Here’s another redrawn/recolored FANEURYSM comic. This was one of the first ones I ever did, one of my favorites and the one that probably the fewest people who aren’t me understand. You can see the original here, and read the blog post I wrote back in April 2014 below.
I wrote at least three different comics about “Darmok.” I am definitely making at least one of them, but I haven’t decided if I’m going to save it for later or just do it now. I also haven’t decided if I’m just going to give up HijiNKS ENSUE and FANEURYSM and just make Darmok comics every day until I’m dead. Decisions are tough. It feels like that one time… with Temba… and the arms or whatever. Metaphors are also tough.
As much as I love “Darmok,” I do take issue with it. Actually, I take a metric assload of issue with it. Let’s assume that at some point the Tamarians didn’t talk like stupid idiots. They HAD to have regular language at some point in order to pass down the stories that allow their metaphors to be relatable. So perhaps they gave up on coherent speech as a people at some point and the Head Tamarian In Charge said, “Guys, here me out. We all know about Darmok, and Temba, and Shaka and what they were all about and what not. How’s about when I finish THIS SENTENCE, we only speak in reference to our shared cultural stories from here on out starrrrrtiiiiiinnnnnng…. NOW?”
I’m sure it worked out great for maybe a day or two, and everyone felt super cool about their complicated new way of not really communicating very well, and how funny it was that they were super frustrating to every other species in the Galaxy, but then… THEN someone needed to find a way to say, “Hey, I think I dropped the remote behind the couch when I was vacuuming. Can you reach back there and check? I would, but you know how my back is.” Then it was just kill or be killed. I wouldn’t be surprised if Captain Dathon and his crew were the last six surviving Tamarians. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were only six of them left and they had JUST started talking this way maybe 6 weeks ago.
Of course it makes a hell of a lot more sense if you consider that maybe they only speak that way in adulthood, or in formal settings, or if they belong to a particular religion are political affiliation, or if they are high born or when they want to infuriate an uncharacteristically dense in this particular episode Starfleet Captain until they are eaten by an invisible monster in order to prove a point.
Look at these Harry Potter Owl Post Earrings, Doctor Who Dalek Earrings and Star Wars Lightsaber Earrings my wife made!
Look at them with your eyes, buy them with your hands and jam them into your ears!
There is no real sense to those aliens, I’ve seen it debated a lot. Even if they know what they’re referencing by this point (assuming it’s been passed down through many generations), how did they learn it? Why couldn’t they explain it to Picard the same way. It ends up being akin to phrases we use today, like “Blood is thicker than water” that has lost its original meaning (the original phrase being “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb” and essentially means the people you bond with are more important than your family) because your average person doesn’t know where it came from or what it meant. It gets mangled and confused because people just repeat part of it, and the context explains what they think it means, until that becomes the new meaning.
Basically, language doesn’t work that way and that episode was dumb. Funny, because I swear Picard was going to have a heart attack several times over, but if you stop and think about it it’s dumb.
“I need that quantum field torsion wrench to adjust the warp core containment module or we’re all going to die!”
“Frank, when the core breeched and everybody died.”
“Honey, could you get the remote I dropped behind the couch?”
“Marvin, when the Honey Boo Boo marathon was stuck on the television.”
The HBB marathon is what brought their civilization down to the last 6 of them.
Poopshoot? And here I always thought it was poopchute.
You’re probably right. I suppose one is what it IS and the other is what it DOES.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this episode, and I used to agree that it would be impossible for a culture to evolve to speak this way, they’d still have to have some way of explaining the stories.
Over the last couple decades since this episode came out, I’ve spent a lot of time on TV Tropes. Those articles are half made up with links to other articles by now. It’s a site that is almost entirely references to other parts of itself.
And I realized something: Geekdom, over three centuries, could easily result in a very similar grammatical structure.
Wasn’t Wesley Crusher a full ensign at Starfleet Academy during these events? Or is that another annoying brat at the helm?
It was in season 5, so he was still at the academy, I think
I just like drawing Wesley.
I nitpick because that gives me joy.
But I do have to salute your excellent drawing skills. The ability to make a rubber-faced alien cartoon figure express smug hipsterdom is a rare and glorious ability.
Funnily enough, when I was checking Memory Alpha to confirm, there wasn’t an entry for the Tamarian people or culture
YES. ALL THE TNG. IT SUSTAINS ME.
I think the Venn diagram of TNG and Doge aficionados has more overlap than you anticipated Joel.
When the First officer makes his comment at the end of the episode, it is almost like he is making a dictionary entry in a shared memory bank. Makes you wonder if they don’t have an implant to access such a computer, line the Binars..