Wednesday, March 07, 2007

They Belong in a Museum!

Okay, so this is my cranky old man post for the week. I apologize in advance for the rant.

But, late last week, I was surfing channels instead of getting a good night's sleep, and I watched the History Channel special about Star Trek, and in particular the big auction of series' props, miniatures and costumes at Christies' last year. And today, I see a story on Yahoo about Star Wars and James Bond costumes being auctioned off too.

This is a trend I despise. My response is likely the Indiana Jones response. "Those things belong in a museum!"

And truly. They do.

The Star Trek special, I believe titled Beyond the Final Frontier, sent me off to beddy-bye in a royal funk. I was depressed for days after watching. Why? I saw elements of Star Trek's long and illustrious history just sold off to the highest bidder. The Klingon Bird of Prey, Deep Space Nine, the Enterprise-A, the Reliant, The Enterprise-D...all of it.

Scattered to the four winds. To the richest collectors in the world. What the hell is this, Earth - the seat of the United Federation of Planets - or fuckin' Feringinar? "Yankee Traders" indeed. What a craven race we are, Mr. Spock might note. To auction off our own past, rather than share it with everyone for the common a museum.

Shame on you, Paramount, for your pursuit of the almighty dollar at the expense of Americana, nostalgia and entertainment history. Now, in the years to come (and on Star Trek's fiftieth birthday, for example), these one-of-a-kind items WON'T be in the Smithsonian...where people rich and poor, young and old can examine their artistry. Nope. Kiss that dream goodbye!

I realize that major movie studios are all about the benjamins and little else, but couldn't Paramount at least pretend to care that Star Trek is the rolls royce of science fiction television? That, as we move fully into the era of CGI, these great old miniatures deserve to be preserved as tribute to an epoch in film and TV history? Nahhh!

Going...going...gone! Sold!!! Gotta make room for the props to Tomb Raider III, or some such thing, I guess.

And the real betrayal is this: Star Trek itself has always been about things other than design! Do you know that there are more references to the works of Shakespeare in Star Trek than in any other popular movie or TV franchise? Do you realize that Star Trek has tackled issues like racism, war, corruption, poverty, minority rights, health care for four decades? This is a legacy to take pride in. The people who watch Star Trek are engaged people; people who seek to understand the world around them. Star Trek is the Gullivers Travels of our time. To treat it like less is insulting.

Sure, the snobs can argue, Star Trek? Culture? Gimme a break! Well, only Nixon could go to know what I'm sayin'? People once believed the same thing of Shakespeare's plays...

So Paramount sucks royally for selecting avarice and commerce over the preservation of history. I like Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew and the rest of those talents who participated in this special...but to see them in interviews smiling and waxing philosophical about how great this Christies auction just made me sick to my stomach.

Again. This stuff belongs in a museum! Did this auction depress the hell out of anyone else?


  1. I didn't see the special on the History Channel John but reading your post made me think that today, any future Star Trek movie or series will be using CGI pretty much exclusively so there won't be any models of ships, just props the actors held and costumes. WHich makes those Enterprise models even more precious

  2. astrid4:29 PM

    Museum? Sure, maybe - but really, oughtn't they be part of a traveling exhibition that goes to all the cons? Set it up as a side attraction; hell, charge folks extra to get in if you want. If they'll flock to see one of the cast members as a keynote speaker, surely they would also foam at the mouth to have their picture taken standing next to these relics?

    I love you, John - you're such a softie. ;-)