Earlier today, an interview Simon Pegg gave the Radio Times was making the rounds, and some were interpreting the interview to mean Pegg was bashing nerds in some way. I didn’t take it that way, and I was actually more interested in another part of the interview which I’ll circle around to later, but first… KERFUFFLE!
Simon Pegg posted a long, fascinating followup on his blog, with the title “Big Mouth Strikes Again”. You can read the whole thing over there; he makes a great case for everything he said (and name-checked Baudrillard, ooo la la).
He starts out by admitting he may have been a bit trollish, or a “Contrary Mary,” after doing so many interviews, but he still stands behind what he said, adding, “the idea of our prolonged youth is something I’ve been interested in for a very long time. It’s essentially what Spaced was about, at least in part.” (We revisited Spaced recently, by the way.)
Pegg continues (and I’m chopping the full quote down quite a bit but you can see the unedited version here):
In the 18 years since we wrote Spaced, this extended adolescence has been cannily co-opted by market forces […].
[Ed.- He then summarizes something Jean Baudrillard wrote, saying] We are made passionate about the things that occupied us as children as a means of drawing our attentions away from the things we really should be invested in, inequality, corruption, economic injustice etc. […]
The ‘dumbing down’ comment came off as a huge generalisation by an A-grade asshorn. I did not mean that science fiction or fantasy are dumb, far from it. How could I say that? In the words of Han Solo, “Hey, it’s me!”
He then made a shout out to Star Trek TOS fans and mentioned he should get back to writing Star Trek Beyond.
He also summarizes the long blog post, making a joke at the end about that tiny spoiler he may have accidentally given away about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
I love Science Fiction and fantasy and do not think it’s all childish.
I do not think it is all generated by dominant forces as a direct means of control…much.
I am still a nerd and proud.
Love and rockets,
p.s. Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan are also Stormtroopers in The Force Awakens.
The full article is on Pegg’s blog.
Anyway, I wasn’t bothered by his Radio Times interview, or his followup blog post. The part of the interview that caught my attention was this quote pointed out by Blastr, in which Pegg explains why he was asked to write a script for Star Trek 3 (also known as Star Trek Beyond).
They had a script for Star Trek that wasn’t really working for them. I think the studio was worried that it might have been a little bit too Star Trek-y. Avengers Assemble, which is a pretty nerdy, comic-book, supposedly niche thing, made 1.5 billion dollars. Star Trek Into Darkness made half a billion, which is still brilliant. But it means that, according to the studio, there’s still one billion dollars worth of box office that don’t go and see Star Trek. And they want to know why. People don’t see it being a fun, brightly colored, Saturday night entertainment like the Avengers. [The solution is to] make a Western or a thriller or a heist movie, then populate that with Star Trek characters so it’s more inclusive to an audience that might be a little bit reticent.
Yes, Paramount was worried that the thirteenth Star Trek movie might be all Star Trek-y instead of like The Avengers. That would be tragic. Anyway, I hope he makes it a shot-for-shot remake of Zoolander, but with Star Trek characters. Just go nuts.
(H/T: Neil Gaiman)