A Careful Analysis: The Roddenberry Footnote

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Title: A Careful Analysis: The Roddenberry Footnote
Creator: Christopher Randolph
Date(s): 1979
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek
Topic: K/S
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A Careful Analysis: The Roddenberry Footnote is an essay in Naked Times #3. It was written by Christopher Randolph, a pseud for that zine's editor.

The topic was The Roddenberry Footnote, a statement in the novelization of ST:TMP which addressed Kirk/Spock.


After having read the "Editor's Note" on page 22 of the novelization of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, it has become pitifully obvious that someone somewhere hasn't kept up with the characters of Kirk and Spock very accurately, not to mention Vulcan customs, etc. I do not speak of the fan fiction universe which has kept Trek alive over the past 12+ years, but of the aired series itself. In other words, this "disclaimer" totally ignores many of the precepts set forth in aired Trek-. Certain elements of the novelization point directly to the fact that Kirk and Spock share (or have shared) some type of mental "bonding." Such is evidenced on page 25 of the novel, wherein Kirk's mind "reaches out" and touches Spock's while the latter is still on Vulcan. On aired Trek, it was pointed out several times that Spock was a "touch telepath." He had to be in actual physical contact with his subject, or at least in very close physical proximity, i.e. A TASTE OF ARMAGEDDON. In AMOK TIME, we were first introduced to the concept of "bonding," wherein two minds were "locked together...
Essentially, it comes across as if the editor tried to appease all segments of fandom with the deliberately vague wording but ended up appeasing no one—only adding more fuel for discussion and arguments. Also, when considered in the light of the total number of ST fans in the United States alone, it appears rather trivial to have included a lengthy "editor's note" which was obviously aimed at a very small segment of ST fendom: the "pro" K/S fans and the "anti" K/S fans. Statistically, the editor of ST:TMP has now informed all potential fans of the existence of the K/S premise. Logically, if the editor simply wanted to "disclaim" K/S, it would have infinitely more sense to simply ignore it, or to make an outright statement to the contrary. Or, more logically, he could have written a specifically phrased letter to a well-known zine such as WARPED SPACE in order to get his message through to those at which it was aimed.
To the best of my knowledge, all K/S fanzines have made every possible effort to keep the premise in the "underground" of fandom, their zines are aimed at a minute microcosm of fandom! less than 500 people. By including this "editor's note," anyone who purchases the novel will know of its existence—and a certain percentage are going to want to know more. The editor has opened quite a can of worms indeed in that he has essentially thrown a crumb of information to the public; and regardless of the opinion of major studios and television hack writers -- the public is not a mass of vegetated morons.
And now we come to address Admiral Kirk's statements to the "lovers rumor." First of all it comes across that Kirk, or possibly the editor who played Kirk's part, is still the galactic womanizer of all times. His reference to "gratification" proves this quite well. The most accurate translation of the word "gratification" is self-indulgence, or simply indulgence. Add "my" to that, and it says plenty. Gratification can also be used to mean comfort, happiness, pleasure, and many other things, but in this instance it is a modifier of "my." His gratification—not that of his partner. Masturbation? An inflatable "Judy-doll" would make as much sense as the "creature woman" here.
No K/S writer has ever said that "this is the way it must be," only that the K/S premise is a possible "alternate universe." Why, then, did the editor not attempt to disclaim the Kraith universe, the Mary Sue universe (which is infinitely more demeaning to the characters: a different little twit in every port), or any of the other alternate universe fan fiction. Is it because homosexuality itself is still a "dirty word" in today's society, and the editor was protecting his financial interests by attempting to "vote with the majority?"
It is my opinion that the editor was trying to have "something for everyone," and attempting to appease those who must tout [sic] of necessity, fear or bigotry, limit their views to 30th Century thinking alone. In other words, it doesn't appear as if the editor (or Kirk, for that matter) are trying to outright deny the accusation which is euphemised as a "rumor." They are merely skirting around the question in a very round about and confusing fashion. Careful analysis proves that the wording of the "editor's note" was deliberately nebulous, the "anti" K/S faction could interpret it one way, and the K/S faction is certainly capable of reading between those sparsely-phrased lines. That is, after all, how K/S developed in the first place. Cheers!

Further reading