Captain’s Log: Stardate 201901.18. I am on holiday and thought I’d update the log. One of the most popular episodes of TOS featured in my class is This Side of Paradise, and it’s one of my favourites too. My students seem to rate this episode higher than The City on The Edge of Forever, and I think it is because they, mostly young Koreans, seem to prefer Spock-oriented stories over those that focus mainly on Kirk. In the book The Ultimate Star Trek and Philosophy: The Search for Socrates there is a chapter called “Destroying Utopias: Why Kirk is a Jerk” by David Kyle Johnson in which the author takes issue with Kirk’s decision to remove the spore-infected but extremely happy and healthy colonists on Omicron Ceti III because man was not meant to be completely happy all the time. Kirk says man will not achieve anything if he does not have a “challenge”, but Johnson says the people on the planet have already overcome all adversity and are happy so they don’t need to be challenged. They, he says, have already reached what all men and women want and strive for, so they should be left alone. He also points out that Omicron Ceti III would be ideal planet for people suffering from terminal diseases and depression, and I think he makes a pretty good point there. Is Kirk a jerk? I would say not usually, but in This Side of Paradise I think he was. He had to get his crew back, that is true, but the colonists should have had the right to stay if they wanted to remain wonderfully happy and healthy.
In other news, I don’t need to be infected by spores to be happy that Star Trek 4, the latest instalment in the dreadful Kelvin timeline started by JJ Abrams in 2009, has been cancelled. This is good news for all Star Trek traditionalists and I hope to see a return to old school Star Trek in the new animated show starring Patrick Stewart.
I’ve attached a public domain photo of Leonard Nimoy and Jill Ireland from This Side of Paradise for your enjoyment. Live long and prosper.