Sunday, April 5, 2009

the trouble with tribbles vs radicalism

The trouble with tribbles was that they reproduced indiscriminately and they consumed all edible contents available to them. ( For those ignorant among you, "tribbles" come from Episode #42 (season 2) of the original Star Trek series, entitled "The Trouble with Tribbles".)

In the show, as I recall, they were cute n/ cuddly creatures, who cooed softly when stroked, becoming a placebo for reality in the lives of those going "where no man has gone before" (changed to where no ONE has gone before in TNG - so as to offend neither the female crew/officers in the series nor the female viewers.) Their calming effect was contagious - everyone wanted one (or more).

Only when the Captain observed the disastrous effects on his crew and ship did he take a stand, and ORDERED the "removal" of ALL said tribbles from his ship into the hands of "Cap'n Cyrano", who originally profited from the sale of these creatures to the crew of the good ship Enterprise. I do not recall how Cap'n Cy disposed of the little vile-cute creatures, other than watching the final credits roll over the screen. I seem to remember that Kirk, at the behested suggestion of Scotty, did beam them aboard a locally lurking Klingon ship (the Klingons at the time being at "peace" with earth).

The point of that particular episode, as I as a sixteen-year old understood it, was that what at first glance was appealing (want to feel good, be calm, be loving, have no stress, no strain - get a tribble) may, in fact, be and/or lead to an all consuming terror based on sex and food (tribbles, being born pregnant, were full of surprises!)

What brought that episode to mind to me today (I must confess that in truth it has several times over the last 40! years) was reading a recent article by Mark Steyn in MacLeans, where he says (or warns) that "da Canadian value is that we have no values. We value all values." He concludes the article by saying "We could use some 'Canadian values' right now."

We have, in essence, all fallen for the tribbles. If it feels good for you - then do it. This transcends and encompasses all thoughts and opinions - especially those that have to do with food and sex (are they both not defined to some extent using the term "appetite"?)

Canada was declared many years ago to be "multicultural society", a term coined in particular by the Liberals under Pierre Elliot Trudeau, in the sense that since there was no presumable "Canadian Culture", immigrants were welcome to come and retain their own uniqueness within a loose Canadian culture. Other "cultures" were subsequently recognised - that is the "invisible minorities" - in particular the so-called "gay & lesbian and trans-gendered" among us. As Steyn points out, polygamists are becoming more visible, and I would add they are doing so even to the extent that so-called reformed Christians are beginning to embrace the concept of polygamy as a legitimate culture.

You see, the idea of "equality" is the first tribble, itself pregnant with other tribbles. Equality in itself is a good thing (as I suppose a single non-pregnant tribble would be.) But I would submit that equality, without limits (in other words, self-contained limitless offspring), is dangerous. (Is that the anarchist in me speaking?) As I see it equality, in today's society, is seen as part of the warp and woof of "freedom". There is, I think, an unusual finality to the concept that "I am equal" means (and ends) with the concept that "I am free." The difficulty is that "freedom" is not the end.

"With freedom comes responsibility." This well known saying (attributed to the former U.S. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt) adds a new element, and it is a great big one that can be descibed only as the "moral" element - responsibility.

And that leads us to radicalism, which I intend to explore in a later post.


  1. Tribbles. Awesome.

    About time you tied some ST into a post. ;) And, this is a good one. It's true.

  2. ^ Very true.

    Also very about time you used ST in a post. :)

    Nice song.

  3. ...responsibility.

    And that leads us to radicalism, which I intend to explore in a later post.

    Ohhh, I can't wait!

  4. Very cool analogy(?) Is that the word I'm looking for? Any way. Very good. And the video killed me. Although, I have to say, Boston Legal has turned William Shatner into "Denny Crane." He is no longer Captain Kirk.

  5. Yes, Denny is all about food 'n sex! Kirk, too, evokes visions of sex with aliens... but that is another blog!