Tag Archives: Gene Roddenberry

Star Trek a paean to humanism, says Gene Roddenberry’s former executive assistant


Here‘s an interesting article. Gene Roddenberry’s personal executive assistant from 1974 until his death in 1991, says what we all knew about the Roddenberry and his Star Trek franchise, but fills in the portrait of Roddenberry-as-humanist with some interesting details. His former assistant, herself a member of the American Humanist Association board (a fact buried in the article’s second-last paragraph) describes in the article just how much Roddenberry disliked religion in any form, and how deeply he injected his personal creed into the substance of the Star Trek franchise.

I’ve put a snippet of the article below, but it made me wonder about the many flavors of humanism. The late Stanley Grenz used to make a distinction between the “modernism” of the original Star Trek series and the “postmodernism” of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (Here‘s one take on that distinction.) In the original series, the Vulcan Spock, though frequently ribbed for allowing a few cracks to show in his rational exterior, was a powerful, in-control character who got the others out of many a jam through rational deduction. In Next Generation, the android Data, though physically and intellectually powerful, spent many episodes playing the unintentional buffoon and trying to get in touch with what it meant to truly be human–emotions, sense of humor, and all. Continue reading