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24 April 2015
“In my heart/Is the seed of the tree/Which will be me.”
- Leonard Nimoy, “A Lifetime of Love: Poems on the Passages of Life” -
Science Fiction and Action Adventure film affect most all Americans in some way or another. Taking a look at the highest grossing films of past years, films from the Transformers, Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Harry Potter franchises place high on the list. Indeed, these two genres, more often than not in overlap, represent the most widely explored and financially viable forms of filmmaking in existence today.
It makes sense, then, that the characters of such works would become beloved symbols of American culture, pervasive to all who have lived for even a few years somewhere in the United States. Darth Vader, Batman, Harry Potter, James Bond (well, the earlier films were British-made), and Spock. However, one when of these beloved icons passes away, it feels as if American culture has lost something in itself. A part of its own very persona which was defining and powerful. And for all of the above icons, the only one that has lost an actor that defined the role is that of Mr. Spock, son of Sarek. Leonard Nimoy, likely best known for his portrayal of the pointy-eared Vulcan, passed away in late February of 2015 at the age of 83. Nimoy left behind him generations of inspiration in the bowl-cut hair styled character, representing the only alien of the Enterprise Bridge, who was also simultaneously likely the most complex from his inner struggle to deal with his dispassionate human side interacting with his emotionless Vulcan side.
However, Spock is not all he will be remembered for. Although it is the role that he is most famous for, his accomplishments in the creative fields span across a number of other disciplines. In the film discipline, Nimoy ventured several times into Directorial ventures, directing Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and other films, such as the comedy Three Men and a Baby. His literature was heralded as deep and engaging, mainly with regard to his forays into the world of poetry. Nimoy was also known as a stage actor of skill, having began on the stage and been teaching acting when he was cast in the Star Trek franchise.
Whenever a cultural icon like this passes away, it is important for people in the US to reflect on their own cultural identities. Mr. Spock served as an inspiration to generations of Americans, representing a voice of logic during the many times when the crew of the Enterprise confronted a new species or planet that mirrored current social conditions in the country at the time. Particularly today, during a period of such unrest as buried racial issues resurface and a schism between the people and the government seems that much larger, it is absolutely vital that the people of this country consider Mr. Spock – his logic, his clear thinking, his decisions that were unchanged by emotion – to remind ourselves that we must act with similar conviction on our own principles. If our system of governance holds true to the liberty and justice that we speak of representing, then emotion has little place in our thinking, for our ideas should already be on the righteous path to enable us to live long, and prosper.