Thursday, April 30, 2009

Star Trek & 1960s Design, 7: Cream and Pepper

bink photoshopped this, at my request.

If you lived in the 1960s, you probably remember the iconic cover of this 1965 best-selling album, Whipped Cream & Other Delights, by Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass. (If not, it's here.)
My parents owned the album, and I loved its brassy, south of the border sound (though none of the band was Latino), and food-oriented songs. Still do!

And you know I love Star Trek, but not necessarily for the reasons some people offer. People often say Star Trek is optimistic, for instance, and I'm never quite sure what they mean. Sure, it's optimistic compared to the futuristic Stalinism of Blakes 7 and other dystopias. But Star Trek doesn't reflect my wildest hopes for the future. It's too much about the triumph of white, male, hierarchical, American, middle-class values, with Kirk as its West Point champion. Starfleet crew members don't necessarily have white skin, but have you noticed, they are pretty damn white.

As a child of the '60s, I was more intrigued by Be Here Now (1969) author and teacher Ram Dass, whose aim was transcending the limitations of consciousness; or by Angela Davis, for that matter, who surely would have had no truck with the Federation.

The optimism, such as it was, of the 1960s is better summed up for me by the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, with its iconic album art reflecting a very different design sensibility. [links to list of images on cover]
It came out in July 1967--a year and a half after Whipped Cream. (Herb Alpert--and Star Trek--was hopelessly square by comparison.)

Thanks to Annika for pointing out that the Beatles' uniforms look like relatives of Star Trek's shiny dress uniforms (2nd below, from "Journey to Babel").

                              [bottom image ^ by rabbittooth]

I wouldn't want to wear a Starfleet uniform and follow Kirk's orders, not then, not now.
But I'd be more than happy to lick whipped cream off his naked body. And I don't even like whipped cream. That's a wild hope for the future...
Other post linking Trek and the Beatles: "Tight Trousers and High Heels"
and Star Trek and 1960s Design
As always, Star Trek screencaps from Thanks!


Minky said...

OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!!
I'm sure that never in his wildest dreams would Herb Alpert have imagined that Jim Kirk would be an 'other delight'!
Seemless beauty---and the photoshop ain't too shabby either. You are a photoshopping DYNAMO, stinky binky!

Annika said...

I've been a little aggravated by that ever-present claim to "optimism" as well, more when it's applied to the more recent series than to TOS. People clearly see how TOS reflects the world-view of the '60s, but fail to realise that (hopefully) in 30 years' time, people will laugh at the quaint views of "equality" and "tolerance" of the '90s. Actually, the first season of TNG has rather radical elements, such as male Starfleet personnel in short dresses and calf-length boots (though they're always just extras in the background), the abolition of personal ownership (money doesn't exist in any form), and outspoken veganism ("We no longer enslave animals for food"). I suppose the viewers couldn't relate to this, the way the viewers of the first pilot couldn't relate to the first Number One, and TNG rapidly became more compatible with contemporary opinions...

Is it only me, or is there a similarity between those shiny, candy-coloured Sgt. Pepper's costumes and Starfleet's dress uniforms?

fresca said...

Minky: Ha! Kirk is an "other delight" all right! I am counting on bink for all mu future photoshopping needs.

Annika: Thanks! Why didn't I think of the dress uniforms?! I need your help.

Good thoughts about TNG. I've only watched about a dozen episodes, but I did notice that line about enslaving animals.
I'd never thought about how they had to back off from that vision to get to a much later episode in which Riker, who said it in the first place, I think--is cracking eggs for an omelet.

TNG's early episode "Measure of a Man" was radical, too, with its exploration of how we make people "non-human" and then feel free to exploit them. It's a good story, strong enough to stand on its own. And a sweet one, too, not dry as TNG often seems to me.