Captain Kirk, Authority and the 1960s

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Gojira, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    I was just compairing Kirk and Picard in another thread when I realized that Kirk's actions as Captain needs to be seen in light of the era TOS was filmed. It was the 1960s and it was the decade of when youth began confronting authority and I think that had a great influence on the scripts and how Kirk played his role as Captain. He too would go against authority when he thought it was the right thing to do.
     
  2. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    It seems like defying one's superiors and getting away with it is a major theme in the whole ST franchise, especially when those to be defied are higher up than the star of the show. It's come up in several of the movies.
     
  3. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    I can agree with that. I just wonder if that Trek tradition of defying authority was something that was born in the rebelliousness of the 60s?
     
  4. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    I think it was part of the WWII mind set. Roddenberry and others were vets and no doubt drew upon that when writing Kirk. Citizens turned soldiers with a healthy disregard for authority seems to common theme in WWII set film and television. McHale's Navy, Hogans Heroes and Kelly's Heroes come to mind. MASH, though set in the Korean War, is another one.
     
  5. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure the zeitgeist had that much to do with it. Youth has been rebelling against authority since before the time of Socrates.
     
  6. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    True. Where the '60s zeitgeist intrudes most obviously is in "The Way to Eden," and Kirk is on the side of the establishment in that one. Also, he rejected the drug culture in "This Side of Paradise." He was right both times if you ask me.
     
  7. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    I think Kirk was in a moderate position in The Way to Eden, he was in authority, but he didn't seem to want to be oppressive. Chekov was the super rigid authority guy in attitudes. Scotty was almost but he didn't have as many lines.

    And I agree, I think Kirk was right both times.
     
  8. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    True, I remember reading that the 60s was the first time when the rebelling youth became an economic power in its own right and that contributed to a focusing on them within the context of the larger culture.
     
  9. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Dunno about that. You could easily argue the same for the 1920s.

    Anyway, Kirk was presented as a hero. To be a hero, you need to be presented with difficult choices. It's just plain dramatic to have Kirk question orders.
     
  10. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    True! It is interesting to see the different changes in the youth culture.
     
  11. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Damn hippies.
     
  12. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    I think it's interesting to note that the "hippies" were following an insane "guru" The hippies' main crime, like all hippies, is they're stupid but think they're smarter than everyone else. Plus, they're smelly. I got my TOS-RS in smellovision and wow! P U :ack:

    Actually, that applys to a lot of people.
     
  13. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    You don't think it might have something to do with those shows being made in the 60's?
     
  14. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Kirk's going against authority during TOS is overblown, that's more a feature of the movies made in the eighties. Kirk during TOS is depicted as a professional military officer, who in fact is obedient to those place in authority above him.

    In both A Taste of Armageddon, and The Galileo Seven Kirk disagreed with the civilian officials present, but when they gave him lawful instructions, he followed those instructions. In The Immunity Syndrome he offered reasons why the Enterprise was the wrong ship for a particular mission, but followed the orders he was given.

    The only time Kirk blatantly disobeyed authority was in Amok Time.

    :)
     
  15. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Unless, of course, you count his somewhat "flexible" approach to the Prime Directive . . . :)
     
  16. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    He was pretty flippant in The Trouble with Tribbles.
     
  17. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    Don't start with the PD BS.

    Kirk did not violate the Prime Directive. Return of the Archrons and The Apple might be questionable, but the Enterprise and crew were at stake both times. No other time does he come close.
     
  18. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Made in the 60's by guys who lived through the 40's.
     
  19. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    Using your examples this didn't seem to set in until the 60s. Shouldn't this streak have ran through 50s productions as well?
     
  20. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    I'm sure it did. The Maverick brothers and Sgt Bilko come to mind. And of course many of these vets wouldn't be in the position to create TV productions (rather than just write for them) until the early Sixties.