A lovely man

I’m still not going to watch ST:TNG, but I have to admit that Patrick Stewart seems to be a good human being.

I asked him “Besides acting, what are you most proud of that you have done in you life (that you are willing to share with us)?”. Sir Patrick told us about how he couldn’t protect his mother from abuse in his household growing up and so in her name works with an organization called Refuge for safe houses for women and children to escape from abusive house holds. Sir Patrick Stewart learned only last year that his father had actually been suffering from PTSD after he returned from the military and was never properly treated. In his father’s name he works with an organization called Combat Stress to help those soldiers who are suffering from PTSD.

They were about to move onto the next question when Sir Patrick looked at me and asked me “My Dear, are you okay?” I said yes, and that I was finally able to move on from that part of my life. He then passionately said that his mother had done nothing to provoke his father and that even if she had, violence was never, ever a choice a man should make. That it is in the power of men to stop violence towards women. The moderator then asked “Do you want a hug?”

Sir Patrick didn’t even hesitate, he smiled, hopped off the stage and came over to embrace me in a hug. Which he held me there for a long while. He told me “You never have to go through that again, you’re safe now.” I couldn’t stop thanking him. His embrace was so warm and genuine. It was two people, two strangers, supporting and giving love. And when we pulled away he looked strait in my eyes, like he was promising that. He told me to take care. And I will.


  1. shoshidge says

    Classy guy, great actor.
    I admit that TNG looks pretty dated these days but are there other reasons why PZ shuns it

  2. Emrysmyrddin says

    In my childish heart I passionately adopted Patrick Stewart as my imaginary grandfather to replace a (shall we say) substandard one. Whatever you can say about ST:TNG, his Captain Picard taught me the fledgling philosophies (for a seven year old) of humanism and atheism, good-without-god. I owe him so much, as an actor and a role model, and he’ll probably never know it. This clip made me sob. Thanks, Patrick Stewart.

  3. mythbri says

    That is a lovely video. He is a lovely man (who only just recently had is first slice of pizza).

    I’ve seen pictures of him wearing a shirt that says, “This is what a feminist looks like.”

  4. spandrel says

    I’ll bite. Why does PZ shun TNG? What’s wrong with watching Patrick Stewart treat would-be godlike beings with contempt and disdain?

    Admittedly you’d have to be very choosy about which episodes you watch. The show had poor quality control. Pretty much the entire first season is wretched.

    Recommended episode: “Who Watches the Watchers.” (Season 3 Episode 4). Accidental first contact with a bronze age civilization leads to villagers worshiping Captain Picard as a god. Primitive religious superstition must somehow be overcome. It’s on Netflix.

  5. mythbri says

    My mom had the biggest crush on Number One, but only when he had the beard.

    We watched TNG every Sunday.

  6. Rob Grigjanis says

    He is a lovely man, and a truly great actor. So much so I forgive him TNG and Picard.

    Interesting (to me anyway); the only time I’ve ever heard his Yorkshire accent slip through the RSC training was during this talk, when he said “I do what I do in my mother’s name”.

  7. Randomfactor says

    Sir Ian McKellen is about to marry Patrick Stewart, I understand.

    Um, to his fiancee. Gandalf will be officiating at the wedding…

  8. moarscienceplz says

    The show had poor quality control. Pretty much the entire first season is wretched.

    Actually, there was a writers’ strike during almost the entire first season so you can’t blame the show for that. However, if like me, you think that the show was helmed by folks who NEVER fully understood how to use a SF format to full advantage, well, blame away.

  9. golkarian says

    Episodes like “Homeward” suggest that Patrick Stewart is better than the “ideal human” espoused in Star Trek, especially Jean-Luc Picard.

  10. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    I guess with TOS, it is expected to be vintage. TNG is over a certain modernity threshold ( TNG technology still looks modern, if contemporary, by todays standards) and is automatically judged by different standards – I guess

  11. anchor says

    Stewart was back in 1977: he puts in a chilling performance as Sejanus in several episodes of I, Claudius. Its appearance in the US on PBS stations introduced Stewart (then with hair still on his head) and a fabulous British cast to many American viewers for the first time, including Derek Jacoby (who played Claudius), Sian Phillips (the sinister poisoner empress Livia), Brian Blessed (Augustus) and John Hurt (who unforgettably portrayed the insane Caligula).

  12. anchor says

    Correction: my opening sentence was cut; meant to say, “My earliest exposure to the acting prowess of Stewart…”

  13. Gregory Greenwood says

    I have always liked Patrick Stewart as an actor – whatever else one might say about the stuff he has worked on, whether it is as Jean-Luc Picard, Professor X, or a great Shakespearian character, I have always found his performances to be fantastic – but it is only more recently that I have been pleasantly surprised to find that he is also such a good and decent human being.

    He is that rare thing – a talented and high profile person whose skill doesn’t mask a truly nasty personality and a terribly messed up moral compass. The events described in the OP have moved him even higher in my estimation than before.

    I take my hat off to him – he is as devoid of hatefulness as his head is devoid of hair.

  14. unclefrogy says

    I will never forget when `Captain Picard first appeared and out walked Karla from Tinker , Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    a real double take.
    I have liked what he has been cast in and his work and am glad he got the role of the Captain it should have helped the bank account some! I did like the show it was not perfect but it got me more than once.
    I hope to get the chance to see him on stage sometime that would be a thrill.
    uncle frogy

  15. says

    Ah, I remember watching my first episode of TNG. A psychic who acted like a carnival medium, a crowd of hippies who, in the 24th century, were dressed as though the 70s never ended, God, and a pair of giant, shapeshifting space jellyfish. The shapeshifting space jellyfish were the only believable characters of that lot, and the only ones not regularly reappearing.

    But everything I’ve ever heard about Patrick Stewart suggests that he’s a great guy, and a pretty good actor to boot.

  16. says

    I can never regard TNG with the same affection that I hold TOS in— my inner nine-year-old would never forgive me — but TNG did have its moments, many of them down to Stewart. The episode where he’s interrogated by the Cardassian David Warner (also a fine actor), for instance, or the one where Picard has a lifetime’s worth of alien memories projected into his head. And any time he tells Q off.

  17. hypatiasdaughter says

    What is so absolutely wonderful about his talk in the video is that he supported his mother, who was abused by his father, and extends that into social action. He supports women’s shelters and talks against violence against women. He mentions that many people blamed his mother for his father’s abusive behavior.
    But, he also came to realize that his father was suffering from PTSD and was told to “man up” and get over it. He says if you don’t get treatment, you never really get over it, so he supports Combat Stress, that helps soldiers deal with PTSD.
    I really think that Patrick Stewart understands patriarchy and how it destructive it is to BOTH men and women.

  18. M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati says

    Patrick Stewart seems to be a good human being.

    Patrick Stewart and people like him are why it was necessary to enrich the English language with the loan-word “mensch.”

  19. says

    I first saw this clip on upworthy.com.
    Patrick Stewart is truly a good human being.
    I recommend upworthy.com. The wiki entry sez:

    Upworthy is a left-leaning website for viral content that was started in March 2012 by Eli Pariser, the former executive director of MoveOn, and Peter Koechley, the former managing editor of The Onion. It is backed by Chris Hughes, one of Facebook’s co-founders.

    Upworthy’s stated mission is to host the intersection of the “awesome”, the “meaningful” and the “visual.”
    A couple of my favorite tear jerker/inspirational/ hopeful clips:

    (about a fraternity group displaying some fantastic love for a trans*man)

  20. says

    I have never seen whole episode of any Star Trek, I had to even look up what could ST: TNG mean, since it did not connect immediately.

    But when I read the topic article, I shed a tear. A lovely man, a decent human being. If only we had more like these in positions of power.

  21. rq says

    I have now seen this clip several times over the past few days, and it has not lost its effect. What a wonderful, wonderful, powerful human being!

  22. Thumper; Atheist mate says

    Patrick Stewart is such a fucking boss. You’ve gotta love him, Star Trek fan or not.

  23. madscientist says

    Yup, he’s a genuinely nice guy. He’s had a really tough life in his younger years but despite it all he’s a great human and not a twisted bitter old troll.

  24. sundiver says

    He did a superb performance as Lenin in Fall of Eagles . With the goatee the resemblence was uncanny.

  25. says

    I don’t watch TV or or go to the movies, play video games, or follow popular culture much, and I especially do not follow celebrity news. Nonetheless, I am marginally aware of popular culture and celebrities, and aware of how said celebrities wield their celebrity, when they get into the news. So often “celebrity news” is about how so-and-so did or said something really cringe-worthily stupid; I ignore that stuff. But the news I pay attention to – and repeat to others – is when a celebrity uses his or her “star power” to do good and to lead by example. Recent examples of stars doing good by taking action and/or speaking out include Angelina Jolie and Patrick Stewart.

    Mr. Stewart is a “manly man” actor who, because of his ST roles, must have many followers among boys and young men. I woudn’t be surpprised if he were a role model to many. His speaking out against domestic abuse, and to identify systemic societal misogyny as a factor, is a very valuable contribution to raising awareness. I hope that boys and young men can see this video and understand that misogyny, while certainly a societal problem, is perpetuated by individuals and the choices they make in their relationships.

  26. says

    @20: I vaguely recall Stewart giving a shout-out to Amnesty International at the time of that episode, and that he prepared by reading the accounts of torture victims. He consciously tried to depict what that was really like, and say: this shit is happening *now* in *our* world. Do. Something. About. It. Very powerful episode.

    Of course, barely a decade later Bush Jr. mainstreamed torture, and Faux News became apologists for it. :-(

    Less signficantly:
    First season of TNG was pretty dodgy — it seemed like they weren’t sure whether to be just a high-budget clone of TOS, or break new ground. Once they broke away from the TOS mold, it got better. It also didn’t hurt that multi-episode story arcs began to be permissible in prime time series about then. Much of the final season also sucked — it seemed like they were just dredging up all the scripts from the Reject bin and filming them.

  27. Michael says

    I posted the actual video of this on my Facebook page the other day.

    Recently I pointed out that a heartwarming story one of my Facebook friends had posted was in fact entirely fiction. They complained that I was ruining a good story. This video is partly my response, in that there are enough inspiring true stories out there that we don’t need to clutter the internet with false ones that people think are true. I find the true ones much more inspiring than the fictional ones anyway.

  28. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Much of early TNG had behind scenes problems: strikes, poor helming and an elephant in the room that Gene Roddenberry’s veto power and guidelines where stifling writing and drama. Patrick Stewart himself didn’t unload his suitcase for weeks expecting a swift cancellation.

    About mid SEason 2 to season 3 there was an overhaul, Gene kicked upstairs producer and director and writer shakeup and they almost literally relaunched with a new opening. from there its on the whole some pretty good Trek

  29. Ichthyic says

    In my childish heart I passionately adopted Patrick Stewart as my imaginary grandfather

    he’s decent enough, but nobody can replace Attenborough as my fake adopted gramps.


  30. Aratina Cage says

    Having grown up on ST:TNG, I have always loved Patrick Stewart. I have watched the whole series at least twice now, and in one of those interviews (a google search says Season 7) they package with the boxed sets, there is talk about how Stewart told a rather racist joke in front of LeVar Burton and Michael Dorn, and they weren’t having any of that and told him to his face that it was not OK. Instead of throwing a fit (as we often see from people who are told to “check their privilege”), he apparently realized how hurtful that joke had been and apologized with regrets.

    That he told a racist joke was shocking to me, but at least he didn’t go around acting like he was the one wronged by his colleagues’ sharp responses. He seems like a pretty caring person given his lingering regret for that and given what this post is about. Seeing him in Jeffrey (1995) where he played a gay man also made me respect him all the more.