Meanwhile, over at the Department of Random Affairs…
Remember that season 4 West Wing episode where “a celebrated female fighter pilot is about to be dishonorably discharged after having been caught having an affair, and women’s groups (not to mention the women in the White House men’s lives) want the president to do something about it. Leo and Admiral Fitzwallace agree that there’s a double standard in place but they also know that the female pilot’s career is finished.” (From Wiki: West Wing, Arctic Radar).
While the episode sums up some important issues about double-standards for women in military (an article from the Guardian from July 2012 explores the status f women in the IDF) it never ceases to annoy me that the President and Leo seem to get involved because their wife/daughters/female staffers are bugging them… I mean — it indicates that this is not a real problemme, it’s just a nuisance because the women are overreacting. But more on that another time. It is also the episode where Josh slams the phenomenon of Star Trek fans wearing their fan-ness to work. (clip here… still haven’t learned to embed video)
So it made me wonder — did Start Trek ever hit back at the West Wing for this? And in a coffee break I consulted Master Google with the search “star trek the west wing”. And found this little piece of random information (H/T to the International Movie Data Base…a place of wonder:
Seven of Nine shows a display of the various crew members who have died on the trip. There are 10 names, but the last seven are taken from characters on The West Wing: Commander J. Bartlett, Lt. Cdr. L. McGarry, Lt. Cdr. T. Ziegler, Lt. Cdr. Josh Lyman, Lt. S. Seaborne, Ens. Claudia J. Craig, Ens. Charles Young.
WHAT?! That’s just rude!
Turns out that (yes, at this point I spent another 5 minutes digging up facts and 15 writing this blog post, and this will soon be half an hour of my life spent on utter silliness. But when the world is overwhelmingly complex and demanding, being silly is good) the TV-show Star Trek: Voyager in 2000 had a character listing dead crew members and our very own Bartlet, Leo, Toby, Josh, Sam, CJ and Charlie are on the list… the West Wing episode with Josh making fun of Trekkies is only from 2002. So this wasn’t revenge on the part of Star Trek. Although it is kinda amusing to compile a list with fictional characters from another popular show and let them die. At least they made the President a Commander.
I haven’t watched the Star Trek episode in question, but as I recall the show from a fleeting encounter with it while it aired in my teenage years, it did actually involve a lot of walking through hallways in the spaceship lost in the Delta Quadrant (ie a place far far away) and people talking fast about things with very complex and strange names. And a group of “senior officers” being absolutely dedicated to the job, loyal beyond the call of duty to their leader, and as the show progresses acting more and more like a family. Sounds familiar?
I do remember (Youtube search confirms this – as I spent the rest of my break looking for info on that show – proofs below) that the Voyager star ship was captained by a WOMAN. Which was very cool, even if I never understood the techno-babble or the allure of strange looking aliens with bad make-up.
(Photo credit: Paramount)
The fictional White House may have had been led by the greatest President the United States never had, but Voyager was the first Star Trek ship with a female captain. And Kathryn Janeway liked coffee, matched Barlet in determination to Get the Job Done and she was one sassy lady with brains.
(When I returned to this post to embed the video clips, I couldn’t choose which one of the three links above best conveyed the sentiment that Captain Janeway is an interesting role model. So instead I bring you this – a spoof. In the great tradition of taking “This town” from Beauty and the Beast, and using it as a soundtrack to something completely different. Ha!)
I don’t know if she ever flew the star ship, but the above mentioned credentials certainly spell Role Model in our book more than the nameless female pilot in the aforementioned WW episode .
Update (8th of August, 2012)
A friend of the Gates sent me this picture from the Star Trek episode and pointed out that the names are misspelled. Probably to avoid a law-suit. But it makes it even more fun as it becomes an inside joke — and inside jokes are fun.
Photo credit: Paramount Television/ UPN (I guess. According to sources they own Star Trek:Voyager)