4.09.2013

And So It Begins...


New movie poster
The release of Star Trek Into Darkness (the highly anticipated sequel to the 2009 blockbuster Star Trek for the uninitiated) is still nearly two months away, and--surprise, surprise--the Uhura hatred has already begun reignited ramped up. 

Again.

Apparently, some folks are upset that she's on the new movie poster (read some of the cringe-worthy comments on Trekmovie here). Go figure.  One of the major stars of the film is prominently displayed on a poster that advertises said film and people are freaking out about it.  Or more specifically, some people are feeling some kind of way because Uhura is on the poster and McCoy isn't.  Seems there's this impression out there that J.J. Abrams has some kind of diabolical plan to "replace" Bones with Uhura in the Kirk/Spock/McCoy triumvirate for some strange reason.  *blink*  Yeah...I don't get that one either.

Now don't get me wrong.  I love Bones as much as the next Trekkie, but really?  Why are the two characters being pitted against each other?  Why does one have to be "better" or more important than the other?  Would Uhura be more acceptable if she was slated as the "fourth wheel" and not the love of Spock's life?  (I think we all know the answer to that last one.)  McCoy is a staple in the Trek 'verse and specifically within the Kirk and Spock dynamic, so it's quite a safe bet that Uhura won't be replacing anyone.  Nor would I want her too.  I want her to be her own character with her own arc and her own dynamic within the circle of major Enterprise crew members--not get McCoy's sloppy seconds.
I think that some people are forgetting that not only is Zoe Saldana the only female/POC lead in the movie, but as of right now, she has mad name recognition.  J.J. didn't get this far in his long, successful career by being stupid. He's doing what he thinks will get butts in the seats, period.  And I'm sure there are a lot more people who like Uhura (and her relationship with Spock) than who don't. 

As excited as I was when I saw the reboot movie four years ago, I remember being just as disheartened at how Uhura was (and still is) treated by the fandom.  It's ugly, both racist and sexist, and it's been absolutely unrelenting.  Even by some people who supposedly love the character. 

Uhura's mere existence seems to drive a subset of Trek fans into depths of irrationality that I still can't fathom. Her fairly prominent role in the first movie (and now what looks to be an expanded role in the sequel), along with her fully realized, requited romantic relationship with the iconic Spock has left a whole horde of people very, very unhappy.  She's been white-washed and downgraded in fanfiction, made into a manhandling brute for daring to comfort her man on a turbolift  after his mother was killed or simply dismissed as a love interest and therefore, deemed unimportant. 

Then there's the concern trolling.  Uhura is so awesome, that by putting her in a romantic relationship, her character was lessened somehow.  She deserved so much better than that.  The sixties iteration of the character was so much better than Nu!Uhura because she never had and didn't need a love interest (nor a first name, apparently).  Gene Roddenberry had such a wonderful, idealistic view of the future where race (and gender) doesn't matter, wouldn't it be feasible that Uhura could have a white parent or grandparent?  What's the big deal if a fanfiction author changes her genetic makeup?  Why does it matter?  Sadly, these were real questions.  By real people.

I'm sure that any fan of Star Trek 2009 remembers this period of rampant racefail.  Never mind Uhura's prodigious linguistic skills, or her high IQ, or her all around BAMF-ness.  Because everyone knows there's no way that she can be all those things, be black and be so utterly fabulous that a hard-to-please, scary-smart Vulcan like Spock no less would fall head-over-heels in love with her.  Nope.  Perish the thought.

*sigh*

Although it's completely nonsensical, the same qualities that would be lauded by the fandom if it was any other white character, are suddenly ignored, downplayed or--incredibly--made into negatives when applied to Uhura.  Like I said...completely nonsensical. 

The only thing that makes me feel even slightly better about any of this is that scriptwriters Kurtzman and Orci consistently push back against the sexism and racism rampant in the fandom over Uhura and the Spock/Uhura relationship.  Orci's responses can frequently be seen in the comments section on Trekmovie.com countering people's ridiculous statements about the character.  Along with J.J., neither Kurtzman or Orci seems sorry about the direction they took with any of the characters, but specifically about Uhura and her relationship with Spock.  And I say, good on them.  It's about time someone in Hollywood grew a spine and straight up told the whining minority in the fandom to get over it already.

But I digress.

Now there also seems to be an issue with Uhura appearing on the front cover of Empire magazine's three-page cover spread for their May issue (read some more equally cringe-worthy comments on TrekMovie here).  Apparently, McCoy should have replaced her on there too.  Seems to me that some people won't truly be satisfied until Uhura goes back to being just a "space operator" á la Star Trek:  The Original Series

*shrugs*

I'm just sayin'...


Highly recommended reading: 

*Cross-posted on The Blasian Narrative.

22 comments:

  1. This is me exhibiting no surprise.

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  2. Fully expected it. I'd have been shocked if you said the trolling was few and far between compared to 2009/2010. That would mean that people learned and matured since then.

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  3. Yep! I expected it. Neanderthals still exist in 2013.

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  4. The movie will be a mega-hit regardless, and them same hatin' ass hoes will be the ones watching it dozens of times. JJ Abrams doesn't give the slightest tenth of a solid shit. So them bitches can eat Uhura's ass and stay pissed.

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    1. Girl, them fools make my head hurt with their bullshit...

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  5. And she's baaaaaaaack!!!

    I tell you...nobody does like it Cinnamon.

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  6. GODSUND in case it says anonymous
    I'm a POC and as I agree with a lot of the points you've made in this post I still feel the love interest between Spock and Uhura was unnecessary. I also felt blowing up Vulcan was pointless. I get the fact that this is a new incarnation of the franchise, but I felt they could've produced a successful movie and expanded Uhura character without the typical Hollywood love arc (especially in a continuum that never had it or need it). The franchise survived this long and has managed to grow without they corny love interest among crew-mates. With that said, I've been over it and accept it as the JJ Abram's version of Star Trek complete with like 5 Vulcans, 2 of which are Spock.

    On another note, I do find in a bit odd that in last few years it seems most of the major opportunities offered to POC in Hollywood have been to play opposite non-POC (especially for the females), unless written by a POC. Of course inter-racial relationships real and exist but Hollywood seems to have a unnatural ratio of such relationship represented in film, not to mention a lopsided representation of such relationships. I do understand people have been conditioned react a certain way when they hear something that doesn't sound PC, but if I sounded crazy just do the math. Check out your favorite show and movies feat POC and see how many hook up with POC even if there is one near. Even Django was initially going to be a slave revenge flick and Reginald H and Jamie got Quentin to develop the character as a family man.

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    1. I also felt blowing up Vulcan was pointless.

      Seriously. What purpose can this possibly serve?

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    2. I'm a POC and as I agree with a lot of the points you've made in this post I still feel the love interest between Spock and Uhura was unnecessary.

      Understandable. Personally, I like love arcs (although, admittedly, I would've hated it if it had been Kirk). And given that Uhura got absolutely no personal life in the original series at all, I'm glad that her character got expanded in all the various ways that it did. And I get what Kurtzman and Orci were trying to do. According to them, one of the reasons that they put S/U in that relationship and blew up Vulcan because they wanted to make this version of Trek their own. *shrugs* As a writer myself, I can dig that.

      It doesn't bother me if someone thinks that the relationship was unnecessary. It does bother me however, when someone comes up with reasons for not liking the relationship (or more specifically, not liking Uhura with Spock) that are racist and sexist. And then of course, try to act like they're not being a racist and sexist and then get "surprised" when people call them out on it.

      As for BW/WM pairing in Hollywood right now, we've talked about it here quite frequently. For the time being at least, it's par for the course.

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    3. I agree with the pointlessness of the destruction of Vulcan and, to a degree, the pointlessness of the love story arc between S/U. For the record I loved the movie outside of those two issues, saw it in the theater 3x and own a copy.

      As a writer I too understand how writers want to put their own stamp on a property. My problem is the same one I have with some comic writers that take over a title and in attempt to make it their own they shock-kill a beloved character(s) or destroy a planet that's a staple in that comic universe. If the love story arc was absolutely necessary I would've had Uhura hook up with Sulu. They could've met in MA training in Star Fleet (run with it from there); that would kill three birds with one stone: 1)Expand on Uhura 2)Expand on Sulu 3)Give Uhura plenty of opportunities to beam down and kick ass. As a writer their were millions directions they could've went with this. IMJUSTSAYIN.

      I'm not buying into the idea that anytime someone has an opinion on how POC are portrayed in Hollyweird they're racist. If they say something racist like, "How they gonna pair (such & such) Black Queen with that Rat Pink Devil." That's Racist, but observing and commenting on a Hollyweird trend isn't. My issue isn't with the BW/WM (even though it's seen the most) or BM/WW pairing (lets face it most Movies, Commercials, TV shows are paired WM/EveryWoman), it's about the almost non existent BM/BW roles in HW.
      A few years back while Reginald Hudlin was writing, the Black Panther Comic Book, he had Storm and Black Panther dating and eventually getting married. They knew each other from Africa, both live in NY, both were immigrants and minorities on major super hero teams, seems fathomable, right? Nope. People were complaining on message boards left and right, "This is bullshit" "It's force". For some still unclear reason this year they separate and within the same issue she's messing with Wolverine. I haven't heard any complaints.

      Again IMJUSTSAYIN

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    4. I'm not buying into the idea that anytime someone has an opinion on how POC are portrayed in Hollyweird they're racist.

      I never said that. My issue is with people who use BS excuses that are as transparent as glass to try to cover up their -isms, whatever they may be.

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    5. @Cinnamon, my apologies, I misunderstood you.

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  7. For those of us who are veterans of the S/U wars...is this ish triggering from PTSD with y'all?

    My blood pressure spiked when I read some of those old posts of mine.

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    1. The hair on my forearms rose. PTSD for real.

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    2. @Ankh

      Especially those quizzes. *shudders* That was all kinds of ugly.

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    3. I refuse to go back and read the responses.

      The S/U War I was bad enough.

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    4. Girl, ain't you still got scars from S/UWI? Why court more trouble?

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    5. @Ankh

      Are you going to do something similar this time around? The howl from the fandom may very well be even louder this time. Especially if they keep them together. Some people were already dancing in joy because they swear Uhura is going to break up with Spock and get with Scotty based on the seconds-long shot of him hugging her to his side as she's cringing in what looks like fear. *side-eye* Yeah...I know.

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    6. And oh yeah... Let's see if the Carol Marcus character gets this same kind of "the relationship was pointless/not needed", "she was just a love interest and served no purpose", or "she forced herself on him" if she does get romantically involved with Kirk. Because I'm sure people will be chomping at the bit to make those comments. Yeah...

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