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NY Times ‘Star Trek’ Op-Eds: Set Phasers on Overkill

Wow. I get that op-ed writers and hoary old newspapers like to make themselves more relevant by tying into pop culture, but the New York Times’ Week in Review section features not one, not two, but three separate pieces today drawing cosmic significance from the new “Star Trek” movie.

Maureen Dowd’s attempt to link President Obama to Mister Spock was at least entertaining, though I’d put her on columnist probation just for sneaking in the term “Rahmulen” (get it? As in Emanuel).

The other salvos came from Columbia professor David Hajdu, who weighed in on “Trek” history; and Dave Itzkoff, a regular contributor to Arts & Leisure, whose own piece sought to tie cultural trends today to those that existed when the original series launched in the 1960s.

All that was missing was a couple of paragraphs in Frank Rich’s column somehow blaming George W. Bush for torturing the fan base and killing off the TV franchise with that imprudent excursion into “Enterprise.” (Notably, both Rich and Dowd explored the difficult economic climate facing journalism, which is certainly on most print wretches’ minds right now.)

Newspapers are obviously grasping to widen their appeal, but piggybacking on summer movies doesn’t sound like a sustainable longterm strategy.

In the meantime, brace yourselves for next week’s Week in Review section, which will focus on what “Angels & Demons” tells us about U.S. attitudes toward religion and whether we can truly achieve salvation through watching “Terminator” movies.

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