[personal profile] blcwriter

The New York Times posted this Op-Ed piece about Star Trek’s 50th today and how, essentially, the franchise has become too corporate and it’s all spoilt because it’s not low-budget and fly-by-the-seat-of-its-pants anymore.

As I read the piece, all I could hear were the sounds of whiny Comic Book Guys everywhere complaining that no one was allowed to enjoy anything new anymore because it had changed over time, adapted, survived, and as all things do, evolved into something that other people than the “Original” fans could also enjoy.  (TL:DR, this op-ed is the sound of one fanboy fapping about kids on their lawn.)

I have no problem with the criticism about retreading old ground-- but every version since TOS has done that, starting from TNG, which re-did TOS storylines all the time.  Star Trek invented tropes that are the backbone, now, of all episodic and genre entertainment:  the costume episode? the musical episode? the undercover episode? amnesia? long lost love? kidnapping? alternate universes?  All of that comes from Star Trek, and I have no problem with each iteration of Trek telling a new story through a commonly understood narrative framework that provides enough trope-y comfort that the more philosphical lesson of the episode can hit home.  (Perhaps the author is unfamiliar with the concept of archetypes.)  I have no problem with the criticism that the series could be less action, more thought.  I have no problem with the criticism that Paramount, et. al., are too corporate, restrictive, etc.-- but that is a critique of Hollywood.  Not Star Trek. (The author also seems to have missed that many, many, many Trek fans have all agreed that Into Darkness didn’t happen, and that the Reboot series is Star Trek, 2009, and Star Trek Beyond.)

The author seems to have missed that there are hundreds of thousands of Star Trek fans who are happy-- no, overjoyed, even-- to attend cons in whatever fashion they currently exist.  The author seems to believe that only memorized dialogue snippets and ship stats make a proper, Ultimate Fan.  The prescription this author takes against anything but the “old” way of doing things excludes the very valid, very real lived experience of Trek fans who didn’t live at the time of TOS, or who didn’t get into the series until DS9, or who only got into the back-catalogue of shows after the ‘09 reboot.  All those fans are not wrong.  They are not required to have watched every series and to be able to craft Memory Alpha pieces on demand.  All those fans are not misled because they revel in the tropes’ power to frame otherwise difficult conversations within the confines of a story narrative that assures us we can handle the content because the trope itself assures us everything will, ultimately, be ok.

And isn’t that the message of Star Trek?  That despite the slings, arrows, Tholian webs, android ex-boyfriends, salt monster ex-girlfriends, genocidal colony governors, and holodeck dysfunctions, we will come out of it more or less OK, and still be able to keep pressing forward, to explore, to learn, and to do it in the company of infinitely different, but infinitely combinable, companionable, like-minded people?

The essential message of Star Trek is hope.  (The other essential message of Star Trek is that it is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a Captain in possession of a starship must be in want of a nemesis, but that’s another essay.)  The author is allowed to have a problem with the often prohibitive cost of cons (and don’t get me started on how often Karl Urban cancels appearances), or the officially sanctioned merchandise (did the author not know about Etsy, Redbubble, and other non Paramount websites where you can get homemade Trek stuff galore?) or the fact that new fans don’t talk about Trek in the same terms and in the same fora as him.  He is not, however, allowed to tell the rest of the world that their experience of Trek is the lesser for having occurred later in time and in a different world than his first encounters with new life and new civilization.  He is not allowed to tell Trek fans that their experience is not allowed to evolve over time.

The author’s attempt to impose his supposedly superior understanding of the “real” Trek on we lesser, later fanbeings seems directly in contravention of the prime directive, if you ask me.

Live long, fellow fanbeings, and prosper in your varying appreciations of Trek.

Date: 2016-09-08 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hora-tio.livejournal.com
!!!!!!!!!!!!! This....

I attended Star Trek missions in New York over Labor Day weekend and I loved it... Every minute of it.

I cannot tell you anything technical about the ship or anything like that but thru and thru I love my Trek

Thank you for giving me a voice :)

Date: 2016-09-08 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blcwriter.livejournal.com
Thank you, and thank you for spreading the Trek love. : )

Date: 2016-09-08 10:58 pm (UTC)
ext_27323: (Jim and Bones - Toast)
From: [identity profile] fritz42.livejournal.com
Well said. I read the article, and it seems like it's all about the author's needs and what isn't being met for him/her. (I don't remember what pronoun applies.) The beauty of Star Trek is exactly what you said, its essential messages that still live on today and still provide that hope for all those new generations of fans. That's what makes it live on.

I do have to say that I take extreme umbrage at his thoughts about Star Trek Beyond. To me, that movie finally hit it right after that mess, Star Trek into Darkness. That's when the op-ed author lost any modicum of understand from me.

Date: 2016-09-08 11:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blcwriter.livejournal.com
What was interesting is he only quotes someone else on Beyond, and doesn't even talk about his own apparently Most Important feelings. STB made me breathe a huge sigh of relief the first time I saw it, and now on re-watching I am just giddy and hopeful from start to finish, each time. And yes, that's the point.


Date: 2016-09-09 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abigail89.livejournal.com
I love you to bits. And this, of course, is brilliant.

God, I do NOT get these fans who claims everything went to hell in a handbasket the moment TOS was cancelled. I love that people are getting into ST because of the reboot movies. I love that three generations in one family all get LLAP. Dude needs to move on and get the hell over himself.

Thank you, darlin'.

Date: 2016-09-11 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blcwriter.livejournal.com
Thank you, m'love. (HUGS(

Date: 2016-09-09 02:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thalialunacy.livejournal.com
Dog with a cone on its head.

That is all I have to say.


Date: 2016-09-11 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blcwriter.livejournal.com
"Unicorn dog, your argument is irrelevant," is truly the debate winner, every time. : )

Date: 2016-09-09 06:08 pm (UTC)
ext_409703: (Dorktastic Chris)
From: [identity profile] caitri.livejournal.com
I haven't quite come to grips with my own feelings on the franchise's birthday, but yesterday I was largely rolling in the feels on social media. But still, there was a significant number of older fen who posted about how back in the day, they didn't care/like Trek, or they didn't like how Trek fandom brought huge numbers of fans to the cons and they didn't even ~know~ SF/SF culture, and Trek wasn't even good SF etc. etc. And then on the flip side are the pieces like that of the NYT that bemoan how the new generation doesn't ~really get Trek, etc. etc.

Which I guess goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

(And also, it doesn't escape my notice either that all of the cranky pieces are written by old white dudes.)

Date: 2016-09-10 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] weepingnaiad.livejournal.com
(And also, it doesn't escape my notice either that all of the cranky pieces are written by old white dudes.)

Typical, eh? It's like if it's not exactly how they want it, or remember it, then it's not good enough. *shakes head* Honest to goodness, I'm just so tired of the rantings of angry white men.

I loved STB and I love, love, love how it's re-energized me and the fandom. [livejournal.com profile] space_wrapped is gonna be bigger than it's been in a long, long time and that's because STB was a Trek movie, through and through. And it doesn't matter if there are those who were fans back when watching reruns of TOS after school was the only Trek or someone came to it after any of the movies or other television shows. I just don't get how self proclaimed "fans" of something that is all about inclusivity, IDIC, can be so exclusionary.

*hugs* to both of you!
Edited Date: 2016-09-10 07:24 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-09-11 04:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blcwriter.livejournal.com
*hugs back to you and to Caitri, darlings*

Date: 2016-09-11 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blcwriter.livejournal.com
I always come back to ~if it opens you up to something different, then it can't be all bad.~ I don't always get other brands of SF/F but I am happy they're there, doing their thing. It makes me deeply sad that this isn't the default attitude. It'd be nice if everyone followed a "but first, do no harm" attitude, but I know that's not going to happen anytime soon.

Date: 2016-09-11 08:57 pm (UTC)
ext_15529: made by jazsekuhsjunk (Default)
From: [identity profile] the-dala.livejournal.com

It's especially frustrating to hear this criticism on the heels of "Beyond," which all but the most diehard Reboot-hating fans agree hit the spirit of Trek like a ton of bricks. Also, sometimes I think people forget all the truly stupid shit that Trek holds in addition to the sublime moments, because one episode out of twenty-six in a year is a lot less damning than one movie script out of three in seven years (same way SNL fans only remember the good sketches). I mean, I just watched that TNG episode where Crusher falls in love with a fake ghost rapist that banged her grandma, NOTHING about that is quality.

I participated in a bunch of events commemorating the 50th anniversary, including the Vegas con, and it was so wonderful celebrating the impact Trek has had on so many individual lives as well as our entire freaking society. There really is nothing to compare it to (HP as a phenomenon, sure, but we have actually have smartphones and space travel IRL).

In short, this guy can suck it. Also:

it is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a Captain in possession of a starship must be in want of a nemesis

Edited Date: 2016-09-11 09:00 pm (UTC)


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