Over at Right Fans, Stephenie S. mentioned an earlier post by yours truly that seems to have stirred up the left a little bit. My reply was too long for the program that she runs on, so here it is in it’s entirety, free of commercial interruptions:
Thanks for the Hat tip Stephanie. You know, it’s funny how many folks (almost completely on the left) have told me what I meant with the little bits of that post, re Star Trek. Now when I say Star Trek I’m speaking of the OG, because yes, I am that old. I remember vividly crawling out of whatever fort we had made, or heading home from whatever bicycle race we were conducting to see Star Trek’s newest episode.
Did I care that “the great bird of the universe” was a raging liberal? Hell no, I wasn’t even sure what that meant. See I was all of about 7 at the time, and we were too poor to realize the unfairness of the world, we were too busy making our way to understand that “you shouldn’t hang out with ‘that’ kind”. Hell I didn’t know what ‘that kind’ was. I guess to experience that sort of existential angst you had to go to an Ivy league school, or NYU or something.
I knew that dad worked with a couple black men, and an Asian guy, and a guy from Lithuania, and I hung out with their kids. But the only thing I thought about that, was the stories from the guy who’s family escaped Lithuania, and how fucked up it was there. See in the places I grew up (Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Michigan) all out in the country, we didn’t have race issues… I guess we were too poor to afford them. If we thought about race problems at all, we thought that was a big city thing. Sexual discrimination? That didn’t occur to us either. Mom worked, dad worked. Mom was a billing clerk for a loan organization (she wasn’t exactly big enough to put 500ftlbs on a torque wrench), dad was a diesel mechanic (his typing sucked). Who made more money? I think mom did, but that only counts strait time, not the overtime and moonlighting that dad did… After all it was easier to get odd jobs as a diesel mechanic than as a billing clerk (pssst. Hey buddy, want your accounts receivable done? I’ll do it for 15 an hour under the table… Yeah not so much) Mom cooked, dad cooked. Mom cleaned, dad cleaned, (though not as much, I remember a HUGE row over that one.) There wasn’t much that was “woman’s work” or “man’s work”, mom did the books, but that’s because she made the Indian ride a buffalo. (Means she squeezed a nickel so hard it became transparent, it’s not a micro aggression against Native Americans).
So when I ran home to catch the show, it was to see Kirk and Spock forced to decide between love and letting the Nazis win WWII. Or to watch Kirk bluff his way out of a “busted strait” against three Romulan warbirds. Or watch Mcoy and Spock come to the realization that the rock they’re staring at is alive. I was too interested in the story to give a damn that Kirk was a white guy who was forced by an alien to kiss a black woman, and was more pissed that this alien was pushing around my heroes than concerned that they were two separate colors. I was too fascinated by the hope that we could get off this planet and out among the stars, and too in awe of the technology behind it to realize that it was supposed to be this great propaganda piece by the left. The relationships shown were too much like home to give the shock value I was apparently supposed to get.
But boy I sure seemed to have ruffled some feathers. Gerrold and Scalzi in particular were all outraged that I had the audacity to use “their Star Trek”… So let’s take a look at what I actually said, vice what I’m told I meant. (oh by the way, if you, the left, get to tell me what I really meant, then I get to tell you what Gene R. really meant. Otherwise I think I’m the Subject Matter Expert on “what I meant”) I mentioned ST twice:
First “Are we not a culture? Hack us off, are we not pricks? Wrong us do we not seek revenge? Seems to me NBC figured out that we were, back when they killed Star Trek…”
Well that was a direct point of the one most noticeable time that all of us, the Story first guys, the message guys, The left, the right, the techies and the fuzzy science types all got together and made one of the big three back down. Remember that this was an era when there were three and only three networks, and you would watch what they wanted you to watch BY GOD, or you wouldn’t watch anything at all. (Most of the places I lived you couldn’t get a PBS station, and if you could it was junk, there may have been an independent station or two, but they didn’t run anything but sometimes a good movie, and reruns. VHS didn’t exist yet, or if it did, was way too expensive, and the Internet, that was some sort of Science Fiction.) But here was this group of fans ( and your dog too!) who managed to make the suits back down. It made us a culture, and it put us firmly on the map of people that you crossed only with due consideration for the results. It’s something no one else has managed yet. The Brown Coats are working on it, but they ain’t made it yet. Oh and in addition to the “How dare you mention my sainted Star Trek in your nasty screed” crew, this also brought forth the “concern trolls” (hat tip Larry Correia) who all tell me that being a prick isn’t a good thing. Well it all depends. If you’re a prick just to be a prick, yeah that’s a bad thing. If you’re a prick because someone just tried to screw with your world, and you’re going to make sure they don’t do it again, well, where I grew up, that’s being a man (or woman) as opposed to being a door mat that everyone will wipe their feet on. So NO it’s NOT a bad thing. Besides it was the words that best scanned to the quote from “Merchant of Venice”.
Second was “while we (the guys that grew up watching STOG and said “Hey those doors are COOL, how would you do that for real? Those communicators, could you do that?) went to engineering and hard science classes and started building the future that we wanted”.
Hey like I said, I didn’t know that Rodenberry was this huge flaming liberal, because he and the rest of the writers managed to do the thing that the ‘sad puppies’ is all about, tell a story and make it primary to your audience. If the whole ST universe was supposed to be about the EEVVILLLS of capitalism, and Cis strait white male patriarchy, well they told the stories so well that it snuck by me. (Sort of wonder if that’s the case though, I seem to remember Kirk doing everything that didn’t have a penis, and them not complaining, and wasn’t there an episode called “the Omega Glory”? Seems a little odd for the darling of the Socialist left…)
But why did I reference this alleged model of political right think for my paragraph on tech V Social science? Because it’s so iconic that everyone gets it. Gerrold and Rodenberry may have wanted ST to be an exercise in how wonderful it will be when we all embrace the liberal agenda, but what stuck in people’s minds was the hope, and the Tech. Did it change the world socially? Maybe, and for the most part it’s been a good thing. Did it change the world technologically? Well if you don’t think the cell phone has been a world changer, you must be living in a different one than I am.