Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Quickrant: Is Picard a Weenie?

Hey y'all.  So people have made the accusation that Captain Picard of Star Trek the Next Generation is a weenie, a wimp, and just nowhere near as brave as Captain Kirk.  At first, I wasn't entirely certain what they meant by it, but then I started watching some Trek to figure out if the accusation has any merit.

My conclusion:

Picard is a weenie...

....in terms of women.

See, in any normal situation, Picard doesn't approach problems in terms of bravery or fear.  He approaches them as philosophical questions made very real.  Because that's basically what Star Trek is at its core: philosophical questions the characters are forced to answer to succeed.  In every episode, Picard thoughtfully confronts all the events in front of him, thinking them through clearly and responding with his intelligence.  His emotion is somewhere hidden in the back, only shown through small actions and expressions throughout each happenstance. 

Like in the episode where he was accidentally turned into a child.  The very first thing he did when he returned to adulthood was rub his once again bald head.  He then stepped down from the transporter and never mentioned it again.

There's more evidence.  The episode after Picard's assimilation into and recovery from the Borg shows that he buries his feelings.  While on the surface he seemed fine, he spent his next shore leave on Earth, at his family's vineyards.  Only the strong emotions of his irascible brother could force him to confront the pain he was trying so hard to ignore.  And then the next episode Picard is back to his normal self, quietly keeping his problems to himself as he solves his next problem with grace.

You see where I'm going with this, right?

Everyone knows that love is a realm of emotions, one that is not always rational or easy to explain.  In fact, the more rational the personality, the less satisfied they are with relationships.  While Picard probably isn't a Myers-Briggs Rational (he seems more like an ST than an NT), he likes to think, and think a lot.  This relates to a comment once made by C.S. Lewis, who said that one can either be in love, or be thinking about love.  According to Lewis, thinking too hard about the nature of the relationship tends to sabotage it.

This is exactly where Picard fails.  Because he can't philosophize his way through relationships the same way he can philosophize his way out of being abducted by aliens (not to mention that most women are Feeler types rather than Thinkers), Picard clearly doesn't know how to act in front of women who don't have professional relationships with him.  Plus, Picard doesn't want to date someone on his ship because he knows at any time he might have to order her on a dangerous away mission.  This gives him an excuse to avoid relationships and preserve his emotional equilibrium.

This shows the most with a chick named Vash, and Deanna Troi's mother, Lwaxana.  Picard had a relationship with Vash, brief and misguided though it was.  He met her on shore leave, but when she appeared on his ship, Picard had the hardest time trying to reconcile Vash to his life on the Enterprise.  Picard generally hides his feelings away, but how can he hide Vash?  She's not even a T.  Thus, he was awkward and uncertain, unable to function with Vash present.

Likewise, Lwaxana Troi, while not someone he wanted to date, is an extremely high F.  She is irrational, super friendly, and without inhibition.  Basically the opposite of Picard.  She is thus the embodiment of everything he doesn't know how to deal with.  Picard can handle angry diplomats, hostile aliens, being a hostage, kidnappings, and even torture with a greater deal of understanding than he can a simple woman.  Because he solves problems with logic, he is inherently unable to solve problems that do not require scientific logic.

Also note that all of his other relationships on the show ended because of a logical reason why the two should not be together -- excluding an alternate universe relationship with Doctor Crusher, as we don't know how that ended.  Picard just can't handle feelings.  Which is why I was always so sad he was never truly with Dr. Crusher.  She was the only woman who truly understood him and could deal with him on the level he was at.  

So the person who first accused Picard of being a weenie (forgive me, I can't remember who said it first), is clearly perceiving on a subconscious level that how one deals with women reflects strongly on how strong a person is in general.  Either that, or they just like the swagger of captains like Kirk and Sisko, unable to see that Picard's rationality is a bravery of its own.

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