and this is why we can’t have nice things in fandom.

13Oct08

Stepping away from politics: well, shit, io9 has done it again with the massive fail.  Having gone to find Annalee Newitz’s list of economic downfall SF as per a link on Aqueduct Press’ blog, I had to shuffle through a bunch of other stuff first in Google Reader.

If anyone ever asks Bene, you’re such a geek, why do you not have io9 on your Bloglines?   This would be why.

It isn’t so much that Graeme McMillan and the peeps there, in some combination of seriousness and facetiousness, think Star Trek would be more palatable to the masses and even to geeks if it were more like Star Wars.  In my mind, it’s like apples and oranges; the two serve two different niches, really.  Star Wars is a mythos, a grand epic, and Star Trek is political and cultural criticism.  It’s…well, it’s like lipstick on a pig, except Trek is totally Wilbur Some Pig or Babe.  (Not to mention Star Wars has become a single man’s cash cow that’s nearly milked dry.  Trek’s badly off but not that bad off.)  

But anyway, we have some boringly trite suggestions that make me wonder if McMillan has any more than a passing knowledge of Trek or maybe just has a slight vendetta against the franchise.  One, two, three, four…okay, I can see his point if this is what one wants out of their mainstream sci-fi, even if I disagree immensely, because god forbid people have to think as they watch…

And then we hit number five.  I will quote because I can’t trust myself to paraphrase without going into CAPS.

Put Uhura In A Metal Bikini At Some Point
And 
talking of nerd wish-fulfillment fantasies… As much as you may sigh and pretend that you’re all appalled at such pandering, you know you want to see it. Especially if she’s chained up next to one of those green Orion slave girls.

What?  Sorry, I didn’t think I heard you the first time, what was that?  Oh, okay.  Metal bikini.  Chains.  Slave girls.  And a brief callout for those of us who might protest.  Right, I got it now.

Except wait, what the fuck?!

That just isn’t RIGHT.  For starters, why do we even have to go there with the bikini?  Why?  WHY?  I don’t understand.  Because my mind didn’t go there, and I am motherfucking queer, and I have been a Star Trek and Star Wars fan for over twenty fucking years.  And then McMillan has to go make it worse by saying ‘you know you’re all wanting it, don’t deny it’–NO, NO WE’RE BLOODY FUCKING NOT, BECAUSE WE ARE NOT ALL HORNY HETERO SINGLE WHITE GUYS, YOU MORON.  Apparently the miniskirts weren’t risque enough, and apparently Carrie Fisher in a metal bikini is one of the top five things about Star Wars.  Fisher, whose character at this point has been disenfranchised from her rescue attempt and forced to serve a repulsive slug creature, but who cares about that!?  She’s wearing a fucking metal bikini, cue the drool!

But that’s not even the worst part.  Even if we are just focusing on Star Trek TOS, and even if there aren’t any other major female characters to put in the Leia position, it’s the black woman who has to wear the bikini.  IN CHAINS.  WITH SLAVES.  And this is presented as an ultimate geek fantasy.

WHAT THE SHIT.

I don’t care if this is completely facetious, it’s just so goddamn oblivious to everything and anything that isn’t the epitome of stereotypical geek bullshit through the ages.  Oblivious to the fact that people make lynching jokes about a presidential candidate and others insist that there’s no racism anymore.  Or maybe that’s what I want to believe, because the alternative–that it’s intentional–makes me want to puke.  Here’s a news flash, McMillan–your readers aren’t solely thirtysomething single white males.  We aren’t thick, and no, we can’t take a joke when it’s this fucking offensive.

Interestingly, there’s forty discussions on this post and I haven’t found one that deals with U R DOIN IT RONG.  jesus christ.  Also, clearly none of them saw the g-string scene in Star Trek V, which is its own pile of wrong.

Recommended reading:
Nichelle Nichols, Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories



9 Responses to “and this is why we can’t have nice things in fandom.”

  1. Yeah, I put io9 on my feed reader a few weeks ago, because I like a lot of what I read there, but I saw this and WTF? One paragraph, and now I feel unwelcome and unsafe there.

    I was halfway through a post about stuff full of linkage to recent io9 posts. Too bad, I guess, but I just don’t want to link there at the moment.

  2. 2 QoT

    What a total fucking douchetard. I mean, firstly there’s the GIGANTIC THROBBING POINT of, “Why the fuck should Star Trek be more like Star Wars”, and just how ludicrous can we make this sound – 5 Ways to Make Firefly More Like Heroes (because at least then there’s a clear success/cancellation issue):

    1. Mal should have super powers because they’re cool
    2. It should be set on Earth in the present day ’cause that’s edgy
    3. …
    4. …
    5. Inara should wear a cheerleader’s uniform COZ IS TOTES HAWT.

    At which point HELLO IT WOULD NOT BE FIREFLY ANY MORE, which basically rebuts every single “point” made (though … Star Trek obeys the laws of physics? SINCE WHEN?)

    Also, the single fucking coolest thing about Leia in that bikini is the fact that while wearing it she STRANGLES A CRIME LORD TO DEATH with a length of chain and her own strength and body weight.

    I love Star Wars. I love Star Trek. They are very fucking different things, and I love them for very different reasons – some days I want my space epic destiny-filled Zen mysticism, and sometimes I want my utopian Commie paradise (on other days I want my complex metaplot, multifaceted characters and the best villains committed to script, and then I watch B5).

    End of the day, it sounds like somebody thought “LOLZ this will so piss off the Trekkie nerds hahaha” and this was the result.

    /epic rant

  3. tigtog: Yeah, that pretty much hit the nail on the head for my reaction–‘ooh this is interesting’ followed by ‘oh my god, they don’t give a shit about me, do they?’ Frustrating. I’m not calling for a boycott, but I wish more people’d take notice.

    QoT: Indeed. People seem to love to compare ST to SW, and it’s quel lame. That said, they could have pissed off the Treknerds (e.g. yours truly) without being racist and misogynist in the doing.

    I think what bothers me the most was that I didn’t notice it right away except as something tickling the edges of my mind, and it took a few moments to suddenly have the breakthrough what the fuck is this shit reaction. How much stuff do we let under the radar?

  4. Yeah, that is kind of lame. I still follow the site because I like Analee Newitz’s work so much, but this kind of thing makes me kind of sad. One reason I started reading io9 was because it talked about sci-fi with a slightly more thoughtful tone and didn’t engage in that kind of lame boy’s club type joke.

  5. Brenda–that was basically my take. I was like O HAI A BLOG WHAT TALKS ALL KINDS OF GEEK, and then what did I get but this on my first go. I do like what Annalee Newitz has to say on a lot of things, but I don’t know if I can be bothered now to sift through things if I’m going to get shafted.

  6. 6 E

    I think pointing out the fact that some people like looking at attractive, scantily-clad women is not misogynistic. It is probably a lame boys’ club type joke, but saying that she should be in a bikini is not the same thing as thinking women are objects (which is basically my interpretation of why you are enraged/indignant by this – correct me if I’m wrong). I supposed the “chained up with slave girls” comment is a little objectifying and understandably offensive, but the bikini I get, and not (only) because I’m a 30 yr-old white male.

  7. E, it isn’t misogynistic to point it out, but it is misogynistic to encourage it and applaud it. You know you want to see it implies ‘this’d be a lot better if we could just look at this character’s nearly naked body’. This isn’t rocket science, it’s about commodifying the only female main character’s looks, who gives a shit about what else she does. Which is the definition of objectification, last time I checked.

    I’m bi, mate. I like to look at pretty people. But suggesting that one of the best ways one could improve on a TV series is by adding MOAR NEKKID BABES, and then saying they want the black woman chained up? That’s not friendly to any geek but…well, the thirtysomething white males, no? A pity that there are a lot of us other geeks out there who are not very impressed.

    Not to mention that they clearly missed all of Bill Theiss’ half-naked women in the original Star Trek anyway, meaning I doubt they were watching. Yeah, they really care about Uhura’s character. Yep.

  8. 8 Everett

    He never said he didn’t care what she did, as long as she was naked. You’re just assuming that part, right? Seeing women (or men) as objects of lust is not the same as misogyny, either, I don’t think.

    Anyway…I get it. He is encouraging it because he’s basically saying the quality of show is inversely proportionate to the amount of fabric covering Uhuru’s (taut) body. You are right, even if you did overreact a bit.

    E

  9. No, he didn’t say it. He didn’t have to say it, it was tacit in the very concept that Trek is a snooze and therefore would be vastly improved, above many other points he could have made, by Nekkid Babes. Lust is not misogyny. I didn’t say it was. Encouraging and egging on inequality between the genders is misogyny.

    And gee, thanks for your affirmation of my correctness. I really appreciate being validated in my own blog.


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