USS Atlantis NX-63546 presents...
Over the years, the five series, ten movies and hundreds of episodes, the Star Trek universe has developed into a rich mythology of heroes and villains, epic sagas and stand alone parables. It has fictional races in it that have taken on a very real existence in the modern psyche and developed sociological concepts that have grown far beyond the world of fiction.
Even I would not go so far as to say that Star Trek embodies the very best in challenging science fiction, it is after all still shackled by the almighty Nielsen ratings. However it has been the catalyst for others to make some fascinating observations about existence and the human condition.
I must preface this by saying that whereas all the other days are a product of teamwork, the responsibility for today's present to you lies solely with me, Kirok of L'Stok.
My first nomination is to someone who has used their association with Star Trek to aid an international campaign to bring the light of freedom and democracy, something that so many Western nations take for granted, to a military dictatorship far more repressive than any fictional Romulan Empire. I refer of course to Walter Koenig's July visit to Thailand and his continuing advocacy of human rights in Burma. Walter is still very much a working actor and writer as can be seen from his recent interview with William S. Kowinski on his "Soul of Star Trek" Blog (in itself a rich source of brain food). His trip preceded the recent public outcry over the Burmese government's and the UN and US condemnation. As he says on his website... "I was shocked at how little I knew," Koenig, 70, said, referring to the hundreds of thousands of refugees living along the border in Thailand. "The time was right in my life to be a part of something that is worthwhile. It's one thing to espouse a liberal and political attitude - and quite another to act on it."
The United States Campaign for Burma, an activist group based in Washington, D.C., organised the trip to NorthWest Thailand where he met civilians suffering from battle injuries and disease.
Star Trek fans share a value system that will help connect them to the refugees and shine a spotlight on their plight, Koenig said.
"In the original series, we were an international, interethnic, interracial community," Koenig said. "People have responded to that for 40 years and I think there's a sense of benevolence and humanity in the fans. Their nerdiness not withstanding makes them good company to get the word out."
My next nomination is again about someone who has espoused a real world advocacy but might come as a surprise because the gentleman concerned is better known for his commentary on the latest rumours about the upcoming Star Trek XI movie than any of his editorial comment. In July, Anthony Pascale wrote on his TrekMovie.com blog an article entitled "Time to Form Starfleet", which was set off by the thirteen space agency agreement to co-ordinate future exploration . Mr Pascale said at the time... "Any Trek fan knows that eventually humans will work together in the exploration of space. To have various groups of humans duplicate effort and cost is clearly illogical, and lets face it…there has been an astouding lack of progress... The obvious solution to all of this is a new level of cooperation where all agencies and countries of the world can work together and share both the burdens and the benefits of the exploration of space. Let us all band together and begin to discover all the strange new worlds that await us.
Trekkies are famous for protests and letter writing campaigns to save fictional TV series. How about turning those energies into getting involved in real public policy. Let your government know that you support the human exploration of space and unmanned space science. Hopefully through the cooperation with international partners one does not have to come at the cost of the other." Like most Trek fans I am a great fan of space exploration and sadly it looks like the initiative to share resources in space seems to be dissipating in a new nationalism that is reviving the space race that, although it motivated governments to finance the multi-million dollar Apollo project, internationally it cost the global economy dearly in duplicated infrastructure. I for one would cheer just as loudly if the next astronaut to land on the Moon were Chinese, Indian, Russian or American.
My last nomination is not a person but a group, a fanzine in fact. Star Trek has often confronted debates about politics and religion. Personally I've been preoccupied over the past month with the lack of religious ceremonies in Star Trek, not because I wish to see any particular religion or philosophy endorsed by Canon, but rather because I believe that the human condition requires ceremonies and occasions that mark the milestones of our lives. Christenings, weddings and funerals mark the three conditions of mankind and without ceremonies to mark them what does that say about us?
Trekdom, Star Trek fanzine is a Blogzine that, in it's own words, publishes provocative interviews, think-pieces, and op-eds on Star Trek so you read it at your own risk! In the past two months, they have had 14 articles including "Star Trek and Religion", a rant about the Inconsistencies of Capt. Janeway, "Star Trek as Liberal; Star Wars as Conservative" and "Communism and Star Trek - Is the Federation the Ultimate Communist State?" Challenging reading! However, it is only by reading something that you disagree with, that you can be forced yourself to reevaluate and, in many cases, strengthen your ideas.
If you disagree, though, why? You have to have motives for your actions otherwise it is supposition. Seasons greetings to all!
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