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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old September 22 2010, 08:20 AM   #1
YARN
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The Case Against Kirk

History, it seems has rendered a rather negative verdict against James T. Kirk.

He's a womanizer, a cowboy, a colonialist.

It's interesting to note how often later shows often referred to their higher ethics in contradistinction to Kirk's alleged excesses.

Problem is, I don't really see this as being a fair or accurate assesment of Kirk or the TOS Federation.

His flaws and exploits tend to be exaggerated and when compared to the exploits of later Federation heroes, he hardly seems to be an extremist.

Compared with Commander Riker, for example, he can hardly be counted as a womanizer. He kisses far fewer women than people imagine and had relations on one maybe two occasions in the whole series run.

He very rarely disobeyed orders and was very serious about doing things by the book.

If you agree with me, let me know. If not, make your case against Kirk.
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Old September 22 2010, 09:38 AM   #2
Cheapjack
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

I'd stand next to him.

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Old September 22 2010, 10:22 AM   #3
T'Girl
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

YARN wrote: View Post
He's a womanizer, a cowboy, a colonialist.
First off, I come from a part of the country where being called a cowboy is a compliment (cowboy up), a individual deserving considerable respect. so yes, I would describe James Kirk as a cowboy.

As far as being a womanizer, his relationship with Edith Keeler was very romantic and chased. His time (and sex) with Miramanee was while he was basically out of his head, bedding Kelinda was more of a exception than a norm for Kirk. Kirk is much more of a flirt than a womanizer.

Picard would seem to have been more of a colonialist than Kirk. In the 24th century the Federation/Starfleet were much more expansionist, fighting a major boarder war with the Cardassians.

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Old September 22 2010, 05:43 PM   #4
C.E. Evans
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

The myth tends to be bigger than the man, IMO.
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Old September 24 2010, 04:55 AM   #5
Capt Josh
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

If I had to choose a Captain to trust with my life and be honored to serve with it would be Kirk. He gets a bad rap by some but it is over inflated.
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Old September 24 2010, 05:52 AM   #6
Myasishchev
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

Case study in incompetence and sheer malice: "Space Seed."

Engaging in space piracy by boarding a civilian ship and interning its crew? Check.

Almost willfully inept security arrangements? You bet.

Unaware of betrayal in his ranks? Yep.

Using a military court to try civilians? Awful, right?

Running the most egregiously procedurally unfair legal proceeding in the history of time, with a panel of judges comprising parties who were involved in the controversy? Amen!

Unilaterally imposing an extralegal banishment? Aye.

Zero follow-up on his experiment? One huge check.

Failure to follow regulations in approaching an incommunicado starship, causing the death of several dozen... oh, wait, that's Wrath of Khan. But, you know, there's that too.
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Old September 24 2010, 04:00 PM   #7
BillJ
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

Myasishchev wrote: View Post

Case study in incompetence and sheer malice: "Space Seed."
Well they all can't be as competent as Picard... oh wait... go watch Heart of Glory. Or Datalore. Or Q, Who.

The characters do what the story requires them to do to move forward. Nothing more... nothing less.
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Old September 24 2010, 04:48 PM   #8
Anwar
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

Well, I never liked "Cowboy Cop" type heroes so naturally I gravitate more towards characters like Picard and (sometimes) Sisko. But Kirk was okay for his day. Would've been nicer if they had some stories of him being chewed out by Command for screwing up societies and just leaving afterwards.
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Old September 24 2010, 04:51 PM   #9
scotpens
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

YARN wrote: View Post
History, it seems has rendered a rather negative verdict against James T. Kirk.

He's a womanizer, a cowboy, a colonialist.
People say that like it’s a bad thing.
It's interesting to note how often later shows often referred to their higher ethics in contradistinction to Kirk's alleged excesses.
That's because something happened between the end of Trek TOS and the start of Trek TNG. It was called “political correctness.”
Myasishchev wrote: View Post
Case study in incompetence and sheer malice: “Space Seed.”

Engaging in space piracy by boarding a civilian ship and interning its crew? Check.
Excuse me, but you've got that exactly backwards.

The Botany Bay had been launched from Earth two centuries earlier. In boarding the ship and reviving Khan from hibernation, Kirk was duly carrying out his mission of investigating and exploring unusual phenomena. It was also thought that valuable historic information could be gained about a tumultuous period in Earth history.

It was Khan, not Kirk, who revived the rest of the surviving crew -- and engaged in space piracy by trying to take over the Enterprise!
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Old September 24 2010, 05:56 PM   #10
Anwar
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

Please, anytime anyone bothers to call out anyone from the past on indiscretions they always get labeled with being too "politically correct" or "not knowing how hard it was", BS like that. The old-timers just can't stand that legitimate change happened and stuff that happened back then (which probably wasn't acceptable for their own time) isn't so well-liked nowadays.
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Old September 24 2010, 06:08 PM   #11
YARN
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

Anwar wrote: View Post
Please, anytime anyone bothers to call out anyone from the past on indiscretions they always get labeled with being too "politically correct" or "not knowing how hard it was", BS like that. The old-timers just can't stand that legitimate change happened and stuff that happened back then (which probably wasn't acceptable for their own time) isn't so well-liked nowadays.
Except that for every excess we find in Kirk, we can also find similar excesses in TNG era captains. There are plenty of dubious calls that we pin on other captains.

Also, if Kirk really was from a different time, it seems unfair to judge him, as a captain, for being a man of his times. I might judge Horatio Honrblower negatively for betraying chauvinism or racial prejudice, but this is more of a judgment of his time than of the man himself. Regardless, such judgment has little to do with whether or no we should judge him to be a good captain.

Kirk played by the rules, but I don't think we can fault him too much for having been issued an older rule-book.

If anything, it seems that we might judge later captains more harshly for failing to live up to their espoused ethics.
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Old September 24 2010, 06:11 PM   #12
Cloud William
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

...a colonialist
How so? The only "colony" I can think of that he established is Sigma Iotia II ("A Piece Of The Action").

He changed a lot of planets, despite the Prime Directive, but I can't think of any other Federation colonies he established. Perhaps the planet in "Miri" with Federation advisors/educators?

What other planets did he convert to Federation colonies?

Not arguing; just curious.
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Old September 24 2010, 06:30 PM   #13
Anwar
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

YARN wrote: View Post

Except that for every excess we find in Kirk, we can also find similar excesses in TNG era captains. There are plenty of dubious calls that we pin on other captains.


If anything, it seems that we might judge later captains more harshly for failing to live up to their espoused ethics.
But that's what I mean. Anytime anyone says anything bad about Kirk the main response is "You're too PC" or "You don't know what it was like back then", which is all BS.
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Old September 24 2010, 06:42 PM   #14
Greg Cox
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

I've always found Kirk easier and more fun to write than the other captains, because he rushes right into danger without holding a meeting in a conference room first!
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Old September 24 2010, 07:09 PM   #15
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: The Case Against Kirk

nuKirk in ST XI was indeed a jackass. He was a drunk, a horndog and a brat, who didn't earn the captaincy but rather had it dropped in his lap like a care package from Grandma.

Kirk in TOS and the films, however, was none of these things. At least he had class and leadership ability.
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