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# 1 Is Star Trek a propaganda?
08-11-2012, 07:17 AM
It's just a question.

You don't have to answer.
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 8,602
# 2
08-11-2012, 07:21 AM
Star Trek has always been about using media to further particular causes. Star Trek has intentionally chosen to be a social activist throughout the various series. The various series have always tried to deal with racism and other types of prejudice. So from that standpoint yes, Trek has always been a little bit about propaganda for social understanding and change.
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# 3
08-11-2012, 07:37 AM
Yes, propaganda for "what could be" if we discard certain bad aspects of our society.

Whole idea of leaving behind what keeps us from evolving into one, human society... like market based economy driven by greed rather than need... nationalistic "my country is better than yours" behavior... racist tensions even though we all share same Human DNA... religious difference and fanaticism which is just sad and sickening considering how technologically advanced we are and still some believe those ancient myths.

Yes, it is propaganda of what we need and must do to be one, united, Human Species and have at least a chance for a better future...

...yeah, I am a pure Star Trek fan, to the core...
"I condemn false prophets, the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain. Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all."
Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991)
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# 4
08-11-2012, 07:45 AM
Originally Posted by snowlili View Post
It's just a question.

You don't have to answer.
in that case is spam
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 236
# 5
08-11-2012, 08:29 AM
Originally Posted by snowlili View Post
It's just a question.

You don't have to answer.
Actually there is an answer.

No. No it is not propaganda. No it is not social commentary. It is just a show about a starship crew on a five year mission to find new life and new civilization, on a mission to go where noone has gone before.

Roddenberry set out to make a show for the ages. A message that required you to read between the lines was not on his to do list. Sure it broke new ground, with the first to star a group of interracial characters as the main cast (one of them being a black female, and back then black male main character was an oxymoron, let alone black female main character), and was the first to air an interracial kiss, but all of this was because Roddenberry wanted it to be this way. He wasn't commenting on anything, just trying to make a show.
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# 6
08-11-2012, 08:48 AM
The definition of propaganda is: "ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause."

Yes, Trek was just a show but Gene didn't have to do episodes about racism. He didn't need to have the first interracial kiss on television. He didn't need to do an episode about a race which was black and white hating a race that was white and black. He was intentionally pushing social boundaries. CBS would have been quite happy to not have to deal with the backlash some of those decisions caused it: such as the kiss. Gene was just making a show, but he was also making social commentary to try and further his ideas.
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 26
# 7
08-11-2012, 03:03 PM
All art is inherently propaganda on some level as every work by every artist seeks to convey and persuade the audience to at the very least see the point of view of the artist, if not embrace it, no matter how mundane the subject.

But, Star Trek, even more so, as it sought, at least when Rodenberry was at the helm and had influence, about presenting his vision and his ideals and thoughts about humanity and the future. I think Gene's vision is probably most represented in Star Trek the Motion Picture and the earlier seasons of TNG, and honestly, I find those to be some of the weakest Trek, as the humans are too ideal, too sterile, too, well, inhuman; not inhuman in the monstrous sense, but they lacked the flaws and shades of grey and muddied morality that makes humans human, if you catch my drift.

I love TOS, it's fun, it's over the top, it's 60s awesomeness with Captain John F. Kennedy in space; but to me, the best Trek is probably DS9, because it's the most human, despite being the one with the most aliens as main characters.
Join Date: Jun 2012
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# 8
08-11-2012, 04:48 PM
Propaganda? I wouldn't use that word.

Star Trek is about harnessing peoples' imagination and showing viewers what could be in future if the human race worked together towards a common goal. The galaxy would become a totally different place than today's fragmented society where service to self is typically valued more highly than service to society, for the average layperson.

Just look at the general mood of DS9 episodes towards the end of the show for a great example - what do you do in the face of impending doom?

On BSG we see internal rivalries and inquisitions, people questioning each others' decision to lead, to plan, to deal with the matter at hand, etc. It's touted as a realistically based gritty show but I'm pretty sure IRL in my memory isn't that bad despite my being brought up as an orphan.

Back to DS9 - there's an episode where Captain Sisko receives a vision from the Prophets and is transported back in time along with the entire main cast of DS9 to a mid 20th Century American city, where Sisko is a fledging African-American sci fi writer who faces discrimination for his work at every turn.

He gives up in frustration and rage and does not have any hope for getting his "Deep Space Nine" story published anywhere despite the awesome potential we know today, and probably put himself in an asylum trying to single-handedly take on society.

Fast forward 350+ years, Sisko went back to his usual 24th Century self and reflected on his vision.... what if the 20th Century scenario were real?

It struck me that this episode is exactly why a lot of people want to get into science fiction, especially those at a younger age.

Science fiction gives us hope that humanity can evolve to be better at what we do technologically, but it's also about maturing as a society and not discriminating against our fellow man (and woman) for no purpose whatsoever. In a science fiction environment and in a typical crisis situation, everyone in the book, movie, or game is regarded as an asset and judged purely by merit alone.

For a lot of people who have 'made it' in society, this doesn't matter at all, because they will be looking over the big picture like a starship captain would at a strategic briefing.

But for the rest of us who are struggling like the mid-20th Century Sisko character, science fiction gives us hope and hope can be a very valuable and hard to find commodity. Hope could very well be a last defence against psychological disorders and worse, just giving up in the middle of a crisis.

In summary, I say thus:

Anything that is beneficial to society as a good science fiction franchise does not deserve the label "propaganda".

Despite what some internet commentary has said about Star Trek's pro-US stance, I disagree. I couldn't care if Star Trek were born from an "All American" format once upon a time, but that was many, many years ago and today many embrace the concept of a "USS" starship, US Navy style military evolution, American culture, etc, for the same reason why we love Science Fiction: It's awesome.

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# 9 Art as propaganda?
08-13-2012, 04:49 PM
Originally Posted by godemperorphooey View Post
All art is inherently propaganda on some level as every work by every artist seeks to convey and persuade the audience to at the very least see the point of view of the artist, if not embrace it, no matter how mundane the subject.
As an artist myself, I would have to disagree with your proposition that art is inherently propaganda. When I create something, I am attempting to create beauty, to express a portion of my inner self to the world to possibly enrich the world, if not just gain personal satisfaction. I have no ulterior motive. Propaganda is used as an attempt to persuade one to a way of thinking in a very philosophical realm. Art is an expression of the soul.

To use your example, Roddenberry used his writing to convey his view of future. He used writing to communicate his ideas. The art of writing is in its esoteric creation of these ideas in a person's mind's eye. There are atleast two levels to writing. The communicative, and, the creative. A bit like sculpting. One can view a piece of work and see, both, examples of the physical action, and, the purely aesthetic level that was the artist's true objective.

Thanks for reading.
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# 10
08-13-2012, 04:56 PM
Star Trek is a TV show that tells a good story that is designed to get you to think or have a message.

Every TV show could be classified as propaganda. In fact, the only reason I'm sure the first two seasons of TNG weren't written by the KGB was they spelled Tsiolkovsky wrong.
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