The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Best quote about "Star Trek" ever

Once upon a time, someone criticized "Babylon 5" for not being more like "Star Trek: The Next Generation." J. Michael Straczynski responded.
As for the notion that it could use "a little of Trek's humanism," I don't much like the way that's been defined there. Seems to me that that version of "humanism" is placid, unpassionate, orderly and for the most part, with some exceptions, bloodless. To me, humanism means embracing our flaws as well as our nobilities, and saying that we don't have to shed our basic humanity in order to go to the stars, but that we remain *humans*, with all that entails. And we somehow persevere in SPITE of our flaws. I find the process of overcoming more interesting, and more human, than assuming that we've already overcome everything. 
The kind of humanism you're referring to isn't humanism, by my book. It's "we should all be nice to one another, and nobody should have any problems except the ones forced on us by bad guy aliens"'s humanity as written by Barney the Dinosaur.


  1. As much as I like Star Trek it's a franchise with a lot of problems, its idealistic future is a bit too idealistic for it's own good. This was a part of the late Michael Piller’s unpublished book about what he called "Roddenberry’s Box." He was head writer of TNG at the time and needed to buy a spec script for season 3:

    "It was a rough teleplay called “The Bonding” and would require a lot of reworking but I liked the idea. A female Starfleet officer is killed in an accident and her child, overcome with grief, bonds with a holographic recreation of his mother rather than accept her death.

    I sent a short description of the story to Rick and Gene. Minutes later, I was called to an urgent meeting in Gene’s office. “This doesn’t work” he said. “In the Twenty-Fourth Century, no one grieves. Death is accepted as part of life.”

    "As I shared the dilemma with the other staff writers, they took a bit of pleasure from my loss of virginity, all of them having already been badly bruised by rejections from Gene. Roddenberry was adamant that Twenty-Fourth Century man would evolve past the petty emotional turmoil that gets in the way of our happiness today. Well, as any writer will tell you, ‘emotional turmoil’, petty and otherwise, is at the core of any good drama. It creates conflict between characters. But Gene didn’t want conflict between our characters. “All the problems of mankind have been solved,” he said. “Earth is a paradise.”

    "Now, go write drama."


  2. OK, while I enjoy the orignal "Star Trek" and "The Next Generation", humanity as written by Barney the Dinosaur kind of sums up Gene Roddenberry's ideals.