I always loved to watch Star Trek. I was a fan of Picard rather than Kirk, my apologies to the purists. One of the things I thought fascinating about the show was that it was the future, and while I knew that it was fictional, I also knew that people thought a great deal about how they would represent the future and I wanted to see it. I wanted to understand what we ought to be, in the grand ideal of these writers.
And, if one were to look at the manner in which Star Trek began, it really cut its teeth on controversy. Beginning with the bridge crew, there was a black woman in a leadership role, a Russian and an Oriental, there was a Vulcan....whatever that was, and he was second in command. And venturing further, Kirk sought to have relations with every woman he could.
Still, I liked Picard. He was intense, intelligent, and in control. And yet, this is not why I'm writing tonight. I am writing about another wonderful bit of future fantasy mirroring our present day.....and wondering why so many fingers can point and still some don't see.
So, Data wants to be a man. And, what is it that makes one a man? What steps, what thoughts, what actions? What? For, if we actually just go on our initial reaction, Data is, of course, not a man. He is but mere machinery, right? Isn't it just simple to presume that as he is not like us, obviously quite different in fact and deed, that he is not a man. He therefore has less rights, less allowances, less merit to that which is the man's perogative. He surely is no man....or is he?
Does a man only have "white" skin? Is then a man only from a certain country, a certain neighborhood? How about a man only having one philosophy, one religion? Is a man only allowed to have a woman for a lover, then? What must one be to be free, to be a man worthy of the rights and privileges - and even responsibilities?
I am so proud to look back on episodes like this that challenge us into thinking. For, if we can root for Data, then we can open our eyes - as a nation - and hear the arguments for what they are: self-serving rationalisms geared only to maintain a status and an ego. Wouldn't that be just so wonderful if we could find that same cauldron to burn away prejudice, presumption, pride and leave us with truth and understanding?