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October 18, 2017

Beam Me Up

Captain James Tiberius “Jim” Kirk is the original captain of the Enterprise and the only man worthy of the job.

Loren Javier/Collegian

Loren Javier/Collegian

Let me put it this way: just because something is new, doesn’t mean it has improved. Take the new James Bond movies for example. Sure, there are better effects, modern plot lines and the dashing Daniel Craig in a bathing suit, but it just doesn’t compare to Sean Connery’s silky delivery of the lines, “shaken, not stirred.” Newer versions of the same thing would like to think they are original, but it is really just mimicry.

Characters are rebranded all the time and themes are continuously rehashed in our culture. Captain Jean-Luc Picard is just one example in our culture of when themes are revitalized to continue a story through a modern lens. The cast of the original Star Trek became too old to continue, but the characters and concepts were so beloved that our culture yearned for some sort of sequel, a continuation of the same thing but shown in a different way. Thus we have the creation of Picard and “The Next Generation.”

But Picard is not worthy of steering the Enterprise into the depths of space and beyond, and here are the reasons why

  1. Kirk could drop-kick Picard any day. He’s clearly younger and in better shape. In episode two of “The Original Series,” a shirtless Kirk wrestles with a 17-year-old boy and punishes him with his fierce love handles.
  2. Picard drinks Earl Grey tea – not exactly the most machismo beverage in the galaxy. The original Enterprise is always having a sweet time. Scotty drinks scotch, Chekov drinks wodka and McCoy is often seen with a mint julep.
  3. Picard is French. He comes from a line of surrender monkeys. His family has a vineyard. Kirk is from Iowa. His family owns all of the corn lobbyists in D.C.
  4. Kirk gets the ladies, even the extraterrestrial ones. He doesn’t discriminate. Kirk loves green women, purple women, 300-year-old women and giant stone genetalia, and had the first interracial kiss on television.
  5. Picard tries to get with the doctor on his Enterprise, who is his best friend’s widow … not cool, bro, not cool. Kirk also tries to get with the doctor on his Enterprise, but it’s more of a budding bromance. “Damn it, Jim. I’m not gay, I’m just bicurious.”
  6. Kirk is justifiably overly confident, never giving room for doubt or questions of morality. Just look at all the security personnel willing to put their safety in danger. Those redshirts trust Kirk for a reason.
  7. Kirk goes on ALL of his away missions, when Picard stays on the ship most of the time. Kirk likes to get dirty. Also, away missions in “The Original Series” involve giant bunnies, sex pollen, gangsters and Nazis, and rolling around on the ground with Spock. I would go on dangerous away missions too if they meant acting out Cold War allegories using every piece of clothing in the costume department.
  8. Who would you rather hang out with at a party: Picard, the guy who would have a nice philosophical discussion with you? Or with Kirk, drinking Romulan ale and hitting on Klingon babes?
  9. Three words: William freaking Shatner. Also: The Shat
  10. Kirk is the only captain to ever complete the Kobayashi Maru. Sure, he broke into the lab before the test and altered the program to make it passable. But then he gets away with it and is subsequently rewarded. With Kirk, cheating is winning.

Emily Felder is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at efelder@student.umass.edu.

 

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