June 14 2024

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Mack: IDIC Means Everyone

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MackVanguardIDIC-081214

Star Trek Author David Mack responded to a critical fan email and showed just what “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations” should mean.

The unnamed fan was upset over a same-sex relationship depicted in Mack’s Star Trek: Vanguard: Harbinger novel.

“David Mack will probable never read this email but I am writing it anyway,” said the fan.

“I purchased and started reading your book, Harbinger and stopped when I got to the part where the Vulcan was having a homosexual affair with the Klingon spy. I deleted the book from my E-reader and will never purchase another volume authored by David Mack. You can call me a homophobe or use any other excuse you choose to write me off but the truth is homosexually is not universally accepted and I get to decided what I read and I choose not to read any more of your work. And on top of that no Vulcan would consider the situation ‘logical’. You can’t just remold the Vulcan persona to suit yourself.

“I am just letting you know that you have lost at least one reader.”

But Mack did read the email and he responded via his blog to the fan. “Well, the author of that e-mail might not have been looking for a reply, but he’s going to get one,” said Mack.

“If he thinks the fear of alienating a few closed-minded readers is going to stop me from writing stories that feature and promote characters of diverse backgrounds—including LGBTQ characters, persons of color, and people who belong to ideological or philosophical minorities—he must be out of his mind. I’m a fucking Star Trek writer. Hasn’t he ever heard of IDIC—’Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations’?

“Most of my writing work to date has been for Star Trek. Although the various television series could have done more in their respective times to portray ethnic and gender diversity, those of us who write the licensed Trek fiction continue to do our best to depict a more progressive, enlightened, open, and harmonious future, not just for humanity but for all sentient beings. One in which love, equality, and compassion are the touchstones of civilized society.”

“I will never be made to feel shame for doing this,” said Mack. “I am proud that we’ve been able to do this. I know we’ve still got more work to do, and we can do better at integrating more diverse viewpoints and characters into the ever-expanding universe of Star Trek.”

More of Mack’s response can be seen at his blog, located here.

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81 thoughts on “Mack: IDIC Means Everyone

  1. This fan is not alone. I’m not interested in reading about gay Vulcan/Klingon love stories either, but good for the fans that are. This is the number one reason I don’t watch most fan films. Funny thing is most of the people who would defend gay anything with the IDIC seem to stop short at Conservative Religious views. I’m confused, if it means EVERYTHING, should that not mean EVERYTHING? Or can we finally admit that there is no such thing? You can’t mix water with oil.

  2. Good for you, Mr. Mack! Star Trek fans owe it to ourselves and to the fandom to be broad-minded and accepting of differences.

    As for the “logical” nature of homosexuality, remember that Vulcan is a DESERT planet. They can’t afford unlimited population growth (not that Earth can, either, but a desert planet can afford it even less), yet all Vulcans must have mates, because of pon farr. That means that homosexual relationships are actually quite a logical thing for a desert planet to have; I can well imagine that Vulcan society might even encourage them.

  3. Does the 2% have to be EVERYWHERE? Can’t I even read sci fi without hearing about it?

  4. It’s always amused me how the people who shout the loudest about IDIC (something Roddenberry dreamed up to make a few bucks from mail-order trinkets) don’t actually believe in it themselves.

  5. Homosexual relationships are not logical for Vulcans, as they are (probably more than human being) aware of the fact that sex serves reproduction purposes. For a Vulcan sex has nothing to do with joy and pleasure, therefore a homosexual relationship is simply illogical.
    And by the way: Homosexual can be considered as normal as the next person wants it to be – but I would really prefer not to be confronted with this stuff in the books I read. In my family and in my circle of friends, neighbours etc is not one single gay person, which proves that a novel without gay characters are not unrealistic.

  6. “For a Vulcan sex has nothing to do with joy and pleasure”

    I don’t believe you can find a single depiction of Vulcan sexuality in the TV, movies, or books that matches what you’ve said here. I’m not unsympathetic to your larger perspective, but Vulcans in pon farr aren’t seeking logic, and Vulcans in committed relationships clearly have the capacity to experience joy and pleasure from sexuality and other aspects of the relationship.

  7. David Mack has clearly, angrily, and profanely given his answer above. The answer is “no.” You WILL read about these things because he is more “progressive” than you.

    I am not expressing a value judgment about that or about whether or not it is right to not want to read it; I am only pointing out that he clearly expressed his own such value judgment and associated intention.

  8. That’s pretty much it. Mack’s alienated me from his work, all right, but not because of the homosexual sub(?)plot (gay characters have been showing up in Trek books for a long time) but because of his public venom toward one of his readers.

    I’ve never been impressed by grandstanders of any stripe. Rather than simply sending a civil, professional reply to his reader, Mack instead decided to make a public example of him, ’cause hey, he’s A Fucking Star Trek Writer. I guess Mr. Mack can strike me from his list of readers, too, ’cause there’s probably a viewpoint or two I hold somewhere along the line that doesn’t meet with his philosophy of Infinite Diversity in Approved Combinations and I’d hate to offend his open-minded sensibilities.

    Grow up, David. Have enough courage of your convictions not to publicly freak out when somebody questions them.

  9. OK, I don’t care about a gay relationship, but a Vulcan? That doesn’t make sense. Pon Far happens once every seven years, and it is completely about procreation… So How would that work out? do Vulcans have casual sex? I have never heard of it, except for T’Pal… But she is a woman (obviousy,) so I just don’t know?

  10. Did you not read? This guy is not one of his readers anymore. Were I in Mack’s place, I would be proud of losing that one.

  11. Here we go again. The same antigay people getting their knickers all in a twist because a same-sex relationship was portrayed in STAR TREK. This same kind of explosion of righteous indignation happened when “Star Trek: Phase II” prominently featured a same-sex relationship as a pivotal plot point. And then the put-upon cries of, “All you unholy, sodomite liberals are intolerant of our intolerance!”
    Look. We get it. Depiction of LGBTQ characters doth offend thy delicate sensibilities. Because it’s icky and scary and God made Adam & Eve, not Adam & Steve, and sex is strictly for procreation, and why are you shoving the Gay Agenda down our throats (no pun intended)? The fact is, Gene Roddenberry believed in a world where everyone – EVERYONE – had a place. Where we got over (or at least were much better at dealing with) prejudice & bigotry. IDIC means accepting everyone as they are on their own terms. How boring this world would be if we were all the same. We should CELEBRATE our differences, our diversity. And hey, it’s okay to agree to disagree – even if we cannot meet somewhere in the middle and try to understand one another, then at least we can be civil about it and COEXIST PEACEFULLY. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
    It seems to me that this controversy is always stirred up by people who freak out over the inclusion of gay characters in STAR TREK. Look, I don’t like militarism, war, the violation of people’s civil rights (in the form of government suppression or a government spying or manipulating them), destruction or abuse of the environment or ecology, misuse of scientific discoveries for personal gain or military advantage, exploitation of others… ALL of those elements have been included in TREK, whether it be in books, movies, or tv episodes. I don’t see anyone writing furious missives complaining about that stuff. I’m gay. I don’t write outraged emails to the authors of TREK novels featuring straight relationships. I guess my point is, it always seems to be started by someone who is antigay going on a self-righteous rant. I WILL give the indignant ex-reader ONE bit of credit: He won’t read any more of Mack’s books. Look, if you KNOW something will upset or offend you to that extent, then LET IT BE. STAY AWAY FROM IT. STICK WITH SOMETHING THAT YOU WILL ENJOY & THAT WON’T SEND YOU INTO A FIT. Hey, I know Fox News will make my blood boil and my brain reel from the BS they shovel out on a daily basis. So I don’t watch it. Granted, the reader in question did not have any foreknowledge of the gay relationship in the book. But if he had, would he have simply avoided that book and peacefully moved on to another one? Or would he STILL feel the need to log his discontent with the author?
    Incidentally, I haven’t read Mr. Mack’s book, but I’m willing to bet that the characters featured in the offending same-sex relationship were male, right? ‘Cause sexually frustrated hetero guys are SO offended (and NEVER turned on) by girl-on-girl action, right? ‘Cause THAT wouldn’t be hypocritical AT ALL, now, huh? 😉

  12. Nope. Think you’ll get over it, or will you have to kill yourself? Let me know if you need a gun!

  13. Whiny Jesus goons can have any views they want to have. They can express those views if they so desire. What they don’t get to do is trample on the free speech rights of others. If they want the freedom to say whatever they want about other people, they can just deal with it when some of those other people point out that religious conservatives are violent, stupid filth.

  14. Is Mack himself gay? Does anybody know? In my experience straight people are not that obsessed with gay characters as gay people are – who are btw a rather whiny bunch who constantly complain about this book or that show not having gay characters. When I watch a movie or a series I never, really never say that the story is missing a gay character. What i sometimes say is that in a certain story the gay character was completely superfluous since his only contribution was being present and being gay.
    This is the same with all other minorities – they become part of a story when they actually needed, but while gays always complain about missing gay characters, I hardly ever hear the disabled complain that there was no guy in a wheelchair in that movie.
    Maybe we should add a gay transsexual man who was formerly a lesbian woman with afro-asian forefathers driving around in a wheelchair, so everyone can be happy!

  15. Yes, gays are the whiny, obsessed ones here, not the people in a tizzy because they’ve been exposed to gay cooties in a Star Trek book.

  16. Well, Mack does say that “we’ve still got more work to do”, so stay tuned.

  17. If you are really as disturbed by gay people as your comment history indicates, I have a feeling this is going to be a rough lifetime for you. Guess it’s too late for a Middle Ages re-do?

  18. Yes, they are.(Read what I have written, and you will understand) And as long as gays complain about stories without gay characters, straight people have every right to complain about gay characters in books like this one. Or did I get something wrong re. equal rights?

  19. Well, I was about to reply to your post but I fell asleep after the first line. I must have read this nonsense so often that i couldn’t help but fall asleep. If you find something new and original to write please let me know …. zzzz zzzzz zzzz

  20. So you also think that all the humans that live in or near a desert are homosexual? Can’t follow your “logic”

  21. It’s always a shame when the closed-minded don’t keep their mouths closed as well.

  22. Pon farr is not solely about procreation, it is simply an unstoppable sexual drive. Vulcans can and do have sex at other times, just every seven years… they gotta.

  23. Right. I see this as an asshole-versus-asshole situation.
    Mr. Mack has a right to write about what he wants; people have a right to read it or not read it as they see fit.
    The irate reader seems to be allergic to “teh gay cootiez”, as though he’s going to catch “gay” from reading a book. This is silly.
    Mr. Mack makes a valid point about tolerance and then shoots himself in the foot by responding fairly angrily himself. But he’s a fucking Star Trek writer! No, that doesn’t make it all better.
    I sigh and shake my head whenever people get all a-tither over (insert minority here) being in a work of fiction. Heavens forfend they actually have to encounter a/n (insert minority here) living openly in real life.
    Yes, Star Trek is about tolerance. Characters’ religions are not often discussed, because they are not always germaine to the story. This doesn’t however mean that the characters are all atheists; it’s made plain from time to time that many if not most of them are religious to one degree or another, and of those the majority do seem to be Christian– McCoy, Archer, O’Brien, Scott and Kirk spring quickest to mind. However they don’t make a big deal out of it, likely because they are constantly encountering people who believe differently than they do. Religion in Star Trek, like sexuality, is a nonissue unless it becomes a point of conflict.
    Raging at someone about their intolerance is pointless. Intolerant people often have issues to work through, and screaming at them that they’re intolerant! often just reinforces that intolerance. Talk to them, and if they won’t talk, let them go and figure it out themselves.
    That said;
    I fail to see why a Vulcan of any stripe would be banging a Klingon spy.

    Well, other than that Klingons are dead sexy.

  24. Possibly, but doubtful. Vulcans don’t seem to be inclined to “bang the gong” often enough for it to make a difference. Besides, I’m sure birth control is also logical.

  25. Yeah, darn those (whatever 2% means)! Why can’t they just stay in the refrigerator next to the lettuce where they belong?

  26. So… black people have never complained about stories without black characters? Asians? Irish? How about Down’s syndrome? ALS? Klingons? Are them stinkin’ queers the only people who have ever complained of underrepresentation?

  27. Excuse me. Milojthatch is not a “Jesus goon”; he tends to state his point and discuss it in a civil manner, so long as people aren’t calling him silly names. Give it a shot, he might surprise you.

  28. I see IDIC as a constant process, like “inner harmony” or “whirled peas”. People have got to learn to get along, and there are a lot of cases where a blanket “I accept everything!” does not work.
    It’s telling that it’s a Vulcan philosophy, and did not originate on Earth. If you were to put say, Jerry Falwell or Sarah Palin in a room with a Vulcan, and Jerry/Sarah were to talk openly about their views and their beliefs, a Vulcan is more likely to engage in the discussion dispassionately and civilly. They may not agree, but they’re not going to get all upset at the other party.
    This is something that people here on Earth have a bit of a hard time with.
    I don’t see these differences in belief as being insurmountable. It’s going to require some tolerance and give-and-take from all sides; for instance, if I say “I don’t think Muhamed is the one true prophet”, I’d prefer you not respond with a zagrit and a waved sword. I’d rather talk first about the things we do have in common, and work from there.
    That is what IDIC means to me, and why I think it’s an important concept.
    Incidentally, my main criticism that scene you’d probably rather not talk about in Blood and Fire was not that it had two men kissing; it is that it had the longest and most overt display of affection I’ve seen in any Star Trek production to date. I’d have been just as annoyed if it had been, say, Kirk yiffing two ensigns to the Beastie Boys for that long and to that degree.

  29. Yes, you missed the part where “equality” means not having your existence erased to appease bigots who are uncomfortable with stories that reflect the full spectrum of humanity. You don’t have to like homosexuality, but you don’t get to tell gays to get back in the closet so you can pretend they don’t exist.

  30. 2% refers to the number of homosexuals in the country, as determined by the last US census. They put the number at 2-3% of the population, although I’m sure it probably seems like more due to the media and activists

  31. Well, Conservative Religion usually has some anti-IDIC built into it in the first place (re: attitude towards gays), so it’s no wonder they don’t feature prominently in the Star Trek universe (fanfic/film OR canon). Why should Star Trek embrace something that goes against its core values? But, you’re right that you can’t have EVERYTHING.

  32. Social conservatives have every right to find gay people distasteful or sinful, or wish they didn’t exist or weren’t visible. You just don’t have the right to be free from challenge or derision when you express those opinions.

  33. 1. Vulcans are not humans. 2. I never said anything about ALL.

    The letter-writer that Mr. Mack was replying to said that homosexual relationships were inherently illogical; I’m merely saying that having some Vulcans have gay relationships actually makes quite a lot of sense for a desert planet, where keeping the population small would be crucial, yet all Vulcans must have spouses because of pon farr.

  34. Ah, but contraception would only become available after Vulcans had achieved a certain level of technology, and their relationship patterns would have been set centuries before then.

    I have no idea how frequently Vulcans who AREN’T serving on starships have sex or how fertile they are. But if they live for ~200 years, that’s another factor to consider — they’d have more years available in which to reproduce than humans have, but they’d need replacement people less frequently than humans do.

  35. I didn’t say he was, nor did I mean to imply he was. I was referring to the violent christian filth I’ve had to deal with for most of my life.

  36. Mmmmm I dunno; sheep’s intestines (or the local equivalent thereof) are hardly high-tech, and human relationship patterns changed tremendously after birth control became cheap and effective.
    I don’t see any reason for there not to be gay Vulcans, since in the Trek universe it’s been established that most humanoid species were genetically seeded by those bald earless guys, and therefore it’s a fair assumption that they will have a similar percentage of homosexual and bisexual individuals. As for it being a logical solution to overpopulation, that would have had to come after the Vulcans’ own period of bloody warfare was ended by Surak. (“Eww! Surak’s a fag! Eww!”) Personally, I think Vulcans are most likely to shrug and say it’s a private matter and nobody else’s damn business.
    I remember there being an uproar over Tuvok when Voyager first went on the air. I was a little puzzled at first, but then realized it was nice to get a break from the typical Trek alien monoculture. (It would have been nice to get a little cultural backstory on him; did black Vulcans come from a particular part of the planet, did they have a distinct cultural heritage, so forth.) I see gay Vulcans and Klingons as much the same– a lesson that not every individual in every species is cut from the same cookie. You’d think humans would know that by now.

  37. ” In my family and in my circle of friends, neighbours etc is not one single gay person…”
    …that you know of.

  38. Ah. I’m curious, what are your thoughts on “tyranny of the majority”?

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