Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 96 - The Collegiate Boldly Go...

Today is a big day for me. I'm "presenting" my first paper. It's a lengthy historical analysis of the life of one of my idols, Gene Roddenberry, and how his creative concept for Star Trek merged with fan enthusiasm to create a worldwide entertainment and social phenomenon.

I freely admit that I have been a Trekkie (or a Trekker, in more accurate terminology) since I was about 7 years old. The show had a profound impact on my childhood and I avidly followed its resurrection in later years, attending conventions, collecting memorabilia, even donning my own ST: The Next Generation captain's uniform on Halloween and other special occasions. As a young girl, I wanted to "be" Mr. Spock and marry Captain Kirk. Like the original series' 5-year mission, my dreams never quite materialized.

From Tribbles and Tricorders Trekkies
You've heard us called Trekkies, Trekkers and possibly, just plain "crazy," but the truth is we are just people (from all walks of life) who love what Star Trek stands for - a vision of the future that is always positive, where people are accepting, open and have overcome the petty difference which have divided us all for so long.

As I prepare to head over to campus on this crisp fall afternoon to take a marketing exam, and then make my presentation on this subject I so adore, I can't help but be grateful that I've had this opportunity, this absolutely amazing gift, to go back to school later in life. Where else could I have learned so much and grown in such meaningful ways?

I leave you with something Roddenberry himself wrote back in 1975 when he was asked to ponder the question, "What is the true measure of a Star Trek fan?" The great "Bird of the Galaxy" as he was known, wrote this:

“Of thousands of them I have met over the years – people of widely varied ages, occupations and backgrounds – one unusual quality seems to have been shared by all…The typical Star Trek fan is invariably a remarkably gentle human being, gentle as in the lovely but too often archaic concept of gentleman and gentlewoman – the kind of gentleness which comes out of an affection for this universe in general and for life in particular. It is this capacity for affection which led the Star Trek fans to approve and appreciate our view that humankind is not best characterized as evil – as the visionless would have us believe– but, rather, that its past has been a lusty infant’s period of learning by trial and error…[the child] is moving toward a proud adulthood, of course. In time, perhaps even beyond that. The fans and I dream the same dreams about such things. That is our bond.”
It is my hope that Roddenberry’s vision of the future will be sustained. As long as millions of fans continue to cherish and learn from the ideals and ethics of Star Trek, perhaps one day, there will be peace in the universe.

Live long and prosper
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