Fansubs and Global Society

Watching Star Trek growing up, I always looked forward to a global, unified humanity. That was part of the picture of hope for the future of humanity that Star Trek painted. In the Star Trek mythos, this global humanity emerged after first contact with Vulcan explorers. In the real world, it looks like a global humanity is emerging due to the internet, fansubbers, and bit torrent!

It is truly amazing to see how much people will go through in order to enjoy and share stories across cultures and languages. This is happening even in the face of prosecution and harassment from media content owners who don’t seem to realize that fansubbers are not criminals, just really avid fans. Before the internet made it possible to follow news and trends around the globe as easily as those in your own backyard, it wasn’t a big deal to get a foreign show or movie in your own language years after the original release. But clearly fans are not willing to wait that long. And while others would say, tough luck, I think it really says something about humanity that we want to share each other’s stories sooner rather than later. I mean, why should someone in one culture ever want to see a story set in a culture that may not share any of the values in yours?

Maybe the truth is that we all share enough values simply because of our shared humanity. Maybe we really are more alike than different afterall. It’s too bad that the media companies are only interested in control and profit. Wouldn’t it be cool if they gave their fans what they want, near simultaneous global releases, and we could someday look back on this sharing of culture as the unifying moment in the history of humanity?