One of the most unique, fresh, and compelling characters ever created in science fiction television or movies is Mr. Spock. Mr. Spock was an alien whose planet had joined the Federation, thus making him eligible to serve in Star Fleet. He was the “science officer” on the Enterprise.
Think about that: “science” officer. Think about that when you hear someone mock the idea of “global warming” and “climate change” and vaccinations. You can’t believe that crap, they’ll tell you. Why? They don’t know. They just feel it, because Donald Trump and Exxon and Fox News tells them it’s a hoax and they just feel that they’re right. They are going by their emotions.
Spock rationally analyzed the facts of any given situation, calculated the odds of success when necessary, and made a decision based on the best information available.
But even the original Star Trek couldn’t quite bear to not pull their punches. If Captain Kirk was in the shuttle caught in some meteor storm or something and the only way to rescue him was by risking the lives of 400 crew members even though the odds of success were ridiculously small– Spock would do it. Spock would do it not because it made sense on any level, but because everyone wants to have sex with a virgin.
You heard me right. Spock is the virgin of Star Trek. Over the years, he has become the most admired character in the original series because of his amazing intelligence, rationality, and integrity. What is the first thing we want to do to a character like that? Yes, we do. Spock is Hans Blix. He’s Al Gore. He’s Jimmy Carter. In real life, we hate them all. Because they tell us what we don’t want to hear. And they are right.
But in fiction, we can fantasize that the elusive, rational, respected Spock loves us. That the one character whose judgement is not self-serving or petty or biased, loves us.
In the whorehouse of American television, occupied almost exclusively by whores, we had one virgin: Spock. And the more virginal he was, the more people want to take that virginity, the one thing that makes him unique as a character, and thus more desirable, more elusive, more of an affront to their own thinking: I want to be like an admired character. But I can’t. So, instead, I want the admired character to be like me: throw facts and information out the window and go with your fucking intuition, no matter how absurd.
So, astonishingly, in a recent installment of the Star Trek franchise, the old Spock actually advises the young Spock to “go with your feelings”. WTF! What idiot came up with that idea? J. J. Abrams? And the idiots who always felt a little threatened by the judgement of a rational person can jump up and hoot and holler and shout, “See! See! Even Spock knows that it’s okay if I do something stupid because it just felt right!”
Aside from some other stupid plot developments– why, oh why, does Kirk– the captain, for heaven’s sake– have to be the one to climb into the engine chambers to restore some kind of energy spout thereby almost dying in the process? This is stupid. A child thinks it’s heroic: his favorite character is the bravest and suffers the most! But if a military commander did that in real life, every smart person would be appalled: all of our leaders are dead because they wanted to be the most courageous? You are a fool.
What infuriates me about this is the same thing that infuriates me when a bunch of yahoos driving ATVs and motorcycles and off-road vehicles beg the government to give them some areas of wilderness where they can be allowed to destroy and despoil and strip bare everything with impunity and then, demand that the one area set aside for people who just want to enjoy nature, be given to them as well. It’s so unfair: why should hikers and photographers and painters be allowed to enjoy that view, but not us on our dirt bikes, or us hunters with our guns? And look at the beautiful, unspoiled wilderness area! Exactly where we want to rip the hills and dump our beer cans!
All of us who love science and facts and rationality only had the one character: Spock, who represented those ideals in science fiction. There was one virgin, and all the sluts are determined to prove that he is just as corruptible as the rest of us. He must be destroyed. He must be discredited. Even Spock must acknowledge that it is more important to go with your feelings, no matter how illogical or stupid.
I dream of this scene: Captain Kirk is in the space shuttle again, and once again, he is in peril, due to some ridiculous astral threat: aliens, meteors, plasma storms, Klingons, whatever– and the only way to rescue him is for some maneuver that would imperil the Enterprise and all of its crew. Scotty and Bones are begging Spock: you must save the captain! He’s your friend! You must be loyal and true! And Spock says, “that would be irrational. Among the senior officers here, the Captain is actually quite replaceable– the odds of finding a suitable replacement are quite good. But the odds of losing the entire ship and all of the crew is extremely high. I will not do it.” And what should happen next: Kirk heroically– if he really is all that heroic– tells Scotty and Bones, “he’s right”. Then we can have that fond emotional farewell and Kirk should die and Star Trek should introduce a new, interesting, original character who will become the next captain.
This is something “Game of Thrones” got mostly right, though they are now (Season 6) in danger of abrogating that most distinctive virtue: Snow wasn’t really dead. It will be a great pity if they now begin to confer that tasteless shell of invincibility on their most bankable stars– like every other TV series (except the illustrious, the greatest of all, “The Wire”.
Oh wonderful– so now whenever a major character is threatened we can relax. He’s not going to die.