Space Ramblings

The Nation reviews Enterprise’s second episode

The Nation by Michelle Greenberg


“Oasis is a potentially interesting exploration of women’s liberation
and homosexuality on Star Trek before being thwarted by reactionary
fascist patriarchalism.

Oasis tells a story about the struggle for the possession of a women
between her father and a potential lover, Southern engineer Trips
Connors. As is typical of this type reactionary pabulum, the woman
herself of course has no mind of her own and her only independent
action is to liberate her lover.

Actor Rene Auberjonois who as Deep Space Nine’s Odo was widely
believed by fans to be gay, is brought back specifically to hammer
home his heterosexuality to fans by casting him as a father, yet at
the same time managing to keep him thoroughly asexual. Though there is
of course clear sexual tension between him and his ship’s Captain,
such tension cannot be acted on in Enterprise for fear of alienating
the conservative core demographic and so the Captain is revealed to be
merely another hologram and thus the love between these two men must
remain unrecognized because of society’s intolerance.

Even the relationship between the Southern engineer and the engineer’s
daughter is itself kept strictly sterile with flavors of ice cream
used to symbolize their attraction to each other. By switching her
from ‘vanilla’ flavored ice cream to the more complex ‘rocky road’,
Oasis is suggesting that Trips has introduced her to more
sophisticated varieties of sexual experience. In the tradition of hack
space opera of course, Trips cannot be tied down to one woman and she
conveniently chooses to remain as her father’s property at the end of
the episode. Yet Trips provides her with an ice cream maker for her
trip, which using Oasis’ coded symbolism suggests that he has
impregnated her thus finally putting the ‘woman’ in her place as a
mother even while keeping her locked up in her father’s starship thus
completing the cycle of phallicentric tyranny and ending her freedom

While on the surface, Oasis claims to be a story about a father’s love
for his daughter and a woman’s liberation; it is in fact an episode
which views a woman as merely property and ends with the reaffirmation
of the patriarchal status quo.

From the moment we first see the white male dominated Enterprise crew
dressed in uniforms that but for their color would be reminiscent of
Hitler’s Waffen SS, it becomes clear that this Star Trek is no longer
the revolutionary breakthrough series it once was. The Enterprise crew
is itself dominated by a white male Anglo-American patriarchal power
structure that relegates women and minorities to such an extent that
it might almost be called Aryan.

Where the original series was a progressive dream of a socialist
future, Enterprise is an exercise in reactionary nostalgia for a
better time when white males ruled the world as is demonstrated in its
promo full of white males exploring the oceans, diving underwater and
going up into space. There is of course no place for women or people
of color or homosexuals in such a future.

Oasis merely reaffirms this nostalgic status quo in ways both subtle
and gross beginning with the gynophobic and homophobic plot and subtly
with Archer’s invocation of Christian attitudes and morals even as his
crossed fingers appear to secretly making the sign of the cross.
Furthermore the names of three of the ship’s holographic characters,
Tevol, Cuper and Nabi is actually an anagram for “Vote Republican”, a
hidden subliminal message that the reactionary producers of Enterprise
undoubtedly expected that no one would notice. From this it is clear
that there is no extreme to which Enterprise’s producers will not go
to get their message across from oppressing women, subjugating
homosexuals and secretly supporting the Republican party. And it is a
message of hate, prejudice and vile bigotry which no right thinking
person should tolerate.

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