Department Of The Words I Never Thought I’d Want To Say to George Takei:
Or at least, George, you’re acting like one.
From common folk to Star Trek nerds fans, most sentient US citizens know about William Shatner’s ride into space last week. Many of us in the latter category (ST nerds) also know about the long-standing feud between Shatner and his ST:TOS co-star, George Takei. A brief summary of the childish spat:
Takei  has long held grudges about Shatner. The former Lt. Sulu has told stories which revolve around his perceptions that Shatner was a self-centered ham,  and that Takei and other supporting cast members resented playing second fiddle(s) on the show. Over the years and in his biography (which moiself has read) Takei has presented a plethora of mostly petty incidents justifying (in Takei’s opinion) his resentment of Shatner. Many of the stories ring true; however, IMHO, they are hardly relevant to the present moment. The series (and films) were over *thirty to fifty years* ago.
Here’s the thing: a second fiddle is what Takei was hired to play. The Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy characters were the show’s triumvirate, and Shatner was hired as the star of the show – the captain of the USS Enterprise. It is a tribute to the actors playing Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov, that they became so beloved, given their minor roles and the fact that, unlike Kirk, Spock and McCoy, their characters were *not* in every episode of the series. Uhura, Scotty, Sulu and Chekov (and Yeoman Rand, Nurse Chapel, and others) – those roles were written and cast as *supporting* players.
But Takei (second fiddle row, far left, in the above picture) can’t seem to step out of his anti-gravity suit and rise above it all.
“William Shatner’s brief trip to outer space this week wasn’t the final frontier in his grudge match with former co-star George Takei…..Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu to Shatner’s Capt. James T. Kirk in the iconic TV series and films, fired the latest blast in the pair’s decades-long feud Wednesday. This time, he criticized the 90-year-old’s Wednesday flight aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space capsule, which gave Shatner the honor of being the oldest person to launch into space.
“He’s boldly going where other people have gone before,” Takei, 84, quipped…riffing on the series’ catchphrase (and a number of headlines about Shatner’s 10-minute voyage.)
Upon returning to Earth Wednesday, Shatner was moved to tears over the ‘profound experience’ Bezos gave him and was surveying ‘the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death.’
Takei put it more bluntly: ‘He’s a guinea pig,’ he said. The outspoken actor and prolific Twitter user then threw even more shade at Shatner’s physical fitness and age.
‘Ninety years old and it’s important to find out what happens,’ he added, noting that Shatner’s advanced years will ‘show a great deal more on the wear and tear on the human body’ and that ‘he’ll be a good specimen to study’ — a specimen ‘that’s unfit.’ “
(“Beam him down, Scotty: George Takei isn’t impressed by
William Shatner’s space trip.” LA Times 10-14-21 )
Mr. Takei, I think you owe Mr. Shatner an apology. Why did you feel the need to pitch snark? Why is your opinion relevant at all – why should it matter what *you* think about *his* trip to space? Your comments make you look petty, jealous, and attention-seeking. Why not be gracious – if you have to say anything, why not wish him, or anyone in that situation, the best?
And the not-so-thinly-veiled fat jokes?
Mr. Takei, I’ve admired you for your advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ issues – even as you came to it very, very, very late in the game  – and your involvement in raising awareness re the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. That’s still and all good. However, your advocacy for those or any other noble causes in no way gives you an impunity shield for acting like a dick.
Shatner, of course, fired back after being attacked. And in this case, I think Captain Kirk’s shade laser topped Lt. Sulu’s dick torpedo:
Mr. Takei, is this how you want to be remembered? Yeah, Shatner is old (wow, thanks for pointing that out), but so are you. It’s likely that neither you nor Shatner will live very much longer. What if Shatner died next week, and your ungenerous, uncalled for critique of his space ride turned out to be the last public words you’d spoken about him?
Your and Shatner’s combined ages are 174; your vindictive verbal volleying makes the figure seem more like 24. Whiny juveniles, still bickering over who did what to whom on the playground ( Did not! Did so! ).
Get over it. Please, grow up and shut up.
* * *
Department Of Living Someone Else’s Dream Life
Moiself is continuing my commentary on the series of talks about the practice of Stoicism – “The Stoic Path,” by William B. Irvine – which I’ve been listening to, from Sam Harris’ “Waking Up” meditation app.
As I am learning, part of the stoic path toward emotional equanimity involves engaging in something called negative visualization, which I’ll deal with more in next week’s post. Although the episode for my comments this week, “You are Living the Dream Life,” also utilizes a form of negative visualization.
Yep, that’s me – I’m living the dream life.
It’s strange for us to consider that we are living the dream life. The thing to realize is that we likely are…only, it’s someone else’s dream. The idea is to get us to appreciate what we have. As I tried to periodically remind my offspring, happiness/contentment comes *not* from getting what you want, but wanting what you get.
When we are in the midst of life’s everyday tribulations, from minor irritations (an overdue utility bill) to major events (a burst water pipe causes our house’s floor to collapse; our spouse develops a serious illness) it’s easy to snort at the idea that we should consider ourselves fortunate (“count our blessings”). It’s easy to *not* consider the fact that someone, somewhere around the world (possibly even in our own community) could look at what we might dramatically think of as our nightmare, and to them, it’s a dream. We have a roof over our heads, an abundance of material possessions, indoor plumbing, antibiotics, and a palm-shaped device which helps us communicate with others, watch cat videos, and search the sum of human knowledge.
I’m certain that moiself doesn’t fully understand the concept of negative visualization, because my first thought when I head the terms was, I don’t want to engage in this – I get enough of it from the daily news. I don’t want appreciate what I have by imagining how things could be worse. My “writer’s mind,” (imaging and trying out all possible scenarios of a story) already tends to go in that direction, thank you very much. But, moiself supposes, if negative visualization were done intentionally – as part of a meditative practice to give you perspective on present circumstances – it could be quite useful.
I was reminded of my own experience with living the dream – someone else’s:
Dateline: a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (late 1980s). My housemate and I are living in a rented cottage, situated behind the landlord’s son’s house, in Palo Alto. My bedroom is the slant-floored, enclosed (and un-insulated) back porch of what was originally constructed as a one-bedroom cottage. The cottage’s kitchen (the kitchen closet, LP and I call it) literally cannot accommodate two people standing side by side.
My housemate is also my friend; we are both “foodies,” and regularly get together with another friend, PF, for theme dinners, which we take turns hosting.  On this night PF is hosting; she has chosen a date where her “roommates” are out. For the past year PF has been living with her sister’s family (sister, husband, two teenaged daughters), in one of the wealthiest of Bay Area suburbs (Atherton). PF’s sister’s house, a large, craftsman-style, three story mansion filled with art and artifacts collected from her sister’s travels, is stunningly beautiful. LP and I can barely hide our admiration – or control our drool – as we survey its spacious, well-appointed kitchen.
A couple of hours into our dinner, as we begin to clean up the kitchen, PF’s sister and her family return to their home (from whatever activity they’d been doing which got them out of the house and gave PF the chance to invite friends over). PF introduces us to her sister’s family. They are all beautiful people, strikingly attractive in both physique, visage, and personality. PF later tells me (I had to ask) that Sister and Husband have a great relationship and truly are each other’s best friend. 
Oh, really? That’s too bad so nice.
Petty, petty moiself had hoped for a cliché, along the lines of, money can’t buy happiness. I wanted to see that these are people who are rich in things, but miserable (or at least lacking) in their personal relationships. Nope. Looks like they got it all.
As LP and I help PF clean up our dinner dishes, I engage in friendly conversation with PF’s sister, who excuses herself after a few minutes to join her husband in their study. She and her husband are going to plan their next vacation to Peru.
On our drive back to our cottage, LP and I engage in stunned conversation about what we’ve just seen: The Good Life ®, which we so obviously do not have. I silently compare our friend’s sister’s evening activities with what awaits me when I return home: turning on the miniscule portable electric heater I purchased which (barely) keeps the container of hand lotion in my room from freezing.
LP and I begin listing everything PF’s sister has which we are lacking, followed by our mutual reassurances that, although we are not wealthy (and, in fact and especially in my case, barely making ends meet), “we are rich in love.”
“Could you believe that kitchen? They’re not even professional chefs.”
But, we are rich in love.
“And that bathroom, with the clawfoot tub, and the…”
Yep. We, however, are rich in love.
“And the view out the window, with their orchard and the hills and…”
We are rich in love.
“And they’ve been married over twenty years,
have two teenagers, and they look that good
and still banter and flirt with one another…”
LP begins to rattle off a list of our family and friends who value us, until moiself feels compelled to point out the obvious:
“Yes, we have family and friends who value us; we are rich in love.
They, too, are rich in love…and, they’re rich.”
* * *
Department Of Seasonal Scenery
It’s too beautiful a day to be inside and write; moiself needs to get outside and kick through some leaves. I suggest y’all do the same, right now.
Except, what if you’re living somewhere without quick access to the deciduous foliage show of autumn (like the above, which I can see out my window)? Maybe you’re in the Southwest, and the plants surrounding you don’t have leaves. Maybe the flora adjacent to your locale consists of chollas, saguaros, barrel cacti, prickly pears?
Do cacti have any kind of seasonal shedding of their…uh, they don’t have leaves, so I guess it would be, their spines?
I’m trying to imagine that scenario:
Moiself (or yourself), living in the Arizona desert, calling out to a friend:
“Would you look at that pile of spines underneath the saguaro grove?! What a stunning panoply of…uh, browns and tans. Don’t you want to just wade through them, to get into the Fall spirit?
(kick kick ) Ouch!
(kick kick) Yikes!
(kick kick shuffle shuffle) Oooh, that smarts!”
I suggest y’all do the same, right now. It occurs to me that I’ve given you Southwestern and/or desert dwellers advice that you can’t follow. Well, that’s what you get for living in a state where you have to steal other people’s water. 
* * *
Punz For The Day
Rich People Edition
One hundred years ago everyone owned a horse, and only rich people had cars.
Now, everyone has a car and only rich people have horses.
My, how the stables have turned.
The genie asked, “What’s your first wish?”
Cathy exclaimed, “I wish I was rich!”
The genie said, “Okay; granted. What’s your second wish?”
Rich exclaimed, “I want lots of money!”
What do you call a rich European architect who goes bankrupt?
What do you call wealthy garbage men?
The Filthy Rich.
What do kind of nuts do rich people wear on their feet?
* * *
May you remember what it’s like to kick through a pile of autumn leaves;
May your dream of living the life you dream of living not be a dream;
May George Takei survive a successful surgery to remove the proverbial burr
from under his saddle of resentment;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 along with several of the ST:TOS supporting players
 Imagine, anyone saying that about an actor.
 Not until he was 68, and such a revelation couldn’t really harm his career.
 One of the themes was “Food you might be embarrassed to admit you love.” I made my grandmother’s salmon loaf.
 PF did express some concern that her nieces were growing up not realizing what advantages they had and were taking their good life for granted.
 OOOOOH, throwing some shade down there. I *do* have friends who are dear to me, who live in Arizona.