The Star Trek reboot has been an unqualified success. Everyone loves it, everyone’s going to see it! Star Trek is cool again! This entire week there’s always been some discussion brewing regarding the movie: the lens flares, the science of the movie, the annoying quality of Kirk and his rapid ascent to becoming a captain, Tyler Perry, the significance of young Kirk driving a 1966 C2 Corvette over a cliff, etc.
It’s been all Star Trek all the time this past week for some people. And that may be the biggest indication of the movie’s success. People are talking about it. This isn’t like the last few Trek movies where the die-hards would go to watch it on opening day and then have to go back into the Trek closet come Monday morning.
But there’s one thing that’s been bothering me and I finally put my finger on it. It’s quite possible that the Beastie Boys inadvertently invented Mr. Spock’s Vulcan nerve pinch.
We know the new movie takes place around Stardate 2248, which actually corresponds to our Gregorian calendar.
So it’s not inconceivable then that a young Kirk would have access to an antique Corvette. But what was surprising about that early scene in the movie is not whether director J.J. Abrams was referring to the original Kirk, William Shatner, being unable to pronounce the word sabotage, but the manner with which he used the Beastie Boys song “Sabotage.”
In that scene Kirk hangs up on his rotten Uncle Frank and then flips out his fancy Nokia media player and picks the song in question. By making this choice, Abrams has now created a universe in which The Beastie Boys exist in Star Trek canon. The song wasn’t played over the scene, it was played in the scene. There’s a big difference. If the song was played over the scene, all of this speculation becomes moot.
If we accept that the Beastie Boys were a music group from the 1990s, still being listened to 200 years later when the new Star Trek movie takes place, then we must accept that their song “Intergalactic” also exists within the newly established universe. As we must accept that the music video for the song also exists.
Do you see where I’m going with this? There’s no indication in the new movie that the Vulcan nerve pinch was taught to Spock by the Vulcan elders. But we do know for a fact that around 1997 or so, The Beastie Boys wrote a song with the line:
“If you try to knock me you’ll get mocked / I’ll stir fry you in my wok / Your knees’ll start shaking and your fingers pop / Like a pinch on the neck of Mr. Spock.”
There’s no indication that Mr. Spock, once traveling from Vulcan to San Francisco to attend Star Fleet academy, would have heard the Beastie Boys song “Intergalactic” but there’s also no indication that he didn’t overhear it as well.
Let’s assume for a moment that Mr. Spock was in the library or grabbing a sandwich in between classes. Someone is bumping the song on their fancy Nokia media player and he hears those last few lines. Now, Spock is rather intelligent, so maybe the idea becomes implanted in his head subconsciously and he tries it out for the first time right before he tosses Kirk out the backside of the Enterprise.
There’s also the obvious time travel aspect that could play a role in all of this — that Mr. Spock went back in time to the 1990s and the Beastie Boys saw him do the Vulcan Nerve Pinch and thus led to the line in their song.
But at this point it’s a chicken and egg sort of thing, until we get more information. Correlation doesn’t mean causality and all that. But it’s too weird a coincidence for people to not be talking about.