I understand the Trek fans, or at least some subset of Trek fans, have been getting to you lately, distracting you from the pleasures of your friendship with Harrison Ford and provoking you to deploy a George W. Bush quote in your defense. (Mr. Orci, there’s a variant of Godwin’s law here. In any argument, the first person who tries to bolster his point with a GW Bush quote loses.) Speaking as a fellow, though much less well compensated, writer, I must inform you that you’re being an asshole. And you’re being an asshole in the following ways.
As I’ve said before on this blog, there is almost never anything to be gained by attacking your critics. That’s especially true when the person launching the attack is a wealthy writer producer and his critics are ordinary fans of the franchise that’s paying him. The attacker always comes off as a bully, primarily because, in this case, that’s exactly what he is.
Further, Mr. Orci, while Paramount certainly did hand you the keys to the Star Trek franchise, and the little green rectangles you’ve since earned for them mean that you have the power to do as you like with it, that doesn’t oblige Trek fans to admire your efforts. Their feeling, and I’m not knocking it, is that during your tenure (and that of JJ Abrams), Star Trek has abandoned philosophical inquiry and exploration in favor of standard issue summer blow-it-up-good action. I know that’s why I quickly lost interest in your work. Maybe if you left the bubble of Paramount employees and flatterers who applaud whatever you do because they hope there’s something in it for them, you’d have a better appreciation for Trek fans’ concerns.
(Of course, if I had a coterie of flatterers, I’d probably have a better appreciation for why it’s so hard to question the charming lickspittles in my life. So maybe I should try to break through the barriers of my own experience to empathize with your plight, Mr. Orci. It’s what the original Captain Kirk would have wanted me to do.)
I’ve been an asshole on several occasions, and I’ve been lucky to have people in my life willing to call me on it. It always hurt, but after a few minutes of defensiveness and pain, I realized they were right, apologized, and changed my course. Changing course doesn’t mean you have to start turning Star Trek into what I and other fans would like it to be. That’s between you, JJ Abrams, and Paramount. What it does mean is that, when people like me say we’re disappointed in what you’re doing, you accept our feelings with a modicum of grace.