I think it’s kind of funny, David, that you are so worked up about something so trivial as a woman having a traditionally male name, but don’t take my remark the wrong way: your strongly-held opinions are what make you enjoyable company.
But I do have to take exception to one particular point:
As just a few random examples, let me give you quotes from the excellent book Gene Roddenberry: The Last Conversation: A Dialogue with the Creator of Star Trek by Yvonne Fern.
“What is androgyny exactly?” he asks.
“It means neither male nor female. Both, I guess. Or maybe, not either.”
“Well,” he says thoughtfully, “I hope I’m not either.”
“I’m sorry that I have never had a homosexual relationship,” he remarks pensively, out of the blue, one afternoon.
“Because I know that there must be many joys and pleasures and degrees of closeness in those relationships. I think that I have in a way been cursed by having picked my particular time period and background and so on, because I have no doubt that I am capable of homosexualism.”
“Do you think everyone is? Bisexual, I mean?”
“Oh yes. But you are a piece of your particular world, and the different strengths of emotions that formed you and so on. The things you were taught to regard as correct. But I am very pleased with the fact that I have come out of that way of thinking, in my time. As a matter of fact, remind me–I’m in the midst of making a decision about homosexuality, male and female, and how we are going to treat it on Star Trek, the lovely ways in which we will treat it, without defying present average conventions.”
“Remind you what?”
"To mention that I am presently thinking very deeply about that."
By this I assume that this will be subject for a later conversation, when he has made his decision. It never is. His hour of death is approaching.
Let me also refer you to Gene’s solution for when someone complained that the dresses in TNG were too skimpy. Just put men in the dresses, he said, and so they did.
This does not strike me as a man who would be troubled by giving a masculine name to a female character.
Gene would surely have taken issue with the conflict among the crew in the new show and the dark final sentencing scene at Starfleet HQ. But the gender-bendy stuff, Asian female captain, the gay couple who will feature in the forthcoming episodes; he would have loved, loved, loved it all.
Gene was the original SJW, way back when that was the most fringe position a person could take, and certainly before it was, so to speak, a thing. What seems most interesting to me about this new show, where it is truly pushing the envelope of tolerance is that it’s not just exploring tolerance and sympathy for all the divergent forms of human background and self-expression (old news; Star Trek has been doing that since the 60s), but it’s also dancing around tolerance and sympathy for the Klingons, who in this series have been imbued with a reactionary ideology of cultural purity, driven by a fear of diversity and cultural assimilation in the form Federation encroachment, like a dispatch right from the Breitbart Qo’nos bureau. They’re delving deeply into the Klingons’ point of view—their fears, and their morally ambiguous, plausibly honorable motives. To humanize the folks seeking racial purity is truly pushing the envelope when it comes peace and tolerance, which is exactly what Star Trek is supposed to do. Star Trek is supposed to make you feel uncomfortable; it’s not about virtue signaling or patting ourselves on the back. It’s about understanding that there are dark and terrible things at the heart of human nature and it takes constant work and vigilance to transcend them—work that Star Trek itself aims to do (see “A Taste of Armageddon,” “The Drumhead,” and so many others).
We live in a country that can almost be said to be fighting a Cold Civil War right now. On the one hand we have those who seek to shut down our open society on the grounds of preserving American “cultural identity.” On the other side, we have people getting fired merely for writing a post to a forum suggesting psychological differences between genders (which everyone, especially in the behavioral sciences, knows exist), even though the express aim of that memo was the empowerment of women. We have thought police, utter intolerance, and proto-fascist bigotry on all sides. And it’s tearing our society apart.
So, perhaps I’m reading too much into the Klingon monologue (though it is literally the first thing we hear in the show), but if it is what it seems to be, that’s why I think Discovery will be exactly what we need right now. If Star Trek can teach me understanding and tolerance for people who hate the idea diversity, it will be a literary accomplishment indeed. It will certainly be making me uncomfortable and challenging my ideas. And that, I think, is what we ought all to seek from any good Star Trek show. No matter where you are on the political spectrum—whether it challenges your feelings about gender-bending names or the motives you ascribe to the alt-right—I say that discomfort is all part of the Trek experience, and always has been.
I, for one, can’t wait for Sunday.