28 December, 2011

Review: Shatner Rules by William Shatner and Chris Regan

What do you say about William Shatner that hasn't already been said? Revered or reviled, Lionized or devoured, he is an American institution (all while being Canadian). At a certain point I wondered what Shatner would say about himself. (Disclosure; I've read books by Nichelle Nichols, Jimmy Doohan and George Takei.) I approached Shatner Rules wondering if Shatner is a deeply misunderstood man or a raging egomanic with an improper understanding of his talents.

The answer is yes.

 He's sort of a less destructive Charlie Sheen. When he yells winning, you get the idea that it requires others to be losing. After going after (almost) all of his former costars for various reasons (they were not the stars, they are fame whores, etc etc) he then claims all their hard feelings are born from their own imaginations. He's apologized for any imagined slights (as opposed, I imagine to the ones in the book) and moved on. Why do they still feel so angry? If I loved the guy and he talked about me the way he does his ex costars I'd have to rethink it.

There's a lot of that who-could-possibly-know faux innocence to Shatner. He invites Henry Rollins to the same event as Rush Limbaugh and expects everyone to make nice. (Why would there be a problem there?)  Rollins handles it with incredible grace, but the fact that Shatner never gave it a thought shows a lot about his personality. Discussing the absolute brilliant cover of Common People he did with Joe Jackson, Shatner takes several swipes at Joe. While ending with an acknowledgement of Jackson's utter genius, he leads with a ton of negativity in front of the praise. I imagine this is just how Shatner operates. It's not the most effective way to make friends.

So. Does Shatner think he is a brilliantly underrated performer who does not deserve the mocking he's graciously borne over the years? Absolutely. He is not entirely wrong. Shatner has a serious work ethic that demands the best he can offer from himself and others. Shatner has created multiple memorable characters in a career where people are lucky to produce one. He delivers what he is hired for, no matter what that might be. Shatner is a pro. His musical attempts are often better then he has been credited for. They are not, however, even close to his own assessment of them. The contradiction of William Shatner is that both sides are right. He is a charismatic and professional talent. He is also far from innocent of the various charges lain at his feet. In the end, Shatner Rules is an illuminating look at both sides of the man, the side he prefers to see and the side he unwittingly reveals. I am absolutely a fan.

1 comment:

  1. I had no interest in reading this, but you've got me intrigued now.