In the DS9 two-parter “Past Tense,” Sisko, Bashir and Dax travel to the year 2024, a dark time in our near future. Treknews.net blogger Michelle Toven joins us to discuss the episodes’ socio-political themes, which include homelessness, mental health, race, class, violence, and the power of storytelling.
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Notes and References:
- “Past and Current Tense” by Michelle Toven at Priority One
- “No Safe Place: Sexual Assault in the Lives of Homeless Women” at vawnet.org
- “Fast Facts: Counting women in – a gender-based analysis of homelessness” by Jess Klassen and Lisa Spring.
- “6 Welfare Myths We All Need to Stop Believing” at Mashable – addresses the “welfare queen” stereotype.
- The Gene Roddenberry interview referenced is a 1980s interview printed in the 1988 Star Trek Interview Book by Allan Asherman.
Hosts: Jarrah, Grace and Sue
Guest: Michelle Toven
What a fantastic discussion of this episode! The most important aspect of Star Trek to me is its humanist vision and wrestling with social and economic issues that are relevant to the present time. The economic extremes of our times are tearing apart the fabric of our societies and it needs examination beyond the orthodoxies that dominate official discussion today. I hope the Star Trek series will present some alternative economic systems in and out of the Federation. If we can’t try to imagine a better, sustainable and more just economic approach in science fiction, then we are in serious trouble. Here are some ideas: cooperatives (employee owned and operated businesses), a guaranteed citizen income, government guarantees a job at a living wage, if the private sector cannot.