How Social Media Saved the World

It cannot be understated that we are living through a history-making difficult time. Hundreds of thousands of people are falling victim to a global pandemic and everyone is else either staying home or acting brazenly stupid. It shouldn't be surprising, though, that one of the upshots of all of this is that there has been a rise in meme-making.

First defined by Richard Dawkins in 1976 as a cultural idea that takes on a life of its own and is passed down through generations much the same way that genes are, the word "meme" has itself taken on a life of its own to define pictures made and passed around on the Internet that often lampoon various aspects of life. I don't think I've seen any new memes in the past few days that weren't about the COVID-19 epidemic. But this isn't the first time a global catastrophe has been made fun of in what could be described as a "childish" fashion. In fact, one of the memes I've seen compared the uptick in Cor…

Star Trek: Asterisk "When the Bough Breaks"

Vital Information
Series: The Next Generation
Episode: S01E17
Air Date: February 15, 1988
Written by: Hannah Louise Shearer
Directed by: Kim Manners

The citizens of a legendary planet steal the Enterprise's children because they've apparently been snipped.

Long ago, there was a planet called Aldea. The Progenitors protected the Aldeans by giving them advanced technology that provided for their every need, allowing them to focus on artistic endeavors. This technology, called The Custodian, also hid their planet from view and defended it so that no one could bother them. For thousands of years the Aldeans lived in peace and legend. And then, on stardate 41509.1, they revealed themselves to the Enterprise. After a brief greeting over hailing frequencies, the Aldeans simply beamed themselves onto the bridge without undergoing decontamination procedures or anything. They said hi, invited Picard down, and left as quickly as they came. Clearly, Picard must investigate.

Riker, Troi and Dr. Crusher beam down to greet the Aldeans properly. It's all very cordial and friendly at first, but then they reveal that they have some specific intentions for the Enterprise. They want their children. You see, they're unable to procreate which they assume is some kind of genetic defect they've developed over the years. Well, clearly, the away team is not going to allow this kidnapping, so as soon as they beam back up to the ship the Aldeans use their advanced transporting technology to kidnap seven of the Enterprise's children.
Including Wesley. They can have him.
All the children are separated into separate families based on their innate creative abilities. One of them goes with a musical family, one of them goes to an artistic family and so on. Wesley, however, is given the distinct honor of having access to The Custodian. And when they show him The Custodian, he immediately sets about asking a lot of questions about it. Questions they're unable to answer, because that's science, not art. Meanwhile, back on the ship, all the parents are scared to death and asking Picard what he's going to do about it. Picard tries to negotiate, but gets nowhere. So Crusher demands to at least be able to say good-bye to Wesley. Unfortunately, she has a plan beyond just saying good-bye.

When Crusher beams down, she conspires with Wesley to covertly get some scans of one of the Aldeans. She then beams back up and studies the results. Apparently, their inability to procreate isn't a genetic defect at all. It's a result of radiation seeping into their system because their precious defense system took out their ozone layer. If the children stay there, they won't be able to procreate after a while, either. Meanwhile, back on the planet, the kids, under the leadership of Wesley start a hunger strike to protest being there and communicate that they really want to go back home. The Aldeans are more confused by this than irritated.
"You do realize if you don't eat you'll die, right?"
So, the Aldean leader tells Picard to get down here and tell the children to do as they're told. Picard agrees, but only because he has a plan. While their shields are fluctuating, Riker and Data are gonna beam down, too, and cause mischief. Crusher beams down with Picard to try and convince the Aldeans that they're infertile because of radiation, and not a genetic defect. That doesn't go too well. So Data and Riker find Wesley who helps them shut down The Custodian. While Crusher argues with the Aldean leader, Picard finds the children, returns and says that they're definitely going home now. Because Data and Riker have shut down The Custodian, the Aldeans are unable to keep Picard from beaming up all the children.

Well, this is a travesty for the Aldeans. Their protection, their Custodian, is dead and they're going to die along with it. Picard disagrees, though. You see, since the Custodian has been caring for them, they've lost track of all the important science and maintenance that goes along with progressing. In other words, they're far worse than starving artists, their dependence on The Custodian has made them impotent artists. Picard, Riker, Data and Wesley take the Aldeans into the back room where The Custodian's brain is and say that they can help them relearn everything about The Custodian, but they have to learn not to become dependent on it.
"You're just going to glare at my naked power source?
What would your children think? Oh, that's right... You don't have any."
Later, all the Enterprise personnel beam back onto the ship along with all the children and one of the girls runs up to hug Picard and thank him. Everyone has a good laugh when they see that the girl's plush toy is stuck to his back. Because Picard + Children = Hilarity.

Overall Thoughts
One of the children complained in the beginning that he doesn't want to do his calculus homework. When he was down on the planet, he loved sculpting and he almost didn't want to go home. When he eventually got back home, he asked his dad if he could be a sculptor and not do calculus, but his dad said he can be anything he wants to be, but he still has to do calculus. And that's the moral of this story. We can do whatever creative endeavors we wanna do, but we still have to learn to take care of the important stuff first. A great Roddenberrian story if I've ever seen one. Thumbs up to this one!