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Kirk: My Ten Reasons

Specifically, my personal top ten reasons why James Tiberius Kirk to me will always be more than "The Best Enterprise Captain"

by Laura Goodwin

 

Most "Kirk is best" lists compare him to Captain Picard of the Next Generation Enterprise, asserting he's the better man of the two for reasons like these:

    * Kirk can wear nothing but red tights and still look butch. (Charlie X)

    * Kirk stole clothes from a Depression-era skid-row clothesline and made those rags look good by putting them on. (City on Edge of Forever)

Kirk has more than sex appeal going for him. His story is a ripping yarn. For example, Kirk survived Kodos the Executioner's pogrom as a kid, and as an adult had the satisfaction of bringing him to justice. (Conscience of the King)

When Kirk was forced by an alien race to fight a murderous enemy without weapons or anyone to help him (Arena), he wasted no time trying to reason with these plainly unreasonable beings. He fashioned a primitive cannon out of a hollow log and local minerals and fired a handful of raw diamonds right into his enemy's heart. Fabulous!

Kirk is no glamor boy: he's FIERCE! He's killed Gods (Who Mourns for Adonis, The Apple), kidnapped and intimidated leaders of nations (Cloud Minders, Piece of the Action, others), threatened a queen with a spanking (Elaan of Troyius), seduced enemy women (Wink of an Eye, By Any Other Name, others), defied all-powerful super-beings (Charlie X, Squire of Gothos, others), got into fights with a Vulcan Ambassador's son (Spock), totally destroyed several different culture's status quos (Taste of Armageddon, many others) and got away with ALL of it. Shoot, he got *promoted* to ADMIRAL.

    * Kirk didn't know how to drive a car with a standard shift, but he gave it a go anyway. (Piece of the Action)

    * Kirk walks with vigor and radiates masculinity. Picard walks like he has a load in his pants.

    * Kirk has more sex appeal alone that Picard's whole bridge crew combined!

    * Kirk would rather have his shirt ripped off than keep fussily tugging it into place like Picard always does with his.

Now look, that last is simply not true. Shatner had to fuss with his costume a lot too. The difference is, in his case, it is fun to watch.


OK, fun's fun, but seriously, this stubborn Kirk worship which will not die is no trivial matter. My assertion is that James T. Kirk is one of the most popular fictional characters of the hero class for many very solid reasons. He's one of the most relentlessly positive and entertaining creatures of imagination that the public of any age has ever seen. To begin with, he's no ambivalent anti-hero hero: he's a straight out HERO hero; there's nothing namby-pamby about his heroism. Dark side - what dark side? He may be rather fanatical and a bit hot-headed at times, he occasionally struggles with doubt and the rare regret, but he is through and through a perfectly decent fellow without being one bit prissy about it. Modern men who are thrashing about for worthwhile role models keep coming back to Kirk, and modern women point to him again and again as an example of what's desirable in a man. This phenomenon demands serious examination.

Kirk didn't exist, so we had to invent him. There is something in our human urges that wants a guy like him to appear. Now that we have him, we can't let him go. He incorporates in one personality some of our most rare and wonderful human qualities, and we like identifying with him, because by doing so we ennoble ourselves. He's beyond centered and authentic, he's utterly sincere: he says what he means and lives his beliefs - and for him, that works. In his world, these qualities are rewarded. In our world, a world where many of us feel courage means compromising ourselves to survive, it's comforting to know that people still enjoy imagining the gallant and dauntless Captain Kirk, and the world of the future that's home for such a man.

OK, here indeed at last is, as promised, my personal top ten reasons why James T. Kirk is not only the all-time best Enterprise Captain, but one of the most wonderful fictional heroes ever:

    * 10) Inspiring - Leads by example, and also gives great pep-talks. His people are amazingly loyal, and this is because of him. He himself is fiercely loyal and dedicated, and his people appreciate it, and emulate him.

    * 9) Passionate - Kirk demonstrates a fanatical degree of focus. Idealistic, big-hearted and true, he has a passion for excellence. He feeds his own fire by surrounding himself with similar super-achievers, and by tolerating no negativity from lesser creatures.

    * 8) Fearless - A heroic, rough-and-ready, can-do kind of guy. Both mentally and physically daring.

    * 7) Resourceful - Makes the best of every situation. Handles problems well on his own, and uses his team well, too.

    * 6) Tough - Takes a licking and keeps on kicking. People who go against him always end up regretting it. He is stubborn, brave, and resilient as hell, with terrific stamina and an indomitable spirit.

    * 5) Appealing - Pleasant, bright and witty, he smiles and laughs easily. He's a real people person. You'd invite him to a party, or to meet your mom.

    * 4) Creative - Finds wicked cool ways to unnerve his enemies, and everybody else. People often give him what he wants out of sheer astonishment at his audacity. He also uses softer methods to win, including a sudden generous gift of pure forgiveness. He also has a gift for sharing his vision of how things should be in passionate fits of eloquence.

    * 3) Smart - Can outwit computers and beat his genius Vulcan pal at chess. What he doesn't know, he knows how to find or figure out. Doesn't clutter his mind up with facts: that's what computers are for. He cultivates his own practical abilities and nourishes his own human wisdom.

    * 2) Farsighted - Has a vision of how things should be and what he can do to make it happen. Sees the big picture, and his (and your) place in it.

    * 1) Sexy - Yes! He's sexy, but he's more than that: he's sexy in a rare and wonderful way. Handsome, virile and not at all shy, he is comfortable with his sexuality. He's masculine, but affectionate: loves to hug and kiss. He enjoys his own body and enjoys giving and getting pleasure. He's a fun guy who loves women, and he also respects them, but he's not wimpy about it. He confidently has used sex as a weapon without compunction when he thought it was appropriate. He is warm and welcoming to women, and has many women friends, but he's a man's man, not "a ladies man", nor "one of the girls". Kirk is physically affectionate with his male friends too, and never wonders for a second if it's proper. He's very touchable. This unique combination of approachability, initiative, and chemistry is the fuel that powers his famous charisma.


Never Underestimate Him...Or Yourself!

Next time you are in a pickle, ask yourself: What Would Kirk Do?

 

 

 

 

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