The Final Frontier: 10 Political Messages Beamed Through “Star Trek”
Posted on December 12 2010 11:30 pm
Science fiction affords storytellers the opportunity to couch political ideas within fantastic metaphors. In this way, ideas can be explored which might otherwise seem objectionable. In some cases, an audience might not consciously realize they are being influenced to think a certain way.
Perhaps the greatest example of science fiction writing which has pushed a particular ideology upon the popular culture is Star Trek. Over the course of nearly five decades, the brand has expanded from televisions series into feature films, countless books, fan conventions, and mounts of merchandise.
Why has Star Trek been so popular? Creator Gene Roddenberry attributed the original series’ success to the philosophy it espoused.
The whole show was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but to take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. We tried to say that the worst possible thing that can happen to all of us is for the future to somehow press us into a common mould, where we begin to act and talk and look and think alike. If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there. And I think that this is what people responded to.
Ironically, this multicultural meme leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Tolerating every idea enables ideas which are destructive. As the franchise has progressed, it has (perhaps unwittingly) demonstrated this flaw in its own message.