For our scheduled interview!
He’s doing public service announcements urging people to apply for Social Security benefits online — but before we went there, I had to tell him I loved his sardonic Spider-Man audition video that’s making the rounds.
“It’s amazing how quickly things can go viral,” Takei said. “We live in an amazing Star Trek society — in reality.”
Takei said he did the video to draw attention to a real show he’s working on — Allegiance, a musical drama about the interment of Japanese Americans during World War II.
“I grew up in two of those internment camps,” he said. “My mission has been to get Americans to understand how great our democracy is, but also how fragile it is. This was one of the unconstitutional, shameful chapters in American history.”
As for taking the shame out of Social Security:
“Applying for or collecting Social Security benefits had been a very laborious process of going to the office, lining up, and going through all that hassle. That can all be eliminated and can be made less costly for the agency as well as the applicants by using the internet.”
The site is Socialsecurity.gov, for those this applies to. (Not me. Nuh-uh. I’m just starting out. Oh, hush.)
By the way, Takei’s co-star in the PSAs happens to be TV/movie legend Patty Duke, but he told me their schedules didn’t match, “so we filmed separately, using Star Trek technology. We beamed her in.”
Hey, the split-screen approach sounds just like The Patty Duke Show!
I’ll run more of my Takei interview soon, focusing on his coming out as gay.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 14, 2011