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27 June 2009 @ 12:11
James Tiberius Kirk, ladies and gentlemen.  
Dear Star Trek (2009) Fandom:

I love you guys. I really do. I haven't been this taken with a fandom, falling so hard and so fast in a long time. And I've had a blast these last two months. But I do have a beef with you.

Jim Kirk is more than just a drunken letch of a frat boy.

Yes, he's a hound. Yes, he's cocksure and a bit of a douche. A loveable douche, but still a douche, in the first half of the film. But you know what? Even when you want to smack him across the back of the head--often with a pry bar so you can hear that lovely deep ringing sound the metal would make--under the sense of humour and bravado, he's still a brilliant tactician and strategist who inspires others to follow him, and earns their trust and respect.

He's still got an impressive academic record, and zoomed through Starfleet Academy in 3 years (which may in fact be quicker than his Prime Universe counterpart). He performed the Kobayashi Maru simulation 3 times not because his ego was bruised, but because he believed (rightly or wrongly) that a no-win scenario where the computer stacks the deck against you was not an accurate measure of Command abilities. He did not cheat in order to thumb his nose at Spock and the Academy Board. He did it to prove a point. In both timelines. Regardless of whether you believe it's a valid point, it's not merely about being unwilling to lose. And even if cheating isn't winning, it still showed more strength of character and insight than it does rebellion and laziness. There is in fact nothing in canon to suggest Kirk's lazy, or didn't have top marks, so this whole him-flunking-out-if-Bones-wasn't-there-to-rein-him-in thing while novel the first time, gets wearying as it becomes a default for story after story.

Please, next time you watch the movie, look beyond the surface and see how his brain works and his relationships with McCoy, Spock, Uhura and Pike function. See how he accepts the consequences of his actions in the Hanger Bay and genuinely wishes McCoy good luck, and is prepared to stay on Earth while all his classmates go out to meet new challenges, even tho it hurts like hell. See the respect he gives Pike on the bridge and the way he connects events based not just on luck and circumstance, but understanding of tactics, even if he is snarking at Spock at the same time. See the seriousness with which he takes his command after The Battle of Vulcan, and his valid arguments about the importance of diverting Enterprise from rendezvousing with the fleet in the Laurentian system, as well as Spock's also valid arguments about being outmatched and outgunned. Pay attention to the way he frames arguments, and how the personality conflicts with Spock go both ways, and how much better they work together than either of them alone. Watch how much he values Uhura's opinion, and how winning her respect as Captain is a huge part of winning the audiences' faith and respect by the end of the film.

But mostly, please don't continue to sacrifice the character's integrity on the altar of cheap LOLz unless you've a point to make that's worth the sacrifice.

(unless you're writing crackfic, cos as we know, crackfic is cracky and has its own set of rules re: characterisation)

Or, you know, you can ignore me. I'm just another reader and writer in the rapidly expanding fandom, and my opinion isn't worth more than anyone else's. But the trend is starting to wear on me, and it's sucking the joy out of my fannish experience just a bit. And I figure, if it's happening to me, it's probably happening to others as well.


Sanj: pic#89446933sanj on 27th June 2009 17:20 (UTC)

Thank you.
ljc: star trek (spock/nyota otp)taraljc on 27th June 2009 18:35 (UTC)
(no subject) - reveilles on 30th June 2009 02:21 (UTC) (Expand)
Faith: misc-text-thisvertrauen on 27th June 2009 17:20 (UTC)
ljc: sane-flavouredtaraljc on 27th June 2009 18:35 (UTC)
I figure a lot of this is preaching to the choir, but never hurts to put it out there.
MJ: dancemaidenjedi on 27th June 2009 17:24 (UTC)
YES. Thank you!!
ljc: dream (mirrormask)taraljc on 27th June 2009 18:35 (UTC)
Denorios: star trek kirk so whatdenorios on 27th June 2009 17:25 (UTC)
YES. Thank you.

Yes, he's a lech. Yes, he's a frat boy. Yes, he's a hound. Yes, he's a douche. But no-one, but no-one, gets to the position Kirk finds himself in so fast and deals with it so well without being seriously, SERIOUSLY intelligent and capable and confident and competent and insightful and creative.

He can be all of these things and a complete douche. Hey, he's James T. Kirk. He can do it all.
ljc: star trek (awesome kirk)taraljc on 27th June 2009 18:34 (UTC)
(no subject) - denorios on 27th June 2009 18:36 (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - taraljc on 27th June 2009 18:38 (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - denorios on 27th June 2009 18:40 (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - taraljc on 27th June 2009 19:06 (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - denorios on 27th June 2009 19:07 (UTC) (Expand)
deannie on 27th June 2009 17:26 (UTC)
Loves you oh so very much right now, yes I does.

Also, word.

Also also, must make Star Trek icons, yes indeed.
ljc: sga ronon/teyla (foreplay)taraljc on 27th June 2009 18:34 (UTC)
I so need to do another batch of icons eventually.
Aelora: kirk starfleetaelora on 27th June 2009 17:37 (UTC)
Yes. Thank you for this.
ljc: star trek (douche)taraljc on 27th June 2009 18:33 (UTC)
welcome! I've been muttering darkly about it for a while, and decided to finally voice it. I figure, can't hurt; might help.
(no subject) - hawkmoth on 27th June 2009 22:30 (UTC) (Expand)
"Bumblebee, stop lubricating the man."faithfulpuppy85 on 27th June 2009 17:42 (UTC)
Nice. :-)
ljc: star trek (douche)taraljc on 27th June 2009 18:32 (UTC)
It's been building for a wile, and when i found a story that beautifully captured the Kirk I saw on-screen, it prompted me to point out the dearth of such stories currently being produced, as fandom starts to eat itself and trends appear in characterisation where we start to see either the same story over and over again, or characters based more on other fan fiction than they are the actual source material.
*peeks in* - sainfoin_fields on 27th June 2009 21:18 (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *peeks in* - taraljc on 27th June 2009 21:22 (UTC) (Expand)
scientific integrity and blah blah blah: other worlds than thesesilveraspen on 27th June 2009 17:42 (UTC)
I have nothing to add but total support for this post.
ljc: star trektaraljc on 27th June 2009 18:30 (UTC)
ta very much!
(Deleted comment)
ljc: norringtontaraljc on 27th June 2009 18:30 (UTC)
I don't think All Of Fandom needs this memo, but there are definitely chunks of fandom that could benefit from the reminder, I think.
HawkMoth: kirk awesomehawkmoth on 27th June 2009 17:59 (UTC)
Oh, fanon, sometimes it burns.

You are a voice of reason and fount of knowledge. Thank you for setting this straight.
ljc: star trek (douche)taraljc on 27th June 2009 18:29 (UTC)
Not so much knowledge as a rant that's bee building for a month or so.
Amirealamireal on 27th June 2009 18:08 (UTC)
The movie pretty much tells us he's a genius. I mean-- Pike tells us. Right off the bat. He's totally capable in like-- all sorts of ways.
ljc: star trek (awesome apple)taraljc on 27th June 2009 18:29 (UTC)
And he can still be aggrivating, funny, and a tiny bit of a douche, while still being smart and capable. it's not as if there aren't plenty examples of smartass wunderkinds in fiction. I just hate the way we see a lot of the douchebag, and not much of the capable leader, in fandom's portrait of Kirk. Because I thought the film did a good job of balancing both.
(no subject) - cmdr_zoom on 27th June 2009 22:34 (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - elorie on 27th June 2009 20:36 (UTC) (Expand)
Jarodjarodrussell on 27th June 2009 18:14 (UTC)
And even if cheating isn't winning...

But, cheating *is* winning.
ljc: star trek (pike)taraljc on 27th June 2009 18:27 (UTC)
Pike just glared at you.
printer's ink and blood: jailbait!kirk adores youjheti on 27th June 2009 18:22 (UTC)
I love you. For your brain. And so does Kirk, here. <3

That was my favorite Kirk scene actually, the whole, "STFU, it's A TRAP, think with your brains for a second about what happened to the Kelvin, hello?" routine.

He does so have a head on his shoulders. *Nods.*
ljc: star trek (uhura prime)taraljc on 27th June 2009 18:27 (UTC)
Eaxctly. His mouth is a problem, but his head is screwed on just fine, massive teenage self-destructive tendencies aside.
(Deleted comment)
ljc: wtf?taraljc on 27th June 2009 19:05 (UTC)
no, it's not any funnier if you say it about a man as opposed to a woman, thanks.

(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - taraljc on 27th June 2009 19:23 (UTC) (Expand)
sunlight on your path: Star Trekthistlerose on 27th June 2009 18:42 (UTC)
Hear, hear.