By Molly Ashline, Staff Writer
I am not the biggest “Trekkie” who ever lived.
I do not know ever episode of Star Trek by heart nor have I mastered the Klingon language.
I have, however, been profoundly affected throughout my life by the thoughtful, political and relevant messages of Star Trek. Often the speaker of these messages was Spock, the Vulcan character played by Leonard Nimoy who died last Friday.
Nimoy was many things in his life, but most know him for his involvement in the Star Trek franchise. He worked as a writer, a director and an actor.
His role as Spock taught millions of people important lessons about diversity, compassion, friendship and self-sacrifice. He espoused peace and understanding. He encouraged discussion rather than violence.
Most of all, the character of Spock— who Nimoy embraced as another part of himself— meant something different to everyone.
I was listening to NPR earlier when Arun Rath was talking about how Spock was the first biracial character he encountered, and that was something with which Rath could identify.
I, on the other hand, always found Spock’s personality and motivations appealing.
Spock was levelheaded and calculating, yet not cold, though he was often mistaken for being cold. Spock was objective, but he was still compassionate and loyal.
Having been perceived as dispassionate on many occasions myself, this nuanced expression of emotion is very appealing.
And it is that complexity of character that makes Spock so relatable to people.
Nimoy was able to pick up on the Zeitgeist when he interpreted the character of Spock. I think he saw that people had become more emotionally isolated and crueler, and Nimoy shaped Spock to both reflect that and counter it.
I know some people may be disgruntled by the fact that much of the discussion about Nimoy since his death has been centered on his time spent as Spock. Nimoy absolutely was more than just the character of Spock, but Spock was a major part of Nimoy’s life.
More than that, Nimoy realized the value that Spock had beyond being a television character. Spock was a voice and an outlet for considering contemporary issues. And he did it in space, by golly!
The point is, I think we are all in search of Spock. But Leonard Nimoy was in search of all of us through Spock.