Tag Archive | anthropology

Star Trek

Somehow I thought there were way more than three seasons of the original Star Trek. I wasn’t a Trekkie in my youth–I’m still not. I watched it sometimes when it was on TV back then, and maybe occasional reruns, but it didn’t capture my fancy. I wasn’t a sci-fi fan then, either. In high school, my brother and his friends dragged me kicking and screaming to see Star Wars. I loved it. That was the moment when I learned that sometimes the things I resist the most turn out to be those I enjoy the most. I slowly eased into enjoying science fiction after that, in books, film, and TV. A few years ago, I decided I wanted to get to know Captain Jean-Luc Picard because my glancing attention to pop culture had led me to develop a crush on Patrick Stewart. So I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation.

It became my lunch companion, and over time I settled into a comfortable routine of turning on one episode while I made and ate lunch every day. Or, almost every day. It probably took me almost a year to watch all 176 episodes of the seven seasons. When that was over I conceived the idea to watch all the other Star Trek series. I followed the various incarnations of Starship Enterprise forward and backward in time, until this week I found myself at the beginning of the original series. I’ll leave critiques to the experts, but I’m enjoying it, dated as it is. They certainly lacked the special effects budget of the later series. I wasn’t sure I’d even write about Star Trek until I saw this space creature today.

Here’s why I like it. I got a college degree in Cultural Anthropology. I was thrilled to discover that I could major in people watching. I appreciate the message that threads through every episode of Star Trek: meet new cultures, don’t interfere, live good values. Sure they sometimes get caught in a fiery battle defending themselves, but their main mission is to explore and learn about other beings. Just like an anthropologist. And despite occasional bad behavior, they are largely trying to live with integrity and peace. Plus, it’s just good old fashioned escapist entertainment. Anyway, when I saw this little dog dressed up as a space creature who got split into two halves, the good half and the bad half, in a tragic transporter malfunction, I was utterly charmed by the absurdity. Here’s a picture of the bad half.

Oh no, wait, that’s Wren. She’d been restless for the past couple of days and I thought it was because it was too cold and snowy for her to go outside much. I realized it was something much more fixable than that. I’d started giving her bully sticks in the kitchen, and she stayed in there to chew them. This latest one she wasn’t chewing, and I wondered why. When I finally brought it out to her in the living room she was thrilled. I think she thought she had to keep it in the kitchen, and she didn’t want to be in the kitchen alone working on it. She’s been calm and happy with her chewy in the living room all afternoon. On her new rug. Here’s the bad half of the space creature. I think this would make a great Halloween costume for Wren…