Khan! Khan, no, Khan, Sing, Khan Singh!

Abastract: The author goes on a bit about if Khan would make for a good next Star Trek movie. (±2,000 words)

There’s been a lot of fun over at TrekWeb talking about the next movie, what it should, shouldn’t, could have.

Some folks feel like Khan would be great. GREAT, I tell you. Khan rocks: he kicks Kirk around space, blows things up good, and then DIES!

No, no, some say. Khan was a great villain. But he’s been done, done well, and doesn’t need to be redone.

It seems a … teacup sort of debate. Almost no body at any fan site can really have much influence over the creative decisions that will go into the next movie. And I’m certainly not one of them. So why inject my opinions into this?

Eh… why not. I love Moby Dick, and I stab at thee!

Khan rocks, and I’d love to see him again. But: I don’t want to see a remake of the Wrath of Khan. I don’t want to see a remake of Space Seed. I don’t want Khan to become a recurring villain. There’s this whole galaxy out there. I really don’t want to see Khan-as-Joker-to-Kirk’s-Batman. Oh, good lord I don’t want that.

I just don’t agree with the idea that Khan and Kirk represent opposing visions of… whatever. Kirk is a big proponent of humanity, human potential, justice and … getting things DONE. Khan… big fan of human potential, justice and getting things done. The difference: Kirk wants his things done, and his is a more expansive idea of those things. Khan? He’s pretty selfish. So they’re opposed, rivals to be sure, but they’re not really opposed in the way Batman and the Joker have been set up in the last twenty-odd years.

I don’t think Kirk needs a special villain, or different (Bond-style) mastermind in every story. There’s plenty of room in Star Trek for action-adventure, shoot-em-up. Oh, yes. But I think what makes Kirk’s Enterprise really interesting, which is to say, what I find most interesting, is the way on the Enterprise he can face some crazy double-bind of a situation, massage his senior staff, and then do the right thing more-or-less. I mean, he cheats, and it sometimes seems there must be some other starship out there cleaning up Kirk’s messes, but, as a viewer, it’s mostly fun to watch Kirk do that stuff.

So, should there be a new Khan movie? Probably not. I still think there’s a whole galaxy out there, so we don’t need to see that character again. But if it’s a good movie, then, heck. Give it to me.

Real humorists say “propaganda”

But they were really just ads. Horribly designed and written ads (done by a niave 22-year-old) I might add. But as the saying goes (and if its not a saying, then I just coined it): “Advertising is 80% being seen.”

The problem was we needed more writers and we needed to get noticed. Well, mostly we needed to get noticed. A monthly four-page pamphlet of a paltry 1,000-copy run that was distributed at (somewhere around) 5 locations on campus was treated with the same interest as a coupon booklet. We needed wider exposure. Hence, the most ubiquitous and overlooked form of on-campus advertising: the flyer.

Continue reading Real humorists say “propaganda”

By Hook or By Crook or By Law of Bylaws

the Harpoon bylaws
the Harpoon bylaws

So there were these rules, right? I mean they had to be there or the Harpoon would never get any money. So we had to write some. It was actually pretty fun.

And they were popular, too. At least in certain circles. For instance, in the Student Life Office, the leagal counsel seemed to really enjoy them. After the War Issue, his advice was to stop publishing stupid things, and start publishing more things like the bylaws. It seems there was one he really liked. I don’t think it was the one about what to do with them when they can’t take a joke. That one was full of problematic advice.

Constituting the Harpoon

Constituting the Harpoon
Constituting the Harpoon

So, when a bunch of students at the U want to get together and do something, I mean really do something.  Together.  In a bunch, like.  And not be arrested for being a mob or something, I mean.  When they want to do that, become a bunch, not become a mob, they become a Registered Student Organization.  This gives them access to all sorts of resources of the U.

Stationary.  Office Space.  Student Life Fee Funding.

All these things and more, o! so much more.

And all you have to do is fill in the paperwork.  And ask.  And ask.  And ask.

Even a cusrory reading the constitution of the Harpoon will make the reader with experience running organizations shudder.  Were a serious attempt made to actually operate an organization with this document, things would fall apart pretty quickly.  Certainly within one year.  Possibly much, much sooner if someone with an Agenda got involved.  Or even just someone with a Trickster mentality.  As difficult as that is to imagine.

Office space for the Harpoon

Late in the first year of the Harpoon, some time in the second half, anyway, and certainly after the War Issue was published, the Harpoon got itself some designated office space from Student Life.  At that time in the history of things, these offices were located on the main floor of the Kirkhoff Center, with a wide bank of windows overlooking the pond, and the book bunker beyond.

The office space was just a six-foot-wide length of desk space, set in the middle of a cubicle garden, sandwiched between the assigned desks of two organizations who, if they had ever come in to use them, seemed to have stopped when the Harpoon was installed in their midst; it was nothing more than  a few drawers, a phone, as many rolling chairs as we could commandeer, and an overhead bin.  The only things the Harpoon had, in the way of office equipment, was a phone book.  The records, the ones the U cared about, were stored at the other end of the building, safe from staffers.  The documents which were important stayed in the publisher’s apartment.

About all the office was good for was for certain high-level members to make a lot of noise, and to spy on the Greek Round Table.  There was one member who fit under the desk, or in the overhead bin, depending.  It was always best to enter the office space at the safe end of a yardstick, while probing–not so gently–with the other end into cravasses.  Where the pumas live.

Once a co-founder told a blonde lies about the Beatles, a band about which she was kind enough to pretend for twenty minutes to not know anything.  Another co-founder created and strategized a political campaign from the office.  And one day several members got bad news about their respective love lives in the office.

Something about the original logo

Down there, way, way, way down there at the bottom of the page, the entire contents of the very first post, is the original logo.

Here are some lies and a little bit of truth about it.  It’s a pun.  One of the very few puns published in the Harpoon which the co-founders understood.  The only reason they understood it is because they originated it.  “Hey,” one of them said.  “We need a snappy visual element for the masthead, right?  How about a baboon playing a harp!”

Monkeys are funny, right?  Harps are unusual, and so distinctive.  That’s good for a logo.  And, best of all, it’s a harp-boon!

Get it?

It was widely alleged to have been drawn, black on white, in the blue style of a certain anatomical caracture of a widely-beloved cartoon race of little, blue, woodland creatures.  This is a style popularized by, and mainly popular with, a down-the-way neighbor of one of the co-founders.  With cross eyes.  The baboon had cross eyes, not the blue creatures, and not the neighbor.  Not the neighbor most of the time, anyway.

The art director inverted the colors and replaced the cross-eyes with sunglasses.  This led to a knock-down roll-about on the publisher’s living room floor between the art director who liked the sunglasses and the editor who did not.  The sunglasses were replaced with the more-or-less well-focused eyes we all came to love.  More or less.

The baboon’s name is thought to be Ed.  This may or may not be strictly accurate.  The baboon has never talked about that.  Indeed, it is unknown if, in fact, and despite the obscene allegations of what the blue caricture style intended to imply about harp playing, the baboon is, as depcted, actually male.

Funding Revocation

Funding Revoked
Funding Revoked

The kerfuffle rolled along with only constant prodding by the Harpoon staff, associates, and acquaintances–and such prodding as was done by agents of the Other Side.  Unexpected allies emerged; of whom not the least was one of the ‘no’ voters, a person initially strongly opposed to the Harpoon, but who had the integrity to visit with the founders for a bit, and came to understand what was going on.  Looking back, this is one of the best parts of that phase of things.

Although the original funders withdrew their stake, all was not lost.  Nearly $35.00 was raised by an impassioned campaign across campus, supplemented by an unforeseen donation from an out-of-town lawyer and a grant from the Kellogg Foundation.  Publication continued apace.  And other plans were set in motion.

To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity. –Douglas Adams