Okay, gang! Here we go again!…
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Thank you for visiting! And…
Don’t forget to keep a sharp eye out! Because…
Part 2 will be here before you know it!
Like countless others, I was saddened late last month to learn of the passing of actor Leonard Nimoy, who will forever be associated with the role he played on the TV series, “Star Trek”, that of the Vulcan science officer, Mr. Spock.
As a disenfranchised pre-teen at the time of the television show’s debut, I strongly identified with Spock, a character with feet in two disparate worlds, one of passion and one of dispassion.
As is often the case with obituaries, I learned more of the man than I thought I had known.
I knew he was Jewish, but I didn’t know he had been raised in the Orthodox branch of the faith. I assumed the so-called “Vulcan salute” with the forked fingers was something that had been written for him. In fact, it was something he devised largely on his own, with its roots in the characters of the Hebrew alphabet: a subtle but significant acknowledgement of the one true living God.
I also knew he had – for a number of years – sought to distance himself from his “Star Trek” role, concerned that his career would be limited by typecasting.
I got to see him act in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” as Malvolio, the villain. He was wonderful.
It was 1975 when he came to appear in the Pittsburgh Public Theatre production. I had been working at the local fine arts radio station, WQED-FM, at that time. One of my colleagues got to interview him for the radio station.
He came with just one caveat. His media handlers were very explicit on the point: “Please DON’T ask Leonard ANYTHING about “Star Trek” or Mister Spock. He doesn’t want people to conflate his entire career with this one role.” (He had recently published an autobiography pointedly entitled, “I Am Not Spock.”)
Naturally, his interviewer did his best to comply. Nevertheless, at one point, he couldn’t seem to help himself and made some thinly-veiled references to “the body of your television work.” You could almost hear Nimoy rolling his eyes in the interview session, but he gamely touched briefly on the matter, acknowledging that the role had been a great opportunity for him and his family.
His stage performance in “Twelfth Night” was absolutely enchanting and he achieved something I think Shakespeare had always intended for Malvolio: he made him ever so slightly sympathetic even as he plotted against the gender-bending hero and his mistress, Olivia. The scene in which he discovered Sir Toby Belch’s cryptic “love letter” was at once poignant and hysterical. As is so often the case with an antagonist’s role, he made the play and he made the show.
If memory serves, he took three curtain calls that night.
As for his work as a screenwriter and a director, I considered those “Star Trek” franchise movies in which he performed those additional duties to be among the finest of that particular series. His guest star appearances on the syndicated television series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” were virtual media events and those episodes rank among my favorites.
Several years before his death, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry told more than a few interviewers and fans that the “Next Generation” characters Lt. Cmdr. Data and Lt. Worf were each spawned by the Spock character. Data represented the dispassionate side of Spock, seeking to be human. And Worf represented the fiercely strong and loyal side of Spock, raised in a human family and hungering to re-connect with his native Klingon culture.
That’s some kind of exceptional immortality for an actor and his most iconic role. The late Leonard Nimoy will not only be missed, but unlike so many, he will continue to be loved.
Live Long And Prosper…
There’s not a lot to say and precious little I can add. I’m working on something of a personal recollection to be posted shortly.
In the meantime…
Originally posted on Variety:
Leonard Nimoy has died at the age of 83, and Hollywood has taken to social media to mourn the “Star Trek” icon, from fellow “Trek” alums like William Shatner and George Takei to comedy stars including Seth MacFarlane and Jason Alexander.
The Hollywood Historic trust also announced that flowers will be placed on Nimoy’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 10:30 a.m. Friday. The star is located at 6651 Hollywood Blvd.
Rod Roddenberry, CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment and son of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry, released a statement on Nimoy’s passing: “The death of Leonard Nimoy is indeed an immense loss to us all. I only hope that during this difficult time we can all take comfort in the everlasting impact he has made. As Spock he portrayed the first Roddenberry character, an outsider who truly let us see ourselves. Leonard Nimoy’s talent allowed millions to learn more…
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Am keeping very active in the offline world: family, work and such, just not very vocal online, but I promise that will change eventually. Meanwhile…
Buy Girl Scout Cookies! It’s the Samoa’s Fortieth Anniversary!
The Samoa was being introduced at just about the same time Richard Nixon was taking his final bow, but somehow I doubt very much that the two events were connected…
In recent months, Artificial Intelligence (or “AI”) has become the subject of increasing discussion.
Not merely in the sense of predicting what our lifestyles will be like and how we’ll all be served in a veritable Utopia of Satisfaction, but also with a more cautionary note included.
Some people are actually beginning to worry about “the machines taking over”.
The prospect, it seems, is no longer viewed as the output of a deranged or paranoid mind. There are those, including some very deep and highly-regarded intellectuals, who evidently believe with all sincerity that a “Terminator”-type scenario could yet play out at some future date.
Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates are two widely-regarded individuals who have voiced such concerns. Earnest as they are, the comparisons to characters like the brilliant professor portrayed by actor Sam Jaffee in the 1950’s Sci-Fi film classic, “The Day the Earth Stood Still” are inescapable. Only the smart guys seem to be concerned and everybody else seems willing to laugh them off as a couple of eggheads detached from reality.
I, for one, am not convinced they are detached from anything.
Our culture has a sorrowful talent for acting first and considering implications later. From what I can gather A-I is all about doing things in the opposite order. When it comes to Human Nature, that seems a recipe for a dystopian outcome that would rival the world painted in George Orwell’s “1984” or Ira Levin’s “This Perfect Day.”
At this point, all I’m saying is let’s get this into the public dialogue and start thinking about protocols. Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics may have the aerodynamics and tail fins of the 1950’s about them, but it’s as good a place as any from which to start.
So let’s get started!
The hyperlink below will take you to the article that spawned this little post in the first place:
Just not online a lot these past couple of days!
Thank you for your patience; in the words of Douglas MacArthur, “I shall return!”
What follows below is a link to a story reported in the Christian Science Monitor just within the past few hours.
Anyone who may have come to the defense of George Zimmerman in 2012 may have to re-think their position in light of the events that have followed the decision in the Trayvon Martin case…
Let’s face it: Zimmerman took his acquittal back then as some form of vindication.
IMHO, The simple obvious fact is this man is deeply disturbed and should not be running around at liberty to do whatever enters his head.
Man! I have GOT to start posting some more original content of my own devising!
But in the meantime, here’s something else I’ve very much liked!
Please click on the image below to view it in a more easily-read larger size in this browser window (you’ll need to click on the “back” button after you’re done to return to this blog…
What makes all of this especially ironic is that most of my work these days involves wearing a uniform and a badge!