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Poll of the Month - Bastille Day Blues


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Bastille Blues - Which appearance of the French people / culture was your favourite?  

14 members have voted

  1. 1. Which appearance of the French people / culture was your favourite?

    • Jean-Luc Picard
      4
    • La Coeur de Lion (the Killing Game, VOY)
      2
    • We'll Always Have Paris (TNG)
      0
    • Chateau Picard (TNG/PIC)
      4
    • Chez Sandrine (VOY)
      2
    • the President of the Federation's Office (DS9)
      1
    • Another? Let us know in the comments!
      1


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What with today being Bastille Day, we here at the Poll of the Month have decided to examine the history of France in regards to Star Trek. Where should we begin? Well the most obvious place would be with Jean-Luc Picard, the most English Frenchman to have ever have existed. He's up there in the list of most popular Star Trek characters of all time, is the only one to have his own spin off show (so far, come on Star Trek: My People Have a Saying), and is one of the highest ranking leads. But, without leaning into stereotypes, how much "Frenchness" does Jean-Luc really display? Sure, in both The Next Generation and his own eponymous show, we see plenty of the family chateau and vineyard, but the majority of the literature he engages with tends to be skewed to the English speaking world.  Why doesn't he try to teach Data about Moliere in the holodeck rather than Shakespeare, par exemple? Obviously, the out of character reason for this is that you don't cast famed classical actor Patrick Stewart and not get him to whip out his Prospero...

So, what other examples are there that flit to mind? For me, the most obvious examples come from Voyager (and I don't just mean Tom PARIS). The first, Chez Sandrine, is the holodeck bar that features fairly heavily in the show, it's almost their Ten-Forward, if you will. The Doctor teaches Seven how to dance there (although she does break that poor man's arm) and the crew are trapped in there when the ship goes all curly-whirly (Twisted), to name but a few. Complete with pool hustlers and slightly dodgy accents, is this a fun representation of France? 

The other obvious Voyager example is La Coeur de Lion and the Resistance movement from the (frankly brilliant) episodes "The Killing Game, Part One and Two". Complete with Janeway in a white tuxedo and Mademoiselle de Neuf (plus, who isn't a fan of French peasant Neelix, the best Neelix), this cell helps to take down the Nazi Hirogen (subtlety is not necessarily Voyager's strong suit) but this does a really good job of displaying the gallic grit and valour that the Resistance movement showed during the Second World War. 

As a final aside, the Federation President's office is shown to be in Paris (well, unless they moved the Eiffel Tower) in Deep Space Nine's Homefront. That's fun.

So, what's your favourite display of French culture in Trek? Is it one of these, or perhaps another? Let us know in the comments!

pexels-polina-kovaleva-8350530.jpg

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I'm surprised that the very French organization called The Maquis was not one of the poll options.  The Maquis was the name of the French resistance movement during WWII, and they continued their resistance to oppressors of all nations in the DS9 era as well.  Just because they are frequently cast as the bad guy extremists does not mean that they should be viewed as villains.  (Didn't Sisko commit a near-genocide to arrest one Maquis leader?  That sounds like a villain to me.)

 

My vote in this poll: Other (The Maquis)

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I considered the Maquis, but apart from the name and the fact they were a resistance movement, they don't seem very French. They're hardly seeped in French culture like some of the other options. I mean, neither does Picard but at least he's specifically stated to come from France.

It would be interesting to know how the Maquis got their name IC though. 

And I thought to have two resistance groups (La Coeur de Lion, being the other, which did contain some Maquis) might have been too reductive.

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11 hours ago, Mallora Vossti said:

I'm surprised that the very French organization called The Maquis was not one of the poll options.  The Maquis was the name of the French resistance movement during WWII, and they continued their resistance to oppressors of all nations in the DS9 era as well.  Just because they are frequently cast as the bad guy extremists does not mean that they should be viewed as villains.  (Didn't Sisko commit a near-genocide to arrest one Maquis leader?  That sounds like a villain to me.)

 

My vote in this poll: Other (The Maquis)

In fact, I feel the opposite, I consider that not including the Maquis as something French was the right thing to do (although hey! you could have talked about Jean Valjean or the parallels with French novels in the final arc of DS9, because there is a hint of Les Miz in all of it). Mainly because there were other groups with the same name active (the Republican groups against the Franco regime, for example, after Spanish Civil War/during WWII) that also had an impact, so the term is a bit blurred.

In any case, even if I am the most British of the French, my vote goes to mon capitaine.

BlueCaringAmazondolphin-size_restricted.

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Chateau Picard - as seen in Picard - is exquisite!

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