Monday, March 2, 2015

Goodbye Mr Spock

AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File

 I am not sure how it all happened, but the one thing Star Trek got right and it was the hardest thing was to produce the scholar monk as a successful character.  Nimoy made it iconic. 

All scholarship leads to discipline and ultimately to intense discipline equivalent to doing hours of meditation or prayer.  All this leads to the neocortex managing the emotional machinery as a matter of course.  It is proven to be difficult but totally necessary.  

What makes it so hard is that this machinery is also used by our limbic nervous system as well in order to protect us.  It happens to be completely plausible for you to kill someone before your neocortex actually kicks in.  Worse the developing situation may simply never allow you the opportunity.  

What is alien about the Vulcan character is that the neocortex appears to retain those decisions.  The bridge was populated with well trained human beings but still us.  They acted as the foil and mirror to this alien construct.  It was a wonderful imagining that has carried Star Trek itself into the Twenty first century and soon onto the bridge of Star Ship Enterprise.

 A job well done and i am so pleased to see the accolades..

Live long and prosper: Trekkie Chris Knight bids farewell to Leonard Nimoy
Chris Knight | February 27, 2015 | Last Updated: Feb 27 5:20 PM ET

Many actors get typecast. Some escape it, some bear it, some capitalize on it. Most hate it. But I can think of only one who transcended it: Leonard Nimoy, who died Friday at the age of 83. 

Nimoy will be forever remembered as Mr. Spock (first name: you couldn’t pronounce it), the half-Vulcan, half-human science officer from the 1966 TV show Star Trek and its many subsequent generations, iterations and realizations. That half-ness was always the appeal of the character. The young viewers who made up the bulk of the Trek fan base and grew old with the cast could relate to feeling like an outsider; an alien in a human world. 

But they could feel an even stronger connection to someone half-alien, told to fit in and be like everyone else when a part of them never would. Generations of misfit Trekkers knew exactly how Mr. Spock felt, and they continue to carry a splinter of his Vulcan psyche within them, a bulwark against an emotionally overpowering world. (Why yes, I am one of them. How did you know?) 

AP Photo/Matt Sayles, FileIn this April 26, 2009 file photo, actor Leonard Nimoy poses for a portrait in Beverly Hills, Calif. Nimoy died Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 in Los Angeles of end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83. 

Nimoy published many books of poetry and photography over his life, but his most famous works were a 1975 biography titled I Am Not Spock, and a 1995 follow-up, I Am Spock. He later said he regretted the “firestorm” of controversy the first book caused. The cheeky title was intended as a jumping-off point for a discussion of the differences and similarities between an actor and the character he plays. 

And play him he did. Nimoy performed in 80 episodes of the original Star Trek series — he was the only actor to reprise his role after the first pilot led to a second — and he went on to voice and portray Spock in video games, subsequent movies, other Star Trek TV series and such shows as The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory. 

When J.J. Abrams rebooted Trek on the big screen in 2009, Nimoy appeared as Spock Prime, the “original” Mr. Spock after one of those Trekkian spacetime conundrums led to a parallel-universe version of the characters. He reprised the role in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, his final screen appearance. 

ParamountLeonard Nimoy, seen here as Spock, died at 83. 

Star Trek continues to exert a huge influence on the culture. Scientific discoveries are often alluded to by their Trek-ness: Will virtual reality give us a real Holodeck? Will warp drive take us to the stars? In 2008, a Texas Supreme Court ruling even cited a famous quotation from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
“First, we recognize that police power draws from the credo that ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.’ Second, while this maxim rings utilitarian and Dickensian (not to mention Vulcan), it is cabined by something contrarian and Texan: distrust of intrusive government and a belief that police power is justified only by urgency, not expediency.” 

But Spock was a singularity within the Star Trek galaxy. The Post and others have long debated the relative merits of the franchise’s various captains, but there is no one against whom to match up Spock. 

In his later years, it became clear that Nimoy was Spock, and vice versa, and both were happy with it, though Spock would have denied the emotion. The last characters on Nimoy’s twitter feed, which fell silent on Feb. 22, were LLAP, short for “live long and prosper,” a Vulcan greeting accompanied by a hand gesture Nimoy copied from an ancient Jewish blessing. 

In 2013, Nimoy and new-Spock Zachary Quinto appeared together in a commercial for Audi, in which the older actor is beaten to a lunch date by the younger one, only to knock him out at the last minute with the Vulcan nerve pinch.

We should remember and celebrate all the facets of Nimoy — stage actor, writer, director, photographer, philanthropist, musician, etc. — but humans being what they are, Mr. Spock will always be first among his list of accomplishments. 

Nimoy came to terms with this legacy long ago. In I Am Not Spock he wrote of receiving a compliment from another actor and thinking: “Standing silently behind my shoulder is a very jealous, ever-present Vulcan.” 

But by the time of writing I Am Spock, he included a conversation between himself and the character in which he said: “We’re both very lucky, Spock. Lucky to have lived the lives we have, and lucky to have had each other.” And we are lucky to have had them both.

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