Deep Space Nine, Meghan Markle, and Reddit: The Best Articles I've Read This Month
To Boldly Stay: How Deep Space Nine Upended Star Trek by Exposing Utopia's Dark Side by Eleanor Tremeer, io9
You can like Star Wars, and that's fine and whatever, but Star Trek is where it's at. As a devoted Next Gen fan, I went into Deep Space Nine (DS9) with my doubts. Could this spin-off even touch the greatness that was Jean-Luc Picard, Data?
Turns out, it does. It took until the introduction of The Dominion to truly reel me in, but Quark did a fine job all on his own in the meantime.
So how does DS9 differ fundamentally from Next Gen? From the article:
After The Next Generation preached about how humanity’s problems were solved, Deep Space Nine argued that utopia is not the end of the story, that in order to achieve Roddenberry’s humanitarian values we must be constantly vigilant, unafraid to challenge societies that seem perfect, especially if those societies offer us a comfortable life.
Although this article was published back in December of 2016, it got a lot of hype for good reason. Meghan Markle, in her own words, expresses her racial identity.
In doing research for an upcoming book where one character is biracial, I found Meghan's insights beautiful, interesting, and hard-earned. My favorite quote from the article:
My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian. 'Because that's how you look, Meghan,' she said. I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. I couldn't bring myself to do that, to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. So, I didn't tick a box. I left my identity blank – a question mark, an absolute incomplete – much like how I felt.
When I went home that night, I told my dad what had happened. He said the words that have always stayed with me: 'If that happens again, you draw your own box.'
Not only did I love the subtle humor in Marantz's work, I loved how well he captured a bigger problem plaguing social media platforms by focusing on Reddit. And he focused on Reddit for no other reason than that the company actually let him in and peek behind the curtain. We expect these giant social media tech companies to carry with them a strong responsibility to the public, or at the very least, know exactly what they're doing. Marantz found something else.
Social networks, no matter how big they get or how familiar they seem, are not ineluctable forces but experimental technologies built by human beings. We can tell ourselves that these human beings aren’t gatekeepers, or that they have cleansed themselves of all bias and emotion, but this would have no relation to reality.
This was my favorite article this month - if you read no other articles I've linked, take a crack at this long one. It'll be worth your time.