The light at the end of the tunnel is beckoning to me, like a $12 Atlantic City whore. Almost done with my white whale of an issue. But I came across this, while giving my eyes a rest from editing copy that features the phrase "Garfield's A Tale of Two Kitties":
This pensive post on Javier Grillo-Marxuach's journal (which you should read, because he's a good writer—they don't let just anyone be a supervising producer on Lost, you know), all about the varied and sundry Supermen, Batmen, and James Bonds, ends with one of the more provocative pop-culture statements I've ever heard:
"Ponder this...within our lifetime, someone other than William Shatner will play the role of captain James T. Kirk."
Hot damn. And he's right. Captain Kirk is a one of the few genuinely American characters—that didn't come from a comic book—that can lay claim to a mythic, almost Shakespearean heft. There will, undoubtedly, come a time when someone will want to tell new adventures of the original Starship Enterprise, and realize that they were never as good as when Kirk, Bones, and Spock were at the helm.
And we will all hate the 22-year-old chump they cast, but it won't matter...because the 13-year-old kids who tune in (or download) will think he's the shit, and they will buy all the DVDs and the videogames and the cell phones that look exactly like the communicators. (Seriously, why hasn't anyone ever done that? It wouldn't be hard, and I'd buy one.) From that point on, Jake Bronson (or whatever the hell his name is gonna be) will be James T. Kirk.
As much as it'll pain those of us who hold the image of the young, almost Elvis-pretty Shatner close to our hearts, it will be necessary. Because the only way a character achieves immortality is if he or she can be reinterpreted for each subsequent generation. That is how new life gets breathed into old heroes, and that is why Bond and Othello and Falstaff and Willy Loman and Mr. Darcy live on, instead of becoming relics, like John Rambo or Steve Austin or, yes, Atticus Finch.
Hell, if we can tolerate three different Indiana Joneses, we can handle another Cap'n Kirk.
EDIT: In case you hadn't heard, Lost-boy J.J. Abrams will follow Mission: Impossible 3 with the next Star Trek film...featuring a young Kirk and Spock at Starfleet Academy. My powers are beyond even my understanding.