Today I attended my first Star Trek convention at the age of 32 as an early Christmas pre a little delirious.
Wandering round the hall most of the other attendees lived up to the stereotype. There were ill fitting Starfleet costumes, Mudd’s Women outfits, and homemade bat’leth’s galore. I had plenty of time queuing to see Shatner to ponder a little on what it is about Star Trek that has inspired this level of devotion for nearly 50 years.
Star Trek first appeared about two thirds of the way through the most murderous century in human history. On ‘the right’ you had the Nazis who’s vision of a future populated by blonde, blue eyed Aryans led to the deaths of millions in World War Two. The communists murdered millions more based on class, education, and, in Zaire, on whether they wore ties. And, though it is largely forgotten now, the genetic engineering and selective breeding of eugenics was a key part of ‘Progressive’ thought. The 20th century totalitarians saw no room in the future for anyone who differed from the Plan.
Star Trek went against all that. It offered a future which didn’t exclude. If there was room in the 23rd century for blue faced Andorrans, lumpy headed Klingons, pointy eared Vulcans, and, strangest of all, humans, there was room enough for you too.
That is the central, simple message of Star Trek and it is as relevant and necessary today as it was in 1964. That’s the reason there was a green woman getting off a bus in east London at 9am this morning.