Thursday, May 4, 2017

Today in tired comparisons...

Hey everybody, it's May the Fourth, the Star Wars Holiday with the clever-at-first, but later kind of stupid name. While I myself am devout Trekkie, I do appreciate Star Wars and wish you and yours a merry May the Fourth? A Happy May the Fourth? Yeah, which is it...or do you say May the Fourth be with you? Because I'm not saying that.
Nor will we be singing the song.
Pictured: basically me, but with
a centuries old conflict instead of
you know, contentious nerd fights.
Anyway, to celebrate, I'm going to grudgingly admit the three, (and only three) ways in which Star Wars is better than Star Trek despite my fannish convictions. Yup, we're going to dredge up nerdom's oldest and most pointless comparison. Pointless because I've already mathematically demonstrated why Star Trek is the superior space ...uh, thing, and while I stand by that assessment, there's nothing wrong with admitting that Star Wars has got a lot going for it too. The important thing here is that in these divisive times, I'm reaching across the aisle in the hopes that my actions will inspire others. In many ways, I'm a goddamn hero.

Kirk punching Khan with two fists joined
into one, thus doubling his punch power.
First, let me say that while it pains me to admit it, Star Wars is generally more exciting that Star Trek. I say generally because the prequel trilogy made us spend an unreasonable and arguably criminal amount of time watching CG cartoon creatures discuss the proceedings of their stupid space senate, but on the whole, Star Wars is usually about lightsaber fights, spaceships pew-chew pew-chew-ing and Muppets. Trek on the other hand is a little more cerebral, and when it does opt for action the results are usually pretty ridiculous.

I mean sure, that excitement usually comes at the cost of plausible science, but neither side's writers are going to be winning the Nobel anytime soon.
I'm not a physicist, but those look like some gigantic blue glowing space engines there on
the back of that Star Destroyer. Hope they never need to slow down or stop or anything...
I mean for real.
Speaking of Muppets-yes I was, stay with me-I'm going to go ahead and give Star Wars the advantage when it comes to creative aliens. Star Wars aliens are you know, alien. Trek just sort of plays it safe with ears or maybe forehead genitals, while the Star Wars universe is full of yetis and Yoda and Jabbas the Hutt (it's like mothers in law). Yeah, the more recent entries in the series have kind of overdone the CG thing, and we could have a whole debate about it (no really, email me), but muppetry will always have a warm spot in my heart.

Except of course for Yaddle. Introduced in Episode One, Yaddle is Yoda in a wig which, in addition to totally ruining Yoda's mysterious, one of a kind-ness, is just lazy.
Oh, don't look at me like that, you know it's true.
Like say, any subtlety at all.
But these are all surface things. Explosions and monsters. Who cares, right? But there is one substantive area that I, a trekkie so smitten with trek that I have Memory Alpha bookmarked, will admit Star Wars has an edge. Heavy handed moralizing. St'Wars (let's see if it catches on) has its flaws, but it doesn't usually beat you over the head with its message. Star Trek has a tendency to do that sometimes. I'm not saying it's wrong to call humanity out on the racism, violence and hatred that plagues us but a little subtlety would go a long way.

Yup, Star Trek never misses a chance to explain to us, the viewer, how we're just a bunch of pre-warp 21st century savages. We're emotional, we war with one another and we still use money. Basically we suck. And who better to point it out to us than a bunch of spandex-clad, post-scarcity future people with their miraculous medical technology, enlightened ideology and replicators? It's like when rich people chime in about food stamps or student dept relief.
"This is a replicator, it can construct objects from energy
patterns stored food is a magic food slot."

-Data, future-splaining the replicator
to some guy from the 1980's
Seriously? No one in the room
thought this was a terrible idea?
Star Wars on the other hand isn't trying to talk us out of our bad habits because its characters have them too. There's crime, poverty and for some reason a 1950's diner run by a cockroach. Their universe is basically ours except with space wizards and hyperdrive, so the characters make the same bad decisions we do. In this way, the story-telling can be more relatable than trek's warp-capable Boy Scouts. Well, again, relatable except for the part about space wizards.

It's cool that Star Wars never lets a message bog down the story, though I'm not sure it really has a message other than teaching us that the there are only really a couple dozen people around whom the universe revolves while the rest of the trillions of sentient beings are nameless schlubs whose only purpose is to get blown up in order to give more heroic people a weighty backstory. Although I suppose that makes Star Wars just like real life. Anyway, Happy May the Fourth or whatever!
Above: Just some of the Star Wars' universe's countless, hapless inhabitants
who had the misfortune of not being related to the Skywalkers about, to
get a face full of Ginger Space Nazi's scientifically dubious planet killer.

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