Plus his must-see interview by Glenn Beck who says, “I think there are too many stupid people”
Okay, this post is mostly my chance to blog about William Shatner, the iconic figure of 1960s science fiction techno-optimism, who has shown that one can build a career around almost absurdist self-parody (much like Glenn Beck).
Star Trek helped launch the optimistic futuristic vision of science fiction, in contrast to the apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic vision that is more commonplace today. Shatner has been widely parodied for his thespian style — to make the clich© meta, if you look up overacting in Wikipedia, there is a picture of Shatner. He defends his style in a hysterical Beck interview (excerpted below):
He is an advocate of global warming action, as in this Sierra Club video :
Parade has one of its typical puff celebrity profiles on him today, but Shatner manages to sneak a couple of mentions of warming, which is two more than most people:
PARADE: So you like to spend a lot of time outside on Sunday?
SHATNER: I am an outdoorsy kind of guy, but my previously unassailable energy does have some limitations. I do like to watch the news shows on Sunday morning, but then I start to worry about the melting polar ice caps and what’s happening in Afghanistan. One of my most prized possessions is an iPad; I’m locked into The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times on that. But I still get the Los Angeles Times delivered because I’m worried about journalists like yourself being able to make a living these days….
PARADE: And after dinner, as the day winds to a close“¦
SHATNER: We have a small, cozy TV room with a big leather sofa. My wife sits in a massage chair, and the two 90-pound Dobermans lie in my lap on the sofa. We watch TV until Liz falls asleep, and I just hold the dogs and watch a movie and let all the anxiety about the melting ice caps and Afghanistan””and now your job as a journalist””fade into the background. And I’m content.
He’s a funny guy, which was obvious if you have watched any recent interview, the Priceline commercials, or Boston Legal. Indeed, Beck interviewed him in part because Shatner played a diehard conservative on that show.
The entire May 2008 Beck interview is online in pieces at YouTube. Part 2 starts their debate about the environment — don’t miss where Beck says “I think there are too many stupid people”:
Here are the choice parts:
SHATNER: I`m very much aware. I read Rachel Carlson 40 years ago.
BECK: Sure. OK.
SHATNER: And subscribed to Rachel Carlson`s “The Silent Spring.” It was happening then.
SHATNER: People became aware of the disintegration of the world a decade ago. Like everybody is smoking and then one day smoking is bad for you. Suddenly nobody was smoking.
SHATNER: But it was a decade, as well, ago, before everybody started to realize that even second-hand smoke — now outdoor second-hand smoke, and everything is falling part on the smoke thing.
SHATNER: I buy that the world is falling apart.
SHATNER: In every — in every way. The main cause of it is overpopulation. Not the main. The cause of the world`s destruction is there are too many people.
BECK: No, I think there are too many stupid people.
Here is where I refrain from making the obvious joke about Beck insulting his audience.
SHATNER: No. There are too many stupid and intelligent people. They`re so close together you can`t tell them apart.
SHATNER: All right? They`re pressed together, defecating into the ocean, and it`s all — it`s just too much. The planet can`t take it.
BECK: I`ve never — defecate — I don`t know anybody that`s defecated in the ocean.
SHATNER: Everybody defecates into the ocean. You defecate here, it goes into the ocean.
BECK: Oh, well, thats New York. Anyway, go ahead.
SHATNER: Also — every — everything ends up in the ocean, OK.
BECK: OK. Right. Remind me not to go have seafood now.
SHATNER: No. Exactly.
SHATNER: You`re — you`re trembling on the edge of toxic food and toxic air and toxic water all the time.
BECK: Sure. Got it.
SHATNER: We`re trying to find ways to avoid that all the time.
BECK: See, now you`re scaring me. You`re calling me Chicken Little?
SHATNER: No. I`m saying I subscribe to that.
SHATNER: And I`m — I`m in the area of losing faith that there`s anything we can do about it, because people continue to propagate.
SHATNER: And so where 6 billion becomes — you know, we`re going to reach 7 billion.
SHATNER: And the more there are, even though you lessen the number, the more they get.
BECK: It`s like a Harvard endowment.
SHATNER: Yes, compound interest.
SHATNER: And so here we are. But — but where you should be rational.
SHATNER: Because you’re talking to people all over the United States…
BECK: I want you to know, America, I have never made you the promise I was going to be rational. Not once. Not to you. Not to him.
Here is where I refrain from making the obvious joke about pretty much every show Beck has ever done (see Fox News blurts out its agenda: “Now that Jones has resigned, we need to follow through”¦. First, stop cap-and-trade, which could send these groups trillions,” and then put “the whole corrupt ‘green jobs’ concept outside the bounds of the political mainstream”).
SHATNER: … pointing us, with the millions of people who watch you, is, the government just said that it`s going to be 35 miles a gallon in 2020.
SHATNER: That`s 12 years from now.
SHATNER: What? It`s not going to happen. No, of course it`s going to happen.
BECK: It`s not going to happen.
SHATNER: Not only is it going to happen, it will be 50 miles a gallon in five years. I mean, how dare they say in 12 years we`re going to gain seven or eight miles per gallon when oil is reaching $125 a barrel?
BECK: Oh, no, wait a minute, wait a minute, hang on just a second. Are you talking about capitalists making it happen or the government making it happen? Because I believe people, I believe America — I still — I still…
SHATNER: Who cares who makes it up? The Israelis recently have said they`ve got a new car that`s going to transform transportation.
BECK: We`re following a guy right now who`s got a car — he says it`s coming out next year — that runs on air, compressed air.
SHATNER: I don`t know about that. I saw — a guy showed me an engine, he poured Coca-Cola into it, and it ran on Coca-Cola. I don`t know about that. All I do know is that it is well within the technology of today to get 75 miles a gallon. Why is the government legislating 35 miles a gallon 12 years from now when we`re in a crisis now?
BECK: You tell me.
SHATNER: No, no. No, no, you`re the one who`s telling us. I`m asking, you why aren`t you saying, “Are you crazy? Twelve years and seven gallons — seven miles per gallon?”
BECK: Because I`m on the air every day saying government is selling you down the river every step of the way, every step of the way! This government is selling us — both the Democrats and the Republicans have no frickin` clue what`s going on.
SHATNER: That`s why I watch you. That`s exactly why.
BECK: Yes, but I`m saying that every day. And you think I`m crazy.
SHATNER: No. You`re like a crazy prophet. The world is ending, the world is ending and then the world ends. Golly! If I don`t…
BECK: I mean, I`m just saying you should bury your guns, your gold and your food in your backyard. That`s all I`m saying.
SHATNER: And your car.
One of the answers is awareness of the — how little resources we have left, including life forms that are dying off so rapidly.
BECK: We`ve talked about it all week, about, you know — because people are hammering me, because I`m saying drill for oil. But I`m also saying put — put nuclear energy on to the table.
SHATNER: Don`t go to — don`t go to Alaska and ruin another place.
BECK: You don`t have to ruin it, Bill. You know that.
SHATNER: But it`s always ruined. We`re human beings. A drunken cat that drives it into Iraq.
BECK: But, see, that`s the problem. We don`t have to drive — by the way, that`s oil that`s coming from a foreign country. We don`t have to be drunk, and we don`t have to be irresponsible. We can go…
SHATNER: We`re human beings. We`re prone to those mistakes. We`re prone — you have to allow for stupidity in every business.
BECK: Yes. But you also — if you say we`re prone to mistakes, you also have to say, we also can learn from our mistakes.
SHATNER: We know that you need a double-hulled boat, if that`s the — we`re talking about this particular problem.
SHATNER: You know you knew — up there, with the currents and the winds.
SHATNER: You know that a double-hulled boat is necessary. And being drunk on duty can`t be when you`re going, “Whoa, look at this, you know. There`s a wave! And I`m drunk!” You can`t do that.
BECK: He`s the best. Back with William Shatner in just a second.
SHATNER: That we`ve engendered this takeover, find a solution and do it, and do it well and do it kindly. But we now need an individual to sweep away all the things that America has been doing for all these years without a crisis. We need election reform. We need — we need true elections. We need people not influencing the government with special needs. We need an environmental policy. We need an immigration policy. We need the war policy. We need people who can make decisions…
BECK: You know, Bill, there`s — there`s — I think — I don`t know what your politics are. I don`t want to know your politics because — I mean, you tell me if you want to. But I think that the left and the right and the liberals and the conservatives and the Republicans — I think all that`s bull crap.
SHATNER: I agree.
BECK: I think people watch — sitting at home, and they watch television they go, “What the hell? It`s not that hard. It`s not that hard to figure this out.”
SHATNER: No, it`s not hard for the guys elected either. But what those guys elected are trying to do is, how do I keep my job and make a reform?
SHATNER: Well, I`d rather keep my job than make a reform.
SHATNER: I`ll let the next guy, 20 years from now, do the reform.
SHATNER: And everybody does that.
SHATNER: We need — we need the population to say we need a Democratic revolution, and let`s get back to the basics of the Constitution.
BECK: I think it`s going to happen.
SHATNER: I think so, too. I think that if you realize — you`ve got children?
BECK: Yes, I`ve got four.
SHATNER: OK. Your four children, not you…
BECK: Part of the overpopulation.
SHATNER: No, yes. But your four children are going to be in dire straits in 25 years.
BECK: Yes, I know that.
SHATNER: I mean, really bad.
BECK: Who`s the scare…
BECK: Who’s the scare-monger? Who`s the chicken — hang on, zip. We`re taking a brick. We`ll be back. We`ll find out which one is the scare-monger, the fear monger right here. Right here.
Hmm. When Captain Kirk goes apocalyptic on us, we are in deep doo-doo, or, rather deep “$#*!