Since BBC America aired its 50th Anniversary Star Trek marathon back in August, I’ve been tuning in religiously to its Friday evening broadcasts. MeTV also airs one episode each Saturday evening. One of the things that I’ve found stands out is how far ahead of its time it was regarding issues of racial toleration and cultural understanding. Spock in particular, though he is supposed to be a computer-like Vulcan, displays so much humanity and moral fiber. The interplay between Spock, Kirk, and Dr. McCoy is some of the best acting and writing ever seen on television, in my opinion. Last June, I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at a commencement address given by George Takei, who played Sulu. His experience working on the show and getting to know its creator, Gene Rodenberry, clearly had made a significant impact on his life. He discussed technology and modernity in the address, but his main point of emphasis was on toleration and understanding – the idea that there was room in the galaxy for all of us, regardless of the shape of our eyes, ears, noses or the color of our skin, and so on. For instance, in one episode one of the main characters is blind and another is so revolting in appearance they drive anyone who looks upon them without protective eye gear, mad. Yet without them Spock’s life, and the Enterprise, would be lost.
I think we should all be watching Star Trek these days. It’s science fiction escapism, but it’s also us, as humans, at our best. An example of what we can be.