Okay, I’ll push my luck. I finally took my older boys to see the new Star Trek movie, and liked it fine. Not having watched every episode of the original series multiple times, they didn’t get a lot of the references, but there were lots of explosions, so they were pleased. I don’t usually like time travel stories, ranking them just above holodeck cop-outs, but in this case it served a long-term purpose. Among Trek fans and writers, it’s always been the position that only the TV series and the movies were “canonical” — i.e., genuine events in the Star Trek universe, while the novels and comic books (not to mention all the fan-authored stories) were not. But this movie has created an alternate timeline, and thus the possibility of an infinite number of alternate timelines. So instead of a Star Trek universe, there’s now a Star Trek multiverse, where everyone’s story (even the fatuous Kirk-Spock love stories) can be “canonical,” because they take place in a parallel universe! That was always possible (remember Spock with the goatee), but now it’s not the “real” world’s evil twin, but an equally valid alternative. Maybe the next series could rip off the defunct Sliders TV show and hop into a different alternate Trek universe each week.
Anyway, did anyone notice the flags at the back of the great hall at Star Fleet Academy where several scenes took place? I couldn’t tell what all the flags were, but one was clearly the California state flag (since it’s in San Francisco), and the American flag was absent. So California continues to exist, but the United States does not, even as a component of a global government? I would expect no less from Hollywood.