Originally Posted by mjcrawford
I know that among my fellow Trekkies this is not a popular thing to say, but the “missing” secular humanism is one of the better “changes” to Trek in this film (IMHO) before you flame me to oblivion, let me elaborate:
Yes, in TNG (the only series that really depicted Roddenberry’s “dream”) the federation was a very atheist, communist, secular humanistic society and it actually is a shining example of what is wrong with just such a society… anyone who is different is bad… or stupid. Worf was the only main cast member who had a different way of thinking about things, and he was generally reduced to comic relief, or an example of bad thinking, it was very rare that Worf’s approach to anything was actually correct. Aside from Worf, the crew may have been diverse genetically, but intellectually they were all a bunch of clones of white-liberal-secular-collage professors. In fact the only race depicted to be capitalist in any way was the Feringi, and they of course were slimy, untrustworthy, had no morals to speak of, and only worshiped profit. It is no wonder why many TNG fans love the Klingons, they are the ONLY real example of diversity on the show.
Interestingly there is one episode of TOS that also reflected Roddenberry’s dream, “the Cage” in which we see a crew of all white (except Spock) all men (except ‘number one’ a main character who did not even have a name and token women for sexual tension) and unified thought.
The rest of TOS celebrated diversity, every member of the crew was proud of their heritage, and was different in the way they approached a problem, and because of that they could solve any problem, society had evolved to respect all beliefs not eliminate all religion. Heck there was even a religious wedding ceremony in a chapel on board the ship, (“…and in accordance with our many beliefs…”) and yes… MONEY existed. (“Scotty, you just earned your pay for the week…” “Well, if you consider my cost, storage and a reasonable mark-up the tribbles will cost 10 credits a head…”)
The new film is truly a return to the Original Series, not to Roddenberry’s ‘dream’ and for that I am thankful. I know that many of you do not think of Starfleet as military, but I have never seen a NASA astronaut, or a merchant marine say as Kirk did, “…I’m a solder, not a Diplomat…” that very line tells you that he is in the MILITARY. Yes Starfleet’s missions are peaceful, just as our military has peaceful missions that it embarks on, however in time of war make no mistake, it is Starfleet, not some other branch of service that will rush into the fight. (DS9 ‘Dominion War’ anyone?)
In this film some people have complained that there is product placement (Nokia, Budweiser, Jack Daniels, Slusho) however I think that the reason for this is clear, J.J. was making a statement that this is not Roddenberry’s Trek, rather a re-imaging of TOS. The best Trek of all. A Trek in which humans are Free to pursue jobs, make money, or join Starfleet, and we have gotten past our petty differences.