Beam us up?
William Shatner has advice on how to live well ... if anyone’s listening
I ask the question with a certain amount of residual love: Is William Shatner the guy you want life advice from?
He was cordially disliked by virtually all his Star Trek castmates, some of whom he is still feuding with half a century later. He trails a couple of brutal divorces in his wake, and by his own admission, has had very few friends over his 87-year-old life. The man he describes as his best friend — Leonard Nimoy — refused to speak to him during the last five years of his life for reasons Shatner has yet to divine.
As for career advice ... well, Shatner continues to identify as a recording artist despite decades of evidence to the contrary.
The good news, I suppose, is that even William Shatner doesn’t think he’s qualified to give advice. “I am not a font of wisdom,” he confesses in his new book Live Long and ..., written with David Fisher. “I’m the guy who saved the Starship Enterprise for seventynine weeks and ended up kissing James Spader on a patio.” He likewise believes that “to try to tell anyone else how to live their life is the ultimate in hubris. There is no one way, or right way, to do anything.”
And if you think that will stop him from telling anyone else how to live their life, you haven’t reckoned with the enduring template of celebrity self-help. Consider that, over the past year, entertainment figures such as Jessica Alba, Kevin Hart, Vivica A. Fox, Suzanne Somers and Tyra Banks, have weighed in on how to make ourselves smarter, healthier, stronger, sexier, funnier — better. Maybe the only question that remains to be answered is why we listen. Do we really think that getting yourself on TMZ confers its own diploma? That good teeth translate to good character? That with great social-media penetration comes great responsibility?
For now, there is the evidence of Shatner, who tosses out bromides like beads at Mardi Gras. “Make the best of every decision and never look back on it . ... We can’t do anything about the past and we don’t know what the future will bring, so there is nothing we can do but live in the moment. ... Love can be addictive . ... Emotions run wild! ... We think we know so much, but we know so little.”
It may be that the key to enjoying any celebrity self-help tome is to find the crevices between messages intended and unintended. By this standard, the most authentic moment in Live Long and ... is when Shatner crows that he has more than 2.5 million followers on Twitter and another 2 million on Facebook.
Maybe celebrities need just as much help as the rest of us.
Shatner tosses out bromides such as “Love can be addictive... Emotions run wild!...we think we know so much, but we know so little” in his new self-help book.
Live Long and ... What I Learned Along the Way William Shatner and David Fisher (Thomas Dunne/st. Martin’s)