Saturday, April 25, 2009

"I love you, man!"

Apologies to anyone who was relieved I'd stopped writing much about Star Trek. With the new movie coming out May 7--I have tickets!--my delirious adoration and intellectual fascination have revived.

I. Shakespeare/Star Trek Links

Can't let this slip away yet: here's the link to my latest Star Trek vid on youTube:
Kirk/Spock: The Marriage of True Minds (Shakespeare Sonnet 116).

I googled Shakespeare + Star Trek and found this post, "Trekspeare", on the blog Bully Says: Comics Oughta Be Fun! Bully embeded 20 Shakespeare-related Star Trek youTubes (not fanvids, but only half are The Original Series) on April 23, 2009. I hadn't realized it's Shakespeare's birthday then, or 'round then--perhaps I was picking up messages from beyond the grave: "Make a Kirk/Spock vid with my sonnet."

This article, Shakespeare in Star Trek, provides some of the original Shakespeare texts behind Star Trek references.

II. Cowboys and Spacemen

OK, here's the link to Andrew Collins's review of the new Star Trek film, from today's London Times--no synopsis, no spoilers, just a reassuring overview from someone who, like me, finds "it tricky to accept any substitute for the original cast commanded by William Shatner," but liked the movie anyway: "Star Trek Chimes with the Times".

There's a link on same page to "I Love You Man: A History of Bromance", a look at ten film pairings, including Kirk and Spock, who exemplify romantic male bonding: "Bromance, or to use its correct term homosocialism, isn’t the sort of attraction that’s likely to confuse cowboys."
Well, sure, there's even a Star Trek vid set to "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other", by Ned Sublette, and while it uses the Pansy Division recording, Willy Nelson found the concept convincing enough to cover it too.

[By the way, I'm wondering--male characters in pop culture, like Batman and Robin Hood and Dr Who, have gotten more complex, but I haven't noticed the same being true for women characters. Am I missing something?]

III. Kirk's Sexy Back

My vids are getting a bit unbalanced, though, with 4 out of the 7 being Kirk/Spock slash vids. While the Kirk/Spock-undying-love theme has been central to the show's attraction for me since high school, (when, in fact, I thought Kirk was unattractive), now not only do I adore Kirk all on his own, in all his ridiculous pomposity, but I'm stunned by the pleasing geometry of the captain's form. The beauty of the curve where his back flows into his waist here, for instance...
But I haven't really focused on the honey bear, except for the one vid, "Kirk: To His Mistress".

My next vid needs to right the balance--I am ready to spend many happy hours looking for examples of Kirk standing like Michelangelo's David, as below, or the rare times when Shatner gave up face time and let himself be filmed from behind. No problem, except I've got a ton of work to catch up with, since I've basically done nothing since Easter, when I had surgery.
I've even got the poem picked out:
"I Sing the Body Electric", by that American master of bromance, Walt Whitman. So perfect for an Iowa farmboy who works in outer space.

(If only Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" fit, but insofar as anyone takes for real Kirk's death in Star Trek Generations, which usually we don't, it wasn't that sort of death. [2.25 minute video of Shatner on Kirk's death.])

Anyway, if you don't know "I Sing," it's a big, overblown, sensory, romantic mess (like most of Whitman, I think, or America, or Shatner, for that matter) with a few good images. Here's a sample:

"But the expression of a well-made man appears not only in his face;
It is in his limbs and joints also, it is curiously in the joints of his hips and wrists;
It is in his walk, the carriage of his neck, the flex of his waist and knees—dress does not hide him;
The strong, sweet, supple quality he has, strikes through the cotton and flannel;
To see him pass conveys as much as the best poem, perhaps more;
You linger to see his back, and the back of his neck and shoulder-side."

I've said before, I think Chris Pine, the actor playing the new Kirk may be too hard-bodied, too much of what Mark Simpson called a "drag-king/frat boy" for my liking. Of course, this is the current ideal, which prefers machine lean to "strong, sweet, supple" qualities. But it's not mine.

Shatner's Kirk has his brutish John Wayne moments, no doubt about it; but, as I wrote in an old comment, I imagine the young Kirk being more like a sweet-corn-fed homecoming king, just shedding his puppy fat, relishing the homecoming queen like a pig at a trough... while being confused about his strong feelings for his teammates.
Well, we shall see. I'm not really worried because, whatever comes, we'll always have Pyris.


Annika the Hopelessly Charmed said...

His back makes me use multiple exclamation marks!!!! I have, seriously, never been this enamoured of a man's general *shape* before. Kirk's curves, you know? There's a scene in Trouble With Tribbles where Kirk is talking to McCoy and the back of his head, his neck, his back, and his butt form this long, fascinating curve. Then there's his upper arms and shoulders, of course, and his back, that's triangular, yet rounded. Even the shape of his head is sexy. It's insane.

fresca said...

I'm glad I'm not alone in my insanity, Annika! Kirk's body really makes beautiful S curves. Like you, seriously, I have never been so struck by a man's geometry.

bink said...

I have to stand up for Dr. Who to say that the women on that show have definitely improved since the 1960's. Come on! Donna! She rocks. I liked Rose and Martha...and they too are a big improvement over the women in the 1960's shows.

I also have to say that the women in the 60's Brit shows like Dr. Who (Sarah Jane) and the gals on Blake 7 are less lame and more fully developed than their American counterparts of the same time period.

Honestly I don't watch enough American TV to know how women in Sci-Fi shows have evolved. The Firefly females were alright--though still a bit overly attractive. ( Seems like American actresses have to be beautiful or ugly/fat enough to be "character actresses" about ordinary for a change?)

fresca said...

You're right, bink. Donna was like a real person, annoyances included.

I guess women characters gained a lot of complexity in the early days of feminism (1970s) and have been holding steady since then in American pop culture.
I watch almost no TV so can't say, but there're still few movies that can pass the Bechdel Test:
1. There are more than one woman character,
2. who talk to each other
3. about something other than men.