Saturday, 20 February 2010

The Star Trek Analogy

Ask pretty much anyone who knows me and they will tell you I am a geek.  I'm all about Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels, comics, Dungeons & Dragons and of course, Star Trek. 

Ever since I was a little kid, I've loved Star Trek, Next Generation especially, though I was only ever managed to watch it once in a while when I could catch it on TV, and never in any particular order.  What I can remember of my childhood impression of the show is this: Data was my hero, Jordie and Warf were also pretty cool, and I really did not like that doctor-who-wasn't-Beverly-Crusher.  Until I began to watch all the episodes in order, I couldn't say why, only that there was something about her that rubbed me the wrong way.

As I reached Season 2 of my viewing campaign, I came to realize that my dislike of Dr. Pulaski had less to do with her not being Dr. Crusher, and more to do with her attitude towards Data.  While the rest of the crew at least made a consistant effort to treat Data like a person, she just couldn't seem to get past the fact that he was an android, and continued to see him as a machine, no more worthy of regard than any piece of equipment.  That diregard rankled, not only because Data was my favourite, but because the attitude of people like her can be a real threat to people like me.  I might not have been conscious of this as a kid, but part of me understood.  Part of me was afraid, and so I hated her.

What it comes down to is this: Data, the android who would be human, is analogous to any minority group who has had to fight to be seen as even human.  In my case, Data's experience parallels my own as a trans man.  I see my own struggle for personhood in his character.  In Dr. Pulaski, I saw all those who would disregard my experience as real, all those who would continue to judge from a position of priviledge.

Still... watching now, I can't completely condemn her character.  She has made sacrifices worthy of respect, and though stubborn she seems willing to at least try to learn.  Whatever the case, I'll keep an eye on her as I watch, secure in the knowledge that for better or worse, we do get Beverly back eventually.

No comments:

Post a Comment