Sunday, March 1, 2015

Leonard "Spock" Nimoy

As a Science Fiction fan and overall nerd, I might expect myself, were I playing to type, to be more broken up about Spock's death. That is what we're talking about here. Despite the hordes of fans he met face to face, the vast majority of those who feel the need to mourn him know nothing about Leonard Nimoy, and should not. If you do, you're probably a damn stalker and should've left the poor man alone. But even if you were just a fan-atic who read everything he wrote, memorized his speeches and kissed your autographed picture of him every night before doing other things before bed, odds are your anchor to the personality cult was Spock. Who was Leonard Nimoy? Nay, an' I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you in the face again. For mine own part, he was Spock to me.

Spock was smart. That's all you'd consciously know about him as a nine-year-old just starting to get into SciFi. Of Star Trek's various stock characters, Spock was "smart guy" yet somehow he endeared himself to the audience much more than so many other characters filling the same niche. Spock was dignified. In this he distanced himself from the degrading, cringing nebbish mad scientist pop-culture pigeonholing of nerds, from the ceaseless tirade of disgustingly bumbling Urkels and Screeches. The self-contained dignity partly lent by Nimoy to the character turned him into a show-stealing role model for generations of young nerds and geeks... who then proceeded to throw dignity out the window and, as trekkies, act out with mathematical precision the pop-culture geek stereotype which Spock had broken.

I liked Spock. I wanted to be Spock. I also wanted to be Lord Elrond Halfelven. You'd think between the two of them I'd own at least one pair of pointy ears, but no. Y'know why? I also wanted to be Ender Wiggin and Paul Muad'dib and I have especially wanted to be Jubal Harshaw. At some point I realized none of these characters would want to be each other. Spock would not dye his eyes blue and Jubal would not own pointy rubber ears. Their integrity, that personal agency which we neurotic over-thinkers valued so much in our youth as proof of other ways to be smart than accepting our social role as whining punching bags, would only allow them to grow as themselves.

I won't tell you to grow "up" since there's nothing more childish in the hero worship of he-who-was-Spock than in the hero-worship of a sports/military persona or other fictional or fictionalized figures... like Jesus. However, this needs to be said:
Star Trek was at least in part about exploration and discovery, and Spock embodied that moving goal. Live long, prosper... learn and grow. Be fascinated.

No comments:

Post a Comment