★ Who is your favourite villain?
THE SHADE OF IT ALL
DAAAAAAAAAMN JOHN CHO.
oh my god
one thing that makes me sad about startrekverse is that alongside genuinely utopian things like “in the future there will be no poverty or hunger or crimes or illness” there is also “in the future there will be no religion” like what is this a john lennon song. i am sending you my least amused face
it saddens me that apparently a utopian future involves “”transcending”” religion which apparently universally and inherently holds humanity back?? whaaat. give me a break
i dont want to imagine a utopian SPACE FUTURE which has no, like, hijabi starfleet officers, or space rabbis bickering about what counts as “sunset” when you are on a space station. or what counts as “friday” for that matter
BUT MOST OF ALL
I DONT WANT TO IMAGINE A SPACE FUTURE IN WHICH EVERYONE DOES NOT VALIANTLY PRETEND THAT THERE IS NO ONE HOME ON THEIR STARSHIP WHEN THE MORMON MISSIONARY PODS COME BEETLING BY WITH THEIR DIGITAL PAMPHLETS
AND I AM WILLING TO BET THAT YOU DONT WANT TO IMAGINE THAT EITHER
I think this has been done before but maybe not in comic sans?
Felis catus is your taxonomic nomenclature,
An endothermic quadruped, carnivorous by nature;
Your visual, olfactory, and auditory senses
Contribute to your hunting skills and natural defenses.
I find myself intrigued by your subvocal oscillations,
A singular development of cat communications
That obviates your basic hedonistic predilection
For a rhythmic stroking of your fur to demonstrate affection.
A tail is quite essential for your acrobatic talents;
You would not be so agile if you lacked its counterbalance.
And when not being utilized to aid in locomotion,
It often serves to illustrate the state of your emotion.
O Spot, the complex levels of behavior you display
Connote a fairly well-developed cognitive array.
And though you are not sentient, Spot, and do not comprehend,
I nonetheless consider you a true and valued friend.
“Ode to Spot”, written by Lieutenant Commander Data.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
I don’t understand why Kirk or Picard is still a thing when Sisko exists.
ON SLASH, FANDOM AND WHY GETTING NOTICED BY SHOW RUNNERS HAS NOT BEEN A GOOD THING HISTORICALLY:
- A META FOR DESTIEL AND OTHER SLASH FANS
Excuse me as I go into the history here first.
The two in the top picture are from a show called Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Elim Garak and Dr. Julian Bashir. And their story, and the fan history around them, is an example of why fandom is historically wary of mentioning slash around people who actually make a show.
The events happened prior to me being in fandom proper but they were still talked about by people who were by the time I got the ‘net. This example was given as a warning story to me and others getting into fandom.
Though this story and I’m sure others like it have been forgotten the attitude and lessons seem to have been passed down and left younger fans (or those just newer to fandom) a bit confused. So I’ll explain, and then get to how they impact modern slash fandoms and some of our behaviour.
Garak, of the two, has far more experience in the world. He is an (alleged) former spy, from a species that isn’t looked upon well and though now working as a tailor is trusted by no one. Julian is a doctor fresh out of Starfleet Academy, naive, who chose the posting because it was a frontier post, out there where it was raw and real and so on.
He learns better as time goes on, promise. Partly because of Garak, to be honest.
In any case, during the earlier seasons of the show the building relationship between the two was a consistent aspect.
Garak wasn’t a title character so in some ways it was a bit like Dean and Castiel in terms of the time they have together on screen and fans waiting and hoping for the one of them (Garak or Cas) to turn up and be in an episode.
From the first moment they met you could see something flying through the air, and though it wasn’t puppies and kittens you could watch as it built and built into something bigger and stronger. Again like Dean and Cas.
You’ll still find people who call Garak/Bashir one of their OTPs to this day. It also helps that the guy playing one of the characters played him as bi or omni deliberately.
Andrew J Robinson who played Garak said this about his character:
I started out playing Garak as someone who doesn’t have a defined sexuality. He’s not gay, he’s not straight, it’s a non-issue for him. Basically his sexuality is inclusive.
Needless to say fans picked up on this. Fans talked about it. The fans were noticed.
And so, the producers on finding out weren’t very happy.
Andrew, I have to say, seems to be the one who talks about this after the fact the most. And it’s clear that TPTB weren’t too happy. In the same interview as the one linked above he also said that “there were a couple of things working against that. One is that Americans really are very nervous about sexual ambiguity”.
It’s also mentioned in this video of a convention in Spain but it’s more through gestures. Needless to say, bad stuff was heading the way off the SS Garak/Bashir. This was way before mash up names became a thing, this was even before they were looked down on as childish or just plain crappy.
So what happened?
The relationship between Julian Bashir and a character he hadn’t gotten along with all that well became more and more prominent. Another character called Ziyal also became a romantic interest for Garak seemingly out of the blue.
I liked the friendship between Julian and Miles O’Brien and Ziyal had an interesting background and story lines. I know I wasn’t the only one to think this. And this would of been fine except for their purpose.
But they were used largely, many Garak/Bashir slashers felt, as a way of reducing the slashy vibes. It gave them primary relationships with other people and so less time with each other and also have each a relationship to distract from all those horrific gay vibes coming off of the two.
An important side note here, Star Trek’s founder had intended and tried to get a gay character into the show before his death. Various actors past, present and (then) future had tried to support the idea. Some still on screen would make language more inclusive or pester the makers into having gay characters. And each time producers or unnamed people upon high would stop it or say no. Not gonna happen.
So when in the midst of this fans started touting this relationship as sexual in nature and talking about it and not being overly quite about it and all that? Shit went down.
It didn’t work as well as hoped. The characters did stil interact, and I don’t think they could do anything to stop the actors acting as though the characters were close if very very different and often polar opposites on issues.
And when, once the show finished, Andrew J Robinson wrote a book? It’s called ‘A Stitch in Time’ and it turned into (and I’m not exaggerating) a gigantic love letter to Julian Bashir. A very Garak and Cardassian style love letter but to anybody familiar with the two and the debates about literature the two used to have on the show, in canon, there’s really no denying it. The two actors are still happy to talk about the slashy subtext, and seem to embrace it. They did a stage show on stage at conventions for a while too.
I like to imagine it as a bit of a middle finger to those who tried to keep the two appart and stop even their friendship from growing.
So here’s my point.
I seriously doubt this only happened to the Garak/Bashir slashers. When I first started getting into fandom thanks to obtaining the internet around 1999/2000 this was all over and done with. But being a Trekkie, a DS9 fan and someone who loved the Garak/Bashir this was something I heard about a lot. And you heard the fear about ever making this sort of thing too loud in case TPTB heard about it and did the same. And in the Stargate SG-1 fandom people though not knowing the story (unless also a Trekkie) had this fear in it.
The primary slash pairing in SG-1 was Jack/Daniel. I was a Sam/Jack shipper also known then as a SJer (remember, no mash names, pairings used to be given in terms of initials or full names) but you know how fandoms are. There’s bleed over. And there were people talking about how you DO NOT BRING UP THE SLASH at conventions. Ever. It’s a Bad Thing.
You’d hear accounts of conventions where fans had mentioned slash and other fans wouldn’t react to well with it. Because that wasn’t done. Because it couldn’t be done.
The individual stories get lost. But everyone knows that people migrate from one fandom to another as they pick up a new show or an old show ends. And things you pick up one place you carry with you and can get passed down.
So you get to now. Fans bringing up slash and Destiel in SPN conventions and it being treated as a taboo by other fans to the point that even Misha notices.
I see fans sending in asks to various Destiel tumblrs asking what’s going on and why people are so ashamed and that we shouldn’t treat it as something dirty and wrong and what’s going on?
And it’s this. Maybe not this particular story by itself, but that sort of atmosphere. Times move on, society is more progressive, there are more LGBT characters on shows and producers and networks are more open minded. And SPN finds itself in the fantastic position of having Misha who seems to embrace it even if he doesn’t seem to get it fully and given a certain book his wife wrote is guaranteed not going to be some close minded prude.
So it’s safer in SPN fandom and conventions than it was used to be. But that fear has been carried over even if it’s now diluted. And some of it is legitimate. We don’t know what TPTB are going to do with the destiel relationship. We know they seem to be joking a bit now and kind of baiting us now and then but beyond that? We don’t know.
But everything sits on the shoulders of history. And fan culture is no different.