Charles Keefer's Blog

Star Trek

with 5 comments

I just got a collection of the Star Trek movies on DVD. What I had before was VHS.

I’ve been watching them and got a question about why I am spending my time there. It was from a woman of my age and I can understand why Star Trek doesn’t seem important in her world.

Why am I watching fiction about “Boldly going where no one has gone before.” It is a guy thing, right?

Here is my answer to her.


Actually, boldly going isn’t a guy thing at all. It is a hope thing.

It was the first show on television to feature women and Blacks in roles of authority.

A woman was security chief on the first Enterprise. She died in combat. That was totally unheard of at the time.

A Black woman was communications officer.

In the midst of the cold war, it featured a cute Russian manning our defenses.

A Japanese who turned out to be a homosexual was pilotinig the ship. That was lost on me at the time because I didn’t know there was a homosexual community. His character wasn’t homosexual and even had a daughter who joined Star Fleet in one of the movies. But I’ll bet some knew.

And most of the earthly problems plaguing us now had been solved through technology. Stock market bubbles – gone. Global warming – gone. Hunger – gone. Universal health care and education – standard.

And think of the premise. We are not alone. There are other civilizations out there and we can cooperate with them, not find them and kill them. The heavens are not the province of a jealous God who is just looking for an excuse to send us to hell.

At the time, few women watched it because “star stuff” was mostly for teenage boys. But funding for NASA and science education accelerated with the popularity of the show. It put this nation first in education and Nobel prizes.

Now, 52 percent of all college students are women.

The President of the United States is not only Black, but also a former president of the Harvard Law Review.

These are things I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I’m from South Carolina. When I was young, we had whites’ only drinking fountains.

I credit Star Trek with breaking some of the ice.


Written by Charles Keefer

February 22, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

5 Responses

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  1. Personally, I know a lot of women that watched Star Trek. I wanted to be like Spock (can’t you tell?). Thought you didn’t like the latest Star Trek Movie? Just watched it again, much better than Avatar which is a little too kum ba yah and simplistic in its plot line(but visually fantastic). This past year has been pretty good for science fiction, Star Trek, District 9 and Avatar. District 9 is great, watch it if you haven’t seen it yet. You should see “How William Shatner Changed the World (or How Techies Changed the World with William Shatner)”. Funny.

    Carol K

    February 23, 2010 at 5:38 pm

  2. Oops, did I step on some toes? Mea culpa. Did you think I was lambasting you for watching Star Trek? Yes, I admit I said I thought it was a guy thing but you must have been reading between the lines because I wasn’t making fun of you.

    I do understand your comments on it being a “hope thing” but back in the late 60’s and 70’s that was lost on me, too. I was quite naive then, although somtimes I guess that still applies.

    When watching Star Trek with my husband and then later on with my children, I wasn’t analyzing why they chose the actors who portrayed Uhura, Chekov or Sulu.

    My opinion is that women probably watched the original Star Trek, then Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, etc. because of their male companions … initially at least.

    Enough said, for now.


    February 23, 2010 at 5:46 pm

  3. Sorry I was a Trekki from the start, along with all its spin offs, (my sister too), and I didn’t watch it for any other reason than I just liked sci-fi, (did like Spock alot though)


    February 24, 2010 at 5:40 pm

  4. After watching the first season of Star Trek, the original series, I find I was wrong in my post. Tasha Yar, played by Denise Crosby, was the security chief of the USS Enterprise-D in the first series of Star Trek-The Next Generation.

    In addition, I only remember seeing Walter Koenig as the Russian navigator on the bridge of the Enterprise once in the first season. Here is what Wikipedia says about him.

    “Koenig played the navigator Pavel Chekov on the USS Enterprise in the original Star Trek (TOS) television series and in several movies featuring the original cast. He was cast as Chekov because of his resemblance to British actor/musician Davy Jones of the Monkees, in a bid to attract a younger audience, especially girls. (The studio’s publicity department, however, ascribed the inclusion of Chekov to an article in Pravda complaining about the lack of Russians in Star Trek.) Koenig wore a hair piece while playing the character of Chekov in his first few episodes of the original Star Trek series until his own hair grew out to a suitable length.”

    Sometimes it is hard to remember what happened on TV 44 years ago.

    Charles Keefer

    February 26, 2010 at 11:52 am

  5. OMG, 44 years ago. We were so young then, but we’re still here now.

    As was said, “Live long and prosper.”


    February 26, 2010 at 2:21 pm

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