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.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).
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."
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."]