Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Star Trek--"The Cloud Minders"

I would be inclined to think “The Cloud Minders” would be Karl Marx’s favorite trek episode ever, but something amusingly went wrong in the translation. The resolution of the story does not have quite the up with the proletariat moral that it meant to have. Instead, it wound up quite capitalist.

To quote Homer Simpson; “D’oh!”

Here is the deal. The Enterprise arrives on the planet Ardana in order to collect the mineral zenite which will be used in an agriculture project in order to prevent a famine elsewhere. The crew finds itself in the middle of a labor dispute where servants of the upper crust are rebelling against the bourgeoisie in alliance with their ’brothers’ laboring away in the mines below the floating city.

It looks like we have a class warfare parable setting up here. The Troglytes, which is supposed to put the term Trotskyites into your mind, are menial laborers who are butlers at best and worked to the point of an early death miners at worst, all while every benefit of their labor goes to a completely idle, leisure class society. The Troglytes in the city rebel by specifically targeting luxury items like works of art in protest of their oppressors.

So you would think Kirk would come in as the hero of the masses and negotiate a peaceful settlement between the parties where everyone respects each other from now on as equals. But you would be wrong. There is a science fiction element added in that throws everything awry. The niners have been breathing in gas all these years which has made them mindless drones. They do not care about working conditions. They just do not want to breathe the gas anymore. So much for workers of the world unite.

Kirk actually solves the problem through innovation. The miners are given masks to keep them from breathing in the gas, so they can keep their heads on straight while they and the servant staffs continue to work for the leisure class. Everyone is happy and apparently in agreement communism sucks.

I can live with that.This, too.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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