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William Shatner is Doing a Show for Russian State TV and the Public Outcry Means Nothing to a Man of His Stature

I take a back seat to no one when it comes to my appreciation for William Shatner. They say you should never meet your heroes, but in this case that doesn't matter to me. Shatner couldn't disappoint me because I already know he'd be arrogant and disagreeable and I want that experience the way you want to be condescended to by a French waiter. As long as the meal is good, the insufferable ego and bad manners are all just part of the experience. And with Shatner, the meal has been five star since long before he was Captain Kirk, TJ Hooker or the artist who realized the full potential of "Rocket Man." 

So when Shatner announced he's doing a show about all the things he's curious about, well then I became curious about the things he's curious about. In the same way followed his constant Twitter feuds, read his Star Trek memoirs, and unironically enjoyed his later musical works. Like this one that genuinely, as the kids say, slaps:

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Granted, I've never heard of the network I Don't Understand is on. But I guess it's sort of, well ... controversial. To say the least. 

Source - The 90-year-old actor will host the new show later this month on RT America, whose parent network RT — formerly known as Russia Today — was in 2017 described by US intelligence agencies as part of “Russia’s state-run propaganda machine.” Since then, it has been registered as a “foreign agent” in the US.

RT announced the show on Tuesday with a promo that said Shatner will seek to “answer fascinating and timely questions that pique the natural interest of everyone, but that the establishment media all too often hesitates to tackle.” …

RT has been widely considered an international propaganda outlet for Vladimir Putin. Back in 2018, the Kremlin said it was studying a move by cable and digital TV providers in the US to take Russia’s RT TV channel off the air in Washington, claiming the move appeared illegal and discriminatory. …

RT was accused by intelligence agencies of spreading misinformation in the US prior to the 2016 election.

And people were not happy about Shatner’s decision to host the show.

“You really want to get in bed with RT? Not a great choice and not going to be well received,” one Twitter user commented. …

One reporter for BuzzFeed News also shot back at Shatner: “Russian state-run propaganda channel RT (formerly Russia Today) found a new Western lackey to try to lend it legitimacy: Captain Kirk.” 

Shatner, though, defended his decision to work with RT America. …

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“How am I a mouthpiece when they have no input into the content, guests, filming or editing?” he tweeted.

Shatner further clarified that, “I made a TV program and they bought the distribution rights to it.”

Look, I'm under no delusions about Russia. I have no doubt Putin right now is sitting at the head of a conference table stroking a cat and hosting a meeting of all his minsters, generals, chief spies and crime bosses plotting ways to force every American into servitude for him. And if we don't keep an eye on these Bolsheviks, our kids will wind up mining coal in the Urals, mopping the waste water out of their nuclear reactors, and working in brothels run by the guys in suits and manbuns who kidnapped Liam Neeson's daughter in Taken. So yeah, let's monitor all their TV content like 21st century Joe McCarthys. 

But can't we make an exception for William Shatner? If anyone is immune from such things, he is. He beat the Klingons so many time, he forced them to the negotiation table in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. One of the good ones. (All the even number ones are great.) He outwitted the great Khan by thinking three dimensionally inside a nebula. He brought Spock back from the dead, for crying out loud. He's been on top of his game since the Twilight Zone where he saw a gremlin on the wing of the plane. And he's 90 years old. 

Seriously, at this point, are we worried that one of our (technically, one of Canada's) greatest celebrities is going to be a puppet for Russia? That by watching him try to figure out what all that junk is falling from low Earth orbit is, that we're all going to embrace an authoritarian oligarchy and support the Soviet-style annexation of Crimea? 

If people want to keep William Shatner's show off of the Putin News Network, then buy William Shatner's show and put in on a network owned by Americans. But until then, lay off this international treasure. The Russians, like the Romulans, the Squire of Gothos and the Gamesters of Triskelion, might be the bad guys. But now, like then, Shatner is still the ultimate good guy.