Well why not? Saving us all from things is what Captain Kirk does – even us back here in the past, like whatever was going on in that episode with Teri Garr in it and Agent Gary Seven, and that freaky lady who could turn into a cat.
And he has taken on racism in the past too. Do you remember a world where hot white people and hot black people were not allowed to make out on our televisions? If not, you can go ahead and thank Captain Kirk for that. He didn’t care if you were white, or black, or blue, or a space cavegirl, Captain Kirk was as Down With The Swirl as one can possibly be.
Remember when they found that planet where the people were all exactly one half white and one half black, and those who were white on one half were crazy racists toward those who were white on the other half? See, it wasn’t just making out with chicks – Captain Kirk could roll up his sleeves and help folks understand each other and get along as a society. Hide your chicks, though, seriously.
The only reason I was thinking about Captain Kirk was that my youngest daughter has an iPhone now, and so when I’m driving or even just sitting around on my can, I talk to her like I’m Captain Kirk. Hey, text your sister the following message, or locate the nearest bowling alley, or call my lawyer very quickly and tell him to engage the Alpha Protocol. She’s so pleased to do something with the most fabulous object in the universe that she does it quickly and without question, whatever it is.
And then once I had Captain Kirk on the brain, I realized he might be able to save us from the horrifying attempt at racial harmony created by Brad Paisley and Recent Mental Patient L. L. Cool J, both of whom seemed to me before this point like reasonable men, so maybe they’ve simply surrounded themselves with poor advisors. Entourages of folks who don’t know how to say to them at any of sixteen or twenty obvious points, “Hold on, this is some awful, crazy, offensive, dumbass bullshit here, we have to stop. We have to stop for God and Country and Humanity Itself. This is wrong, we can’t do this.”
No one stopped them. I heard about the song for days before I finally, reluctantly sat down to listen to it, and I don’t even really want to talk about it. Paisley doesn’t seem to know the meaning not only of the word “racist” but even of the word “accidental.” And L.L. Cool J, well – let’s just say he seems to have mistaken himself for the Black Ambassador To Country Music, and not only is he mistaken about his title, he is clearly underqualified as a negotiator.
I would think for instance that one could expect not to be judged based on one’s fashion accessories from the get-go. No need to concede the centuries-of-enslavement-and-oppression angle. If we think racism is over, then surely Judging One By One’s Doo Rag Or Any Type Of Headware Really, had to be part of the deal. And if we don’t think it’s over, then find another way to express your deep and admirable love for Lynyrd Skynyrd.
But, who cares. You know, I really think they both meant well, and so it’s a nice gesture. It’s not like satire. At least they didn’t hire a different county music star who was white and put him in blackface and have him do a silly dance as he forgave the South for racism in exchange for being allowed to wear his favorite hat.
I mean, let’s fill out the whole scorecard, right? No blackface or silly dances? We’ll count that for ten points, like some sort of Attendance Award. Good try, fellas, let’s talk about something else.
Of course, wherever each of us was on our inner battles against racism, we now have a new problem, having heard the awful song, having cringed while listening to it like we’re at the meeting in Jaws where the shark hunter gets everyone’s attention, having listened to it several times hoping we heard it wrong, hoping to find some trace of an ironic joke. Now we have a new problem – how to get the song out of our heads.
And I have the answer for you – it’s Captain James Tiberius Kirk.
See, this isn’t the first duet Brad Paisley threw together. He also contributed to Bill Shatner’s album Has Been, singing a duet with Captain Kirk Himself about what it’s like to be Captain Kirk.
Get over there and listen to it, because it’s exactly like getting the inside of your skull power-washed clean of any trace of “The Accidental Racist.” You’ll be instead sitting on your back porch with an icy cold beer, looking into the sunset and reflecting deeply on how much Captain Kirk has really done for you in your life, and you’ll suddenly realize, damn – it’s been a lot.
The first hero I ever had, the square-jawed ideal every man should aspire to be, the bareknuckled savior of us all dozens of times over. The only Starfleet cadet to ever defeat the Kobayashi Maru.
Khan’s Bane. KHAN’S BANE, DAMN IT!
Take your hat off and think back to lying on the floor of your living room, watching Kirk with a ripped shirt shoot a homemade cannon at the Gorn. Remember that you learned about courage from this man, just as much as anyone real. Then thank whatever God you pray to that Bill Shatner was ever born, and thank Bill Shatner, for retroactively redeeming Brad Paisley – who in all honesty doesn’t sound too bright, and seems to have simply made a hilarious, gargantuan philosophical mistake, and then found a wacky partner who made the exact same comical error. Think of them as Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, if that helps.
Then go listen to the whole Shatner album. Henry Rollins from Black Flag is on there! Ben Folds! Joe Jackson! And Actual Spoken Word Poetry By Shatner Himself!
See? Now you forgot all about that other thing, cause you’re an Accidental Trekkie now. Feels good, doesn’t it?