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Trekkies of the world unite!
by Asa Butcher
2007-09-08 09:41:54
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Many people consider May the 4th as Star Wars Day, but what about those who don't believe in the Force and the Dark Side? The ones that boldly go where no Man has gone before, the ones who practice the Vulcan nerve pinch and the ones that opt for phaser over lightsaber, they are collectively known as Trekkies and thanks to the efforts of MJ's Star Trek Portal we now have September 8th as Star Trek Day.

I have written a number of times in Ovi about my obsession with Star Trek during my teenage years and how I went cold turkey after considering buying a Starfleet uniform. It has been a few years since I last watched a full episode of any of the Star Trek series because I fear that once my feet return to that path the addiction will return at warp speed nine.

It all began in the early-90s when the Sky TV satellite network was launched and my mum won a Sky TV system in a newspaper competition. One of the best channels was Sky One and it was one early evening I joined an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" midway through. For fellow Trekkie aficionados, the episode was the first of Season Two and entitled "The Child", in which the ship's sexy Counsellor Deanna Troi gives birth to a mysterious child, while the USS Enterprise transports a dangerous cargo.

Admittedly, the sight of Deanna Troi, played by Marina Sirtis, curvaceously squeezed into that futuristic jumpsuit was too much for an impressionable teenager and it didn't take long for me to decide that this show would become a regular feature of my evenings. I had previously seen a few of the Star Trek movies starring the original crew captained by James T. Kirk, but they didn't give fire up the hormones quite like Marina.

It didn't take long before the nerd in me began to surface and I was helplessly hooked. I quickly memorised the names of the main Bridge crew from Will Riker to Data, Geordi Laforge, Crusher (Wesley and Beverly), Worf, the highly irritating Dr. Katherine Pulaski and, the main man himself, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, who is still the best Enterprise captain in my humble opinion – a statement as volatile as naming the best actor to play James Bond.

Like with any addiction, it starts slowly. I purchased the occasional video, magazine, t-shirt, poster and soon moved on to more videos, regular magazines, wearing the t-shirts and reading the Star Trek Encyclopedia: A Reference Guide to the Future and Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, building an Airfix model of the Enterprise D – it took a lot of grey paint – and buying limited edition Star Trek Micro Machines.

I didn't go quite as far to buy a skull cap and pretend to be bald like Patrick Stewart's Captain Picard, although it did bring rise to the question why they could travel at warp speed, transport matter to and from a planet, but were still unable to find a cure for baldness in the 24th century. Personally I like to believe that Picard's baldness was a joke conjured up by the irascible Q, played by John de Lancie – it was really strange to see him pop up in a few episodes of "West Wing".

The reason September 8th has been chosen as Star Trek Day is because the premiere of the original Star Trek series on television was September 8th 1966, which isn't a bad reason. As a maturing Trekkie I did watch the original series, plus "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: Voyager", but I grew up with the Enterprise D and its crew.

I fell in love with its holodeck, the Romulans, Borg and Ferengi, its tricorders, the presence of "A-Team's" Murdoch on the crew, touching episodes, such as "The Inner Light", and, of course, my hormones fell in love with the skin-tight uniforms that the female cast members dashed about in. Now I come to recall those moments, especially the uniforms, I think it is time for a trip down memory lane…make it so!

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Emanuel Paparella2007-09-08 10:31:57
Indeed, from the very outset the archetype of the adventurous journey in a sea of stars is sure to grab any imaginative young at heart human, just as the Odissey still grabs humanity's imagination some 25 centuries later, or James Joyce's "Ulysses" grabs it by its very title promising a journey into the mind on the sea of one man's stream of consciousness. Ultimately Star Trek's hidden agenda is that of exhuming our humanity by searching for the poetical in a world gone mad with rationalism. That is its appeal to so many, not its technological gadgetry and special effects as rationalists misguidedly continue to insist.

May it be so, which is to say, AMEN!

Asa2007-09-08 14:04:30
James Joyce / James T. Kirk... maybe they are the same person. I mean, have you ever seen them together?

rinso2007-09-08 14:28:52
I think the original Star trek can be compared with the pulp magazines of the 30's. It paved the way for an era.
The next generation is the matured (science) fiction evolving from it. I too believe it was the best series (and the best captain).

Emanuel Paparella2007-09-08 14:37:11
No, but via imagination one can easily put together Bloom and Ulysses or De Chardin and Captain Picard. A comment by de Chardin can easily be the starting point for a fantastic journey back to the future to arrive where we left from and know the place for the first time. This one for example:

"In a world which has become conscious of its own self
And provides its own motive force,
What is most vitally necessary to the thinking earth is a faith—
And a great faith-- and ever more faith.
To know that we are not prisoners.
To know that there is a way out,
That there is air, and light, and love,
Somewhere, beyond the reach of all death.
To know this, to know that it is neither an illusion nor a fairy story. –
That, if we are not to perish smothered in the very stuff of our being,
That is what we must at all costs secure. And it is there that we find what I may well be so bold as to call the evolutionary role of religions.

- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Asa2007-09-08 18:30:25
"Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before."

Jean-Luc Picard

Emanuel Paparella2007-09-08 22:45:31
And the journey can be outward toward the stars, but it can be inward as well, it matters not. What matters is the fascination of the journey and what impels it. Consider the opening line of the Odyssey and the Divine Comedy:

“Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven far journeys…” (Odissey)
“In the middle of the journey of our lives…”(Divine Comedy)
Captain Picard, Dante, Ulysses: they are everyman, they are us.

Emanuel Paparella2007-09-08 22:57:01
P.S.Not to take away from the beauty of original languages (Greek and Italian) here are the two starting points retranslated in the original (Homer's may not be 100%faithful since the trranslation was a free one to begin with):

Με πέστε, μούσα, του ατόμου πολλών τρόπων, το οποίο ήταν οδηγημένα μακρινά ταξίδια...(Homer)

Nel mezzo del camin di nostra vita... (Dante)

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