Naturally, we all wanted to be Worf. We all wanted to be Klingons. Worf’s solution to any problem was to attack. In the episode Justice we found out Worf didn’t enjoy sex with human females because they were too fragile and he had to show restraint. Our big joke around pretty girls was Hey, show some restraint. In Hide and Q the ideal Klingon girl jumped Worf and she was grotesquely hot. Worf was combustible, noble, and handsome even with a turtle shell on his forehead. Next to Worf, we liked Data because he mocked white people by being curious about stupid things that the crew would do or say, and because when gorgeous Yar got drunk he declared himself fully functional and had sex with her. Wesley, the one you’d think we’d identify with, our age and a genius, and with a careless mom who let him get into trouble, did not interest us because he was a bumbling white town-baby and wore ludicrous sweaters. We were in love of course with the empathic half-Betazoid Deanna Troy, especially when the show let her hair go long and curly. Her jumpsuits were low-cut, her red V belt pointed you-know-where, and her big head and short curvy body drove us wild. Commander Riker was supposedly hot for her, but he was wooden, implausible. Better once a beard hid his baby cheeks, but we still wanted to be Worf. As for Captain Picard, he was an old man, though a French old man, so we liked him. We also liked Geordi because it turned out he was always in pain because he wore the eye visor, and that made him noble too.
The reason I go into this is that because of this show we set ourselves apart. We made drawings, cartoons, and even tried to write an episode. We pretended we had special knowledge. We were starting to get our growth and were anxious how we’d turn out. In TNG we weren’t skinny, picked on, poor, motherless, or scared. We were cool because no one else knew what we were talking about.
This passage, from Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, which made it to the hold shelf in my name quicker than I ever expected (thanks to, um, all the people in the district who do the job that I do, hooray us) is the best passage I’ve read in a contemporary book probably ever, contains everything you ever need to know about Next Gen, really, truly, and within that, every reason Next Gen mattered, and was resonant, and continues to resonate. This is practically a rote list, exactly anything a Next Gen devotee will tell you—Wesley is a little shit and that says something about the nature of genius and/or little shits, Data is the cleverest character even though he’s not even human or living and he’s there to remind us about the fragility/dumbness of humanity (and, for advanced readers, empire), Riker is a babyface, and “Justice” is the absolute most important episode, along with any Q episode. You could find more or less exactly this catalogue on any forum since the dawn of message boards, and yet, here, like this, it is elaborate and tonal and gives you so much in terms of space, character.
The character misspellings and misnamings are interior and purposed.