the final frontier

Why Did Trump Just Rip Off Star Trek?

Photo: CBS Photo Archive/CBS via Getty Images

Donald Trump is obsessed with the creation of the Space Force, for reasons that remain mostly unclear. We do not need it right now, and he’s wasting money that doesn’t belong to him. It is true that making a sixth branch of the military may allow him to claim that he supports the troops more than any president before him, simply because he is trying to create more of them. But after Friday, we must allow room for another possibility. Perhaps Trump is a giant nerd in addition to being a huge weirdo and an authoritarian bigot.

On Twitter, he proudly unveiled the official logo for the newest branch of the military.

The tweet amuses on its own merits. Trump’s verbiage has a unique quality to it. Everything must be superlative. The military must be not only magnificent but Magnificent. And the logo itself doesn’t bear much resemblance to the trademarked logos and seals of the military’s other branches. Many feature eagle, for example. But this? No eagle. Logical, perhaps, because there are no eagles in space, but eagles are not fish and that fact did not prevent the U.S. Navy from putting one on its seal.

Instead, the Space Force logo bears a striking resemblance to a much-loved science-fiction property.

The Space Force logo resembles that of Starfleet, the military force of the United Federation of Planets. Yes, we are talking about Star Trek — but is Trump? The president does love television. Maybe he likes Star Trek, though the series doesn’t seem like his natural fare. Maybe someone was making a joke, and no one caught the joke, and here we are, contemplating the stupidest possible outcome of events. Maybe a consultant thought it would convince kids to sign up for the Space Force. You know, it’ll be just like Starfleet, except for the part where you’re in a military with a major white-nationalism problem. Or maybe it’s a viral marketing campaign for Star Trek: Picard, which premiered yesterday on CBS, but this seems very unlikely indeed. Trump bears no resemblance to the former captain of the Enterprise — not physically, not spiritually, not intellectually — so this is probably just what it seems, a dumb rip-off.

It bears remarking that Trump’s values are simply not in line with those of the Federation, which eliminated poverty and hunger and even the headache. Though the cost of its medical services are never clarified we can reasonably assume, given the general state of things, that health care is free. Trump would hate it.

If the Trump administration would like to pay homage to the science-fiction genre with its latest misbegotten project, there are other possibilities, but most are satirical, and are thus beyond Trump’s ken. The entire Space Force enterprise (sorry) will more likely resemble a straight-faced version of Starship Troopers. This is not a compliment.

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