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Michael Roberts
Byrne Robotics Member

Joined: 20 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 11978
Posted: 30 April 2017 at 5:49pm | IP Logged | 1  

Commentary on how there is a cultural misremembering of Kirk as a

The actual essay linked in the article discussing this is a bit of a slog to
read through and too steeped in academic gender theory conjecturing
why Kirk is misremembered, but it's well-cited with regard to Kirk's
relationships on the show.

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Greg Kirkman
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Joined: 12 May 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 14944
Posted: 30 April 2017 at 9:33pm | IP Logged | 2  

I've been saying this for years!

And, one of the greatest sins of AbramsTREK has been reinforcing and cementing this idea into modern pop culture. Sigh.
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Brian Hague
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Joined: 14 November 2006
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Posted: 01 May 2017 at 4:38am | IP Logged | 3  

As with most myths, there is some truth to rumor, but not nearly as much as the public thinks. Kirk was a 60's era TV character, with romances aplenty. There used to be a joke about an entire hillside on the Ponderosa dedicated to the graves of all of Little Joe's young brides-to-be. 

Not only did Kirk have a number of weekly romances, he was given backstory relationships as well. The "little blonde lab technician" may have been Dr. Carol Marcus*, Ruth, or Dr. Janet Wallace. She probably wasn't Areel Shaw or Dr. Janet Lester. 

Kirk used to try to seduce his way out of trouble fairly often. There's Shahna, Sylvia, Kelinda, Deela, and the Andrea android whose programming he tried to confuse; Successfully apparently.  He tried to seduce his way into trouble with Lenore Karidian. He rather shamelessly flirted with Dr. Miranda Jones to keep her occupied. And there were times he just couldn't help himself such as with Rayna, Odona, Miramanee, or Edith Keeler. Surely he can't be held to blame for his night with Proconsul's Slave Drusilla. He didn't set that up. And his involvement with Nona, the Kunutu Woman or the Elaan of Troyuus wasn't entirely his idea, either. Of course, he actively kept admirers such as Yeoman Rand, and Miri at arm's length. Or did he? What really did happen that night of the Christmas party with Dr. Helen Noel? Then things never really had a chance to get started with Mudd's Woman, Eve, or Marlene Moreau, or at least they didn't with the first Marlene... With the second, he might have become "friends."

There were times he wasn't the aggressor, such as with Marta, who clearly had her own agendas, but Lotharios and Romeos don't have to initiate every encounter, either. A certain amount of momentum builds up, and women occasionally at least like romance at least as much as the next guy. Even if she suggests something first, the guy isn't off the hook for going along with it.

On one hand, that's a lot for a single three-year period, and his past might suggest a similar density of involvement prior to what was shown on television. In the films, we have him charming Dr. Gillian Taylor and the metamorph Marta to get what he wants. Those who read the novel know who the woman in the transporter beam was supposed to be. Unfortunately, Vice Admiral Lori Ciana didn't live long enough for the rest of us to find out. Or fortunately, as it turned out... 

The ones who accuse Kirk of an active love life and taking an aggressive stance towards keeping it so have a case. We in the audience know how often his intentions towards the women are sincere and we know how often they aren't. Kirk is said to be a man of deep feelings and this is shown often. He's not just racking up points or looking to score as the reckless punk version of the character in the Bad Robot film suggests. There's a deleted scene in which NuKirk makes a half-hearted apology to a fellow cadet concerning the outcome of their date and only realizes half-way through that he's apologizing to the wrong woman. He got mixed up because of her skin color, y'see. All green girls look kind of alike, right? Ha. That anyone would think that joke works at all in a modern context, never mind that they think it's the right kind of joke for Kirk, shows how clueless the creative team on that project was. Well, at least they had the good sense to take it out of the film.

Kirk as a Ladies Man is a makeable case. If your roommate scored this often over the course of three years, you'd want to know how. We can engage in a defensive hail of "No, because..." arguments for each case, but the result will remain the same. Spock as a leading man, albeit a second leading man, on a 60's TV show did well for himself as well in attracting women. So did McCoy. Even Scotty and Chekov made out all right. 

TV is about life as we wish it were, and romance is engaging, fun, and dramatic. Kirk himself takes his involvement in such matters seriously for the most part and in general treats the women he's interested in with respect. Those he's merely using, he merely uses, and they're right to call him on it. 

If you're looking for a pattern of serialized womanizing, you can see it. If you'd prefer to view Kirk as a more measured and compassionate sort of man, that is onscreen as well. 

I have a friend who cannot look at the 60's Star Trek. At all. She can't watch a single episode of it without screaming with derisive laughter throughout.  Part of it is that she simply hates William Shatner. As an actor or a celebrity or for whatever reason, she just doesn't like the guy, and for her, Kirk is just Shatner. She can't make any accommodations for him. That Kirk is clearly a mature, clever, likeable, and decisive character being played by Shatner makes no impact on her. She sees only what she wants to see, and I believe Kirk's critics in regards to his "womanizing" do the same. 

In general, he's physically rough with women. He grabs their arms and lifts them to him. Watch him seize onto Natira in "For the World..." and drag her across the room. Now watch it again. It's not pleasant. 

I like Kirk and I'm more likely to be on his side than otherwise, but the rumors of his brashness and machismo aren't absent evidence. He's more than that, to be sure. His confidence and emotional reserve come at a price to him, and he's far more reasoning and less reactive than his critics would have us believe. He is by-the-book and not against it. 

But he also kisses a lot of people. Even when he's not in his own body, he's kissing Dr. Ann Mulhall, who's not exactly herself either. It was the 60's. Times were different and the demands of episodic TV were simply a cross our heroes had to bear. Overall, Kirk bore his burden well. Even cheerfully a good deal of the time.

* Yes, the timing's off, but there's nothing to say they didn't get back together at some point.

Edited by Brian Hague on 01 May 2017 at 4:49am
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John Byrne

Busy Doing Nothing!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 111145
Posted: 01 May 2017 at 6:34am | IP Logged | 4  

And, one of the greatest sins of AbramsTREK has been reinforcing and cementing this idea into modern pop culture. Sigh.

Abrams got the trouser cuffs wrong. As I have said before, a very minor thing, but a quick test of whether or not the rest is going to be right.

The Great Bird of the Galaxy is in the details.

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