Random Fact # 12: Wesley Crusher is one of my childhood idols.
Not just Wil Wheaton, who is just 10 kinds of awesome himself, but the character Wesley Crusher.
Typically when I make this revelation, peeps tend to make these at least one of these
The question, I often get is "Wesley Crusher? Really? Why?"
While others are usually bewildered something fierce by this, to me the answer has been simple, I could relate to Wesley Crusher.
I was a precocious child. Blessed and/or cursed as being wise beyond my years, I was always an old soul, thanks in part to proper hometraining and having to grow up fast due to serious real world circumstances. As such I generally despised children when I was a kid. I never could relate to them which is one of the reasons why I never had many friends. Most of them were self-absorbed, petulant and immature. As a child I preferred interracting with adults.
My sister used to joke about when we were kids and she and her friends used to pester me, I would make a snarky comeback and leave them confused and perplexed. It would take them around 20 minutes before they finally deciphered what I said, they would be most nonplussed. I remember this because when I made with the nice/nasty snark I made certain no adults were within earshot else I'd risk being in hot water.
And as much as I had little use for kids my own age, I despised portrayal of young people with a fiery fury of a million exploding suns. Nickelodeon to this day remains a mystery to me. I never saw the appeal of slime or gross humor that kids my age were supposed to think was sooo cool. Which probably explains why to date, the only shows I ever enjoyed on that network were the Tomorrow People, Fifteen, Avatar the Last Airbender (you know the cartoon with actual Asians) and Wolverine & The X-Men.
I was less than impressed with MTV and saw right through its attempt to conflate smut with coolness and edginess. Which is why Daria still perplexes me in that it's one of the few, if not only, shows that MTV did right.
Kids portrayed on television were generally obnoxious and self-absorbed. They would constantly disrespect their parents who asked so little of them. A bunch of pretty privileged white kids would bitch and moan about how hard their lives are because their parents dared give them a curfew or chores or their lives were soooo dramatic because they were striving for popularity or had to decide on dating two of the suitors in school.
These same ungrateful bastards could mouth off to their parents and blatantly disrespect them and the worst they would receive is a good firm lecture. And I would shake my head in disgust. If I even breathed like I had a problem with my parents' rules, time travel would've been discovered because they damn sure would've knocked my ass into next week.
So for me, Wesley Crusher was a godsend. The fact that he's a smokin hawt stud who happened to be a science nerd didn't exactly hurt either. People complained that he was too mature and too capable but as a kid, he was someone I aspired to be. Like myself he could actually hold his owns with the best and brightest adults, professionally and intellectually. Was he a brat from time to time, sure but he was still light years ahead of his teenage peers on television. As one friend said it best, he managed not to be a totally whiny know-it-all brat even with writers that tried their damndest to create that kind of character.. It was cool to see the kid repeatedly pull his weight and save the Enterprise on numerous occasions because it taught me that kids can save the world or do exceptional things.
When the traveler arrived and informed Beverly and Picard that Wesley was a prodigy who was destined for true greatness, it inspired me to be the precocious lad and continue to strive for greatness in my own life.
Wesley made science cool. He didn't make me feel like a freak or an outcast because it was refreshing to see at least one other kid out there who was like me. Someone I could relate to. And while it was awesome to see the disabled black guy creating magic with engineering and pushing the Enterprise to new limits, it was just as important for me to see that young people can make a difference and their age shouldn't be a deterrent.
Seeing the criticism that Wesley receives suddenly puts into perspective the reason why I was denied so many excellent jobs at 16, even though I was overqualified for them. Some folks have an issue being outshined by a teen, a black teen at that.
This is also why I also took to shows like Daria and Buffy. These characters were sophisticated and precocious and were the antithesis of virtually every teen show ever created.
The difference between these shows and the legions of sitcoms and dramas that inundate the airwaves is that the former flipped the paradigm. Most shows utilize the trope of placing characters with sophomoric mindsets in adult real world situations whereas the aforementioned shows and characters placed teens with adult mindsets in an adolescent world.
As a kid of the 80s, I was raised on shows like He-Man, She-Ra, Jem, Thundercats, Captain Planet, GI Joe, Superboy, Power Rangers, The Tomorrow People and others that instilled in children that we had the power to change the world. And we could make right what adults did wrong, in large part because of our idealism and sense of wonder.
What's tragic is that I don't see any shows like that anymore, with the exception of maybe the Sarah Jane Adventures which is a throwback to exceptional children's programming.
We need more Wesley Crushers. To remind young people that they can aspire to true greatness and to remind adults why they should never underestimate young people.
And there's something I've always wanted to say but couldn't less I catch a beatdown from every geek alive. Something I'm going to get off my chest right now. For all those times I've been asked, "Wesley Crusher? Really? Why?"
WESLEY CRUSHER IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tru Fax! Tru Fax!!!!