So, I wrote this article for TrekMovie…
It’s been a very interesting couple of weeks.
When I wrote the editorial “Star Trek is Broken” for TrekMovie, I was expressing the opinion that many fans I knew had expressed to me – that Star Trek Into Darkness may have been a good action movie, but it wasn’t Star Trek. It didn’t reflect the core principles that defined the series for almost 50 years – the hopeful premise that the future was going to be one of discovery and promise, where man would explore and evolve.
So I wrote my piece, sent it to the editor I’ve worked with there, and she published it while I was at DragonCon with my family. A couple of days pass, and I check the article out and see that several hundred comments were expressed… not bad. It definitely got the conversation going.
Then Bob Orci, writer of Star Trek Into Darkness, added his comments. They were… well, let’s just say they were very… emotional.
He (apparently) took the criticism personally – VERY personally – and suddenly the comments evolved into a “Orci is a jerk/Orci is right” debate. And then more websites started paying attention and covering the story. And many more people started commenting on these (increasing) number of sites. Oh, and did I mention this all happened just before the release of Star Trek Into Darkness on bluray? Bad timing…
Orci then posted a couple of more comments and apologized… in a way. It was more of a “sorry I lost my cool” apology than anything else, but it seemed sincere. But it was too late, and most people didn’t notice.
While the majority of the coverage was critical and did not cast Orci in a positive light, some people wrote articles defending his response:
The story started to fade away, and then… on 9/11, Orci quit Twitter. And the story came roaring back.
So, what did I make of all this? Three points:
First: Think before you post, kids. What you put on-line can and will stick around, and may hurt your reputation in ways you can never imagine. Just ask Bob Orci.
Second: If someone posts something derogatory or insulting towards you or your opinion, do what I did: Turn the other cheek. If Orci had responded to my points logically, one by one, instead of saying “there’s a reason I write million dollar movies and you don’t,” we could have had a conversation. Instead, his reaction was insulting and filled with condescension and bluster. How do you react to something like that? You don’t. You walk away, shaking your head. Arguing on the Internet is not a very productive use of anyone’s time.
Third (and this is the ironic part): Because of Orci’s reaction many many more people read my article than would have ever read it otherwise. So for that (indirect) exposure… Thanks, Bob!
Finally, I want to quote my own comment, written to Bob after he apologized (and then said he was done commenting on TrekMovie forever):
To Bob Orci:
Totally appreciate your last couple of comments. We have all had moments we regret later and I have never had any personal issue with you at all even after you made those initial (unfortunate) comments in response to my article.
I had NO idea my article would provoke such a strong reaction from both “sides.” I had an opinion, I wrote it up, and TrekMovie posted it. I’m glad I did it, though, because I think it started a conversation worth having. I never meant to upset anyone and I tried extra hard to be kind in how I framed my thoughts.
Bob, I’m a fan of a lot of your work and I regret that this is how we got to “engage” each other. I would much rather have had a friendly debate over a couple of beers.
Finally, a message to all the commentators: whether you agree with me or not, I think many of you took things WAY too personally – and some of the comments towards Bob or me were over the top and Not Cool. Be kind, please. I like a lot of things you don’t, and you like a lot of things I don’t. Everyone is different. That’s cool.
Will my editorial make a difference, and will the filmmakers think a little more about putting optimism and exploration back into big-screen Trek? Probably not. But it’s clear that there’s a lot of fans who aren’t happy with the direction Trek is heading towards… and I think my article (and the ensuing comments and coverage) shined a very bright spotlight on that.