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William Shatner Says It's 'Silly' to Call Captain Kirk a Republican

Illustration for article titled William Shatner Says Its Silly to Call Captain Kirk a Republican

During a recent interview with The New York Times, presidential candidate (and noted butter lover) Ted Cruz revealed that he’s a big fan of Star Trek, going as far as to speculate that Captain Kirk—as a “working class,” “passionate fighter for justice”—is a Republican. William Shatner has since weighed in and does not agree.

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From the Times interview (conducted by Ana Marie Cox):

You’re also a fan of ‘‘Star Trek.’’ Do you prefer Captain Kirk or Captain Picard? Absolutely James Tiberius Kirk.

[...]

If you were a journalist interviewing you, what would you ask?Who knows, I might well ask, ‘‘Kirk or Picard?’’ I’ve never been asked that before, and I actually have a strong opinion on it.

Well, that goes with being a Kirk person. It does indeed. Let me do a little psychoanalysis. If you look at ‘‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’’ it basically split James T. Kirk into two people. Picard was Kirk’s rational side, and William Riker was his passionate side. I prefer a complete captain. To be effective, you need both heart and mind.

I thought your critique might go in a different direction, because ‘‘Next Generation’’ is more touchy-feely in its politics than the original. No doubt. The original ‘‘Star Trek’’ was grittier. Kirk is working class; Picard is an aristocrat. Kirk is a passionate fighter for justice; Picard is a cerebral philosopher. The original ‘‘Star Trek’’ pressed for racial equality, which was one of its best characteristics, but it did so without sermonizing.

Do you have a suspicion about whether Kirk would be a Democrat or a Republican? I think it is quite likely that Kirk is a Republican and Picard is a Democrat.

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Then Cruz made a joke about making out with (or, more accurately, not making out with) space aliens.

William Shatner—who played Captain Kirk—was not amused.

So Captain Kirk was what? Libertarian?


Contact the author at madeleine@jezebel.com.

Image via Star Trek.

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DISCUSSION

I certainly disagree that Star Trek wasn’t and doesn’t continue to be (at most with the exception of the last two movies, which were made to appeal to wider audiences) political. The role of scifi is to explore current political and social issues through a lens that allows us the distance necessary to assess and process them.

Star Trek: TOS was incredibly forward thinking. And while Kirk could be an overly aggressive doofus, the purpose of the 5 year mission was to explore other civilizations out of respect and in the interest of knowledge. The Primary Directive prevented the force and exploitation that would undoubtedly be the Republican purpose behind space exploration of that kind. “Surely other forms of life are beneath us, and the exploitation of resources is the highest priority!”

The future is beyond the Republican Party, because they are the party of 1950. And every year, they become more and more ridiculous. Kirk can’t be a Republican because no fucking such thing will exist.

Ted Cruz not being a proper Trekkie just makes me hate him more.