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@squishydish: As someone who grew up watching Here Come the Brides reruns, I loved Ishmael unreservedly and without shame.

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SilverHammerMan said on September 5th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Presidential Knife Fight is an awesome idea. I’d watch that movie (or more likely, read the webcomic).
I’m also interested by the ideas floated above about vampire hunter Lincoln and President Superman. How about a death match between the most badass fictional Presidents? We’d have, just off the top of my head, a Superman, a vampire hunter, and Nixon in his incarnation as the head of the Secret Empire, and at least one version of Captain America. That could be fun.
And you guys have me really tempted to get a copy of the Kobayashi Maru to read.

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@John 2.0-

I’d never seen that foreword before. It’s wonderfully written, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Admittedly, it was written back before the vast majority of Trek canon had been established, but I kind of question the idea that Starfleet is regularly encountering more advanced civilizations than its own. Where ARE these races, and why were they gobbling up ships at such a ferocious rate?

That notwithstanding, there’s a difference between not being a utopian pacifist and people who turn on each other in an orgy of simulated killing with very little provocation. Given the values it espouses, I can’t see Starfleet seeing said people as prime recruits or officer materiel.

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@Murc:

Undoubtedly, the forward is deeply weird (it obliquely references slash fiction, and suggests that the Star Trek TV series is actually a fictional Starfleet propaganda piece based on the actual Enterprise 5-year mission), but it IS written by Gene himself, so I think it speaks to his original vision.

Anyway, the KM’s publication date is November 1, 1989. I don’t know how long it take took to write, but if you assume 6 months to a year from idea to publication, that means it’s only a year and some months into TNG.

I don’t think TOS is all that utopian, at least outside of the long-established Federation planets. There’s slavery, there’s a stratified (and sometimes brutal) economy, there’s piracy. TOS is very much a wild frontier kind of place.

Where are the way more advanced civilizations? Everywhere. How many energy creatures, space ‘gods’, or ancient civilizations Kirk run into? What would Q do to a bunch of starry-eyed space hippies?

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DistantFred said on September 6th, 2012 at 1:28 am

SilverHammerMan- I challenge the idea that the most Badass version of Nixon was the Secret Empire one, and not say, Futurama’s Nixon’s head on a giant killer robot.

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@Enlight_bystand: Other Presidents have legal backgrounds and might “rules lawyer” the fight as well, but the OP was talking about why we shouldn’t count Obama out.

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@DistantFred – Robot Nixon would certainly win! Although if we start working in fictional takes on Presidents things could get insane very quickly. The Progenitor RPG setting for instance had LBJ as a secret mind controller, while Marvel’s New Universe had Reagan as a super tough superhero (Teflon). And I’m pretty sure there’s a story or two (or two thousand) out there about ghostly versions of various Presidents that come back to kick butt.

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Here’s a couple of other things to remember about Teddy Roosevelt (who is my odds-on favorite in this discussion).

* in terms of racism: for a man whose formative years were in the 19th century after the Civil War, TR was surprisingly progressive. One of his early acts after assuming the presidency was to invite Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House; for this he incurred a firestorm of negative press and was vilified in the South. He was reportedly bewildered by this reaction, and initially wanted to defy it (paraphrasing, but: “I’ll invite anyone I damn well please to dine at the White House!”), yet in fact, he eventually bowed to public pressure on the issue. IIRC he continued to consult BTW, but never again gave a black man a dining invitation.

TR’s record on racial relations is overshadowed, understandably so, by his actions during the Brownsville affair. And his views weren’t uniformly progressive. But based on the above, I’m just saying, he’s an example of a pre-JFK president whose racial views do not automatically make him dismissive of Obama. (In fact, I think TR tended to subscribe to the doctrine of exceptionalism — which is to say, he had an overall negative view of “black people”, but he believed in the idea that individuals could achieve great things. Thus his regard for BTW, and I think he would be inclined to view Obama exactly the same way.)

* in terms of physical peak and closeness to his military service — TR’s signature “charge up San Juan hill” happened in 1898. He became president in 1901, at the age of 43. It was in that same year, when big-game hunting in the Rockies, that TR got down from his horse and used his knife to stab a cougar to death (in order, as he said, to prevent it from killing one of the hunting dogs he had with him).

* the incident in which TR was shot on his way to give a campaign speech, and then refused medical attention and gave a 90 minute speech with the bullet still in his chest (it was never actually removed), occured almost 10 years later, when he was 54.

So really, if you’re dealing with the 43 year old President TR? Good luck. I say “stabbing a wild cougar to death” is good experience for “dealing with Andrew Jackson”.

(It amazes me that there are folks over in the OP’s comment thread who advance the theory that TR is “all talk, no action” or that his prowess was somehow completely a PR thing rather than real. Dude, I’m sorry, but most of his accomplishments had ample witnesses.)

I’m basically of the mind that if you’re going to engage in this exercise, you have to accept the idea that all of the Presidents would indeed kill each other in the end, as much against their individual characters as it might be. That’s the terms. Once you start getting into the idea of, “which ones would try to build coalitions” and so on, it’s really a fairly different thought-exercise. Not a bad one, but quite a different one.

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highlyverbal said on September 6th, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I think the first woman shadow president wins (Eleanor).

a) she is bad ass (she was running gauntlets of violent racism in the south after her puppet was out of office)

b) she would be underestimated due to standing behind the wheelchair “president” – the element of surprise matters a ton in a knife fight

c) as a woman, she would be both underestimated and a reluctant target

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SilverHammerMan said on September 6th, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I don’t know, Eleanor had a face that could haunt a house, I strongly suspect that one of the more superstitious presidents would mistake her for a witch and kill her fairly early on.

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As anyone who’s ever read a comic book can tell you, they’d fight but then team up to overcome the greater threat.

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Regarding the Chekov scenario clashing with evolved Starfleet morals —

They’re not actually fighting to the death. It’s a game. They know it’s a game. Moreover, they are command cadets, and thus rather insanely driven to excel, and know they’re being graded on this. If they didn’t do everything possible to win, they’d be very poor cadets indeed.

And by the way, the story is brilliant because everyone doesn’t immediately start shooting the fuck out of each other, it’s a slow degeneration out of paranoia. And the ending actually works exactly because going hyper-aggressive and shooting everyone is not what Starfleet’s about. The instructors slap the cadets in the face with that; it’s the entire point. Their orders were “survive for three days” and they needed the learning experience that the way to do that is through mutual cooperation, not climbing over the corpses of everyone else.

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Everyone’s forgetting that Obama, as the only Marvel fan president, has probably read Secret Wars I and II, so he’s the only one going into this prepped for being abducted by alien super-beings and forced to fight to the death.

He’s also at the younger end of the president age spectrum, and has the benefit of having grown up with the best medical technology of any living president, i.e. he never lived in an age when cocaine was proscribed for colicky babies or humors were bled. And have you seen his shirtless pics? Dude’s not exactly flabby even at 50.

It’s a joke to think his centrist/compromising politics make him a “weak” man in a personal survival setting. He grew up black in America, for fuck’s sake.

But really, the Marvel thing is going to put him ahead. Research would pay off, at least until the shadowy figure responsible for the knife-fights reveals himself to be Vladimir Putin and they have a shirtless duel to the death on a flaming mountain peak.

(I think Putin would win that one. Even vs Teddy.)

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SilverHammerMan said on September 7th, 2012 at 2:20 pm

@DistantFred
Does Futurama Nixon count as the same person as 20th Century Nixon? Because I would pay money to see Secret Empire Nixon team up with his insane future counterpart.

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@SilverHammerMan: I think when discussing any incarnation of Richard Nixon “insane” is implied.

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Andy- I’m glad you clarified, because if the game was set up as it sounded in the original post then it’s a test the instructors fail. Because it sounded like they were told their was a confirmed spy in their midst who was going to try to kill them. And if that wasn’t the case then you should be pointing your phaser at the guy who gave you the false info.

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Just read the Kindle novel… thanks for the recommendation!

I’ve always wondered how plausible it was that the test was kept a secret, yet still a common-ish reference point (at least in Star Fleet.)

Combined with the novel having Admiral Howell tell Kirk that you can take it as many times as you want but “no one’s taken this test twice in over twenty years”… well, it was a rough point in a good novel, because it seems like every wanna-be captain would be the competitive, get back on the horse type.

I did like how when Kirk studies military history, only one or so of the the 4 or 5 historical commanders he studies is from 20th Century or before (Custer)… a great break from how so many characters in so many of the series have a suspicious blank spot in their cultural interests stretching from late-20th century to right around their “present”

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