‘To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before’: William Shatner Blasts EU Woke Attack On Star Trek’s Famous Line

Leonard Nimoy William Shatner Star Trek 1968 | Source: commons.wikimedia.org

Leaders of the European Union are proposing to eliminate gendered phrases, including some iconic movie quotes. They argue that such terms may render women invisible or omitted, and should be replaced with more inclusive language.

One of the phrases under scrutiny is the famous Star Trek line: “To boldly go where no man has gone before”. EU officials suggest replacing “no man” with “no one”. This phrase, popularized by Captain Kirk (William Shatner), is marked in a 61-page toolkit on gender-sensitive communication developed by the European Institute for Gender Equality.

In response, actor William Shatner, who had famously stared in the series as Captain James T. Kirk, blasted the idea saying, “Presentism at work yet again. Why start at Trek? Isn’t it better to start at the beginning and redo foundation material such as the Magna Carta, religious writings, works of Shakespeare before worrying about a silly TV show opening that reflects social commentary of the time? If people are offended by 6 seconds of dialogue recorded in 1966 without a modicum of understanding of the social issues at the time there’s bigger issues that they need to deal with first – like educating themselves.”

Another term subject to change is the World War One phrase “no man’s land”, which EU officials propose should be referred to as “unclaimed territory”. Moreover, they deem it discriminatory to refer to inanimate objects in a gendered manner, such as saying “the ship slipped her moorings”.

The move has drawn criticism from some quarters. Former Tory MP Ann Widdecombe expressed her disapproval, calling the initiative “ridiculous.” This is not the first time such changes have sparked controversy. In 2022, there was backlash over a proposed ban on the word “fishermen” in favor of gender-neutral terms like “fisherpeople” or “fishers”. The EU encouraged the avoidance of phrases that “exclude women” such as “Joe Public” and “gentleman’s agreement”.

A European Parliament document on fishing that spans 11,000 words uses the term “fishers” as many as 84 times. Nigel Mills, a Tory MP, criticized the move, labeling it as “utter madness” and an “attack on the English language”. Despite Brexit, English remains the official language of the EU.