Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Gene Roddenberry, Snitch

Americans have for years been indoctrinated with the humanist and secularist vision of Gene Roddenberry; as the Vietnam war raged in the late 60s and students rioted in the streets of the US and Europe, Roddenberry was able to sell his optimistic pop sci-fi vision across the cathode ray tubes of the world. Kirk, Spock, Bones: American geeks have for years emulated them nearly as much as they emulated rock stars. Yet most Trekkies are probably unaware that their pulp guru Roddenberry was for years an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. And before Officer Gene managed to get Star Trek aloft, there was...Dragnet, and Highway Patrol (perhaps there are others who might prefer the occasionally noirish Highway Patrol to the NeverNeverLand of ST). Roddenberry also acted as technical consultant for the LA District Attorney while writing scripts and even passed the sergeant's exam in his first attempt. (and many of the ST plots are obvious lifts of greek myths, Shakespeare [probably at least 2-3 riffs from the Tempest] or other sci-fi ala Orwell or Huxley--one could fairly easily demonstrate how the Ho-wood sci-fi industry has turned a tidy profit on Aldous Huxley for decades).

Roddenberry also was a B-17 pilot during WWII, and not the worst of humans, but really closer to an L-Ron Hubbard huckster than to a great intellectual figure; even the pulp space operas of Heinlein, however gawky and occasionally rightist-militaristic, rather superior--certainly in terms of hard science--to the touchy-feely Star Trek spectacle; most Heinlein fans, however, don't really understand what the RAH code consists of (think a hick Nietzsche meets, oh, Oppenheimer). That many naive, middle of the road "liberals" view Roddenberry as some type of visionary should not be that surprising: he's the Good Cop (with the great LAPD squad car, the Starship Enterprise, tragic-hero lite Capn. Kirk and PC socialist Federation) that many liberals (and crimefighter conservatives) dream of being, either explicitly or not.

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