|The Dirty Pair, by Alan Gutierrez|
Like any good student of synchromysticism, I’m well aware of the importance of dates, in particular anniversaries. Especially when they’re mine.
It was, in a sense, inevitable that I would one day have to do a lengthy project about Star Trek. No large-scale media franchise, or indeed possibly no work of fiction, has consistently meant as much to me or been as much of a source of inspiration (and frustration) over the course of my life as Star Trek. I would have had to address my personal history and issues with Star Trek in some fashion at some point, and that was before my Internet writer colleagues pushed me to work them out through a large-scale serialized blog project.
So, first and foremost, Vaka Rangi has always been more about me than it has been about Star Trek. You may have noticed. Sorry about that. But, as someone trained to notice, analyse and compare positionalities, and also simply knowing it would be pointless to do *yet another* “Let’s watch every episode of Star Trek in order and write about it” thing, I also figured my perspective might allow me to say some things that might not get said in mainline cult sci-fi discourse. But this also means this is a particularly personal project for me, as it’s my reaction to Star Trek that informs not just the kind of critical perspective I offer, but that kind of person I am. I never wanted this to be a straightforward critical history, even a subversive one, and the project was never going to let me make it into one.
Growing up cut off from the kind of pop culture discourse that seems to have morphed into Nerd Culture, I guess I assumed the things I saw in Star Trek were what everyone liked about Star Trek, but it very quickly became evident that I was wrong, and any evidence I found to the contrary seems to have been deliberate misrepresentations in marketing buzzspeak. As a result, I spent a lot of time thinking about how I was going to structure this project to get this across, and I eventually settled on the idea of comparing Star Trek’s idealism (at least the way I saw it) to the philosophy of the ancient Polynesian navigators for various reasons. Obviously, as a cultural anthropologist I’ve read about and studied them a lot, as Polynesia is one of anthropology’s favourite classic case studies and Hawai’i in particular has a very deep and spiritual connection to the night sky. But it’s also a region I feel connected to myself in a very deep and personal way I can’t exactly articulate (there are a few places around the world that are like this for me, but Polynesia was the first one I consciously noticed my connection to). More specifically, I genuinely do see and try to find a kinship in the way the navigators conceived of growing, learning, travelling and the concept of a global community and what I think Star Trek really ought to stand for.…