Okay so I’m gonna nerd out on you guys today . . .
So I watched this movie on Netflix called For The Love of Spock and it was actually pretty interesting! Now I’m definitely guilty of loving some Star Trek! I know I wrote a blog about it when I come to think about it . . . it’s called Live Long and Prosper if you want to go check it out . . . Now before you just go thinking that this is something that you can’t enjoy, go check out Star Trek Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. Like all shows in the beginning episodes the actors are still getting into their characters so you many have to watch a couple before you get sucked in. Besides aliens and space, the epic series has a great way of addressing important concepts and bringing up societies issues without making it feel like a lesson. The setting is a couple hundred years in the future, the Earth has achieved world peace and humans are exploring the galaxy and the different species that are foreign to them. They have to figure out when to interfere, communication, cooperation, acceptance, and how to bridge the gaps between the ocean of differences between them and the species they encounter. They are forced to think outside the box, create novel solutions, and figure out how to coexist with other species that are vastly different from anything human. Just like when two strangers now from two different countries meet, people find a way to come together and in optimal situations, learn from each other. The show touches on tolerance and understanding . . . morals . . . how to treat people who are different . . . the concept of ethnocentricity . . . environmentalism and sooooo much more! Hmmm . . . a lot of parallels . . . right!
Now when it comes to this documentary, it explores the character Spock, from the first Star Trek series and his iconic effect on the entire culture. It also gives the biography and interview clips of the actor, Leonard Nimroy, who played him which gives you a sense of who Spock really was and what went into playing a character like him. If you don’t know, Spock is a half human, half Vulcan (alien) who serves aboard a star ship. He has some of the characteristics of humans but he is also Vulcan so he looks a little different from the pointy ears to the green blood. Another trait of the Vulcan is that their species are known for their expert emotional suppression. So while the emotions of humans are very much like a roller coaster, it would appear that for a Vulcan they are very . . . collected . . . at all times. They believe that logic is the key to life and so they are a very scientific based society. So within the series you will see him try to keep his balance, question his humanity, and explore life aboard the ship as an outcast. No matter how well his relationships with the others on board become, he is well aware that he is not the same as them. Now I wasn’t around for the Spock craze but to this day just about everyone knows the Vulcan V shaped hand gesture even if they aren’t familiar with where it is from. What was it about Spock that made him such an icon?
“Live long and prosper”
Now a lot of us out here are feeling isolated in our own little bubbles . . . every once in a while . . . even if you don’t want to admit it. Sometimes you just end up being the black sheep in a herd of fluffy white flock and that’s how Spock felt as the only Vulcan with this all human crew. Now although he was half human, any multiracial child will tell you that just sharing some of the same genetic make up with someone doesn’t mean they think you belong nor see you as being the same as them. Essentially this was Spock. There’s an intriguing aspect of him that he was constantly keeping his emotions in check. How many times have you felt overwhelmed with how you were feeling? For him, being in control and restraining those primal instincts were just a part of the Vulcan life. Some people will wish they were more like him. His character could also represent someone who was intelligent and was always looking to acquire more knowledge. Spock had morals, honor, and dignity . . . just some of the few attributes that many of us would hold in high esteem. It’s easy to see how fans would aspire to take on some of those traits. So for the society at the time who had not seen a character quite like this, they felt a connection with him and to the point that some even wanted to emulate him in dress and manner. When you watch this movie, you not only get to understand Spock, the Vulcan, but you hear about Nimroy and how he helped developed this character and ultimately affect the entire science fiction culture. You will also hear about his life behind the scenes from his family. The struggles he face trying to balance work and home, turning off and on the character and what were some of the inspirations that gave birth to an icon.
You may not be a Star Trek fan or someone remotely interested in science fiction but this was definitely an interesting watch. The actress in me is fascinated with the whole process of how he created this character and thought of the smallest details to embody this alien/outsider. The anthropologist in me is curious about the reasons why people gravitated so heavily to his character. What made Spock iconic as opposed to Captain Kirk or any other character was that Spock, as the outsider, had the ability to transcend multiple categories such as age, race, socio-economic standings and gender. It’s amazing. Just to think, Leonard Nimroy didn’t set out to embody a science fiction icon . . . nor did he know when he initially started filming how big that show would impact the culture. One of the humorous scenes from the movie is from a show that Nimroy was reading the audience the critics review of the show when it first came out. Star Trek initially got horrible reviews and no one could have ever predict that it would still be an active part of the culture decades later. That just goes to show you that you can never know where your individual river of life will lead you. Although you think you are just doing something insignificant, you can’t be sure who is receptive of you and what impacts you are making for someone else.