This is scene killer for Star Trek Enterprise Season 2, Episode 14. You have been warned.
There are two main themes running through the film.
T’pol – the Vulcan science officer on Enterprise is discovered to be suffering from a slow-burn dementia that eventually turns to madness, as the result of a mind-meld. She’s still normal and sane. But the Vulcans view the illness with much stigma. They use their logic to discriminate against her. It was awful. It’s not that the Vulcans discriminate against the mental condition – rather it is about how it is contracted, and what that means to them. The ‘how’ is considered ‘unacceptable behaviour’. T’pol had contracted the condition from a mind-meld that was forced upon her. So she was not a volunteering participant in something that was ‘taboo’.
Alongside the main theme is what’s going on with Dr Phlox, one of his four wives who visits after many years away from Phlox, and Tucker. Phlox and his wife Feezal are Denobulans. Feezal seriously flirts with Tucker (e.g. stroking his leg with her foot under a table etc). So Tucker begins to feel very awkward – he’s attracted to her – but suffers with serious guilt when he’s done nothing wrong – trying to be a gentleman. Tucker then goes to Phlox to tell him what’s going on. Tucker does not understand that in Denobulan culture (largely matrilineal) – it’s not a problem! 😂
- Phlox: “Don’t you find her attractive?“
- Tucker: “Uh, sure. I mean no, she’s your wife!“
- Phlox: “What does that have to do with it?“
- Tucker: “…she’s your wife!“
Phlox’s wife turns up and is still flirtatious with Tucker, with Phlox standing there. One is kept on the edge of a seat thinking that Phlox’s calm joviality might erupt into violence. But no – the Denobulans are amused by Tucker’s morality.
- As Tucker leaves, Phlox and wife Feezal giggle “Humans.” – totally hilarious!
I’ve not said much about the first theme but it stands in contrast to the second theme, yet both are unified in something that is a predeterminant of attitudes. Yes – if you guessed it was ‘culture’, you are right!
The Vulcans are intolerant and discriminatory against T’Pol in the first theme. But in the second theme, Phlox and his wife are totally accommodating of what would be considered ‘looseness’ by many ‘western’ human cultures. They do not discriminate against Tucker. Certainly Feezal would have done more to ’embrace’ Tucker and Phlox would not have objected.
It’s brilliant. It’s a great exposure of how my own expectations were shaped by ‘culture’. The contrast of cultures shaping attitudes and logic in this film, brings out what I’ve been talking about for some time.
Errrhh… ooops.. .oh Gord!! No… noooo…
Stupid: You think that’s funny?!!
Stupid: You’re disgusting!
CW: You’re stupid and immature!
Stupid: Don’t abuse me to cover up your debauched ways!
Stupid: You’re condoning a married woman flirting with a male in front of her husband. That’s sick.
CW: Get a grip! I’ve done nothing of the sort.
Stupid: Yes you have!
CW: Look, I’m not going to spend too much time on this. It’s a film. I found it funny to discover the bias of my own programming in Western values. Denobulan culture is matrilineal in part, so they accept that a man can have several wives, whilst those wives can be married other men or have casual intimate relations etc. I said nothing about me accepting such things.
Stupid: Don’t try to confuse me with big words.
Stupid: So you’re saying that people should give up their original cultural values and do whatever they want – like flirting and screwing around.
Stupid: That’s exactly what you’re talking.
CW: I reported on a contrast of cultural values and how that might affect thinking or expectation, as played out in a film. I said nor implied that it was fine for people to ditch their cultural or religious values and screw around.
CW: Right – that’s it..
CW: Yes – back in your box!
CW: Yes – you’re gone! Poof!
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