Thursday, May 7, 2009

Geek Days Are Here Again - Trekkie Edition

I've mentioned elsewhere how much of a Geek I am. Tomorrow will be a day I get my Geek on, a special day, a red-letter day.

One, it's my birthday. Two, it's the release of the Star Trek: The Reboot movie.

I need to note how much of a cornerstone Trek is to the Geek culture. There are a slew of different Geeks in the world - Tech Geeks, Anime Geeks, History Geeks, Political Geeks, High Fantasy Geeks (LotR geekdom started years before Trek did), Sports Geeks - and in some ways Trek touches upon them all. Fans of the West Wing noticed how the show brought out the scifi Geek in them and duh it's just Star Trek In the Oval Office, with Bartlet as Kirk, Leo as Spock, CJ as Uhura, Josh Sam and Toby as Scotty Sulu and/or Chekov, and Donna as Yeoman Rand (with the Republicans as Klingons). And the inverse of that is how the Original Series came as a parable of the Cold War era, the utopian ideal of JFK's New Frontier, with Starfleet as the West, Klingons as Russians, Romulans as Chinese. Star Trek VI is practically a Trek revisionism to the collapse of the Soviet Union: Praxis' explosion as Chernobyl, Gorkon as Gorbachev (destabilized via coup rather than assassinated), script filled with quoted references to Cold War dialog (my twin brother at this point still doesn't get the "Only Nixon Could Go to China" reference), the Khitomer Accords akin to the opening up of Eastern Europe and the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

Everything else in Geek culture owes something to Star Trek. Even Star Wars, a cultural behemoth in its own right. Trek was the first science fiction show to have dedicated conventions that actually got noticed (usually mocked from the 70s to the 90s) as a cultural phenom in their own right. Trek made geeking out over Tolkien and Hobbits more high-brow (snerk): before Trek, obsessing over Middle-earth was something kept to university coffee houses and halfling-weed-scented basements. Trek culture meshed and still meshes with Superhero Comics culture. Quoting from Trek is now so common people don't even blink or snicker when they do. Wearing Trek outfits outside of movie theaters and convention halls doesn't seem so weird anymore. We've even got serious (well as serious as current circumstances allow them) political commentators noting how much Obama is like Spock (that Obama shows signs of being an unabashed Geek (only a Geek would pose like that in front of a Superman statue) in his own right helps)... and that supposedly humorous Onion article that posits the BSG finale got Obama emotionally distraught? Probably was more accurate than the satirists thought... but I digress.

People who wouldn't even think of themselves as hardcore Trekkies or even hardcore Geeks could still quote heavily from the series magnum opus, Wrath of Khan - and not just Shatner's overemotive "KHHHHAAAAANNNNNN!" I'm talking knowing what a Kobayashi Maru is, that the Klingons have a proverb about revenge being a dish best served cold, that Ricardo Montalban didn't wear a chest prothesis for that outfit (yeah ladies, Mr. Rourke was BUFF).

Normal people know how to pronounce "nuclear wessels." People driving 90 MPH on the highway get pulled over by cops telling them they're speeding over Warp Factor 9. Regular people know Sulu got married... well, yeah, still don't know how he's gonna squeeze out a daughter though... Shakespeare is getting translated (back) into the original Klingon. Doctor Who knows of Spock as a TV character (which ruined the hell out of all those damn epic Crossover fanfic stories that had the Enterprise crew Trekkin with the Doctor! NOOOOO).

This is the Internet Age. Brought to you by computer nerds, bringing you information over the tubes, fashioning all Internet Traditions. And don't forget all those engineering techheads who designed mobile phones. Of course Star Trek is going to be all over this place. Soon, all will be Trek.

(Flashes the Vulcan greeting). Party Hard, fanboys!