To Boldly Go

On February  15th, Trekkies weren’t the only ones who were enthralled by George Takei’s afternoon appearance at UCSB’s Multicultural Center Theater on campus and at the Arlington Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara that evening. He spoke eloquently and passionately about human rights for all people and, just 4 days before its 75th anniversary, the impact of F.D.R.’s order authorizing the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II, including him and his family. As he put it: “We were imprisoned for nothing more than looking like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor.” Mr. Takei sees ominous parallels with the current anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment in the U.S. and Europe. Even now mostly Mexican residents in the U.S. are being rounded up and held in detention centers awaiting deportation. Of course, Takei is best know for his portrayal of  Lt. Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise, so he spent a good deal of time talking and answering questions about Star Trek. Appropriate, as the show was really about how we deal with the “other,” the alien, the unknown. There were interesting tidbits about Leonard Nimoy, and he began his evening talk with the Vulcan salute, which Mr. Nimoy came up with as an update of Winston Churchill’s “V” for victory salute.