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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.


(Deleted comment)
feanna: stfeanna on 2nd July 2009 12:36 (UTC)
So much WORD!
I mean TOS-Kirk was a history geek and a chess club member (and he knows Morse-code, saw that episode yesterday, they get a message in beeps and Uhura is like: "Ehm, it seems to be Morse-code, ehm, C D" and he interrups her (twice) and tells her: "Yes we (he and Spock) read" and is obviously following the message (Spock too). He quotes classics (book geek). And it goes on.
New-Kirk knows the subfields of linguistics, did enormously well on some test, does the academy in 3 years, knows the regulations well enough to know that he has the right to confront his accuser.
It's never that he doesn't care. We get so many moments where we see him care and where he doesn't seem to that's just because it's easy to him, so the stuff that's hard for normal people goes on in the background and his energy can be put into having fun if he wants to and then when he really does care about something nothing can hold him back.
spatz on 4th July 2009 05:21 (UTC)
THANK YOU. I cannot agree more. Making Kirk the youngest captain ever is a difficult enough jump without fans making him stupid to boot.

D'you think if I draw enough (totally deserved!) hearts and sparkles on this post, the people who need to read it will be drawn by their sparkly power? ;)
Nemo: st xi : kirknemoed on 4th July 2009 14:18 (UTC)
I couldn't have put it any better myself. In fact, I tried to but failed so I'm really grateful someone finally found the right words :)
Young Murdered Faery: torchedgraphics:  Ed asleepymfaery on 5th July 2009 11:43 (UTC)
I came for the fic (OMG PIKE/NUMBER ONE = NEW OTP) and found this letter. Thank you so much for writing it.
votaku on 14th July 2009 07:52 (UTC)
Thank you. :)
スミレdesecrateregret on 29th July 2009 04:01 (UTC)
The river runs through my soul: From Russia with Lovemondmadchen on 16th August 2009 03:40 (UTC)
Dear LJC,

This, so hardcore. Thank you for putting it out there (I know you say it's a rant, but you're so composed it hardly counts). Kirk-nu!Kirk moreso than TOS!Kirk-is definitely one of my favorite characters out of any fandom, he isn't just some frat boy douche. Alright, he is a something of a douche, but he's very intelligent and quick to think on his feet. It seems like people aren't listening to Pike (which may or may not be a cardinal sin in this fandom) when he calls Kirk a "genius-level repeat offender." That, in my mind, sums Kirk up perfectly. He's a thrill-seeker, not afraid to get into trouble so long as it provides an adrenaline rush (why do I feel a psychoanalysis coming on) long enough to distract his brilliant mind from realizing that he's stuck in the proverbial rut. Pardon my language, but he is a goddamn genius. He doesn't do things for no reason. Once more, thanks.

Missy: star trek | kirk (angst)ever_obsessed on 28th February 2010 23:17 (UTC)
I just found this. And read it.

Hakka: Kirk2.0prue84 on 2nd April 2010 03:21 (UTC)
Amen. (_-_)
romancleeromanclee on 31st March 2012 06:27 (UTC)
Welp. I think I just fell in love with you a little bit.
ljc: star trek (gaila smiley girl)taraljc on 31st March 2012 07:09 (UTC)
yay love!