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I've Got a Theory

About Star Trek.

So I was taking a break from translating Beowulf (as happens) to read about seventeenth century radicalism in England (as happens) and ended up developing a theory about the new Star Trek (…as happens). Okay, so we know JJ Abrams likes to reference well-known philosophical and political thinkers in his stuff, e.g. Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau from Lost. Now in my reading I found out about a guy named James Harrington who was a member of the Diggers, a proto-communist group who wanted to reclaim land from the government for use by the poor as a means of socio-economic improvement. During the Revolution, this didn’t go so well, obviously, but there were several attempts to essentially squat on unused lands for farming that led to conflicts—sometimes but not always violent—with the government.

Now consider the terrorist of Star Trek Into Darkness, John Harrison. (Not exact, but close, right?) Now, there’s a lot of theories trying to tie him back to Khan, but Khan never saw himself as a terrorist or a protestor, he was always just the usurped authority. The terrorist group we have seen close to this time period is Terra Prime, during the period of Enterprise—whose continuity is confirmed intact with Reboot, since the alternate timeline would start ~50 years after Archer establishes the Federation, and there’s reference to both Archer and his beagle, with writers’ confirmation that it was the SAME Archer. Now, Terra Prime was initially established in the wake of the Xindi attacks on Earth, and assumed to have been successfully dissolved in the latter episodes of Enterprise. Now, in Reboot there were several devastating attacks—the Kelvin Disaster, followed 25 years later by the Battle of Vulcan and the Battle of Earth, with the cumulative loss of multiple Starfleet vessels, the entirety of Vulcan, and a chunk of San Francisco. Obviously there would be huge socio-economic outfalls from this; we can already extrapolate from Reboot that the Kelvin Disaster not only expedited technological change but also the enhanced militarism we see during the film (I’ve always been struck by Pike’s reference to Starfleet as a “humanitarian and peacekeeping armada” which implies general benevolence but ALSO implies a standing heavy military force; and historians will note—HI ANTON—that the term “armada” has only ever really been connected with the Spanish armada, eg a heavily ideological force primed for invasion.)

So we could conceivably extrapolate a few things from all this: Harrison, as a member of a self-identified terrorist organization on a planet reeling from significant attacks (Earth) wants to reclaim a bit of control for the betterment of “the common man.” (There’s no such thing as an upper-class terrorist.) It would make sense that one method such an individual could see would be wanting access to government-controlled properties—eg M-class worlds that Starfleet visits but regulates the colonization of. Going back to the historical Harrington, he would see land lying fallow that working people should have access to. Therefore it would make sense that he would want access to both the land as an ultimate goal and the destruction of Starfleet as a method to get there.

Alright, folks. DISCUSS.



( 12 comments — Add your .02 )
Feb. 10th, 2013 11:04 am (UTC)
fucking WOW you're brain, I love it! I kind of want this as a meta post on jim_and_bones. If you feel like cross-posting there, go right ahead with my official stamp ;D with spoilery tags natch *let's power go to her head*
*clunks head*


I have nothing to contribute other than enthusiastic nodding but I can't wait to read other thoughts on this!
Feb. 10th, 2013 04:57 pm (UTC)
LOL, I'll cross-post if you want me to. <3 I feel bad because I volunteered to word wars and this week has been insane and it just hasn't happened. *cries all the tears* And unless there's a minor miracle with translating it won't today either. Stupid real life.
Feb. 10th, 2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
I hope you're right. I will be so disappointed if Harrison turns out to be Khan. There's the obvious racism, for one thing. For another, just about everything Nero did in XI had a parallel in "Wrath of Khan." We've done Khan already. Twice. Next!
Feb. 10th, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2013 03:35 pm (UTC)
This is a fascinating theory, and I would LOVE it if the particular kind of "terrorism" presented in STID had an actual political philosophy behind it, and wasn't just based on some kind of personal messianism. I didn't know about J.J. disposition in that direction; that makes me hopeful.

A couple of challenges to your theory, though:

* The character's name is John Harrison, not Harrington.

* The scene we were shown in the IMAX preview does not suggest that the problem the couple is having with their daughter has anything to do with resource constraints. The hospital is, in fact, extremely posh, as is the couple's apartment. Maybe they're privileged because they're Starfleet officers, but in no version of Trek have we seen a denial of the basic resources of life to the "common man." When Harrison offers to help, he's got to be offering something that the best medical treatment available on Earth can't provide.

That being said, I think you're on the right track with the shift in Starfleet's mission and the uneasy security and technological position of a Federation without Vulcan. I am super excited to see whether you're right!

Feb. 10th, 2013 04:56 pm (UTC)
The character's name is John Harrison, not Harrington.

!@#$ you're right. This is why I shouldn't be allowed on the internet after midnight. <3
Feb. 10th, 2013 06:33 pm (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2013 06:35 pm (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2013 09:57 pm (UTC)
*takes notes*
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 11th, 2013 12:17 am (UTC)
I've heard about that. I just don't believe that they'd drop the ball like that in early promo--I think either Abrams or EW is trolling. (I could be wrong, but..that's bad PR if so.)
Feb. 12th, 2013 02:00 am (UTC)
Interesting thoughts but there is a possible flaw in your argument about Khan. You state that Khan never thought of himself as a terrorist. No, he didn't, but many others would have thought of him as one. The saying is of course, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. ;) To me Starfleet has named him a terrorist, but the comments from Benedict are that there are reasons for his actions which we find out along the way. We may sympathise with him, we may not. I also think Harrison is tied into Robert Aprils appearance in the comics.

I agree with Lindmere that the starfleet officer (HI MICKEY!) does not appear to be wanting in respect to the care of his daughter, so it is knowledge that Harrison is promising, or something that is ethically a no no or not considered, is my take on the little information we know.

The query I have on the trailers is following the cut on Kirk's cheek. It's fresh on what we presume is the Klingon planet, and we know Harrison is there. Then there are the newly released images where Kirk is back in his command shirt with the cut in the same place. JJ is exceptionally good at giving away almost nothing in his trailers, except misdirection and red herrings. :D
( 12 comments — Add your .02 )

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