Primitive Culture 55: Who Am I? / by Trek fm

Michael Eddington, Jean Valjean, and Les Misérables.


Running Time: 1 hour 37 minutes 21 seconds
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Star Trek’s heroes have always been avid readers. From The Complete Works of Shakespeare on display in Picard’s ready room to Janeway’s treasured volumes of Dante to Michael Burnham’s well-thumbed copy of Alice’s in Adventures in Wonderland, Starfleet’s finest have shown us that—even in humanity’s far future—great works of literature will continue to resonate and inspire. Less frequently, however, Trek’s villains have proved themselves equally well-read, with Kirk’s antagonists Khan and Chang spewing out lines from Melville and Shakespeare as they pursued their diabolical schemes. And in the Deep Space Nine episode “For the Uniform,” another classic text proves key to defeating the Maquis traitor Michael Eddington, as Captain Sisko and Jadzia Dax turn to Eddington’s favorite novel, Victor Hugo’s 1862 Les Misérables, in search of clues about their enemy’s personality.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, hosts Clara Cook and Duncan Barrett consider Les Misérables—a giant of nineteenth-century literature—along with some of its most successful adaptations as they look at how it connects both to “For the Uniform” and to Star Trek as a whole. We question whether Eddington’s casting of himself and Sisko in the roles of Jean Valjean and Javert respectively makes much sense when you read the source material, how Star Trek’s ideas about policing the galaxy reflect Hugo’s views on crime and punishment, and whether—in the utopian future of the Federation—it’s still possible for certain unlucky individuals to fall through the cracks.


Intro (00:00:00)
Javert and Valjean (00:05:50)
Policing the Galaxy (00:22:40)
The Wretched Ones (00:32:18)
Star Trek’s Victorian Moral Compass (00:40:22)
Sisko and Eddington (00:54:20)
The Greater Good (01:05:16)
Final Thoughts (01:18:30)


Clara Cook and Duncan Barrett


Clara Cook (Editor) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Tony Black (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)