With the death of Leonard Nimoy this week, I got to thinking just how much Star Trek and Mr. Spock influenced me and still do. I got to see Mr. Nimoy speak and he seemed as kind and dignified as his most famous characterization.
Spock was my first crush. I also wanted to *be* him so it was a complicated relationship 🙂 I started my fascination with “tall dark and handsome” right here. As did thousands of other women and girls. The idea of “he may not love anyone else but he’ll love *me*” is a strong thing in at least a certain subset of female humans.
This character taught me that “alien” didn’t automatically mean “scary”. Aliens, aka *they*, could be just as good or better than *us*. They could be loyal, smart, moral, humorous, and loving. As Kirk said in ST: Wrath of Khan, “Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most…. human.” the best of what it means to be human.
From both Kirk and Spock and the rest of the crew through the words of Gene Roddenberry, I learned it was okay to be smart, which helped a girl who wasn’t much good at anything else. I learned to stand up for what I believed in, and learned that I had no desire to be a pacifist. Vulcans were generally pacifists, but Spock fought when he had to, to defend others. He also incapacitated quite a few with the Vulcan nerve pinch. I also learned that might does not equal right, no matter if the claim comes from an aggressive species or from a god and that no one should put up with that nonsense.
I learned to interact with other people, something that I had some trouble with when I was young, finding restraint and thoughtfulness a way to deal with situations I was uncomfortable with. I learned to question authority and tradition and value evidence and analysis. Just because something was always done, that’s no reason to keep doing it. Just because someone claims to have the “truth”, there is no reason to believe them without evidence. I certainly learned not to blindly obey.
Thank you, Gene Roddenberry and the crew of the Enterprise and the wonderful actors who played them, and the authors of the episodes (except maybe for some of the third season ones), for helping to make me into someone I’m proud of.
Live long and prosper. Peace and long life.