Star Trek X: The Search for Denny Crane
All of the brouhaha about the latest Star Trek movie got me thinking about the true genius of its creator — Gene Roddenberry. At the very least, we can credit Roddenberry with single-handedly improving the gene pool by allowing for easy identification (and segregation) of the true dorks amongst us (i.e., those wearing Starfleet uniforms to the movie premiere and/or speaking Klingon in the line). Furthermore, he could see amazingly well into the future. By my count, the original 1960s show gave us a preview of at least three significant technological advances well before they should have been logically conceivable.
Take, for instance, Captain Kirk’s communicator — the predecessor to today’s flip phones. Roddenberry was able to think up a lightweight portable phone during a time when the average telephone weighed about 70 pounds (and that was the “slimmed down” princess phone). Furthermore, Roddenberry was able to envision that this phone would not have to be plugged into a jack on the Enterprise despite the fact that, during that time, there were cords long enough to accomplish the feat and in use in our grandmothers’ kitchens. The man was genius!
He used the same foresight in creating the first compact “floppy” disk. During this time, computer data was often stored on circular reams of film the size of, say, New England. Yet, the Enterprise’s computer could accept floppy disks to access data. And, no I’m not referring to the original disks that were actually floppy and never worked. I’m referring to the later disks that were hard and also, never worked.
Furthermore, he outfitted Uhura with the first Bluetooth device, starting a trend that is the rage today. Interestingly, Uhura and Kirk went on to make television history with the first interracial kiss, starting another trend that appears to be even more popular today (sorry, couldn’t help myself on that one). In any event, I think it’s clear that Roddenberry had an incredible predictive ability about the future, which sadly, doesn’t bode well for the future of the legal profession.
After all, in more than a dozen movies and television series, there has yet to be a prominent role for a lawyer. With a crew of thousands, the starship Enterprise doesn’t carry a single lawyer despite the fact that one of Picard’s most trusted advisors was a psychic (Deanna Troi). What in the world did he need a psychic for — in case, they ran across a race of Miss Cleos? And while I’m not so sure that Picard had much use for a lawyer, I know that Kirk needed an entire law firm to deal with his sexual harassment and paternity cases alone (at the very least, he could have used Maury Povich for those “Are You My Baby Daddy?” incidents).
Yet, in Roddenberry’s vision of the future, there were very few lawyers and these surviving few weren’t exactly F. Lee Bailey (or even, Beetle Bailey for that matter). Take, for instance, Samuel Cogley (pictured left). The only thing more confusing than the look on his face was his legal strategy; or lack thereof. Cogley was a “old school” lawyer with such a disdain for technology that he carried around a stack of law books with him in the 23rd century. He attempted to defend Kirk in a case of negligent homicide by attacking the validity of … get this … the scientific evidence. Think about it. Unless you’re representing a former Heisman trophy winner or one of the Little Rascals, that defense won’t work in the 21st century. However, to try such a defense in the future before a trier of fact consisting of Star Fleet commanders is just the kind of incompetence that might explain our future scarcity.
And no matter the cause, we have to face the fact that our profession is going the way of the dodo bird, the 8-track tape and “opposite marriage.” And the sad part is that it will happen sooner than we think. After all, it didn’t take two centuries for Roddenberry’s technological predictions to come true. In some cases, it took less than two decades. Therefore, it might be a good idea for you to start thinking up an alternative career, perhaps one in the exciting field of air conditioner and heating repair. And before you scoff, please remember that Scotty had a very prominent career as the Enterprise’s chief engineer — a job that largely consisted of keeping the ship from overheating (“It’s gonna blow, Cap’n!”). Either that, or I suggest you work on your psychic skills.