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)

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