Thursday, May 7, 2009
Great Interview with Karl Urban at Trekmovie.com
Thanks again to Mary Doman for this link:
Karl Urban definitely "gets" what De was doing with the McCoy character.
There's one thing Urban responds to in the interview that I would like to put in my two cents worth about, too:
I, too, have heard a few (very few) comments over the years that some of McCoy's comments seemed "racist" or xenophobic. Comments like "You pointy-eared hobgoblin" and stuff like that.
I disregard such fears out of hand. McCoy was not racist in any way, shape or form. (Good heavens, how many times did he offer his own life, limb or sanity for all manner of sentient beings?)
I think people who feel this way are seeing McCoy from the limiting perspective of today's culture, with its pervasive-but-carefully-cloaked racist underpinnings.
Two people working closely together - or even close friends who sometimes get on each other's nerves - often choose a particular characteristic of their sparring partner to differentiate themselves from the "accused:" Four-eyes, Blond Bimbo, Skinny, Commie or Bleeding Heart (for liberals), what have you. In certain ways, these become "terms of endearment," because they are ways to convey, "We're close enough as friends that I can insult you and you know I'm just trying to get your attention; it's nothing personal. I love you -- but you are driving me absolutely crazy right now, crazy enough to call you something that sounds like I don't even like you!"
Dr. McCoy and his alter ego, DeForest Kelley, had not one drop of racism in them. Even though De was raised in the deep south (as was Gene Roddenberry), he came away from there knowing that all are God's children and all deserve to be regarded with respect and deference. De's preacher father spent every fourth Sunday preaching in black churches, and one of De's closest childhood friends was a black boy whose family lived in desperate conditions. (De tried to locate this family during STAR TREK to help them out financially because he finally had the wherewthal to do something significant for them. The story is in my first book about De, DeFOREST KELLEY: A HARVEST OF MEMORIES. And this was back in the late 60's when few people believed they would see a black President in their lifetimes.)
One of De's most prized possessions, which he kept in his wallet, was a snippet from an interview Paul Winfield (Captain Terrell et al) did. In it, Winfield said that De Kelley (I'm paraphrasing) was the least racist man he had ever met. For De to read that probably tickled him to his toes and put a tear in his eye, because all people who aspire to be -- or feel we are -- "pure as the driven snow" where intolerance or racism is concerned would love to hear something like that from our black, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Catholic, etc. friends and associates. We all want to feel that our culture has not tarnished our souls to a point that racism (or any other type of cultural intolerance) can be spotted by the groups that the bigotry most affects and hurts.
Dr McCoy and DeForest Kelley both pass the "smell test" for racism. Both pass with flying colors.
Watch the episodes again. You'll be able to discern the difference. McCoy was being a rascal, not a racist.