Sooooooo, anywaaaaaaay…

I’m told Star Trek celebrated fifty Earth-years of existence yesterday. I have a tendency to bust Star Trek’s chops, because I find much of the franchise cloying, reductive, stupidly optimistic, cartoonish, dull, and just generally very shallow. The really, truly meaty sci-fi out there in the world boldy goes where Star Trek fears to tread, and is much more interesting, useful, and engaging than any Enterprise has ever been. The thing is, none of that shit matters when you’re a kid.

I feel safe saying that Star Trek as much (or perhaps more than) anything else is what made me a decent person. Ignore the sloppy writing, the hammy acting. The beating heart at the core of Trek is one quite frankly vital message to humankind. “We all matter, we’re all fundamentally good, and we’re at our best when we’re helping one another.” And as a little kid, staring up at Captain Picard week after week, that message burrowed deep in my skull and made a nice little nest for itself.

Sure, eventually I grew up, got more discerning. I started to learn how good drama is born from good conflict. I found science fiction that was interested in throwing a spotlight on all the dark, miserable parts of the human experience, demanding we address them. I watched way too much anime. Y’know, grown up stuff.

But that message was still there. Still is. We don’t have to hate each other. We can do better than this. We are better than this. Is that an absurd childish sentimentality that’s overly reductive to the human experience? Absolutely. But as targets to aspire to, well… you can do a lot worse, y’know? So thanks, Gene. Thanks for your dopey show about space people in pajamas. Here’s to another fifty, to strange new worlds, and to absent friends.

Live long and prosper, ya’ll.