What You Don’t Know…
Sherman, set the Wayback machine to 1987. Specifically, September 28. I was 19 and a college freshman at James Madison University. The reason that specific date is important though, is because that was the date that Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST: TNG) premiered on television. I think most geeks, of which I am one, are familiar with ST: TNG. It premiered in “87 and ran until ’94.
It was a fun show, but I, along with many other viewers, did not really like the character of Wesley Crusher played by Wil Wheaton. For me, maybe that had something to do with the fact that he was the star of the movie Stand by Me in ’86 as Gordie Lachance and I had a hard time accepting him as the ‘genius-boy-of-outer-space’ after seeing him in that role; maybe I just found him annoying and wanted him to “Shut up, Wesley.” Whatever the reasons, let’s just say Wesley wasn’t my favorite character.
Fast forward to now. Wil Wheaton is a prominent recurring character on The Big Bang Theory, and an outspoken advocate for mental health issues (his remarks from the NAMI [National Alliance on Mental Illness] Ohio conference). He has his own website (wilwheaton.net) that you can visit to read about the books he’s authored, his podcasts, his acting, and, of course, his blog.
I just happened to read that NAMI Ohio speech linked to above a few weeks ago, and the way he wrote and some of the stories he told made me feel like I needed to seriously rethink my opinion of his portrayal of Wesley Crusher.
I have read more of his blog entries and done some ‘research’ (not real research; basically just looking-things-up-on-Wikipedia-type research) about Wil Wheaton and I definitely have a new-found respect for him. I learned a lot about him that I was not aware of, and had I known, I wouldn’t have been so rough on the guy and his acting chops.
The lesson here once again reminded me how important it is to be cognizant that we don’t always know somebody’s whole story and an individual may be dealing with a condition and/or other life circumstance that impacts how we view them. So, I realize that I should not have been so quick to judge Wil Wheaton and similarly, I shouldn’t be judgmental of others. Probably a good idea for all of us to incorporate into our own thoughts and perspectives.