Star Trek Legend William Shatner Slams EU’s Decision To Issue Gendered Language Warning Against Original Series’ “Where No Man Has Gone Before” Catchphrase
According to Star Trek lead William Shatner, a recent recommendation made by the European Union against using the ‘offensive gendered language’ featured in The Original Series‘ intro sequence is yet another example of “presentism” run amok in modern society.
RELATED: ‘Star Trek’ Icon William Shatner Roasts Paramount’s Continued Attempts To Memory-Hole Captain Kirk: “It Makes No Difference To Me That A Group Who Think They Are ‘Enlightened’ Obviously Feels Threatened By The Character”
Throughout all of television history, few series have managed to produce an introductory sequence so ubiquitous to pop culture as that of the sci-fi franchise’s debut entry.
As featured in all but two episodes of The Original Series entire run – those exceptions being its two pilot episodes, which were later included in the series’ first season as The Cage and Where No Man Has Gone Before, respectively – said intro begins with Shatner’s Captain Kirk declaring, “Space: The final frontier.”
“These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise,” he continues over a shot of the USS Enterprise silently and majestically gliding through the black void of space. “Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before!”
However, despite his declaration clearly using the term in reference to the concept of ‘mankind’ and not just the males of the human species, the European Institute for Gender Equality chose to highlight Captain Kirk’s message of hope as a negative example of ‘gendered language’.
In their 2009 Toolkit on Gender-sensitive Communication, the official EU agency included a section detailing “solutions for how to use gender-sensitive language.”
Therein attempting to highlight examples of “situations where women may be subject to invisibility or omission and alternatives to use”, the EIGE presented the Star Trek introduction and recommended that to avoid offense, individuals should “Remove the gendered noun” and instead recite the phrase as “To boldly go where no-one has gone before”.
Despite this Toolkit being published neigh on 15-years ago, its contents were recently brought to the attention of Shatner courtesy of British tabloid The Sun, who highlighted the document – though disingenuously framed its publication as a recent move – in an article published on January 27th, 2024.
Taking notice of said article, the Captain Kirk actor took to his personal Twitter account on January 29th and criticized, “Presentism at work yet again.”
“Why start at Trek?” he then called out the EU’s policymakers. “Isn’t it better to start at the beginning and redo foundation material such as the Magna Carta, religious writings, works of Shakespeare before worrying about a silly TV show opening that reflects social commentary of the time?”
From there, Shatner ultimately concluded, “If people are offended by 6 seconds of dialogue recorded in 1966 without a modicum of understanding of the social issues at the time there’s bigger issues that they need to deal with first – like educating themselves.”
In reinforcing the actor’s argument that these policymakers are suffering from a massive case of presentism, it should be noted that this gender neutral change was already made to the series’ intro back in 1987 when Star Trek: The Next Generation hit the airwaves.
This time recited by Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard, the updated intro delivers exactly what the EU is asking for, as the Captain declares, “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no one has gone before!”
As noted above, this is not the first time the veteran actor has voiced his disagreement with Western society’s ever increasing deference to the terminally offended.
Recently offering his thoughts on Paramount’s exclusion of Kirk from their streaming platform’s Star Trek collection banner graphic, Shatner declared, “It makes no difference to me that a group who think they are ‘enlightened’ (or whatever they think they are) obviously feels threatened by the Kirk character. It’s a character from a 1960’s TV show- get over it.”
“It doesn’t bother me in the least,” he added. “A bunch of self righteous strangers thinking they are sending a message by erasing the past? Who is going to forget? It’s everywhere.”
“It’s so indoctrinated that it will take many generations to be forgotten no matter what they do,” ultimately affirmed Shatner. “Let it be.”
Shatner’s latest project, the Kevin Smith-helmed Masters of the Universe: Revolution, wherein he provides the voice of King Keldor, is now streaming on Netflix.