Gene Roddenberry and Animal Rights

Captain’s Log: Stardate 201704.30. Last week we watched and analyzed “The Devil in the Dark” and learned about Gene Roddenberry’s views on animal rights. In Judith Barad’s book The Ethics of Star Trek, Roddenberry says that although he was not a vegetarian, he had serious concerns about factory farms and that he hoped someday to be able to eat a steak without killing an animal. Ethicist Tom Regan also discusses the conditions necessary for an animal to be a “Subject of a Life” which Barad applies to the very intelligent animal (the Horta) encountered in the episode. Just as interesting, in my view, is the fact that William Shatner’s father passed away while he was filming this episode, but didn’t let it affect his performance. Say what you like about Shatner’s acting, I think he’s a real pro, and he shined in this episode. Attached are public domain photos of Roddenberry and Shatner for your edification. Live long and prosper.

Netflix and Star Trek

Captain’s Log: Stardate 201704.27. I just checked Netflix Korea and found that they now have ALL THREE SEASONS of Star Trek TOS available with Korean subtitles. Since there are no TOS DVDs or Blu-rays available here, and there probably never will, this is as good as it gets in Korea. Now my students have a convenient and inexpensive way to watch Star Trek with Korean subtitles, and I couldn’t be happier. Here once again is a public domain photo for your enjoyment. Live long and prosper.


The Cloudminders

Captain’s Log: Stardate 201704.16.

“This troubled planet is a place of the most violent contrasts — those who receive the rewards are totally separated from those who shoulder the burdens. It is not a wise leadership.” — Spock

The Cloudminders is one of those episodes that I didn’t really care for until I started teaching ethics. The episode clearly demonstrates that social injustice can lead to violence, and possibly catastrophe for the inhabitants of planet Merak II because they desperately need Zenite from the troubled planet Ardana. Kirk’s decision to seal himself along with Vanna and the High Advisor of Ardana in the cave was a very effective way to bridge the gap between the two sides and eventually lead to mutual understanding, maybe even peace and equality. A very good episode, especially for season 3. I attach another public domain photo for your edification. Live long and prosper.


The History of Star Trek in Korea

Captain’s Log: Stardate 201704.12. I had a Korean friend do some research on the history of Star Trek in Korea, and here is what she told me. She said TOS aired briefly in the 1970s, was dubbed into Korean, and didn’t stay on very long. Keep in mind that Korea was still a very poor country in the 1970s, with few people owning a TV. Later, in the mid-90s, TNG was on Korean TV, once again dubbed into Korean, and it didn’t last the first season. When I came to Korea in 2002, Voyager was on the Hallmark Channel in Seoul, but this time it had Korean subtitles. Sadly though, my cable company quickly dropped the Hallmark Channel. The original and TNG Star Trek movies, from The Motion Picture onwards, were released in Korea, and were available on DVD, but they are exceedingly rare and hard to find these days. I was lucky to get Star Trek I-IV on DVDs with Korean subtitles for my class. What does all this mean? It means that most Koreans have little to no knowledge of REAL Star Trek, of creator Gene Roddenberry’s vision of the future. In a small way, I am the man who has brought classic Star Trek back to Korea, albeit decades later. I have been teaching Star Trek since 2014, but I have just been informed that TOS is FINALLY available on Netflix Korea, however only season 1 at the moment. Seasons from TNG, DS9 and Voyager are at last on Netflix Korea too. Let’s hope this won’t be another passing fad here. In closing, I have attached another public domain photo. May you live long and prosper.

Kirk Spock Public Domain