It’s Okay to be (George) Takei: Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu and his Funny Facebook Pictures, Politics, and Internet FameJun 21 2012 at 12:41 am by Victor
Oh My! The Humour, Activism, and Internet Fame of George Takei aka Mr. Sulu
Top 5 Posts by George Takei and Why They’re Important
Perhaps one of the most authentic and yet controversial (at least to some) public figures to run their own Facebook profile, George Takei now has over two million Facebook fans and a legion of devoted followers. Most famous for playing the sometimes-shirtless but always brave Mr. Sulu on the original iteration of pop-culture phenomenon Star Trek, Takei rose to social networking prominence in the early summer of 2011 with a PSA video on Youtube asking folks to substitute his own last name for the word “gay” after Tennessee’s legislature posed a bill that would ban the very discussion or existence of homosexuality in schools by both teachers and students.
Long-time fans and newly minted followers took up his banner and the “It’s okay to be Takei!” movement exploded. Nowadays, George continues to delight and amuse his internet audience with a variety of daily postings, either in the form of pictures or short aphorisms. Often blending humor with social commentary – or simply turning the “off” switch and letting loose with a few laughs for the sake of laughter itself – Takei has bounded beyond mere memedom and threatens to be a continuing staple of internet culture.
Black Friday Baggage and Occupy Wal-Mart
Showing a continuing streak of tongue-in-cheek criticism, Takei illustrates the rabid addiction to consumerism alongside a growing movement of discord. Keep in mind, Takei explicitly endorses the separation of corporation and state.
The accusations made in parallel are striking: violence occurs during big sales on a scale equal to or greater than that during political protest or even riots. The comments range from mildly amused to politically contentious – conservatives being none too pleased at Takei’s insinuations, made in jest or no.
A most insightful Facebook comment by “Sherry”:
“It really does. By the way, looking at this “Occupy” photo, it occurs to me that you can get away with a lot more at Walmart before the cops show up at all, because you are supporting a corporation. But at Walmart, the crowds apparently shoot and pepper spray each other, so the cops don’t have to bother. ( By the way, I can’t believe how many people in the thread didn’t get the joke.)”
Teacher, Leave Those Kids Alone!
The meaning couldn’t be plainer, and though this image (like all of them) is not necessarily a Takei original, the fact that it was shared 33, 420 times from his page alone, with 54, 673 likes and over 7,000 comments indicates serious clout.
The message is crystal clear – teacher’s today are demonized not only by the public (evil Teacher’s Unions! BoooOOoOOo!) and politicians (typically on the right), but also by the parents of those they are attempting to educate. No longer is the fault of academic failure resting on the shoulders of the student or the parents who fail to spark curiousity and work ethic in their children, but rather on the teachers who are unable to mold little Johnny Snowflake into a model student despite the little amount of time they can offer him in a day filled with increasing class sizes and decreasing supports and materials.
Passing the buck embodied, and a great little image.
And Now For Something Completely Different
Hilarious, nerdy, and disturbing all at once – George shows a little imagination and the ability to flip to the “dark side” of humor.
Race Relations and Film Criticism
Yes, this movie swept the box office and was highly critically acclaimed. George himself notes that Viola Davis was sublime. That being said, the somewhat salient point here being made is the generally myth of the “white savior” and an examination of the “feel-good” talk surrounding the narrative of the film. Validation of racial guilt for the cost of a movie ticket? Who is the parasite? Do the ends justify the means? Is it valuable in terms of race relations or just a way to leverage higher box office bills? All valid questions probed here by cheeky Mr. Takei.
The Slogan That Started it All
Hot on the heels of his PSA against the Tennessee Legislature, George started representing this new style in advance of the upcoming Phoenix Comic-Con he would be attending. The whole point is to unite the forces of science fiction, fantasy, and other imaginations of possible worlds with the very real possibility of ending homophobia and promoting what some are now terming “gay-straight alliances” (very much in tune with his philosophical positions and promotion of a new theatrical production in this vein).
When you’re as fit and keen of wit as George, there’s certainly no doubt that it is okay to be Takei.
Mr. Sulu’s 50 Year Mission: To promote, To seek out truth nested in humor, and to be a positive role model in unexplored territory
Bringing laughs with a side of changing attitudes and positivity through it all, it’s of no surprise to anyone that Mr. Sulu and his real-life keeper have become internet icons well into the 21st century, almost half a century’s distance from the three-year mission which launched his initial fame.
For some great laughs, subtle and not so subtle jabs at another starfleet captain, and sharp social insights, I highly recommend that you follow Mr. Takei on Facebook