Dude, I don’t think it matters much anymore. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that anything goes when it comes to this. You know why? Because some of us took it back.
Okay, so what am I on about this week?
The age old debate, the thing that’s been on all of our minds since Time began (in 1966). If you are a fan of STAR TREK, is it proper to call you Trekkie or Trekker?
I know people who are offended no matter what you say. Those people are called STAR WARS fans.
I know what most of you are thinking: Chris, this issue is too big for you. Let the cast of THE BIG BANG THEORY take it on, they’re professionals.
I have been a pro Trek fan since 1982. I can handle this.
To really understand this controversy, let’s take a look back.
The year was 1966. LBJ was president. A dozen eggs cost 60 cents. “The Wild Angels” was the biggest movie of the year. And STAR TREK was on the air and in its first season. The fans started to watch. And then they gathered. And they started to write fan fiction. They called themselves Trekkies, this first generation.
In fact, through the Seventies, fans and those outsiders referring to the fans decided on Trekkie. It was perfectly acceptable. The Great Bird of the Galaxy, Mr. Gene Roddenberry, lovingly referred to the fans of his show as Trekkies.
So far, so good. No controversy.
Then the Eighties hit. I was part of this group. I can remember revealing my Trekism and having someone ask, “Oh, you’re a Trekkie.” It was a label, and not said with love. It was a accusation. It was a label applied by those who didn’t understand STAR TREK, didn’t want to understand it and, sought to belittle the fans.
Trekkie started to mean those “weird people” who dressed up and went to the conventions.
Trekkie became synonymous with grown men and women who still lived with their parents.
Trekkie was the crowd before William Shatner on SNL when he urged them to, “Get a life.”
Trekkie became a bad thing to people like me. The fans who never knew that we called ourselves Trekkie and were proud of it. Being labeled made me automatically want to rebel, and claim the title of Trekker.
So, in the late Eighties and early Nineties, I was only known as a Trekker.
Trekkies? Those people were weird. I wasn’t one of them.
The rest of the 1990s were like this for a majority of the fans. Maybe not those who were lucky enough to be on the bottom deck when the show aired. They were still proud to call themselves Trekkie. I was ashamed to.
By the end of the 1990s, a strange thing started to happen.
Groups of people labeled in a specific way — chief among them, the gays and Blacks — started to claim derogatory labels. They would call themselves by a name others mean for belittlement. They embraced this retro thinking, and used the words to take the sting out of the insult.
It was almost a challenge. “If we take your title, what’ya gonna call us?”
The older I got, the more I read about the earlier part of the STAR TREK Movement. I realized that the original generation called themselves by a name that evolved to become derogatory by the time the next generation arose (pun intended?).
I got kind of excited. When I started to use Twitter and other social media, I started to (almost ironically) identify myself as a Trekkie. I realized that when I gave myself that label, I was going back to the roots where it came from. While, chronologically, I wasn’t a first generation Trekkie, I could still call myself that. I even got a Trekkie shirt for Christmas from my non-STAR TREK loving wife. I took it and wore it affectionately. FULL DISCLOSURE: I am wearing a ROGUE ONE shirt as I write this. FULLER DISCLOSURE: I am wearing my Trekkie shirt as I edit this.
So when it comes to Trekkie vs Trekker, it all depends on your point of view.
Are you looking at the name as someone looking down on you? Are you going back to the beginning? Are you claiming your own identity and saying, “To hell with everyone else”.
As always, I’d like to hear for the readers on this. Drop me an email.
NEXT TIME: How my Dad got me in to STAR TREK.