The Star Trek fandom, obviously, came into existence after the original series aired on TV in the late 1960s. As many of you might be aware, this fandom lasted so long and was so active that it actually worked to broaden the franchise with feature films (first one in 1980) and more TV shows on the same concept. There is no end in sight as they are working on the next movie as I type this. So how did this movie show the Star Trek fandom? Here are the features I saw:
*Desire to meet the actors, writers, etc.
*Fans want to meet each other to talk about Star Trek
*Fans have had some strange requests or done some interesting things to be close to the stars (asked for blood, for example)
*Fans often send letters and gifts
*Fans are creative with singing, websites, radio shows, screenplays, fanfic, drawings, etc. (No mention of blogging, though! Ha!)
*Fans collect and trade memorabilia
*Fans adopt dress, language, philosophy shown in the shows and movies
*Fans discuss how the fandom has helped them through tough times
*Show has become part of mainstream American culture (everyone knows things like, “Beam me up, Scotty”, Vulcan symbol of greeting, Captain Kirk, etc.)
*Fans discuss favorite characters, episodes, etc.
*Fans become friends with each other
*Diverse fan base
*Fans get tattoos
*Fans spend energy, time and money on their passion
*Controversy among the fan community about the term, Trekkies
*Exposed fans to big concepts of racial and religious diversity, equality of woman, an end to social classes
*Fans dress in ways to identify themselves as Trekkies
So, let me ask you, fellow fans, does any of this list sound or look familiar? I think that most of it looks and sounds like what it is like to be a Duranie. I would argue and we definitely do in our book that ALL fandoms have similar activities. For example, we have conventions. We also have shows, which are like conventions in that fans come together, see their idols, etc. Duranland is definitely filled with discussion, creativity, collecting and trading. The more I look, the more I realize that there isn’t much that we don’t have in common. While Duran might not advocate deep political statements, they have shown the fan base the value in things like art and fashion. They have a philosophy of sorts as well, which we learn about in songs like “All You Need Is Now.” Therefore, I think this movie included most of the elements of fandom I’m aware of and I could definitely relate to all of them.
While the movie included all of the basic elements of fandom, how did they represent those elements? Were the fans shown as “normal” or were they shown to be strange, out of the ordinary? After all, this was my biggest criticism of “Something You Should Know”. How did this movie show the fans? This movie, much like our fandom’s version, focused on a few fans, basically. Some of these fans included a 14 year old but very mature kid, a woman who dressed in a Star Trek uniform at all times, a family who owned a Star Trek themed dentist office (which I would think would be fun, for the record!) and another couple. Beyond these main fans, other fans were interviewed as well as were the stars themselves. In fact, the actors and writers often told the more extreme stories. So, how were the main fans? I think the movie attempted to show that they were intelligent, social, well-adjusted people, but they still were more extreme in their expression of fandom. For example, the woman who always wore a uniform, even wore one to a well-known court case in which she was a member of the jury. Likewise, the boy had uniforms made for him as well as rode in a car colored to represent a space craft from the show. The man in the couple talked about how he would like to get his ears altered to be Vulcan like. Again, I give the movie credit for talking to neighbors, colleagues, other family members of these people to show that they are still well-liked and respected BUT why don’t these movies talk to fans who aren’t as obvious or aren’t as extreme? After all, fans are on a spectrum on how forth-coming they are with their fandom, right? I’m open about writing a blog, for example. I have a room with Duran memorabilia and wear Duran t-shirts at times, but I don’t at work. I had hopes, too, that they would show the spectrum, too, when in the beginning fans were being asked about how many conventions they had been to and the fans ranged from 3 to 300. Again, they could have easily done that with how much people have collected. It doesn’t always have to be the people with the most, does it? I realize that these stories need someone to tell the story of sorts but there must be a way without showing the most extreme cases.
The movie did address whether or not there was stigma. I was particularly interested in that. In most cases, colleagues, family and friends seemed to accept the main characters’ fandom. In fact, some even talked about how they watched Star Trek more because of these fans. The main fans said that they didn’t get any negativity but then followed that up with saying that they are asked when they would get a life. Maybe they don’t see that as negative, but I do. Perhaps, these people are defining negative reactions differently than I do. Negativity does not necessarily have to be harassment. In my opinion, it is anything less than complete acceptance. Tolerance isn’t enough, for me. So, would this movie help people see all Trekkies in a good light? I don’t think so. Again, there is too much emphasis on the most extreme fans. I don’t think those fans need to be ignored but they also don’t have to be the only representations shown. It just isn’t a completely accurate representation of the fandom despite including an accurate representation of what fans DO.
On that note, I leave you with the trailer. You can then tell me if I analyzed the movie incorrectly or not.