I saw Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan again tonight because my youngest son hadn’t seen it. It still holds up well. I like the end over all, but a funeral remark by Kirk about Spock (if that is a spoiler you have no right seeing Star Trek films) still annoys me after all these years. He says Spock’s soul was the most human he’d ever known. As if that was a *compliment*? Vulcans are far superior to humans (yes I know Spock was half human), apart from that troublesome Amok Time issue, and in fact I think most any non-human intelligent being from anywhere in the interstellar cosmos would be insulted by the comparison. Hell, Kirk, your final remark about Spock at his funeral is an outright insult to the guy!
Star Trek–I’ve bitched about this before–has always had that stupid recurrent “but the best thing is to be human” theme. Amorphous floating aliens want to be human, as if that would be so much better; the android, Data, later on wants to be more human, have emotions, and so on. Poor deluded chump.
Sure there’s the humane side of humanity–which occasionally appears–and there is the idea of a deep more perfect “humanness” that some people supposedly embody. But that’s scarcely to be found if ever and in Star Trek that’s not what’s meant. Kirk/McCoy-like emotional humanness–hunches, instincts, and so on–is what’s endorsed here. Yet humans destroy most of what they touch. They’re primitives with powerful toys; one slick part of the human brain makes the powerful toys and the primitive remainder misuses them instantly. Invent roller skates and use them to knock down the first old lady you see; invent cell phones and use them to turn most users into zombies. The human capacity for empathy is like a guttering candle, always about to be smothered by molten wax or an errant draft from a doorway. Spock liked Kirk, was his devoted friend, but he knew that his Vulcan side held the key to inner freedom, to betterment for everyone. Don’t insult Spock by saying he was the “most human”.