Your co-workers are all Star Trek aliens

It's Star Trek weekend, so here's a Trek-centric look at The Mess We're In.

The strength of Star Trek has always been its ability to make us look at ourselves -- our own human traits, good and bad, projected onto "alien" species.

Klingons are the ultimate romantic warriors, quoting literature while blowing one another away in the name of honor. I have known many mild-mannered reporters who were Klingon in heart and soul, longing to wield the bat'leth against management -- or, if necessary, other reporters. They will not get very far, nor accomplish much in the big picture, but they will feel superior in their epic failure.

Romulans are the ultimate bureaucracy, relentlessly organized and internally focused. They have lots of committees and meetings. They would run the human resources department. Maybe IT as well. Surely they would love Microsoft Exchange and the Bluecoat content-filtering firewall. The security guard at the front desk is a low-level Romulan functionary.

Ferengi, my favorites, typify the senior decisionmakers of the American-style corporation, with their Rules of Acquisition eclipsing any lowly hew-monn ethics. Their hunger for acquisition knows no bounds, leading them occasionally to their own destruction. The Ferengi have taken over everything from our obviously overleveraged media companies to the local Starbucks. Why am I singling out Starbucks? Just look at what they peddle: an overpriced froth of unhealthy sugar and fat, "giving the public what it wants" in a never-ending quest for "growth" and "shareholder value." A Ferengi would sell his own grandmother for a profit and tell any lie necessary to do so. Surely Rush Limbaugh is just a fat drug-addled Ferengi.

Vulcans, of course, are unflappable, relentlessly logical, and currently in control of the White House. They really do want you to live long and prosper, so long as it's prosperity within their logical and scientific framework. You are not ready to use that warp drive. Not yet. And remember, a Vulcan never lies. Unless he needs to for the good of all.


You missed the Jem'Hadar, these are similar to the Romulans in that they are relentlessly organized, but they are also brutally efficient at killing anything that stands in the way of the mission. Newsroom budget's been downsized? Send in the Jem'Hadar, they'll weed out the most expensive parts of the operation and fire them with no remorse. Just another day at the office. Hope you don't ever have to work for one of these.

Then there's the Tamarians, who used to write for the book review section, which has been shelved by the downsizing of the Sunday paper.

Stepping outside your newsroom, there's the Borg—the "soulless" Web page that cropped up out of nowhere and assimilated the links of you and your competitors in the form of multiple RSS feed displays.

The Binars communicate in, you guessed it binary. Oh you don't speak binary? Well don't try communicating with IT then. They are capable of amazing achievements and incredible efficiency, but for reasons known only to themselves they may occasionally seize control of the ship and send it whizzing to another part of the galaxy. You will be unable to stop them because they will district you with a shiny new bit of technology. I think the Tamarians are Marketing. They speak only in metaphors