In which we explore the basic tenant of post-modern America that everything one needs to know is taught in Star Trek . . . .
I really do believe that in all things there are two kinds of people—night people and morning people, kitchen trash under the sink / kitchen trash out on the floor, socks and no socks.
And so, I think there are two types of Americans—people who admit they watch Star Trek and people who don’t. Admit it that is. Everyone watches and has watched Star Trek. Really, go ahead and deny it.
So, I’m sure everyone has seen an episode of Classic Trek called, “The Squire of Gothos”. Our intrepid crew (as opposed to the crew of the Intrepid), is off to save part of the Galaxy when they encounter a previously uncharted planet. Very quickly, the Enterprise crew is waylaid and entangled in a battle for their liberty with Trelane, a gentleman of some means and the apparent lone resident of the planet, who has access to highly advanced technology and seemingly limitless power. It seems Trelane is rather bored and very much expects the crew of the Enterprise to entertain him in one fashion or another. The urgency of the extant mission and the need for Enterprise crew to make haste and the consequences for those who await the assistance of Enterprise is of little meaning. Trelane likes his game. Battles of wills become battles for survival as well as a race against time to continue the original mission. Captain Kirk maneuvers to protect his crew, who maneuver to protect their Captain, the unswerving loyalty of the Enterprise gang their greatest weapon, greatest asset and most enviable trait. Trelane holds sway with the lives of the Enterprise crew and the future of their mission in doubt.
Then. Just. As. All is lost! Disembodied voices echo through air. Trelane, stop. What we have told you? You are not to play with primitive life forms.
Trelane’s parents have arrived. Grown ups have entered the room. Which is followed by wheedling and whining and a temper tantrum with complete meltdown. That’s right. Trelane, despite his looks, for all his power, is a child. A child of a very powerful race, a child from an advanced culture with powerful technology, a child for whom a planet is a toy to play with. Dress up the humans and stick them in the castle like dolls in playhouse. Move them around as he sees fit. Let them go only when he says done. If one of the dolls break? Hmmm . . . .
So the Grown ups make Trelane put down the humans, and then put them back on their ship—complete the mission, then off to the next wherever Star Fleet and destiny take them. (Actually, the next episode broadcast is “Arena” which has a similar theme—kinda makes you wonder what was going on in 1967.)
I think it is so often true that those we perceive to wield great power only do so because the people above them aren’t looking. Like when Mom and Dad go away for the weekend and the oldest tells the rest of the kids they have to do all the chores, which works as along as Mom and Dad never find out that oldest hung around all weekend. That would be one example.
To Grown ups in the Room. Please do come on in.