One Trek Mind #48: Trek Puns For Fun
By Jordan Hoffman - November 11, 2012
Star Trek has long respected man's noble, intellectual and refined pursuits. Captain Picard's hobby is archeology and he comes from a family of respected vintners. Data paints and plays classical music. Spock is a wiz at chess – and 3D chess at that! Yet none of the cultured folk aboard the Enterprise (any of 'em) ever did more than dabble in the time-honored parlor room tradition of punning. Yes, punning.
Believe it or not, punning was and I'm fairly certain still is a pastime of aesthetes and the well-born. I base this entirely on occasionally tuning into BBC-America and attending one party where I was severely underdressed. Nevertheless, I'm here to prime the pump and offer a few choice Star Trek puns. With luck, this will just get the frightfully witty conversation started.
Should you find yourself listening to a classical fugue whose harmonies and cadences are so mathematical and logical that they seem to be written more by a computer than man, that's when you can be certain it is the work of. . .Johann Sebastian Spock.
If the short story you are reading evokes labyrinthine structures, layers of truth with the occasional mix of magical realism, but also seems as if it were constructed by a great hive mind of drones collected from varying origins working toward a common goal, it is clearly the work of. . . Jorge Luis BORGes.
He was a conservative governor of a liberal state, with a business background and a questionable way of transporting dogs. Throw in some pointy ears, arched eyebrows and some imperialist philosophy and he is. . .Mitt Romulan.
Sorry, that one was too good to pass up. . . but so as not to appear biased we can also imagine the same conservative governor with a business background, but in this case the business acumen is so strong he eventually becomes the Grand Nagus. We speak, of course of the much more likable. . .Mitt ROMney.
Of course, you may think it completely illogical to vote out a president who is already in office. You may prefer a calculated, reasoned approach, in which case you should pull the lever for. . .Tuvok Obama. (Note: conspiracy nutcases should really enjoy this one when they recall that Tuvok did first appear on a Maquis ship, but was really an undercover spy for the Federation. Perhaps lunatic fringe websites all have their roots in the Voyager pilot?)
Star Trek, however, is international. There are political figures all over the globe that can use a good pun. What about a would-be French president and former IMF head who may or may not have... well, you know? If he were genetically altered we could all shout . . .Dominique Strauss-KHANNNNNNNNNNN!
But classical music and politics aren't the only place for Star Trek puns. What about the giant reptilian alien who wakes up, can't remember his name, but when chased discovers he possesses unmatched survival skills. Yes, who doesn't love watching. . .The Gorn Identity?
Perhaps you are more interested in an adventurer, a lover, a historian and a craggy Southern doctor who isn't that keen on transporter technology? If so, the man for you is. . . Indiana Bones!
If you like epics and mythology, check out the story of the face that launched a thousand ships while having a non-verbal understanding of WHY they did it. Regale in the pageantry and adventure of . . .Helen of Counselor Troi.
Where to see these movies? Well, how about a place that is half-bedroom community/half-rustic sea town, but always ready to pour you a drink and offer some truly sage advice? By which we mean . . .Long Guinan.
While there, you'll need a snack. Luckily, there's a place that's open all night, is strong, cunning and powerful, but also feminine and, at heart, kind. Do all your shopping at. . . 7-11 of 9!
And if your wife sends you, you may need to pick up some articles of a feminine nature. Just be a man, face the cashier and buy the Chakotayx tampons. (Okay, that's the worst one in here, I swear.)
If you drive back to New York, you want to avoid speeding lest you end up in Will Riker's Island, especially if you are on your way to see a concert at the new Reginald Barclay's Center. (Maybe Jay-Z Class planet is performing?)
Don't drive, though; arrive in style – a sleek, black and very long-necked Gul Ducati motorcycle.
If that sounds too complicated, just stay home and watch TV. There could be a repeat of that old TV show where senior citizens are put through no-win situations. . .you remember . . . it starred Kobiyashi MaRue McLanahan. Or perhaps a documentary about Watson and Crick discovering the Double Neelix.
Oh, and, following up on an earlier one. . . if a comic pianist from Denmark were ever to play the music of Johann Sebastian Spock, surely it would be futile to resist the stylings of Victor BORGe.
Finally, let's get meta and try a Star Trek pun mixed with a Star Trek pun. What if the foot-solders in the Temporal Cold War were actually clones of the helmsman of the NCC-1701? Beware the might of the . . .Sulu-ban!
And, with that weird one, we call it a day. But we've just gotten warmed up. Fire away with some of your best (and worst) in the comments below – but negative points for anyone who says “Kim Cardassian.” We've all seen that one before.
Jordan Hoffman is a writer, critic and lapsed filmmaker living in New York City. His work can also be seen on Film.com, ScreenCrush and Badass Digest. On his BLOG, Jordan has reviewed all 727 Trek episodes and films, most of the comics and some of the novels.
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