Bureaucratic Fiction

Stuff happens. I know of few neeks (nerds U geeks) who will be orthogonal to that statement. Asentient bogs? Uncertain. But it is a pale statement, lacking the elegance and complication that its objective deserves. I am fonder of the statement “accidental juxtaposition of ether waves in the void”, a snippet from some antediluvian science fiction story I can no longer cite and am rather amazed that my adolescent brain imprinted upon. I had occasion to dredge it out of brainRAM a couple of days ago and thus was prepared for some of the articles erupting into tabs.

First, a mumbly bit about the television program Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. [Link] I should comment that the original Star Trek was part of my undergraduate experience. Along with Laugh-In, it was one of two programs that my band watched catholically every week during initial showings. We were busy enough not to entertain the time for reruns.

College students, at least undergraduates and occasionally graduate students, form social groups somewhat akin to hunter-gatherer bands. Ours was about ten or twelve in number with some serious fluctuation during the formative freshman year and a bit of slacking as we progressed. By graduate school I had graduated to loner. All of our members, almost, were STEM students but sufficiently diverse and independent that our band was a social not a study organization. This was before the extrovertist group learn of today and each of us had his own curriculum and study style and have, in the large, made well our paths in later life.

The exception was a brilliant chap from Clanton, then remarkable for being a dot on the map and now remarkable only for a water tower and ice cream stands at an interstate exit. He was majoring in something non-STEM, ostensibly pre-law but mostly, like most of us, living for the first time since birth.

Anyway, two of our number, who lived off campus in an apartment, had a television and we walked to their place every week to watch these two programs.

Anyway, I enjoyed the original Star Trek, but not The Next Generation. Knowing this will alienate many, I found the Picard character as inferior to Kirk as I found Stewart’s acting capabilities superior to those of Shatner. The problem was that both Shatner’s and Stewart’s acting skills fit their program’s relative environments and that was core to my dissatisfaction. STOriginal had solutions, TNG did not. That may have been more realistic but ST is supposed to be entertainment and TNG failed in that regard. IMHO, TNG is the great failure of all the ST programs.

Equally alienating, I consider Voyager to be the best, bringing the solution thing to a new height. But why did I like DS9? It also lacks the solution thing and it drips with mysticism and superstition, drools even. Perhaps it is the element of engagement? TNG, to me at least, is a suburban situation-drama, passive until provoked and then reactive only in a genteel, bureaucratic fashion. The others are about evading same. Perhaps that is the key? If you’re really on the frontier you’re ahead of the rule and policy clerks.

Speaking of the bureaucracy of TNG, I also noted an article [Link] about a kerfuffle between BIG city guvment (bureaucracy actually) and consumers. The matter is about taxi cabs and the root of the matter is a ‘smart’ cellular telephone client that aids in connecting taxis and passengers.

I have to admit that this is alien to me. I think I could enumerate the times I rode in a taxi on my upper phalanges. I don’t even think we have any here in Greater Metropolitan Arab. But I have traveled to BIG cities and I acknowledge that the system for connecting taxis and passengers likely predates the Sumerian Noah. And probably is unchanged.

But what is notable is that this piece of software is verboten and evil because it flies in the face of archaic bureaucratic rules regulating both taxis and passengers. With no way of changing same except by applying bayonets to the throats of politicians. Which rather captures my dislike for TNG. Where there are no taxis either.

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