Friday, April 11, 2014
Because I Can't Not Talk About The Mulgrew/Principle Debacle
Earlier this week a friend of mine sent me an article from Jezebel about Kate Mulgrew narrating a documentary about geocentrism. I'm sure you've seen it. And all the flak that came after that. A couple of hours later it came out that she was duped into lending her voice to the film and that the whole thing was shady all over (just in case the fact that it's about geocentrism didn't already tip you off to its shadyness) and that they also took footage of Lawrence Krauss and several other scientists without their permission.
In those intervening hours, though, I went through some various stages of dealing with Kate's involvement in this mess. I wondered whether she'd been somehow tricked. Or, if she just hadn't read the whole script. Was she purely a hired gun and really busy with Orange and just didn't bother finding out more about the project? Then came the more awkward question--does Captain Janeway think everything revolves around the earth? Surely not. But I considered the possibility as I made lunch and I wondered why I (and the rest of the internet) was so consumed by this idea. A person's personal beliefs (no matter how refuted they are by science) aren't anyone else's business but their own--unless they're harmful to other people. Is that it? Is it bothersome because Kate Mulgrew got wrapped up in a film that propagates anti-science and specifically anti-space-science? Is that what's really at the heart of everyone's (mine-included) sudden alarm over this? The space thing? The Star Trek/space connection? Is it because it felt like a sudden and unexpected betrayal?
Janeway was a huge deal. The first female to head-up a Star Trek series. It was a big step in a bold direction. Janeway was a strong, brave, commanding captain. And, she was a scientist. She was a role model for tons of young women, including me. Even if you weren't a Star Trek geek and didn't see every single episode, if you were a girl in the mid-late 90's you benefited by Janeway's presence. Just like you benefited from Buffy's presence. And Xena's presence. These women were public badasses. Public. And because of that, we still feel like they belong to us. They helped shape our world views and our ideas about ourselves.
They said, "You can kick ass."
They said, "You can kick ass and still wear a pink t-shirt and nail polish."
They said, "You can kick ass, wear a pink t-shirt, and go into science or whatever the hell field you want because you are awesome and chicks can do every single thing that dudes can do."
It turns out that Kate Mulgrew is fully cognizant about which thing revolves around which. All is right with the universe. But, for a couple of hours while I made and ate a sandwich and watched a Dodgers ballgame, I thought a lot about why I give so many fucks about whether or not she was. Turns out, it's because she was part of a bigger picture, part of what made me who I am. The actress isn't the character. I'm as aware of that as anyone can be. But, you don't want to be reminded of the fact that Santa is just your really exhausted cookie-drunk mom with a dollhouse part stuck to her thigh.
Anyway, I guess my point is, never meet your heroes. Or watch the documentaries they lend their voice to.
A Year Ago: Nth Degree or My Super Powers