William Shatner is awesome. William Shatner is the greatest human being on Earth. I’ve never watched any of his movies, or one episode of any TV show he’s been on, including Star Trek. (Which I’ll get to one of these days, please don’t take away my geek card.) The most exposure I’ve ever had to his acting skills is sadly probably those Priceline commercials that feature him. Still, I say give him the Emmy, all of them: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Drama Series, whatever. Give him those, give him the Oscars, give him all the Nobel Prizes, give him the key to every city in America – nay, the world. William Shatner deserves every award and accolade that humanity has ever devised because he is the most amazing specimen 2.5 million years of human evolution has produced thus far.

 

Why is he so amazing? Because he’s Captain Kirk. I’m as big a fan of the 2009 movie as anyone else, but William Shatner will always be THE Captain James T. Kirk, and for better or worse he’ll always be associated with that character which he originated. But Shatner has been able to create a cultural persona for himself that, while strongly colored by Kirk, is not solely dominated by it, thanks to his idiosyncratic style of speaking, musical endeavors, sci-fi novels, and spoken word renditions of the speeches and tweets of prominent Republican personalities. Shatner has himself become a formidable cultural icon.

It is a combination of all these that help make Brooklyn musical group Fall on Your Sword’s video “Shatner of the Mount” so particularly, incredibly epic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HU2ftCitvyQ – Shatner of the Mount video

There isn’t much I can, or probably should say about the video, which as it stands creates a dynamic statement all on its own. Nevertheless, perhaps I can provide some context. The footage is from an interview done during the filming of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). The movie was directed and its original storyline conceived by Shatner, and it is, as I’ve gathered from Wikipedia, various Star Trek fan sites, and my friend Danny, a self-professed Trekker, “the worst Star Trek movie ever.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlxzpWjM5Q8&feature=related – mountain climbing scene

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HlplfG5Ezk&feature=related – interview clip

In the interview Shatner discusses a scene during the opening credits in which Kirk is free climbing El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, and how he came to include this scene in the movie. The statements Shatner makes are awkward, and to quote my roommate, “kind of creepy.” He may, as some people suspect, be partly joking. While perhaps this is true, there is in what Shatner tries to communicate, if not completely original and not done very eloquently, still something worth paying attention to. Namely, why someone does something just for the sake of doing it – or as Kirk says in the mountain climbing scene, and as the phrase goes, to climb the mountain “because it’s there.” To do things without regards as to the practicality of it, the feasibility of it, or whether anyone else in the world will even know or care about it; to do things for the simple love of it. Uploading a fan made video to You Tube, taking the time to watch a stranger’s work, to explain a movie that’s been eviscerated by both critics and fans alike with an earnestness normally reserved for works of a much, to put it gently, different caliber– acts of love all. A techno remix of an interview done with one of the world’s foremost pop culture icons trying to explain mountain climbing via sexual metaphors that is subsequently seen by thousands of people via an Internet sharing site – I don’t know how much more commemorative, more representative of modern western culture, of our time period you can get. And the video of course would not exist were it not for Shatner, nor would it be as effective if it were anyone else doing the speaking.

Why is Captain Kirk climbing a mountain? Because William Shatner is amazing.

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