Save Enterprise' Equals
Trekkies Behaving Badly..

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For the first time since October 1987, there will no longer be any new Star Trek Episodes on Television, nor any new ones in the foreseeable future. Eric Renderking Fisk writes about what this means… and how maybe it’s about time we take William Shatner’s advice about getting a life…

I would like to think that one of the messages of The Fedora Chronicles is a positive one, that with a little hard work we can all change the world for the better. While I might whine and complain that things aren’t the way they should be, I have no doubt that we can turn back the clock is some area’s such as bringing back style and substance to pop culture while at the same time turn the clock a head to make genuine improvements through out the world.

In this day and age, the potential to do good is incredible. Unless you’re reading this as a print out, you’re reading this on your computer that is hundreds of times… maybe even millions of times more powerful then the ones used on the lunar landers during the Apollo missions. Your desk-top or lap-top computer is far more powerful then the ones on board the two Voyager probes sent to the Gas Giants in the 1970’s, more powerful that the first computers used on The Space Shuttle… the list goes on.

Computers are 11 times faster then the ones sold 8 years ago. Nobody can imagine what Computers are going to be like in another 8 years, with the exception of more of the same which will be cheaper, faster and smaller. Imagine what can be done with that kind of power.

The Internet is as revolutionary as the Printing Press was in it’s day, it’s the same idea of getting information out to people faster, but the internet enables everyday people like you and myself to reach the globe. The entire world can read this column as long as they have a computer of their own and an ISP.

Beyond that, there are obviously countless programs that enable you to do just about anything you can imagine… there are programs to aid doctors, Lawyers (God help us…), Musicians, Movie editors, Architects, Archeologists and Astronomers.

There is nothing we can’t do, each one of us with a computer and an ISP have powers beyond even the richest kings and emperors in ages past… could they get a fedora shipped to them in less then 2 weeks from the other side of the world? Could they "Google" and get more then the information they need with in minutes?

The question is… what are we doing with that information? Where are we going with this new technology?

Essentially, what we have here is a far more efficient way to do the things we did with paper and mail, and we haven’t really figured out what to do next. Nobody’s figured out what “Next” really is, but we’re getting close. People have come close to realizing the full potential, but not close enough and with hardly enough people doing so. It’s mainly used as a tool for entertainment and communication.

One group, a specific niche of Science Fiction fans have almost reached their potential… but are more concerned about saving the message rather then following through on what the message means.

These were the Voyages…

In February, Paramount Studios and UPN television that airs “Star Trek – Enterprise” announced that they will cancel that show after 4 seasons. It’s sad news for all the fans, sad for Science Fiction fans who just like having it their even though they only watch it some of the time…

… But devastating news for people who live vicariously through a television show, it’s the end of the world. Some would think that a break after 18 years (Star Trek: The Next Generation was first aired in October 1987…) a break would be a great thing, while others are hell-bent to keep something going that not enough people are watching.

Tim Brazeal and a large group of fellow fans have started a group called “Save Enterprise” which has now morphed into “Trek United.” This grass-roots organization raised a few hundred thousand dollars from donations and a pledge of 3 million (That’s Million with an “M”) from the Aero-space industry with the intention of either helping Paramount keep “The Future Alive” or buy the franchise… having a subcontractor make new episodes in Canada. The details are convoluted and a bit vague…

This group has ( …or “had” since Paramount has said “No” several times to their offers…) several different divisions working in conjunction in trying to keep this incarnation of Star Trek on the air…

Campaigns, Conventions & Rallies
Media Coverage & Feedback
Skills Powerhouse
Global Coordination & Announcements
Community Outreach

… You can laugh all you want about their mission and their goal (did I write that Paramount has said “No” and that they want to give this franchise a rest?) but you can’t make fun of their organization, structure and passion. It’s very admirable; it’s very commendable… people with a common interest working towards a goal.

Only if people would unite for a goal that’s more substantial… And that’s where the trouble begins.

“Plato’s Stepchildren…”

In Plato’s “Republic”… the author write a parable about prisoners in a cave with the only thing to amuse themselves is with the shadows on the wall that’s created by the outside world. They have no concept of what the outside world is like, in their minds, those shadows have become real people.

One of the prisoners escape and see the world for what it really is… what’s going on that makes those shadows appear on the wall in the cave. The dramas that the prisoners have made up in their interpretations of the shadows are nothing like what the real world is like. The real world fantastic, there’s so much more color, there’s so much more depth… and after experiencing life that’s so beautiful and terrifying the former prisoner wants to share with his former in-mates.  When the man goes back to free the other prisoners and tell them what the real world is like, they want to break his skull open for talking such nonsense. They can’t believe him; they have no comprehension because they haven’t experienced it yet...

The point Plato tried to make is that people like to have their lives simplified into shadows and flickers of light. Because they haven’t experienced real life, that’s all they have and for some accepting that is more that is more then they can bare.

I reuse this analogy to say is that Television is the flickers of light and play in shadows of our own “Caves”. It’s not always real or even the reflection of reality, it’s the representation of what someone else thinks the world is or should be.

Sadly we can’t convince people that the flickers of light aren’t real. Nor can you tell them that the flickers of light have a greater message or they’re just entertainment… they are not a means unto themselves. It’s the meaning of the message that’s important, not the message itself.

Boldly Go… Nowhere.

The frustration towards “Save Enterprise” isn’t even about them, but at the whole culture that obsesses about unreal things and make believe… people who send “Get Well” cards to characters of a television show, host parties to celebrate the birthdays of fictional movie heroes,  stand around the water-cooler and lament about who got fired on “The Apprentice” or voted off the island on “Survivor” but are absolutely clueless about the land-slide that just killed a few hundred people in California or the thousands of people who were killed in the Tsunami the day after Christmas.

While former Presidents of The United States are overseas surveying the damage of that natural disaster in the Indian Ocean, these people are building the infrastructure and campaign to save a show that not enough people were watching in the first place. What does that say about our priorities in the world?

Ok, so forget “Save Enterprise” for a minute. Why aren’t there more organizations that are this motivated into doing the important things? Show me the links of the fans who are saving endangered species, Rain Forests, the welfare of children and the AIDS epidemic in Africa and I'll host them on the links page..

I know there are organizations that are out there who are working on important issues, I want to know why their aren’t more of them and get the attention they deserve, like the attention The New York Times gave the “Save Enterprise” crew?

How is it that people can get motivated in saving a television show like this, but can’t get behind saving worth while cause?

And here’s a news flash; “Enterprise” is just a television show, not an Endangered Species.

I’m really embarrassed for people who put so much effort into saving a show that’s basically entertainment used to lure viewers into watching ads for soap, on-line travel agencies and mortgage companies, clothes and disposable cars and razors… have I said this is for a show that not enough viewers were watching in the first place?

And at the same time I’m embarrassed that the same people refuse to consider that the same effort could be put into making a real difference into changing the world for the better.

I’m not angry with the “Save Enterprise” group. I’m angry with everybody who puts their entertainment above and beyond the needs of others. It’s ok to have things that enrich your life and bring you joy… but they are not a means unto themselves. Those are things to enjoy to help you cope while you’re overcoming doing the hard stuff. I’m angry at myself because I’m just learning this at the age of 35 and it took Oklahoma City, September 11th, the birth of my sons and then watching other people’s children get swept away by the tsunami to finally get it.

“Save Enterprise” is putting the message above the meaning… some members are advocating violence against the people who canceled the show and harassing the shareholders of Viacom. What happened to learning and overcoming differences, “Live Long and Prosper” and all that? I don't believe Leonard Nemoy's "Spock" ever said: "Live Long And Prosper - But if you don't get what you want act like a terrorist and become the thing you hate most..."

The message of Star Trek (besides the ads during the commercial breaks) was: “There's something great and wonderful out there… lets go see!”

As I write this, the Hubble Space Telescope’s future is in question. Is the new NASA administrator going to fight to save it or let it go? Are there going to be greater instrument put into space and peal back the veil of heaven? Are there going to be new wonders and advancement as we push forward? Do enough people care anymore? The answer is simple: it doesn’t matter as long as we aren’t able to keep our priorities in check. Space Travel and Exploration is one of the most important endeavors we can share,

Everyone with a computer has the tools that were unimaginable 40 years ago and the capability to do amazing things. It’s about time that we start pushing forward and shut the TV off for a while.

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