Friday, February 27, 2015

It Would Be Impossible to Explain without a Common Frame of Reference

So Leonard Nimoy just died.

I'd heard that he was taken into the hospital a few days ago. At 83, I imagine that's always pretty serious, but I didn't want to really talk about it. If I lived to be 83 and famous, I wouldn't want people whispering about my trips to the hospital, with my death hanging unspoken above the conversation like a crash at a NASCAR race.

io9 has the best obituary. They have the right blend of biography, relevance, and flattering quotes to make the entire affair as calming and respectable as a funeral. That's the point, after all.

Superficially, I liked Spock because I identified with him. For the same reasons I liked Data and Odo. They were clearly outsiders with a narrow emotional range. Eventually, I came to appreciate the differences between Spock's suppressed emotions and real personality, Data's unique, but very real emotional range, and Odo's hard-shell exterior that should never let him be mistaken for someone who doesn't feel. Good actors slice those thin hairs.

I can't help but think of him in contrast to Shatner. They're like salt and pepper; so very different, but always so similar they come in the same package. Shatner has one trick and he's found a dozen ways to energetically market it, develop it, and hone it. The man's a living brand. Nimoy was a photographer, a director, a writer, and an actor. He was a contemplative, but still exuberant character.

Shatner seems like the guy who's been the life's smorgasbord and left it determined to make and eat hamburgers for the rest of his life. Nimoy struck me as a guy who sampled the same variety and still wanted something more and more different. 

I do still identify with that.

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