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It’s A Good Day To Die – Klingon Military Propaganda

Worf knows it's a good day to die - perhaps

It’s A Good Day To Die!  Simply a predictable combat cry from those infamous battle boys?  Klingons being Klingons?  Perhaps.  Those rowdy honor gluttons know how to party hardy.  Still, isn’t there more?  If any Trekker worth his or her salt creature scrutinizes the way in which the Klingon culture cultivates their sassy slogans, it’s clear there’s a more focused propaganda bent to the vicious verbiage.  

From Kang to Kahless, Worf to Gowron, decades of Star Trek TV and movies have given us reams of Klingon phrases.  Let’s break down some of the more militaristic or war mongering morsels of those aliens who never turn down a good fight.

Honor And Death

Klingons will never be accused of being subtle.  If they were warp drive travelling salesmen, they’d undoubtedly never master the soft sell.  They’re slam bang in your face more than perhaps any other Star Trek alien race.  Well, the Jem Hadar and Species 8472 are certainly always ready for a throwdown, but the Klingons do it all with so much more style. 

One Klingon who always comes off looking good is Worf, Security Chief on Captain Picard’s Enterprise.  In Star Trek: First Contact, commanding the Starfleet Starship, Defiant, in frantic battle with the Borg, Worf bellows out, 

Perhaps today is a good day to die!  Prepare for ramming speed! 

Just as Worf utters the loaded phrase and orders his pilot to sacrifice the Defiant, Picard’s majestic Enterprise E sails into the fray.  The former Locutus knows what it takes to defeat his old, cybernetic buddies, and the tough little Defiant is set adrift, but salvageable.  

Worf knows it’s a good day to die – perhaps

So, is Today is a good day to die simply a Klingon being boastful or brave?  Or is it more military propaganda?  A way for the Klingon culture and society to continually push the honor connected with a warrior’s noble death?

Cold Revenge Platter

Revenge is a dish best served cold.  Cooking tips?  Is this Rachel Raye, Emeril or Martha Stewart advising us in the cosmic kitchen?  Nah.  Not really.  First heard by the Star Trek audience in an original series movie, it’s become one of the more disturbing examples of Klingon propaganda.  It’s said by Khan to Kirk in the feature film, Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan

Ah Kirk, my old friend. Do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very cold in space.

On its face, it’s a simple strategy and even a Klingon prime directive:  Don’t go after an enemy seeking revenge hot headed.  Think it through carefully.  Wait awhile.  Coldly calculate their defeat.  

What about a culture which promotes such thinking?  Is it an ever constant battle cry for their people to always engage in war?  To be forever locked in military mode? 

Klingon culture may not be recognizable to many more civilized humans or Earth cultures – in terms of raw violent aspects – but clearly Klingons deal in a kind of cultural propaganda which effectively trains (brainwashes?) the masses.  Is it all simply base philosophy?  Or is the thirst for conquest enmeshed in the Klingon Empire’s power base fueling the combative notion that dying – on any day – is really a good thing?