow. I say this even though we've had this basic plot twice before with Diana Troi (Empath man using power over people's minds unethically. In one case consensual love interest, in another a stalker/rapist obsessed with Diana, here sucking the life out of her and destabilizing her in the process. I sense a theme.), and ambassador in important negotiations covering up that he is deteriorating at least twice (Sarek and the ambassador in that extremely ableist one a season or two back). The plot is tired and predictable and thus annoying, with the bad psychiatry wandering into my triggery zone, but they are are finally giving Ms. Sirtis something to act. So mixed bag, but with a hope of something better. Something I remember very much enjoying in season seven when the writers let loose.
At least this episode is really clear on how horrible this douchebag is too (repellent and dangerous to women). He calls the women he uses non-consensually and kills "receptacles," realistically dehumanizing language who treats women as literally disposable. It was good to see Picard reacting with appropriate fury and disgust.
Is that crew woman Diana abused while under the asshole's influence okay? Is she afraid of therapy now? Is there a second counselor aboard? Trust me, even though Councillor Troi is in no way responsible for her actions while under the influence of the malevolent empathy, the trauma the Crew woman experienced is still real, and she absolutely would need a different therapist and even then building the trust would be difficult. They do not tell us.
* Full list of Resistance and charity links has been migrated to my profile as it was getting out of hand.
* "What can I do to help Syria?:" http://gwydionmisha.tumblr.com/post/161385222607/what-can-i-do-to-help-syria
* This App phones your rep for you: http://takeastance.us/
* Here is one that will send your reps a fax: https://resistbot.io/
* "So, what can people do?*:" http://brigdh.tumblr.com/post/161640495373/so-what-can-people-do
* Want to fight Climate Change? "Ready to Mobilize? Start Here!:" http://www.theclimatemobilization.org/start_here
* Distressed by the anti-gay genocide in Chechnya and the anti-gay laws in Russia? Donate here: https://lgbtnet.org/en
* The Rainbow Road and other ways to help Gay Refugees: http://gwydionmisha.tumblr.com/post/160470723507/the-rainbow-railroad-is-helping-gay-men-escape
* This is a Real Life friend of mine. They do very much need the money and a number of people and beasts depend on him and his husband. They have been incredibly helpful and supportive of me. If you can kick in, it is a kindness.: https://www.youcaring.com/tod-788345
* This is my oldest continuous Real Life friend. She is disabled and really needs the money for herself and beasts. To buy jewelry from her: https://www.etsy.com/shop/karjack
* Help pay for cat food, litter, meds, medical copays: Paypal Lethran@gmail.com
* Want Game of Thrones without the creepy? We need new players. We are very inclusive. "Game of Bones MUSH:" gobmush.wikidot.com