Monday, July 25, 2005

So in view of all this---the worrisome Star Trek future, and the coming anniversary--- I've decided to devote this blog for the foreseeable future to my take on what's most essential about Star Trek: the elements of its legacy, if (as seems entirely possible) the Star Trek we have known is now over, is now all history. Or if there is a future for Star Trek, the essential elements it must have, or at least build on, in order to truly be Star Trek.

These ideas may be even dumber than the ones I’ve just described, but at least I won’t just be carping about somebody else’s notions.

These elements---found in its real-world history as well as in its stories---are also Star Trek's contribution to the real world future. "What is now proved was once only imagin'd," wrote William Blake. The future we get will partly be determined by the future we imagine, out of our dreams and nightmares, especially as expressed in our stories about that future.

That's really been the agenda here from the beginning---this blog is called "Soul of Star Trek", after all. But starting next time, it's going to be more explicitly so.

Some of what I have to say will probably find lots of agreement among Trek fans. But some will not. Which leads me to this final observation: a comment on comments.

I enjoy getting comments on this blog and continue to invite them. Many have been flattering and that's frankly been motivating, since there's no other direct reward involved. I covet corrections, amplifications and contributions, and honor disagreements.

But there is one trend that disturbs me. Because I pointed out what I (among others) felt were the political messages in the latest Star Wars movie---and which George Lucas himself articulated---I was accused of "hating Republicans" and therefore being prejudiced against Republican Trek fans.

In response to a sentence in another post("There is a neocon and Christian fundamentalist fan presence on the net that support political and cultural agendas that GR and most of the Trek writers and actors would not-they'd probably find a lot of it horrifying") I was accused of "apparent bigotry towards Christians and conservatives."

The tendency to call people who disagree with you prejudiced and views that are counter to yours "apparent bigotry" is becoming widespread elsewhere, I've noticed. Some people use it consciously as a form of intimidation, but I do believe that others don't quite understand the gravity of what they are saying.

People are bigoted or prejudiced if they believes that all others of a certain description (race, gender, whatever) are lesser than them by virtue of their race, gender or whatever. It is ugly and inhuman and a very serious charge.

I am not bigoted or prejudiced because I disagree with your political position or interpretation, or your ideas, or if I disagree with the validity of what you assert are facts. I don't assume you are bigoted or prejudiced because you disagree with me.

We are equally human, equal as voices in cyberspace, and we disagree.

The tone of these two responses is otherwise respectful and reasonable, so I believe the writers aren't fully aware that these words are ill-chosen and inflamatory. None of us like to feel we are being excluded because of our views, and I can see that these two statements of mine (which are both observations about others I believe are accurate, but which do reflect my own view) could prompt those feelings. But my intent is not to exclude, though I insist on my right to assert and to disagree.


JGY said...


I started reading your blog around the middle of the final season of Enterprise, and have been delighted with the depth and intelligence you discuss Star Trek, and what it means in the greater scheme of things. It's become a weekly read for me.

Many thanks.


vavu2001 said...

I am looking forward to your views as to the future of the franchise. I personally believe that for the next few years it will mostly be in the hands of the fans (much like the years 1969-1979) and we will have to wait and see what Paramount does. I do not see them walking away from a billion dollar franchise (no one can be THAT stupid) so eventually we will see something they will at least CALL Star Trek. In the mean time, it's back to watching the 700 or so episodes and 10 movies, and arguing with other over such things as the true nature of the Federation.

soulfan said...

My friend,

There is no question that your voice is needed in the Trek discussion. I would like say that one of the more profound ideas you put forward was the detachment of recent Trek from contemporary scientific minds. What I would add as an artist and designer, is the detachment of the visual design from what todays industrial designers are creating.

Anything you can buy from Mac looks more sophisticated than the retread sci-fi style of Enterprise. I am glad you are asking the hard questions. It would be nice to see you ask leading minds in ID what they would envision for the future of Trek. My vote would be clean lines and less is more design...and turn up the lights.


Dennis Sanders said...

I'm a Republican Star Trek fan and I took no offense at your comments. I love Trek because it deals with present problems and presents a positive view of the future. There's hardly anything liberal or conservative about that.

My only lament is that I wish they did more gay-positive themes. But at least that's showing up in the books and in some fan series like Hidden Frontier.

Keep up the good work.

vavu2001 said...

It depends on what you mean by 'gay positive'. The series (in it's later forms anyway) seems to point twards the idea that by the 23'd century, sexual orientation isn't an issue of any kind.

I can't remember the name of the show, but there was an episode of DS9 where Dax meets up with a former (in another lifetime) lover. Both Dax and this former beau are in female bodies. As presented, the problem with this situation was not that they were both women, but that Trill are forbidden to relive the past lives of their symbiots. No one on the station thought twice about them both being female.