I regard myself as a second-generation Trekkie (my Mum is a first-generation Trekkie, and she got me into the franchise when I was a kid). I’ve seen pretty much every bit of Star Trek TV and film material, I’ve read several of the books, I’ve owned models, uniforms and toys. I’ve been lucky enough to attend a couple of conventions (thanks Mum!). My love of Star Trek runs deep. Being a part of this fandom makes me feel like I’m part of a truly special, warm and diverse community.

This is, in a way, what the Star Trek shows and movies are. They are a diverse mix, stretching across more than fifty years, all meaning different things to different people. It therefore pains me when I see some fans playing a divisive game on social media.

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Out of courtesy I’ve refrained from revealing the tweeter’s identity, but this sort of thing annoys me. It is anathema to what Star Trek is all about. It is not for me, or anyone else, to decide what is ‘true Trek’. The above tweet represents the desire to take a personal opinion and have it regarded as objective fact. It represents the wish to have one’s personal views override everyone else’s.

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This tweet is in itself an act of trolling. It’s deliberately creating an ‘us versus them’ culture. It’s telling fans of Discovery the show they like isn’t really Star Trek, and there’s the implication that they’re not really Star Trek fans. Such an attitude is incredibly arrogant, and deeply ironic too.

I’m sure there are fans of Discovery who take their defence of the show too far. For the record, they’re just as bad (though I’ve not actually observed any such behaviour directly). If you’re a fan of Discovery and someone else isn’t, just shrug and move on. If you’re not a fan of Discovery, don’t watch it, shrug and move on. Labelling certain things ‘true Trek’ certainly isn’t a sensible or mature approach, and the implication of it isn’t going to accomplish anything. To some, Discovery will be their first taste of Star Trek. To others, including lifelong Trekkies, Discovery will feel every bit as relevant and important to the franchise as TOS or TNG.

See, here’s the thing. As I mentioned earlier, Star Trek fans are a diverse bunch, and the shows and movies reflect that. To some, TOS and only TOS will do. Others might have never seen TOS and their first experience of Star Trek will have been through JJ Abram’s films. Some fans will love TNG and hate DS9 and some will hate ENT but love DS9. There is no ‘true Trek’, there is only different Trek that means different things to different people.

Back to Sci-Fi Analysis

 

Not for the first time my mind took me to some strange places in my dreams last night. I don’t know what prompted the first dream, and the other two were odd in different ways.

Hillary, World Champion?

It began in Las Vegas. At least, I think it was Vegas. My wife and I were watching a boxing match (strange really, as neither of us have any vested interest in boxing), between an unknown guy and… former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Yes, seriously.


Believe it or not, Hillary gave as good as she got, holding her own well into round 6 and possibly beyond. Even in the dream I couldn’t help but wonder ‘WTF’, and no, I don’t know how the fight ended.

War, with… Animals?

Onward to dream two (I don’t recall if this dream was a strange continuation of the first, but it’s so different it deserves to be classed as a separate dream). I’m driving a tank (or I’m a video game character driving a tank) and blasting enemy tanks in some sort of futuristic war. After wading through dirty sewer water, I’m talking to an anthramorphic fox when a nuke goes off. I blame a combo of Guardians of the Galaxy and the North Korean problem for that one.

Poignant Times

I know exactly what brought on the final dream. I was firstly waking around a supermarket with my wife and daughter, when for some reason we had to go off in opposite directions. My little girl wanted to come with me, so off we went to get a card for my Nan’s birthday, even though at this point she has been gone for five years. Still, it mattered to me to get this card – so off I went to find one.

Suddenly, we found ourselves in my Nan’s old home, even though it wasn’t actually her home. My brother was there, and my Nan was there too. She gave me a hug and it felt very real and very emotional (feeling a bit emotional as I write this). Sadly, my daughter couldn’t see her – my Nan was there for my brother and I.

Surreal and touching and emotional.

One of the things I would dearly love to do is write a proper novel, be it historical, sci-fi, action, drama – I’d love to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and produce something worthy of being published. The trouble is, I know myself, and I am my own worst enemy in these circumstances – I am too easily distracted. I lose focus too easily. My mind spins around too fast sometimes, and there are too many other things to steal my attention. I need to put myself into a little box and just devote an entire day to writing whatever I can.

Well it’s taken faaaaar too long, but we finally have a bit of warmth! Unfortunately, it’s the wrong kind of warmth.

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I know I know, I’ve been moaning about the lack of any degree of Spring heat for ages. Now I’m saying it’s bad that it’s warm? What’s wrong with me eh? Well, the problem is, it’s not so much outright heat, as humidity. It’s muggy. It’s close. It’s uncomfortable and sweaty.

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Stop giving me that look people. You know it’s true. We can’t yet do away with our coats because it will likely rain, but at the same time, it’s too warm to wear a coat. We’re in a Catch-22. Can we have a nice, dry day, with blue skies please?

 

Tonight’s voyage home is brought to you by the letter M for Moron – a remarkable idiot even by the standards set by the average fool. His reckless actions were, in a word, incredulous. To use another word, they were astonishing. They also had the impact of drastically hindering my journey home. The incident? A guy decided that, rather than going up the stairs and around to the right platform for his train, it was better to run across the railway tracks. The consequences of this act? The driver of the train refused to budge until the idiot had gotten off the train, which resulted in the driver actually marching down the platform to find the offender and remove him. Unfortunately the time delay resulted in the train getting held up at a set of faulty points further up the train. Cue lengthy delay and a long walk up to the next station.

What a complete muppet. Quite aside from his total disregard for the other passengers, this imbecile risked his own life and potentially the lives of others because he couldn’t be bothered to wait for the next train. I did see a police officer arrive at the station as I headed off to walk up along the beach, so hopefully he got what was coming to him. The upside? A nice evevning walk along the beach, even if I hadn’t banked on it. I just hope the next time I take a stroll along the beach, it’s by choice.

As many of you who follow this blog know, I work in retail. I have worked in retail since 2007, so it will be ten years this year since I took up a position on the ‘front lines’, so to speak. When dealing with customers face-to-face, you are exposing yourself to a wide range of interesting, frustrating and down right weird situations. Sometimes these are of your own making – I am human, and I make mistakes.

Meerkats don’t make mistakes.

True, but then, you live in a hole.

Equally, there are times when the customer is wrong, and I have ranted at great length at how the old adage ‘the customer is always right’ is completely wrong. It is one of the most damaging, ignorant and wholly stupid attitudes to hold in the retail (or any other business) sector. At the end of the day, a customer can be spectacularly wrong, and in this case, that very much applies.

If you buy something such as a tile, wallpaper, or any kind of covering for the floor or wall, and then, over a year later, need more of it (in this instance, because your fitters cocked up), you cannot be surprised to learn that the exact style you had before may not be available. Batches change. These companies don’t store these things indefinitely on the odd chance a customer might come back for that exact same pattern years later.

So admittedly there was more than a batch change at work here. The tile appears to have been completely redesigned, and the colour is noticeably different (whether intentionally or due to an error). I get that the customer is frustrated. However, having a go at me, blaming me for ordering the wrong thing (no I didn’t), isn’t making me inclined to sympathise with you or help you. I’m more likely to shelve your issue in favour of other things (such as pleasant customers).

 

Welcome to a rather introspective post. Any of you who follow the Coalition of the Brave will know that I’ve recently had reasons to stop and think about how I approach debate and discussion, and about the nature of open discussion. There are questions here that I have no easy answers to – what is the Coalition intended to be, a safe space for like-minded people, a forum for honest yet respectful conversation between people with opposing points of view, or some sort of weird amalgamation of the two? Can one be both honest and sensitive to opposing positions? 

I strive to be mindful of how my words can impact others. A statement which is harmless to one person can be hurtful to another, so how a point is conveyed can be as important as what that point is. This doesn’t mean I’m not capable of arguing passionately and forcefully, though even then I try hard to avoid descending into outright aggression or rude behaviour. Even here I don’t always succeed, because I am a human being, flawed beyond measure.

So was I right to hint that another site is something of an echo chamber, given the charge made against the Coalition? Am I a hypocrite? 

Yes, I am. You want to know something? I think we all are, in some way shape or form, at various stages in our lives. It’s human nature. We try to protect our own. 

So with that in mind, are my observations about this tweet, and the subsequent points raised in the discussion, valid? I invite you, the reader, to judge:

There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the question Paul asks, but the salient detail for me is that the tweet to Lambeth Palace wasn’t made altruisticly. It was (to use the expression I used during the discussion), ‘poking the bear’. If you’ve followed any posts on Blogging Theology (and if you check parts onetwo and three of my dialogue regarding bakers and rights) then you may understand a bit more as to why I raise this point. 

The key thing I wish to stress here is that what Paul did is no different to an experience I had in town a few months ago. I was looking for a particular building and asked a guy (chosen at random) where it was. He started to talk about God and was preaching to me. It was unsolicited and uninvited, and not appreciated. Paul’s question (based on his personal religious position as a Muslim) had nothing to do with the question raised (which was about encouraging job applications). The only genuine connection between the Palace tweet and Paul’s reply is the name Jesus. 

I called Paul out on this, and it didn’t take long before he steered the conversation away from the subject and onto questions about why I hate religion and why I post on his blogs if I hate religion (basically, classic examples of leading questions). I asked him whether he wanted genuine discussion on his site, or whether he just wants people to agree with him. Paul has now decided to put my comments into a moderation queue and the last couple haven’t been published. 

On my own blog, and on the Coalition, I try to let comments through at every opportunity. I don’t like blocking comments or people and try to avoid it, though sometimes it can’t be helped. Nevertheless, my own comments to Paul regarding the apparent ‘echo chamber’ nature of the discussion he appears to want to cultivate there has forced me to look in the mirror. Does this invalidate what I had to say on Blogging Theology? I don’t think so. Nor do I feel I have been rude to him. Then again, I am not him, and I cannot therefore judge what he finds to be rude.

All in all, the conversation has been interesting and enlightening, in more ways than one.