Normally I avoid writing about the latest schmuck who’s been throwing shade (SWPAS keeps up on the latest lingo) on our beloved movies but this was such a case of “the irony, it burns” I couldn’t ignore it.
Last Saturday during the faux but lovable holiday May the 4th many celebrities on Twitter issued their own May the 4th greetings. I kept retweeting many of them out of my own amusement. Who knew the likes of Ricky Martin kept up on such things? Some famous faces already did have some connection with the worlds of sf and fantasy, like “Once Upon A Time” star Ginnifer Goodwin or William Shatner. Or PT alum Samuel L. Jackson. Then there was Wil Wheaton, Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: TNG. Wheaton’s post Trek career has consisted in significant part of being a professional geek. I have other reasons why Wheaton gets on my nerves but instead of wishing the cross-town rivals well last Saturday, he tweeted something to the effect of “May the 4th be with you and erase the memories of the prequels from our brains.”
Flashback, 1989. Old school Star Trek fans battled it out against fans of TNG, claiming the new show sucked and that Roddenberry raped their childhoods. Well, not quite that bad, but it was more or less the same sentiment. Fans fought bitterly over Kirk vs. Picard. OS-only fans didn’t want to count the newer program as “real Trek.” I remember at a con in the ‘90s one older Trek guy told a younger fan in a TNG Starfleet uniform he had the wrong uniform on. I’m not sure if he was kidding around or not.
Flashback, 1994. I went with some friends to a Creation con in downtown Washington, D.C.. It was the Imzadi Tour, with Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes headlining. My friends were big TNG fans while I was more of a casual fan who wanted to see some Trek stars in person and hit the dealer’s room for Star Wars goodies. Anyway, during one of the presentations they ran clips of the show and when Wesley turned up in one of the clips, there were many loud boos. Being a casual watcher of TNG, I had no idea people hated the guy. I missed the memo. And I felt kinda bad even though Wesley isn’t a real person and Wheaton wasn’t present. It struck me as a little mean. Later I learned that Wesley Crusher had become a lightning rod for what people found annoying with the show; even fans of the show simply found him and his earnest brainy ways annoying. He didn’t bother me, though I used to wonder if Beverly Crusher was trying to snag Picard so somebody could pay for her son’s college education. As Sheldon Cooper said many years later on an episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” Wesley Crusher was the Jar Jar Binks of Star Trek.
Wheaton’s stupid dig reminds me of the guy who used to be a nerd in high school and got wedgies from the jocks. Then he got a makeover, worked out, got on the track team, became one of the jocks himself, then started picking on other lesser beings. Oh wait, that’s EXACTLY what happened. Wheaton rehabilitated himself by ingratiating himself with professional geek culture where the kind of people who used to hate him, or more precisely his character 20 years ago, now look to him as a Geek Guru. So he has to like what they like and mock what they mock, forgetting what he had to go through and what the show had to go through all of those years ago.
I guess he exempted himself from his own unofficial motto “don’t be a (d-word).” He may be off of Sheldon’s enemies list but he’s earned a spot on mine!