Awesome Men Throughout History: George Takei
Most people know George Takei because of Star Trek, in which he played, and sometimes makes cameo appearances as, Lt. Sulu. They may also follow his Facebook page, which is a beehive of all the memes and image macros on the Internet that are actually funny. Some of you probably know George from his high-profile LGBT activism, especially that video where he more or less promises to have sex with Tim Hardaway.
Or this video, where he calls homophobic Arkansas school board member Clint McCance a douchebag over and over and over again.
But there’s more to George Takei than that. He’s a pretty awesome guy, all told, which is why he’s this week’s Awesome Man Throughout History.
For one thing, George is a greater-than-average part of American history. He and his family were forced to live in internment camps during World War II, despite being American citizens and Anglophiles, to boot. George has been vocal about the experience, and has contributed much to the Japanese American National Museum (and human rights causes in general) because of it. That’s important, because its a period of American history that isn’t talked about much, and it shouldn’t be ignored or forgotten.
George did a lot for Asian actors, too. He broke into Hollywood in the late 1950s, doing voice overs for English dubs of Japanese monster movies. That led to some bit parts in films and television, usually as a villain, until Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry cast him as Sulu in the original TV series. He also got a plum role in The Green Berets around that time.
Sulu was a groundbreaking character for that period in American television, in that Takei was allowed to portray an Asian in a positive light, away from the stereotypes of expressionless, unemotional, or inscrutable Asian men. Sulu actually had a ton of hobbies, if I recall correctly.
So yeah, George Takei is a really cool guy who uses his celebrity status (which he isn’t pompous about or ashamed of) to do some really cool things and speak out for people who need his rich, baritone voice. He’s also open to discuss anything with anyone, as his appearances on the Howard Stern show and his friendship with Artie Lange both demonstrate.
Really, George is an example of how much good you can do in the world by simply being kind, calm, and industrious. And funny. Really, really funny.
About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.