Monday, April 25, 2011

Star Trek is NOT My Guilty Pleasure

I love me some Star Trek, I always have, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Anymore.

I read an article today about a new Star Trek coffee table book, and one passage in particular caught my eye. The author, Mark Dery makes a lot of cool points about Star Trek that I completely agree with. Really. Go read this article (  if you have a deep and abiding love of Star Trek. But one passage made me stop in my tracks and ponder: “Granted, TOS (The Original Series) is often groaningly lame. (I'm thinking of those surfer dudes from Gamma Trianguli VI in "The Apple." The ones in the bouffant wigs and lava-lavas. The ones with the radiantly fake Snooki tans. The ones who worship Vaal, a serpent-headed idol sheathed in Reynolds Wrap. Literally.) That's why the term "Trekkie" reeks of geek, and why some of us are loathe to admit that Star Trek classic is a guilty pleasure.”

Though Dery doesn't appear to think of Star Trek as a guilty pleasure, that particular passage made me stop and think about the whole of Star Trek and trekkie-dom as a guilty pleasure--because it was for me for many years. I thought back to my younger years, when Star Trek was my guilty pleasure. After hearing someone, probably more than one someone, bash Star Trek and derisively proclaim that those Trekkies were nerds, I didn’t openly proclaim my geeky fandom for fear of being made fun of. I, like many children and adults, was far too concerned about other people thought of me than about what I thought about myself. Even in college, I would furtively sneak to my dormitory’s common room for the late night showing of DS9. I probably would have died if someone had seen me.

My reluctance to admit that my love of Star Trek is a part of who I am, and to deny that publicly was to deny a part of who I am, and today that makes me sad. It’s clear to me now that my tendency to closet my Star Trek loving ways, was an indicator that I didn’t feel very confident about myself. I had many many geeky guilty pleasures back then. Why lie? I STILL have many many geeky pleasures, and I’m not at all ashamed to admit it.

However, I wouldn’t change my past, because in reflecting on it, I see how far I’ve come. I like the person I am. I love that I love Star Trek. I love that I’m a big ol’ geeky nerd. I don’t need anyone’s approval to be a trekkie or to wear outrageously colorful outfits and crazy jewelry (I LOVE color. A lot).  I’ll proclaim my ardent love of ponderously long nineteenth-century British novels to anyone. I’m proud to show you my awesome Mr. Potato Head collection. Sure I’m not perfect, no one is. I could be more diligent about working on my dissertation, I wish I weren’t such a couch potato, and I really need to learn to manage my money more effectively, but that’s okay. I have every confidence that I will finish my dissertation, spend less time watching tv (except for Star Trek of course), and I will finally learn to manage my money. I don’t let my flaws get to me. (Much. I’m only human after all). But despite my shortcomings, I’m proud to say that I love being me. A lot. I wouldn’t want to be any other way. It’s freeing. My life is better, more interesting, and more fun than it’s ever been. Star Trek will never be my guilty pleasure ever again. 

And I totally want to buy this coffee table book. It looks awesome.

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