Sunday, May 30, 2010

Trekkies v. Trekkers

Former Star Trek TNG star Denise Crosby may have initiated this Kultur Kampf back in a 1996 Star Trek documentary, but which of the two pass muster as the official term for a Star Trek fan?

By: Ringo Bones

The two terminology’s Kultur Kampf probably gained worldwide attention in the 1996 documentary about the universe of Star Trek fans titled Trekkies. Unfortunately, the issue never became fully resolved. Even in the documentaries’ sequel seemed to have devolved into name-calling – i.e. overtly-zealous and overtly-obsessive Star Trek fans should be called Trekkies while serious-but-levelheaded Star Trek fans/enthusiasts should be called Trekkers. But who’s right?

Trekkers may have an unfair advantage over this because most Windows OS equipped computers’ spellchecker accepts the term as legit while Trekkies – especially in older versions of Windows OS – show up as a misspell. The term Trekkies does have the precedent because even as a “mere casual” Star Trek fan, I already heard the term being used in the first few Star Trek conventions during the late 1970s and in the early 1980s. William Shatner (Captain Kirk) and Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) seem to have chosen the term Trekkies out of habit when addressing to their fanbase at every Star Trek convention even though they are increasingly being corrected to use the term Trekkers instead around the mid 1990s.

From my perspective, it does not seem that much relevant to me whether the proper term is Trekkies or Trekkers in describing Star Trek fans. To me there are just two kinds of Star Trek fans – the good ones and the bad ones. Even though I may seem like just one of those “minimalist” Star Trek fans – i.e. purchasing a Star Trek T-shirt or two and buying discounted memorabilia or two. I do draw a line on some obsessive Star trek fans.

Putting on Klingon make-up and reciting Shakespearean sonnets in Klingon is okay with me, but harassing convention-goers on the parking lot by donning full Klingon garb and yelling Klingon expletives and imprecations and passersby is just over the top for me. While some are maybe a tad too unforgiving by declaring that Trekkers means “well-behaved” and mature Star Trek fans while Trekkies should be used to refer to those immature over the top Star Trek fans. A bit harsh, but a lot of Star Trek fans I know seem to agree with this view.

No comments: