Ah those Trekkies. . .

Heard about this on the radio on my way to work this morning. Like the morning show hosts and 99% of the listeners, I thought that these people were a bunch of dumbasses. Still, I wanted to have a look at that petition with my own eyes, hoping that the diehard Trekkies had not fallen so low. . .

Well, sadly, they have. . . Here's the petition:

To: JJ Abrams, Brad Grey (Chairman and CEO of Paramount), Frederick D. Huntsberry (COO of Paramount), Mark Badagliacca (EVP and CFO of Paramount), Majel Barrett, and the cast and crew of Star Trek XI

In 1966 Gene Roddenberry gave us his optimistic vision of the future with Star Trek, and millions of people fell in love with his vision. To say that the impact of Roddenberry's vision is profound, is no exaggeration. Designers, engineers, astronauts, scientists, and doctors by the thousands all have stated that Star Trek was the spark which set them on their career path.

And Paramount has benefited greatly from our love of the franchise. When it looked like the original series was going to be canceled early on, it was a letter writing campaign from the fans which saved the series and enabled it to have enough episodes to be considered viable for syndication. From there, things really took off. Five spin-off TV series, ten (soon to be eleven movies), novels and comic books by the hundreds and other merchandising tie-ins by the thousands, if not tens of thousands. The profits from Roddenberry's original seed now measure in the billions.

Yet, it's not simply in monetary gains that Paramount has benefited from Star Trek. The technology which Paramount uses every day to run it's business, owes at least a portion of it's existence to those who were inspired by Star Trek. Indeed, the terms “computer programmer” and “Star Trek fan” might as well be one-in-the-same in most cases. One could argue that technology is only considered to be “sexy” because of it's association with one Captain James T. Kirk.

We fans happily gave our money to Paramount for these things because we believed in Gene and his vision. We very much wanted to be the characters Gene created and have similar adventures ourselves. When Star Trek began, the Space Race was busy gearing up for it's greatest achievement, and it seemed to all of us that soon, we'd be “boldly going where no man has gone before.” That wasn't to be, however. The Space Race fizzled out and Star Trek was canceled.

Still, we fans kept the fires going. It was the fans who organized the first convention, and who launched letter writing campaigns to name the space shuttle in honor of the Enterprise, and it was the technology spun off from the space program which enabled Paramount to expand upon Gene's visions in ways which were undreamed of when Star Trek first premiered. All of these things were insanely profitable for Paramount.

On December 25th, 2008 Paramount is offering us a new vision of the original Star Trek series. Paramount's hoping that we will continue to flock to this latest incarnation as we have to the others. Well, enough is enough. If Paramount's going to expect us to pony up money for this, then we want something in return: We want Paramount or J. J. Abrams to agree to donate at least a portion of the box office receipts for opening weekend to one of the various non-profit (and Paramount will get a nice, healthy tax deduction for this) organizations dedicated to the exploration of space. Be it the X-Prize Foundation, the Planetary Society or other group. This is an investment in Paramount's future. Their artists will use the images beamed back from space as basis for future film scenes, the technology spun-off from those missions will enable Paramount to make bigger (and hopefully better) films of all types, and we know that shortly after commercial spaceflight becomes possible, someone at Paramount will hit upon the idea of shooting a film in space. They'll do it because they know people will go see it. We're asking Paramount to make an investment in it's future, since we know that they'll benefit from what is discovered. After all, it was Star Trek which showed us that.

If, however, Paramount decides that they'd rather continue to simply take our money and give us nothing more than a pale shadow of what Star Trek once was (as they have done with some of the spin-offs and movies in recent years), then we, the undersigned fans will simply stay away from the theaters on the opening weekend for Star Trek XI. Since it is the opening weekend results that drive so much of Hollywood's thinking, our staying away will hurt Paramount's bottom line and not the theater chains. If the film's a good one, then the subsequent weekend earnings as well as the DVD and related merchandising sales will more than make up for the loss. Our point, however, will be made: We're tired of Captain Kirk having all the fun. It's time for the rest of us to get “a piece of the action” and that will only happen if more money is poured into research and development. If Paramount issues a large press release about their donation, it'll attract attention to the new Star Trek film (and hype is always good in Hollywood), as well as raising awareness of the matter (thus attracting more funding as well as more ticket goers). It's a win-win for Paramount, if they're willing to take it. If they don't, then we, the undersigned will not be there on opening weekend.


The Undersigned

Throughout my adolescence and many years afterward, I fought to shake the "geek" and "dork" image associated with anything that has to do with SFF. I've succeeded in that endeavor, at least where I'm concerned.

But with a ludicrous petition such as this, do you actually believe that "ordinary" people will applaud and look at Trekkies with anything but derision???

Ah, Trekkies. . . I'm told it's Trekkers nowadays. Apparently it's got more "panache." Yeah right. . .:p

Imagine if those people used all this energy to accomplish something worthwhile instead. . .

14 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

totally agree... i hate when people associate "trekkies" to people that read sff... not the same thing. I'm a huge nfl fan as i've noticed you and my fav author GRRM are as well. when i started reading GRRM's blog and him talking about football i thought no wonder i love this guy's books... anyways... love ur site here, lot's of good reviews and info for what i need to read next.. currently reading & loving altered carbon, just finished name of the wind, probably liked it more than you... thought it was awesome... take care

Nick said...

See, I'm not a trekkie and don't really like Trek much at all, but they've sort of got a point. Star Trek did inspire hundreds of people who went on to be important in the development of technology. And it would be cool, in my opinion, if more money was funnelled into space research. Do Paramount 'owe' anything to these causes? Of course not. But it would be cool if they did.

Anonymous said...

I never watched Star Trek nor do i care about this petition, but as far as shaking off the prejudices of SFF fans as Geeks or Dorks, congratulation, you've just reinforced it with this post and its condescending tone.

I suppose as long as you say how much you're not like THOSE SFF fans, it's okay to you, but if the only way you can think of having your own image be better is by dismissing others... well, that stinks.

DesLily said...

Whoever started that thinks highly of theirself if they think threatening a corporation like Paramount will do anything. You never get anywhere by threatening.

Nice idea or not Movie studios are in BUSINESS to make MONEY. They only spend money to make MORE MONEY.

Most "trekkie's" today must be in the older generation, I find it hard to believe someone with a brain would do such a thing. A younger person, at the height of Trek.. maybe, but as an older (coughing here) adult, I'd say that person wasn't using the brains they were born with.

Paramount wouldn't even be doing this movie if it didn't BELIEVE that Trekkers and Sci Fi fans wouldn't make it worth their while by going to see it.. if only for nastalgic reasons. They don't care about first week sales.. only Abrahams wants that so they might ask for a second movie. Paramount will make their money even if it's from dvd sales.

Ok done venting. Nice thought whoever you are... I love our space program and any help it can get is good help. But I'd be shocked if Paramount even gives this a second thought.

polijn said...

The "it's" may be wrong, but at least they're consistent. :p You'd think somebody'd run that through a grammar check before publishing it.

Bah, the Trek. I wouldn't have gone to see the movie anyway and probably would've switched the channel if it were free on TV.

I'll only be impressed if their stunt actually works.

polijn said...

Hehehehe. Then go look how many signatures they've got at that link.

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is, if they'd put this as a request, an exhortation, a wouldn't-it-be-great-if, it would have been perfectly appropriate and even quite charming. It's the threat that makes it so pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Wow, they are sure taking a ton of credit for many things in that post, god, without Star Trek we would be living like cavemen. And the Shuttle Enterprise was not named after the ship in the TV series, the name enterprise has a long history in the us navy and the shuttle was named Enterprise in order to carry on the name and the tradition it stands for, not some fake starship.

--- Dave

Anonymous said...

Whoever wrote this is a sad, sad person.
Die-hard, 60-year-old trekkies staying away from the theatres could only make a significant dent in Paramount's earnings if the movie is a bust anyway, so that threat is as empty as it's pathetic.

And "donations" won't help space exploration anyway. Space will only attract enough money when it becomes profitable (in fact it's already happening : people like Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are massively investing into new spaceships).

Janicu said...

I don't really think this petition really has the backing of Trekkers everywhere. Looks like a hoax to me. And there are 19 signatures to the thing. Someone is trying to get gullible people annoyed. Not worth even posting about.

Anonymous said...

It's hilarious how these guys claim that they're spending money on Trek even though they don't like it anymore. Either you enjoy it and it's worth spending money on, or you can leave it and go and donate to space exploration yourself if you feel that strongly about it.

Anonymous said...

Someone signed as "Darth V."... LOL

MarcD said...

I support space exploration and manned missions to Mars and the Moon (again). I support a moonbase and the space station.

I do not support this idiotic petition.

Star Trek can be a fun franchise, when done right. If the new movie is anything like that "Nemesis" dreck, though, I certainly won't be in a theater watching it.

Anonymous said...

If it's good I'll go see it; if it's not I won't - like any other form of entertainment. I'll spend my money where I'm getting my money's worth. I expect Paramount will do the same.