Visions of space collide as Shatner heads towards the stars

James T. Kirk once stated that "Risk is our business." "That is what this starship's all about." This is why we are aboard her.

Visions of space collide as Shatner heads towards the stars

A half-century after his original performance, the actor who gave life to the Enterprise captain is now taking that kind of risk for his own business. He is heading toward the stars in dramatically different circumstances from his fictional counterpart. William Shatner, in this way, is creating parallel universes or at least allowing them to coexist. This is the utopian spacefaring vision that "Star Trek" portrays and the increasingly commercialized spot that "space" holds for the American psyche.

Shatner board Jeff Bezos Blue Origin NS-18 in Texas around dawn Wednesday. His one-time step into the craft creates one the greatest crossover stories of our time.

It's all about space and exploration. And, of course, capitalism and billionaires and economic equity. It's also about marketing and popular culture, entertainment, nostalgia, hope, Manifest Destiny, and, and...

It will consist of a complex mix of human hopes, technology, hope, braggadocio, cash and the idea that space travel elevates people -- all orchestrated and managed by a company that is being criticized for its un-utopian and tech-bro ways.

Are all those and Star Trek a good match?


Since 1966's premiere, "Trek", starring one of the most varied casts TV has ever seen, has evolved from Gene Roddenberry’s fever dream of a “Wagon Train” to the stars into an intricate transmedia universe rich in subtleties, traditions and rules.

They include: Human beings do not kill each other. As is poverty and hunger, money is usually outdated. Greed is a sinful thing. The most sacred principle is noninterference in other culture. The United Federation of Planets is the spacefaring United Nations of Star Trek. Exploration, not domination, are the coins of the realm. This is a far cry from a lot of humanity.

The original 1966-1969 series featured allegory to get around network censors. It told stories about racism, xenophobia, and even the Vietnam War. How did they do it? The adventures of Kirk's Enterprise were set against the backdrop of 23rd century space travel. This is directly relevant to the world, as humans first set foot upon the moon 47 years after the end of the original series.

With the support of a passionate fan base, "Star Trek," over the next 50 years, roared back to more. This helped cement space travel as a relevant canvas for storytelling.

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