Back in the 1960s, when many issues of racism, sexism, intolerance, and excessive militarism were coming to the forefront of American consciousness, there appeared a TV show called Star Trek. Created by an atheist, it nonetheless reflected a lot of what one could call “spiritual values” like compassion, inclusiveness, and the valuing of differences between individuals and cultures. Because it was science fiction, it was able to address a lot of issues other mainstream American TV shows couldn’t, like the nature of the militarism and the self-defeating futility of bigotry. In a television environment awash in standard-issue cop shows and medical dramas, Star Trek waved its philosophy like a big, liberal banner.
The new series Star Trek: Discovery won’t premiere until some time in the Fall, but it’s already getting strong responses from some sectors of the Internet. I’m not referring to “science fiction fans” so much as “angry white guys with alt-right tendencies.” You see, the new series features an Asian woman as the Captain, a black woman as her First Officer, and a gay male crew member. Frankly, anyone who knows a damned thing about Star Trek shouldn’t be surprised — if anything, we should be surprised that something like this hasn’t happened with Star Trek before now. By current TV standards, Star Trek is almost behind the curve.
So, in order to properly convey my opinion to all those men out there whining about how Star Trek — which is one of the most “progressive” things American TV has ever produced — has become too progressive, I have volunteered my services to engage in First Contact with this strange culture.
(Scene: The bridge of the Space Battlecruiser MammothHunter. Its style is a combination of an aircraft carrier command deck and your Mom’s basement. CAPT. PEPE TESTOSTERONI leans back in his command lounger as he watches his underlings, Helmsman DIRK THRILLKILL and Chief Rhetorical Officer DICK COMPENSATING as they alternate between working their controls and trolling Leslie Jones on Twitter. The pale light from the controls enhances the pale whiteness of their faces.)
DICK: Captain, we’re being hailed by a Federation ship.
PEPE: On screen!
(The main view screen lights up with the image of a man in his early fifties with long hair, wearing a black t-shirt acquired at an Anvil concert. It is Blogger MATTHEW CURRIE)CURRIE: Greetings, MammothHunter. I’m Ambassador Matthew Currie, and I’m here about your online responses to the upcoming TV series, Star Trek: Discovery.
PEPE: No forced casting of minorities!
DIRK: Feminazis run the entertainment industry!
DICK: CBS raped my childhood!
PEPE: Let me sing you the song of my people!
(The crew of the MammothHunter beat their chests and howl for about thirty seconds)
CURRIE: That’s nice. Now, let me explain how you’ve gotten things fundamentally wrong about Star Trek. For one thing, in the original pilot episode the First Officer of the USS Enterprise was actually a woman. Furthermore, it was the only program of its time to show a woman of color as both a technician and a member of a military-style hierarchy.
DIRK: At least she had a short skirt on! (the crew of the MammothHunter hoot and high-five each other).
CURRIE: Furthermore, Star Trek was one of the first US network shows to question the rationale behind continuing the Vietnam War, and made several episodes about how intolerance and injustice are —
DICK: You liberal pussy!
CURRIE: …and showcased the benefits of multiculturalism…
DIRK: Social Justice Warrior candy-ass!
PEPE: You can’t shut us down or silence us!
CURRIE: I’m afraid you gentlemen misunderstand why I’m here. You see, I’m not here to persuade you or change your minds about these things, or show you the error of your ways — either personally or about the nature of Star Trek itself. Star Trek wasn’t just about promoting those values. It was about having the courage to stand up for those ideals. I’m not here to negotiate…
(CURRIE nods to an unseen technician and disappears from the view screen in the sparkling light of the transporter effect. He re-materializes on the bridge of the MammothHunter, and we now see that he is wearing a pair of steel-toed boots and is holding a large, rusty pipe wrench)
CURRIE: …I’m just here to explain things in terms you’ll find easier to understand. Now… (CURRIE smiles and raises the pipe wrench) … forgive me for mixing my science fiction metaphors, but: come and get one in the yarbles — if you have any yarbles, you eunuch jelly thou…