Writer's Rant: Contemplating Shinzon and the Concept of "Too Many"

So lately I've been feeling nostalgic and I've been indulging some fandoms from my youth - Star Trek, Buffy, Angel, Xena, and Harry Potter (that last one with a vengeance) - and I've found myself rewatching even the movies and episodes I like least.

A few weeks back, Netflix decided to stream Star Trek: Nemesis - one of THE worst Trek films of all time, mind you - and I decided to sit through it again just 'cause.  I think Tom Hardy is a great actor, I love his voice, and I blame the flatness of Shinzon on the writers.  His characterization was awful, but by the awesome way Hardy delivered some of the lines, I knew right away he was just doing the best he could what he'd been given.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, Shinzon is the clone of Captain Picard, created on Romulus.  When the Romulans abandoned the plan to clone Picard, Shinzon, as a child, was sent into the sunless mines of the neighboring planet of Remus, where the Remans lived enslaved by the Romulans.  And I do mean enslaved in ever way; in wartime, the Remans were recruited as canon fodder.

Needless to say, Shinzon grew up under hellish conditions and as an adult, led Remans in rebellion.  And by "rebellion" I mean he assassinated the entire Romulan senate and took over the government.  *nods*  I know.  Boss.

Determined never to bow to anyone again, Shinzon then turns his eye towards the Federation*, one of the greatest rivals of the Romulan Empires.  Enter Picard.  Shinzon lures Picard to Romulus where the two sit and talk, and during their discussion Shinzon talks about his rebellion and how he knew freedom had to be taken, because it's never given.

To which Picard inquires, "And how many Romulans had to die for your freedom?"

Let me stop there for a minute.  Bar patrons, only a white dude would scribble this line of questioning and think it was appropriate.

Because later in the film, when Shinzon is arguing with a Romulan accomplice, he tells the Romulan to learn patience.  "Spend eighteen hours a day under the lash of a Romulan guard and you'll soon come to learn patience," a bemused Shinzon imparts.

Um...spend eighteen hours a day under the lash of a Romulan guard and you'll be fit to kill him, his mama, his baby mama, his drunken uncle George, and all his kids.  That just sort of goes without saying.

When Picard asks how many Romulans died for Reman freedom, Shinzon somberly sighs and dramatically looks away, murmuring, "Too many."

Huh?  Come again?  First off, we know Shinzon's not sorry.  He displays a consistent deep and utter loathing for Romulans throughout the film.  The only reason he's saying, "Too many," is appeal to Picard.

But you have to ask, how many is "too many"?  When you're being whipped for eighteen hours a day, is there such a thing as too many?  During American slavery, people like Nat Turner and John Brown didn't bother keeping track, and for this, American HIStory has branded Brown a zealot and madman, while trying to forget all about Turner.  We're taught their methods were wrong and that they were no better than the slavery practitioners, blah, blah, blah.

But when the Twin Towers came down and (white) Americans felt their freedom was threatened, the Asian death toll in the Middle East just never seemed high enough.  Children born years after 9/11 were - sorry are - getting taken out by drones and Americans are perfectly kosher with it.  Suddenly, there's no cry of "too many" or "inhumane".

Y'all, let me just conclude this with something we already know.  The greatest irony of freedom is that it...ain't...free.  Those who don't have it will pay any price to get it, even if that price is someone else's head.  So if your privilege, your happiness, your comfort, and your livelihood come at the cost of someone else's, enjoy that shit while it lasts.  'Cause when the bill is due, best believe it's gon' get paid.  And those who come to collect won't somberly sigh and dramatically look away, contemplating that it's "too many".

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*This BS right here is precisely why I have two specific categories for villains: boss villains and Star Trek villains.  A Star Trek villian rocks some nice threads, talks some great smack, and attacks Earth...just 'cause.  If this writing were to be consistent and true to the initial dynamic of the plot, Shinzon and his fellow Remans would be far too busy bending Romulans over to give a damn about the Federation.

But alas...we wouldn't have a movie.

Comments

  1. Well in the movie the missed a goldmine. I mean it would good movie if done right (same with Genrations)> Like it really didn't connect with the Trek Lore. But it would be better (JJ Abrams is doing it already kinda) if the connected the Dominion War with a rouge Starfleet Captain who wants to just take out the Federation.

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  2. Leo Princess3/12/13, 3:28 PM

    Just the other day on Tumblr, I saw a post from a pissed-off POC college student. Apparently a racist fellow student is writing his doctoral thesis on how the Haitian Revolution was *drum-roll* a genocidal act against white people.

    Yea. I know.

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    Replies
    1. They actually let that fool in school? OMFG!!!!

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    2. Honey, they probably paid his way.

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    3. And this is why I stay away from ignorance. I'm Haitian and proud of it too.
      When my daddy sat me and my sisters down and told us our Haitian history/heritage, we were in awe of the courageous and selfless acts that my ancestors did to ensure that their children would be free. January 1st, I celebrate that day harder than my birthday because I know what that day symbolizes.

      Yea and I bet that that dumbie didn't know that without help from foreign countries like Haiti, (White) America wouldn't have it's "precious" freedom but they probably left that out of their HIStory books, too.

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    4. Typical. White people love double standards. Killing the white oppressor is an atrocious sin, but the oppression against blacks (Haitians in this case) even if it means killing is reasonable.

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  3. I'm sure he'll be one of the most famous historians ever, with papers like that.

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  4. In my opinion the bill is way over due. It's time for the overprivileged bastards to pay.

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