Saturday, March 25, 2006

My hero....
Originally uploaded by blackbear88.
Bow Before His Might!

hhw tipped me off last week to a special on the History Channel called "How William Shatner Changed the World." I can't believe I almost missed this; there was a frantic scramble in the living room while I tried to remember how my VCR works (curse you, DVD technology! And curse me, for not being able to afford TiVo. Just wait, TiVo...someday, you will be mine.)

What you have to understand is that, while I have an appreciation for the later incarnations of Star Trek in varying degrees, my childhood was intertwined with the original series in such as way as to be completely symbiotic. That handsome fellow you see on the right was one of my earliest toys; I got him when I was 4, along with the rest of the Mego crew and the boxy vinyl Enterprise with the spinny transporter. I loved Star Trek. I fully expected the future to be like Star Trek. The more I thought about this last week (as I watched ol' Bill cuttin' up on screen--the man's hilarious, no question) the more it came to me that Star Trek shaped not just my love of science fiction, but my ideas on politics, religion, society, and technology. Shocking, really, to realize that it's not just me, or even just me and the even bigger trek-heads I saw when I was into the con scene--Star Trek burned itself into the imagination of the people who masterminded the technology boom and the arrival of the information age. I always just thought it was a nerdy coincidence that flip phones look like communicators... (And yet, as you know, that's why I bought one.) I feel somehow... vindicated, I guess, that the importance of Star Trek TOS in my own early development is mirrored to some extent in the mainstream world. Maybe I'm more mainstream than I thought.

I'm certainly more mainstream than the woman I hired to work at the store a few years back, who wanted to wear her Starfleet uniform to work and whose answering machine message included theme music, and the phrase "This is Captain Smith of the U.S.S. Freedom! Ensign Smith and I are on an away mission right now...." I never asked how her husband had gotten demoted to Ensign. I had visions of him at home swabbing the holodeck while she faced the dangers of the retail galaxy on Planet Mall....

hhw also included a link to Wil Wheaton's blog entry about Grand Slam, which included some kind words regarding fans of the U.S.S. Freedom type; it was really quite nice. I've never read his blog before, though I knew he had one. I wasn't so much a fan of ST:TNG while he was on it. This wasn't really because of the "Wesley saves the universe!" stereotype that fans laugh about--though there was one episode where Wesley created an intelligent life form as part of a science fair project or somethin', and that did make me wince all of its own merit. I think, in retrospect, it was more that there was someone very close to my own age on Star Trek.(He's two years younger than me, almost to the day.) The problem was not that there was a kid on the show, but that that kid wasn't ME. I'm not talking about being an actor--god knows that's never been in the cards (as you'll see when MD Hearts becomes downloadable! very soon!) But the character was a proxy for all us kids who wanted to be part of the Enterprise crew... and he wasn't like me at all. So, perhaps unfairly, my visceral reaction to Wesley was always, "Hmpf. Jerk." And, as an extension, I didn't feel a fannish need to seek out Wil Wheaton's weblog. I doubt I'll read it regularly even now--but knowing that he, too, fantasizes about hearing the words "I love you" from Morena Baccarin makes me think that while Wesley and I were galaxies apart, Mr. Wheaton and I at least have something good in common! :]

Sweet cracker sandwich, it's snowing like friggin Christmas outside. What the hell is going on with March?