Homer Simpson Marches on Washington: Dissent through American Popular Culture

By Timothy M. Dale; Joseph J. Foy | Go to book overview

FOREWORD
The Influence of Captain Janeway

Kate Mulgrew

One Thursday afternoon, the phone rang. I picked it up and an unfamiliar voice said, “Captain Janeway, I just wanted to be the first to welcome you aboard. Shooting starts Monday at the crack of dawn. Get some rest. You’re going to need it.” This voice belonged to the mastermind behind the Star Trek franchise, Rick Berman, and though we would occasionally lock horns over the next seven years, it was essentially a love affair. He knew how to work, and so did I. At no point during the entire run of the series did either of us admit defeat. It was a matter of pride, a matter of two type As in silent competition, the confidence of experience pitted against the confidence of conviction. Most important, it was the first time in the history of this multibillion-dollar franchise that a woman had been voted into the captain’s seat. Both Paramount and Star Trek stood to lose vast sums of money if I failed to attract their most devoted demographic: young men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five—you know, the guys in charge of the remote control (and the mortgage and the bank account). For the brandnew network labeled UPN, Star Trek: Voyager was its flagship show, and I was the first female captain to walk onto the bridge of a starship and issue the signature command, “Engage.” I was also the first captain to have more than seven hairdos within a season, a corset sewn into my space suit, and a bra that resembled an alien species. I was puffed and shorn and stuffed and lit and scrutinized by every executive on the lot. I was criticized and cajoled, alternately patronized and petted. It’s as if they had all gone out of their way to find this exotic animal who could, in fact, walk and talk and act at the same time, and yet when she appeared on deck, they were stunned to discover that under that feline coat was, God help us, a feline. They set about trimming and coaxing and battling this gender problem as only men who

-vii-

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