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Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Geek Closet

SC politicoblogger Wesley Donehue warns readers, "Don't ever underestimate my geekyness."

We're guessing the universe of geekyness in which he should be considered wouldn't include this tribe.

Nor, for that matter, this one.

Certainly not this lot. Or these.

Strange, the attraction of a franchise that has never dealt with gay characters (though creator Gene Roddenberry kept pressing to get them in. After all, he commented, "It's the 24th century. By that time nobody gives a shit! It's an issue of the 20th century and maybe the 19th century, but it has nothing to do with the 24th century. By that time it's your choice of whoever you want."[3]

Maybe,as one blogger has written, the star Trek franchise is all things to all people. It's a straight boy's techno-fantasy with alien, yet predictably pneumatic babes; to gay viewers, it's set in a time and universe where people have evolved a bit:

Star Trek portrays a world on Earth without prejudices, crime, and pollution. It is a perfect world where everyone is treated equally. Maybe gay fans believe that they would be fully accepted as homosexuals in a Star Trek type of world. Maybe, they seek in this show what our society cannot offer them.

But, would gays be really accepted in a Star Trek world? Is it fair to assume that since there's no open condemnation of homosexuals on the show, silence equals acceptance?
The problem is that silence does "speak" when it's contrasted to a usually loud and powerful voice. We are told time and again on Star Trek that humanity has overcome its prejudices, that all humans are treated equally. On Earth of the 24th century there is no war, no poverty, no hunger, and no greed. If this is true, then what we don't see is as important as what we do.

But despite Roddenberry's protest that Star Trek is three centuries on, we view it three centuries behind. In a world where, more often than not, what divides us is what counts. Witness this group- or this blog- trying to be accepted by larger groups with which they have a 99.99999% overlap of worldview. But they can't get in.

Is geekyness the acceptance of the values of a more highly evolved, technological society of the future? Or is it just a teen phase you can make money off nowadays on Ebay?

It's an interesting Holodeck problem.


  1. Thanks for the shout out. There may have been no homosexuals, but remember, Star Trek televised the first interracial kiss. It was pretty progressive and controversial at the time. Of course, I wasn't even born yet, but that's what I've read.

  2. Which suggests it's time for Star Trek to catch up with the times. Like the GOP. Agree?

  3. There actually have been two Star Trek shows that specifically dealt with the issue. The first woman/woman kiss of a sexual nature took place on Deep Space Nine (albeit one of the women was possessed of a Trill symbiote that had previously been male). There was also a Next Generation episode about a world of lesbians, where one fell in love with Ryker and the majority required her to be re-programmed out of heterosexuality.

    Fortunately, you already knew I was a Trek geek from way back.

    (FYI I think Babylon 5 did have an occasional recurring male character who was gay.)

  4. All true, and all background noise. Tokenism like the last half-season gay plotline revealed in Battlestar Galactica: not on the TV show, but on those wimpy little webisodes.

    And aside, from displaying some dazzling Star Trek erudition, it evades my larger point- about artificial divisions between people who otherwise have nearly everything in common. How are straight people threatened by treating gays as part of the regular scenery in the media?