DS9 premiered at the height of third-wave feminism. In this episode, we’ll look at how Star Trek Deep Space Nine incorporated feminist thought of the ‘90s into its depictions of women and gender. Also, how that explains why Major Kira is always wearing a full face of makeup even when she’s roaming caves with a phaser rifle. And how the real villian isn’t just the Dominion, it’s Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Got questions? Recommendations? Deep Space Dive now has our own email address: DeepSpaceDivePodcast at gmail!
Rom quotes Karl Marx and organizes a labor union at Quark’s Bar– of course, this merits a full episode of our new DS9 podcast. Join our guest, labor unionist & Trekkie Asher Huey for a close look at Bar Association, Season 4 episode 9.
This is the second episode of our podcast spin-off series, “Deep Space Dive” a Deep Space Nine podcast hosted by Elana Levin and Sarah Daniel Rasher.
In each episode we do a deep dive into the text and subtext of this most political of Star Trek series, often with expert guests like the one we had today. Asher Heuy is the digital director of the American Federation of Teachers. Startrek.com profiled this activism and love of Star Trek in 2019. You can follow him: https://twitter.com/asherhuey
We’ll be launching a new RSS just for Deep Space Dive episodes soon. — thank you for your patience, comics folks who aren’t Trekkies. We haven’t forgotten about you! I’ve got some huge comics guests coming shortly.
DS9 is the Star Trek with the greatest focus on political concepts like colonialism, feminism, queerness, and post-scarcity economics. Join hosts and guests who aren’t just Trekkies but activists, academics, artists, therapists, and more as we do a deep dive into the text and subtext where few Star Trek podcasts have gone before.
We’re discussing Deep Space Nine’s themes and characters– not doing recaps. Also: spoilers.
Elana Levin, also the host of Graphic Policy Radio, has worked at the intersection of comics, nerd culture and social change for over a decade. Biggest Trek cred? Giving a speech on fan activism at a rally organized by Leeta/Chase Masterson.
When not getting paid to use math to save the world, Sarah Daniel Rasher writes about film and figure skating. They were the founding Captain of their high school Star Trek club and once got Nicole De Boer to kiss them at a convention.
Garak: All The Boys Think He’s a Spy
Is he a spy? Is he evil? Is he dating Bashir? One thing’s for sure, he’s everyone’s favorite character.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Too Long a Sacrifice #4
(W) Scott Tipton, David Tipton (A) Greg Scott (CA) Ricardo Drumond In Shops: Nov 11, 2020 SRP: $3.99
Everyone is a suspect on a space station one murder away from plunging into total chaos. Constable Odo has a suspect in his sights, but there’s one final piece to this dark puzzle that will change everything he thought he knew-not to mention life on Deep Space Nine-forever. Don’t miss the shocking conclusion to this space noir from David & Scott Tipton (Star Trek: Mirror Broken, Star Trek: The Q Conflict) and Greg Scott (Gotham Central, The X-Files)!
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Too Long a Sacrifice #3
(W) Scott Tipton, David Tipton (A) Greg Scott (CA) Ricardo Drumond In Shops: Oct 07, 2020 SRP: $3.99
The DS9 murder mystery continues in this new space noir from David Tipton & Scott Tipton (Star Trek: Mirror Broken, Star Trek: The Q Conflict) and Greg Scott (Gotham Central, The X-Files)! As Odo forges a fragile working relationship with the past-his-prime investigator the Federation sent to help, new suspects emerge amidst a rising body count. But just when the team thinks they’re getting close to the culprit, a shocking discovery changes everything!
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Too Long a Sacrifice #2
(W) Scott Tipton, David Tipton (A) Greg Scott (CA) Ricardo Drumond In Shops: Aug 19, 2020 SRP: $3.99
With the murderer still on the loose, the inhabitants of Deep Space 9 are starting to divide into factions, made even worse when the Ferengi government gets involved. To make matters worse, conflict between Constable Odo and the Federation’s hand-picked criminal investigator threatens to derail the investigation itself! The DS9 murder mystery continues in this new space noir from David & Scott Tipton (Star Trek: Mirror Broken, Star Trek: The Q Conflict) and Greg Scott (Gotham Central, The X-Files)!
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Too Long a Sacrifice #1
(W) Scott Tipton, Denton J. Tipton (A) Greg Scott (CA) Ricardo Drumond In Shops: Jul 15, 2020 SRP: $3.99
Death casts its shadow as Constable Odo searches for truth amid a web of treachery and lies. Everyone on the Promanade has a motive for this murder, be it vengeance, justice… or old-fashioned greed. Legendary Star Trek scribes Scott Tipton & David Tipton team with noir artist Greg Scott for the first Deep Space Nine comic book series in a decade!
It was new comic book day yesterday! What’d you all get? What’d you like? What’d you dislike? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.
IDW Publishing brings the beloved DS9 crew back to comics with a taut noir thriller: the four-part comic book miniseries Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — Too Long a Sacrifice.
Written by longtime Star Trek scribes David Tipton and Scott Tipton and illustrated by Greg Scott, the new series marks the first Deep Space Nine title published in over a decade. Debuting its first issue in April 2020, this long-awaited DS9 storyline shines the spotlight on Constable Odo, the fan-favorite shapeshifter brought to life by the late (and greatly missed) actor René Auberjonois.
The series is set during the most difficult hours of the Dominion War and focuses on the darker side of life on the station. Odo leads an investigation, with increasingly desperate conditions forcing him and others to deal with new and unexpected allies and to use unusual tactics in their efforts to stop the attacks.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine — Too Long a Sacrifice #1 will be available with multiple cover variants for retailers and fans to enjoy, including Cover A by Ricardo Drumond, a Photo Edition for Cover B, and two Retailer Incentive editions by J.K. Woodward.
Star Trek: Discovery has broken new ground for diversity in the franchise, featuring Sonequa Martin-Green as the first woman of color to headline a Star Trek series, as well as Anthony Rapp as the first openly gay TV series regular. Despite this progress made in casting, however, Discovery has revived a harmful trope from Trek’s early history.
Discovery borrows a major plot point of its first season from 1967’s “The Trouble With Tribbles.” Tribbles is a perennial fan favorite episode, regarded as one of the best of the original series and beloved for its comedic tone. This tone, by the way, came courtesy of producer Gene L. Coon, according to The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek. Gene Roddenberry, the executive producer and creator of Star Trek, considered broad comedy the domain of shows like Lost In Space. While Roddenberry was away writing a Robin Hood pilot, Coon took advantage of his absence and produced three comedic episodes back to back. The story goes that when Roddenberry returned to the set, he called a meeting with Coon, after which Coon quit the show.
The episode centers around a space station that’s loaded with a cargo of grain bound for a Federation colony on a disputed planet near the Klingon border. Kirk and company match wits with bureaucrats, Klingons, and fuzzy little balls of cute called Tribbles. Kirk and Spock discover that the grain has been poisoned, sabotaged by a Federation official name Arne Darvin. It turns out that Darvin is actually a Klingon spy, surgically altered to look human.
In the original series and the Kirk-era movies, the Klingons were an obvious allegory for the Soviet Union, with the Federation taking the role of The United States. The original Klingons were dark-skinned (literally white actors colored with shoe polish) with wispy facial hair, and speaking in not-quite-Russian accents. In his script for “Errand of Mercy,” the first episode to feature Klingons, Gene L. Coon describes their appearance as “oriental.”
With this in mind, it’s hard not to see Darvin as an outer space version of a communist infiltrator, worming his way into the Federation government, committing sabotage for his evil masters.
Leonard Nimoy referred his friend Charlie Brill, a Brooklyn-born Jewish actor for the role. It’s a curious bit of casting, considering the pernicious association between communism and Judaism, from the Jewish Bolshevism canard that came out of the Russian Revolution, through the Hollywood blacklist of the 40s and 50s, all the way to the antisemitic dog whistle of “cultural marxism” that persists today. Notably, when Darvin returned to Star Trek in the 1996 Deep Space Nineepisode “Trials and Tribble-ations,” he had assumed the identity of Waddle, a wandering gemstone merchant, which is, as far as occupations go, not entirely disassociated with Jewish people.
Also, the crime that Arne Darvin commits in “The Trouble With Tribbles” sounds a lot like a medieval libel against Jewish people: well poisoning. In the 14th century, during Black Plague times, there was a belief among Christians that the plague was caused by Jews poisoning wells. This led to the raiding of hundreds of Jewish communities throughout Europe, ending, as such things do, in mass slaughter. This wasn’t just a purely medieval one-off occurrence; the accusation of well poisoning, both literal and metaphorical, persisted through the 20th and 21st Centuries, tying in everything from Stalin purging Jewish doctors for supposedly poisoning Soviet leaders to conspiracy theorizing about Jews causing the AIDS epidemic.
Which brings us to Star Trek: Discovery. While the series is set roughly ten years before The Original Series, it very much reflects the culture and values of today. The cold-war Soviet Klingons of The Original Series have been replaced with hardline religious zealots, who in the first season waged a holy war against the Federation in the name of reclaiming its cultural purity for the glory of Kahless, a figure from Klingon history revered almost as a god.
Into this story comes Ash Tyler, played by Shazad Latif, an actor of mixed Pakistani and British heritage. Tyler is a Starfleet security officer from just outside Seattle, who escapes imprisonment and torture by the Klingons. The character at first appeared to offer a sober exploration of PTSD, dealing with the trauma of his ordeal, but instead he turned out to be a Klingon agent named Voq, surgically altered (just like good old like Arne Darvin) to appear human. Unlike Darvin, Voq isn’t aware that he’s a Klingon, and actually believes himself to be Tyler. He’s a sleeper agent, somewhat akin to Laurence Harvey’s character in The Manchurian Candidate, but with the sci-fi twist of radical gene-altering surgery and memory transplantation.
What started out as a positive, nuanced portrayal of a character of mixed-Pakistani descent got undercut by turning him into a religious sleeper terrorist. There are enough of those on TV already, in just about every season of 24, or the prestige Showtime drama Homeland. We could even look to an episode from Trek’s first season, “Balance of Terror,” for a better treatment of a similar subject: Spock faces suspicion and xenophobia from members of the Enterprise crew when they discover that Romulans are identical to Vulcans. Stiles, the navigator, accuses Spock outright of being a Romulan spy, only to have Kirk call out his bigotry for what it is, out in the open, right on the bridge of the Enterprise.
There does seem to be hope for Ash Tyler, though. The second season of Discovery has recast him as an intelligence agent for the shadowy Starfleet spy organization Section 31. He’s still a Klingon who thinks he’s human, but the writers seem to want to put that storyline behind them and have it just be another angle to the character’s traumatic past. Of course, it’s television, and I’m sure Tyler will be dealing with buried Klingon programming just as soon, and for as long, as plot demands.
The producers of Discovery don’t get nearly enough credit for the homages they make to the rest of Trek (cue the cries of “Discovery doesn’t care about canon!”), especially with this season’s loving and detailed treatment of TOS’s original, failed pilot “The Cage.” It’s disappointing, though, that they not only returned to this particular well, but poisoned it in their own contemporary way.
Mark Turetsky is a voice actor and audiobook narrator of more than 75 books living in Northern Louisiana. He writes the Star Trek comedy twitter account @RejectedDS9. His work can be found at www.markturetsky.com.