Sunday, February 19, 2012

George Takei

    I grew up in a very nerdy household environment, but I think that fact is abundantly clear to anyone who knows me for even the briefest of periods.  I was raised on Nintendo, Star Wars, Monty Python, X-Men, and Star Trek, among other things.  That last one will help me segue into my topic for the day, which, as the title suggests, is about Star Trek's own "Mr. Sulu", George Takei. 

Mr. Takei's Facebook profile photo.
    My dad was a big Star Trek fan growing up, and that influence has been passed on to my brother and myself.  I remember going to a Star Trek convention when I was about six or seven years old and seeing some of the original cast members giving autographs.  Even our Christmas tree was covered in Star Trek ornaments that would light up and talk.  For the better part of my childhood we had William Shatner, Jimmy Doohan, Walter Koenig, and of course, George Takei living with us in the form of autographed photos on the living room wall.  I got used to seeing their faces everyday and they just sort of became part of the family.

This isn't the exact photo, but it's pretty close to what was in my living room during my childhood.

    My point is that the cast of Star Trek, through their TV shows and numerous movies, have contributed greatly to my childhood and I would like to officially say "Thank you" to them.  I would also like to personally say "Thanks" directly to George Takei.  I'm a follower of his on Facebook and he makes me laugh on an almost daily basis with the silly photos he posts to his profile.  He is also, in my opinion, one of the best examples of a celebrity who is good to his fans.  He still tours sci-fi conventions to this day and I have never heard anyone say a bad word about him.

Here, Mr. Takei is calling upon warring fans of Star Wars and Star Trek to join forces to fight the Twilight fans.
He definitely remembers where he came from and is a really good sport to sci-fi fans everywhere.

    But, I wish to thank him in particular for the message he is trying to spread across America.  You see, George Takei is a survivor of US internment camps of Japanese-Americans during World War 2.  When he was a child in 1942, US soldiers came to his house in LA and forced his parents to leave for an internment camp in Arkansas at gunpoint simply because they were of Japanese descent.  Without charges, or any sort of a trial, they were shipped off on trucks to live in a prison camp for years.


    My dad first told me about those prison camps when I was around 13 or so, and I was really shocked that something like this could not only happen in my own country, but that I had never learned any such thing in school.  We learned about World War 2 and the Nazis and the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but internment camps? In our own country?!  It seemed absurd.  What happens if the US goes to war with Ireland? Are they going to lock me up because my last name is O'Brien and I have red hair?  Where does it end?

    Today marks the 70th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt's signing of Executive Order 9066, giving the army permission to intern Americans deemed "dangerous" to the war effort. Read: Japanese-looking people, citizen or not.  Mr. Takei has put up a new video reminding us of this tragedy as well as to promote his new upcoming musical, Allegience, which is also about the Japanese internment camps. 

    I wish all the best for Mr. Takei in his endeavors to remind us all to never forget about the horrible things our government has done to its people, so that those horrible things never happen again.


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