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Did "Tapestry" reveal Picard to be a snob?

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So I think we all know the TNG episode - Tapestry? If not, essentially it's Star Trek meets A Wonderful Life. Picard is given a second chance to rectify a "mistake" in his youth by Q but it ended up leading to Picard growing up to be a man that played it safe and never took risks. In other words, he grew up to be a nobody. I was reading in another forum about this topic and I was surprised to see TNG fans dislike this episode because they felt it made Picard look like a snob. He rejected that alternate life because he didn't want to live if he couldn't be the "captain" or the "hero". Others argued that there was plenty of time for Picard to carve a life out of that new one and he just gave up. He literally elected to die/suicide rather than go on as the science officer version. They said it made Picard look like an egotistical snob that would rather die than be some junior officer. In addition, they said it made Picard look like he crapped on all the junior officers that did the mundane tasks on his ship. As if to say "id rather DIE than be like any of you."

Suffice it to say, I was surprised by this interpretation by some of these fans. I didn't get that at all. But I was curious if anyone agreed or disagreed with them?

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So I think we all know the TNG episode - Tapestry? If not, essentially it's Star Trek meets A Wonderful Life. Picard is given a second chance to rectify a "mistake" in his youth by Q but it ended up leading to Picard growing up to be a man that played it safe and never took risks. In other words, he grew up to be a nobody. I was reading in another forum about this topic and I was surprised to see TNG fans dislike this episode because they felt it made Picard look like a snob. He rejected that alternate life because he didn't want to live if he couldn't be the "captain" or the "hero". Others argued that there was plenty of time for Picard to carve a life out of that new one and he just gave up. He literally elected to die/suicide rather than go on as the science officer version. They said it made Picard look like an egotistical snob that would rather die than be some junior officer. In addition, they said it made Picard look like he crapped on all the junior officers that did the mundane tasks on his ship. As if to say "id rather DIE than be like any of you."

Suffice it to say, I was surprised by this interpretation by some of these fans. I didn't get that at all. But I was curious if anyone agreed or disagreed with them?

No, not at all.

It's like Kirk in ST09; he KNOWS he is capable of something better and he's subconsciously punishing himself for not fulfilling it by being a drunk and a boorish lout.

Picard also knows he has tremendous potential that would never be fulfilled in a life as a lowly lieutenant who delivers reports to his superiors. To me, it's like having been a star athlete, used to the praise and adulation of millions; then you wake up one day and the endorsements have run dry and you're a nobody. I think it's much harder to have known life at the top tier and to have lost it, rather than to have never had it at all. Sometimes people who have VERY high standards for themselves (as Kirk and Picard obviously do) don't do well in mediocrity. They probably WOULD rather be dead. Not because they're snobs, but because they know they are capable of so much more...

And let's face it; a starship commander (or any real-world leader who's honest with him/herself) is partly (or mostly) driven by ego (they assume they are best for the job) or they are control freaks (they think the world is 'better off' with themselves at the helm). Picard (and Kirk) are men of great ego. Accepting less for would be dishonest to who they are; and as Shakespeare said, "This above all: to thine ownself be true..." ;)

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Hammer   

By making the changes that he did, he never lived through the experiences that built his character. Unchanged Picard got a brief glimpse of his junior officer life and couldn't handle it, because he had the memories of his previous life. Before unchanged Picard was fast forwarded to the future, he was that non-risk taking, no character building experiences officer and had no memory of his previous life. If Q had left Picard in his changed state, his memories of his previous life probably would have faded and he simply wouldn't have those experiences to draw on, and he would have finished out his career playing it safe. That's why Q said he would never accomplish anything. Changed Picard was probably content with his life and career, without memory of his captain's life, he had no reason to yearn for that life. Captain Picard, however, did have those life experiences, and knew that his potential was higher, and that life would sell them short. I don't think he was being snobbish, I just think he didn't want to lose his character and Q taught him a valuable lesson about himself.

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*must refrain from making a rather non-diplomatic comment about the 'snob' thing* :dry:

Now.

Let me quote a certain sassy Zakdorn: "A starship captain is not manufactured. He, or she, is born from inside. From the character of the individual." < I couldn't have said it any better. Jean-Luc was born to be a commanding officer, not a junior officer. It's not snobbish at all to acknowledge that the command division is his true path. He would NOT have been able to cope as that lieutenant. And as for the "he could have made a life out of that path, too" idea: The first thing he did when he realized what was going on was to try and talk to Riker and Troi about taking on more responsibility and they shut him down AND most likely would NEVER have given him a chance to prove himself because his previous record had been so dull. They didn't see the command potential because he had never showed it and there was no indication that he ever would do so. The whole thing is like shoving you into a completely different life that you never wanted to have and force you to live in it - to ITS terms and conditions. I don't think ANYONE would want or accept this easily.

I think the whole "snob" argument, weird as it is, is based on a false premise: That a captain is somehow "better" than a junior officer. He is not and Jean-Luc would be the first to agree. Just because a captain carries a higher rank than a lieutenant doesn't make the captain a better person. It makes the captain the one who commands and the lieutenant the one who makes sure that the command is executed properly. They are equally important because one cannot function without the other. It's not a question of being a snob, it's a question of which life is better suited for a man like Jean-Luc who was always driven by the idea of joining Starfleet and exploring the galaxy. What if they had done the episode in a reversed way? Y'know, throw some junior officer who never wanted to be anywhere near command and who always played it safe into Jean-Luc's command chair. The poor thing would have been as horrified and desperate as Jean-Luc because, surprise, not everyone in Starfleet actually wants to carry the burden of command and that person would have asked to get their former life back as well because they would prefer to act in the shadows instead of carrying the responsibility for over 1,000 lives on their shoulders AND to command the FLAGSHIP of all things. People never seem to realize that command isn't just glory and fame and exploring - it is also a burden, a huge responsiblity that can be filled with grief and horror and self-doubt and social awkwardness and, most of all, the fact that you basically need to give up your life because you have to be there for your ship 24/7. Your ship never leaves your thoughts. It is always there, even when you're not aboard. There are darker aspects of command and not everyone is cut out to face them. Jean-Luc IS, and that does not make him a snob, it makes him an exceptional person if you ask me.

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Picard was not a snob. As has been pointed out on all these posts, what you see is he gets a glimpse of an alternative life where he didn't excel in life. It's the same I think as for a man who was the head of a company being removed from his position and put into flipping burgers. It's a waste of material. A waste of flesh.

I also think it shows Picard for once in his life that he was where he was supposed to be. Picard was sure of himself, but loathed what he did younger. That he wasn't a ramrod person and did stupid things. And he always went, "If I had only been such and such a person, I could have been even more." But, he learns through that experiance that anything different would have actually made him into a lesser man.

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I actually love "Tapestry"; even more so now that I'm a middle-aged old fart.

I look back on my somewhat more reckless 20s with an equal mix of regret and amazement ("did I really ride motorcycles for a full decade?!?"). And like Picard, there are MANY things/events/relationships I kind of wish I had a chance to magically amend somehow, but then you have to ask yourself (the question that Picard didn't ask), "Am I satisfied with who I am right now? Am I OK with myself?" If the answer is yes, then you should have no real regrets; certainly nothing you should want to 'do over.' But every man of a certain age looks back and thinks of a fight they could've avoided, a job they could've tried harder to get, or a girl they might've wanted to get serious with and didn't (make no mistake, I adore my wife; on that score? I have NO regrets). But when you're alone or have a spot of free time, it's very tempting to get lost in thought wondering 'what if?'

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No, not at all.

It's like Kirk in ST09; he KNOWS he is capable of something better and he's subconsciously punishing himself for not fulfilling it by being a drunk and a boorish lout.

Picard also knows he has tremendous potential that would never be fulfilled in a life as a lowly lieutenant who delivers reports to his superiors. To me, it's like having been a star athlete, used to the praise and adulation of millions; then you wake up one day and the endorsements have run dry and you're a nobody. I think it's much harder to have known life at the top tier and to have lost it, rather than to have never had it at all. Sometimes people who have VERY high standards for themselves (as Kirk and Picard obviously do) don't do well in mediocrity. They probably WOULD rather be dead. Not because they're snobs, but because they know they are capable of so much more...

And let's face it; a starship commander (or any real-world leader who's honest with him/herself) is partly (or mostly) driven by ego (they assume they are best for the job) or they are control freaks (they think the world is 'better off' with themselves at the helm). Picard (and Kirk) are men of great ego. Accepting less for would be dishonest to who they are; and as Shakespeare said, "This above all: to thine ownself be true..." ;)

Oh I agree, but their argument (not mine) is that that is what shows Picard to be a snob. That he had a taste of the "high life" and when he realized it was gone, he opted for "suicide" (death in sickbay) rather than make something of the life he was being offered. If he knows he is capable of more, then couldn't he have opted for something better as Lieutenant Picard? Proven it (Maybe leave SF and become an archeologist as he had wanted to)? (I'm not disagreeing with you, btw. Just playing Devil's Advocate). Haha and if anyone would appreciate Shapespeare, it'd be the "French" Picard. :P

Good points, though.

By making the changes that he did, he never lived through the experiences that built his character. Unchanged Picard got a brief glimpse of his junior officer life and couldn't handle it, because he had the memories of his previous life. Before unchanged Picard was fast forwarded to the future, he was that non-risk taking, no character building experiences officer and had no memory of his previous life. If Q had left Picard in his changed state, his memories of his previous life probably would have faded and he simply wouldn't have those experiences to draw on, and he would have finished out his career playing it safe. That's why Q said he would never accomplish anything. Changed Picard was probably content with his life and career, without memory of his captain's life, he had no reason to yearn for that life. Captain Picard, however, did have those life experiences, and knew that his potential was higher, and that life would sell them short. I don't think he was being snobbish, I just think he didn't want to lose his character and Q taught him a valuable lesson about himself.

Fair point. Fair point. You're right that Q said he wouldn't have amounted to anything if that life had continued anyways. But I do wonder since you guys brought up that he has Captain Picard's life to draw on if he couldn't have made something of his Lieutenant Picard life. Granted, that would screw up the story. But the arguments that I've seen is essentially people feel that Picard acted snobbish, not because he wanted to be a captain, but his disgust at a "mediocre" life was pissed on all the junior officers under his command. Men and women who would never go on to become captains.

*must refrain from making a rather non-diplomatic comment about the 'snob' thing* :dry:

Now.

Let me quote a certain sassy Zakdorn: "A starship captain is not manufactured. He, or she, is born from inside. From the character of the individual." < I couldn't have said it any better. Jean-Luc was born to be a commanding officer, not a junior officer. It's not snobbish at all to acknowledge that the command division is his true path. He would NOT have been able to cope as that lieutenant. And as for the "he could have made a life out of that path, too" idea: The first thing he did when he realized what was going on was to try and talk to Riker and Troi about taking on more responsibility and they shut him down AND most likely would NEVER have given him a chance to prove himself because his previous record had been so dull. They didn't see the command potential because he had never showed it and there was no indication that he ever would do so. The whole thing is like shoving you into a completely different life that you never wanted to have and force you to live in it - to ITS terms and conditions. I don't think ANYONE would want or accept this easily.

I think the whole "snob" argument, weird as it is, is based on a false premise: That a captain is somehow "better" than a junior officer. He is not and Jean-Luc would be the first to agree. Just because a captain carries a higher rank than a lieutenant doesn't make the captain a better person. It makes the captain the one who commands and the lieutenant the one who makes sure that the command is executed properly. They are equally important because one cannot function without the other. It's not a question of being a snob, it's a question of which life is better suited for a man like Jean-Luc who was always driven by the idea of joining Starfleet and exploring the galaxy. What if they had done the episode in a reversed way? Y'know, throw some junior officer who never wanted to be anywhere near command and who always played it safe into Jean-Luc's command chair. The poor thing would have been as horrified and desperate as Jean-Luc because, surprise, not everyone in Starfleet actually wants to carry the burden of command and that person would have asked to get their former life back as well because they would prefer to act in the shadows instead of carrying the responsibility for over 1,000 lives on their shoulders AND to command the FLAGSHIP of all things. People never seem to realize that command isn't just glory and fame and exploring - it is also a burden, a huge responsiblity that can be filled with grief and horror and self-doubt and social awkwardness and, most of all, the fact that you basically need to give up your life because you have to be there for your ship 24/7. Your ship never leaves your thoughts. It is always there, even when you're not aboard. There are darker aspects of command and not everyone is cut out to face them. Jean-Luc IS, and that does not make him a snob, it makes him an exceptional person if you ask me.

I'm just the messenger! lol. This wasn't my actual view point. In fact, the reason I brought it here to be discussed is because I was shocked that anyone actually GOT that message from that episode. I actually agree with everything you said. Its hard to argue that because you said it in such a succinct way (and it isn't my original argument so it's hard to argue more points) lol.

But I am glad to see what others thought of this idea.

Picard was not a snob. As has been pointed out on all these posts, what you see is he gets a glimpse of an alternative life where he didn't excel in life. It's the same I think as for a man who was the head of a company being removed from his position and put into flipping burgers. It's a waste of material. A waste of flesh.

I also think it shows Picard for once in his life that he was where he was supposed to be. Picard was sure of himself, but loathed what he did younger. That he wasn't a ramrod person and did stupid things. And he always went, "If I had only been such and such a person, I could have been even more." But, he learns through that experiance that anything different would have actually made him into a lesser man.

Agreed 100%. That's what I got from the episode. Again, which is why I'm surprised some people took away from it that it shows Picard simply wanted to be at the top and if not, he'd rather die.

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I'm just the messenger! lol. This wasn't my actual view point. In fact, the reason I brought it here to be discussed is because I was shocked that anyone actually GOT that message from that episode. I actually agree with everything you said. Its hard to argue that because you said it in such a succinct way (and it isn't my original argument so it's hard to argue more points) lol.

But I am glad to see what others thought of this idea.

Oh don't worry, I know it wasn't your viewpoint. I was HEAVILY FROWNING at those who DO seem to think that he's a snob. ;) And don't worry, people have tried to argue with me about Jean-Luc before... it never ended well... for THEM... :P

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klwilbur   

Picard wasn't loathing his alternate position as much as he was loathing his alternate identity. Remember how he describes himself to Q by saying something to the extent of his alternative self has "no imagination." I can't remember off the top of my head the other phrases he used. But it seems like he is critical of the individual who ended up in that position, not the position itself.

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