Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Do Gay Martians Have the Right to Marry?

It’s unthinkable for an American male of my age to say this, but it’s true: I do not, as a rule, care for science fiction.

I learned years ago not to air this singular lapse at parties. People don’t take it well. They insist, horrified, that I cannot be serious, as though I’d confessed a fondness for kicking stray dogs or pushing old ladies into traffic.

“What about Star Wars,” they gasp. “Didn’t you love Star Wars as a child?”

I didn’t, because I never saw Star Wars as a child. I still haven’t seen it, though I was persuaded to watch the final installment on a big screen. For a few minutes, it turned me into the screaming, bouncy second-grader I never was. But the thrill faded quickly and I’ve never bothered to watch the rest.

My imagination, I’m afraid, simply doesn’t thrive on what’s to come. I prefer to wander in the past. Given the chance and a time machine, I’d be tickled to pieces to sail around the world third class on a 1920s Cunard liner. If you handed me a first-class ticket to Mars, however, I’d hand it right back. I don’t want to visit Mars, don’t want to wear a space suit, don’t want to play zero-gravity badminton with little green men from some nebulous nebula.

It’s difficult to voice any of this without being accused of snobbery. And that’s funny, because it’s perfectly acceptable in America to say, for example, “I hate opera.” I happen to love opera, and when someone tells me she hates it, I often ask which opera she went to hear. The answer is almost invariably, “Well, I’ve never actually been to the opera…” Which is what I've always thought snobbery was–assuming that something (or someone) is not worth your time without taking a closer look.

In my defense, although I escaped immersion in Star Wars I’ve still sampled enough other stuff from the genre to have formed what I think is an educated distaste. Some of it was moderately highbrow (2001: A Space Odyssey) and some of it low (the original Battlestar Galactica). None of it grabbed me.

So imagine my surprise when, after watching the trailer, I conceived an undeniable urge to see Star Trek at the theater.

Now, skipping Star Wars is a walk in the park compared to evading Star Trek. There’s been so much of it; our culture is marinated in it. And it began as television. We didn’t go to the movies much when I was a kid, but we sure as hell had a well-used television.

Yet I never watched it, in spite of fierce peer pressure. When my friends wanted to play Star Trek, they always had to tell me what to do. Otherwise I’d act wildly inappropriate and order Scotty to beam me to Paris. (Hey–they said the transporter could send you anywhere.)

I hadn’t the faintest idea why the new movie caught my attention; but when Tom said he’d like to see it, I agreed to go. By Sunday afternoon, I was munching candy and watching everybody fight the Romulans.

Needless to say a whole bunch of the film zoomed right over my head, you should pardon the expression. Still, I enjoyed it. About halfway through, I realized why.

First, I love period pieces, and this is a period piece. It’s set in the future, yes, but it’s the future as imagined in the 1960s, re-created at the top of the twenty-first century. The costumers were splendidly faithful to the ironed hair, jump suits and go-go boots¬–indeed, the attention to detail is worthy of Merchant-Ivory.

Second, it’s one of the best gay films I’ve ever seen. It’s gayer than Milk.

I’ve been hearing for years that Star Trek, unlike a lot of other space epics, used futuristic situations at metaphors for contemporary issues. And so it is with this movie, which I interpret as a roman a clef exploration of the twinks vs. bears conflict within the gay community.

No, seriously. It’s so obvious.

In case you’re not familiar with the differing camps, twinks are the sort of gay person familiar to television audiences: young, fair, slender, with a fondness for form-fitting clothing and hair products. Twinks have taken over all the best-friend roles that used to go to actresses like Eve Arden.

Here, from the box cover of a gay Art Film celebrating (ahem) the twink lifestyle, is a representative sample.

Twinks

Bears, on the other hand, are seldom represented in gay media and certainly never show up in mainstream media. Bears tend to be older, rougher, hairier, and heavier, with a fondness for tattoos, stout boots, and other trappings of untamed masculinity. Bears don’t appear in straight television or film because straight male executives can’t handle the idea of gay men who could kick the crap out of them.

Here, from another box cover from a very different gay Art Film, is a group of bears.

Bears

In Star Trek, the twinks are all aboard the Enterprise, along with their signature companion: a sexy, sassy female best friend. They're all wearing the same labels. The ship is new and exclusive, with custom retro furniture and perfect lighting–the de rigueur elements of a twink nightclub.

Star Twinks

They are fighting the bears–thinly disguised as the Romulans–led by a pugnacious leather daddy named Nero, who struts around brandishing his gigantic staff. Aside from a nasty case of cauliflower ear, Nero is a prime candidate to get his own calendar from Colt Studios.

Nero’s ship, the Narada, is black and spiky on the outside. Inside, it’s all shadowy corners and well-worn industrial fittings, with no women in sight–the spitting image of your typical corner leather bar.

Star Bear

Let’s do a side-by-side comparison, shall we?

Twinks and the crew of the Enterprise.

Twinks

Star Twinks

Bears and Nero the Romulan.

Bears

Star Bear

I rest my case, earthlings.

207 comments:

1 – 200 of 207   Newer›   Newest»
Lindsay said...

I haven't laughed that hard in a while, but you're completely right! Thank you for a great way to start the morning!

Tammany said...

I've always managed to avoid Star Trek too, but I will admit to enjoying the original Star Wars trilogy. (The newest ones just kind of suck.) I also love opera and am utterly lost when my knitting group discusses Lost, American Idol, House, Grey's Anatomy, or Dancing with the Stars. However, I think your post has convinced me to go see this film with my husband. I'll explain why I changed my mind later.

Melissa said...

LOL. Awesome. This would have been totally lost on me had I seen the film first.

BarbS said...

ROTFLMAO! I've read and heard a lot about this movie, including from diehard fans like my husband and son, but yours is the only one that makes me consider seeing the movie! Thanks from someone else who prefers the past!

Riin said...

You make your case well, and "a pugnacious leather daddy" is a phrase that will stick with me for some time.

I never could see what all the fuss about Star Wars was. I thought it kind of sucked. Star Trek was ok, but now it reminds me of an ex who turned nearly every conversation into a lengthy Star Trek diatribe. Ugh.

But really, the best science fiction is in books. Some H.G. Wells maybe?

Julie said...

This is so excellent...am sending to my straight friends who don't quite get what a bear is!

Mari said...

You're right.

BTW: I love the 70's version of Star Trek, preferably dubbed in German. Weird and fun.

subliminalrabbit said...

oh! franklin! this just made my day.

kat said...

well done sir! love the use of 'art films' in your thesis.

tikru said...

:)))
Have to see that movie.. and never blind eyes again :)

nancy said...

That is very funny, Franklin. Thanks for the laugh, and as always the new perspective you bring.

Patti said...

I admit I'm a star trek geek, and am looking forward to the movie. I love a good sci fi flick, and I love good special effects, and I love good looking men, so I'll be all set! and I promise some day I will go to the opera..

Meredith said...

I think you're on to something there. Star Trek under Gene Rodenberry was a frequent vehicle for addressing contemporary dilemmas in a relatively non-threatening way (Kirk and Uhura had the first inter-racial kiss on television; they were both taken over by aliens at the time).

I can respect people not liking science fiction (which I love) since I dislike lots of things most people like - cherries and chocolate, for instance. But have you considered Dr. Who? It's got a fair bit of time travel to the past. And barring that, I'd recommend digging up some science fiction literature from the 80's or earlier. I'm always amazed by the glimpse into the psyche of the past.

melistress said...

Never been a Trekkie and I have always been the girl who is the best friend of a group of gays. I didn't know why I liked the movie either nor had this enormous urge to see it. Now I know.

That and Zachary Quinto as Spock of course.

Phro5gg said...

I can't wait to see the movie with my hubby and have him wonder why I am giggling so much.

SJ said...

I didn't have any interest in seeing the movie until now. Thank you.

Oh, and you're not the only one who's never seen Star Wars. I've seen bits here and there, but I've never seen any one movie all the way through.

Roadchick said...

Your analogy might actually make me go see that movie because now, it suddenly all makes sense!

That has to be one of the funniest things that I've read in a LONG time. Thank you so much, Franklin!

Cara said...

I'm too sick to laugh, and I couldnt stop laughing. Thanks!!

voxwoman said...

I hope you don't mind, but I am going to post a link on my LiveJournal, and from there to the SF community. This was a brilliant commentary.

I am one of the biggest SF Geeks on the planet. Just want to mention that "Star Wars" is fantasy - not Science Fiction (even though it takes place in outer space).

I won't try to "convert" you, but you could do worse than spend a couple of hours watching "Forbidden Planet"

geeky Heather said...

Wow. You sure have to ignore a lot of heterosexual sex, marriages and babies to draw that conclusion!

Kristen said...

Oh I so love this! I will confess to having watched Star Trek: The Next Generation fairly regularly in college because I had a thing for Patrick Stewart. I wound up at this flick because a friend won free tickets to the midnight premiere. I'll confess to having enjoyed bits of it.

tricotchick said...

Hilarious!! Someday I would love to hear your take on the Ferengi and the Borg and Captain Picard, all from ST: The Next Generation.

Brilliant. Thanks for the laugh!
Cathy

LesleyD said...

I love it! LOL I saw Star Trek twice this weekend. I can totally see your point!!

Speaking of operas, have you had a chance to see The Genetic Opera/aka Repo Opera? It is a rock opera very dark, bloody and goth. However it very well fits into the genre of Opera. I was quite impressed by it. Although I did have to cover my eyes a few times cause the blood/torture stuff got to me.

Lynae said...

Love it!

(formerly) no-blog-rachel said...

Awesome. Just awesome.

Ok, I get the non-love of Sci-Fi but the original Battlestar Galactica - didn't Dirk Benedict or Richard Hatch do a thing for you? They're the reason I watched it!

Elizabeth said...

@geeky Heather: I take the comparison as being aesthetic rather than literal.

Franklin, I wonder if you'd enjoy the Firefly series at all? There's a campy retro Western thing going on there that got me hooked. But then I'm a sci fi/fantasy nut to begin with, so I don't know if it would appeal or not.

Loved this post and want to show it to all my friends!!

kmkat said...

Okay, now I can explain all the nuances of the movie to my husband when we see it. Hilarious!

Mama Cat said...

I am suing you because I choked on my lunch when I was reading that. I'm still finding breathing a bit difficult ...

And BTW Star Wars isn't science fiction, and it sucks. You have shown very good judgment there. And that is from a long-time fan of all things science fiction.

Stepford Mom said...

Brilliantly funny on so many levels. As a Trek fan, I have to tell you that there is a whole universe of Trek "slash fiction" out there. For those that don't know it's fan fic written specifically to put two characters together ie kirk/spock, mccoy/scotty and so on. I've always thought of the costuming as a fetish unto itself as well :) Thanks for seeing it all so clearly hehee

pacalaga said...

I heart you so very much.

CarolineF said...

Hahaha! as with so many other productions of popular culture, it makes one wonder who they are really aiming their product at...

nicole said...

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/(T)Raumschiff_Surprise_%E2%80%93_Periode_1
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traumschiff_Surprise_-_Periode_1

Watch it, you'll love it. I'm not sure if it was translated into english, but even in german you should be fine.

Jayne d'Arcy said...

Stepford Mom sent me on over. I've loved Star Trek since the TV series but had no real interest in seeing the new movie. After reading this, I think I will go see it. Ought to be good for a laugh.

Lee said...

You've opened my eyes to a whole other aspect of SF! I've always thought of science fiction as westerns (which I also love) in another setting. You see now how SF gets everyone in the end (insert evil laugh here). Do try FIREFLY if you get the chance, it pokes fun at westerns, science fiction and many other things in a witty way.

Caroline M said...

It's been a while since I laughed that much. Thank you for furthering my education and extending my language. Don't know when I'll get to use it or even if it translates over here but that's beside the point.

Jenn said...

Wondering if men read Jane Austin, and if men who don't like science fiction would enjoy "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." I started it last night and think it's kinda hilarious.

Thank you for the enlightening post! *wanders off to contemplate what category william shatner falls into*

Gabrielle said...

cackle Good point, well made! And now?

I can hardly wait to take my stepson to see it at the weekend!

Jennifer said...

That was genius. Thanks for making my day!

Knitting Linguist said...

I am, quite literally, about to walk out the door to see this movie (knitting in hand) and I am SO glad that I read this first!

Alicia said...

I love it! Makes me think of Star Trek in a whole new light!

Anonymous said...

love your movie review. i have not seen the latest star trek (just the trailer), however i was/am a big star trek fan and your analysis holds true for the series as well. love it. amazing insight...when are you coming to speak at a lys in hawaii?

Bobbi said...

I sure hope Dash reads this...he may have an epiphany of his own.

AR said...

Loved it! :-)
Excellent summation of the 'Trek Nation'

(still can't stop the giggles)

AR

nutmeg33 said...

OMG --> LOL --> ♥ ♥ ♥ !

Luke said...

you fail...

Emily said...

Well, color me uninformed: I never heard of "twinks" & "bears" before. I am now a lot wiser, thanx very much! (I guess my age is showing, sigh.)

BTW, not all science fiction is equal; I read it (IASFM) but find very few things I love. I recommend Ursula LeGuin's "The Left Hand of Darkness" for another view on gender roles; Ward Moore's "Bring the Jubilee"; Robert L Forward's "Dragon's Egg" about life on a neutron star ...
not great writing but fascinating idea...and if you liked "The Andromeda Strain", that was SF, tho' not marketed as such, as was much of Michel Crichton's work. Sorry; just had to defend the genre!

As to "Star Wars", the original was actually space opera, but done wonderfully, with age-worn props & all the clean, passionate morality of the very young. I thought none of the others came close. Have not seen the new Star Trek movie, but based on your analysis, I will definitely have to!

Buzz said...

"Gay Art Film?"

I laughed so hard, I cried. That box art is from Raging Stallion vs Falcon for sure.

Im still scanning my DVD "library" to see which films you scammed those shots from. The titles are a little blurred and sticky for some reason...

Miercoles said...

Mmmm, I want to accept your theory (God, do I want to accept your theory, even though I don't want bears to be the evil half), but?

Those security guards? "Cupcake?"

They're on the Enterprise too. And they're a bit more bearish than Nero and his unusually willowy-for-bears bears.

I feel like I should be recommending SF you wouldn't like to you, given the reaction here (really? There's no great push to discuss Torchwood and its pansexuals so pansexual they sex both Pan and pans?), but I'm still stuck back on Nero-as-bear.

Besides, we haven't met the Abrams!Klingons yet. Twinks v. Twinkbears v. Bears is still a possibility!

One More Stitch said...

This review is right up there with the Mary Frances one!

Isn't it nice, though, to see that the good guys are still wearing knitwear in the future even it is machine-made? I want to travel (armed with my knitting and needles (and my opera recordings, too)) to other galaxies and show those other civilisations what real knitting is all about!

Eric said...

A truer analysis I have never seen.

Yarndude said...

Hmmm... that would never have occurred to me, well done. And btw, I've never seen Star Wars either, nor have I seen the Star Trek show, but I loved the movie.

Abbie said...

Welcome to Trek, good sir. I think you now understand just what makes it so cracktastic. =)

FugueStateKnits said...

Of COURSE Gay Martians can marry! How in blazes did you think they got Mr. Spock?

Christopher said...

I think even your art film depiction of Twinks are too butch for the standard Twink stereo type. If the Romulans take over the Enterprise then I certainly want to be on board that ship!

Benita said...

I am screaming with laughter. I've always wondered about Kirk's and Spock's relationship from way back when. Damn! You are so right about this!

junior_goddess said...

I've managed to avoid all the Star Wars-the first didn't interest me, now it's a matter of pride.

You, my friend, managed to overlook one particular twink subculture-the Asian gay. Dresses in expensive clothing, usually black. Habitat: Pacific Rim. Conversation puncutated by: La! Drinks heavily.

I haven't seen the movie, but Nero looks like an Asian guy. And if he has a hairy chest, he must be dressed for winter.

XO

Jacqueline said...

Wonderful and thankfully read after I'd seen the film! Thought it was so educational and only needs a few thousand more words to be an actual dissertation! Funny I think not, fact for certain. Jacqueline x

Ginaagain said...

Oh goodness! Now I'm going to have to go see the darned thing.

Pica said...

JuniorGoddess, doesn't Sulu qualify as Asian Gay subculture?

The Romulans are, if anything, Polynesian bears.

Loved this post, just brilliant...

Victoria said...

Bahahaha.

I never imagined I'd have to be careful while reading your blog at work, lol. I've learned my lesson.

Shannon said...

That was fall down laughing funny. I'm a Star Trek fan and a straight woman and I thought it was one of the funniest blogs you've ever written. It was also educational because I didn't know about twinks and bears, thank you for the education.

stbyra said...

OMG I laughed my ass off at this one!!! The fact that Kirk is a horndog of the first order for the girls just makes this funnier. What would Delores say about all this??

PlazaJen said...

That's just sheer billowy brilliance, all of it. Fantastic, and now I actually am interested in seeing the film!

Carol said...

Ah yes, the twinks. They were always the first to go at the sidewalk sale after the clubs let out. (I was the sexy sassy girl best friend).

Thanks for the excellent commentary and laughs!

mattie said...

To really appreciate Eric Bana's bearishness, you must witness "Chopper"
http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2743175680/tt0221073

But I loved your analysis.

M

ELizabeth said...

I suspect that the reason we don't see many bears in main stream media is because straight women have bears at home and would rather have twinks. I'm just going on what some of my friends say.

Wendy said...

I haven't seen the Star Trek movie yet, but I have NEVER appreciated a preview more! Twinks, indeed!

Ann (yet another) said...

Now I must go see it! And I'm a long time fan.

Remind me to send you a link to Korean TV sometime. Totally loaded with twinks. My current favorite, BOF, even has the requisite girl side kick, but Coffee Prince has a totally Shakespearean vibe going on with girl playing boy and rich guy falling in love with him/her and being somewhat confused to find that he is a she.

and why is my verification word remake? That's a bit of cool right there!

anne marie in philly said...

I have never watched a "star drek" tv show, nor a movie. don't care to, either. science fiction has never interested me.

OTOH, "mystery science theater 3000" RULES! too bad it's off the air...when that went off, I quit watching tv for good.

franklin habit ROCKS!

Valerie said...

Not only is your comparative analysis spot-on (and hilarious), but calling the new Trek a period piece is also brilliant and true! I would have never thought about it that way, so thank you! I wish you wrote the movie reviews in my local paper. :)

Alex G said...

If you're into different time periods, you really should watch Doctor Who.

Abby said...

I love you, but no.

Free Range Chick said...

Being a huge Sci-Fi fan and not getting to see Star trek yet because it opened on Mother's Day weekend, I really liked you perspective of the new movie. I'm also a fan of the orginal series and, well, I think that you are really onto something here. Great post.

Free Range Chick said...

Being a huge Sci-Fi fan and not getting to see Star trek yet because it opened on Mother's Day weekend, I really liked you perspective of the new movie. I'm also a fan of the orginal series and, well, I think that you are really onto something here. Great post.

Anonymous said...

This had me screaming. You have it nailed.

Kimmen

rosesmama said...

Egads, you are a genius!

Bubblesknits said...

Now, Franklin, how am I ever going to go see this movie with my husband and sit through it without snickering every time I see a large staff or hair gel? ROTFL!

la takahashi said...

LOL. Thank you Franklin. May be I'll be able to go see this movie now.

Laura said...

Not only is this the greatest review that I have ever read, but I sent your link to my Brother-In-Law; an Astrophysisist, a Teacher, Daddy to my most-splendid newphew Ian, and an Avid Star Trek Fan (note: he had an entire Star Trek Uniform in his car the first time he met my sister Adele and they went out). He saw the first showing the first night.

His exact words?

THIS REVIEW IS FANTASTIC!

Thank you Franklin.

Laura said...

Just checked Twitter. Steve loved your review so much that he put the link to your blog post up there too. Now THAT's an endorsement!

Northmoon said...

Good thing I didn't read this at work. I got half way through then started laughing out loud. Too much!! Twinks vs Bears, I learn so much from your blog!!

Anonymous said...

I laughed soo hard!! Funny thing is, as a straight female, I'd much rather see either the Twinks or the Bears shirtless than any of the Star Trek cast...beauty is beauty I guess. I should just sit back & enjoy the view.

Kade said...

Absolutely Brilliant!

Joyce said...

As a straight female who's been a science fiction fan since Star Trek first debuted(I was 10), I loved your analysis of the new movie!

BTW there's room in the science fiction pool for all of us.

Paul Anater said...

Hah! Thank you. I will forward this to all of the Trek fiends I know.

Bride of Chucky said...

BWAHAHAHA! Thank you for that, and for making me want to see the movie. I generally enjoy Star Trek, but was not enthusiastic about watching the new installment.

And what does it say about me, as a straight woman, that I think the bears are examples of what men are supposed to look like (including you, my dear Franklin) and the others remind me of whiny teenage girls?

Pickyknitter said...

I love you. Don't let Dolores see this post or she will be organizing a screening down at the Horseshoe.....

Cassie said...

I cannot read the comments, but I have to defend my beloved genre.

Alternate history. Steampunk. Read Jo Walton's Farthing (okay, I haven't, but I don't have a lot of brain right now), Kenneth Oppel's Airborn (airships! pirates! NATURALISTS!), there's a lot of good fantasy but I don't know if you lump the two genres together or not. If you do, hooboy is there historical fantasy. E Bear's Carnival is gay spies in space. I like a lot of Cory Doctorow's short fiction and he has a YA book out.

I haven't seen much of Star Wars. Two and a half episodes, maybe? Not more than half. It doesn't define the genre.

JoVE said...

An amazing analysis. Almost makes me want to go. Though most of the bears I know are way hairier than your exemplars.

Elizabeth Psyck said...

Umm...I love you...mostly because I did not see it that way (my father the geek, and then my former fiance the geek, and I guess my current boyfriend the geek have all contributed to me being a giant geek that has seen at least a little of every star trek incarnation ever INCLUDING the oft forgotten animated series featuring the original cast)...but you're completely right. (Also - I have a giant crush on the twinkiest of all, Chekov.)

Also - it's not even crazy to see it that way, or biased in any way. I love Star Trek because they dealt with things that at the time were so taboo and so unspeakable on network television. I mean seriously - the original series had a multicultural, multiracial crew, complete with a RUSSIAN.

Judith said...

I thought this new Trek film was great, but now I'll have to go and see it again just to enjoy the whole "Twinks vs. Bears" metaphor. Wow! I love it!

By the way, Star Wars is actually supposed to have happened "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away," so it's really about the past instead of the future. But I take your point nonetheless. It's not my favorite space-opera.

Trope said...

Franklin, I am more in love with you than ever before. Speaking as a trekkie and the woman who always wanted to be the SSFF: great review.

Franklin: For the record, I saw "Carmen", and my other music friends made fun of me for falling asleep through it. Perhaps you could recommend some beginner's opera? Or does it get any more beginner than "Carmen"?

To all my fellow sci-fi fans reading the comments: wanna take this conversation elsewhere and use this trope to analyze Torchwood? Mmmm, Torchwood.

Anonymous, too said...

Franklin, this is even better than your limericks!

I was going to see the movie anyway, having grown up watching the orignal series, but this is going to make it soooo much more fun!

And, if you really want a "period piece" bit of Trek, watch the original series episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion." A green-haired bimbo in a tinfoil bikini -- 'nuff said.

For more screams, watch the original movie version of "Stargate". Kurt Russell with a chin that could cut glass without touching it. Jaye Davidson as the most evil, wigged out, bitchy, hormonally-unbalanced drag queen you've ever seen. (Although don't let Dolores see this one -- she'll get all the WRONG ideas!)

Leslie said...

Wait till I tell my dweeby, straight boss who ADORES Star Trek! Snort! ;o)

Fiona said...

*laugh* O, Franklin - you are too funny, darling!

XandGunn said...

This was hilarious. I loved the movie, but this comparison makes me love it more. When I see the movie again, I'll probably laugh at whenever I see the Romulans.

Laurie in Mpls. said...

Great. NOW how am I going to watch this movie without having to explain all the snickering into my popcorn to my Darling Husband? *grin*

Well done, sir. Well done. (And do check out some steampunk, if only for the costuming. I recommend the Girl Genius comic book series by Phil and Kaja Foglio.)

KGLO said...

Agreed. I used to tell people that I'd never seen Star Wars, just to see them combust. Now, it's not worth the verbal beating.

I think you have a valid point here, sir. And I do love a good metaphor. I am officially intrigued.

Dhar said...

Great! Now I can no longer watch Star Trek with a 'straight' face ;o0

Thanks a lot!

j/k Simply hularious.

Yarnsnob said...

Thanks for the unique, enlightened and creative new view of Star Trek. I'm wondering how you would label Capt. Picard, metro-sexual? Most amusing.

Dr. Tectonic said...

Brilliant!

woolywoman said...

I hate most science fiction. I do like candy, though, and that is why I went to movies as a child. As for Twink v. Bears, uhm, YUM

Amy said...

HEY! Hey! I was looking forward to this movie just to watch the movie. And now I'm going to be laughing the entire time because I'll be thinking about twinks and bears.

A sardonic thanks.

Anonymous said...

This is about the funniest thing I've ever read.....I personally think Science fiction is ridiculous. But your succinct and accurate desciprition of the latest Star Wars left me in stitches....now I guess I'll have to go see it.

martian77 said...

This gay martian has the right to enter into a civil partnership - not quite the same thing. :-)

stitchitch said...

I hear ya! :O)

donnac1968 said...

Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

There must have been at least one influential but subliminal Bible-thumper in the original Star Trek crew. Otherwise how do you explain the many Americans who support the traditional view of marriage? We're talking about Barack Obama, Carrie Prejean, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton.

TraceCub said...

Usually I try to read all the comments. But I only got as far down as Meredith before I decided I MUST comment as well.

I totally concur with Meredith. As someone who would much more prefer to go to Paris or the Past with the use of a transporter, you are perfectly suited for Doctor Who!

Plus, if you get enough into it, you can knit The Scarf. :D (You can see it on my ravelry projects)I knit one for my husband and am contemplating doing another for *me*!

Ruthcrafts said...

Just wanted to call attention to the fact that there's even a BBC programme called 'I've never seen Star Wars' where people are asked to try different books/films/types of experience than those they are comfortable with. I once made the mistake of asking my boyfriend 'what is an Ewok?' - at least I could be as amused when he asked me what the Restoration (in England) was a restoration of [the joys of studying literature and history] :)

Heather said...

Although I would usually argue against your implied assertion that the gay community consists only of twinks and bears (that's like saying that there are only femme or butch lesbians and is simply untrue), I think that you have a very good point.

And now, I will enjoy the movie even more. I was obsessed with Star Wars as a kid, but always found Star Trek to be....boring. But I feel the same urge to see this movie. I think that they've put something in the water.

soxanne said...

Thanks for the insightful analysis. You have material for a PhD thesis here. Go for it.

Ali P said...

The ST movie left me with a raging desire to acquire the original series on DVD and talk like Shatner. The manwhore that was young Kirk is hilarious to me. The Uhura/Spock relationship was deliciously unexpected. Sulu with a sword? Oh YEAH baby!...Loved it all.
And now with your analogy and review I love it even more. Genius.

merlinofchaos said...

Franklin, the reason you get a lot of "GASP?! NO!!!!" type of reactions to not liking sci-fi as being snobbery is because there is a very large public perception that the people who like sci-fi are all...well, icky people. We are apparently all dirty, undersocialized, nerdy people who aren't really capable of interacting in modern society. It's the same reason that Scifi channel is changing its name to Syfy -- to try and get rid of the 'stigma' of appealing only to sci-fi fans. Yes, *they* said it. It's a stigma.

So when you don't like sci-fi amongst a crowd of people who do, a lot of people immediately feel as though you've just said that enjoying sci-fi is a social aberration. Sure you didn't say that, never intended to say that and it actually happens to be your personal taste. But that's why you get the reaction. The mainstream likes to air out the worst of the worst at sci-fi conventions to show how lame people who go to those things are, and then everyone who happens to like Star Trek ends up feeling stigmatized by something that should, IMO, be celebrated, not stigmatized.

Suna said...

Just perfect. And I think it applies to other Star Trek incarnations as well. Those Klingons are quite bear-ish.

I am now wondering whether or not to share this on my Facebook page or not.

Cheri said...

Thank you for this insightful commentary - just wait 'til my son realizes what he's been missing... he'll be like, "Omigod! why didn't anyone TELL me?!?"

Red said...

Dude, you have to put a warning that this post is not suitable for work. At least tell us to finishing drinking the coffee. It's hard to stifle the laughter. On the other hand, I work in an all (straight) female office and I'm sure we'd all like to see more pictures from your "Art Films."

May said...

That, sir, was utterly priceless.

Red said...

Star Trek was the inspiration for slash fiction, where fans write their own stories set in that world. Much of it focused on the gay relationship between Kirk/Spock, thus "slash" fiction.

Now with the web, any fictional work has fans writing their own purple prose about characters from Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. And there's also a subgenre of slash fiction call PWP (Porn Without Plot). Talk about purple prose indeed.

Jamie said...

LOL - so funny! I love that you used images to support your argument too! My mom frequently berated me my love of science fiction literature calling them trash. I am sure that there are many scifi authors out there cringing. I also noticed that she read a lot of trashy romance novels just to entertain herself, so I decided I could read whatever I wanted! I would never berate you for not liking scifi, it appeals to different people. would you be interested in steam punk I wonder though?

qarylla said...

That is terrific!

Now, I love the Star Trek movie and the universe in general, so I got a kick out of the movie but I'm going to enjoy seeing it again (I was way too tired to fully enjoy all of it) with this in mind!

MissKnit said...

That. Was. Perfect.

Nita said...

Perhaps the funniest fucking thing I've ever heard! You are freaking hysterical...and probably, more than likely, spot on with that explanation. I can't wait to meet you in person one day. Jasmin says you're awesome.

SingleMomKnits said...

You're right. I was supposed to see this movie with my nephews this weekend but now I am wondering if I will be able to do it without bursting into laughter from this post.

Corvi said...

"Dip me in intergalactic space honey and throw me to the Romulans"

AMEN! And that is totally my Tweet for the day....

FiberQat said...

I haven't seen the movie yet but now I'll see it with this analogy in mind. Actually, I can see Klingons as Bears myself. Masculine posturing and all that.

Imagine the ship as a three masted ship with its crew in search of the western passage to Cathay and all the interesting people they meet on the way.

Sharon Rose said...

You MUST SEE this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uxTpyCdriY
I can't stop watching it!!
Also - try watching some GOOD scifi, like Firefly. Great costumes, funny storylines, delicious dialogue, and Mal looks oh so tasty nekkid.

MollyBeees said...

OMG! Coffee came out my nose! I have developed a recent hatred for all things Star Wars and Trek, having been a Sci Fi widow for 18 years. I'm free now, Lordy I'm free at last! This post hit me square in the happy place! You ROCK, Franklin!

Kate G. said...

Aha, realistic film theory at last! BTW I vote for the union of Twinks and Bears. I'd love to see what they choose to furnish their new battlestar cruiser.

Sara said...

Okay, I laughed and I'm not sure I'm going to be able to watch the movie with a straight face when the family goes to see it next week.

A friend of mine informs me that the smoother men pictured are really jocks but can be twinks at the same time. Then there are otters. This all really makes me glad this is your dating scene.

ataniell93 said...

@geekyheather:

oh please. There are lots of babies, but little heterosexual sex, unless you count the spock/uhura silliness, to which all I have to say is this:

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y60/azalaismalfoy/zqmacro1-Spock_Uhura.jpg

Amy McWeasel said...

I don't think I can accurately articulate just how much I loved this post. You're a genius! :)

Alanna said...

Would love to see you on a Cunard Line cruise in the present day.... what would you expect or think? Franklin on the QE2, the transatlantic crossing.

Zelda said...

I do not, as a rule, care for science fiction...It’s difficult to voice any of this without being accused of snobbery.Boy, do you and I move in different circles. I'm a huge SF and fantasy fan, and I can't get no respect. (Although, BTW, you seem to have SF confused with SF *movies*. There's a lot of actual literature out there that's about *people*, and how they behave when thrust into some mighty strange situations, that's very illuminating.)

You're so right about the very particular vision of the future based in the 1960's.

Zelda said...

PS, The mention of Torchwood above is worthy repeating. For all that I prefer print SF over media SF, well... No matter your gender or orientation, if Captain Jack Harkness doesn't make you swoon, you just don't *have* a libido.

lolee-knits said...

I think you've just convinced me to watch Star Trek!

Anonymous said...

Franklin - Love the review. Am a big opera fan and sci-fi/fantasy also. But love th dips into the past. That's why I'm a huge Dr. Who fan of 30+ years...maybe you should take a peek at the series. I never figured the twinks vs. bears connection but, on reflection, it makes sense. (MMMMM...bears.) Now I'll have to consider seeing this film after all. Was a big trekkie for many years but waned in interest over time. So, we'll see. Take care - Joe, in Wyoming

Nita said...

In case you hadn't seen this:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/12/DD7E17GU8Q.DTL

Different take on the whole man on man thang in the SFChron!!

Sharon said...

The die-hard Trekkies in my life must read this. "Live long and prosper", Franklin!

Miss B said...

Yes. This.

And "Gayer than Milk" just may become a new catchphrase for me....*giggle*

Shelda said...

You're brilliant, Franklin! And we're lucky that you're sharing it all with us here. Thanks for that yummy analysis. I haven't seen Star Trek yet, but then I hadn't realized its real significance.

Pamela said...

Perfect!

Anonymous said...

I want one of the bears. Would you consider a bear calendar? You already gave us a twink calendar. Bears please!

Laura said...

Franklin.
As you so often are, your review is brilliant - love your analysis. Never knew about Twinks & Bears but so much is now so clear :)
Opera? - Well, never really liked it - of course, had never really gone - but now, thanks to the Met in HighDef at the Cineplex - am hooked. Can't wait for next season.
Love ya.

Virginia said...

I COMPLETELY and 100% agree ... I hate Sci fi and see no point in it, but you have cleared it up on a whole new level. Thank you

silverarrowknits said...

I love the comparison!

Eileen said...

Bwahaha!

I do like sci-fi and fantasy, BUT...I'm damned picky.

(For books, I recommend *Tam Lin*, by Pamela Dean; fantasy, not sci-fi. It introduced me to some killer literature, including more theatre.)

As for TV...well, I used to watch "Quantum Leap" not only because of the beefcake factor, but it was all set in the past. (Vintage ho that I am.) And the new "Star Trek" has a ton of episodes sending Jean-Luc or others to Earth's past...particularly the 20s and
30s. :-D

But I confess, I did watch all the original *Star Wars* films.

Harrison Ford, you see.

As for opera, I spent ten years studying voice. Not good enough, though. *sob*

Kathy said...

William Shatner was the first man I ever loved. I know that's not much along the lines of this conversation, or perhaps it is.
Perhaps it is!

knitinsage said...

genius = the capacity to look at the same thing everyone else looks at and put those same pieces together in a new and unique way.
genius, panopticon.

LICraftgal said...

Now that is funny!!! And you know I would have never seen it in that light. But now that you brought it out, yes quite obvious.

Norskybear said...

Three snaps (oops, I mean woofs) for Franklin. Can't wait to see you at Romulan Week in Provincetown...

the Lady said...

OMG you are totally right!

Though in the interest of fairness and historical accuracy, I think the original Star Trek was way less gay.

Anonymous said...

That is friggen HILARIOUS and you must be totally right. I am so Laughing Out Loud and I never type that kind-of ROTFLMAO stuff!! Rock on man!! :-)
J

Zander Nyrond said...

This article proves, if proof were needed, that if you are going to snark about something in public, a position of almost complete ignorance is about the worst place to start. Oh, it's funny all right--but if one is a fan, it's funny for all the wrong reasons.

Interesting, though, that you talk about spoiling the game for all the other kids as if you had done something in some way good. I find that very telling.

Thank you for posting this.

alala said...

Hee heeee! Brilliant! I am a lifelong Trekkie, and I admit I failed to note the obvious Twinks vs Bears storyline when I saw the movie. Thanks for a terrific excuse to go see it again!

Donna Lee said...

I was one of the "I don't like opera" people who had never seen an opera. I was in a yarn store (of all places) and the music playing totally entranced me. The clerk didn't know which opera it was (it was a compilation disc) but I promised myself I would seek out some opera music and give it a fair listen.

I have been a Star Trek fan since Capt Kirk first walked the deck and was afraid of this movie but it turns out, I loved it. Appealed to the little girl who still wants to walk on the moon....

Sarah S. said...

This made me giggle madly, and link a whole bunch of people to it.

I bet, by the way, that you'd like the aesthetics of Steampunk, which is science-fiction that's designed as if the Victorians had invented a steam driven computer.

Think dirigibles, goggles, lots of tiny little hand cut gears, and much craftiness.

EricC said...

A friend of mine sent me the link, I then posted the link on my blog.

First of all, a perfect description, I can't quit laughing.

Second, this has really peeved some of my more hard core geek friends, and I thank you for that. I'm a geek, but I still find that I am a geek funny.

Oh, and at least one person implied that this is queerbashing ... just so you know ... so watch it in the future ... yeah ... right ...

Red said...

I'm heartened to see Firefly and Torchwood mentioned. All the main characters on Torchwood have had straight and same sex experiences and I am totally rooting for Jack to stay with Ianto, not Gwen. And Firefly was just good sci fi. And Simon totally is gay.

Franklin, I'm sure you totally did not intend for the comments to focus so much on sci fi. However, there is the term "space opera" too.

Gay Guy said...

I am not a science fiction fan, either. It just never captured my interest. Nor could I read the Hobbit, etc. Something about it creeps me out.

I have a philosophy professor friend who says that science fiction is great because philosophers and science fiction writers ask the same questions. I would need a tutorial to appreciate that observation.

FYI: I've never seen Star Wars, any edition, but I did see Carrie Fisher's one-gal show. And, I've only seen one episode of StarTrek; and that one only because it stars a very spritely Joan Collins. Wow, now that I've typed my Carrie/Joan confession, it sounds very gay.

My fellow blogger, Straight Guy, cannot believe I've never seen Star Wars.

dale-harriet said...

O. MY. (you should pardon the expression) STARS!! This is brilliant. I was sort of vaguely interested in Sci-Fi (having seen me, I'm sure you recognize my reluctance to peer out of the 19th century -- however no one would ever pry my laptop outta my cold, dead hands). But dawg-ON-it, I'll be going out to see Star Trek; I'm sure my trekkie daughter will be happy to go along.

Now I can go read the rest of the comments.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a SF fan, but the mother of a SF book reviewer who is not a Star Trek (or Star Drek) fan. Must send him the link.

The gals who've confessed to having had crushes on Kirk (the long ago Kirk, I'm sure) remind me of a twink vs. bear dilemna you might weigh in on, though of course you are much too young to have been a witness:

In the 50's (when I wasn't even a tween) the teen gals seemed divided between those lusting after the lusty Elvis and those who had a yen for Pat Boone. I wonder what the gay boys thought--seems like a twink vs. bear thang, don' it?

I lived in San Francisco in the 80's & 90's when the twinks had those neat little mustaches--were they twinks then?

I ususally try to resist noting the word verification, but for intellectual fantasy fans out there, mine is HIESSE--just omit the I...

obscure

Darkrose said...

My wife and I are both slash writers; her first fandom was Star Trek: The Next Generation. Our first thought upon leaving the theater was, "Yay! We can write Kirk/Spock without having to think about naked!Shatner!"

We did *not* pick up on the twinks vs. bears thing. Now that you mention it, though, I think there's going to have to be some fanfic exploring that.

winged unicorn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
winged unicorn said...

YES!!!!!
i've always visualized spock and kirk in a clinch, with scotty, sulu and uhura forming a sandwich in the next room.

bones, well, bones, is doing himself. duh.

Susie said...

This person, you, Franklin Habit, have, amazingly enough for a knitter, just recently reached my radar and after reading this post and several older ones, I have to say you are really one amazing, clever, and just really neat guy. You've got a new follower. (I still don't want to see Star Trek though.)

yuvee said...

Oh my God, you might have just convinced to succumb to watching Star Trek (never watched Star Wars either).

Mary said...

Very funny and very appropriate. As was the conversation I just had in the kitchen with my husband trying to explain what I was laughing so hard about.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least you're drawing these conclusions as an ass-pirate who is out of the closet. Of course Star Trek is gay as hell. The whole point of the original series was that Kirk was the lone straight man sent by planet earth to explore the high seas and that it incredilously fell to him and his stilted porn-star pick-up lines to fuck the myriad alien females in the great beyond. That said, you are a total fag. That's cool though.

casey said...

Ok, THIS was the giggle I needed this morning. Thank you!

(I heart Star Trek, and the new movie was no exception. Your assessment is dead on. I love it.)

christina said...

Great spot Franklin!!
I'm a sci-fi nut and a sociologist...always looking for the parallels with modern life in the work. You should write a paper and publish it in one of the Soci journals, seriously.

Steph said...

brilliant comparison - I agree wholeheartedly!

K said...

yay!
and as a broad that loves sci-fi, I'll balance the universe for you no problemo.

rethoryke said...

Okay, now everybody look at the picture of Nero, and then down at the picture of Franklin with the "Upstairs/Downstairs" sock...

Anna said...

I saw the movie today with your "review" in mind, and omg, did you notice that Starfleet Academy is in SAN FRANCISCO? That cannot be a coincidence.

lotusice said...

Love love love!! and more love!

Boosted the signal here., and am very glad to have found you!

knitty_kat said...

T/B or in this case C/B!

I am a Trek geek in all it's splendor, but going to a movie alone is not something I enjoy. Now, now I'm going to have to go. I'm sure to enjoy the movie, but I'll have Twinks & Bears tickling my mind.

Anonymous said...

If you haven't its time to read Robert Heinlein's "Stranger In A Strange Land"

Destiknit said...

What an unexpected and great piece! Thank You!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely BRILLIANT!

Shayla Kersten said...

ROTFLMAO! I grew up on Star Trek. Devoured the original Star Wars trilogy. Read tons of scifi and fantasy. So this movie is one I would have seen anyway. But now, your take on it will make my slashy little goggles a necessity.

And I hope you know, your post will feed thousands of Kirk/Spock slashers out there with tons of plot bunnies! *cackle*

Louisev said...

You left out the part where the leather daddy has the captain of the Enterprise strapped to a table leering over him and... have I said too much?

yuweiquan said...

Supporting this interpretation, long-time fans of the show should recognize that with all of the dialogue about "alternate realities" that perhaps in homage to "Mirror, Mirror," this alternate-reality Spock also has a beard.

Lee Wind said...

LOL!

Awesome theory, premise, and proof!

you rock!

Lee

Judy G. said...

Damnit, Franklin, now I'll never be able to watch Star Trek with a straight face again.

Sarah said...

Hah, I'm a little sad I ran into this in the morning and so had no one to show this to and share the chuckles.

I enjoyed the movie a great deal as both a sci-fi geek and a fan of period pieces, but your take on a 'gayer' side to the story will I'm sure make me grin everytime someone brings this movie up.

Ellen said...

I had my suspicions when Kirk and Spock had their little arm slapping, look over the shoulder moments. And what's with the long space trip without any knitting?

NC Knitter said...

This bear thought childhood and adolescence highly over-rated and skipped them both.

Ashley said...

I'm sorry, but I had to laugh at this, because the original ST aired 43 years ago, and for at least the last 42 years the fan community has been overwhelmed with gay fan fiction. It's just really funny to see someone just discovering the gay potential in the show, as if it was a brand new insight!

Philippa said...

Heh [GG]. Very good analogy.

However:-

Straight bear on regular TV = Adam Baldwin [currently in 'Chuck']

timbearcub said...

Oh you have my sympathies - I get into those conversations when I admit I haven't watched Lost/new BSG (loved the old series, can't be bothered with this one)/Firefly/Babylon 5 etc etc.

Don't get me wrong, massive Dr Who fan here...but there is something, err, Borg-like in the gay-SF community which wants to nag you into watching these. Not having a TV saves me most of this...

And yes love the twink vs Borg, sorry Bear. ;-) Although bears are the new clones now...Attack of the Clones! LOL...that was a REALLY shit movie - classic Star Wars is campy silly fun, new Star Wars you were as others said quite right to bother...but I can see why both could be a bit too much.

Surprised about 2001 though...that is basically an art-film in space.

Eileen said...

p.s.

Has anyone copied Scotty's hat yet?
(I just saw the movie.)

Joe said...

OMH...Absolutely Fabulous. I couldn't figure out why my sister was sending me a link to a knitters blog. She owns her own yarn store in Florida. I, on the other hand am gay living in L.A. Though some might consider me a bear, some of my best friends are twinks. I'm also a major sci fi fan.

I never thought our two worlds would meet. Go figure.

Marimba's Notes said...

*snort* That's just...brilliant. I've seen ST twice now and I may have to go see it again just for comparison. *bg*

As for sci-fi, I have the exact opposite problem from you. Women are for some reason banned from enjoying any Science Fiction. Just ask the networks who seem to think it impossible that women can like sci-fi. And I wouldn't dare mention my deep love of all things sci-fi without first gently vetting the person I was talking to for fear of becoming an immediate outcast.

Egy Azziera said...

Bans against gay marriage are non unconstitutional under equal protection. Personally, I don't fight for gay marriage because I'm fighting for our right to love.

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This bear thought childhood and adolescence highly over-rated and skipped them both.

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