Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's up with Kirk?

I saw the new Star Trek last weekend. It was great, but can someone explain to me why the new James T. Kirk is such a jerk?

I've seen various other websites describe him as a "dick" and a "douchebag."

Take the whole "Koboyashi Maru" Scenario. Sure, we always knew he cheated to beat the test, but I always figured it was more... clever? Stylish? Here, his behavior is completely inexcusable in a military academy cadet. Not only does he basically throw an inartfully-created glitch into the system -- the power even shuts off for a moment -- he acts like a cocky punk through the whole thing. Kirk might as well scream, "Hey! I'm cheating here."

So when he gets called before the Starfleet Academy honor board, I was all for drumming him out of the corps in disgrace. He actually makes things worse in the board through his behavior; he doesn't fess up to what he did, he refuses to see the point of the test, and he turns the accusation on the Academy by saying the whole test is a cheat. Try doing any of this in a modern day US military academy and see how far you get as a cadet... He acts like an incredibly immature boob. Even if the military has slacked off on discipline by the warp-speed era, why would they trust this guy with an expensive starship and a highly-trained crew? Put him under a strict officer to act as a mentor and break this stallion.

I know, the old Kirk (the "Shat Kirk") could be cocky and obnoxious, but he wasn't like this...


Dan Dorman said...

I agree. Just posted my own thoughts on the film. What's worse is in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan he actually says he was given a commendation for "original thinking" after beating the test. Besides, this movie had far worse problems than betraying Star Trek canon. It's a real turd sandwich.

jrf said...

I talked to someone who suggested that Kirk didn't really cheat. The way he interpreted the scene, Kirk realized that the test reacts to whatever the "captain" does. This is why Kirk just sits around through the first half: by doing nothing, the test doesn't know how to react. Then, when the test fizzles, Kirk takes decisive action.

I still interpret the power-glitch as the cheat code Kirk inserts into the test. He's waiting for it, and knows what will happen afterwards.

I'm an old English Major -- stories matter to me. Popular stories seep into the culture and have effects. Take, as another example, the young man I spoke with who thought everything was okay because Kirk saved the universe. So, that's the message we want to send: Have an enormous ego, cheat, and suffer no consequences.

Dan Dorman said...

"stories matter to me".

Amen, brother.

This one however was in dire need of some new writers.