Friday, January 2, 2009

The long Trek out of homophobia ain't over yet, apparently

Welcome to 2009 ... and business as usual. The new harddrive is on and working, even as I type this: the gizmos are backing up about 100GB of stored stuff into a corner of the Tb space. Nice. Gives one the illusion of being in control (the truth being very different).

I was wandering around on the Internet a couple of days ago, following links to and from who knows where, and came upon this, at After Elton: ... after all these bloody years, you just don't believe it can still be going on ... homophobia among Trek fans. Still. Now. Forty years down the track. Incredible, isn't it?

What goes on, you ask? Well, there's a semi-pro fourth season of the original series (with Kirk, Spock, et al), in front of the cameras. Strictly non-profit, which is why Paramount turns the provebial blind eyes and deaf ears. But it's good enough that a couple of the original actors (Takei and Koenig) have been in episodes, and David Gerrold -- out gay screenwriter to whom we can credit some of the best Trek shows, including the iconic Trouble with Tribbles -- has reworked an old script into something new -- and, from where I'm sitting, terrific -- for the current show.

The story so far (in a thimble) is that Gene Roddenberry planned a spinoff show with Kirk, Spock et all, called Star Trek: Phase II. It was nothing to do with the Next Generation, and would have been shot in something like the eary 1970s. One of the episodes developed for that show was "Blood and Fire" by David Gerrold. The show was never made, but when the semi-pro crew got going with Phase II, the producer (who also plays the part of James T Kirk in the show) had the presence of mind to contact Gerrold and ask if there was any chance of the old episode being reworked and ... filmed.

Intrigued? So was I. Now, to be perfectly candid, I haven't yet see any of the Phase II shows. The last Trek I watched was about half of Voyager, before work and travel got in the way -- I still haven't seen most of it. I also missed three-fourths of DS9 for the same reason. I've seen all the movies, and liked almost all of them. I grew up on classic Trek, but have to admit that the jingoism and Hollywood-ness of some of the 1960s-style episodes make them borderline unwatchable to me, now, today. So I'm pretty darned qualified to talk about this and say --

At last! At bloody last, after 40 years, A GAY TREK EPISODE HAS BEEN MADE! It's wonderful that this has been done; it's a tribute to Gerrold, and the producers of the show, and as soon as I have my computers set up properly again, I shall be downloading all these episodes (there are three or four so far, with Gerrold's episode being the third or fourth). But --

Right on cue, at least some of the fans responded to the gay storyline with the same old homophobia we've come to expect from Trek people. The producers, writers and actors might have dragged themselves into the epoch of human rights, but the fans are still saying things like this: "I think the episode would have been better without the gay scene. In fact, I think you could have replaced the Freeman character with a woman, and very little of the drama would be removed. Having the gay scene means, as a father, I’m not sure if my eight-year-old son should watch this episode. He’s seen and enjoyed all the others. I’ve never had to worry about screening anything Star Trek before. ... I also think the gay storyline is the least interesting thing about the episode." And this: "What the hell is with the two guys dry-humping each other?? I’m sorry, but I’ve just lost a TON of respect for the Phase Two guys. Pushing blatant homosexuality in our faces is NOT the kind of Star Trek I want to watch! >:o( Completely uncalled for and not in the spirit of Star Trek. Disgusting!!"

Well ... shucks. Why am I surprised? So long as it's females being turned into sex objects ... for example the Borg lady with the superstructure that comes through the door ten minutes ahead of the rest of her ... it's all fine and dandy; but let a gay couple express affection, and it's "disgusting," is it? Hmmm. I wonder if this qualifies as "the language of hate."

Anyway, if you're interested, go over the the show's own site and check it out. (You can also download for free; the episodes are shared around via P2P. If you don't have a "P2P client," don't even think about paying money for a service. Download Opera: it has P2P client software onboard.)

Here's the new Trek show's own page:, and here is the Opera page, to get the browser with the built-in P2P routine:

A quick word to Aussie fans: if you want these shows, or at least the gay episode(s), get in fast, because when "the Great Aussie Firewall" goes up in about two weeks, P2P is probably going to be inaccessible to Australians. The government and critics are calling it a "BitTorrent" lockout, but "BitTorrent" is more than likely a generic term. I should think they mean "P2P" as a whole. In which case, loads of sites are going to go invisible and stay that way, very soon. Now, that's what I call disgusting.

More on the Aussie Internet censorship here:
and especially here:

Ciao for now,

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