What I’ve Been Reading

Last Week’s Links

Happiness increases after consumption of fruit and vegetables, study finds

orangesWe know we should eat lots of fruits and vegetables to keep our bodies healthy, but new research suggests this approach may also help our mental health as well. The study out of the University of Warwick, to be published soon in American Journal of Public Health, found that:

people who changed from almost no fruit and veg to eight portions of fruit and veg a day would experience an increase in life satisfaction equivalent to moving from unemployment to employment. The well-being improvements occurred within 24 months.

Star Trek and the Kiss That Changed TV
Star Trek: The Exhibition
Star Trek: The Exhibition

“Everything I need to know about life I learned from Star Trek” has long been my motto. I’m talking specifically here about the original series featuring William Shatner as Capt. James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock.

Finding this article truly warmed my heart. Natalie Haynes writes that Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura, said that Gene Roddenberry, the series’ creator, believed in a world of tolerance: “He believed in that world, if you got it you got it. If you didn’t get it, you’d see it anyway.”

It’s a neat summary of the allegorical complexity of Star Trek: if you get the subtext, you get it. If you don’t, you just see the surface story. Whenever Roddenberry or his writers had a political point to make, they tended to use allegory as their best way to get that point across. One of the joys of Star Trek is that our crew is constantly exploring, constantly curious. So there is always a planet, a species, a story which can throw its illuminating light upon the less exotic world of the earthbound viewer.

Haynes examines how the same approach continued in the later Star Trek spinoffs, The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. I haven’t watched all of the episodes of the later shows, but I cannot forget the lessons that the original series taught us about racism, greed, war, despotism, and other dark aspects of human nature.

© 2016 by Mary Daniels Brown

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