A FAN FOURSOME of friends discuss and debate STAR TREK:PICARD’s pros and cons… (video)

Remember the days when friends would get together and talk about Star Trek for hours WITHOUT hating on it…or each other? It’s not like we gushed over everything. We could discuss good episodes and bad ones, awesome movies and clunkers. And we were always nice to each other because…well…that’s the way the world used to be!

These days, it’s all about the echo-chambers, and the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” approach to critical thinking. Even with sci-fi (maybe especially with sci-fi), you either love a show or hate it…with almost no middle ground allowed. You see the vitriol all over social media, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, etc. and you know what? I miss those friendly disagreements, dammit!

About halfway through the run of the final season of STAR TREK: PICARD, I was texting with my longtime friend, DAVID KEKST, about the show. I think “The Bounty” has just aired, and I was so stroked about that total fan service episode with the Starfleet museum, all those starships, Geordi, Moriarty, and the discovery of Data. I assumed that David, a lifelong Trekkie like myself, would be just as stoked at all the nostalgia and was probably loving the series as much as I was.

Apparently not.

David had a lot of critical things to say about the final season, complaining about most of the things I was praising. But this wasn’t the first time he and I disagreed on something. He’s a conservative, and I’m a liberal. He’s very religious while I don’t actively practice any traditional theology. We’re best friends, but we oh-so-often don’t agree with each other…often passionately! The e-mail exchanges and late-into-the-night debates and even frenetic back-and-forth texts frequently seem to stretch on and on—often with little ground gained by either side despite massive amounts of research and what each of us feels are valid and logical arguments.

But it’s never once hurt our friendship.

In a world where families are being torn apart over political disagreements, David and I have continued to be friends despite sitting on opposite side of the aisle. We’re always respectful of each other and usually “agree to disagree.” And hey, sometimes we actually DO agree…but not terribly often. But it’s kinda fun to debate in a safe environment like that.

And so, as David and I traded dueling analyses of the pros and cons of Picard, I had a thought: wouldn’t it be fun and interesting to have two fans passionately disagreeing about Star Trek WITHOUT being nasty to each other? It would be just like the old days!

I asked David if he’d like to do a recorded Zoom discussion/debate for my blog at some point…maybe after Picard ended? He said sure, but he suggested inviting two other friends of his—JAMES WONG and STEWART ALTSCHULER—who were also fans, one of whom really liked the season and the other who was critical like David.

“The more the merrier!” I replied. And so we scheduled a Zoom call for this past week, and I just finished editing it last night…adding in clips from Picard interspersed throughout the hour and 40 minute discussion. Interestingly, Paramount actually allows a limited amount of copyrighted material to be displayed on YouTube (just no monetizing, of course…not that I monetize any video, mind you, as I don’t have nearly enough subscribers).

Anywhoodle, it was a really lively, enlightening, and fun discussion—and completely civil!—just like we fans used to have in days gone by. Imagine that! So whether you loved season three, hated it, or were somewhere in between, you’ll probably find something to agree with in this video, something you totally don’t agree with, and hopefully a few unexpected points-of-view that will make you go “hmmm…”

Whatever your reaction, I hope you will enjoy this friendly fan foursome…

8 thoughts on “A FAN FOURSOME of friends discuss and debate STAR TREK:PICARD’s pros and cons… (video)”

  1. “friendly fan foursome…”
    In the immortal words of Riker, “do you even hear yourself?”
    Sorry, couldn’t resist, because it’s futile!

    I’ll catch the audio later, way past my bedtime.

  2. Just wondering why my comment on the “Last” blog about Season 3 wasn’t posted… and now comments are “closed”. πŸ™ I was AGREEING with you in that comment. My Wife and I watched Eps 9 & 10, and they were quite good! The foul words were few enough to be tolerable.

    In relation to THIS blog, it’s past my bed time, too… I’ll have to come back for the interview another time. πŸ™‚ But I did want to say that “I GET IT” regarding keeping your friendship with the guy who is virtually your “Mirror Universe” counterpart. πŸ˜‰ I think that he and I would agree on a WHOLE LOT of things. πŸ˜‰ I also had a friendship for 30 years with a guy who was my “Opposite”. We just agreed to keep politics out of the discussions… until about 4 years ago. πŸ™ With the click of a mouse, he terminated that friendship… after 30 years… sigh. πŸ™

    1. Sorry, Willie, I was in Dallas all of last week, and the blog was on the back-burner. I’m playing catch-up now.

      As for my friend David, we’re not opposites. In fact, we’re VERY similar (although he’s much better looking!) and share a lot of similar elements of our backgrounds: both upper-east-side New York Jewish kids, both Ivy League graduates, both avid chess players, both New Yorkers who moved to Los Angeles, and of course, both huge Trekkies. We can talk for hours and hours about anything Star Trek (like most fans can), and I think we share similar social values. But he’s a fiscal conservative and I’m a fiscal liberal. I support unions, he’s generally against them (not in concept, mind you, but he feels today’s unions are very corrupt and not as interested in bargaining to a fair agreement as they pretend to be). He’s a big fan of charter schools while I believe more money should be given to help struggling schools rather than taken away from them. He’s more frustrated with politicians in general than I am…of both parties. I’m mostly frustrated with Republicans and find “whataboutism” to be naive and infantile desperation when one doesn’t have a grasp of the facts. (For example, trying to find a Supreme Court Justice as corrupt as Clarence Thomas, and the best the right could come up with was Sonya Sotomayor not recusing herself from voting to hear a case regarding her book publisher. The case was never actually heard by the court, so her lack of recusal was meaningless anyway. However, compared to the outright multi-decade corruption of Thomas, this is a case of “whataboutism” at its most ridiculous.)

      Anyway, not a Mirror Universe version of me…just someone who keeps me on my toes having to intelligently defend the political views I hold, which is a GOOD thing! Spending all of one’s time in an echo chamber of same-minded thinkers breeds lazy conformity and ignorance. Having David around forces me to really consider and research why I believe what I believe.

      David and his wife are also the Jewish godparents to my son Jayden.

  3. Jonathan, a “fiscal liberal” is an oxymoron, if there ever was one. SMH lol

    1. Fiscal liberal simply means that I believe in using the government’s resources to help the less fortunate and maintain national infrastructure. Like paying money to fix our home and buy food and new clothes for our family, funds must be spent in order to live. Our house won’t fix itself, and Jayden is still to young to have enough money of his own to buy food and clothing, so the family (government) handles those requirements.

  4. Seems I’m having problems getting my comments to post, lately. πŸ™

    I agreed with you about episodes 9 & 10 of Picard S3 and my Wife and I watched those two. My comment on that original thread didn’t post, and I tried to come back, but comments were ALREADY CLOSED! πŸ™ Ouch!

    As for “Gov’t Resources”… that’s just another name for TAXPAYER Dollars! Your money and mine… and Uncle Sam DOES NOT show very good Fiscal Responsibility at all. πŸ™

    1. You and I will just have to agree to disagree on government spending, Willie. My brother’s best friend from high school, Jason Furman, was Obama’s chief financial adviser, so I’ve gotten a closer look at executive oversight of government programs than most Americans. It’s a very complex, layered system with more moving parts than anyone could possibly imagine. While it might seem incompetent to some (and certain people and processes at all levels from municipal to state to federal are, admittedly, far from “perfect” and even frustratingly inefficient), the fact remains that the United States is one of the most modern and complex nations and economies on the planet. We have the largest military, one of the most extensive national industrial infrastructures, and some of the most advanced research and development institutions in the world.

      Things like that don’t happen without a government to protect the nation from all threats both national and domestic, construct and maintain that infrastructure, encourage business development, and elevate the poorest amongst us so that they don’t become an expansive criminal “underclass” across all states. If you think crime is bad now, imagine if there weren’t welfare programs and food stamps and all of those people were instead starving and desperate and unable to find work or food or shelter. We have tens of thousands of such people in Los Angeles alone. Imagine if every city and county and state had the same amount. Imagine the instability of our country were that to happen. We’d be Venezuela or Libya or Sudan or Myanmar. Instead, we are the United States of America. We still have poor and homeless, but we try to help them rather than simply turning our backs on them and letting the problem spread.

      Be happy that you live in the most powerful and financially stable nation (other than Switzerland) in the world…a nation that, for two and a half centuries, has relied on its government (imperfect though it might be) to administer programs, defend the populace, support the general welfare, and enforce a set of laws created not by a monarch but by duly-elected representatives who serve for limited terms. But remember, all that this country does must be paid for, and taxing those who benefit from the resources, security, and opportunities that America offers is how we pay for those things.

      If you have a better method that you can suggest, Willie, then please do. πŸ™‚

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