A lovely comment came in to my recent post, The Happy Borg, wherein I postulated that the Borg should/could have pursued a softer sell to assimilate people. While rightly pointing out that it would have gotten a quick and vicious response on YouTube, I want to focus on what I think is a contradictory item about the Borg.
The core of the retort was:
The “soft sell” was used on Data because it was the only effective way to assimilate him, given the formidable defenses in his neural net. The Borg are all about efficiency, and all the trappings of “happiness” would royally mess with their ideal of perfection.
I take issue with this reply simply because, if anything, the Borg came to be known by their core inconsistencies. These inconsistencies are the groundwork for the very idea of The Happy Borg.
I’ll also take the opportunity to plug Words With Nerds, that I cohost with my pal Craig Sorrell. It’s an episode of that which led to these musings. (We also mused that Twitter-At-Large is like the Borg, which I stand by.)
When we first met the Borg, they were a hive mind. The chilling efficiency of them came from their soulless lack of individuality. It’s been said that it was meant to reflect American cultural imperialism; I think they resonated as a villain because they plainly work as a reflection of the philosophical horrors of Groupthink and Collectivism, as well.
Then, when First Contact came out, we found out they had a Queen, just like the “xenomorphs” in Aliens. I mean, insect analogies are a thing.
The very existence of a Queen was antithetical to how the Borg were first presented. It also undercut the stated reason, on-screen, of their abduction of Picard and the creation of Locutus. They took him because they “needed” a figurehead since humans reacted better to leader-based structures.
Yet they had a leader. Granted this was retconned into the lore with First Contact, and pursued further with Voyager, but it’s still fair game to point out that it’s a contradiction both to have a leader and need a leader at the same time.
A More Personal Touch
Regardless, once they have Locutus (née Picard), they present him to the Enterprise crew as this ashen, dour shell of the man they once knew and loved. It’s an immediate backfire!
I’m saying, imagine Locutus coming forward and instead of blathering on the typical Borg line, saying, “Hey guys! This is pretty neat. You really should try it! Sure, the food sucks, but you get all this badass tech for free!”
You’d cause some a moment of hesitation, at least. Some would say they saw the glimmer of Picard in there, and want to hold fire. Others would be emotional dominoes and say it was worth talking to him. From there, it’s easy street.
And this is why the Borg would elect me Class President.