Episode 135 : Earth Berms!

This week, we discuss fast food and gender roles. And absolutely nothing else. Enjoy!


Dear Homunuli of the Hamburg, Does Odo on DS9 have a gender? — Jas


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31 Responses to Episode 135 : Earth Berms!

  1. jas says:

    I didn’t really understand the connection between Tony’s experience at Subway and the discussion of losing the meaning of some store-centered ritual when the store gets franchised and moves to other areas. Was the “perfect” thing culturally specific? Did Subway have a particular local origin?

  2. jas says:

    Re: Tony’s experience of being a municipal uncle.

    Remember the experience that kids in the 50s and 60s often had of the Dad who went off to work and then was too tired to interact with the family later–the whole image of the somewhat absent Dad? I wonder if we now have this with both parents to some extent?

    I think we generally have a very anti-Play culture.

  3. jas says:

    About Odo–I was thinking that that character was a kind of interesting focus for a thought experiment about sex and gender because my impression was that he did have a very strong gender identification (as Tony was saying–the kind of curmudgeonly male). If I’m remembering his backstory, he might have imprinted on a male scientist who found him? But I didn’t think he had a sex–so he’d be a pretty good illustration of gender as a performance/role.

    (I’m not sure from what Tony was saying now if maybe I was wrong and he did have a biological sex?)

  4. jas says:

    I remember that gender-neutral episode of STNG and remember finding it annoying–but don’t remember completely why, except that the fact that almost all the gender neutral people seemed to be played by female actors seemed to imply that gender difference is signalled by female bodies–that is you can play up gender difference or play down gender difference primarily by how you costume, apply make-up to, or whatever, to women.

    On the other hand–I think what someone was trying to do with that episode was criticize hetero-normative culture by creating a reflection of it in a sex-neutral-normative culture.

    The episode of DS9 that Tony was talking about–where someone who had been Dax’s wife when their symbiotes were in other bodies–visits the ship and Dax wants to begin a relationship in the present. There’s a taboo about this which is not sex or gender related. However, since both the characters involved in the taboo relationship were female, it seemed pretty clear that it was being used as an analogy about same-sex relationships. I’m pretty sure it was the first same sex kiss on tv? I remember other shows later stirring up controversy for the first male-male kiss or the first female-female kiss, but I was pretty sure when I read that saying to myself–but that already happened on DS9.

  5. jas says:

    Here’s something I find ironic in the context of what Tony was saying about male gamers getting bent (*ahem*) out of shape by male game characters flirting with them.

    Imagine young men who get upset about something like this being wolf-whistled by a guy driving by, or having a guy walk past them and say, “ooo, nice pecs there baby!” That the guy might react with violence (and even be thought to be justified) is almost expected.

    But women are told that the same behavior directed at them is complimentary…

  6. jas says:

    There’s actually some good speculative fiction out there exploring questions of gender. Ursula LeGuinn’s “Birthday of the World” is one off the top of my head.

    And a good place to go exploring is the site for SF works that are granted the Tiptree award: http://tiptree.org/

  7. jas says:

    OK 6 comments on the “having a lot to say front” for this week (’cause I didn’t want to disappoint Tony :p).

    Oh wait….

  8. William says:

    Norwalk. As I’m listening just now, I’m not even unsure that it’s Norwalk. I’m not sure why I had a problem with remembering last night.

  9. Bloodsparrow says:

    There were a hundred and six of us living in a shoebox in the middle of the road!

    • Bloodsparrow says:

      I disagree about Christopher Roosh doing a great job channeling Christopher Reeves.

      He was totally smoking hot as Clark, and Reeve really committed to making himself as average and ubiquitous as possible.

    • jas says:


      And licking the road clean with our tooongz….

    • Bloodsparrow says:

      Packing your lunch in a bandana on the end of a stick and exploring the woods around your house like you’re a bunch of mini hobos.

      I’ve done that.

    • Bloodsparrow says:


      I think that’s kind of cool.

      I agree, it’s celebration and not mocking. But I also agree that it is probably enforced by their corporate masters.

    • Bloodsparrow says:


    • Bloodsparrow says:

      I remembered that episode of ST:NG. It was a weird and sad.

      It wasn’t saying that Gender Neutral Is Bad in my opinion. It was that forcing a gender identity on people is bad. Though I can see how William’s take on it could come from it.

      On the subject of the Trill. The episode of ST:NG when they first showed up… There was a Trill guy who came on the ship and started a relationship with Beverly. Then the guy got mortally wounded and was like, “You have to save the symbiot!”. So they put it in Rikker. So for most of the episode it was Bev and the Trill Symbiot in Rikker being romantic.

      But, because Rikker was human, having the Symbiot in him was bad for him so they had to rush to the place with the new Trill for the Symbiot. Who turned out to be a woman. And the episode ended with the newly joined Trill expressing a desire to continue where they left off because the Trill felt the same about Beverly as it did before the new joining. But Beverly stating that she did feel different now that the Trill was female. To the Trill kissed Beverly and said basically “Call me if you change your mind.” and walked away.

      • Bloodsparrow says:

        Playing a woman in a game where you could play either male or female…

        DON’T even get me started.

        • Bloodsparrow says:

          Those guys who didn’t want their male characters being hit on by male NPCs should have known their character was going to be flirted with.

          I mean, did you see how they were dressed?

  10. themagicaltalkinghat says:

    Really?? Yet another reason to really like Alien Nation!

  11. SirGuido says:

    Odo was NOT male. His species was inherently genderless, they mentioned that on the show multiple times. He took the form and identity of a male because as a child his only interactions were with humanoid males. When he meets his species for the first time the person he comes in contact with first takes on the form of a female version of Odo to make him feel more comfortable. This is mentioned in a few episodes. His lack of identity, both in race and in gender, comes up a few times as well and is a cause for great heartache in him. He is one of my favorite characters for this reason. At the surface he seems very boring as a character, but as you look at him you realize he is the most complex character on the show.

    BTW, it’s Brandon Roush pronounced ROW(like brow)shh.

    Alien Nation did indeed have a third gender and in the show it was portrayed most commonly by males, but I do remember a female version as well. The third gender was also a part of the procreation process and was as necessary as the male and the female.

  12. Sue Klaus says:

    Re: berms… fyi, the Applied berm was removed this summer. I laughed out loud.

    • The Producer says:

      Wow! And I was just feeling nostalgic for the old homestead the other night. Maybe I wouldn’t even recognize it!

  13. Mark says:

    GMing: It’s basically that fear of how would I pull that cool idea off that has always kept me as a player rather than a GM.

    Agents of Shield: I like bits of this show quite a lot, but so much of it is just no good. It feels like the TV execs have put much tighter controls on the show than Joss was working under for the movies. And those controls have made the show into something designed much more for general consumption than geeks.

    SG-1: Meh, I wanted to like this more than I did; as I enjoyed the original movie and some of the spinoffs (SGU FTW!). Though I was working my way through watching all of it thanks to Netflix, but also thanks to Netflix had to stop as they stopped having it.

    Spring: Yup, definitely sounds like you need a retaining wall. Maybe the spring is wetting the soil sufficiently that it breaks apart and slides into the spring.

    William = Opie: Yup.

    Tony: You took entirely too much joy in William saying Earth Berms.

    Subway: And what makes even less sense is why, in a world with Milio’s (or even Jimmy John’s), would Tony even bother going to Subway?

    Coldstone: The singing is one of the reasons I stopped going to Coldstone.

    Tony: You were resting up for a vacation? Something sounds wrong about that.

    Odo: Yes and no. As an amorphous blob of a shapeshifter, he has no physical, gender identity. That being said Odo is always (or at least in every episode that I remember watching) portrayed as having taken a male form; so one could argue his mental, gender identity is male.

    Unless you are Mark: Does this make the second official rule/exception of The Magical Talking Hat is about me?

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