Season 6, Episode 13 “Bar Association” (TNG) with Michael Swaim

Get ready to lose those chains as we unite with “Bar Association”!

Writer, podcaster, and comedian Michael Swaim joins the show this week to discuss an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that is looking to fill the dustbin of future history. When Rom collapses on the job, Quark refuses to give him or his coworkers sick leave or paid vacation time. When Rom and his fellow workers form a union, Quark will have to find a way to make a deal with his brother before he loses his reputation, his bar . . . and his life!

Star Trek is the first thing everyone thinks of when you say “benevolent future socialist utopia”, but it certainly hasn’t given us any tips on how to be as happy as Federation citizens are. Trek was created and is sustained by well-meaning, liberal minds, but one wonders if it’s time for the Trek franchise to make explicit its condemnation of capitalism in the same way it’s indicted racism, sexism, and homophobia. On this episode, we discuss the characteristics of good science fiction, whether or not greed is innate in Ferengi society, the practical aspects of the Federation economy, the astropolitical concerns that inform Starfleet’s mission, setting realistic stakes in your fantasy world, Trek’s teaching moments, and how most utopian fiction still kicks the can down the road.

We also discuss the dearly departed Digg, “comedy with a college degree”, the Cracked Diaspora, how editing is the secret sauce of comedy, summoning Bloodshot, Tired vs. Wired: Ferengi Edition, “Moogie bros”, Ferengi crowd work, Bezos in space, when your doctor tells you to treason, cracked eyesockets and broken strikes, “America loves ROM!”, lawful neutral Odo, the economic Prime Directive, and space Heaven!

People like me better watch their step!

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Listen to “Season 6, Episode 13 “Bar Association” (TNG) with Michael Swaim” on Spreaker.

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