Star Trek - Fascistoid CIA propaganda
American cultural assumptions.
In the beginning we have a Kennedy-era scenario stuffed with all the
'can-do' spirit of a Robert McNamara press conference. An Imperial project
was implicit. The program was originally to be called 'Wagon Train to the
Stars', before a canny producer switched to the snappier 'Star Trek'
(appropriating a term from the Boer colonisation of the African interior).
Of course with a black character on the bridge the show was always built
on a paradox, conquering in the name of diversity. By the late 1980s, Star
Trek: The Next Generation firmly espoused a post-Vietnam, post-Cold War,
alien-friendly outlook. As Jenkins notes, the 1987 edition of the Star
Trek writers manual warns:
We are not in buying stories which cast our people and our vessel in the
role of 'galactic policemen' ... Nor is our mission that of spreading 20th
Century Euro/American cultural values throughout the galaxy ... We are not
in the business of toppling cultures that we do not approve of. As the
authors themselves concede, there is room for a detailed study of this
transformation. A lively cultural history of American television
production and viewing could be written around the Star Trek phenomenon.
It would be valuable to look at the behind the scenes debates behind the
voyage from TV fiction's first inter-racial kiss in the 1960s, to the
ambiguously liberal 1990s when, same sex relationships may be shown, but
only after it has been explained that one of the participants is actually
a male alien who has assumed a female body. This book is emphatically not
that or any other kind of history. Instead it has merely succeeded in
opening the door to a subject which, like the Doctor's police box, is
bigger on the inside than it seems from outside. The result is,
nonetheless, as Spock would say: 'fascinating'.