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Subject: Answers
Date: Fri, Jul 17, 1998 21:22 EDT
From: RonDMoore
Message-id: <1998071801220400.VAA02018@ladder01.news.aol.com>

<<I had posted a question several weeks ago about the size of the "super
powers" in the Star Trek universe.  It was established that the Federation 
was 150 member planets and over X,000 light years.  We know that the 
Dominion is darn near the entire Gamma Quadrant.  On Voyager and TNG, we 
know that Borg Space is vast(Yet not quite as big as the Dominion, which 
doesn't make any sense). But what about the other great empires of Trek?  
How big is the Cardassian, Romulan, Ferengi, and Klingon Empires?>>

The Cardassian Empire is sorta big.  The Romulan Star Empire is relatively
big.  The Ferengi Alliance is pretty big.  The Klingon Empire is really big.

<<  By your own guesstimation, how many planets and light years do each
occupy?  And what do they rank from largest to smallest in size?>>

The Cardies and the Roms have quite a few planets scattered throughout a lot
of light years, while the Ferengis and the Klingons have a whole bunch of
planets spread throughout a chunk of light years.

<<Does the writing staff have plans to follow up on the divisions between
the Alpha and Gamma Jem'Hadar suggested in "One Little Ship?">>

We're talking about it, but don't have a storyline yet.

<<At this point, even if you haven't settled on the exact details, does the
writing staff know how DS9 will end?  And, if you do know, is that
ending firmly set, or will you permit story developments, as season 7 
goes on, to dictate how the show will end?>>

We know how we want the show to end, but we're leaving ourselves room to 
find things along the way as the season develops.

<<Could you share with us a bit about the process you went through to cast 
the new Dax? What's the starting point? Are you there for the auditions? 
Do you make them read with other cast members to see how they play off each 
other?  How/why did you decide to go with the actress you chose? >>

We sent out a casting call to all the agencies in town, telling them the
parameters of the role.  They, in turn, submitted the names and headshots of
actresses to our casting office, who then sifted through them and weeded out
the ones we wished to read for the part.  Ira and Hans wrote up a scene for
the new Dax character to read in the auditions (elements of which would find
their way into the first three episodes).  The casting was done by Ira, Rick
Berman, our casting directors, and a couple of representatives from the
studio.  She didn't read with any of the cast members.  I'm happy to report
that I just finished watching dailies from her introductory scene and she's
Wonderful!!!  We couldn't be happier with her and I think she's going to 
bring a fresh new quality to the show in its final season.  (Sorry, but they
still won't let me release her name.  I think they'll make the official 
announcement on Wednesday.  Did I say that she's great?)

<<Just wondering - did anybody else think it was ludicrous that Kira agreed 
to live with the O'Briens when she was pregnant? And when she fell in love
(temporarily) with O'Brien? >>

No one that I know of, you must be really odd.

(Oh, relax -- it's a joke.)

<<I have a question about Dax's death. I know you've already explained that
there was no funeral because there would be a new Dax - but this new Dax is
not Jadzia, and I think it would have been better if you showed a funeral 
for Jadzia, while making it clear that the symbiont would go on. It has 
occurred to me that when you watch the show, you don't see Jadzia Dax, you 
see Terry Farrel, an actress you know, reading lines you've written for her,
whereas when we watch it, we see Jadzia Dax. And since you know Ms. Farrel 
is going happily off to a new life, you are'nt mourning her loss, and it 
must be hard for you to understand that we are mourning Dax. We knew her for
six years. Anyway, my question is, when you're dealing with a major decision
like that, do you run it by fans of the show first (not us, I just mean, 
people you know who like the show, but are'nt involved in
the creation). If not, could you? Because I think the fans and the
producers/writers see the show from an entirely different perspective, and 
it might help if you got a fan's perspective before you filmed something 
like Dax'x death, sans funeral. >>

You have to remember that we're fans of the show too.  We love the show and
the characters every bit as much as you do -- hell, we live with them every
day!  We don't look at Jadzia Dax as just Terry Farrel anymore than we look at
the Defiant as just a bunch of wood and plastic.  If anything, we tend to
forget that these characters are not real people.  (I've discussed the
decision why we chose not to show Dax's funeral in a previous posting.)

<<Will the new dax be very-well-adjusted ?>>

No.

<<What has happened is a continual thoughtlessness in regards to women in
trek.  There is no one on DS9 to champion for the women, Ron admitted that 
no one on the show can write women or understand them very well. >>

I don't think I ever said that no one on the show can write women.  I 
believe I did say something once about not being as sensitve to sexism as
a woman because I haven't experienced that form of discrimination, but 
that's not the same thing as saying that I can't write female characters 
or that I'm "thoughtless" in how I portray them.  Not to blow my own horn,
but I did write "Rejoined" and "Darkness and the Light" and I think I wrote 
both Kira and Dax pretty well.  For a man.

<<The point is that if sexism and racism did'nt exist, the shows would
naturally have a number of women and minorities representative of the
population of this country. We should'nt even have to argue this point.>>

Well, if you're contending that the only reason that the percentages of 
Asians or Hispanics on Trek don't reflect the US population is because 
we're all racists, then I think you do have to argue the point and I think 
that you're wrong.  The same applies to the percentage of women on the show.
  Look, I think that there should've been more female characters in DS9's 
original cast, but that's not the same thing as saying that the percentage 
we have nowis inherently sexist. It's a choice, a choice you can say reflects 
some kind of innate preference by the men who created the show for male 
characters, but that doesn't mean that choice is driven by a sexist impulse 
any more than choosing to create a show about white people (like "Seinfeld"
say) is driven by a racist impulse.

<<People have been complaining about these issues for years, and its the 
fact that we don't see changes on the show that leads us to start the 
number counts and the analysis of women's roles that you find to be 
"ridiculous" (and no, I did'nt post the questions you responded to, but I 
agree with them, for the most part). And the fact that people care enough 
about the issue that they'll spend time examining each episode just helps 
their argument. I'm not trying to be rude, its just that I think you are 
writing off some valid concerns as "ridiculous" because you don't like the 
way they were presented. >>

If I didn't take these issues pretty seriously, I probably wouldn't waste my
time by reading these postings and bothering to respond to them.  A long 
time ago, I admitted that I'd done Klingon women a disservice and that I'd 
try to repair that.  Some of you may not have liked the way I did it, but I 
did it nonetheless.  But I do find some of the arguments advanced here to be
ridiculous and I have no compunction about saying that.  If you don't want
your ideas challenged or debated by me, then don't come here and throw 
around terms like "sexist" and "thoughtless" regarding a show that I have a 
great deal of pride in.

<<I was wondering in the two parter "Homefront"/"Paradise Lost"  was there 
any discussion about trying to make the President's office look similiar 
to that of the President from Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country?  I know 
the Ten Forward set was used for ST6, and by the time "Homefront" aired that
set had been either taken apart, or used for Voyager.>>

The question did come up, but as you just pointed out, the Ten Forward set
from Trek VI no longer existed, so we just kept the office in Paris and went
for a different look.

<<Has the cast already taken Season 7 photos?>>

Not yet.

<<Mr. Moore - what you said about sexism issues is pretty much what you said
about gay issues -you admit that you could better, but apparently have no
plans to try. Is'nt Star Trek a show about people who try to do what they
think is right in order to make the world better? >>

That is flatly untrue.  I do care about keeping sexism out of the show and I
will continue to do so.  In regards to gay issues, I wrote "Rejoined" and 
I'm happy to leave that as my legacy on this subject in Trekdom.

<<I have found the #1 question regarding Tears of the Prophets to be:  What
exactly was Sisko scrubbing at the end of the episode outside his father's
restaurant? >>

Let the word go forth they were clams, my friend, clams...

<<Somehow, someway, for some bizarre reason, I care more about how women 
feel that women are portrayed on DS9 than how men feel that women are 
portrayed on DS9.  And while some women are satisfied, there seem to be a 
lot more who aren't.  >>

Somehow, someway, for some bizarre reason I get the feeling that if I said I
cared more about how men felt how men are portrayed on DS9 than how women 
felt that you'd be... upset.  And this isn't a democracy, I'm not taking 
a head count of postings to see if the negative female responses are 
outweighing the positive ones in order to decide if this argument have 
validity or not.  You either carry the day with the strength of your 
position or not.  So far, in my mind, you have not.

<<Ask your wife, female friends and/or women around the studio about their
perceptions of gender issues in Trek, and relay them back to us.  I have the
feeling it might be most enlightening.>>

Hey, I don't live in a monastery.  I do talk with women.  On a daily basis.
And I do solicit their opinions on the show.  I'm a writer, for cryin' out
loud -- I shove my scripts under the nose of anyone who'll read them, I ask
female interns what they think of the show, I talk to my mother-in-law about
Kira's heels, I even debate the issue with women who feel differently than I
do.  Don't you get it?  I am engaged on this subject.  It does matter to me.
I just happen to have a different point of view than some of you.  Must I be
pilloried for failing to have a sufficiently dogmatic view of this subject?
Can't we all agree that the show I write for espouses a belief in the
fundamental priniciples of sexual equality and liberty and that we try very
hard to live up to that ideal?  If we can't agree on that, I'm not sure what
the hell good any of this debate is doing any of us and I have no idea why
you're watching in the first place.

<<I don't care if Martok and his wife only appeared in one scene together,
that wasn't my point.  My point was, without that relationship, she wouldn't
have been on the show.  That was essential to her character. >>

Well, Kurn wouldn't have been on the show if not for his fraternal
relationship to Worf, but that doesn't mean he was defined solely through 
that relationship or that he was therefore a bad, sexist stereotype.  

<<Leeta - Dabo girl, heart of gold, wife of Rom. >>

Enough of the Leeta-bashing.  I like Leeta, I like Chase, and I'm not going 
to apologize for having an attractive character who holds down a steady job
(which is not hooking, by the way) could fall in love with a man who wasn't
perfect-looking after dating a handsome doctor and knows how to deliver a
punchline.

<<The male guest stars, who I also find are interesting characters, such as
Dukat, Weyoun, have appeared in half a dozen episodes at least, and are
central to the War Arc.  No woman really is.  >>

The fact that characters like Kai Winn showed up less frequently last season
than people like Dukat has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do 
with the fact that the storyline we were working on dealt primarily with the
Dominion war, not the politics of Bajor.  We don't plot stories with the 
goal of evening the representation of "female stories" with those of "male 
stories" and we're not going to start.  We build shows around our 
characters,  first and foremost.  Granted, that every year certain 
characters get more than others, but that has more to do with the 
vicissitudes of storytelling than with some innately sexist approach on 
behalf of the writers.

<<I was just reading in the folder for Tears Of The Prophets that you
killed....
hang on wait for it... that 'you' killed Dax because 'you' "hate women".
I was just wondering what your thoughts on this are.>>

Ah, yes... my true agenda revealed at last...

<<I have a different kind of question for you.  I have been reading this 
board for about a year now....and I have noticed a change in not only the 
number of replies you are giving but the tone of your responses as well.  
You used to answer 3 or 4 times in a row and you seemed a little 
"happier" in your replies.>>

Today may not have been the best day for this question, but here goes:

I'm not aware of being any less "happy" in doing this than a year or two 
ago. Some things here $#$ me off and some don't.  I don't like having the 
show called sexist or racist or  homophobic and I will defend it against 
those labels.  That doesn't mean I don't listen, or don't care about what 
you have to say.  I'm happy to keep doing this as long as you're happy to 
keep coming here.  This board can be fun and it can be infuriating, but 
hey, I made the choice to do this and I haven't regretted it.  

"Happy, happy, joy, joy, happy, happy, joy, joy..."  

ALL RIGHT?  Now leave me alone!!
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