When it comes to Modern Culture preferences there is nothing with more of a stigma then saying you are a Trekkie. Mainstreamers will give you crap because to them Trekkies are asthmatic nerds with duck tape on their glasses wearing gold jumpsuits flashing the “Vulcan peace symbol” at everyone.
For the movie buffs you are ridiculed because the franchise is under budgeted and the acting is terrible (which I cannot argue on this point). Unless of course you are talking about JJ Abrams flashy new star trek movies with lens flare and floating letters then those are OK.
Nerds will mock you because they feel it doesn’t have the fantasy value of Star wars or Lord of the rings or the Ultimate Drama and gritty suspense of Battlestar Gallactica(all of which are shows I appreciate).
Star Trek, while at surface level is Fiction, the show is about blending Real Science, Theoretical Science, and Cultural Commentary. Even back in the sixty’s when William Shatner was running around making out with every alien he could find or shouting his lines really badly Gene Rodenberry was posing the premise to society that if we were to give up on our prejudices, end the pursuit of personal wealth and work towards common goals , we there would be no limit to the advancement of the human race. This was radical thinking especially for the 1960s who had just seen the beginning of the civil rights movement.
So before I get into describing what its is to me that makes Star Trek an important part of my personal culture, I should point out a few disclaimers.
1.) I don’t plan on putting on the uniform and joining the convention circuit. While I often contemplate the future, I am firmly grounded in reality. That and the only Fat people in star trek were Klingons and I don’t want to wear forehead ridges LOL.
2.) I don’t speak Klingon, While I may be able to say “active the transporter” or “good Luck” and a couple other choice phrases I will not be instructing you on how to reformat your computer in Klingon.
3.) I have two small shelves of star trek memorabilia, not an entire house, so I am not a Trek Hoarder. I do however have a tribble, which my son likes more than me.
That all being said, here is why I appreciate Star Trek
A template for Societal Change:
It Fosters the idea of a Non-Capitalistic Non Materialistic Society in which the drive of people isn’t the acquisition of wealth, but the betterment of the human race. When the original series aired they hinted at this but it was more of a pipe dream and not something explained or much realizable. As The Next Generation, Voyager, Deep Space Nine, Enterprise, and the Movies (except JJ Abrams and the last two TNG movies) play out it begins to develop the structure.
The writers cover what society was, and even shows in the near future how things may get worse with another world war or the collapse of the global market, and riots. Then the discovery of and the implementation of FTL (faster than Light) Space travel is invented by Zephran Cochran. Suddenly a course of events occurs, governments form alliances, and people begin to build for the stars in hopes to join a larger intergalactic community.
Now, I am well aware that this is fiction, but the premise of the catalyst is the same, humans need to become desperate enough to work together for a common cause , and in doing so will advance humanity and shed off monetary systems and dictators, and corruption. I am aware there may be no life on other planets but I do believe there are other planets that could sustain human life, and I also believe that in our current state in the next couple generations humanity will max out the point in which this planet can sustain its populations. So humanity must look to the starts and jettisons colonies amount them
Situations in the Universe are explained with science and actual science theory
Now I will be the first to admit that when writers get lazy it is the main deflector that they head for to explain how to get out of a jam. After all who really knows what it is capable of…All we know is that somehow, its primary goal is to ultrasonically deflect debris while the ship travels at work. But apparently it also blows up ships, opens rifts to Borg space, creates inherent tetreon beams, and creates subspace radios to the future. This all being said however star trek covers the gambit of topics from string theory, dark matter, folding space, the periodic table, lifecycles of stars, black holes, you name it if its being debated by physicists, its probably on Star Trek.
What I find fascinating is that a few times by dealing with situations on the shows new scientific theories have been created and some even have become closer to being solved all by the shows drive at asking “what if”.
Invention, Invention, Invention
No I don’t think anytime soon we are going to see transporter technology, but that being said look what we already have from the star trek era; communicators, display screens, passers and stun weapons are being developed, voice interactive computing, and NASA has people who spend every moment researching Warp Theory. We also have a space station, and ae planning for orbital elevators and orbital craft.
Its has been shown that science fiction always sparks creative minds and most new tech can be modeled after some form of sci-fi from Jules Vern to Isaac Asimov, to Star Trek.
What if Life exists Out There?
If one day a space alien should happen to settle down here on Earth Star Trek has asked just about every question on how we should interact. Everything from universal translation, respect of different cultures and taking our place in a bigger interplanetary community. When you think about how big space is I find it absurd to think we are the only intelligent life inhabiting the universe. In fact I tend to think we may already of been visited. Thus an explanation for the skyrocketing of technological advance in the last 20 years. But that is a topic for another blog.