Does Star Trek or Star Wars have the greater influence on popular culture? That question was asked over the weekend at the FanX court (sponsored by a local law office), and our own Ensign Richard Blanck was part of that debate. His report is posted below, edited by yours truly…
Ensign Blanck’s log Star date 73090.7.
While attending this year Salt Lake City FanX (ed. note: Sept 2019), I happened upon usual venues I visited. I visited the Seventh Fleet Borg alcove display, Dr. Trek ( Larry Nemecek) and his booth, food vendors, Kyber Lightsaber shop, and other events and displays going on at Fanx.
Then I came upon Fandom court in the heart of the convention – a court of fandom law where fans of many different types of genres can come and plead their case before a judge and a jury panel of their peers. I usually move on to the next venue or panel, but then I read what the last case of the of the convention would be. Star Trek vs. Star Wars- Which franchise had the greater impact on pop culture.
After I signed up to litigate for team Star Trek, I endeavored to get as many of my fellow Fleet members involved as I could. I immediately went back to our base to see if anyone else way available to litigate with me. Unfortunately for me, all members we away or were going to be engaged in other events at time. I concluded that the only logical thing to do was to take the case on myself and hope my knowledge of Star Trek was sufficient for the case at hand. Then I found out that after litigating a previous case I forfeited my chance to litigate for team Star Trek.
Undeterred by that news, I commenced an intense search for all things Star Trek. I used all the sources I could find to strengthen my case against Star Wars, including gathering information from Dr. Trek. I spent the rest of the time at FanX compiling information. After I returned home I used the rest of the night to put my information into a legal format. I returned the next day to FanX ready to plead my case, though whether I had a chance to litigate was up to the court. I arrived early to the court to see if the team was full and it happen to have one spot left which was award to me.
Our Star Trek team consisted of people very knowledgeable about Star Trek: Mr. Andrew Sigrist, Mr. Justin Hegstrom, Miss. Heather Protzman, and myself. We had 40 minutes to prepare our case as a team. With our combined knowledge on the subject of Star Trek we felt very confident in our ability not only to litigate the case, but win it. On on the Star Wars side of the case we heard a lot of chatter and not a lot of substance in their case planning.
The opposition started first in the case with their open statement that quote “We will show you through popularity, merchandising, monetary gain, and fan base, that Star Wars and not Star Trek has had the greater influence on pop culture.”
We started off in our opening statement to the jury that “We will show through technology, invention, influence on people, change of society norms and many other influences that Star Trek had on not just pop culture, but culture in general. And we will show that Star Trek influenced many of our favorite sci-fi shows, including Star Wars. We will show you by all this that Star Trek and not Star Wars has had the greater influence on pop culture then Star Wars”.
Star Wars started off their argument with the first definition of pop culture you find on google which stated “modern popular culture transmitted via the mass media and aimed particularly at younger people.” they continued their argument by stating statistics, fan base size, merchandising, source material, and overall popularity and monetary base.
Our opening argument completely ignored playing the “who is more popular” game with Star Wars. We stated that pop culture is more then just fan base and how much money a franchise has, but how it has influenced pop culture as a whole. We tried using our vast arsenal influence, tech, and other examples. Unfortunately, this was objected to every time we started down that road and the judge was sustaining every objection Star Wars called out. We closed out our remarks and yielded the floor to Star Wars.
While the opposition continued on their crusade of who is more popular, Justin asked us to find the “real” definition of pop culture. We regrouped for round two and opened our argument with the actual meaning of pop culture from the Cambridge Dictionary which stated that pop culture in “music, tv, cinema, books, etc., that are popular and enjoyed by ordinary people, rather than by experts or very educated people”. (On a side note, half of the opposition team left for other panels at this point, including their two best debaters, not waiting to hear us enter in the new definition of pop culture.)
The court allowed us four examination and cross-examination opportunities. We continued on our warpath to show that Star Trek has had the greater influence and effect on culture, and society in general. We threw everything at them. The first comic convention in May of 1972, first woman in command, first minority in command, women’s rights, first interracial kiss on television, I.D.I.C. (Infinite Diversity In Infinite Combinations), inspiration of people to become what they had thought to be unachievable. People became astronomers, astronauts, scientists, inventors, actors and actresses, engineers, and more. The technological achievements and inventions that came from Star Trek are now used in every day life: cell phones, smart phones, iPads, the ion drive, tricorders, tractor beams, diagnostics beds, replicators (a.k.a. 3D printing), the hypo-spray, cloaking devices, voice interface computers, transparent aluminum, bluetooth headsets, google glass, portable memory, focused ultrasound technology, biometric data tracking, GPS, automatic doors, big screen displays, real time universal translators, teleconferencing, and the v.i.s.o.r. (a.k.a. bionic eyes).
After many back and forth examinations and rebuttals on both sides the judge called for closing statements from both sides. Star Wars was first and tried to close with the popularity and monetary/fan base angle. We gave our closing statement on the basis of change, invention, inspiration, technological creation and advancement, changes in society, influence it had on people, and that the inspiration of many sci-fi shows and movies came from the genius of Star Trek – including Star Wars. We closed our statement with a quote: “Star Trek softened up the entertainment arena so that Star Wars could come along and stand on Star Treks shoulders”.
The jury deliberated for 15 minutes and found that Star Trek has had, and continues to have, a greater influence on pop culture than Star Wars. Therefore Star Trek has the greater impact and influence on pop culture and society in general. And with that I close this log entry.