Things I learned from Star Trek

The Onion, while lauded for its weekly satirization of pop culture and news headlines, has a less well-known component, its AV Club. While I do not often read much from this section, even though they are just down the street.

But now in anticipation of the new Trek movie coming out this weekend, The Onion’s AV Club put together an intelligent and funny review of the sociological commentary that Star Trek has provided over the years, whether written well or not. Read Space-Racism is Bad.

A few of my favorites are in there, such as a comment on the stupidity of the Borg Queen concept while talking about keeping perspective in First Contact, and some subtle lessons about both immigration and abortion rights in Up The Long Ladder. But the best part of the article was their thorough analysis of the concept of homosexuality in Trek. Not only has every analog to homosexual issues in Trek ended with a sad ending, but the lesson is so indirectly provided in those episodes that it leaves the status of this issue in the Humanistic Trek Universe unclear.

As I have said before, Star Trek desperately needs to remain socially relevant to the past and the present if it is to have a future. I hope that this new movie breaks the curse of the odd-numbered Trek and inoculates us with some sensible answers to social quandaries, with an adjuvant of fresh perspectives. Feast your eyes on the new trailer for now. (in big HD)

Please, break the curse!

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Karl Haro von Mogel

Karl Haro von Mogel serves as BFI’s Director of Science and Media and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from UW-Madison with a minor in Life Sciences Communication. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar researching citrus genetics at UC Riverside.