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George Takei discusses why there weren't any gay characters in space in the 23rd century.

Space. The Final Frontier. Where sexuality is still an unfortunate taboo.

Before George Takei was the source of silly Internet memes, he was known for playing Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu on the original "Star Trek" series.

And "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry was an early champion of diversity and representation. As Takei explains in a recent interview with Big Think, Roddenberry considered the Starship Enterprise to be, "a metaphor for Starship Earth, and the strength of this starship lay in its diversity."

When it came to the show's Asian character, Takei says, Roddenberry didn't want him to be associated with any specific Asian country. He wanted Takei to represent multiple groups in an imagined, idealistic future that had evolved beyond earthly border disputes and superficial racial squabbles.


"The problem [Roddenberry] had was to find a name for this Asian character from the 23rd century because every Asian surname is nationally specific," Takei explains.


GIFset via Big Think.

And that's how Takei's character came to have the name Sulu.

"Star Trek" boldly went where no show had gone before ... but in 1966, it could still only go so far.

The show was undoubtedly progressive for its time. In addition to launching a long-running sci-fi franchise and the careers of several notable actors, "Star Trek" also gave us the first interracial kiss on television.

Captain Kirk (William Shatner) locked lips with Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) in "Plato's Stepchildren," an episode originally broadcast on November 22, 1968. And even that scene only made it to air because Shatner and Nichols purposely messed up the network-requested takes where their characters didn't kiss.

GIF from "Star Trek: The Original Series."

While that's an exciting hallmark to celebrate, and we can appreciate the significance of it today, some people weren't as receptive back then.

GIF via Big Think.

According to Takei, "Our ratings plummeted. It was the lowest-rated episode that we had."

That was just one of the factors that led to the show's cancellation later that year after threeseasons on the air. And, unfortunately, that's also one reason there were no explicitlygay or lesbian characters in the show's idealistic version of the future.

Takei says he did, very privately, bring up the issue of gay and lesbian characters on "Star Trek" with Roddenberry.

And while Roddenberry was, "as a sophisticated man, mindful of that…" he also shied away from addressing LGBTQ issues head-on, in favor of dealing with other issues that he felt were more pressing at the time.

GIFset via Big Think.

Of course, the exclusion of explicitly gay or lesbian characters still didn't save the show from cancellation. (I say "explicitly" because Roddenberry did suggest in William Shatner's 1979 biography that Kirk and Spock could have shared in the "Greek ideal" of love — much to the relief of fan-fic writers everywhere.)

We're certainly on our way to the bright future envisioned in "Star Trek" … but we haven't quite reached that final frontier.

Science fiction shows like "Star Trek" still give us something to aspire to in 2015.

And while things aren't perfect, we're a lot better off than we were in 1968 — a recent GLAAD report points to MTV and FX in particular as having nearly 50% LGBTQ-inclusive programming. But that's only half of the shows on two cable networks that feature queer characters.

Heck, there still hasn't been a queer character on any of the subsequent "Star Trek" series, or the recent movie reboots.

Like Takei discussed with Roddenberry, we know sometimes progress takes a while. There's plenty of work left to do, but it's still nice to know that we're headed in the right direction, and that progress is being made.

And even Takei himself is feeling pretty good about it:


GIFset via Big Think.

Cheers to you, Lieutenant Sulu. Now let's keep going boldly toward that brighter future.

Here's the full video, courtesy of Big Think:


The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

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This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

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"You can’t just say, 'I want to be a dentist,'” judge Simon Cowell told the duo.

Back in 2014, cello-playing brothers Emil and Dariel wowed "America’s Got Talent" audiences with their cello rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s "Purple Haze," even becoming finalists for the season.

After getting invited back to participate in "America’s Got Talent: All Stars," the duo once again rocked the house with an epic cover of "Take On Me." This classic A-ha tune has been covered a lot, so the fact that these two gave it fresh new life is no easy feat.

However, judge Simon Cowell remained unimpressed.

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Joy

A woman treats her miniature pig like a toddler and it even 'talks' with electronic buttons

Merlin will tap buttons that say “eat,” “outside” and “ice cream.”

Photo by Ben Mater on Unsplash

A woman treats her pig like a toddler and the internet can't get enough.

Pigs are cute. Well, piglets are cute, but they usually don't stay those tiny little snorting things very long. That is unless you get a mini pig and name it something majestic like Merlin. (I would've gone with Hamlet McBacon, but no one asked me.)

Mina Alali, a TikTok user from California, has been going viral on the internet for her relationship with Merlin, her miniature pig. Of course, there are plenty of folks out there with pigs—mini pigs, medium pigs, pigs that weigh hundreds of pounds and live in a barn with a spider named Charlotte. But not everyone carries their pig around on adventures like it's their child.

Alali's videos of her sweet interactions with her little pig have gotten a lot of people wanting their own piggy, but training Merlin wasn't always easy. According to Yahoo Finance, the 25-year-old told SWNS that she has wanted a pig her whole life and finding Merlin was a "dream come true," but she wasn't expecting how challenging it would be to train him. If you've never been around pigs, then you may not know that they squeal—a lot—and unless you're living on an actual farm, that could be a problem.

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Democracy

More than seven thousand people shared their best ideas to stop mass shootings. Here are the best.

Everyone agrees mass shootings need to end. But what can really be done?

A makeshift memorial after the 2019 El Paso mass shooting.

As of January 24, 2023, at least 69 people have been killed in 39 mass shootings across the United States . The deadliest shooting happened on January 21 in Monterey Park, California, when a 72-year-old man shot 20 people, killing 11. On January 23, a 66-year-old man killed 7 people and injured another in a shooting in Half Moon Bay, California.

It’s hard to see these stories in the news every few weeks—or days—and not get desensitized, especially when lawmakers have made it clear that they will not do anything substantive to curb the availability of assault weapons in the U.S.

After the assault weapons ban, which had been in effect for 10 years, lapsed in 2004, the number of mass shootings tripled.

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Pop Culture

People rally behind a 12-year-old actress who was 'humiliated' with a 'Razzie' nomination

The parody awards show has now enforced an age limit rule to its nominations.

Ryan Kiera Armstrong in the 2022 film 'Firestarter'

Since the early 80s, the Golden Raspberry Awards, aka the "Razzies," has offered a lighthearted alternative to the Oscars, which, though prestigious, can sometimes dip into the pretentious. During the parody ceremony, trophies are awarded to the year’s worst films and performances as a way to "own your bad," so the motto goes.

However, this year people found the Razzies a little more than harmless fun when 12-year-old actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong was nominated for "Worst Actress" for her performance in the 2022 film "Firestarter." She was 11 when the movie was filmed.

Sadly, this is not the first time a child has received a Razzie nom. Armstrong joins the ranks of Jake Lloyd, who played young Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," as well as Macaulay Culkin, who was nominated three times.

Armstrong's nomination resulted in a flood of comments from both industry professionals and fans who felt the action was cruel and wanted to show their support for the young actress.

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