Tuesday, May 12, 2009

5-12-09 Can Ninjas & Zombies Save Trekkiedom?

Over the course of the last few days I've been participating in the spirited debates about STXI here and at the Omega Sector and have also been monitoring the less-than-courteous slam-fests at other forums. I've been rather put off...No, I'm not just put off, I've been disgusted by the tenor of the treatment of those who are even slightly critical about the new film by those who are blissfully happy about it.

I would hate to think that I'm weird for enjoying an atmosphere where my (relatively) dissenting view from the majority is still listened to, even though I don't expect to be agreed with. So I do find it strange that there are places where people who call themselves Trek fans bully those with dissenting opinions right off their boards. Have fun sitting in your own mire guys. I think you're just sad.

To that end, I have to say, I feared that the new movie was going to do this. I've spoken to many Trekkies - Trekkies who have been hard-core fans for DECADES longer than I and I have asked them all the same thing...Is this what it was like when TNG came through? Is this what is was like when Enterprise rocked their world?

And the resounding answer was...No.

Apparently this time around it's much worse, much more palpable, much more divisive and much more...personal.

This movie seems to have done what no other Trek film or show had ever done before and that's literally divide the fandom...almost like the US is divided by the extreme left and right views right now. No one seems to be able to see the middle ground for fear that doing so makes them appear weaker somehow.

Those who love the movie have been so cruel, so spiteful, so vengeful and so ridiculing to those who hate the film, they're asking them to give up the fandom because they were never worthy. Those who hated the film are so intolerant of those who loved it that they're calling them traitors or fair-weather.

And people like me - in the middle - the people who liked parts and hated parts - are caught in the middle by both factions. We're being told that we must choose a side to be heard.

Now - it's not true here at TrekUnited. While there've been some choice words slung by both sides for the most part things here have been great. It's the reason I post here and not at other sites. It's also the same for The Omega Sector (TrekCore's forums). But other sites have allowed things to become been shockingly cruel.

And I have to ask...is this was Paramount was hoping for? Is this what Trekkies themselves want? - To let a bunch of jerks in Hollywood tell us how we're allowed to enjoy our fandom?

Since when?

I may not have adored this film. Some people on other forums may call me a phloxhead and used Nimoy's JOKING words as an anthem to do it. I and another member here have discussed proudly displaying our "Talky Geek" status on a t-shirt, but I'll be damned if I give up my fandom for TNG or ENT or my burdgeoning admiration for DS9 over the new movie! Seriously. How ridiculous is that!?

There's room for all of us folks. There always has been and there always will be.

Don't let any one side tell you there is a right or a wrong way to be a fan. Trekkies are the most amazingly diverse group of people I've ever known, why are we letting one 2 hour script divide us?

I started to think about how it must have been for Trekkies to handle Enterprise as it came into fruition. It was a prequel - filling in the blanks of canon that a lot of Trekkies (yes, even me) protect zealously. It was filled with characters they didn't know and weren't sure they wanted to know. It had yet another chick in a catsuit screwing her crewmate. The first two seasons are on the verge of being painful to watch. There was no direction and no real target - even though there was a canon show to aim for. Things started to change late in the 3rd season and suddenly it looked like it might actually jump the hurdle of the fans' acceptance. Unfortunately, the death knell had been rung before the fandom could make a financial difference, ratings or anything that could save it from the Suits' accounting books and the casket was nailed shut. I know quite a few Trekkies who did not like Enterprise at all at the time who have not only acknowledged its existence but have accepted the show and its fans as part of the wider group. The same goes with every other incarnation of Trek.

The new movie definitely steps on "sacred" territory. It actually reboots one of those incarnations. I think that's what a bunch of people feared was the universe-shattering changes that occurred to their beloved characters. I don't blame them. I've been reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and let me tell you - talk about taking one of my favorite characters of literature (Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennet) and turning her into something completely different. (She takes on ninjas too.) The book is hilarious.

But it started to irk me today when I thought about the new movie. The Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Scott, Sulu, Chekov and McCoy are NOT the same characters we knew from the shows. Kirk is brasher and less thoughtful. Spock is more emotional. Uhura is...*sigh*...Uhura is in love. Chekov is the new Wesley Crusher. Sulu forgets about the parking brake and Scott has no compunction about animal testing. McCoy is much more bitter about his divorce.

Starfleet is NOT the same organization we've loved for 40 years. It's got no rules of military protocol. Captains can eject their uppity First Officers into exile without due process. Bridges are filled with cadets all the frickin time. XO's and Captains are field promoted in the turbolifts. And they apparently don't know how to hunt down a HUGE Romulan mining ship that's been trolling around the quadrant for 25 years after it destroyed one of its ships.

It is a completely different Star Trek. It's a Star Trek I do not like. But that doesn't mean I hate the people who do like it. I can understand the reasons why they like the movie. I just don't agree with them. It doesn't make them less a Trekkie. The same way that not liking the new movie lessens my fandom for other variations of the franchise.

I will likely never like much of the new Trek. And that's okay.

Now. If they add ninjas and zombies, I might have to reconsider this stance.

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