Another Sunday, another episode of the Sunday G&T Show, the Trek-themed internet radio program hosted by friends Nick Minecci and Terry Lynn Shull!
A pretty spirited show today, judging by the playback. Nick started off the day ranting about some dumbass parent doing some dumbass thing (for which I nodded most of the way, because Nick was right…the guy was a dumbass.). Fear not, folks: Terry gets in her own rant during the show’s second half.
There also were real-time updates and on the spot interviews with folks attending the huge Destination: Star Trek London convention. From the sound of things, that show is and has been kicking some serious ass all over merry old England. There also were several updates regarding Star Trek Online, as well as a few quick bits regarding next year’s big Star Trek convention in Vegas.
And, yes, there was yet another ”Ask Dayton.” What did we get for the 48th question in this unending series?
Star Trek is famous for its unique presentation and commentary on social issues, holding them in plain sight for the viewer while cleverly cloaking them behind the funny foreheads, cheesy special effects, and most importantly, slinky silver mini-dresses. As the lord-protectors of all Trek lore, what advice can you offer to the budding Trek writers out there that want to infuse their scripts and fanfics with biting social commentary along with their gratuitous phaser fights and Kirk/Orion/tribbles sex scenes?
How do we keep our opinions from sticking out like giant golden space cows?
How can we help avoid unintended messages from overriding and contradicting the central themes?
TELL US, oh great wise one!
P.S. – What does a girl gotta do to get a shout-out these days? There was a time once when all we had to do was bat our eyelashes or tempt a podcaster with a burlesque dance or two. When did it all becomes such hard work?
And Dayton, passing up another opportunity to best Getty once more, having the Captain Kirk woo the blue haired babe of the week while Ensign Minecci III takes yet another arrow to the knee? For shame, sir. For shame!
Wait. Burlesque dances?
Anyone who’s been watching Star Trek for any decent length of time knows that it’s made a habit of commenting on various social and political issues. That’s one of the things Gene Roddenberry hoped to do from very early on. Yes, it’s true that Star Trek hasn’t always been subtle, or even effective, in conveying whatever message a particular episode tried to take on, but I still give it points for trying. Can Star Trek still do that? Oh, hell yes, particularly when considering that many of the issues the various series have tried to address over the decades are still with us. You know, the classics: Racism, sexism, civil liberties, self-determination and the power of the state over the individual, just to name a few.
When you decide your story, whether it’s a Star Trek tale or something else entirely, is going to take on something like that, you have to figure that you might just raise some hackles somewhere along the way.
My response to that, usually, is: So fucking what?
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s only natural to want to write the sort of stuff other people want to read, but it’s not up to you to make them “happy.” Besides, if you’re doing your job right, and someone’s happy, then somebody else likely will be angry with you. It’s impossible to ever make everyone happy, so are you going to worry about pleasing one group at the expense of the others? Which one? For how long? What will have to happen to make you decide it’s time to start ego-stroking another group? You can’t win. So, you don’t worry about suppressing your opinions, and if you’re looking to say something, then you figure out how to make it an organic part of the narrative, rather than “overriding or contradicting the central theme.”
You write for you, and that means writing what you want to write, the way you want to write it. It’s your job to entice everybody else to read what you’ve written, whether it makes them happy, sad, scared, aroused, or just flat honked off. Maybe you’re lucky and you can do all of that at the same time. I’ve had people tell me a book of mine was an escape from a shitty day, or a nice way to wind down after spending time on a convoy avoiding IEDs in Afghanistan. At the same time, I’ve had people tell me my writing is an affront to the written word. Do you know I’ve been called a right-wing whack-job and a liberal commie bed-wetter from different people talking about the same book? How that even happens, I don’t know, but I must be doing something right, if I managed to irritate people across such a broad political spectrum.
Some people may be a tad unhappy with you, while others will be flat pissed off at you. Shit happens. They’ll get over it. Or, maybe they won’t. Perhaps they’ll even write a terse e-Mail full of SENTENCES WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS explaining how they’re vowing to NEVER READ ANOTHER WORD YOU WRITE SO LONG AS EITHER OF YOU CONTINUE TO DRAW BREATH.
Then they’ll do it again some time down the road when they read something else of yours. Welcome to the writer’s life.
As for shout-outs, what are you looking for? While others might not be swayed by the promise of a burlesque dance or two, I’ll state for the record here that I’m a dude who harbors no such problems on that point. Dance away. Got pics? Pics, or it didn’t happen.
And regarding that last bit with Ensign Nick suffering yet another in a long series of bad days, what can I say? Some days you’re the captain, and some days you’re the red shirt stepping on the exploding rock.
Sucks to be the red shirt, yo.
This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #65 on October 21st, 2012. You can hear Nick read the answers each week by listening live, or check out the replay/download options when the episode is loaded to their website: The Sunday G&T Show. Listeners to the show are also encouraged to send in their own questions, one of which will be sent to me each week for a future episode.
As always, thanks to Nick, Terry, and Mike for continuing to include me in their fun.