I reckon I’ve figured out why everybody’s brain in the Untied States is getting soft, like grits with too much water in them. It’s because of Star Trek. You know, that space opera about how the world’s worst actors set out to go where no man has gone before and, with any luck, stay there.
Scientists have actually proved that listening to five minutes of Captain Kirk’s dialog lowers your IQ three points, and kills half your personality. Really. Caltech did a big study. They exposed white mice to Star Trek. After ten minutes of sodden intergalactic moralizing, the mice died. Nothing killed them. They just didn’t want to live any longer.
I first saw this intellectual flat tire in college about a million years ago, when Captain Kirk commanded the Enterprise, which looked like a Frisbee with a pair of frankfurters slung beneath it. There on the television was Kirk and that solemn clod with ears like a fruit bat. Kirk had the range of facial expression of a cigar-store Indian. For several episodes I thought he was actually dead.
Anyway, they were on a Type M planet, which just happened to have evolved a perfect replica of Nazi Germany. Most Type M planets did that. The rest had Life Forms that looked like beach balls with Christmas tree lights in them.
The Nazis were charging toward Kirk and the fruit bat. Kirk got a more than usually wooden expression and said into his Palm Pilot, “Beam us up, Scotty!” I wondered why they wanted to be up Scotty, especially at a time like that. But then, I don’t understand advanced civilizations. We don’t have any in West Virginia.
The transporter always made them disappear in a cloud of little flashy light thingies. The trouble was, they always reappeared somewhere else. I figured it was a design flaw with transporters.
The worrisome thing was that people nominally out of diapers took this stuff seriously. Soon it became a cult. People who couldn’t get dates and had lots of time on their hands formed strange groups to talk about The Meaning of Episode Seven. Actually, Episode Seven didn’t have any meaning. Once I saw a couple of books with titles like The Philosophy of Star Trek. By comparison, professional wrestling looks positively reasonable.
Soon these socially enfeebled outcasts were calling themselves Trekkies, and having conventions. I went to one in Baltimore called Balti-Con. It was appalling. Hundreds — nay, thousands — of documentable adults milled around, costumed as Kirk, Spock, Wookies, Klingons, Darth Vadar, Life Forms (which was probably misrepresentation), and assorted extraterrestrials. I reflected that if any terrestrials were extra, these were they. A Wookie, it turned out, was a burlap sack with hair on it. And a Trekkie stuffed inside.
I’d have put a bounty on the whole lot of them.
I looked over this sea of waving fronds and antennae and wondered where the race went wrong. Do you know about Mensa? It’s a club for brightish dysfunctional people who don’t know how to dress. They’re smart people who aren’t smart enough to figure out how to have a social life. The dregs de la cr?me, as one of them put it. They’re the biggest collection of geeks short of the parking lot at the National Security Agency. My daughter, then twelve, went to a Mensa party and said, “Daddy, I think they’re all having a bad-hair day.”
That’s what Trekkies looked like: Mensans with lower SATs and too much to eat.
I went up to an adenoidal kid who looked like a shipment of pork sausage with eyes to ask where to find the press booth.
All that would come out of my mouth was, “You know where I can get a drink?”
“Arkty bobblewonk. Haj,” he said. I swear it. There was a glitter of wanton idiocy on his gold-rims.
I think he realized that I was incapable of speech.
“It’s Klingon,” he said complacently. “You ought to learn it.”
“Do you know where I can find a whole lot of drinks?”
The philosophy of Star Trek is a sort of infantilism holding that sophomoric emotionality beats anything resembling reason. Oddly, the thinking of the year 4086 exactly paralleled the political correctness of Hollywood in 2000. See, Spock, the fruit bat, was a Vulcan. These guys are coldly logical and don’t understand Oprah Consciousness. Most episodes consisted of the crew trying to get Spock to Have An Emotion, the way those bloated talk-show ladies try to get erring boyfriends to have feelings. Most episodes of Star Trek succeeded in making me have feelings, mostly involving Kirk and a baseball bat.
Some time later, Kirk was replaced by a shiny bald-headed Frog, perhaps called John-Luke Peekhard, who looked as if he did his head with Turtle Wax. Finally, in synch with the Pentagon, they got another new ship commanded by Madeleine Albright. Star Trek is an inexhaustible font of Appropriate Values.
The whole crew of the new Frisbee belonged in an asylum. There was a black guy who wore an air filter around his head, apparently in the belief that he was a carburetor. After enough time in space, you can get kind of odd. There was another guy called Data who seldom had any, wore white make-up, and thought he was an android. Once again, the crew spent most of its time trying to teach the android to have emotions. Those people would do psychotherapy on a lawnmower if they could corner it.
It gets worse. Believe it or not, there now exists a cult dedicated to what is known as “KSP” — that’s “Kirk-Spock porn,” graphic tales of homosexual love between Kirk and Spock. Whole books of this stuff circulate in samizdat. If that doesn’t make you want to join another phylum, I don’t know what might.
The only answer is to poison the whole lot. Doing the Trekkies in would raise the average IQ of the country by at least seven points. I say give’m Drano to eat.
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