Today’s #speakgeek post is in honor of Star Trek Day TO!
What started off as a joke on Twitter rapidly gained momentum into an all day fan-run event. One of the things I’ve discovered while planning this event is that Star Trek seems to be a great polarizing topic. When the Torontoist reported on Star Trek Day, the author decided to ridicule Star Wars -- whether serious or tongue-in-cheek, it was still a bit of nerd-rage baiting.
And that certainly wasn’t the intention. Those of us planning Star Trek Day love Star Wars, as well. We were not trying to promote Star Trek as better than Star Wars -- we just wanted a day to celebrate, too!
On the other hand, some individuals took it as an opportunity to draw lines in the sand: “I’m a nerd... but not THAT much of a nerd.” For many, being a trekkie (or trekker, whichever is your preference), is the nadir of nerddom.
So, I’m here to say that I’m happy to be on the bottom! I love Star Trek -- I don’t care if the science is hokey, or that the vision of utopia is corny. So many science fiction stories were extensions of the classic monster stories -- humankind tinkers with powers beyond their ability to measure and suffers disastrous results. Star Trek, on the other hand, embraces ethical technology, exploration and cross-cultural exchange.
As mentioned on our promo material, “Star Trek represents a hopeful vision of the future.” It’s a future where we work to overcome our differences and reach reasonable compromises. In the future, Earth governments have banded together and work for the betterment of all humanity. Yes, there is conflict with other species, but we learn that misunderstanding is the root of so many of these conflicts.
Star Trek’s vision is locked firmly on the future, but the day-to-day decisions, dilemmas and interactions are universal. This is how Star Trek bridges the gap between the viewer and the story -- in between the technobabble is a story that’s easy to relate to.
The technobabble isn’t so easily dismissed, though. The explanations for many of the scientific discoveries are dodgy at best, but it’s gratifying to see that present day technology has been so influenced by Star Trek. We may not have the holodeck, replicator or transporter yet, but the Star Trek PADD could easily be swapped out by an iPad or other tablet device. Touch screens are now the norm. We can print 3D objects! That’s not a replicator, but it’s close.
Maybe it’s impossible to travel to warp speed. And maybe we’ll never master replicator technology. But as long as there are individuals that are inspired by the casual wonders of Star Trek, there will be those that try.
And if this is the bottom, so be it -- I’ll lie back and stare up at the stars!