Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Sexy Lean

Enough with the theology!
Thank you, Margaret, for recalling me to my other love, Captain Kirk--who worries not at all about Augustinian convolutions--by blogging In Defense of Shatner today. (Check out her link to a clip of the beautiful boy Bill was in 1964.)

I. Spock in Armor

But I want to start with Spock.
Thank you, Art Sparker, for sending me this photo of Leonard Nimoy a while back. It reminded me with a jolt how sexy I found Mr. Spock when I was in high school.

I know many people love Quinto's Spock, but he doesn't interest me.
Though I'm no longer smitten with Spock prime, I agree with Henry Jenkins's explanation of his sex appeal, and why the new Spock doesn't have it, in his smart post "Five Ways to Start a Conversation About the New Star Trek Film" (May 12, 2009, on HJ's blog, Confessions of an Aca-Fan):
"The mystique that surrounded Spock from the start had to do with things he was feeling but could not express: he is a deeply divided character, one who broods about where he belongs and how he relates to the other Enterprise crewmembers.
But this film makes it look ridiculously easy for him to get a girl friend and he is surprisingly comfortable necking with his pretty in the transporter room, an act that it is impossible to imagine Spock prime doing. The original Spock was a deeply private person.
It isn't that the new film has made Spock Sexy. The old Spock was a whole lot sexier than the new Spock for all of his hidden depths and emotional uncertainties: the new Spock is just too easy all around and there's no real mystery there.
He isn't sexy; he's having sex and that's not the same thing at all."
Looking at this photo of Nimoy leaning on his car--guarded, limbs crossed, but more relaxed than Spock--I realized that Spock never (?) leans with his whole body (unless someone else is in his body or he's sick/infected).
He usually remains rigid, holding it all together, protecting his inner pain, which is what first attracted me to him when I was thirteen and felt the same.

It took me a long time before I stopped finding pain romantic, before I learned you can't magically heal someone by getting them simply to relax enough to show you theirs in the small hours of the night.
I know, now, what it does to a person to hold themselves stiff, physically and psychically. Being locked in body armor is about as romantic as foot binding.

[For more on the phenomenon of body armor, read "Brace Yourselves", on the shiatsu blog Grace in Gravity. Thank you, Momo, for putting me onto this blog.]

II. The Kirk Lean

And then we have the captain.
I've written before about how rarely he stands to attention. Rather, he drapes himself on anything to hand, like a big cat relaxes with total abandon, and for the same reason: he feels safe in his body and comfortable taking risks in the world.
(Yeah, he's on the ground here, in "Shore Leave" 'cause he's getting beat up, but we know he likes it--he even tells Spock so.)

I imagine Mr. Shatner was also plain old glad to take a load off his feet during long days of filming. But he could only do it because it fit his character. One of the benefits of playing an idealized version of himself, I guess.

Here he is, leaning on the 23rd century equivalent of a sports car: the spaceship in "The Alternative Factor."



[I almost forgot that the rude-person parody of K/S slash fanfic refers to Kirk as a tawny lion. Or was that just my twist on it? (I checked, and yep, if was me riffing on Virgil, it's not part of the original parody.) Anyway, I have Spock visualize Jim as a tawny lion in my rude person vids "Virgil Says Relax/Don't Sleep."]


Annika said...

Our Finnish Friend sent me a link to an eyewitness account of life at the Star Trek set in early 1969. Maybe you've read it, it's from a book called Star Trek Lives. Interestingly in this context, the author (who got to give William Shatner a neck-and-shoulders massage!!!) mentions that his muscles were very tense, so hard that she had a hard time getting a good grip. Apparently body armour comes in different styles!

Of course, I still agree with the insights in your post. I'll always think of Kirk as a bundle of nice, soft muscles and free-flowing energy.

Fresca said...

I am so happy to see you.
I feel that I psychically called you forth, as I was thinking of you and Our Finnish Friend the whole time I wrote this.

I imagine Shatner's muscles were tense from work and exercise, like an athlete's--he just needed a nice sauna and a beating with birch twigs (or whatever those twigs in saunas are) to loosen up... : )

ArtSparker said...

Shatner is looking wonderfully "thinky" in that triptych.

There's body armor, and there is also what Otto Rank called personality armor (I haven't read Rank, just his explicator, Ernest Becker).

And oh that classic female fantasy, healing the wounded male...I'm afraid it takes some of us longer than others to learn we don't have superpowers.

Fresca said...

Yes! That's *it*, Sparker: the fantasy of healing the wounded... [male or otherwise, but there's a special hook if sex is involved, even theoretically]

I'll have to look into "personality armor." Thanks.

What is Kirk is thinking about here?
a) Finnish history
b) what's for lunch
c) the nature of the parallel universe

The Crow said...

I see now I'm going to have to set aside and entire weekend to go through your entire blog. I laughed until I though my bladder would pop over the Disinherited, then you point us to the Kirk-Spock romance, as predicted by Virgil.

I am so happy this afternoon - so happy with laughter and supreme silliness, I can hardly sit still.


Margaret said...

I love your Kirkian insights. I would have never thought of such a concept on my own, but it makes wonderful sense now that you point it out. There's something so honest and human about the way he drapes himself on everything. I've noticed he does that with people, too. I call it the "Kirk hold" when he grabs both arms just beneath the shoulders, as if he might draw them into an embrace any moment, (and my God, he must do this to Spock at least 5 times every episode).

Ginga Squid said...

I'm glad you are not blocked here in New Zealand! That made me chuckle!

Fresca said...

CROW: You made me silly with happiness too with your comment. Thank you. I'm glad my vids give pleasure.

MARGARET: The Kirk hold! Yes!
I'm so intrigued by and attracted to Bill's comfort with his physical existence and his easy command of space (not outer space).
When I went to the Las Vegas ST con in 2008, Sandra Smith, the woman who played Kirk in a woman's body (in the last episode, as you know, "The Turnabout Intruder"), said that to play the captain, she just tried to claim her physical space the way Shatner did.
How much life is acting!

GINGA: Turned out one vid is blocked in Germany (!) for musical copyright infringement... (not censorship of content, after all, just the octopus arms of big business).
This side of youTube boggles my mind.
Glad it gave you a chuckle!

The Crow said...

I had to come back to watch the vid again, because there was something erotic about it that slipped in under my consciousness and bugged me all day. It is the scene subtitled 'his disturbing body.'

This afternoon, I realized what it was. My first husband stood in a doorway in a similar pose which nearly brought me to my knees with instant desire - have no idea why. Why Sly Stallone did the same thing in Rocky One, I melted into the theatre seat. I couldn't tell you what happened after that point in the movie; my mind was elsewhere.

Do you suppose it goes all the way back to when we were ape-men and ape-women? You know, the way chimps hold their arms up when power displaying?


Fresca said...

CROW: Bless you for this comment. : )
The way the erotic slipped into the K/S parody surprised me when I made it. I'd begun it as a lightweight giggle, but as I worked on it, it showed itself to have some heft and heat.

I actually am a fan of looking at evolutionary biology to explore some of our behaviors.
Like, maybe there really is something about a display of upper-body strength that triggers our life in the trees--chimps with strong arms bring home the bananas?
Similarly I am riveted by the beauty of female swimmers' backs.

"Rocky" is in my top ten favorite movies--very melt inducing, yeah...