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Old August 19 2008, 09:34 PM   #61
KRAD
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
I haven't read the article (obviously), but does it address the fact that Kirk's reputation as a maverick, like his reputation as a womaniser, is a canonical one?

I don't mean in a "supported by the evidence" sense, but rather in a "stated by the characters" sense. Inaccurate and/or simplistic though they may be, the reputations themselves exist in that universe.

Both of them get a mention in "Trials and Tribble-ations" ("the man was a menace," according to Dulmer and Lucsly, while Sisko notes that he "had quite the reputation as a ladies' man"), and since Star Trek VI has been mentioned, Chang said he had "a history of violating the chain of command whenever it suited him."
Yes, though I don't cite those two specific examples.
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Old August 19 2008, 10:04 PM   #62
Baerbel Haddrell
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

I am probably one of the older members here but nevertheless, I have never been a TOS fan. My interest in Star Trek started with TNG.

It also didn`t help that the German versions I watched as a teenager distorted a lot of the real dialogue. I very much disliked McCoy and his so-called good natured name calling of Spock. After having watched the original, it doesn`t seem so bad any more. Some of it is still borderline but, no, I wouldn`t call it racist any more. (By the way, the German version changed his nickname “Bones” into “Pille”, meaning “Pill”.)

I didn`t like Kirk then and today I still don`t like him much. I understand that TOS is a product of its time but so is the German SF series “Raumpatrouille” which has none of these problems and is about the same age. Therefore I am far less understanding and tolerant of Kirk`s womanizing. I agree that Kirk never forced himself on a woman and that he genuinely respects them. Nevertheless, there are too many episodes in which Kirk made me cringe.

I think this bad impression would have been lessened if there wouldn`t be the other unfortunate product of its time in TOS, the treatment of women. There are exceptions but often I wondered if these women are just there for showing off glittering and revealing costumes and if one requirement to enter Starfleet for women is looking good in a super mini skirt. Too often these women looked like eye candy but had little else to offer except being the damsel in distress. If Kirk would have been involved more often with women I could actually respect, I think I would also have been more forgiving to Kirk.
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Old August 19 2008, 10:19 PM   #63
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

TheAlmanac wrote: View Post
Both of them get a mention in "Trials and Tribble-ations" ("the man was a menace," according to Dulmer and Lucsly, while Sisko notes that he "had quite the reputation as a ladies' man"), and since Star Trek VI has been mentioned, Chang said he had "a history of violating the chain of command whenever it suited him."

Simplistic interpretations of public figures happen all the time, so I'm not saying those people are correct, but I thought it was worth noting that this perception of Kirk isn't limited to those who haven't met him.
But the only one of those who'd met him was Chang, and he had reason to misrepresent him. Lucsly and Dulmur (it's actually spelled that way for some reason, despite the intended anagram) were merely describing the historical reputation of a man who'd lived a century before, and those are notoriously unreliable. History probably remembers Kirk mostly from the V'Ger incident and the Genesis and Probe incidents, and the latter would color their perception of him as someone who defies orders and does what he feels like (just as the movies have created that false perception in the audience's minds). His prior decades of disciplined service probably don't get as much attention.

And Kirk's reputation as a ladies' man isn't entirely undeserved, but it is grossly exaggerated, and often twisted in a way that's unfair both to him and to the women involved.
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Old August 20 2008, 01:42 AM   #64
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

I've been watching early Season One of the original show recently, and it's been interesting to me that the idea of Kirk-as-a-lover-of-women hasn't really come up yet. "The Naked Time" implies that he can't have a romantic relationship, he doesn't seem to know what to do with Eve in "Mudd's Women", and his advice to Charlie in "Charlie X" is downright terrible. If Kirk was supposed to be Hornblower in space, I wonder if he was originally supposed to have a much more Hornbloweresque success rate with women.

Though actually, now that I think about it, Hornblower was making off with (usually married) women all the time once he made post-captain, wasn't he?
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Old August 20 2008, 03:15 AM   #65
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Steve Mollmann wrote: View Post
I've been watching early Season One of the original show recently, and it's been interesting to me that the idea of Kirk-as-a-lover-of-women hasn't really come up yet. "The Naked Time" implies that he can't have a romantic relationship, he doesn't seem to know what to do with Eve in "Mudd's Women", and his advice to Charlie in "Charlie X" is downright terrible.
Indeed. Kirk was originally portrayed as a very serious, reserved military man with no time for women. I'm convinced that changed because of network expectations -- in the '60s, TV action heroes were expected to be making out with a new vixen every week. See The Wild Wild West, for example -- Jim Kirk has nothing on Jim West as a womanizer. I figure that over time, the show drifted somewhat from the serious, naturalistic drama it was conceived as and became a bit closer to being a conventional action show.

Or maybe it was Shatner who wanted Kirk to get more romance, the same way Stewart pushed for Picard getting more action in both senses of the word.
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Old August 20 2008, 03:22 AM   #66
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

"Gene--what's happening? We've... got all these hot--female--guest stars on the show, but I'm... not making time with any of them. At least let me... get it on with Nichelle."

Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
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Old August 20 2008, 05:46 PM   #67
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Err, I feel silly for pointing this out, but just because Kirk may have slept with lots of woman, does not make him a womanizer. Yes it's the 60s, or the 23rd century depending on how you look at it. But even today some men like to sleep with lots of women. Some women like to sleep with lots of men. There's nothing wrong with that life-style and I'm uncomfortable with how people are imposing their own sense of morality onto Kirk. As has been pointed out, most of the time women threw themselves at him, he didn't try to charm them into bed or work around their reluctance to sleep with them and then dump them in the morning. That would be womanizing.
Sleeping with willing woman shouldn't make him an unlikeable character. Yes, today we might call Kirk a stud and the girls sluts, but I'd hope in the Trek future we can assume such labels are done away with and there's a much more mature attitude towards sex. And that people that like having sex with people having sex with other people that like having sex with people is something that's accepted as a valid lifestyle choice for both genders, even if it's not the stance adopted by all, or even a majority, of the populace.
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Old August 20 2008, 07:40 PM   #68
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

KRAD wrote: View Post
This is probably a good place to mention the article I just turned in to Paul Simpson last week for Star Trek: The Magazine that explodes the myth of Jim Kirk as a maverick, a reputation whose primary basis is on the extraordinary circumstances of The Search for Spock, but has very little evidence to support it outside of situations where his best friend's life was at stake.
But in a way, I think that was my point: Kirk as a "maverick" is at the very least his popular reputation, and we're talking about here what makes him popular.

In fact, if it's actually not supported by the facts (despite how other characters may have described him onscreen), then that may even make it more to the point: If people continue to believe it about him, even when there's not so much a reason to, it's likely because that's what people want to believe--or, in the context of the title of this thread, what they find likeable about him.

Christopher wrote: View Post
Aside from occasionally showing a flexible interpretation of the Prime Directive,
I'm not sure that really qualifies as an aside. Occasionally showing a flexible interpretation of the Prime Directive is pretty much disregarding the fact that it's called "the Prime Directive". I think you're just coming up with another way of saying that he finds a way around the Prime Directive when he really, really wants to--and the entire point of a Prime Directive (or any directive, for that matter) is not for it to be there when you want to follow it, but for it to still be there when you don't.

Your overall point, though, is well-taken--as I mentioned to Keith, I'm just pointing out that these are the qualities commonly associated with Kirk, and in fact they're associated with him because that's what people find likeable.
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Old August 20 2008, 08:30 PM   #69
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Andrew Harris wrote: View Post
I'm not sure that really qualifies as an aside. Occasionally showing a flexible interpretation of the Prime Directive is pretty much disregarding the fact that it's called "the Prime Directive". I think you're just coming up with another way of saying that he finds a way around the Prime Directive when he really, really wants to--and the entire point of a Prime Directive (or any directive, for that matter) is not for it to be there when you want to follow it, but for it to still be there when you don't.
I don't agree. We've seen every captain apply the Directive flexibly when necessary, and we've seen that when it's applied too strictly (as in "Pen Pals" and "Homeward") the consequences are monstrous. It's not meant to be an absolute dogma. It's meant to be a guideline that forces Starfleet personnel to think carefully before they interfere, to make sure they aren't doing it for the wrong reasons or to an excessive degree.

Besides, Starfleet captains in Kirk's era were supposed to use their own judgment in deciding how best to apply regulations to a situation, since they often didn't have the luxury of immediate feedback from Command. We sometimes forget it because we're used to the more civilized galaxy of the TNG era, but TOS was modeled on Horatio Hornblower, on an era when ship captains were the representatives of their nation abroad with the authority and latitude to determine policy for themselves because there was no one else available who could. Kirk was sworn to uphold the Prime Directive, yes, but he was also the one with the authority to determine just what the Prime Directive meant in a given situation.

After all, each situation is unique. Each civilization is different. It would be foolish and irresponsible to try to apply a rigid, unvarying set of laws to every different contact scenario. Flexibility is essential to the ethical, responsible application of any law. As Picard put it, "There can be no justice so long as laws are absolute."

So Kirk wasn't being a maverick by being flexible about the Prime Directive. On the contrary, he was fulfilling his responsibility as the arbiter of Starfleet policy in situations outside of the direct purview of Starfleet Command. I have absolutely no doubt that every other captain in the fleet exercised the same kind of latitude when the situation called for it. (Although at least one, Ronald Tracey, took it much too far.)
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Old August 20 2008, 08:56 PM   #70
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Christopher wrote: View Post
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And Jesus Christ. I'd want a man tested for every STD in the book if I knew he had a back catalog like that, Christopher. But for you that's just fine?
Come on. I explicitly said I don't think that's just fine, not the way you're insinuating. You're twisting my words just as badly as you're twisting Kirk's behavior.
I ain't twisting shit, babe. I'm going on what I've seen in the episodes. Nobody falls in "twoo wuv" in that short a span of time. "True lust" maybe, but that smacked-in-the-face by the Romance Fairy thing only happens in bad romance novels.

And please follow the link I posted in my initial response to Andrew. In fact, Kirk had only about four confirmed and three or four likely sexual encounters over the course of 79 episodes, with the rest being flirtations and unconsummated romances. What you're condemning is a fiction, a caricature that isn't supported by solid fact. What I'm defending is the real Jim Kirk who's nothing like that caricature. If he were the kind of man you claim, I'd hold him in contempt too. But he isn't.
Okay, Christopher, news flash: you can't defend the real Jim Kirk. There is no such thing. He's a fictional character.

Now, going back to the subject: this is no caricature at all. Multiple sexual encounters over three years, an incorrigible flirt, more romances than you can count, is this a womanizer, a guy who just got really lucky with a bunch of really easy women, or a hypersexual being? (Hence the hero worship. I can't think of a single guy I know even remotely well who wouldn't kill for that kind of luck with women. I can even think of one or two married men who'd like that kind of luck, no lie.)

Any man with that kind of track record? In the 60s, that may have been fine, but now? I'd still want an STD test (or five) before I'd go anywhere near them, and I sure as hell wouldn't trust them around any of my female friends.
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Old August 20 2008, 09:19 PM   #71
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Actually Kirk only had four confirmed sexual encounters in three years.

And one of those was with his wife while he had the identity of "Kirock".

Odona, Deela , Miramanee, and the mirror Marlena Moreau (try saying that three times fast).

There were indications of others. Helen Johannsen (mentioned by Captain Pike's wife as Kirk stirred uncomfortably).

But a number of "Kirk's women" were in the past.

Ruth, Areel Shaw, Janet Wallace, to name just three.
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Old August 20 2008, 09:36 PM   #72
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

^ So... David Marcus was the result of an immaculate conception?
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Old August 20 2008, 09:38 PM   #73
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

William Leisner wrote: View Post
^ So... David Marcus was the result of an immaculate conception?
I said three years.

I was referring to the original series when one can argue that Kirks reputation was made.

Carol Marcus was obviously a relationship (possibly the "cute lab tech" that Gary Mitchell says he "threw at Kirk" and Kirk said he "almost married") several years prior to the original series.
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Old August 20 2008, 09:39 PM   #74
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

EDIT: Never mind, Dayton3 said pretty much what I was going to say.
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Old August 20 2008, 09:45 PM   #75
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Re: Have Star Trek Writers Ever Tried to Create an Unlikable Character

Still not disabusing me of that whole "manwhore" notion, guys. Reinforcing it, actually.
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