This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, December 30, 1992

December 39, 1992 - Star Trek

I know by now the suspense is almost too much for everybody. So I'll just go ahead and tell you.

Question: What did I get for Christmas?

Answer: a lot of Star Trek (The Next Generation) stuff.

I got an official Star Fleet insignia communicator badge. I got several reams of Star Trek sticky pads and notepaper.

I got an official "Picard/Riker '92: Leadership for the Next Generation" bumper sticker, which I imagine isn't worth as much as it was before the presidential election, but still makes a heck of a good point.

I got a Star Trek coffee mug, which features Captain Picard standing on a teleportation pad. When you put a hot drink in the mug, Picard disappears. When the temperature of the mug drops again, he comes back.

I got a #very# official looking pass allowing me access to the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Finally, I got a music cassette called "Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back." "Ol Yellow Eyes" is the android Data (Brent Spiner) crooning such classic numbers as "Embraceable You," "It's A Sin (To Tell a Lie), "Carolina in the Morning," "Zing Went the Strings of My Heart," and many others.

You may have gathered at about this point that I am something of a Star Trek fan. And why not? Few offerings of our popular culture give me so much cause for optimism.

"Star Trek: the Next Generation" is TV's second Star Trek, and to my taste, a better one. While I got a big kick out of the prime time science fiction of the first series, Captain Kirk was a little too cavalier, too trigger happy.

But Captain Picard -- older, wiser -- is one of my management models. He assembles the best people he can find, he solicits their advice, and deliberately, with a strong sense of purpose and principle, he makes bold decisions.

There are a lot of other hopeful things about Star Trek. In the future the show portrays, mankind is no longer at war with itself. Hunger has been abolished. There have been staggering advances in technology -- very smart computers, instantaneous transportation, the controlled regeneration of human tissue, even the harnessed energy of matter and anti-matter.

But all this technology doesn't overwhelm human life. It supplements and enhances it, much as library technology hasn't done away with books, just made it easier to find them.

People, not machines, are in charge of the U.S.S. Enterprise. And a basic premise of the show is that virtually all intelligence -- natural or artificial, terrestial or alien -- has innate dignity. And often, these intelligences find common cause: "to explore strange new worlds and civilizations."

There is something appropriate both to the Christmas and the New Year holidays in the continuing popularity of this series. Star Trek bespeaks the persistent belief that the future is promising, is good, that the human race will find answers to the questions that now seem so daunting, that we have a place in this universe.

So when it comes to the challenges facing the Douglas Public Library District in 1993 and beyond, I say, "Beam me up."

I've got all my stuff for the trip. Let's go exploring!

No comments:

Post a Comment