Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kirk/Spock Post-Modernese? Jane Austen?!

(The above is not a fan-produced parody caption. Spock actually speaks this line, as you may recall, in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Or maybe you don't recall because this was the worst of the Star Trek TOS films and even if you are a Trekkie you maybe never bothered to watch it again after it was released in 1989.)

Mary Crawford, a Live Journal blogger I just stumbled upon, has helped me meet at least three days' worth of my laughter quota (30x/day) at once, with her post "Rude Person Stories".

In it she links to a series of old (1999) TOS fanfic parodies that tell the exact same Kirk/Spock story, but each time in a different dialogue, skewering, Mary says, "all those classic K/S stories where Kirk and Spock are in a cave and Spock goes into pon farr." *

["Pon farr" is when Vulcan males go into heat, and if they don't mate, they die. It's what comes over Spock, of course, in the ever popular episode "Amok Time."]
Pon farr is tailor-made for fanfic writers who want to get our two favorite male characters closer to each other than the original show ever intended, without having to worry about all that problematic authory stuff like motivation and character: just crash their shuttle on an unpopulated planet, provide a storm and a cave (it worked for Virgil), and strike the Vulcan with pon farr, and... What's his good friend gonna do? What can he do? Can't let him die, right?

So--this is the opening paragraph (they're only a few paragraphs long) of my favorite one--the version in academese, or post-modernese. (I think I like this one best because I used to be able to speak this language... so it's kind of nostalgic.)
"Unpacking Pon Farr: Kirk, Spock, and the image of the female void"
--By R. Person, PhD. [Brancher]

"The homoerotic subtext begins with the presentation of both males, Kirk and Spock, within an enclosed space: the shuttlecraft, redolent of the phallic when viewed from without, but from within clearly an example of womb symbolism. Consistent with the underlying structure of this narrative, this manifestation of the female self displays signs of breakdown -- de-construction, as it were -- and the male subjects are stranded on a planet."

Or maybe my favorite is "Crew Person", a send-up of Joseph Conrad, by Jane St Clair. A sample:

"Kirk and his mate Spock set out in their longboat (a small vessel of the sort called shuttlecraft in more familiar kingdoms), but a storm blew in suddenly, like the rising passion of a savage beast, and dashed their vessel on the strong stones that bring so many low. Still, they were men of the noble sort one sometimes encounters in far lands, and they swam, manfully, each helping the other until they fell upon the sands and lay against one another, heaving with each breath and holding each the other's body against the pounding, driving force of nature's fury."

There's even a Minnesotan version:
"Kirk and Spock Go Ice Fishing (Pon Farr in Minnesotan)" --by Jungle Kitty
It begins:
"Well, doncha know, Kirk and Spock were out for a Sunday drive in their new shuttlecraft, wearing' their good clothes, and gettin' pretty good mileage to boot. Just cruisin' along, not exceedin' the speed limit--they're good boys, ya know--when the durn thing breaks down."

I gather this all started in 1998 with a Yorkshire-dialect version, by Jess in England, who writes:
''Ah've 'eared as 'ow tha's aal interested in smutty stories abaht startrek written in diffrunt langwiches, like, and ah can see tha's 'ad none written in Yorkshire so 'eer goes. If tha's anything t'say abaht it, that'll be champion."
"Pon Farr wi'out a lass (K 'an S wi' mucky bits)".

Mary C. provides more links on Fanlore Wiki: Rude Person, with Appalachian, Marxist, Jane Austen-ese, and other versions.
Jane Austen?
Yes, indeed:
Uncouth Person
Logic and Lubricity, or, K/S as told by Jane Austen; with some less seemly parts.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single Vulcan in possession of a standard-issue Shuttlecraft must be in want of a cave."

Judging by my laughter, maybe that's my favorite one...
* For a funny overview of what this type of story is like, try "The Big List of K/S Cliches", offered by Jungle Kitty's as a tongue-in-cheek (?) "public service" handy-dandy rating chart, for fanfic writers who want to monitor their cliche usage.
For instance, a writer gets 1 point if, in her story, is...
"Spock's voice described as
dark (or variations thereof such as mahogany, ebony or midnight)? (1 point for each)
in other terms that could be ascribed to a good cup of coffee?"

And so forth.
My  Rude Person story by Virgil


Jennifer said...

K/S is wonderful for showing where a very mature fandom can end up, full of self-references and parodies and just plain fun. Fandoms need time to age and mellow, like fine wine. Who knows, maybe in 20 years Harry Potter fandom will reach something like that. :)

fresca said...

Good point--these were written "twenty years later."
I admit I was surprised at how excellent they were--both intelligent and ridiculous--what a rare and wonderful mix!

Yeah, that K/S Jane Austen line (I gather you recognized it as a take-off on the famous opening line of "Emma") is inspirational...

These got me thinking how I might do one, and then realized that I already have started: my vid of K/S by Andrew Marvell.
Great minds think alike! : )

momo said...

I finally got around to reading these--what does it say about me that the academic one made me laugh the hardest?

fresca said...

I've been reading about comedy--and I agree with the contention that one thing that makes us laugh is "recognition".
So it makes sense that the academic parody brings the greatest delight to an academic, n'est pas?