Don’t get excited, but it’s possible the fine folks over at the G and T Show might be getting back into the swing of things. Hosts Terry Lynn Shull, Nick Minecci, and Mike Medeiros continued with the latest episode of their weekly Star Trek-themed podcast, which apparently has received elevated attention in recent weeks, and instead of conducting themselves in a professional manner in all respects, they instead opted to drag me into the fray. This of course, had the totally predictable effect of casting their entire show into the gutter.
Sorry. My bad.
Yep, the “Ask Dayton” feature made a return, this week. What was in the question hopper this time around? Behold:
There are a lot of different groups of fans stating, “You’re not a real Star Trek fan if you support this or don’t support that…fill in the blank.” What are some of your thoughts on the use of this phrase as a means of dividing a community that should be emphasizing togetherness, mutual respect, and tolerance?
Here’s the short answer: Speaking as a guy with something like forty-five years worth of hash marks so far as Star Trek fandom goes, people who say shit like that need to shut the fuck up.
What, you want more? Okay, fine. Buckle up, and when the dust settles and you’re nursing your bruises and your various bleeding orifices, just remember that you asked for it.
I actually yammered at length on this very topic a few weeks ago, so I’m not entirely certain that this question wasn’t born from some twisted desire to have me revisit the issue with a lot more profanity than I did the first time around. For purposes of this exercise, I’m going with that explanation, because fuck yeah. After having a few more weeks to ponder things, I’ve decided that, yes, this whole notion of arguing about who’s a “real fan” or “true fan,” be it of Star Trek or anything else, is really something that needs to fucking stop. People who engage in this bullshit for whatever reason, but most especially those who do it because of some self-inflicted idea that they’ve been charged with protecting Star Trek from those who don’t measure up as fans, are a fucking cancer on the ball sack of fandom.
I remember a time when “true Star Trek fans” thought the idea of a Star Trek without Kirk and Spock was blasphemy. “What? A bald French guy in command of the Enterprise, and that annoying little shit from Stand by Me behind the wheel? Are you insane?”
Yeah. I remember those days, and all the variations that followed every time a new Star Trek television series was spun up. There were always the “true fans” or “real fans” who howled with NerdRage. Fandom has a habit of trying to shove everything into some sort of zero sum game. It’s either “this way” or “that way,” with no margin for error. You either like what I like, or you’re somehow lesser than me. Where the hell does this attitude come from? Is it some sort of half-assed attempt at vengeance for all the shit you had to take in school? Now you’re king of whatever hill you’ve managed to find, and you’re handing out membership bracelets?
Pardon me while I puke in your pitcher of Kool-Aid.
I’ll never understand this need to divide fans of something, but particularly Star Trek, mostly because there’s just so damned much of it, you’d think that anyone with a functioning brain stem would be able to see that there’s room for everybody.
Do you like all of the shows? Congratulations. You’re a fan.
Maybe you only like the original series, or Voyager is your particular kink. Guess what? You’re a fan, too.
Did you not give a damn about Star Trek before the newer movies, but you dig those? Hey! Whaddaya know? You’re a fan.
Maybe the newer films aren’t your thing. Say it with me: “You’re a fan.”
Perhaps you saw those flicks and then you dug deeper into the catalog and now you see what all the fuss has been about all these years. Hallelujah! Fan, right there.
Do you like the fan films? As the moniker would indicate, you’re a damned fan, too.
Are you hardcore enough to read the books or the comics, or play the games? Holy fuck beans, are you some kind of awesome fan. Thanks for supporting all that shit, because when you do, my kids get to eat.
And here’s the thing: I didn’t make that judgment for you. People decide on their own if they’re fans of something, and on what terms. No gatekeepers are required for this to work. Really. No, just put your fucking hand down.
As I said on Facebook, that whole “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations” or “IDIC” thing that Trek’s supposed to be all about? It’s not pronounced “I, dick.” Want to argue over who’s a “true fan” or a “real fan?” Guess what? That’s just being a dick, and we need fewer of those in fandom. Like what you like, and let other people do the same. Why is this such a difficult concept to understand? It shouldn’t be, but that didn’t stop some people from taking issue with my original Facebook diatribe on this subject, who then proceeded to miss the whole fucking point of it while simultaneously making it for me.
Way to go, “true fans.”
Star Trek is fifty years old, this year, and we didn’t get here because of some cabal of self-appointed “Guardians of the Flame.” We’re here because for five decades, Star Trek has continued to attract new generations of fans who find something to appreciate and love about it.
So, those of us who were already here? Let’s not be dicks. Let’s all be fans. This shit is supposed to be fun, after all, so stop harshing my Trekkie mellow, yo.
This question and its answer was read during G&T Show Episode #224 on February 14th, 2016. 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 G and T Show. Listeners 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 shenanigans.