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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.


Cheers,

LJC
 
 
 
Faith: misc-text-thisvertrauen on 27th June 2009 17:20 (UTC)
Agreed!
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.