Trekkie

From Academic Kids

The term 'Trekkie' has been with us for some time. In the 1934 book "The Great Trek" by E. A. Walker, about South Africa in 1836-37, the word trekkie was used several times.

Chapter IV: Umsilikazi, Page 106: "The little trek party, the trekkie, was the unit."

Chapter IV: Umsilikazi, Page 111: There were of course troubles. Even a trekkie could be fissiparous.

Chapter VI: Blaauwkrans, Blood River And The Zulu Battle, Page 190: "...and forthwith the Maatschappij set out trekkie by trekkie for Pietermaritzburg and the coast."

Now 'Trekkie' (or 'Trekker') is a term that in recent decades is used to describe a fan of the Star Trek science fiction franchise. Thirty some odd years ago, science-fiction editor Art Saha applied the term "trekkies" when he saw a few fans of Star Trek's first season wearing pointy ears at a science fiction convention. He used the term in an interview with Pete Hamill that Hamill was conducting for TV Guide concerning the phenomenon of science fiction. Today, the word is found in the Concise Oxford Dictionary, and aficionados of the long-run series have seen their subculture achieve stratospheric status. Not all "Trekkies" are created equal, however, with some having distinct preferences for The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise, or the movies. Some are also fans of the Pocket Books tie-in novel franchise and the comic books.

Contents

The word "Trekkie"

The term Trekkie is sometimes considered derogatory, perhaps because of a perceived parallel to the term groupie. Some Star Trek enthusiasts prefer the term Trekker, while some others hold the latter term to be stupid or pretentious, and, for that reason, self-identify as Trekkies. Some Trekkies even say that a Trekker is a Trekkie who is embarrassed for being Trekkie. On the other hand, Trekker is sometimes used as a term for the kind of Star Trek fan who is obsessed with the fine details.

"Trekker" actually has its origins in the early days. When the media picked up on the word "Trekkies," some of the fans thought that sounded too much like "Crazies."

A 1997 documentary film, called Trekkies, chronicled some of these devoted fans; a sequel followed in 2003. The argument that Trekkie is the correct term is settled once and for all by the director of Trekkies Roger Nygard by this post on the official web-site for the documentary. When a fan posed the question of why the film was called Trekkies and not Trekker, Nygard had this to say:

Gene Roddenberry's former assistant and Star Trek researcher, told us the following story, and that clinched it for us. Gene (Roddenberry) didn't recognize the term "Trekker" however. Somebody once corrected him when he used "Trekkie" on stage. He responded, "Excuse me, did you say 'TrekkER?' The word is 'TrekkIE.' I should know, I created them." http://www.trekdoc.com/database/fanfeed/1.htm

The term Trekkie, originally intended only to describe enthusiasts of Star Trek, has so often been used to describe its most ardent, diehard fans, that the term has also been used sometimes to indicate obsession itself. For example, there is a character in the hit Broadway musical Avenue Q named Trekkie Monster who is obsessed, not with Star Trek, but with internet porn. Because he is called Trekkie, however, the audience assumes his enthusiasm is focused and insatiable.

The first people to call themselves Trekkies are believed to be writers of Slash fiction involving James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock.

Activities

Missing image
Trekkies_at_baycon_2003.jpg

Some Trekkies regularly attend Star Trek conventions (called "cons"), and are sometimes bitter rivals of hard core Star Wars fans. By analogy, Star Wars fans sometimes refer to themselves as "Warsies," and Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans frequently refer to themselves as "MSTies".

They probably own, or perhaps have helped create, the blueprints for various Federation starships, have explanations for all apparent contradictions, like why in ST:TNG episode 524, "The Next Phase" where members were incorporeal, they could still breathe and were effected by artificial gravity and floors, etcetera.

There are many Star Trek fan clubs, the largest currently being STARFLEET International which has about 4,000 members.

There is a persistent stereotype that amongst Trekkies can be found speakers of the artificial Klingon language. The reality is less clear-cut, as some of its most fluent speakers are more language aficionados than people obsessed with Star Trek. Most Trekkies have no more than a basic vocabulary of Klingon, maybe a few common words heard over the series innumerable times, but not Klingon's syntax or precise phonetics.

Well Known Trekkies

During the 1996 Whitewater trial, bookbindery employee Barbara Adams served as an alternate juror. During the trial Adams wore a Star Trek inspired black and red "commander's" uniform which includes a badge, a phaser and a communicator. Adams was later dismissed from the trial for conducting a sidewalk interview with the television program "American Journal." During the interview Adams said she believed the principles expressed in Star Trek. She said she found Star Trek an alternative to "mindless television" because it promotes tolerance, peace, and faith in mankind.

Parodies

Trekkies have been parodied in several films including Galaxy Quest. William Shatner did a famous sketch on Saturday Night Live that also parodied Trekkies in which he played himself at a Star Trek convention at which he told the Trekkies to "get a life". There was once a pitch for a reality TV show featuring a group of "die hard" Trekkies and one normal person, though it remains to be seen if such an episode will be aired.

Trekkie debates

In recent years, infighting has erupted between different factions of Trekkies over the merits of recent incarnations of Star Trek, particularly the series Voyager and Enterprise which, for various reasons, have enraged almost as many Trekkies as they have entertained. Many Trekkies put the blame on the current producers of the program, while some of the most diehard Trekkies believe that Star Trek died when creator Gene Roddenberry passed away in 1991.

Many people believe that one of the major criteria for being a "nerd" is to be a Trekkie.

References

"Judge Beams Trekkie Juror from Whitewater case (http://edition.cnn.com/US/fringe/9603/03-14/trek.html)," CNN, March 14, 1996.de:Trekkie es:Trekkie ja:トレッキー nl:Trekkie nb:Trekkie nn:Trekkie sv:Trekkie

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