16th Jan2010

Hey Star Trek! dijoo getcher NAME CHANGED!?

by jerad.formby

Us Star Trek fans are a fickle bunch. Each of us grabs little corners in the mythology and treat the corners as sacred –even if a fan down the hallway disagrees with just how sacred that corner is. We gravitate toward favorite characters and will argue for them against outrageous opposition from dissimilar minded fans.

Such arguments might contribute to why we love Star Trek so much.

Battlestar Galactica fans have it that way too, Farscape fans, Firefly fans, Babylon 5 fans, etc etc. There is one argument that is so very unique to us that none of them get to have…

We get to argue about what we’re called.

As much as I love the new Star Trek movie that J.J. Abrams made. As critical as I was about some minor aspects of the characters. As thankful as I was for a great movie with my favorite people all over again, the special features got on my nerves.

There’s this wistful, happy J.J. Abrams discussing the Star Trek phenomenon. He admits that his interest in Star Trek didn’t really mount until he took on this project. He remembers using the word “Trekkie” to describe Star Trek fans.

And he recalls with a fondness that Roberto Orci corrected him. Orci told J.J. Abrams that the true term is “Trekker.”

Shudder.

It’s not that we at the Hey Star Trek! offices hate the term “Trekker.” It’s more like the word sounds to us a lot like a lone baby who cries in an abandoned car or like John Travolta’s nefarious laughter in Battlefield Earth or like someone using a comb on a sidewalk.

We equate it simply to things no human being should have to hear. Ever.

The term Trekkie was coined by Gene Roddenberry on the convention circuit back in the 1970s. The term was embraced by the fans and that word was embraced far and wide by folks who only had a passing interest in Star Trek. You know, people like J.J. Abrams.

The word even got into Webster’s dictionary and, if we’re not mistaken, the only word coined for a specific group of fanatics that was spread far and wide.

Then, in the eighties, we believe on or around the Next Generation’s final acceptance, this new word “Trekker” was formed. The need for the new word came about because there were fans who only liked The Next Generation and didn’t want to be associated with the older fans who had the somehow awful label of “Trekkies.”

Then, as time went on, everyone accepted Star Trek, in all of its incarnations, in more intense and affectionate ways. It didn’t matter if you preferred the Next Generation or the Original stuff, Star Trek was just generally embraced by all of its fans.

This left us with the unnecessary extra word: “Trekker.”

We’ve read various definitions for the word “Trekker” now, but it seems the thrust of the intention behind the word now is to divide Star Trek fans. A “Trekkie” believes Star Trek is real (????). A “Trekker” knows it’s just a show. A “Trekkie” wears his uniform “all the time.” A “Trekker” would only wear a costume to a convention. A “Trekkie” collects Star Trek stuff. A “Trekker” only reads the books.

Not a single one of those definitions holds up. Some of them seem mean. And there is a gut-wrenching snobbish tone that comes from the word “Trekker.”

Do you see why there’s so many holes punched into the office walls at Hey Star Trek!?

If you’re a Hey Star Trekkie, then you know we’ve never used the word “Trekker” and have always used “Trekkie” to describe fans of Roddenberry’s phenomenon.

There is a reason for this. Because it’s the first, true word to describe us and the second word was coined to distance Next Gen fans from Star Trek fans. As what we all love got older, we were somehow saddled with a second term which held its origins in dividing us.

There is nothing more Un-Star-Trek than that sort of division so why do so many of us choose to hold onto it?

Perhaps some just don’t like the “ie” sound? Really? Is it just phonetics?

Is it because Tasha Yar made that movie?

Whatever the reasons for hating the term “Trekkie” we invite each of you to reverse your thinking and embrace the original word. The classic term got it done just fine and it was born in a time of unity.

It’s just a better word.

If you’re slow to accept this argument, let us put it to you another way. In the dictionary, Trekkie is used to describe a “fan of Star Trek.” The term “Trekker” is “one who treks.” This means roughly, someone who voyages or someone who goes somewhere.

Where are you going???

It’s time this silly word that has no actual, discernable meaning or need just get transported into the blackness of deep space. Let’s get this fandom re-organized so on the DVD for the next Star Trek movie, J.J. Abrams can grin fondly about the time he corrected Orci.

The term is “Trekkie.”

And in case, gentle reader, you think Hey Star Trek!’s picking a fight for no good reason, keep in mind that we didn’t start it. Roberto Orci did.

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  • smxp

    someone on twitter got a little upset at being called a trekkie. To them, a trekkie was a trekker hopelessly without social skills. I didn’t agree, Trekkie is just fine and some of us actually have social skills. However, why do we have to differentiate between the two terms at all?

  • Dale Hoppert

    TOS, TAS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT and now JJT… It’s all Trek and I’m all Trekkie.

  • Rob Ross

    Let’s make up a new one – Trekist?

  • April Hebert

    You have an office???

    I have never referred to myself as either of those terms. Others, however, have either called me a Trekkie or a nerd. Or a loser. Their opinion of me is none of my business.

  • Rob Ross

    April, that’s simply the best way I’ve ever seen anyone put it and frame it as it should be framed. Bravo.

  • MJL

    I have two definitions of Trekkie and Trekker, one I read many years ago on an Internet Star Trek news group and one I made up myself. The first one:

    A Trekker will discuss at length the feasibility and physics of faster than light travel.

    A Trekkie has built a fully functional warp engine in his basement and is waiting on the discovery of dilithium.

    Second definition:

    The only difference between a Trekker and a Trekkie is that a Trekker thinks there is a difference between the two words.

    YMMV, I always use the term Trekkie myself.

  • JaneSays

    I remember the first time I heard ‘Trekker’, I was at Dragon*Con many years ago. Someone pointed me out as a one because I was simply wearing a Star Trek t-shirt and not a costume like my cohorts. All I could think was what the flip is a Trekker?

    Eventually that person had pity on me and explained the ‘difference’ to me. My sarcastic response was “OH! Trekkers pretend like they have a life and social skills. Trekkies don’t care if people know they’re nerds that live in their parents basement!” … yeah needless to say the fellow was a bit annoyed.

    I’m a Trekkie, really I don’t care what people call themselves. I only get annoyed when people try to act like one label is somehow better than another.

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