Yesterday was not only a big day for sci fi in America-
the Gutenberger went all out-
from first light,
with a camera team and wacky reporter from the second television
dressed in full Star-Trek regalia
and terrorizing the town with costume department tri-corders
to questions to trapped passers-by about what Star Trek means to them,
and midnight showings of all of the Star Trek movies.
Often viewed in groups
ie church confirmation groups
who normally prefer the blues brothers.
And what the physics department here is up to,
after what they do on pi day,
I don’t even want to think about.
To me though,
Star Trek has always had a very special meaning.
someone whose family survived the great depression by working at least three
jobs per family member,
among other things,
a fourteen year-old usher in a movie house.
In a town about the size
of Walton’s mountain,
you could get by with things like that.
But he loved his job,
except for having to run home through the cemetery at night,
and most of all,
the science fiction films.
Flash Gordon in particular.
And when Star Trek came out,
we watched as a family.
The hopes for the future,
goodness to others (species,)
the prime directive.
Do no harm,
a personal code of honor and decency.
Which showed in the fact that my Dad,
in looks and action,
could have been the older brother of Leroy Jethro Gibbs,
once told us that if we each took our suitcases out of the car,
and promised to unpack the minute the show was over-
we had been on a two-week visit to grandparents in Arizona-
we would be just in time to watch Star Trek.
And then carried us upstairs and unpacked for us himself,
after we fell asleep on the floor from excitement and exhaustion.
We had to do extra chores the next morning instead.
And as we weeded and watered the garden,
and got ready for the fall,
and school start,
that were only a couple of days away,
we talked about the meaning of the show:
creatures without salt, willing to kill to survive.
really looking at people, and trying to understand why they are doing what they are doing,
the true meaning of friendship.
like the Star Trek family.
And the Germans?
Most trekkies here are in the north and the east.
Berlin, Brandenburg, Jena.
Although Cologne actually gave a series of cooking courses based on a star trek cook book.
The Rhinelanders are so hooked on the show though,
preferring James Tiberius to everyone else,
the amusement park
“Movie Park Bottrop”
is building a whole new set of rides and specialty items,
based on Star Trek:
a show featuring the son (Nimoy) and grandson (Shatner) of rabbis,
with story lines, and an entire race (the Klingons)
based on the Nazis.
And that is the new Germany.
Much (too much?) time spent in working out and correcting the wrongs of the past.
(A “privilege” –
which it isn’t-
acceptable only for Germans-
as a foreigner, keep your mouth shut on the subject-
past wounds are very very deep)
But the vision of the future here is very important.
And the constant social issues no one here wants to address
seen as keeping Germans from that vision.
Or, as an ESA scientist (European version of NASA) once told me
“we are your rivals”
Why would we be rivals?
Just get on with it.
Besides, you may have invented Star Ship Orion,
(ie Gene Roddenbury)
invented the one and only Star Trek.
Oh, did I mention that the Deutsche Welle,
the station that,
like the voice of America,
sends German news in a huge variety of foreign tongues,
also has a time slot for current news in Klingon?
Happy Birthday, Trekkies everywhere.
Live long and prosper.
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