One of the regular features of TrekMovie.com is to report when Star Trek interacts with the zeitgeist, usually in fun ways like references on sitcoms or other media. However, sometimes Star Trek or its fans can be portrayed in ways that are not flattering and an example of that came this morning on MSNBC when an NBC analyst suggested that the suspected murderer in the Colorado Batman movie screening mass shooting was a "dark Trekkie." Watch the clip below. [UPDATE: Van Zandt apologizes]
UPDATE 2: Van Zandt issues apology
On Monday Van Zandt went to Twitter to issue an apology to Star Trek fans. He also included a link to the original Spock saying "live long and prosper" which was a nice touch.
I’d like to offer a sincere apology to all Trekkies for the inappropriate comparison I made on MSNBC.youtube.com/watch?v=Iu1qa8…
— Clint VanZandt (@ClintVanZandt) July 23, 2012
I thank Mr. Van Zandt for his apology.
NBC analyst suggests CO theater shooter was "Dark Trekkie"
On this mornings "Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd" on MSNBC the host brought in NBC News analyst (and former FBI profiler) Clint Van Zandt to talk about the the shooting at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises. During the segment Van Zandt offered the the following analysis on the alleged shooter in the case James Eagan Holmes:
We know this was a preplanned event. This guy had to buy a ticket – one would assume in advance. He had to assemble clothing, uniform, helmet, gas mask, gas grenade, the weapons. He has to put all of this together. He didn’t just fall off a turnip truck to do this. Is this just the terrible collision between some dark Trekkie-like person’s fantasy world and reality or is it more sinister? Is there a political, religious or other type of motivation other than just someone with emotional challenges.
Trekkies deserve an apology
Of course the real victims are those of the alleged shooter, and I am sure that the thoughts and prayers of all Trekkies are with everyone who have been directly effected by this tragedy. But even in light of that, I still feel that Mr. Van Zandnt’s statement should not go without comment. And it isn’t that he is conflating Star Trek fans with a Batman fans (it has since been reported that Holmes referred to himself as “The Joker” although he painted his hair red and not Joker-green). I question why Van Zandt feels the need to drag genre fans into the mix at all. Hardcore fans of all franchises get enough negative stereotypes from the media and don’t need to be associated with an apparent mass murderer. And using "Trekkie" as a kind of generic to lump all types of hardcore fans just makes it even more offensive to Star Trek fans.
It is the opinion of TrekMovie.com, the world’s largest independent Trek site, that Mr. Van Zandnt and MSNBC should issue a retraction and apology for dragging the millions of Star Trek fans into this tragic story. TrekMovie has contacted NBC News, MSNBC, and Mr. Van Zandt regarding this and has yet to receive a response from any. If we hear back we will update this story.
UPDATE 1: Others also picks up Van Zandt/Trekkie story
The big media observer site Gawker has also posted about this with their story "MSNBC Profiler Wonders if ‘Dark, Trekkie-Like Person’ Was Responsible for Dark Knight Shooting." A number of other outlets have listed Van Zandt amongst others who rushed to judgment, including CNN, USA Today, Reason Magazine, Media Bistro/TV Newser, and Washington Times.