The other day, quite by accident, I stumbled upon a fascinating sight: William Shatner was apparently involved in a flame war on Twitter.
The incident in question involved him speaking about both the concept of “toxic masculinity” and the existence of misandry (the hate of men by women)—and thus he found himself being the recipient of both hate-tweets by feminists, and “don’t let the Matriarchy get you down”-type supportive messages from others.
I have no desire to get into the “politics” of said tweets (I feel he’s not a misogynist and is actually supportive of certain aspects/types of feminism—though I can see how some of his tweets could set some people off), but merely to observe the fact that this 86-year-old man was “dishing it” on social media—and doing a pretty savvy job, too. The Shat (as he is known, I’m sure, by some people) is all down with memes, the lingo, and, apparently, fighting with obscure Tumblr and Twitter Outlander fan accounts.
This then led to the rabbit-hole that is said Outlander fans. Specifically, fans who ship the actors who play the main characters on the show, Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe…and have constructed an elaborate (almost Alex Jones-level) conspiracy theory that they are secretly in love in real-life.
The online fighting regarding this Outlander fan subculture is so intense, so brutal, that there are actually sites dedicated to counter the resulting cyber-bullying and doxing.
And somehow—somehow—William Shatner, The Shat, Captain Kirk (bloody T.J. Hooker, for God’s sake!) has gotten himself so involved in this that it’s not only been going on for more than a year, but he actually references the feud on the banner to his Twitter account.
The irony, of course, is that Kirk himself was the focal character of what might be the original “shipping” couple for fans—Kirk/Spock. So is it really that surprising that things have come full circle, so to speak, and that Shatner is now embedded in a fan-shipping controversy that shows no signs of abating soon?