When it comes to my blogs, I’m not much of a rabble rouser. I’ve made a pact with myself not to write about politics, but rather write about things that unite us, that remind us that we are all the same under the skin, and that we have more in common than we believe.
But there is one topic that is difficult to discuss without raising people’s temperatures and getting their hackles up. No, it’s not sex nor religion. However, it is a deep, deep chasm — a giant rift between us — and I say it’s about time I put up or shut up. I can stay silent no more.
Between Star Trek versus Star Wars, there is no contest.
I am making a stand, and proudly declaring that I am, and have been since I was 13 years old, a Trekkie. (I am aware that some people prefer Trekker, but I’m old-fashioned, and prefer the original nomenclature.) Star Trek has always been a show about ideas and ideals, the very best of us, the explorers and makers of peace. It is a show where science plays an integral part, and so does human nature. Ahead of its time, the original Star Trek show pointed out the foolishness of blind prejudice, showed the first ever interracial kiss, and (although they were in mini-skirts) the women were equal to men: Equal in important jobs like chief communications officer, in loyalty and in strength of character. This wasn’t a soap opera, not a show of who is schtumping whom. No, it was a show that pointed out that we cannot live being only good or only evil, we need both darkness and light in our character to function well and fully. Star Trek made us think, it challenged our pre-conceived notions of what it means to be a citizen of a country and what it means to be a citizen of the world — or the universe. It pointed out that there is always another way, another way to peace, to diplomacy, to a solution.
A friend of ours have said that he became a fighter pilot because of Star Trek: the Next Generation, that it inspired him. Once, at a party, someone mentioned that they were a Star Wars fan, not Star Trek. Our friend looked at him with disdain and said, “What are you — 12 years old?” That about sums it up.
To be honest and un-biased, I was blown away by Star Wars when it first came out in 1977. I still felt my head spin, felt like I was flying in a starship hours after watching it for the first time. Of course, I developed a crush on Han Solo (and Harrison Ford, by extension); who doesn’t love a charming, handsome rogue? And the second Star Wars movie that came out, The Return of the Jedi, was pretty amazing, maybe even better than the original.
But then, years down the road, there was Jar Jar Binks. It still makes me so angry when I think about that creature, my inability to understand it, my great irritation at it. My blood boils whenever I think of it. There may come a time when I am in an elevator with George Lucas, and then I am cornering him and demanding my $7 back. It’s not the money, obviously, it’s the principle. It’s the fact that I can never get the two miserable, tortuous hours of my life back and he owes me. Mr. Lucas owes me that time and an apology, but I guess the only thing I can collect is the money.
Now, let’s talk about the Muppets or the puppets, whatever you want to call the cartoonish creatures that inhabit the Star Wars universe. There were always Muppets in Star Wars. They were playing musical instruments in the bar. They were walking around the cities and spouting nonsense that passed for language. Many of them looked like Jim Hanson’s creations, but I was informed that they weren’t. I think that even some ewoks were Muppets. And let’s not forget the most important Muppet of them all — Yoda.
Meanwhile, in the Star Trek universe, aliens carried their own breathing apparatus if they couldn’t breathe oxygen.
I am still a bit miffed at J.J. Abrams, he of the Star Trek movie franchise, for two things. An admitted Star Wars fan, he brought in an ewok-like Muppet into the logical, scientific world of Star Trek. If that wasn’t bad enough, he also completely destroyed the time-line. I’m not a purist, really I’m not, but who blows up an entire world out of order? It’s like … it’s like as if Bruce Wayne’s parents’ were actually bludgeoned to death by Penguin with his umbrella — it’s just not right.
Another thing about Star Trek, throughout its many reiteration, series and movies — they all came down to ideals, to humanity’s better angels, if you will.
Additionally, Star Wars, prequel 1, Episode IX, subparagraph C (2) (the Phantom Menace) brought us a political debate in a large Congress-like chamber, the name of which I forget. But it was political dialogue so drawn-out and so boring I found myself looking at my watch in the middle of a movie. And, could the bad guys telegraph that they’re the bad guys any louder? Cartoons, not characters — that was the gift of Star Wars. Of course, after Jar Jar Binks I will never pay for another Star Wars movie. Ever. But even that wasn’t the worse offense. What could be lower? Terrible and lazy writing. Wooden acting. Those things will not be tolerated by me. Honestly, the only reason there is a debate about these two sides is because they both have Star in the title.
Please, don’t send me hate mail. I get that some may feel as strongly as I do about this subject, yet stand in the opposite camp from me. And, if you don’t agree with me, by all means, write an opposing view and tag me so I can understand you better.
Live long and prosper.