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Trekkies 2

Who would have thought that a film about Star Trek fandom could not only be made but be successful enough to inspire a follow-up? True to the sequel rule of more! and bigger! Trekkies 2 has an international flavour. Denise Crosby interviews fans from Serbia to Australia, France to Brazil.

As before - and understandably - the documentary focusses on the more involved fans. Anyone given more than a snippet of screentime is invariably decked out in a Starfleet uniform. But, if anything, I think the sequel shows even more than its predecessor the inspiring side of fandom rather than the whacky.

Two sequences stand out in my mind: the segment that revisits some of the more memorable characters from the first film and a segment where fans are asked, can one go too far in being a Star Trek fan?

Barbara Adams, "the Commander", as I recall, was one of the people who came out looking weirdest in the prequel, what with her propensity to wear a costume everywhere, including a court trial where she was a member of the jury. In Trekkies 2 she presents a most articulate and persuasive arguments for the ideals of Star Trek (reminding me of a similar scene in The West Wing so it must have been articulate!) so that her choice to wear the Starfleet uniform is made to seem understandable, almost inspiring.

I liked Gabriel Köerner, the intense, geeky and committed CGI artist from the first film. He was obviously talented if - in his own words - "socially oblivious". Trekkies 2 shows what a few years in the maturation chamber, not to mention the love of a beautiful woman capable of recognising the man inside the fan, can do. You can now add "nice guy", "insightful" and "genuine" to the list of his attributes. And he's now working in the industry, surely a sign of major (not just geek) credibility.

So can one go too far? How does one know when someone has crossed the line? I don't think it's when you've covered your body with Trek tattoos - that's just enthusiasm. I don't think it's when you broadcast your radio programme wearing a captain's outfit - that's a sign of success. I don't think it's when you form a Star Trek tribute band and perform punk or heavy metal filk songs - that's just making something of your talent and creativity. I don't think it's when you've turned your apartment into a replica of 24th century styling - that's just plain cool! I don't think it's when you use Star Trek as a way of combatting despair or depression - that's inspiring. And I certainly don't think it's when you believe that Star Trek shows the world as it should be rather than as it is - that's just plain true.

At first the following rang true: you've gone too far when you can no longer separate fact from fiction. But witnessing the conversation with the little old lady who seemed to genuinely believe that she had encountered aliens made me wonder: yes, she's quite likely crossed the line from reality to fantasy (though... who knows??), but what harm is she doing?

And that, to me, is the line: When fans use Star Trek as an excuse to become destructive rather than creative. Trek fans may have a reputation for being geeky or nerdy or just plain weird, but they don't compare to soccer hooligans (as opposed to soccer fans) whose rampages destroy property and send people to hospital. Those are "fans" nobody could or should be proud of.

(Which is not to say that Trekfen can't be vindictive or destructive, but they tend to limit such negativity to flaming, trolling and bitching online rather than the "real world".)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 30, 2005 9:57 PM.

The previous post in this blog was 24 Day 4 - and thoughts on future days.

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