Captain’s Log: Stardate 2050.6

Lucky you, I’ve only just started watching season 3 of Captain Kirk’s Star Trek, so we may be stuck with this theme for a bit longer. A few interesting observations:

  1. I’ve been having fun annoying the kid by shouting out the classic lines at the same time as the characters. Of course the kid gets me back when, having been sitting next to me looking at his phone or at his computer, turns to me in the crucial, most exciting part and says, “What’s going on?” or “Why are they dressed like the 1960s?” So that I miss Kirk’s pinnacle stilted speech telling the aliens how to live free, or the moment when Kirk has punched and kicked his way clear of the enemies and Spock has repaired the communicator, just as Scotty has fixed the transporter and can beam them up.
  2. There are more guest stars who are people of color than I remembered. It’s also kind of sad to say it’s actually more diverse than many shows today. And they are all in all kinds of roles–scientists, doctors, officers, Federation leaders.
  3. Yes, there is a ton of sexism that was normalized for that time, and you could probably create a drinking game for every time Kirk says anything about female beauty or love between a man and a woman, puts the moves on a woman, or kisses them, which he manages to do in pretty much every circumstance. Trying to escape? Kiss the woman! Just think she’s a hot alien? Kiss the woman! Meet an old ex? Kiss the woman! However, once you get past that, the Starfleet woman are scientific experts and officers and their opinions are respected by their peers.
  4. For an organization that sits on its high horse of superiority about solving wars and poverty and blathers on about the Prime Directive, they have a lot of officers go rogue and mess up entire planets. Maybe their HR psychological testing needs a bit more fine-tuning.

I actually had another topic to cover, and strangely it may be fitting that I am using one fictional set of characters that have a life of their own to introduce another fictional character who has a life of her own.

If you have not heard of Duchess Goldblatt, the wonderful fictional character on Twitter, and her new book, Becoming Duchess Goldblatt, it’s a bit hard to explain. If you have Twitter, go follow her. If you don’t, here are some of her tweets (liberally featured in the book). If you like these tweets, then you will love her book. If you need more information, you can read the New York Times book review. It describes her this way:

@DuchessGoldblat, if you aren’t familiar with her, is a Twitter personality — a “character.” She’s a self-described 81-year-old author of royal blood, who lives in the (fictional) town of Crooked Path, N.Y. She has a (fictional) middle-aged daughter, Hacienda, who is incarcerated, and she’s the author of the (fictional) memoirs “An Axe to Grind” and “Feasting on the Carcasses of My Enemies: A Love Story.” Her avatar is a (nonfictional) 1633 painting by Frans Hals titled “Portrait of an Elderly Lady,” which hangs in the National Gallery.

She’s funny, has a love of language and knows how to twist it, is imperious, kind, encouraging, and many other things, but I’ll let her speak for herself:

If you find yourself feeling embittered, roll around in a barrel of kosher salt until crusted, and then set yourself in a colander to drain.

Duchess is very busy today. Nonfictions, architects, and engineers, tell a good joke. Fictions, tell the truth for once, for God’s sake.

When I find myself in need of great beauty, I close my eyes and listen, and it slips in through the side door.

Wherever there’s organic matter, a water source, and darkness, reality will grow. Get after it with vinegar, baking soda and dynamite.

Gather all the icicles you can carry and bring them inside. Nurse them back to health in the kitchen sink. Cheer for them when they move on.

I’m headed up the mountain today to see a famed holy man about some faith healing. I’m not sure what his ailments are, but I’ll do what I can.

The trick is to be superhuman, but only when you have to. The rest of the time, I recommend looking out the window. Maybe have a sandwich.

Not until people start seeing typos eating out of their garbage cans at night will they regret hunting proofreaders almost to extinction.

The book is about how the anonymous person behind Duchess came to create her and why.  And then how people’s responses to her created an online community of fans. It’s beautifully written, funny, surprising and profound. It’s also a good balm for our current situation.

Here’s to all the fictional people in our lives who help us though.




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