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In which I am sad

Posted by Robin Abrahams  December 19, 2008 01:18 PM

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Majel Barrett Roddenberry, wife of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry, died yesterday of leukemia. Jezebel has a nice post up about her.

Ms. Roddenberry was known as "The First Lady of Star Trek," and acted in several of the series, most notably as Nurse Chapel in the original, and telepathic uber-cougar Lwaxana Troi in "The Next Generation." She also voiced the computer.

I have loved "Star Trek" all my life. Most Reform Jews, like me, don't believe that a literal messiah will come to earth. But we hold dear the idea of the messianic age, and work toward making that time come to pass. A time when there is no hatred or oppression or bigotry. A time of peace secured by strength. A time when medicine has reached its full potential and illnesses can be conquered and life extended. A time of prosperity for all. A time when individual excellence and service to the community are balanced and in harmony. A time of freedom of thought and belief. A time in which all forms of love and family are honored.

In other words, we hope it's going to be like "Star Trek" some day.

Gene Roddenberry's vision wasn't always perfect. He was prone to the biases of his day even as he strove to overcome them: the show was never truly as non-sexist and non-racist as it should have been. And he had a strong and unreasonable prejudice against all religion.

But for all that, it was still a powerful call of a world we'd like to see. Maybe with fewer jumpsuits, but we can work on that.

First Lady of Star Trek, Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed, you did not live as long as one might hope, but you certainly prospered. You will be missed.

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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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