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:
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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?
Artist Brooke Barker uses her Instagram to document both sad animal facts and her delightful sense of humor. You can see some of my favorites below and learn more on her Sad Animal Facts website. Read the rest
All you need to make these movable Wolverine claws are 15 popsicle sticks, six rubber bands, a piece of paper, and glue. Here’s a second, slightly more terrifying version that uses actual blades:
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In this new upload, video essayist KaptainKristian explores the history of Wonder Woman as a progressive symbol. Read the rest
In this video for Mental Floss, linguist Arika Okrent and illustrator Sean O’Neill share the keys to understanding commonalities between languages.
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TED-Ed host Kenny Coogan and animator Anton Bogaty offer a crash course on sloth evolution. Interestingly, it turns out we might not have avocados without them. Read the rest
In their quest to celebrate all things junk food, HellthyJunkFood hosts JP Lambiase and Julia Goolia construct a truly supersized Egg McMuffin. Read the rest
MinutePhysics explains how to chart the rate of expansion of the universe. Read the rest
“The world’s smartest film about the world’s dullest premise.” Read the rest
This adorable little Xenomorph will be available in July, but itty bitty Ellen Ripley is available right now. Read the rest
In this relaxing video, YouTuber Jordan Clark talks through her process for making a keepsake travel diary. Read the rest
Foodie Dan Pashman of You’re Eat It Wrong shares tips and tricks for mastering the all-you-can-eat buffet. Read the rest
SciShow host Michael Aranda digs into the question most airplane travelers have probably asked themselves at some point. Read the rest
In this new video, YouTuber and fandom expert Jill Bearup digs into the history of the fanfiction “Mary Sue” and offers a compelling defense of the much-maligned character archetype. The video is part of Bearup’s ongoing “History Of Fanfiction” series, which started with her delightful argument that Virigl was a Homer fanboy:
Bearup also uploads all sorts of great videos about pop culture, fandom, and feminism, like this exploration of whether or not you can slut-shame fictional female characters:
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Boing Boing has previously highlighted Japan’s Henn Na Hotel or “The Weird Hotel,” a hotel almost entirely run by robots. But this new video from British expat Chris Broad actually takes viewers inside the animatronic establishment itself. Read the rest