Copyeditors and Vulcans

The young man and I have been watching Star Trek Voyager. Because the rock I grew up under seemed to have shaded my adulthood as well, this is the first time I have seen it. If you haven’t seen it, you should. I assure you that watching a show with spaceships will not decrease either your IQ or your chances to get laid, nor will it make you a social leper. The show will warm the cockles of your feminist* heart, it is funny, spaceships blow up, and the characters are great. One of my favorite characters (and they’re pretty much all my favorites) is Tuvok, the Vulcan.

Vulcans are a “humanoid species,” with superior abilities and a tendency toward violence. However, over thousands of years, through training in meditation and self control, they have learned to suppress their emotions. They attempt to be guided solely by reason and logic.

Vulcans are not unlike copyeditors. The copyeditor might not repress her emotions when venting to friends about her work, or anywhere else in her personal life, but when writing author queries, she relies on facts and logic. All emotions are strictly prohibited, although she may need to meditate to keep her glacial cool. I’ve started to hear the Vulcan voice when I edit.

“Author, your use of the word ‘unique’ is highly illogical.”

“This sentence operates outside Chicago Manual of Style Protocols.”

“Author, I find your application of commas somewhat excessive.”

What gets you through your day?

*Don’t think you’re a feminist? Take this test: Do you believe you should be paid less for doing the same work as a man? Yes? Congratulations, you’re a feminist! [Test created by my young man and frequently administered to female business students.]


12 responses to “Copyeditors and Vulcans

  1. I used to watch Star Trek when I was younger but it was the Captain that drew me in. Even on our little black and white television I detected the rosiness in his cheeks.

    My emotional cup runneth over. No matter how hard I try, I am unable to repress my feelings. Anything short of a muzzle just won’t do.

  2. Fantastic! The world needs more Vulcans. Also, try Star Trek Enterprise. We loved that series.

    Off to read your archives now….

  3. Oh, how I loved Next Generation. I didn’t start watching it until post-college. I’d get home from bartending and fiending sobriety for my boyfriend’s benefit, I’d stay up and watch that to avoid going to bed. That was the gateway drug to the full-on geekdom of present-day Doctor Who.
    At least something came out of that relationship.
    (Watch NG next. It’s possibly better than Voyager, although the female captain gives Voyager the edge.)

  4. For the record, Voyager is, and always has been, my favorite. The only station I could get back in those dark times was the WB, and this series trades slick make-up and set design for better writing and more imaginative scifi.

    Don’t get me wrong — I love TNG. And Picard is played by Patrick Stewart, who is a better actor than frickin’ everybody. Kate Mulgrew is Katherine Janeway is Katherine Hepburn — she’s not a great actor but she’s a frakking great captain. She’s a hero on the verge of becoming a god — she is deeply connected to the moral system the series constructs, and oh her anger is terrible to behold. TNG is always about Picard being humbled; Janeway is a sort-of Emma Peale polymath who adapts faster than a Borg, who bends fast and breaks legs. And if she can’t get it done, she’s trained her people well enough and placed enough trust in them that she ends up looking like she planned the whole thing.

    What makes Star Trek so much better than anything (else?) George Lucas has produced since Empire is the attention to relationships. It’s a workplace narrative, a space-bourne Just Shoot Me. But the narratives in Voyager are often about women dealing with themselves (Lt. Torres knows she’s a bitch) and each other. Dudes are an important part of the narrative — but those dudes are mostly not white, and the story can do without them if it has to. Though Tuvok takes a lot of beatings, the non-white actors don’t die (Heroes), and interracial couples are normalized, not presented as “exotic” exceptions (The Doctor knows a lot about the physiology of human-kilgon children).

    Where else do you see that on TV? Yes, they made poor 7 of 9 pass out because her uniform was too tight — it’s still TV — but the story of the future this show tells is NOT the one that we expect. They even included an STD allegory early in the days of Clinton-era AIDS control education.

    And it was the only TV station you could get via broadcast in my little underprivileged urban neighborhood, which means the audience it reached was racially mixed and too poor to get cable.

    We’re going to do TNG next for the mythology, see how Fangs likes it, and then DS9, which is the most underrated show of all. Lots of people don’t like the woman captain or the black captain. News flash.

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