Where are the Arabs?
0 comment Wednesday, September 10, 2014 |
I have to take a break from some of the controversial subjects of the last few days, so how about a repeat of a corny joke you have probably all heard, in some form:
The Saudi Ambassador to the UN has just finished giving a speech, and walks out into the lobby where he meets his American counterpart. They shake hands and as they walk the Saudi says, "You know, I have just one question about what I have seen in America."
The American says "Well your Excellency, anything I can do to help you I will do."
The Saudi whispers "My son watches this show 'Star Trek' and in it there are Russians and Blacks and Asians, but never any Arabs. He is very upset. He doesn't understand why there are never any Arabs in Star Trek."
The American laughs and leans over and says, "That's because it takes place in the future."
This is all by way of an intro to the Star Trek weekend they have been having at NRO, of all places.
James Lileks has one of the better entries, of those I've read, at least, called A Conservative Trek.
I confess to having been a Star Trek fan -- that is, of the original series, not the later counterfeits of the same name. Like James Lileks, however, I was never a 'Trekkie' or even a 'Trekker' as some of the really serious fans insisted on calling themselves. I never went to a Star Trek convention or any sci-fi 'con' although I knew people who did.
In recent years, though, since I've returned to my conservative roots, to the traditional values under which we were all brought up back when, Trek has lost whatever luster it had in my eyes, mainly because I have become uncomfortably aware of the agenda being pushed in many of the Trek episodes. Nowadays, we see a leftist/multiculturalist agenda being pushed relentlessly in all our entertainment, but back in the late 60s, that trend was just beginning. Back then, there was entertainment that was actually not propaganda, but mere silly diversion and fun. But much of Star Trek, seen through the eyes of an awakened conservative, seems clumsily preachy, embarrassingly so. The 'one world' agenda: back when I was a teen, when this series first appeared, I thought, as most idealistic youngsters would, 'oh, wow, cool, we will all be one world where everybody gets along and works together!' As an adult, I see the folly of that, the impracticability.
And then the feminist agenda: women in space, as the equals of men! Or sort of equals; the original pilot episode had a female second-in-command, played by a dark-haired Majel Barrett; she was rather no-nonsense, not at all the miniskirted cutie like most of the female crew members in the later series.
And Star Trek was an early advocate of 'multiculturalism' or at least pluralism; one of each was represented in the crew. Of course the later spinoff series were much farther gone down that road: not only multiple nationalities of earthlings, but aliens galore. That's real multiracialism; why be 'species-ist'?
But as Lileks says in his entertaining piece,
Nevertheless, the best Trek was conservative: it was rooted in the unchanging nature of man, be they hooting hominids on the plains of Earth throwing rocks at prey, or civilized spacefarers Money, power, lust, war: These were the constants, and Star Trek knew they�d follow us to infinity and beyond. At best we could find enlightened, savvy ways to avoid the pointless fights. But some people only understand a photon torpedo up the dorsal vent port, and we�d best be prepared to deal with them. The Federation, after all, had something called General Order 24, which called for the total destruction of a planet�s surface if the civilization was considered a threat to the Federation. As Vader might have said: Impressive.''
I have to say I've noticed that, too; a number of the Trek episodes had very conservative messages. I guess society hadn't attained to the present level of liberal 'enlightenment.' In a number of episodes, Kirk argued for the necessity of aggression and force in fighting evil. Another episode with a perhaps inadvertently conservative message was 'The Enemy Within', in which Kirk, split into two 'selves' via a transporter malfunction, had to fight his evil self, while his 'good' self proved ineffectual to do so. It was acknowledged that the aggressive, violent side had to be integrated with the good, though weak side in order for him to be an effective leader. Our society needs that lesson right now.
Lileks also mentions episodes like 'Errand of Mercy' in which Kirk tries to rally the seemingly passive people of a planet against the marauding Klingons, but the people have 'evolved beyond' aggression and in fact evolved beyond those troublesome physical bodies. That sounds like a liberal fantasy.
And then Lileks mentions the episode 'City on the Edge of Forever', written by Harlan Ellison, in which Kirk has to let his sweetie die so she won't found a pacifist movement. When I was young, I thought his letting her walk out in front of a car was tragic and wrong, but now I'm less sure.
The multicultural agenda of the original Trek used to bother me as I became conservative, but now that I think about it, it actually gives us cause for hope. Here's why: if today's multiculturalists are successful, there would not be any separate races or nationalities in the 23rd century. We would, if their plans succeed, be all one homogeneous group of people: no Russians, no Americans, no Scotsmen, no Swahili-speaking Africans, no Irishmen. Just Earthlings. But since all these people exist in the Star Trek future -- minus the Arabs -- maybe we and our cultures will forestall this Tower of Babel disaster that is being engineered.
And if the Arabs aren't a part of The Federation, maybe that's a sign that separationism will have succeeded.
We can hope. That's the message of Star Trek.

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