Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Star Trek is Part of the Culture

At Arisia, my wife was on a panel discussing Star Trek's presence in the wider culture, after 40 years on and off the air.

I can think of no clearer example of this than Representative David Wu's (D-OR) recent speech in the House criticizing the "Vulcans" (a group of mid-level foreign policy advisers in the Bush White House) on Iraq. I quote from the Congressional Record:

(House of Representatives - January 10, 2007)

[Page: H258] GPO's PDF 


(Mr. WU asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute.)

Mr. WU. Mr. Speaker, 4 years ago, this administration took America to war in Iraq without adequate evidence. Since that time, the administration has not listened to the American people, it hasn't listened to our professional military, and it certainly hasn't listened to this Congress.

It was said of a prominent businessman in downtown Portland that he never listened to anybody and that if he was ever drawn in a cartoon he would be drawn without ears.

Now, this President has listened to some people, the so-called Vulcans in the White House, the ideologues. But unlike the Vulcans of Star Trek, who made the decisions based on logic and fact, these guys make it on ideology. These aren't Vulcans. There are Klingons in the White House. But unlike the real Klingons of Star Trek, these Klingons have never fought a battle of their own.

Don't led faux Klingons send real Americans to war. It is wrong.

(Hat tip: The Daily Show)

See also Jon Stewart's analysis, with commentary by Leonard Nimoy and George Takei.


Ari Kinsberg said...

there was a great academic article about 13 years ago (in the journal for the sociology of religion?) on star trek and its role in contemporary cultures. i will see if i can find it in my papers.

ari kinsberg said...

micael jindra,"star trek fandom as a Religious Phenomon," Socilogy of Religion 55.1 (1994): 27-51