You may have read on the Internet that this week’s big movie release is the “new” original Star Trek movie, and it is going to make millions of dollars. It is the latest manifestation of Hollywood studios’ race to abandon all creativity: after a popular movie series like Batman or Superman has run its course, just start over and make the first one again. Critics then praise the director’s “new vision,” and political writers note that all of the characters are famous politicians, secretly, in real life. Everyone remembers last year’s important Wall Street Journal column, “George Bush Jr. Is The Bat Man.” This year’s version? “Barack Obama is the Spock.” Steady yourself…
The best Obama/Spock political column thus far has come from Salon, in a piece quite comically titled, “Obama is Spock: It’s quite logical.” What the author, Jeff Greenwald, is implying with this headline is, “LOOK, just hear me out for a sec, I’ve really thought about this.”
Like Spock, part of what makes Obama so appealing is the fact that although he’s an outsider — “proudly alien,” as Leonard Nimoy once put it — he uses that distance to cultivate a sense of perspective. And while we’re drawn to Spock’s exotic traits — the pointy ears, green blood and weird mating rituals — we take comfort in his soothing baritone, prominent nose and ordinary teeth.
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The early Spock’s only real vice was sardonic ire (often directed at McCoy). But this was also one of his most appealing qualities — because Spock, as Jenkins gleefully asserts, is “someone who can bitch slap you with his brain.” It’s an ability shared by Obama — who, unlike Spock, doesn’t employ that superpower recreationally. His brilliance isn’t a defense (or defended by sarcasm). While Obama embodies Spock’s passion for reason, he adds the element of warmth.
Don’t know if we’re more scared of Barack Obama or Jeff Greenwald right now. Let’s just move onto Newsweek‘s presumptuous contribution, “We’re All Trekkies Now.”
All through the election campaign, columnists compared President Obama’s unflappably logical demeanor and prominent ears with Mr. Spock’s [Don’t recall that — Ed.]. But as Spock’s complicated racial backstory is spun out in detail in the new “Trek”—right back into childhood—the Obama parallels keep deepening. Like Obama, Spock is the product of a mixed marriage (actually, an interstellar mixed marriage), and he suffers blunt manifestations of prejudice as a result. As played by Zachary Quinto, the young Spock loves his human mother, but longs to assimilate completely into his Vulcan father Sarek’s ways, eschewing messy emotions the way all Vulcans do. Young Spock is constantly being told by Vulcans and humans alike that he’s either seething with inappropriate emotions—indeed, he takes Kirk by the throat at one point—or that he’s not emotional enough and shouldn’t be so repressed. Obama may or may not be a fan—the White House says he isn’t, but Trekkies have claimed him as one of their breed ever since he said, “I grew up on ‘Star Trek’—I believe in the final frontier,” at a campaign stop last year. If he does check out the new movie, I can imagine he might feel a special empathy for Spock’s position, given the chattering class’s insistence that he needs to show more emotion, too.
Holy… holy shit… Barack Obama’s nominating Dr. Spock to the Supreme Court, isn’t he? Try smearing that, Jeffrey Rosen.
Finally, and most tragically, Newsbusters is actually taking serious offense to this Newsweek bullshit:
In a transparently unhinged and partisan hit job against several Bush administration officials, Newsweek thought it would be amusing to compare the Bush era and the Obama era by analogizing them with Star Wars and Star Trek respectively. Naturally Newsweek’s Bush Derangement Syndrome was given full throated expression — phasers set to kill not to stun — as the Bush administration officials were noted as representing one or the other of the evil Star Wars characters while all the Obama officials were compared to the good guys in Star Trek. What we get is the typical Old Media talking point: Bush evil/ Obama good.
VP Biden is compared to D. McCoy with this odd caption: “Salty motormouth who thinks he knows best.” This I find to be an insult to McCoy because Dr. McCoy was never in the Star Trek series the clown that Biden is in real life.
Finally, we get Bill Clinton compared to the scarred and withered version of Star Trek’s Captain Pike, the man that commanded the Enterprise before Captain Kirk did in the TV series. Bill Clinton is like Pike because he was “so talented, so promising… so damaged.” And this too is a bad analogy. Pike is nothing like the disloyal, womanizing Clinton. All Captain Pike fans should be telling Newsweek to shove it.
“All Captain Pike fans” probably have bigger issues to deal with than the Newsweek magazine.
Keep it coming, Internet!
Obama is Spock: It’s quite logical [Salon]
We’re All Trekkies Now [Newsweek]
Newsweek Compares Bush Era as Star Wars to Obama’s as Star Trek [Newsbusters]
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