Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Strange New World

I wonder … what would Gene Roddenberry think?

A little context here:

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first airing of “Star Trek”, the television series that went where no man — where no one — had gone before.

Meaning out into the stars, yes … but in the context of the mid-1960s and what was considered okay to put on television, this series went to a few places and did a few things that were just about unheard of, at the time – beyond doing what science fiction does best, namely under-the-radar commentary on current events.

On the bridge of our fair starship Enterprise: well, yes, a white fellow in the commander’s seat, and a white fellow in charge of keeping everybody well and healthy … but look at the folks who are helping them out:

An African-American woman in charge of keeping the Enterprise in touch with the outside world.

A Russian fellow — at the time, you’ll recall, Soviet Russia wasn’t exactly considered your warmest fuzziest neighbor — in charge of figuring out how to navigate the ship from place to place.

An Asian man in charge of steering the darn truck! (And firing the phasers, when sadly necessary.)

Yes, a white fellow in charge of keeping the ship propelled properly, but sporting an accent that was darn near impenetrable.

And a green — green! — alien. Not an illegal alien. And not an alien that is here to menace our heroes. And not a “little green man”, as early science-fiction writers imagined. A tall, dark (greenish) and handsome native of another planet entirely. And, um, friendly. If a bit bemused by the humans surrounding him.

As opposed to hell-bent on conquering our world. Or taking our jobs.

The crew of the starship Enterprise was meant (overtly or not) to be a microcosm of the sort of world that Gene Roddenberry believed was possible, some day in the future. His vision has been derided by some as full of Pollyanna BS in its utopian glee; but honestly, who wouldn’t want to live in a world where everyone was judged by their character and not by what they looked like?

Who, indeed.

Fast-forward fifty years from the first appearance of Captain Kirk and his merry band of genuine friends, and … well, politically, we’re not exactly in a happy-clappy utopian mist of bliss, out here.

This morning, I was listening to a segment of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, an interview with a Florida resident who is likely to vote for Republican Party candidate Donald Trump. He didn’t see himself as a hardcore, rally-attending, rally-protester-punching, campaign-press-corps-threatening Trump supporter. No indeed. Rather, he saw himself as a person who, after much consideration, really did think that voting for Trump was his best option “in a weak [election] field.”

And to wrap up his self-assessment, he said a most curious thing.

This is not one [vote] that I’m gonna be bragging about in the future. This is the first presidential election cycle in my lifetime [in which] I have not had a yard sign, a bumper sticker, a pin, a shirt, a hat … there is nothing on my property that would tell you who I’m going to vote for. I told somebody, you know, I like ‘Star Trek’, but I am not dressing up like a Klingon and going to the convention, okay? I’m going to vote for Donald Trump, but his yard sign is not going in my front yard.”

Setting aside the fact that, well, in this case, as in many others throughout history, at least one voter is glad that American elections are done by secret ballot, so no one has to know that you actually voted for Candidate X … and also setting aside the inescapable impression that he held beliefs for which he really didn’t want to have to stand up and be counted …

Here we have a self-professed fan of “Star Trek”, a program whose underlying point was that the wonderful thing about the people that is going out and exploring the wonders of outer space is that they represent race full of human beings who have figured out how to live peaceably and productively with themselves, and have matured to the point that they have begun to appreciate and value people and things and aliens that are different, rather than continuing to be spooked and scared by “strange new worlds”, and probably to be violent toward “new life and new civilizations”.

And this Florida man is supporting a candidate who has managed to awaken many Americans’ latent hatreds, by way of behavior and policies that espouse exactly the opposite philosophy from that “Star Trek” show.

I wonder what Gene Roddenberry would think.

I can’t speak for him … but as for me, at the very least I think that Florida man fundamentally misunderstands “Star Trek”.

Either that or he just likes it for the phaser guns, and spaceships, and fistfights wherein William Shatner rips his own shirt, again.

What really makes me nervous is that, according to the original Star Trek canon, Earth and its humans had to endure a Third World War before they could come out the other side and start to rebuild their civilization into something that would one day become the Roddenberry vision.

Here’s hoping Mr. Roddenberry was wrong, at least in this one detail.

Twenty days.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | current events, Famous Persons, news, npr, politics, radio, science fiction, television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Learned the Truth at Seventeen (Syllables)

In which your humble correspondent desperately continues to work to keep up with the geyser of awful that is the Trump campaign, on his Facebook page, in verse.

[For reference by future scholars who unearth this text, once thought lost forever: in the fourth week of this experiment came the final, clinching proof that the Republican nominee for president isn’t just a lecherous jackass, but instead appears to be an active abuser of women. And that Billy Bush is Not Helping.]


Wednesday, October 12: Today’s Trump Sexual Assault Remarks Suite #1:

“I said it, I was

Wrong, and I apologize.”

Why don’t I buy that?


Those were only words?

That don’t define who you are??

They do exactly


Trump: “It’s locker room

Talk and it’s one of those things”

Pro athletes: “it’s not”


Thursday, October 13: Today’s Trump Sexual Assault Remarks Suite #2:

Who is Billy Bush

And why did TV execs

Think he had talent?


Thousands of starving

Actors can’t get a nibble

And Billy Bush works?


Who is Billy Bush?

His cackling at Trump’s “talk” is

All you need to know


Billy Bush gets fired

For his part in all of that

And Trump keeps going


Friday, October 14: Today’s Trump Haiku:

Winning temperament”

I do not think that word means

What you think it means


Saturday, October 15: Today’s Trump Haiku:

Is there anyone

Whom he’s not yet insulted?

Still time, folks; still time


Sunday, October 16: Today’s Trump Rally Haiku:

Where’re the non-Christians?

Raise your hands! Should we keep them?”

Yipe yipe yipe yipe yipe


Monday, October 17: Today’s Trump Haiku:

Equal nightmare, this:

Trump elected, then impeached

–Pence is President.


Tuesday, October 18: Today’s Trump Haiku:

The Art of the Deal

Is apparently: make sure

All but you are screwed

October 19, 2016 Posted by | current events, Facebook, Famous Persons, news, politics | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Have Very Hai Ku

In which your humble correspondent desperately works to keep up with the firehose of awful that is the Trump campaign, on his Facebook page, in verse.

[For reference by future scholars who unearth this text, once thought lost forever: in the third week of this experiment came Trump’s abuse of Alicia Machado, an “Access Hollywood” host, and his Presidential election opponent. For starters.]


Wednesday, October 5: Today’s Trump Verse (re: Pumpkin Spice Mussolini’s sole quoted source to confirm that he’d been against the Iraq War from the beginning):

Trump says ‘Just ask Sean Hannity’

Which is, of course, insanity

I’d like to know what planet he

Is from.

For even if Sean Hannity

Were an actual news man, if he

Was Trump’s only plan, it’d be

Just dumb.


Thursday, October 6: Today’s Trump Haiku:

Everything Trump said

While Hill’ry was talking was

Domestic abuse


Friday, October 7: Today’s Trump Haiku:

*Trump* and *Rush* fat-shamed

Miss Alicia Machado?

Mirror check, you guys


Saturday, October 8: Today’s Trump Haiku:

My apologies

But d’you think she’s as bad as

Trump? I can’t even


Sunday, October 9: Today’s Trump Team Haiku:

I’ve got a name for

Evangelicals for Trump”:

They’re just HypoChristians


Monday, October 10: Today’s Trump Former-Party-Supporters Haiku:

So *now* you say you’re

Not behind him anymore?

What took you so long?


Tuesday, October 11: Today’s Trump Rally Haiku:

What’d he say? “I love

The poorly-educated!”

That makes perfect sense

October 11, 2016 Posted by | current events, Famous Persons, news, politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment