October 12, 2021
Melinda Head

Star Trek Meets Bezos’ Blue Origin

Captain Kirk is boldly going where Jeff Bezos has gone before

Jeff, I thought you were a bald-headed man with way too much money. BUT perhaps I underestimated you.

Your selection of Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk to ride on your Blue Origin rocket ship is a stroke of marketing genius. Did you come up with the idea or did someone else in your team do so?

I hear that you had a cameo as a high-ranking alien in the 2016 film “Star Trek Beyond”, and that Star Trek’s voice-enabled computer inspired the Echo speaker and the Alexa virtual assistant … so perhaps you are a Trekkie and were behind this after all.

Jeff Bezos in his now famous cowboy hat after his first Blue Origin flight touched down in the Texas desert and Jeff Bezos in his “Star Trek Beyond” cameo role

“He (Bezos) was awesome (on the Star Trek set). It was like a president was visiting, you know? He had a big entourage! But it didn’t matter because he was so into it. He had to wait around all day because it was one day we were shooting like three different scenes and, it was also a credit to Jeff because … he just nailed it every time.” (Justin Lin)

“I was there (on the film set) for the bit with his, like, nine bodyguards and three limos. It was really intense. … I had no idea who he was. Not a clue. But he was obviously very important.” (Chris Pine)

William Shatner is now 90 years old – that’s more than 11 years past a typical American male’s expiry date according to actuarial tables. It is said that Blue Origin’s New Shepard passengers must pass medical screenings and, among other things, be able to climb several flights of stairs at the launch tower to get into the capsule or out of it in an emergency. Can you do that, Bill? When talking to Anderson Cooper, you mistakenly referred to training as a “rehearsal”, do you understand what you’ve signed up for or is cognitive optimism alone driving your space ambitions?

“The only thing I hadn’t seen was the rocket … all that fire and brimstone … things like that go up and boom in the night, it’s a little scary, I’ve got to tell you.” (William Shatner)

“Imagine being weightless and staring into the blackness and seeing the earth. That’s what I want to absorb.” (William Shatner)

Shatner will be the oldest person to go into space, but who cares – after all, he is Captain Kirk – The Poster Boy for space travel. Later this month, when Top Gun and Mission Impossible actor Tom Cruise straps himself aboard Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket to film scenes from the International Space Station, another chapter will unfold, accompanied by yet further media frenzy. Will Mr. Musk take the remaining available seat and join Cruise? Musk’s inaugural civilian mission raised $210 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, what noble cause will the next SpaceX flight support? Keep it going, Elon. We like this charitable side of your quirky personality.

Elon Musk poses with SpaceX’s Inspiration4 crew

With Netflix constantly seeking bingeworthy content, it’s hard to believe that Star Trek only ran for 3 seasons, from 1966 to 1969. Way back then, the term “bingeworthy” didn’t exist.

In last week’s blog about Daniel Craig’s final role as Super Spy 007, we recounted his thoughts before accepting the role of James Bond:  “I could be anonymous in this world. It was genuinely like, my life is going to get fucked if I (accept this role)”. William Shatner has suffered the same consequence, but he seems to have embraced it, with no appetite to play Macbeth (Craig’s next role) any time in the near future, even though he originally trained as a classical Shakespearean actor.

William Shatner in his 20’s at the Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. He served as an understudy for Christopher Plummer in Henry V

Daniel Craig’s next role after retiring his number 007 will be as Macbeth at Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre. The show is being produced by Barbara Broccoli, who is also behind the Bond movies

“Yes, it’s true; I’m going to be a ‘rocket man!’. It’s never too late to experience new things.” (William Shatner)

“I’ve heard about space for a long time now. I’m taking the opportunity to see it for myself.” (William Shatner)

Shatner’s flight will last just 10 minutes, reaching a maximum height of 66 miles. That seems puny for Captain Kirk, but at least Shatner will get what he wants: the experience of being weightless for about 4 minutes, staring into the blackness, seeing the earth and absorbing it all. For paying customers, that would be a $28 million experience.

The commercialization of space by white billionaires feels like a race for The Ultimate Boy Toy. Are these men just on testosterone overdrive, or is there money to be made where there is no air to breathe? I’m still waiting for my SpaceX Starlink kit, struggling to work in the N.C. countryside with a download speed of 3.89 Mbps.

dailystartreknews.com Article: Owen Wilson lampoons Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk in "Star Trek" Saturday Night Live skit

theweek.com Article: Late night hosts mock Jeff Bezos, his space cowboy hat, and his extremely phallic rocket

Has anyone calculated the value of the earned media these space capers have generated at no cost for the likes of Bezos, Musk and Branson? Many thought that Bezos looked like a fool in his cowboy hat, but like it or not, everyone saw THAT hat, which reinforced his personal brand and made his paltry 10 minute long virgin Blue Origin expedition highly memorable. Bezos is clearly outflanked by the earned media smarts of Elon Musk, who has shown the world that traditional advertising is dead.

mediakix.com Article: Why Tesla's profitability proves earned media is the future

As Kevin Lyons of the British Film Institute says, “Star Trek was the first of the media-led fandoms, the “mother fandom” from which all similar followings sprang.” It is ironic that the original geeks who turned up in droves to attend Star Trek conventions and meetings, and dressed up as Star Trek characters, while hotly debating Star Trek script minutiae paved the way for the geek-centric quest to commercialize space travel. I leave FACT-ory blog readers with one important question:  Are today’s billionaires advancing the human race or fulfilling boyhood fantasies, while Earth spirals out of control? I’d like to draw attention to Richard Branson’s statement from the edge of space: “If we can do this, just imagine what you can do.” Let’s go beyond Bezos’ “Best day ever!” as he descended from his spaceship to “Best planet ever!”. There is much work still to be done back home.

Now challenge yourself and your friends to our Star Trek Meets Bezos’ Blue Origin Quiz of the Day, by downloading Quizefy from the app store if you haven’t already done so, then see how much you know and Strut Your Smart. Our Star Trek Meets Bezos’ Blue Origin Quiz of the Day is only available today, then it disappears. We’ll be back again every Tuesday with a special blog posted at www.quizefy.com, along with a new trivia quiz on the same topic as the blog. Don’t forget to follow Quizefy in social media, so we can remind you of upcoming blog and quiz content.

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About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Melinda is a sociologist and statistician who believes there is no currency with greater value than knowledge

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