Star Trek: Picards Tears – Diamanda Hagan

I thought it was time for us to discuss the issue of Captain Picards testicles.

About DiamandaHagan

Screams from the Netherworld of fandom. Diamanda Hagan, reviews movies and rants about them online.

11 comments

  1. I’d always read assimilation, especially that of Picard to be more analogous or allegorical to rape than castration. All the reactions you pointed out, the tears in the act, the impotent, out of character overtly masculine rage after the fact, line up with that explanation too.

    Is this the part where I mention I’m male born male? No? Okay.

  2. I totally agree that they were cut off however just like all the other organs the Borg cut out and threw away Star Fleet grew him new ones and surgically attached them.

  3. Snorgatch Pandalume

    Interesting theory. While it’s true the Borg would view genitalia as “irrelevant,” considering that you can get DNA usable for cloning from almost anywhere in the human body, they wouldn’t necessarily view them as a detriment either. Genitals would be considered useless for their purposes, but you could say that about lots of things in the human body, like the appendix, or wisdom teeth.
    Considering how fungible and disposable drones are (they’re basically just ants), the Collective might not think it worth bothering to remove the genitalia of every species they encounter (some of which could be very different from those of humans). The Borg’s main thing is functionality. If it’s not interfering with the drone’s ability to function, it’s irrelevant. I don’t think the hormones produced by the gonads would be a problem, since their effects could easily be suppressed, or the parts of the brain affected by them shut down as part of the conversion process. As for the genitals being a vulnerability, yes, I suppose if you kicked a drone in its balls, that might hurt it more than if they weren’t there. Then again, if it were up to me, I would shut down all their pain receptors anyway, because pain is irrelevant (if a drone gets hurt, you either fix it or dispose of it, while all the other drones adapt to avoid whatever damaged it), so it really wouldn’t matter if the balls were there or not.
    Bear in mind, we only ever see humanoid Borg drones (because they’re all played by human actors), and the humanoid form is drastically sub-optimal due to it being a product of evolution. Evolution doesn’t back up and redesign things from the ground up–it modifies what’s already there to meet new needs. How it does this is contingent on what it has to work with. Stephen Jay Gould makes this point eloquently in “The Panda’s Thumb.” Pandas evolved from carnivorous ancestors but now feed exclusively on bamboo. To manipulate bamboo shoots, it would be useful to have a thumb, but that would require redesigning the panda’s entire forepaw, which was originally designed to do something else (running and the tearing of flesh). Since a complete redesign isn’t feasible from an evolutionary standpoint, the solution was to modify a wrist bone to serve as a surrogate “thumb.” It’s not as good as a real thumb, such as primates have, but it gets the job done.
    Likewise, Borg drones are sub-optimal, having their brains and sensory organs in a head sticking out the top of the torso, but making them more perfect would require a complete redesign, and apparently, from the Collective’s standpoint, it’s just not worth it (especially considering the sheer number of them). As long as the drones are able to perform their functions efficiently, it’s easier just to leave them humanoid. Likewise, the Collective might not consider it worth bothering to castrate them, or do any of the many other things that would make them more efficient drones, if the cost of doing so outweighs the benefits. Again, drones are just ants…disposable, fungible, replaceable. There has to be a point of diminishing returns regarding how much the Collective is willing to invest in each one.
    Also, Torres on Voyager went on to have a baby after being a drone.

    • Not only that, but 7-of-9’s boobs wouldn’t have served any purpose either. And yet she came out with some nice honkers afterward. So the Collective clearly doesn’t care. The Borg don’t eat, the nano-probes handle all biological needs, and I suspect the drawers from Q-Who were and early iteration of the maturation chambers used for assimilated children. Hell, even the Queen has some breast contours on her prosthetic body which is further proof that it’s a non-issue for them. Another thing to consider though is, Borg drones are incredibly strong usually regardless of gender meaning a need for sexual dimorphism is irrelevant to them and could be considered a form of individuality. If someone with some DD-cup massive tits were assimilated, the Queen’s A-cups would be different and so you’d have two distinct beings and not a single hive-mind unit. The Queen’s bug bites actually conform more to looking androgynous and therefore nondistinct which is equally odd since she actually considers herself a lone unit capable of saying “I” or “me”. Drones are also valued for their specied qualities for combat units or computational units etc. Therefore, if aggression stems from the balls, they surely wouldn’t necessarily need to geld them.

  4. Even though he was Quantum Leaped into his younger self in a way, Picard did have sex with his former classmate in Tapestry and he and Beverly DID get married (and divorced) in All Good Things… even if that was a creation by Q as a possible future. Also, if the Borg find naughty parts a pointless component, why would 7-of-9 not have her ovaries removed when she was assimilated? She would avoid having a pointless menstruation period… She was taken as a child before puberty and yet, when she came out, her hips were wider and she had boobs. The only reason why a girl’s boobs form and her hips get wider is because estrogen was released by the ovaries during puberty. I doubt the EMH gave her some special hormone therapy when he was restoring her and therefore she’d have grown up like a woman with Swyer’s Syndrome who didn’t take hormone pills to compensate for her streak gonads. i.e. no release of estrogen during puberty because the ovaries were deformed or removed early to prevent tumors.

    Also, if Q cared so much about Picard’s artificial heart (which the Borg sure must have taken notice of), why wouldn’t he grow him back some balls since he also takes interest in Picard’s love life?

  5. He doesn’t have to have had them removed. The borgification and deborgification could have just made him sterile. That fits everything else you gave, and most of Voyager.

    The only issue is that B’Elanna Torres still got pregnant (unintentionally) after being borgified. But there’s the idea that it didn’t affect women as much, that maybe the de-borgification tech had gotten better, and the fact that they went in planning to be de-borgified.

    Plus, we learn that different Borg get different alterations. Maybe she just wasn’t the kind who needed to be sterilized.

    Still, Seven of Nine is presented in a way that makes you think pregnancy isn’t possible for her. But she still had the appearance of sexual organs, which means the Borg did not actually get rid of them.

  6. Also, Voyager showed that the kids weren’t from reproducing. They were children who were assimilated. Which makes sense–why would the Borg still assimilate individuals if they could reproduce?

    Even the Queen is a specific species, even if she is more machine than man.

  7. I think they’d remove his genitalia if it became necessary for the specific modifications they were making to his body, but wouldn’t bother otherwise. They may or may not have castrated him, but I think the process probably rendered him sterile regardless. The physical modifications, the nanomachines flooding the body, the significantly higher preferred temperature of Borg environments, they all add up to an environment that would be pretty damn hostile for sperm production.

    And sure, 24th-century medical tech could probably fix or circumvent that, but Picard comes from an exceedingly traditional family; it might be important to him that the family line is passed on the old-fashioned way. Besides, he’s getting on in years, doesn’t really see any prospects for romance at the time of Generations, and is a career officer running the busiest, most important ship in Starfleet. He might have already resigned himself to single life.

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