Expect an outcry among manly men and sci-fi purists (not necessarily the same group) who go to see the new movie Star Trek Into Darkness. While the film apparently delivers the requisite thrills and aliens, there's a scene in which the Vulcan character Spock, played by Zachary Quinto, cries. And not just a tear or two trickling down his cheek during a touching moment, but a full-on crying jag.
Nothing new about Spock evincing emotion, of course. On the original Star Trek series, it was established that Spock's father was a typically stern Vulcan but his mother was of Earth origin, thereby making him prone to weak, earthly behaviour.
Over the show's three-season run (1966-1969), Spock, as portrayed by Leonard Nimoy, displayed emotion a grand total of three times, and on two of those occasions, it was due to some manner of alien interference.
But no such plot devices are required to make the pointy-eared hero weep in the new movie; he simply starts crying at a weak moment during the performance of his regular duties. Even more unforgivably, the story's central villain, played by British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, also cries in the film!
Can you imagine the reaction if the macho villain Khan (Ricardo Montalban) began crying in the 1982 feature Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan? Trek fans would be throwing their imitation phasers in the garbage.
But three decades removed, we're in a time and mindset when it's considered fine for anyone and everyone to weep openly at the slightest provocation.
Cases in point: The U.S. House speaker John Boehner is probably more famous for crying in public than any of his political accomplishments. The website politico.com recently created a photo gallery of his 13 most memorable crying moments. The man certainly goes through hankies.
Across the pond, British Conservative MP George Osborne garnered considerable amount of negative publicity last month when he wept openly at the funeral of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Apparently, Osborne was only nine years old when Thatcher came into office and never really met the lady, but he was just moved by the moment.
To be certain, there's nothing wrong with men or women crying. Obviously there are times in life when tears are appropriate, and can even improve a situation.
For instance, a man trying to rob a bank in Greenwood, Ind., the other day changed his mind when the bank teller began crying. He actually told the teller he felt guilty and to go ahead and call the police.
But more often than not, the tears are coming from a person simply overwhelmed by the moment and unable to control their emotions. Witness the current viral video of a Toronto Maple Leafs fan's reaction to his team's playoff loss to the Boston Bruins on Monday night. Impervious to the efforts by his friends to console him, the diehard Leafs fan acts as though there was a death in the family.
There's always next year, pal.