Tuesday, September 28, 2021
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This or That: Kirk or Picard?

The CNN GOP Debate (or “mass press conference” as Boortz more accurately termed it) is over.  There was a lot to criticize about the format, including John King’s “utting” and the outright silliness of the “this or that” questions.  I was online while watching the debate, and reading aloud for my husband some of the more humorous suggestions for additional “this or that” questions that were coming in on the Twitter feed:  Team Edward or Team Jacob?  Rocky Road or Pistachio?  Mary Ann or Ginger?  Boxers or briefs?  My own – which I never got around to tweeting –was “Kirk or Picard?”

After reflecting for a couple of days, I’ve decided that maybe that question is more serious than when I threw it out on Tuesday night.  I’d actually like to know how the candidates would have answered it.

I’m a child of the 60s and yes, a dedicated Trekkie.  After dinner, my mom used to let me use the dining room chairs to construct the bridge of the Enterprise in the living room, where I would sit there to watch the show.  I never missed it.  I still love the original the best.  “Next Generation” and the rest of the spin-offs never grew on me (there’s just something basically wrong with Klingons on the bridge of the Enterprise), except for the prequel series “Enterprise”, which I enjoyed a lot.  And, of the movies, I liked the one with the whales the best, because, environmentalist doomsday plot aside, I thought it most faithfully captured the rollicking spirit of the original characters and the interplay between them.

The reasons I like the show so much are myriad, and an in-depth discussion of them is a subject for another time.  It’s fairly clear that Roddenberry was more of the humanist left than of the right, and yes, there are some barely-disguised progressive and anti-Vietnam messages in the scripts.  But I believe he was, according to the Bushmills Classification System, more of a classical liberal (NOL), or at most a L2, than a member of the more malignant L3 class we see today.  Roddenberry was a decorated Army Air Force combat pilot and then a sergeant with the L.A. Police Department before he quit in order to concentrate on his writing career. I think his heart was in the right place. As another blogger has pointed out, it was not the U.S.S. Progressive, or even the U.S.S. Constitution.  It was the U.S.S. Enterprise. We come in peace, but don’t screw with us.  And the Prime Directive dictated that cultures flourish best when left the hell alone, without interference and/or “care” from some nanny-state in the sky.  Perhaps we should consider that as a Constitutional amendment.  Oh, wait….

But I digress.  When it comes to Kirk or Picard, I say Kirk for sure.  Why?  Because Shatner’s character captured so much of what it seems we’ve lost about the American spirit. In fact, for some of my generation, Kirk helped to define the American spirit.  Kirk was tough.  He was principled.  He was loyal.  He wasn’t necessarily the most intellectual guy on the ship, but he didn’t need to be.  He was smart enough to surround himself with good crew members, listen to them, and accept their guidance in their areas of expertise.  He was a team-builder.  He could ride a horse, and he was proud of the fact that he was a farm boy from Iowa with gunslingers in his family tree.  He was innovative.  He was independent.  He was wily.  And he was by-God fearless.  He took the fight to the enemy.  He could vaporize bad guys aliens by shooting from the hip.

A Ronulan ale summit between Kirk and Obama would last about two minutes.

By contrast, Picard was sophisticated.  He was suave.  He was educated.  He was urbane.  He was polished.  And French. He was the smartest guy on the bridge; all the “Next Generation” crew members were quite clearly subordinate to him intellectually. He’d fit right in over at the faculty lounge.  Yes, he’d fight, but only after being backed into a corner, and then only after agonizing and analyzing and mulling things over and quoting famous authors.  He spent about half of his time – or so it seemed – playing fantasy games on the holodeck.  What an elitist wimp.

Picard says, in a patrician tone, “Make it so.” Kirk says, “Ahead, warp factor six.”

Red alert:  We’ve got a big fight coming at us in 2012.  Figuratively speaking, the entire Romulan armada is lined up in battle formation and about to open fire.  Some of them are cloaked; we can’t even see them yet, though we know they’re there.  We don’t need a Picard-ish GOP candidate.  We don’t have time for emoting, or agonizing, or analyzing or quoting Shakespeare.  Oh, and this fight is not a holodeck intellectual exercise of the sort one can engage in from the comfort of a D.C. office.  Real Americans are actually suffering because of the dire state of the economy.  There are real Muslim fundamentalists who want to actually kill as many of us as possible.  We have real socialist-Marxist-statist-progressives who actually want to fundamentally alter the very foundations upon which our nation was built.  Never mind the phasers.  We’ve got to arm the photon torpedoes.

In the movie Star Trek Generations, Picard ends up in the “nexus”, and seeks out Kirk to ask for some help.  Kirk initially declines. But then:

KIRK: I take it the odds are against us, and the situation is grim?

PICARD: You could say that.

KIRK: Of course, if Spock were here, he’d say I was being an irrational, illogical human for wanting to go on a mission like that.  Sounds like fun.

 

That’s what I’m talking about.  We need a candidate who will take the fight to the enemy…who will call a liar a liar to his face and not back off from it…who can shoot from the hip and hit what he’s aiming at.  We need a candidate who doesn’t mind getting his shirt torn.

Figuratively speaking, of course.

Kimberly_Schwartz
Southern girl and proud of it. Wife, mother, prosecuting attorney, political conservative, and home-based business owner; living and working in Central Georgia, USA. Dabbler in web design, photography, and mixed media. Still prefers reading and writing over math. Totally obsessed rubber stamper and scrapbooker. Shares several acres of easily-defensible farmland with husband, daughter, four dogs, and way too many cats.

21 COMMENTS

Leave a Reply

21 COMMENTS

  1. This is so good. I thought you were just going to have some fun at first, and you did, but it shows how we can take things from our life experiences, and from our passions, and apply them to our understanding of the way forward. I joked with nessa the other night that if we could just get BBKing to do a campaign spot for us singing “The Thrill is Gone”, in re the O, we might put a dent in O’s solid ethnic voting bloc. Thanks, KS. Here’s hoping the kingmakers are taking notes.

  2. Dragging some Trekkies out of the closet!

    As another blogger has pointed out, it was not the U.S.S. Progressive, or even the U.S.S. Constitution. It was the U.S.S. Enterprise. We come in peace, but don’t screw with us. And the Prime Directive dictated that cultures flourish best when left the hell alone, without interference and/or “care” from some nanny-state in the sky. Perhaps we should consider that as a Constitutional amendment. Oh, wait….

    I’ll second that.

    Atlantis or SG1?

    heh

  3. I appreciate this more serious look at Kirk, the character. Kirk’s seriousness was such that Saturday Night Live felt compelled to satirize it, Dana Carvey doing the honors. My 40 year old remembers “that” Cpt Kirk, having never known the original.

    • That’s interesting to me, VB; because *I* didn’t remember Carvey’s bit on SNL until you mentioned it. Guess I’m really dating myself, but to me, SNL was Belushi, Akyroid, Curtin, Chase, etc.

      All the original Trek episodes are available in boxed sets now. We’ve introduced our 12-year old, and she actually likes them. May I suggest them as a birthday present?

  4. Great analogy, Kimberly. I like your analysis of the “old” Captain Kirk, and he was all of those things. Your Picard contrast is interesting too. Funny think, I don’t Obama could match up to either one of them – the rough and ready Kirk, or the intellectual, reasoned Picard.

  5. As evidenced in occasional scenes, games at which these personalities were good: Picard – holodeck projecting; Spock – chess; Kirk – poker. In fact Kirk once used a good poker bluff to save his disabled ship. In my experience in life, the strategy and patience of chess has much to commend, but sometimes in pressing moments you had better know how to play poker. And in truth right now our political opponents have a weak hand.

  6. Thanks Kimberly, an awesome post, and one that I thought I alone, suffered. My earliest memories are of me sitting on my father’s lap watching the original Star Trek on out black and white television. i could not have been more than three. I’ve been an avid Trekkie ever since, watching every spin off and every episode, I’ll leave Lady Penquin or others more (medically) qualified than I to judge why.

    I consider my military career to have been successful, I took a platoon to Fallujah in 2003-04 and brought them all home. I wasn’t so fortunate in Afghanistan 07-08 (an interminable 15 month deployment) and lost a young man there.

    The point of this reply is that throughout my military career, whenever faced with a difficult tactical or ethical decision I would eventually wind up basing my decision on the question, “What would Captain Kirk do?” Sorry, there may be better role models but for good basic “Lead From The Front kind of Leadership,” there were few finer.

    Yes, Kirk over Picard, in any situation. Especially those that go against the odds. Like Thermopylae, Trenton, Little Round Top, the Marne, Bastogne, Kunar…

  7. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!!!!!!

    My darling Kimberly, you are so desperately WRONG!!!!! OK, I love where you go with this. But I back Picard in this one.

    I won’t bag too hard on James T Kirk, because he was much of what you say: he was a fighter, he was bold, courageous, resourceful, all of that. He also led from the front (and yet somehow it was always the red-shirt that went down early). Then an all-time great move while a cadet at Starfleet: rigging the unbeatable Kobayashi Maru test. Yes, impressive, dare I say epic even. I take none of this away from Captain James T Kirk.

    But he also was guided far more often by the Little Congressman Anthony in his pants than he was by good sense or advice. And as for being the smartest man in the room, I believe that to this day Kirk holds the record for Most Rogue Computers Shorted Out By Circular Logic, Subcategory Lifetime.

    Picard, I just have to say I see him in a different light. Sure he was pompous at times. He was French. He came from a family of vineyard-tending cheese-eaters. But a man must be forgiven his past if he rises above it. And pompous ain’t that bad when you can back it up. I give you the Picard of EPU:

    • Fresh out of Starfleet academy young Picard takes on 3 Nausicaans in a bar fight, and is holding his own quite well until he is shish-kebabed through the heart from behind, causing him to spend the rest of his life with an artifical heart.
    • His first act as a Captain – telling the god-like Q to “get off my ship”.
    • Had no problem walking into the Klingon High Council and telling them how and where the cow eats the cabbage. At least twice.
    • He made a pretty good pirate.
    • Then there was that feisty little red-headed doctor……
    • …. and Kamala, the “perfect mate”, who he was duty-bound to let go… and did you think Kirk could have said no, even once, to Little Anthony?
    • Death before surrender – rams the Enterprise full speed (such as it was) into the Scimitar led by his evil clone.

    All that would have been enough for me. But I will close with the ultimate Republican call to arms:

    I will not sacifice the Enterprise. We’ve made too many compromises already; too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make them pay for what they’ve done!

    It’s Picard, baby!

    • Dang, EPU, that’s one heck of a rebuttal!

      See, I’m telling you: This kind of spirited discussion would have told us much more about the candidates than deliberating over whether T-Paw was correct in his use of the term “Obamny-care” or not!

      Cheers…

  8. i was 10 when my family watched Star Trek religiously…my sister and i got into trouble one day and we had a choice: spanking (my father coached football and is a veteran – Army MP) or miss Star Trek…we choose the spanking…

    Captain Kirk is NOT like weiner…weiner used his sexuality in secret and shame…Kirk used his masculinity with deftly pride…he is a better captain than picard…kirk was a man’s man…

    if Fred Thompson was more fit and a lot more handsome (although i have always thought he was hot in a strange kind of way), he would be the kirk of today…not a hand raiser…that was kirk

  1. This is so good. I thought you were just going to have some fun at first, and you did, but it shows how we can take things from our life experiences, and from our passions, and apply them to our understanding of the way forward. I joked with nessa the other night that if we could just get BBKing to do a campaign spot for us singing “The Thrill is Gone”, in re the O, we might put a dent in O’s solid ethnic voting bloc. Thanks, KS. Here’s hoping the kingmakers are taking notes.

  2. Dragging some Trekkies out of the closet!

    As another blogger has pointed out, it was not the U.S.S. Progressive, or even the U.S.S. Constitution. It was the U.S.S. Enterprise. We come in peace, but don’t screw with us. And the Prime Directive dictated that cultures flourish best when left the hell alone, without interference and/or “care” from some nanny-state in the sky. Perhaps we should consider that as a Constitutional amendment. Oh, wait….

    I’ll second that.

    Atlantis or SG1?

    heh

  3. I appreciate this more serious look at Kirk, the character. Kirk’s seriousness was such that Saturday Night Live felt compelled to satirize it, Dana Carvey doing the honors. My 40 year old remembers “that” Cpt Kirk, having never known the original.

    • That’s interesting to me, VB; because *I* didn’t remember Carvey’s bit on SNL until you mentioned it. Guess I’m really dating myself, but to me, SNL was Belushi, Akyroid, Curtin, Chase, etc.

      All the original Trek episodes are available in boxed sets now. We’ve introduced our 12-year old, and she actually likes them. May I suggest them as a birthday present?

  4. Great analogy, Kimberly. I like your analysis of the “old” Captain Kirk, and he was all of those things. Your Picard contrast is interesting too. Funny think, I don’t Obama could match up to either one of them – the rough and ready Kirk, or the intellectual, reasoned Picard.

  5. As evidenced in occasional scenes, games at which these personalities were good: Picard – holodeck projecting; Spock – chess; Kirk – poker. In fact Kirk once used a good poker bluff to save his disabled ship. In my experience in life, the strategy and patience of chess has much to commend, but sometimes in pressing moments you had better know how to play poker. And in truth right now our political opponents have a weak hand.

  6. Thanks Kimberly, an awesome post, and one that I thought I alone, suffered. My earliest memories are of me sitting on my father’s lap watching the original Star Trek on out black and white television. i could not have been more than three. I’ve been an avid Trekkie ever since, watching every spin off and every episode, I’ll leave Lady Penquin or others more (medically) qualified than I to judge why.

    I consider my military career to have been successful, I took a platoon to Fallujah in 2003-04 and brought them all home. I wasn’t so fortunate in Afghanistan 07-08 (an interminable 15 month deployment) and lost a young man there.

    The point of this reply is that throughout my military career, whenever faced with a difficult tactical or ethical decision I would eventually wind up basing my decision on the question, “What would Captain Kirk do?” Sorry, there may be better role models but for good basic “Lead From The Front kind of Leadership,” there were few finer.

    Yes, Kirk over Picard, in any situation. Especially those that go against the odds. Like Thermopylae, Trenton, Little Round Top, the Marne, Bastogne, Kunar…

  7. WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!!!!!!!

    My darling Kimberly, you are so desperately WRONG!!!!! OK, I love where you go with this. But I back Picard in this one.

    I won’t bag too hard on James T Kirk, because he was much of what you say: he was a fighter, he was bold, courageous, resourceful, all of that. He also led from the front (and yet somehow it was always the red-shirt that went down early). Then an all-time great move while a cadet at Starfleet: rigging the unbeatable Kobayashi Maru test. Yes, impressive, dare I say epic even. I take none of this away from Captain James T Kirk.

    But he also was guided far more often by the Little Congressman Anthony in his pants than he was by good sense or advice. And as for being the smartest man in the room, I believe that to this day Kirk holds the record for Most Rogue Computers Shorted Out By Circular Logic, Subcategory Lifetime.

    Picard, I just have to say I see him in a different light. Sure he was pompous at times. He was French. He came from a family of vineyard-tending cheese-eaters. But a man must be forgiven his past if he rises above it. And pompous ain’t that bad when you can back it up. I give you the Picard of EPU:

    • Fresh out of Starfleet academy young Picard takes on 3 Nausicaans in a bar fight, and is holding his own quite well until he is shish-kebabed through the heart from behind, causing him to spend the rest of his life with an artifical heart.
    • His first act as a Captain – telling the god-like Q to “get off my ship”.
    • Had no problem walking into the Klingon High Council and telling them how and where the cow eats the cabbage. At least twice.
    • He made a pretty good pirate.
    • Then there was that feisty little red-headed doctor……
    • …. and Kamala, the “perfect mate”, who he was duty-bound to let go… and did you think Kirk could have said no, even once, to Little Anthony?
    • Death before surrender – rams the Enterprise full speed (such as it was) into the Scimitar led by his evil clone.

    All that would have been enough for me. But I will close with the ultimate Republican call to arms:

    I will not sacifice the Enterprise. We’ve made too many compromises already; too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again. The line must be drawn here! This far, no further! And I will make them pay for what they’ve done!

    It’s Picard, baby!

    • Dang, EPU, that’s one heck of a rebuttal!

      See, I’m telling you: This kind of spirited discussion would have told us much more about the candidates than deliberating over whether T-Paw was correct in his use of the term “Obamny-care” or not!

      Cheers…

  8. i was 10 when my family watched Star Trek religiously…my sister and i got into trouble one day and we had a choice: spanking (my father coached football and is a veteran – Army MP) or miss Star Trek…we choose the spanking…

    Captain Kirk is NOT like weiner…weiner used his sexuality in secret and shame…Kirk used his masculinity with deftly pride…he is a better captain than picard…kirk was a man’s man…

    if Fred Thompson was more fit and a lot more handsome (although i have always thought he was hot in a strange kind of way), he would be the kirk of today…not a hand raiser…that was kirk

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