Kirk Your Enthusiasm (13)

By: Amanda LaPergola
August 15, 2012

Thirteenth in a series of posts, each one analyzing a single Captain Kirk scene from the Star Trek canon.

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Wizard fight | “The Magicks of Megas-tu” | Star Trek: The Animated Series | Season 1, Episode 8 | October 1973

Wizard fights are awesome. Nothing is more cinematically satisfying than watching two beings matched in phenomenal abilities beating the crap out of each other. Think of Saruman and Gandalf flinging each other into the walls of Isengard. Think of Dumbledore trapping Voldemort in a ball of raging water. If I were a wizard, I would spend my spare time just looking for other wizards to fight. Which is precisely the reason I am not a wizard. That, and the fact that wizards are not real. I know that. Of course I know that.

On paper the plot of “The Magicks of Megas-tu” is as crazypants as science fiction can possibly get. Once you watch it on screen, however, the episode is… still pretty crazypants, but in an endearing sort of way. Trust me when I say that when the crew of the Enterprise ends up in Salem, Mass., circa 1691 and are put on trial for the crimes of humanity by a race of space wizards, it makes perfect sense.

Due to some brilliant Atticus Finching by Spock and some heartfelt testimonies from Captain Kirk and Lucien — a satyr-like space wizard with human sympathies who may or may not be the devil because just go with it — the human race is acquitted of past wrongdoings. But Lucien! Lucien has broken space wizarding law and must be punished with extreme space wizard prejudice. Our hero, Captain James T. Kirk, diplomatic badass of the galaxy, will not stand for that. How will he save Lucien? How will he help the Megans see past their fears and prejudice? By tapping into the magical energies of Megas-tu. By taking on an entire race of space wizards with newly acquired magic powers.

If you think you love Kirk now (and there is so much to love), wait until you see Kirk flinging lightning bolts and summoning the elements to save a man who may or may not be Satan and teach us all a lesson about tolerance. Wizard fights may be awesome, but a wizard fight with Captain Kirk and social relevance is awesome beyond comprehension.

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2012: KIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM (Captain Kirk scenes): Dafna Pleban: Justice or vengeance? | Mark Kingwell : Kirk teaches his drill thrall to kiss | Nick Abadzis: “KHAAAAAN!” | Stephen Burt: “No kill I” | Greg Rowland: Kirk browbeats NOMAD | Zack Handlen: Kirk’s eulogy for Spock| Peggy Nelson: The joke is on Kirk | Kevin Church: Kirk vs. Decker | Enrique Ramirez: Good Kirk vs. Evil Kirk | Adam McGovern: Captain Camelot | Flourish Klink: Koon-ut-kal-if-fee | David Smay: Federation exceptionalism | Amanda LaPergola: Wizard fight | Steve Schneider: A million things you can’t have | Joshua Glenn: Debating in a vacuum | Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons: Klingon diplomacy | Trav S.D.: “We… the PEOPLE” | Matthew Battles: Brinksmanship on the brink | Annie Nocenti: Captain Smirk | Ian W. Hill: Sisko meets Kirk | Gabby Nicasio: Noninterference policy | Peter Bebergal: Kirk’s countdown | Matt Glaser: Kirk’s ghost | Joe Alterio: Watching Kirk vs. Gorn | Annalee Newitz: How Spock wins

ALSO ON HILOBROW Peggy Nelson on William Shatner as HiLo Hero | Greg Rowland on Leonard Nimoy as HiLo Hero | Peggy Nelson on William Shatner in Incubus | Matthew Battles on enlarging the Trek fanfic canon | Radium Age Supermen | Radium Age Robots | Radium Age Apocalypses | Radium Age Telepaths | Radium Age Eco-Catastrophes | Radium Age Cover Art (1) | SF’s Best Year Ever: 1912

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2014: KERN YOUR ENTHUSIASM (typefaces): Matthew Battles on ALDINE ITALIC | Adam McGovern on DATA 70 | Sherri Wasserman on TORONTO SUBWAY | Sarah Werner on JOHNSTON’S “HAMLET” | Douglas Wolk on TODD KLONE | Mark Kingwell on GILL SANS | Joe Alterio on AKZIDENZ-GROTESK | Suzanne Fischer on CALIFORNIA BRAILLE | Gary Panter on SHE’S NOT THERE | Deb Chachra on FAUX DEVANAGARI | Peggy Nelson on FUTURA | Tom Nealon on JENSON’S ROMAN | Rob Walker on SAVANNAH SIGN | Tony Leone on TRADE GOTHIC BOLD CONDENSED NO. 20 | Chika Azuma on KUMON WORKSHEET | Chris Spurgeon on ELECTRONIC DISPLAY | Amanda French on DIPLOMA REGULAR | Steve Price on SCREAM QUEEN | Alissa Walker on CHICAGO | Helene Silverman on CHINESE SHIPPING BOX | Tim Spencer on SHATTER | Jessamyn West on COMIC SANS | Whitney Trettien on WILKINS’S REAL CHARACTER | Cintra Wilson on HERMÈS vs. HOTDOG | Jacob Covey on GOTHAM.

2013: HERC YOUR ENTHUSIASM (old-school hip hop tracks): Luc Sante on “Spoonin’ Rap” | Dallas Penn on “Rapper’s Delight” | Werner Von Wallenrod on “Rappin’ Blow” | DJ Frane on “The Incredible Fulk” | Paul Devlin on “The Adventures of Super Rhyme” | Phil Dyess-Nugent on “That’s the Joint” | Adam McGovern on “Freedom” | David Abrams on “Rapture” | Andrew Hultkrans on “The New Rap Language” | Tim Carmody on “Jazzy Sensation (Bronx Version)” | Drew Huge on “Can I Get a Soul Clap” | Oliver Wang on “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel” | Douglas Wolk on “Making Cash Money” | Adrienne Crew on “The Message” | Dart Adams on “Pak Jam” | Alex Belth on “Buffalo Gals” | Joshua Glenn on “Ya Mama” | Phil Freeman on “No Sell Out” | Nate Patrin on “Death Mix Live, Pt. 2” | Brian Berger on “White Lines (Don’t Do It)” | Cosmo Baker on “Here We Go (Live at the Funhouse)” | Colleen Werthmann on “Rockit” | Roy Christopher on “The Coldest Rap” | Dan Reines on “The Dream Team is in the House” | Franklin Bruno on The Lockers.

2011: KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (Jack Kirby panels): Douglas Rushkoff on THE ETERNALS | John Hilgart on BLACK MAGIC | Gary Panter on DEMON | Dan Nadel on OMAC | Deb Chachra on CAPTAIN AMERICA | Mark Frauenfelder on KAMANDI | Jason Grote on MACHINE MAN | Ben Greenman on SANDMAN | Annie Nocenti on THE X-MEN | Greg Rowland on THE FANTASTIC FOUR | Joshua Glenn on TALES TO ASTONISH | Lynn Peril on YOUNG LOVE | Jim Shepard on STRANGE TALES | David Smay on MISTER MIRACLE | Joe Alterio on BLACK PANTHER | Sean Howe on THOR | Mark Newgarden on JIMMY OLSEN | Dean Haspiel on DEVIL DINOSAUR | Matthew Specktor on THE AVENGERS | Terese Svoboda on TALES OF SUSPENSE | Matthew Wells on THE NEW GODS | Toni Schlesinger on REAL CLUE | Josh Kramer on THE FOREVER PEOPLE | Glen David Gold on JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY | Douglas Wolk on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY | MORE EXEGETICAL COMMENTARIES: Joshua Glenn on Kirby’s Radium Age Sci-Fi Influences | Chris Lanier on Kirby vs. Kubrick | Scott Edelman recalls when the FF walked among us | Adam McGovern is haunted by a panel from THE NEW GODS | Matt Seneca studies the sensuality of Kirby’s women | Btoom! Rob Steibel settles the Jack Kirby vs. Stan Lee question | Galactus Lives! Rob Steibel analyzes a single Kirby panel in six posts | Danny Fingeroth figgers out The Thing | Adam McGovern on four decades (so far) of Kirby’s “Fourth World” mythos | Jack Kirby: Anti-Fascist Pipe Smoker

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What do you think?

  1. AmandLa!! You *are* a wizard, at least of magic words. Seeing the humor in our hallowed franchise and the underlying meaning in its voyages over the top is a special power. This pro-Satanist Saturday morning cartoon was one of the single most formative phenomena of my childhood, and even then I wondered how they were getting away with it as it sent me off in whole new directions. Trek was always post-religion (see the TNG ep where Picard is at pains to prove he’s not a god so the local culture doesn’t stall its forward progress by developing any belief system!), and to see the devil himself cast as the Promethean liberator of humanity and our true best friend (see also Harlan Ellison’s “The Deathbird,” as I did a few years later) was what came after the counterculture. Complete with cautionary replay of our McCarthyist, Puritan past. This is why we fight, and why we watch. And wit like yours is why we read! Meet you back here next year for that “Who Do Ya Think Uhura” series :-).

  2. This completes me! I had totally forgot about this and it all came back to me in one super fueled sugary breakfast cereal rush of a moment. And, “Atticus Finching” might be the best new verb ever.

  3. I see Kirk’s temporary two-dimensionality in no way limits his prowess at the punch! I had not given time to The Animated Series, an oversight I will now seek to remedy… luckily, the atemporality of media-space means I have not actually *missed it.

    Kirk & Co appearing in Salem in the 17th century *would be witches, wouldn’t they? and Lucien/Q/[other advanced aliens of choice] *would be the devil, too! Lucien also seems a possible precursor for TNG’s Q, whose Loki-like trickster nature always appealed.

  4. Hell yeah Peggy — TAS was the first dream come true, and a kind of nexus of our current media reality: a foretaste of the niche-consumer clout that would in due course result in the hit movies and phenom Next Generation franchise-lift; at the same time, a consignment from sci-fi rerun limbo to the even more ghettoized kid’s-hour programing, at a time when we couldn’t know there would be several networks full of cartoons for grownups and all-age hipsters, and the demo directing pop economics would be redefined ever younger (thus meeting itself, like a parallel universe Tasha Yar, in the form of us midcentury geek-chics who stayed on course to never really grow up anyway).

  5. I was thinking the same thing. It’s not particularly surprising as I think about Price vs Karloff for an average of four hours per day.

    Karloff’s birthplace is a half-mile from my place in South London. It’s a humble flat, situated above an above average chip shop. It is my dream to sell my stupid big house and really stupid long verdant garden and move my family into a cramped flat above a chip shop where, inevitably, we will attain Wizard Powers via consistent exposure to Karloff’s Wizard Ambient Residue. But I fear that i shall never have the powers of a “Space” Wizard coursing through my astral veins.

    Amanda is awesome beyond comprehension and the Uhura idea is excellent. I have a lovely convention photo of Nichelle hugging my eleven year-old son like a lovely great-auntie.

    Hail your Uhuruism.

    Title Needs some work.

  6. Re-reading this post 2 years later I still laugh really hard at Amanda’s jokes. A great piece of writing.

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