Empathy in a Downtown Sub Shop

Sitting in a downtown sub shop. A half dozen 40yo dudes — boots & jeans & beards & tattoos — pile in, trash-talking each other. “I don’t wanna sit next to *that* retard!” says a guy in a knit cap. “You gotta pick your ‘tards!” I take a deep breath. Almost immediately, the dude with the biggest beard and most visible tattoos lowers his voice and murmurs something to Guy…

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The Schizoid Man (TNG Rewatch: Season 2, Episode 6)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. In his final hours, an arrogant, crotchety cybernetics genius takes a liking to Data. After the genius dies, Data starts acting arrogant and crotchety. Hmm. This early in the run of TNG, we’ve already seen the trope of a brilliant, older professional man supported and in some sense idolized by a female companion in Too Short a Season, We’ll Always…

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Loud as a Whisper (ST:TNG Rewatch, Season 2, Episode 5)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. A mediator who communicates via a telepathic chorus is a warring planet’s only hope for peace. While the episode isn’t perfect, nothing made me want to facepalm. I cared about Riva (the mediator) and his romantic (but at the same time respectful and professionally empathetic) interest in Troi. Her fascination with his methods, the shocking plot twist that shakes his confidence,…