A Star Trek for the Obama Generation?

With its JFK, NASA and Neil Armstrong audio clips, this “teaser” for the new Star Trek neatly melds our childhood’s wanna’-be-an-astronaut nostalgia with the latest manifestation of Star Trek Utopianism. A neat trick. Is the “final frontier” reopening? Or is it already too littered with junk, physical, historical and emotional junk? Still: “Spock’s” voice at the end of this trailer brings tears to my eyes, just like Obama’s.

The battle between our basest and better instincts play themselves out against a background of technological opportunity, in the persons of the young Kirk and Spock. Star Trek, in each iteration, has become steadily more humanized. Has technology? So many great American tropes, spoken and unspoken, present themselves  here. Obama himself, steadily plays both sides of the Kirk/Spock divide; the unflappable guy with all the answers who defiantly takes mustard on his Hell Burger. We’re in a hell of a pickle, Mr. Zulu; but our best days are surely still ahead.

The likely phenomenal box office success of this movie may eventually look like a cultural turning point. (“Inflection point,” I suppose, is the current jargon.) Baby boomers mind-melding with Generation Y in a neoliberal paradise powered by clean nuclear windmills made in America.

Well, maybe for two hours this Saturday night.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

(Official White House photo by Pete Souza © Creative Commons, via Flickr White House Channel.)

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