Saturday, April 05, 2008

Give them what they want

During a six-month hiatus from writing here at Back With Interest, I was amused to note that, according to my Site Meter stats, my hit counts only went up and up. Here's why:
  • I once linked to a picture of a nearly naked Juliette Lewis.
  • I once linked to a picture of a nearly naked Rachael Ray.
Let this be a lesson to any web scribe trying to attract readers.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Hailing frequencies open

One of my favorite Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stories is recounted by -- wait for it -- William Shatner in his memoir Star Trek Memories. It was told to him by his "Trek" costar Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura:
I was sitting at my table and I was chatting and saying hello to people when all of a sudden a man comes up to me and says, "Miss Nichols, I'm sorry to bother you, but there's someone over here who would really like to meet you." And I said, "Well . . . uh, I guess that's okay," at which point he leads me across the floor and up to a table that's surrounded by a lot of people, and he says to me, "I must tell you, the man that wants to meet you is a big fan, a really great fan."

And now I'm thinking to myself, "Well, that's nice," and suddenly the man that's led me through the crowd sort of squeezes in through the people around the table, and the next thing I know, the crowd sort of parts down the middle, and sitting there smiling at me is Dr. Martin Luther King.

So now I'm immediately thrilled. I mean, Dr. King is a fan? Of MINE? And we exchanged greetings, and he told me how much he enjoyed "Star Trek," and about how happy he was that I was part of the cast.

And so I told him about what had been happening in regard to our scripts, and about my meeting with Gene, and that I had actually decided to leave the series.

And he looked at me and said, "Don't do this. Nichelle, you can't do this. Don't you know that the world, for the first time, is beginning to see us as equals? Your character has gone into space on a five-year mission. She's intelligent, strong, capable and a wonderful role model, not just for black people, but for all people. What you're doing is very, very important, and I'd hate to see you just walk away from such a noble task."

That just floored me, and I realized that there was a real responsibility attached to what I represented each week. So I came back into Gene's office Monday morning, told him the whole story about me and Dr. King and I told him that I was absolutely, positively staying. And from that point on, Uhura's importance became a little more clearly defined, and the scripts featured her a little more prominently . . . not always, but at least on a more consistent basis.