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In 1967, science fiction editor Arthur W. Saha applied the term "trekkies" when he saw a few fans of the first season of Star Trek wearing pointy ears at the 25th World Science Fiction Convention, on the day Gene Roddenberry showed a print of "Amok Time" to the convention. Saha used the term in an interview with Pete Hamill that Hamill was conducting for TV Guide concerning the phenomenon of science fiction.
The Trekkie phenomenon did not catch on with general public consciousness until years after the show was cancelled in 1969. The show began syndication in reruns during the early 1970s and the first fan convention devoted to Star Trek opened in 1972 in New York.
Trekkie vs. Trekker
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Some Star Trek enthusiasts prefer the term "Trekkie", while some others self-identify as "Trekker". Self-identification as a "Trekkie" became even less popular after a famous national television parody in 1986 (see In Popular Culture below); several self-described "Trekkers" were quoted as saying they "had a life" (contrasting themselves from "Trekkies").
In the 1991 TV show Star Trek: 25th Anniversary Special, Leonard Nimoy attempted to settle the issue by stating that the term 'Trekker' is the correct one.
The issue is also shown in the film Trekkies 2, in which a Star Trek fan recounts a supposed incident during a Star Trek convention where Gene Roddenberry used the term "trekkies" to describe fans of the show, only to be corrected by a fan that stood up and yelled "Trekkers!" Gene Roddenberry allegedly responded with "No, it's 'Trekkies.' I should know — I invented the thing." Roddenberry has also allegedly used the term "Trekker" in interviews and personal appearances, arguably proving that he did in actual fact not consider either term to be the correct one. Generally, fans of film and television franchises make up their own nicknames, as with the "Browncoats" who are fans of the Firefly television series.
Star Trek fans who believe Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the best series of the franchise adopted the title of Niner following the episode "Take Me Out to the Holosuite", in which Captain Benjamin Sisko formed a baseball team "The Niners".
There are many Star Trek fan clubs, among the largest currently being STARFLEET International and the International Federation of Trekkers. Some Trekkies regularly attend Star Trek conventions (called "cons").
There is a persistent stereotype that amongst Trekkies there are many speakers of the constructed Klingon language. The reality is less clear-cut, as some of its most fluent speakers are more language aficionados than people obsessed with Star Trek. Most Trekkies have no more than a basic vocabulary of Klingon, perhaps consisting of a few common words heard innumerable times over the series, while not having much knowledge of Klingon's syntax or precise phonetics.
Another fan activity is filking, that is playing or writing music about Star Trek.
Trekkie in the news
During the 1996 Whitewater controversy, a bookbindery employee named Barbara Adams served as an alternate juror. During the trial Adams wore a Star Trek: The Next Generation-style Starfleet Command division uniform, including a commbadge, a phaser, and a tricorder.
Adams was dismissed from the trial for conducting a sidewalk interview with the television program American Journal. The major news media[who?] reported (wrongfully) that she was dropped for wearing her Star Trek uniform to the trial.Adams noted she was dropped because she talked to a reporter of America Journal about her Trek uniform and not anything about the trial. Although nothing was deemed as a trial enclosure violation, the rule was clearly stated: no juror was to communicate with the press in any manner.
Adams stated the judge at the trial was supportive of her. She said she believed in the principles expressed in Star Trek and found it an alternative to "mindless television" because it promotes tolerance, peace, and faith in mankind.
She subsequently appeared in the documentaries Trekkies and Trekkies 2.
In popular culture
In 1986 William Shatner performed in a famous sketch on Saturday Night Live. He played himself at a Star Trek convention at which he told the Trekkies to "get a life". "For crying out loud," Shatner elaborated, "it was just a TV show!" At one point, he asked Jon Lovitz' Trekker character, whom he assumed to be almost 30 years old, if he had ever kissed a girl, at which the character sadly hung his head.
Trekkies have been parodied in several films, notably Galaxy Quest, a science fiction comedy very obviously modeled on the Star Trek franchise. The main character Jason Nesmith, representing William Shatner, repeats Shatner's 1986 statement when an avid fan asks him about the operation of the fictional vessel.
One episode of Futurama called "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" was dedicated to parodying Trekkies. It included a history whereby Star Trek's fandom had grown into a religion. Eventually the Church of Star Trek had grown so strong that it needed to be abolished from the Galaxy and the words "Star Trek" were even outlawed.
The 1999 film Free Enterprise chronicled the lives of two men who grew up worshipping Star Trek and emulating Captain Kirk. Most of the movie centers on William Shatner, playing a parody of himself, and how the characters wrestle with their relationships to Star Trek.
The Broadway musical Avenue Q partially parodies Trekkies through the inclusion of a character named Trekkie Monster. This character is not a Trekkie, however, and is addicted to internet pornography.
Notable individual trekkies/trekkers/Trek fans
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- King Abdullah II of Jordan is a Star Trek fan, and appeared in an episode of Star Trek Voyager.
- Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones in Doctor Who) watched Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and at least once attended a convention.
- Jason Alexander (George Costanza on Seinfeld) is a 'Trekkie'. He is knowledgeable about The Original Series and played the part of Kurros in the Voyager episode "Think Tank". Also, the actor appeared in the Brad Paisley 2007 music video "On-Line" with William Shatner where he is seen in Vulcan Ears wearing a "Beam Me Up" T-shirt.
- Isaac Asimov, a close personal friend of Gene Roddenberry. He attended the first public screening of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and attended numerous conventions during the 1970s.
- Bill Bailey, comedian, named his child after the Deep Space Nine character Dax. "I may just have given him too much baggage," Bailey has joked. "I'll tell him he’s named after the German stock exchange."
- John Barrowman, Torchwood and Doctor Who star is a fan of Deep Space Nine.
- Tom Bergeron, host of Hollywood Squares and America's Funniest Home Videos, guest starred on Enterprise.
- Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin brand. He named the first spacecraft of his Virgin Galactic venture VSS Enterprise.
- Daniel Craig, actor, the sixth actor to play James Bond. Stated in a 2007 interview that he would like to appear in Star Trek.
- Jim Davidson actor/comedian
- Rosario Dawson actress, claimed that Star Trek is "one of [her] favorite things in the world."
- Mick Fleetwood, member of rock group Fleetwood Mac, made a cameo appearance in the Next Generation episode "Manhunt"
- Megan Fox, actress
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is reported by Nichelle Nichols to have been a fan of the Original Series, for the message (controversial at the time) that it sent about white people and black people working together as equals.
- Whoopi Goldberg, specifically requested a role in Star Trek: The Next Generation because the character of Uhura inspired her early acting career. She played the recurring role of an alien named Guinan on the TV show and in the film Star Trek: Generations. She also had an uncredited appearance in Star Trek: Nemesis during the wedding scene towards the beginning of the movie.
- Family Guy executive producer, David A. Goodman, is a major Star Trek fan. He has written an episode of Futurama entirely devoted to Star Trek, and later four episodes of Enterprise. He even paid tribute to the 20th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation by spoofing the cliffhanger ending of "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I" and using it as the cliffhanger ending of the 100th episode of Family Guy, "Stewie Kills Lois".
- Al Gore, forty-fifth Vice President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. He watched the show more than he studied, according to his Harvard University roommate Tommy Lee Jones.
- Kelsey Grammer is a Star Trek fan. He guest starred on the Next Generation episode "Cause and Effect" and had Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner each guest star in two episodes of his show Frasier. Furthermore, he speaks Klingon in the Frasier episode "Star Mitzvah".
- Tom Hanks, a fan since childhood. He is purported to know the name of every Next Generation episode. He was considered for the role of Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact, but had to turn it down due to a scheduling conflict.
- Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.
- Stephen Hawking, who played himself (as a computer reconstruction) on the Next Generation episode "Descent".
- Chris Jericho, professional wrestler.
- Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a.: The Rock), professional wrestler, made a guest appearance on the Star Trek: Voyager episode, "Tsunkatse" as a Pendari wrestler.
- Angelina Jolie, actress, confesses to having a childhood crush on Mr. Spock.
- American conservative Alan Keyes (known best for his career runs for president) has stated his favorite television program is Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He once said about Star Trek, "There's something basically clean and decent and all-American about the respect for human dignity that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry showed."
- Gabriel Köerner, a profilee in Trekkies who went on to guest star on The Drew Carey Show and as the "Star Trek Geek" on the game show Beat the Geeks.
- Welsh rock group Lostprophets are fans of the show. Mike Lewis is said to own a Star Trek uniform.
- Dr. Daniel J. Levitin, a professor of cognitive neuroscience, popular author and musician, has been known to use clips from TNG in his university lectures, and his book The World in Six Songs features transliterated Klingon dialect.
- Lewis "Scooter" Libby: Yale classmate Donald Hindle said Libby had the "decidedly nonpolitical talent" of remembering all 79 Star Trek episodes and "knew all the titles, too."
- George Lucas considers himself a Trekkie and has cited Star Trek as his inspiration for creating the Star Wars franchise. He also finds hypothetical "war" scenarios between the two franchises distasteful.
- Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show, is an avid fan. He has embedded dozens of Star Trek references onto his shows, and twice guest starred on Enterprise. He says his favorite Star Trek series is The Next Generation and he reunited the cast of that show for the Family Guy episode, "Not All Dogs Go to Heaven".
- Congressman Dan Maffei (D-NY-25) participated in Stephen Colbert's "Better Know a District" segment on The Colbert Report. In the interview, Maffei and Colbert donned goatees in reference to Spock in the Original Series episode Mirror, Mirror. At the end of the interview, Maffei and Colbert exchanged the Vulcan Salute.
- Timothy McVeigh, bomber, became fascinated with The Next Generation, admiring Jean-Luc Picard for his knowledge and diplomacy; Worf for being the consummate warrior; Data for his logic; and Geordi La Forge for his proficiency.
- Vic Mignogna, a well-known anime voice actor.
- Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist. He appeared in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Good Shepherd".
- Eddie Murphy, who nearly starred in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. When his million-dollar contract with Paramount Pictures arrived to be signed by Murphy, he delayed signing it for nearly an hour because he was so engrossed with an episode of the original series.
- Barack Obama, Leonard Nimoy hinted that Obama greeted him with the Vulcan salute. Obama further requested a screening of the new Star Trek film at the White House 
- Mike Oldfield, musician.
- Brad Paisley, country singer. When a fan won a contest to spend the day with him in Las Vegas, one location Paisley took the fan was the Las Vegas Hilton's Star Trek: The Experience. As seen in a TV show documenting this contest, Brad proudly sat in the exhibit's captain's chair on the bridge of Enterprise-D. William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk, has appeared in several of Paisley's music videos, including 2007's "On-Line"; this song includes the line "I'm a Sci-Fi fanatic" and, in the video, Jason Alexander (playing the title character) is seen wearing Vulcan Ears and a "Beam Me Up" T-shirt while chatting on-line. Paisley also wrote and performed vocals for "Real", the closing song from Shatner's 2004 album Has Been.
- Randy Pausch, late Carnegie Mellon professor who gave the Last Lecture has a cameo in the 2009 Star Trek film.
- Colin Powell, United States Secretary of State from 2001-2005, visited The Next Generation set.
- Ronald Reagan visited the set of The Next Generation in 1991 during filming of "Redemption". He remarked "I like them [the Klingons]. They remind me of Congress."
- Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California and actor.
- Ayrton Senna, Formula One racing driver, stated in an interview with Autosport that he enjoyed the Original Series.
- Frank Sinatra "never missed" The Next Generation. Brent Spiner, the actor who played Data on the series, returned the favor by recording a tribute album called Ol' Yellow Eyes Is Back.
- Bryan Singer, director of The Usual Suspects, the first two X-Men films and Superman Returns. Singer had a brief cameo as a bridge officer in Star Trek Nemesis.
- Christian Slater, who had a cameo as an officer on the USS Excelsior in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
- Mira Sorvino, Academy award-winning actress, stated on the Conan O'Brien show that she was a big fan of The Original Series.
- Ben Stiller has been a huge Trek fan since he was a kid. Stiller's production company, "Red Hour Films", is named after an alien riot featured in the Original Series episode "The Return of the Archons". A clip of "Arena" was shown in his film, Tropic Thunder. In the movie Zoolander, Stiller named the villain "Mugatu", after a similarly named creature in the original series episode "A Private Little War".
- Matt Stone and Trey Parker are Star Trek fans and have put many references to the franchise in South Park.
- Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino cites Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as one of his favorite films, and references Star Trek in several of his films.
- Bjo Trimble, who helped spearhead the letter writing campaign that convinced NBC to continue Star Trek for a third season.
- Karl Urban has been a fan of the show since he was seven years old and was cast in the role of Leonard McCoy in the 2009 film. He actively pursued the role after rediscovering the series on DVD with his son.
- D'arcy Wretzky, former bassist of The Smashing Pumpkins, said she was "a big 'Star Trek' fan, but I'm not into the conventions or the ears or anything like that."
- Oregon Congressional Representative David Wu delivered a heavily Trek-infused speech to the House of Representatives on January 10, 2007.
- Pharrell Williams, music producer, song-writer, hip-hop artist, and frontman for the rock band N.E.R.D is a life long fan, as seen in his consistent use of the Vulcan Salute. Pharrell's also named his music label, Star Trak Entertainment, in homage to the series.
- Finally, some of the principal actors in second-generation Star Trek productions were fans of the franchise at the time of their selection, including Jolene Blalock, Wil Wheaton and (according to Wheaton), LeVar Burton.
References and footnotes
- ^ The word trekkie is found in the Concise Oxford Dictionary.
- ^ Urban Dictionary
- ^ There's No Klingon Word for Hello, Slate Magazine, May 7, 2009. Retrieved May 8, 2009
- ^ a b c "Judge Beams Trekkie Juror from Whitewater case", a CNN story from March 14, 1996
- ^ Interview with Mike Jerrick on Sci-Fi Channel's information fandom news series Sci-Fi Buzz
- ^ Zoglin, Richard. "Trekking Onward", Time, Nov 28, 1994.
- ^ 
- ^ Dillard, J.M. (1994). Star Trek: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" — A History in Pictures. Pocket Books. pp. 22, 50. ISBN 0-671-51149-1.
- ^ Bill Bailey interview | The List
- ^ 
- ^ 
- ^ Michael Hinman (2007-01-06). "Forget Matt Damon, Daniel Craig Wants To Be Kirk". Airlock Alpha. http://www.airlockalpha.com/news423118.html?. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- ^ a b 
- ^ a b 
- ^ Nichelle Nichols, Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories, G.P. Putnam & Sons, New York, 1994. pp.164-65
- ^ Special Features. Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 DVD Boxset.
- ^ Gail Collins (2000-08-18). "Public Interests; Al Gore as Fall Programming". The New York Times. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9401E6DC153EF93BA2575BC0A9669C8B63. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- ^ a b Appleyard, Bryan. "Patrick Stewart: Keep on trekkin'." The Times: 2007/11/04.
- ^ Pascale, Anthony. "Grunberg: ‘Amazing Actors’ Want To Be In Star Trek XI", TrekMovie.com, August 23, 2006
- ^ Pallasch, Abdon (2004-10-10). "Despite His National Reputation, Keyes Struggles to Find His Niche". Chicago Sun-Times. pp. 28.
- ^ Interview - Planet Verge 2002
- ^ As trial begins, Cheney's ex-aide is still a puzzle - International Herald Tribune
- ^ Pollock, Dale. Skywalking: the Life and Films of George Lucas. ISBN 0306809044
- ^ http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/224011/april-07-2009/better-know-a-district---new-york-s-25th---dan-maffei
- ^ Nimoy, Leonard. I Am Spock. 1995 mass market paperback edition: pp 257-258.
- ^ John McCormick (2008-03-07). "Obama a little confused about today's state". The Swamp (Tribune Company). http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2008/03/obama_a_little_confused_of_w_s.html. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- ^ Matt Blum (2008-11-06). "5 Signs President-Elect Obama Is a Geek". Wired. http://blog.wired.com/geekdad/2008/11/5-signs-preside.html. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- ^ Patrick Gavin (2009-05-09). "Trekkie in chief wants screening". Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0509/22270.html. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
- ^ "The 5-minute Interview: Mike Oldfield, Musician". The Independent. 2008-04-07. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/the-5minute-interview-mike-oldfield-musician-805480.html. Retrieved 2008-07-13.
- ^ Larry Nemecek, Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 1993, ISBN ISBN 0671794604
- ^ "Remembering Reagan: The Klingon Connection". Official site. 2008-11-06. http://www.startrek.com/startrek/view/news/article/5757.html.
- ^ Anthony Pascale (2008-08-16). "Stiller Puts Some Star Trek In Tropic Thunder". TrekMovie. http://trekmovie.com/2008/08/16/stiller-puts-some-star-trek-into-tropic-thunder/. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- ^ Ben Stiller (Actor, Director, Producer, Writer). (2001-09-28). Zoolander. [DVD]. Paramount Pictures. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0196229/. Retrieved 2009-03-17.
- ^ Eric Goldman (2008-01-09). "Karl Urban: From Comanche Moon to Star Trek". IGN. http://uk.tv.ign.com/articles/844/844578p2.html. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
- ^ "Raves: D'arcy of the Smashing Pumpkins. Rolling Stone Magazine, 1996/03/07. Available at http://www.starla.org/articles/rave.htm Retrieved on 2007/09/23
- ^ "David Wu (D-Oregon) - "Klingons in the White House" 10 January 2007
- ^ "Star Trek: The Next Generation - Angel One", review on TVSquad by Wil Wheaton, 28 March 2008