On “Kirk drift,” the strange mass cultural misremembering of Captain Kirk

In this really fantastic long-form essay published in the online magazine Strange Horizons, Erin Horáková digs into the weird way William Shatner’s James T. Kirk has been collectively misremembered by popular culture. As she writes:

There is no other way to put this: essentially everything about Popular Consciousness Kirk is bullshit. Kirk, as received through mass culture memory and reflected in its productive imaginary (and subsequent franchise output, including the reboot movies), has little or no basis in Shatner’s performance and the television show as aired. Macho, brash Kirk is a mass hallucination.

Horáková walks through the phenomenon in great detail because, as she notes, “I believe people often rewatch the text or even watch it afresh and cannot see what they are watching through the haze of bullshit that is the received idea of what they’re seeing. You ‘know’ Star Trek before you ever see Star Trek: a ‘naive’ encounter with such a culturally cathected text is almost impossible, and even if you manage it you probably also have strong ideas about that period of history, era of SF, style of television, etc to contend with.”

Horáková goes on to explore the ways in which “Kirk drift” is connected to toxic masculinity, history, culture, and so much more. For instance:

The heterosexism goggles, which derange content via chauvinist interpretive paradigms, become not just inaccurate but horrifying when we look at episodes like “The Gamesters of Triskelion.” How would you read the scene in “Gamesters” where Kirk, terrified (with some reason) Uhura will be sexually assaulted and that he’ll be able to do nothing to help her, seduces his own captor in an effort to protect Uhura and get his people out of this situation if Kirk were a woman?

Read the rest

Infamous Kirk vs Gorn scene made funnier with squeaky rubber suit sound f/x

The epic fist fight between Captain Kirk and a man in a lizard suit was a low water mark for Star Trek. Mario Wienerroither made it even worse (and therefore much better) by removing the music and adding squeaky rubber suit sound effects.

(Thanks, Matthew!)

Another fine piece of work from Wienerroither: Read the rest

William Shatner was none too pleased with his green Star Trek costume

On a panel at Comic-Con last Thursday, William Shatner shared his opinion about the green shirt he had to wear as Captain Kirk on Star Trek. And it wasn't favorable. The problem was it was just too darn snug, making him feel uncomfortable. "It was a little embarrassing after lunch to have that tight green thing on." And, according to CinemaBlend, it wasn't just the lunches that made him self-conscious.

Besides the practical inconveniences, there was clearly an element of embarrassment from walking around the studio lot wearing something that one might guess to be the Easter Bunny’s karate gi. This is especially true considering that it was a time when westerns still dominated and science fiction was generally ostracized.

But Shatner was good-natured in his wardrobe dissing and complimented costume designer Bill Theiss for all of his hard work. For more details on Shatner's past and future costumes, click here. Read the rest