You have to love George Takei. Not only is he an excellent actor, he has what one might call “personality”. He also has an Arkansas link to me, and this sort of exposes the foul underbelly of racial prejudice.
He was born in 1937 of American and Japanese ancestry, putting him well into the Social Security crowd now. I really like the new adverts that he does for the TeeVee manufacturer. He is looking more youthful now than he has for several years.
Before we start with this, I got redirected to a site that tries to promote products as “free” as a “randomly chosen” Dailykos reader. Here is the address and the disclaimer. Well, the address does not come up on history, but I had the sense to copy the disclaimer. Hopefully, the Kos folks will root out whomever is promoted this fraud.
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It hit me again, and the website is called LoudMo.com. What is going with it?
Anyway, George Takei is most well remembered as Lt. Sulu, the helmsman for NCC-1701, and several iterations of the Enterprise afterwards. As far as I can tell, he appeared in all of the TOS movies, but was captain of his own vessel in one or more of them.
He also appeared in Voyager, along with Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Rand) in an episode whence Seven of Nine and Janeway were flung back in time. I always thought that Grace Lee Whitney was VERY attractive, even though I am normally attracted to red or brunette hair. She was an exception.
In any event, George was around five years of age when he and the rest of his family were uprooted from California and sent to the internment camp in Arkansas, the Rohwer War Relocation Center, in Deshea County (pronounced Duh-shay’) in 1942. You see at the time, “Japs” could not be trusted. His family bore the burden of bigotry better than I would have, and returned to California after the war. By the way, Deshea County is one the most godforsaken parts of the entire nation.
I guess that as little as he was at the time, and without any beatings by the guards, he did not gain enmity towards the system. Or perhaps it is just in his nature to be a kind person. I can not say for sure. By the way, Enterprise ran an episode that is exactly parallel with his treatment. The episode is called Detained and aired first in 2002. It had to do with an entire class of people in internment camps just because of who they were, even though they had been integrated with their society for many years.
In addition be being an excellent helmsman, Sulu was also accomplished in fencing, and had a love of ancient weapons. In all of his roles on Star Trek, he was a character that one could come to like almost immediately.
Takei and James Doohan (Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott, or Scotty) were in real life extremely good friends. Reading some of Doohan’s memoirs, it turns out that Takei and Doohan would often go out together after filming (yes, filming, TOS was not taped) and hit the bars. One night, Takei insisted on taking Doohan out to one of the few sushi bars in the United States at the time (remember, this was in 1966 or so), and Doohan was a bit concerned about raw fish. A little sake and a taste of sushi converted him into a fan. Doohan and Takei remained friends until Doohan’s death not that long ago.
In addition to his acting and friendship to folks, Takei is a very passionate advocate for gay rights. He revealed not that long ago that he has always been gay, and for one of Star Trek’s heros to do so is wonderful.
I sort of think that lots of people who are not that gay friendly will take Lt. Sulu’s words at face value. Good on him for having the courage for taking a stand!
As I said before, the new commercial is great. He looks as good as ever, and still puts his emotion into his craft, even if it advertising a TeeVee.
Comments and criticism for my treatment of this are welcome, but let us only give George Takei praise. I think that he deserves it.
Crossposted at Dailykos.com