Friday, 9 August 2013

"I'm a Loner, Data. A Rebel."

Star Trek is possible the most sacred of all nerd pop culture shows. Trekkers (Star Trek fans prefer to be known as rather than the derogatory 'Trekkies'), have been ostracized and stereotyped more than possibly any other fandom. Dismissed as social outcasts fixated on a sci-fi show filled with aliens with elf ears and phasers set to stun.

There is nothing to say. This guy kicks several different types of ass, most of them alien.

But honestly, I think it was because people were just jealous of all the attractive girls Trekkers get when they go out cosplaying.

She didn't even take her cellphone out to get his number, it just materialised in her hand by the power of sexy science.

However, with the latest reboot and its sequel by J.J. Abrams, Star Trek is all the rage now, which is good, because it is one of the best sci-fi franchises of all time. 

Made better with copious amounts of lens flare.

Star Trek has examined essentially every sci-fi trope possible, from what would happen if a man was confronted with an evil version of himself,

No! This is how you play Pat-a-cake!

To what would a man do if he had to sit down next to an evil version of himself during dinner,

"I see you favour the 'hands clasp together while staring with head slightly turned to one side' sitting pose.
I too, favour that pose."

To how to decide which one of the two is your captain and which one is the evil version of him.

Whichever one it is owes me a bubble bath and ear massage.

By the way, the answer is the one who starts screaming that he is the real one repeatedly to the point of incoherence with a crazed look in his eyes,

This will convince him.

When not dealing with evil versions of oneself, Star Trek has also pondered what it means to be human through characters such as Spock and Data. One is a half-Vulcan who cannot properly express emotions and wishes to be human, and one is an android who cannot properly express emotions and wishes to be human.

Can you spot the difference?

However, there is one character that serves to the answer the most important question ever asked by mankind: Wesley Crusher.

This guy.

Aside from somehow pulling off that jersey, Wesley is an incredibly intelligent child prodigy who essentially served to whine a bit and then save the day by seeing or understanding something that the other characters could not, no matter how amazingly they were acted by Patrick Stewart. That something was deus ex machina. Whenever there was a really complicated scientific problem like the warp drive acting up or the navigation system on the fritz, Wesley rock up and go, "Hey guys, what if we did this?" and save the day.

Repeatedly saving the day is the only justification for looking this smug.

Many fans have criticised the Wesley and hate the character, seeing him either as annoying or as a Mary Sue stand in for Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry (usually both). But this misses what an important character Wesley is, as his infinite potential and ability to conveniently solve any problem just because he can highlights a fundamental philosophic question, what would it be like to be a god yet trapped in a adolescent body?  

Terry Pratchett asked a similar question but with a god stuck in the form of a tortoise. So actually, much the same thing.

Additionally, Wesley's almost infinite knowledge of all things science and all-round nerdy social awkwardness appealed to certain members of the audience who liked being smart and nerdy. Because being smart and nerdy is cool. 

One fan declaring her devotion to the Almighty Crusher, Lord of Studiousness.

Also, Wesley was a loner, always setting off on his own to find adventure and get into crazy hijinks. Which is probably why Joel Watson of the webcomic Hijinks Ensue drew this loving portrait of the one true deity of nerdiness, quoting the immortal words of Peewee Herman,

I don't have to see 'Justice', Dottie ... I lived it.
The bow tie was added for referential effect. But also because bow ties are cool.

All hail, our Lord, Wesley!

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