majel roddenberry

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Star Trek The Next Generation: Goddesses
“She had power over the most magnificent forces on Earth, but she still didn’t feel like she had power over the most important thing of all—her own heart.” ~Josephine Angelini, Goddess (insp)

Featuring:
Deanna Troi as Aphrodite
K'Ehleyr as Artemis
Guinan as Athena
Alyssa Ogawa as Eos
Beverly Crusher as Akeso
Kate Pulaski as Hestia
Lwaxana Troi as Hera
Tasha Yar as Nike
Keiko O'Brien as Demeter
Ro Laren as Nemesis

Joss, Gene, Buffy & Star Trek

Nichelle Nichols had an affair with Gene Roddenberry while they were working on Star Trek. 

In fact, he was still a married man when he began affairs at the same time with both Nichelle and Majel Barrett. While he was still married to another woman he lived with Majel - and when they got married he continued to sleep with Nichelle secretly. He boasted about sleeping  with other women as well

Now we can decide that Nichelle Nichols as a WOC back in the 1960′s was in a particularly vulnerable position, and therefore Roddenberry was both racist and sexist. Or we can assume that she was and is a strong woman who has always owned her sexuality -  and she made a choice. She says that she cared deeply about him, and still does.

I don’t think that the appearance of abuse of power makes Roddenberry any less a pioneer  in his vision. He insisted on a multi-racial cast, and on giving women powerful positions on the Enterprise. In 1966  that cast was groundbreaking. The simple idea that women could do more than bring coffee was also groundbreaking. In the first pilot episode he had a woman second-in-command but the network objected. He had women and POC in strong positions - doctors, engineering, security, and most of them were officers.

So was Roddenberry a racist, misogynist fraud who abused his power?

Did he hide his personal life in order to be seen as a visionary? Does the fact he stood up against the war in Vietnam have anything to do with any of this? He stood up for Martin Luther King in a time when that was revolutionary - doe that mean anything? Does the fact that his affirmative social messages permeate his shows matter?

Or were those all moral positions and creative decisions of a person with both flaws and ideals.

I don’t see how the fact that his personal life and choices sucked make him any less a visionary. And yes, you can pull his dated work apart and explain how flawed it is - and because it is over 50 years old it is definitely flawed by modern standard.

I kinda feel the same way about Whedon as I do Roddenberry. I tend not to look for moral purity when dealing with real human beings. But now that there is this huge gotcha thing going on. I’m finding that if I don’t jump on the Joss is evil train I’m seen as profoundly dumb, not woke, and morally inferior.

By the social standards 20 years ago Buffy broke a lot of ground, too. Strong women who didn’t have cat fights, didn’t compete romantically,   and didn’t exist to be some man’s appendage are still rare. Male characters who take the back seat to the women are even more rare. A show about choices and consequences, hope and redemption, moral courage and hope - very rare.

So yes, Joss is not morally pure and his wife has every reason to hate what he did to her, and to hate him. But until one woman complains that she felt used, I don’t see Joss as having abused his power.. Joss has made videos supporting Planned Parenthood. He stood against Trump, even made a satirical video about voter fraud hysteria. Are those all moral positions and creative decisions of a fraud, or of a person with both flaws and ideals ? I can’t read intention  I do see results.

Joss and Gene were both idealists in their world building, their character building, and their themes. They had strong moral opinions on world events. They were both deeply flawed personally - but I really don’t see either of them as frauds, and abusive.

The medium is the message - not the creator. If we hound out any creator who is not pure enough then we won’t have many left. I prefer to reserve that kind of hatred for those who commit actual abuse - physical, sexual, mental.  As a survivor of abuse, I also prefer not to dilute the meaning of the word to upsetting someone and being hypocritical. When we label everything as abuse, the word loses power, and the reality is easier to ignore.

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Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (born Majel Leigh Hudec; February 23, 1932 – December 18, 2008) was an American actress and producer. She is best known for her role as Nurse Christine Chapel in the original Star Trek series, Lwaxana Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and for being the voice of most onboard computer interfaces throughout the series. She was also the wife of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. As the wife of Roddenberry and given her ongoing relationship with Star Trek - participating in some way in every series during her lifetime - she was sometimes referred to as “the First Lady of Star Trek”.

Happy Birthday Majel. Any future Star Trek projects just won’t be the same without you.

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                    gene roddenberry (1921 – 1991), deforest kelley (1920 – 1999)
              james doohan (1920 – 2005), majel barrett-roddenberry (1932 – 2008)
                                                 leonard nimoy (1931 – 2015)

                                           live long and prosper.

Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, William Shatner, Nichelle Nichols, Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett attend the debut of the Star Trek exhibit at the Movieland Wax Museum in Hollywood. The display, which featured wax representations of the entire cast, was sold to a fan for $34,000 when the museum closed in 2005. 

Here’s a terrible YouTube video of the exhibit:

Publicity photo scanned from the They Boldly Went archives. If you appreciate our ongoing mission to provide unique Star Trek content, please consider supporting this blog on Patreon.