I’m merely one fan out of the 3,789,097 that [former Star Trek actor George] Takei has amassed on Facebook. Admittedly, those aren’t Justin Bieber or Rihanna numbers. Yet Takei manages to stock the online world with more cartoons, humorous memes, and cheeky quips than pretty much anyone else. Even more so than people with larger followings, his fans respond to and re-circulate his content in droves—whether the posts are merely frivolous, heart-warming, or politically pointed.
Takei’s kitschy cat photos are not themselves of political interest, but their popularity has given him a platform for his online activism with exceptional reach. This past week was the two-year anniversary of the launch of his Facebook page; it also witnessed several developments that highlighted Takei’s commitments as an engaged public figure.
One development was the national discussion of same-sex marriage, precipitated by the arguments taking place before the Supreme Court. (A useful and funny summary of last Tuesday’s oral arguments about the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 is available here.) The debate is directly relevant to Takei, who in the past decade has become an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights. He and his partner Brad were among the earliest and most prominent same-sex couples in Hollywood to obtain a marriage license in 2008, and they were the first gay couple ever to appear on the Newlywed Game.