I was 10 years old when Star Wars came out, and when Star Trek was on TV in a continuous loop of syndicated reruns.  A common playground topic was which of the two rocked harder, and the debate continues to this day, fueled by schticky banter on youtube between Shatner and Carrie Fisher.

 

Perhaps in an early display of mediation sensibilities, I embraced both shows, with props to Star Wars for fabulous special effects and Campbellian heroes, and big ups to Star Trek for its 1960's political allegories that even a child could grasp.

 

Three decades later, enter George Takei -- Star Trek's Lieutenant Sulu -- to broker Star Peace.  Geoge Takei is all kinds of awesome, what with his mellifluous voice and championing of gay rights.  His strategy for bringing harmony to the Wars and Trek factions?  Unite against Twilight fans (which I just learned are called Twihards). Takei suggests that Twilight's Robert Pattison -- Count Sparkula -- can't hold a phaser or light saber to James T. Kirk or Luke Skywalker (though I'm sure there are fanboys and girls that wouldn't mind seeing him sink his chompers into Jar Jar Binks).

 

Uniting against a common enemy -- i.e. the enemy of my enemy is my friend -- can be an effective way of resolving conflict.  The United States and Soviet Union maintained a wobbly alliance throughout World War II...followed by 45 years of saber-rattling, proxy wars, espionage, and the nagging threat of thermonuclear war.

 

Bringing it closer to home, in our Brooklyn office, we see our fair share of love triangle disputes, e.g. involving two women who come to fisticuffs over the man they're both seeing. Through mediation, they sometimes see the silver-tongued Casanova as the true enemy, and thus call off their beef.

 

As mediators, sometimes it's enough just to stop the fighting, and sometimes the common enemy thing can be a convenient device for doing so.  And it can also be a powerful tactic for speaking truth to power, and even in bringing about broad social change....witness the Arab Spring, which coalesced all sectors of society to bring down oppressive regimes.

 

The trick is to dig deeper, beyond the immediacy of vanquishing the common foe, to explore the future of the relationship once the enemy is toast.

 

So, George Takei, you're off to a, er, stellar start...and let's start thinking about a durable Star Peace once the Twilight Series is relegated to the Star Wars trash compactor of history.

 

 

from http://thehecklist.wordpress.com

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