Sunday, June 14, 2009

...But It Was Home

Up a steep and very narrow stairway
To a voice like a metronome
Up a steep and very narrow stairway
It wasn't paradise
It wasn't paradise
It wasn't paradise
But it was home
-- "At the Ballet," A Chorus Line 

So yesterday, I descended into total nerdom, and --

Okay, who am I kidding?  I've been a nerd ever since I taught myself to read.  Having 20/575 eyesight and the glasses to go with it was just the icing on the cake.

Anyhow, I went to see Star Trek again, and I've been pondering my reaction to it in the time since my last post.  I couldn't quite describe why it affected me the way it did.

And then Bones nudged a very nauseous Kirk in his side as the shuttle flew up to the Enterprise, and I realized it.

There's a part of me for which Star Trek is home.

(Do me a favor, okay?  If you didn't like the movie, let me have my indulgent self-analytical moment and gripe about the movie in your own blog, okay?  You're entitled to your opinion, I promise, and we can debate later if you want to.)

Now, different is nice, but it sure isn't pretty 
Pretty is what it's about
I never met anyone who was different
Who couldn't figure that out
So beautiful I'd never live to see
But it was clear
If not to her
Well, then, to me
That everything is beautiful at the ballet...
-- "At the Ballet," A Chorus Line

Until recently, if someone asked what my favorite Trek series was, I would probably have said The Next Generation.  Deep Space Nine is a better, more effective dramatic show, but TNG is the one I grew up with.

Except it's not.

It was TOS for whose bi-monthly (I think?  Maybe it was quarterly.) release of two episodes at a time on a VHS tape.

Maybe I didn't watch it live on the air, but those were "new" episodes to me in the same way that "Best of Both Worlds" would be five or six years later.

I still tear up when I think of the poor Enterprise, at the end of The Search for Spock, streaking across the sky because Kirk couldn't come up with a better plan even though he was fighting Klingons that were too stupid to realize that an empty ship with a computer counting down to something was a BAD THING.

(Check out Julia Ecklar's "Fallen Angel" for another view of this.  Liner notes (lyrics) here and audio here.  And, yes, I know she didn't like the movie.)

Anyhow, the Enterprise's death (and "rebirth" in Star Trek IV) still make me tear up.  When the Enterprise D plummeted to its death, I was too busy being amused that the person at the conn had, just two seasons before, been unsure as to whether matter + antimatter = bad.

When I saw the Enterprise, this time I was conscious of that same feeling -- it was as though Trek, even though I was born something like 12 years after the fact, was being alive again.

(Except for Scotty.  I still don't quite buy Scotty.  Interestingly, Patrick didn't, either.)

Spock Prime's "thrusters on full" as Kirk got his first commendation and subsequent narration just sealed it.  This is Star Trek, in a completely different way than Battlestar Galactica was BSG.  It's not quite a prequel, not quite a reboot.  It

It's an alternate reality -- which is good, 'cause true time travel (and predestination paradoxes) give me a headache -- and that, as many have said, makes both true in a way that the current BSG really didn't.

None of this is logical, of course, and some other people probably felt about the movie the way Star Wars fans felt about the edits to the original trilogy (admittedly, Han shooting first drastically changes his character).

Star Trek certainly had its sillier moments (my TiVo just grabbed "Spock's Brain" for me the other night, and let's not forget "Catspaw"), but there's no denying that it must -- just by the fact that it's survived so long -- tap into something deep in some people.

For me, the movie had to have tapped into that same thing.  I've suspected that one of the things that draws me to Trek is its diversity, where it's okay to be a guy with pointy ears or a bumpy nose or see with a banana clip.  That wasn't strictly a "talking point" in this new movie and it's not something I need to be explicit, but I suspect that, for myself and for a lot of nerds who don't fit into society's conventions (we're too whatever...socially inept, smart, not conventionally attractive, whatever) that's a large part of the show's draw.

None of which really has to do with the movie, per se, except to explain Trek's initial appeal.

I think what I'm saying here was that seeing the Enterprise evoked an instant, spontaneous thought.

I'm home.

And, now that I have further revealed myself to be a complete nerd and more of a die-hard Trekkie than I ever really suspected myself to be (though the day I appear in costume at a convention would be the day someone flaps their arms and flies to the moon under their own power), I'm off to get ready for the last 3 days of school.

(Until it all starts again the following Monday for 4 weeks of summer school, but whatever.)

Peace and long life.