View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, June 25, 2003

One of the things I like about Enterprise is that the show isn't about the weeni-fied, let's-all-get-along-and-surrender Federation of Capts. Picard and Janeway. You know, the Federation that's doomed to collapse the first time the Romulans file a war-crimes claim in a Brussels court. The one that would rather gaze at navels than stars. No, Enterprise isn't about Oprah-in-space, it's a throwback to the first Star Trek, more about America in the 1800s. There's a pugnacity to Capt. Archer, and Scott Bakula can carry it off convincingly, even if he does have a beagle along for the ride. In one early episode, he tells a threatening life-form to back off, because this is an Earth starship, and he's going to be seeing a lot more of them - soon. This is a tough, daring crew, living in more or less spartan conditions, before replicators and holodecks.

Which is why today's episode, a rerun, was such a disappointment. Apparently the Vulcan had been raped, and had contracted an AIDS-like disease. Stigmatized by Vulcan society because of it, she was due to be recalled, before Archer put the bigoted Vulcans in their place. It fails on every level. The Vulcans aren't going to listen to Archer about this - they don't have much respect for humans yet. And AIDS is so - 1992. Really, it's terrible when people die from it. And it's having catastrophic effects in Africa. But this episode is about America's stigmatizing of other Americans, which just isn't a widespread problem nowadays. The stuff about delaying a cure because of who the victims are is just silly. It may be that many people felt secure since at first it appeared to be a gay disease. But in fact, AIDS is primarily spread through behavior that is controllable. And the research-dollar-per-death ratio is higher than that of cancer, at this point.

Please stop preaching to me about AIDS and racism, and get back to exploring the galaxy.

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