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Monday, April 18, 2011

Uniformity

My favorite documentary is undoubtedly, "Trekkies," a film that takes a look at a cross-section of avid Star Trek fans. While there are several interviews with the cast members of The Original Series, The Next Generation and Voyager, the obvious stars of this film are the fans themselves: a slice of America's finest fringe individuals. Except for the ever-wonderful DeForest Kelley: the super-amazing television superstar. That guy was fucking awesome (he's dead, Jim). 

While Trekkies like Gabriel Koerner and his amazingly wonderful father are incredibly delightful and endearing ("Im ready to go to another planet, I'll tell you that."), Trekkies like Barbara Adams are incredibly disturbing and irritating. 

The story of Barbara Adams is not all that new. In fact, it's over fifteen years old. Everytime I see her, though, I'm insensed to write about her story and all of the reasons that she's just a little too ridiculous for her own good. I love fringe kooks more than the average individual and actively seek out documentaries that focus upon them in a very raw and plain way, but Barbara Adams....my my.

So basically, this woman lives in Little Rock, Arkansas as a book binder. She is the "Commander," of the Little Rock chapter of Star Trek's "Federation Alliance," a club that performs lots of community service, etc. Anyway, she is very excited about being the Commander and wears her phaser, tricorder, rank, and communicator all of the time. When I say ALL OF THE TIME, I mean it. So, it's all well and cute when you're just working at Sir Speedy and forcing your co-workers to call you Commander, but then she's selected to be a juror for the Whitewater Trial (remember that? yeah, me neither). So Barbara figures that jury duty is exactly the kind of event to wear your Federation Alliance Commanding Officer Uniform. Obviously, for the rest of the world, this causes a media uproar because this woman is wearing a Star Trek unform to the courthouse. Why? Let me tell you why.

Barbara, in the film, says that it is no big deal when a football or basketball player wears their uniform year-round, so why should it be a such a big deal that she wears a uniform from a pretend club from a fictional television show from thirty years ago to a trial that helps to decide the guilt or innocence of the cohorts of the President of The United States of America? Oh, I dunno Barbara, maybe for all of the reasons that I just mentioned.

First, football players don't wear their helmets, pads, spikes and jerseys to court. Just look at Michael Vick (horrible person, but a horrible person that isn't wearing a football uniform to court). Second, football and basketball players are wearing their uniform because it is a uniform that is a part of their paying occupation. Little Rock's Federation Alliance, I'm sure, makes a positive impact on Little Rock with community service and good deeds, but it is also a club...that doesn't pay you. Third, Star Trek is a television show. That's right, I know it's hard to hear, but it is. I know that Gene Roddenberry and the gang blazed some trails for equal rights and for treating people with dignity, even if they were green with horns, but ultimately, you wearing a unform from a ficitituous work to a trial. You've created lots of undue press with this act that trivializes the justice system, and you've made other Trekkies, that are able to love Star Trek within healthy and appropriate parameters, look like lunatics.

Barbara was ultimately removed from being an alertnate juror because she spoke to the press about her uniform, even though jurors are not supposed to talk to the press. Well, Barbara, I wonder what Captain Kirk and Captain Picard would say about that kind of rule-breaking, hmmm? A court-martial, perhaps?
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1 comment:

  1. It's so weird that you wrote about this today because I was just talking about wanting to watch this film again. I LOVE it. When I had Netflix, documentaries were my favorite genre. Netflix has a lot of great documentaries. I watched one about competitive Scrabble that was great. Why couldn't they have documentaries in those machines at the supermarket?

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