I’m writing this post under my own name as with everything in politics. It’s a personal thing. It’s also collective. And it feels good to share.
I’ve been open about my political leanings. I’ve worked in that battle field. I’ve stood for election many times and served public office for some years. My underlying principles have been always been Liberal and Star Trek was the influence and educator for me.
When I went to bed the night of the US Election, I noted that I felt the same as I did the night of the EU referendum. Smug reassurance that everything was going to be fine and go the way I thought it would… and should.
Watching the results come in that night I felt like the crew of DS9 checking on the weekly casualty reports during the Dominion war.
Whilst Star Trek appeals to Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, the overwhelming majority of us all share it’s core philosophy. That’s why campaigns like ‘Trek Against Trump’ gained such widespread support. And why I have only encountered a handful of a Trump and Brexit supporters – hey we’re all internet friends!
But the next morning as I sat drinking my 4th Diet Coke at 6.30am, with a screaming 2 year old, a vomiting dog, news that a relative had passed away and Trumps face grinning through the TV. I nearly surrendered to the fact that humanity is in the midst of a self destruct phase. Then I heard Captain Picard’s voice calmly speaking.
That’s when I remembered that doing nothing isn’t an option. So I rewatched The Drumhead and in my angry, defeated mindset, Picard reminded me to keep fighting the cause.
You’ll recall a Klingon exchange officer is accused of smuggling information to the Romulans but denies causing an explosion in engineering. This leads to an investigation into the crew which reveals a young officer lied about his Romulan heritage when applying to Starfleet. The Drumhead is one of Star Trek’s finest hour. But Picard’s words to Worf chime true at anytime and during any political climate.
This was the moment for me I realised that Star Trek isn’t just a ‘utopian vision’. It’s a working political model. It is continually tested and challenged. This is where Star Trek can give us hope during these times.
So whether you’re feeling sorry for yourself and the frightening shift away from liberalism, freedom and common sense, Or if you’re conservative and believe in devolving power to the lowest possible level, Here’s five lessons we can take away from the TNG episode The Drumhead. Let me know what you think. Are there any you’d add?
Constantly reevaluate your own beliefs and hold them to account.
I have put this first as I believe it is the most important and key to our development and growth as a person. Picard does this early on in the episode when talking to Admiral Satie. She wants to begin the investigation by limiting Tarses movements based on her Betazoid assistant’s intuition (that Tarses is hiding something). She makes excellent points. She speaks calmly, she’s intelligent and her argument has plenty of merit. You can see Picard considering carefully. When she asks if Picard would act on similar advice from Counsellor Troi, he acknowledges the hypocrisy of his stance and resolves to correct it instead of making excuses for himself. I’ve rarely ever seen a politician .. or person admit this during a confrontation.
2. Let your logic and emotions work together in harmony.
There’s a reason why that guy in your office, who claims ‘he identifies mosts with Vulcans’ because he ‘doesn’t let emotions get in his way’ – is a complete Jerk. This is because unlike Vulcans, he has not completed the Kolinahr and he doesn’t follow the teachings of Surak. When human beings try to suppress their emotions, things go bad. This is where Picard excels and Admiral Satie fails. Picard can sometimes seem cold when in fact he is always congruent with his emotions. Perhaps this is why they don’t always come bursting out (unlike that guy in your office!). He is quick to notice his gut feeling and tells Worf “This doesn’t feel right”.
Admiral Satie on the otherhand seems very ‘in control’ of her emotions, which in our culture is applauded. She is quick to loose control though when her buttons are pushed. There are similarities to Trump here. They both are capable of provoking intense feelings in others – particularly fear. However when Picard used Satie’s fathers words against her and when Alec Baldwin, Cher and every media outlet used Trumps words against him, their fragile inner emotional state can’t cope.
3. Everyone believes they are the goodies and doing what’s best.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that no matter how awful or misguided someone’s beliefs are, Everyone thinks they are doing what’s ‘best’ or ‘necessary’ despite the actual outcome. The same is true with Picard and Satie. In fact they have much more in common than not. They both want the truth, they both want to protect the values of the Federation.
I often had to remind myself of that when I was working with (what I now consider) moderate opposition parties. The difference is in the policy and how you will achieve the goal. Satie believes that the overarching importance is “protection of the Federation” – and any measure however unsavoury is worthwhile for the great of good. However Picard sees the rights of the individual as sovereign. That by protecting the one, you are upholding the values of the Federation which you seek to protect. We see Picard implement a person centred policy many times, e.g. Measure of a Man, The Offspring, Insurrection.
On a side note, I once considered taking an action that was morally questionable but for a good cause. I watched the DS9 episode “In the pale moonlight” where Sisko brings the Romulans into the war. After watching that episode I was convinced it was the necessary thing to do. But after weeks of considering it I thought to myself “Would Picard have done that?”. I thought of the Drumhead and realised that Picard would have found another way. For me and my conundrum, it wasn’t the ‘right’ thing to do.
4. Step up to your duty.
Whether you’re a voter, party member or president-elect. We all have a role and responsibility.
When Picard sees that Tarses will need legal representation he calls on Commander Riker who steps up to protect Tarses without hesitation. When it is suddenly revealed that he is part Romulan, the audience gasps and we’re all thinking he is guilty as hell. Riker may have reacted with a presumption of innocence and jumped to Simons rescue. Or he felt the same as the audience but knew his duty was to protect Simon. Either way. Classy.
Not only is this a reminder on how to treat others but with lots of big news stories hitting out headlines almost daily it’s vital to continually scrutinise, challenge and determine what is actually important.
5. Lecturing other people about their beliefs rarely changes their mind.
Picard eloquently explains his position to Satie, as does she. As she won’t change her mind, Picard needs to remove her power. He does this by enlightening others. He provides evidence so Admiral Henry from Starfleet Security, the rest of the crew and even Satie’s staff can see her for what she really is.
Hateful words spread fear but silencing them can give their cause credibility, as they claim to be repressed. Picard puts the spotlight on Satie and allows her to reveal the full extent of her fanaticism. This allows followers like Worf to re-evaluate their own stance. Picard took a person centred approach again as he is aware that change comes from within and given the full facts, a person can make an informed decision. The draw back is that the person receiving that decision changing information generally has to be well balanced, constantly re-evaluate their own beliefs, has harmonised their emotions with their logic and will step up to do their duty. Which is why it worked so much better in 2367 than in 2016.
At the Television Critics Press Association Press tour (we don’t know what that is either!) Bryan Fuller spilled some goodies about the new Star Trek series Discovery.
If you haven’t read all about it, check out this article from Variety who were reporting live from the event. Then come back whilst I speculate with my thoughts!
Here’s a cheat sheet of the news thanks to Screen Junkies.
Just as a caveat to the above, I can’t find any direct source that states the series will be set in the Klingon Wars. It’s probably a good guess as a lot of events have been ruled out such as the Romulan war (Battle of Axanar) and The Kobayashi Maru. Bryan Fuller did mention Amanda Grayson too but it didn’t read as definite that her character is included.
Whilst in Vegas, Carole and I spent a lot of time speculating with others when we thought Discovery would be based. I believed it would be based in the 29th Century, that it was a timeship and each season it would cover a different point in Star Trek history, filling in all those loose ends or raising new questions…. by the way, if you like that idea CBS… call me! I have more ideas!
Load credit card and prepare to fire glitter! We are LOVING this! MAC Cosmetics and Star Trek are going on a joint mission to create a Trek inspired collection.
As MAC enthusiast myself I think this is a perfect collaboration. Why? MAC has a culture of acceptance. It’s ethos is to celebrate diversity and it’s own words “we are for All Ages, All Races, All Sexes.”
They have taken the ‘all races’ part literally this time as their collection boasts Orion, Betazoid, Borg and Human influences as this image/advert indicates.
The irony is, the day before this was announced we were on the MAC Cosmetics site eyeing up their body paints for our Orion Slave Cosplay we are hoping to achieve at the Star Trek Las Vegas and Destination Star Trek conventions later this year,
Perhaps a specially commissioned Green Paint will be included?
I’d like to add how refreshing it is to see new markets being explored for collaboration with Star Trek merchandise. It’s great to see it branching outside novelty and collectables.
When purchasing Star Trek products I choose ones that express my interest, but are also useful and beautiful in my home. This ticks all three of those boxes which is actually rare for Star Trek merchandise these days.
Here’s what we’re hoping to see….
Seven of Nine
Seven is all about dem lips! That’s Borg Perfection right there. Actually, they should name a lipstick ‘Borg Perfection’!
Seven isn’t heavy on the makeup, it’s all rather subtle. What would be nice is eyeshadows that work well with hooded eyelids (Like I have – Sam!). Also this would be a great time to bring back the Taupe eyebrow pencil that was discontinued. Rename it ‘The Queen’ or something!
MAC have a few options available to them thanks to Deanna’s changing looks over the series. But I think this is my favourite. Its just so 2370! umm I mean 90’s!
The 1990’s seem to be having a moment so let Deanna and her 50 shades of brown eyeshadow, the smokey eye and power blush rule!
Uhura’s look is iconic and is practically the ‘go-to’ look for most women cosplayers when doing a Star Trek look.
For the Uhura collection the obvious look is recreating that perfect eyeliner with the feline flicks. Some whispery falsies would work well too. The rest of Uhura’s look is in her amazing complexion which is as clear as her hailing frequencies. We’ll also be needing some nail polish because Uhura is always well manicured.
Orion Slave Girl
There’s a couple of directions they can go with the Orions. If we are to take their image as a clue, I’d suspect they’ll go with the Enterprise look over the nu-trek style (yay!).
There isn’t much difference between the Enterprise girls and the iconic Vina from TOS. The only major difference being the shade of lipstick. Personally, I think the dark lip suits the Green girls better. (Don’t even get me started on the orange colour from the movie!).
Not only am I hoping for a body paint (purely selfish reasons!) but also someway of blending that look into the eyes. – A green smokey, some glitter? A contouring and finishing product would also help recreate this look.
So we will wait and see. And wait a long time too, because it won’t be available until 25th August online and inshore 1st September. We hope this is internationally, but we’ll let you know!
This summer, MAC will introduce a collection of makeup inspired by Star Trek and, more specifically, Deanna Troi, Uhura, Seven of Nine and the Orion Girl, Vina. The 25-piece special deco collection will encompass lip, eye and face products.
“Star Trek is an iconic pop culture phenomenon whose storylines pushed gender and racial boundaries,” MAC creative director James Gager said in a statement. “For its 50th anniversary, we celebrate each of Star Trek‘s powerful women in a transcending, transformational makeup collection.”
Heads up, this is literally all I’m going to talk about for the next 12 months. We did our live periscope last week to discuss our collective thoughts but after listening to The Ready Room podcast on Trek.fm with Christopher Jones and guest Larry Nemecek it has go me thinking about what I want to see.
Btw, I rarely get a chance to listen to podcasts but I’m glad I took the time to listen to this one (scroll to bottom of this post to play). It provides logic behind the decision to stream and how the development of previous incarnations of Trek can provide insight into the development of this series.
Decision to Stream
I have no strong feelings about this. When streaming services first arrived, it seemed that they were regular TV’s poor relation. Remember the campaign to get Enterprise on Netflix and how many fans felt it wouldn’t do the show justice? Those days are behind us now. Streaming is where we are now. I often read history books about TNG’s launch (I’m trying to make myself sound younger than I am!) and read about the controversy of it being ‘syndicated’. I googled ‘syndication’, I barely understand it now. Times have moved on and from everything I have read about choosing to deliver Trek via streaming, it sounds a good business strategy that proves they have the utmost faith in Star Trek.
But like TNG and syndication, I suspect this is an American problem. Here in the UK we have channels such as CBS Action ‘The home of Star Trek’ that I’m sure will be CSB’s preferred outlet. We have tweeted them and asked. Funnily enough, they didn’t answer! Unless they are planning to release CBS All Access in other markets globally? As for the monthly cost?
In our live chat I stated that I think it’s going to be set in the JJ Universe. And I mean that in the way I mean “I don’t want anything special for Christmas’ I WANT THE PRIME UNIVERSE SO BAD!!!!
It feels like a forbidden wish. If I wish it too hard, I’ll jinx it. I would love to see what happens to the Federation after Voyager returns. What career path did Seven of Nine take? Did Bajor ever join the Federation? Has Cardassia recovered from near annihilation? Did they restore Data’s backup file onto B-4? Did Geordi ever find his mothers ship? Did anyone hear from Captain Sisko ever again?
I know a lot of these questions are covered in books, I’ve read a fair few but it’s not the same. It’s not real.
After listening to the podcast below I felt a bubbling of excitement when Larry spoke of how it would be a wise business decision to have the new series based in the Prime Universe. It’s a sure bet to please. Most fans support it. But no. I must go through the kolinahr because I cannot allow myself to get too excited!
Earlier on this year this news story broke about a fan, Michael Gummelt, who owned the rights to startrekbeyond.com – a website where he has developed a very detailed idea for a Star Trek series now called ‘Star Trek: Unchartered’. Obviously, the Founders people who make Star Trek needed that domain for their movie so they took a look and must have liked what they saw because they invited him to Paramount to pitch his idea. The story itself sounds rather plausible for the type of story they might develop. In an interview with TrekMovie he answers the question ‘what universe is it set in?’
“Star Trek Uncharted” is set sometime in the future, distant enough that it doesn’t really matter which universe it takes place in. It’s universe-agnostic. In my fantasy world where the series actually gets made, it would need to establish itself as its own show, with its own identity. Only once it’s accomplished that would it need to establish its place in the lore. In any case, I imagine it would be up to Paramount, CBS and Bad Robot to decide if they wanted to use it as a “shared universe” show along the lines of Agents of SHIELD. – Michael Gummelt, TrekMovie
That sounds like the sort of speak CBS would like to hear. It is reminiscent of Enterprise and the Movies, that it is given its own space (pardon then the pun) in which to develop, independent of existing timelines which could be restrictive. So either Paramount really like Gummelt’s idea or they had to sweeten him into handing over his domain name with no fuss.
I said in our video that hands down, I want a female Captain. Doesn’t need to be a big deal but the 6th Captain, by rules of probability and to reflect the gender equality that exists in the future, it’s got a be a woman Captain.
In the interest of moving forward and breaking ground (although Star Trek would be a late runner to this) I’d like to see a Human gay character, male or female. Star Trek has embraced this subject using metaphors (alien relationships) but let’s show that for our own cultures and species, it’s not an issue in our future.
Much like the shows before it, I imagine it will hire new faces and I support this, it allows you to get to know that character without any preconceptions.
That said. Gillian Anderson for Captain, all the way!!
How good would it be if David Duchovny made a guest appearance too!! …… As an agent from temporal investigations!!! **Splashes cold water on my face** …. Nope **Opens wine**
Continuing my fantasy that this will be in the Prime Universe (and at a date set sometime after Voyager’s return). I’ve even casted the first officer.
Michelle Forbes baby!!! There is a lot of scope for the Ro Laren character. Maybe it’s a mixed crew again and she is in the Bajaron Militia and seconded to Starfleet when Bajor joins the Federation? (because THAT has to happen, right!). I see Anderson’s Captain as a mellow Picard type. A listener, a diplomat but friendlier and more caring to the crew. She’d throw parties on the Battle Bridge for the ships children just for fun. But Ro… Ro is Ro!
But going back to preconceptions with known actors. Remember when Zachary Quinto was cast as Spock? There was part of me that was worried I wouldn’t see past Sylar (baddie in Heroes). Could I ever see in him our belovered Spock? Eventually I could, but it was a process that started long before the release of the film.
Quinto appeared alongside Leonard Nimoy at the 2008 Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, a move that allowed the fans to separate him from the cold blooded murderer Sylar into the Green Blooded hobgoblin we know and love.
Where am I going with this? It’s the 50th year Anniversary celebrations next year. We know there’s a big celebration in Las Vegas and we’re praying to the prophets, to Sto Vo Kor and that God from Star Trek 5 that Destination Star Trek will pop up for the occasion. This will be the perfect opportunity to show off the new assemble. Throw them in the deep end! Let us fans stare at them like we’re Ferengi eyeing up a group of Dabo Girls! And let us get their autographs before they’re too famous!
We know Alex Kurtzman is at the helm. I’m very happy with this. I’ve got a huge amount of respect for him. He is a Star Trek fan himself and some excellent credits to his name such as Fringe and Alias. I hope he has tough skin though because like most helmsmen they take a lot stick from the fans. This is something I’ve never understood. Surely if you love a series as much as fans love Star Trek, why such venom towards the caretaker of the franchise?
Apparently they are looking for a writer still. Like most fans, I pine for Ronald D Moore!
It doesn’t look like former Producers Rick Berman or Brannon Braga are involved either.
Unless the concept is something like Starfleet Academy or the Klingon empire, I’m presuming they’ll be a ship. My gut feel is they will go with a ship based series again.
I can warm to any ship, a bit like a car, they all have personality no matter what their ability. Star Trek has an ability to anthropomorphise it’s starships, making it part of the crew. I like sleek ships and ships that feel like home. I preferred the more luxurious feel of the Galaxy Class over the Defiant. I don’t care if the Defiant can do sweet manoeuvres. I don’t want to sleep in a bunkbed!
Same for the NX01, it doesn’t look like the sort of ship you can roam around in your PJ’s – although the Enterprise NX01 crew preferred nudity!
I’ll let other fans get excited over whether it has a Quantum Slipstream, Grapplers or Tractor beams. I like potted plants in the corridor and messy Quarters
For the Fans
For the Trekkie Girls we are excited to have new content to explore. At the moment it feels like every convention that has a Star Trek guest, it’s a blessing. But finally we are going to be contemporary! This is the perfect way to celebrate the 50th year anniversary of Star Trek where for the first time in over a decade we’ll not only be celebrating the past 50 years, we’ll be looking in to the future too. Which is what Star Trek is ultimately about.
I’m particularly excited about the ‘next generation’ of fans. Such as my Son. Ok he’ll only be two years old when it starts but you got to start them young! This will be his Star Trek.
So there are my initial thoughts. But there are a lot more questions. What will it be called? When will the next bit of information be released? How far down the development process are they? You can count on the Trekkie Girls to be there every bit of the way as we explore this Undiscovered Country.
Here is the excellent podcast by Trek.fm featuring Christopher Jones and Larry Nemecek