Saturday, March 7, 2015

Captain Pike's Weird Dilemma

Man with facial scarring, showing head and upper torso, the rest of his body obscured by an encasing wheelchair with lights and buttons on the front
One of these days soon, Im going to have to do a blog post, podcast discussion, or both about the Star Trek two-part episode The Menagerie. It’s one of the most memorable of the original series episodes, but also one of the most bizarre, especially its depiction of the severely disabled Captain Christopher Pike. For one thing, the show depicts a level of far future high-tech adaptation that has already been surpassed in real life. Then there are the ideas about disability that drive the plot. It’s all based on the assumption that even in the 22nd century, physical disability is just about the worst thing that can happen to someone. Yet, there are small moments and details that nod towards Captain Pike retaining some agency in the world, despite appearing to be an inert lump of flesh that can only say "yes" or "no".

The Menagerie is weird viewing to begin with. For someone familiar with disability issues, its doubly hard to untangle, but kind of compelling.