Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Saturn's dynamic auroras - NASA

   I've always been a bit of a Trekkie (you remember?   Star Trek!)   I haven't gone to any conventions and I don't wear a Starfleet uniform, no, not even on Halloween but I've enjoyed the shows and movies.    One of the programs came to mind when I was contemplating what it is that makes a fictional character unique.  But  this could apply to an actual person as well.

There was an episode where a superior  alien species kidnapped Captain Picard and three other individuals from diverse humanoid planets in the galaxy.  On his starship, to ensure his absence would not be noted, a carefully conceived and executed double was put in his place.

On the the Starship Enterprise, at first all was well, but gradually small anomalies and character differences were noticed.   Singularly, one aspect might have passed but in combination they lead the crew to the inescapable conclusion that that there had been a switch.   At the end of the show the rescued Captain Picard enquired of his first officer as to how the excellent and detailed deception was uncovered.   The punchline was, "I find it hard to believe you're that good a singer."   Of course, the Captain was not the type of man to sing with his crew on any occasion and had never done so, unlike the doppelganger who had  launched into a bar room chorus of a seaside shanty.

One thing that makes characters and people unique is their flaws.   Nothing too drastic in my books--no axe murderers allowed--but  human quirks and failings.  Cartoon characters, like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty have no flaws.   (Okay, they are passive and wimpy but that no doubt reflects the perceptions of female perfection  held by their male creators in the 1940's or 50's)

I guess this means we should celebrate and be proud of our small failings--they make us unique.

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