The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

8 April 2004

Futility is resistible

Lynn thinks there's more to the Collective than we've been given to understand:

In spite of the fact that many episodes of Star Trek were obviously intended to make a point, until fairly recently I had never thought of the Borg as anything other than a typical sci-fi plot device: the apparently undefeatable foe who, nevertheless, must be defeated. But then the world got shook up and a lot of people started shouting and, amoung the many things they started shouting about, one was respect for other cultures. So now, I keep thinking I see a political message in the stories involving the Borg and I'm not sure I like it.

Intelligent dialog is not one of the Borg's strengths. "Resistance is futile," and "You will be assimilated," cover almost every situation. I guess when you're the strongest you don't have to talk to anybody. I'm sure someone out there thinks that the U.S. is the Borg. That can be easily dismissed with a bored yawn. Sorry, we've heard the like too many times in the past two and half years. The fact is, we go out of our way to respect other cultures. If I visited Saudi Arabia I could not walk around bare-faced and with several inches of thigh exposed but a woman from Saudi Arabia is free to cover her face when she is visiting the U.S. So exactly who is doing the assimilating?

Let me go on record here as being in favor of exposing several inches of thigh.

Of course, the most startling development in all of the Federation's interactions, so to speak, with the Borg is the fact that once they assimilated someone from France.

But then:

What does assimilation mean? When the Borg "assimilate" another culture that culture disappears completely. They either become Borg, indistinguishable from other Borg, or they are destroyed. But is that really assimilation and is that what we do in America? Or is it just a twisted moonbat fantasy? Does not that which is assimilated become a part of the whole, thus adding to and changing the original?

I vote for "twisted moonbat fantasy." No one is forced to buy clothing at Old Navy or lunch at McDonald's. If people escaping the Third World embrace these American icons, it's because they think it's an improvement over what they're used to. And I suspect they'd bitterly resent being told by some Defender of the Culture in beautiful downtown Berkeley that their choices really aren't freely chosen, that they've been duped into accepting something inferior by the force of the hive mind.

Assimilation American style involves both give and take. Every group that has come to America has added its own bit of spice to the pot. Some people believe that traditional cultures must be preserved intact without any "imperialist" American "corruption." I suppose that makes sense if you're running a museum.

Exactly. Fill the box, seal the edges, open the display for public viewing, and make sure nothing ever changes.

And remember: One's connection to the Borg is through external means. It can be broken. Just ask Seven of Nine. Or, for that matter, Jean-Luc Picard.

Posted at 7:51 AM to Political Science Fiction


Very nicely stated...and the most interesting thing I've read today.

Thank Q.

hln

Posted by: hln at 8:47 AM on 8 April 2004

The borg, like any other plot device in star trek is an exageration of reality.

yes, I think in a sense we are the borg, but we are also the enterprise. The writers are obviously trying to make you mentally decide which aspect of intercultural interaction is more noble.

Posted by: bruce at 9:40 AM on 8 April 2004

And "Hugh!"

Posted by: David at 10:41 AM on 8 April 2004

I asked Seven of Nine. She said no.

Oh, you meant ask her about Borg assimilation.

Never mind.

Posted by: McGehee at 5:52 PM on 8 April 2004