The Nature of my Obsession

Saturday, March 16, 2019

My whole life I’ve been obsessive. There isn’t any middle ground, if I enjoy something I want it all. I want to deep dive into every little thing about it. On the other hand, if something doesn’t grab me I can’t half like it. Sitting on fences is just too uncomfortable.

I grew up very awkwardly. School wasn’t fun, I was bullied and could never fit into any social circles. I left high school prematurely, and a few months after that I got admitted to professional help. Doing that ended up with me being diagnosed as having high functioning autism, also called Asperger syndrome.

It’s not a label I like to give myself. I don’t want people to make assumptions about who I am based on a flaw in how my brain is wired, but I know it’ll help to make sense of how I behave and think in this context.

I really liked Star Trek. I bounced off the walls when Tuvok quoted Spock during the finale of Voyager - watching it over barely viewable UHF reception. Getting an in-universe reason for the smooth-foreheaded Klingons seen in the original series during the last season of Star Trek: Enterprise made things fit so well - it was beautiful!

Smooth. Coming full circle and making everything fit beautifully.

More than just watching the shows (and spending way too much money on videos, DVDs and books), I did all that I could to become engrossed in this fictional universe.

I roped in my Dad and went to the nearby park to measure the size of the various Starships. I did them all! I remember being surprised that smaller looking Intrepid-class Voyager was notably bigger than than Kirk and Spock’s Enterprise. Seeing the space these massive ships would actually occupy made them a little bit more graspable.

After leaving school I forced myself into higher education and went for a bachelor's degree in Information Technology. During a Human Resources-esque paper I had to prepare an interactive training curriculum and presentation. I chose the topic of the principles of warp drive. I went all in - nothing was missed, and I made assumptions to fill any holes in the information available. Pedantically calling it the Gravimetric Field Displacement Manifold, giving intermix ratios and explaining how the warp bubble around the ship caused a lensing effect to make the stars fly past the way they do. Hey - it was a people focused paper! Somehow the lecturer allowed it.

This engrossment gave me such a profound sense of belonging at a time that I had nothing. I had no social life, partly because of my disabling social anxiety and being somewhat alienated from my family - for reasons. Star Trek - and a handful of other deep obsessions - were things I clinged onto (!) to get by.

I’m in a much better place now. My 20s were ten years of learning social cues and how to function as a person. Life isn’t great, but I know I’ll get there!

The three most recent Star Trek movies had a story crafted to justify the differences and allow it to be distinctly separate, not conflicting with all that came before it. Even if I didn’t love one of the movies (Into Darkness, much?) it didn’t demand cognitive dissonance to make it fit. It was still frustrating when even this didn’t really line up, but it was better than nothing

With Star Trek Discovery I feel like I am being lied to. I am being told things from a position of authority that do not align with established facts. The show is sold as being the same world as the 5 shows and 10 movies that precede it. If it was simply modifying the aesthetic, making the visuals more in line with what a modern audience expects, I’d probably be ok with it. As I posted last month, the narrative, the story and the technology - how it all would sit in 2257 just isn’t even trying to work.

It’s not fair of me to place this kind of…. requirement onto the new show. It’s an entertainment product! I should shut up and be entertained.

I’m such an unreasonable idiot that I can’t.

It hurts, somehow. It hurts far more than I thought it would. I thought I had matured to point I’d just not care about these things, but it turns out this deep obsession I’ve had for decades now is still something unreasonably important to me.

It is unreasonable. This is a for-profit franchise that is solely for entertainment. It is not something that has a tangible effect on my life or anyone else's.

And I am sorry. I do not question for a second that the people behind the show are doing all they can to make the best show possible. I don’t give much credibility to the conspiracy theories that some pundits present as to why Discovery can’t use elements from the previous shows. The show is trying to be good, there is no secret sabotage being done behind the scenes.

I’ll live. It’s a TV show, another one to add to the millions of other TV shows that I don’t watch. If I don’t like a show, I don’t have to watch it. Move aside jeweled up gauntlets, this is where the real power is at.