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March 1, 2015

It is not logical, but it is often true
Posted by Abi Sutherland at 09:54 AM * 136 comments

I’m still quietly reeling from Leonard Nimoy’s death on Friday.

This isn’t some excessive fangirl reaction, some indulgence in popular over-emotion in the wake of an Officially Sanctioned Sad Event. It’s simply that one of the trellises on which I grew my character is gone, really gone. I felt the same way twelve years ago (to the day) when Fred Rogers died. It’s an inward-looking moment, an understanding that I have to be a grownup and make my own choices, because so many of my leaders and teachers are washing away before my eyes.

It’s simple, but that’s not the same as easy. Reinventing, or rediscovering, yourself never is.

But inventing myself the first time wasn’t easy either. I was always looking for models for interacting with the world and dealing with unacceptable emotions, trying to understand how to care about people who were different than me, looking for reassurance that they would care back. I was four years old when I started watching Leonard Nimoy use the character of Spock to teach those lessons.

There are lots of articles out there about how he, and Star Trek, affected people: how they grew onto, over, and beyond the trellis of those stories and characters. I don’t have anything that I want to add to them. But it sounds like there’s discussion to be had in the community, and I’d be interested in reading it.

Comments on It is not logical, but it is often true:
#1 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 10:37 AM:

I'll start by reposting Schizmatic saying goodby to Leonard Nimoy: "Thank you for visiting our planet, Mr. Nimoy. Our civilization is the better for it. "

Among many other things, Mr Spock was a "success model" for young nerds -- respected (without having to be in charge of everything), someone who other people come to for answers anytime scientific issues came up (as they so often did). And someone who was clearly bewildered and frustrated by the emotional humans around them, but still managed to keep his dignity and his principles against nearly all assaults. Resolutely honest with his friends, but still able to put one over on an enemy. And he too had times when he was overwhelmed by emotion... IIRC in the whole original series there's only one time when he outright smiles, indeed grins. (Gur irel raq bs Cba Snee.)

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 10:44 AM:

1
You mean 'Nzbx Gvzr'. (That 200-watt grin!)

#3 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 10:47 AM:

Funny you should mention Fred Rogers--he was the other person I remember feeling this gutted over. (I was probably a little too young to internalize the loss of Henson at the time.)

My mother texted me right after and said "I always thought that as long as we had Kirk and Spock around, the world would be okay."

I think maybe she was onto something, there's a sense that as long as we have Mister Rogers and Spock and...oh, for me probably Big Bird and Kermit the Frog and Indiana Jones, too...things would work out somehow.

Maybe this happens to everybody when their icons pass away., I don't know.

#4 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 10:56 AM:

1, 2: no, it's in This Side of Paradise, when he's been squirted by those spores and allows himself to love Leila Kalomi.

#5 ::: Stareyes ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 11:08 AM:

I remember seeing that rot13 moment you noted as significant as perhaps the only time Spock expressed emotion without being under any sort of weird alien influence nf ol gung gvzr gur Cba Snee ubezbarf unq yrsg uvf flfgrz.

#6 ::: Janice in GA ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 11:11 AM:

"It’s simply that one of the trellises on which I grew my character is gone, really gone."

I think this sentence distills my feelings too. Mr. Spock was a huge presence in the life of my imagination for DECADES. And now he's gone.

I've hit the stage of life where more and more of the people I loved in my youth are passing away, or, doG help me, getting REALLY OLD. I'm not sure how I thought that I or the people loved would be spared going through this stage of life. But I did, somehow.

The time left ahead of me dwindles. Nimoy's death is just another reminder of that.

I did love him so, though. So much.

#7 ::: Mongoose ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 11:14 AM:

I thought Spock was wonderful because he confirmed my very strong inbuilt concept that treating other people badly isn't just wrong, it's not logical. I could never understand why the bullies at school couldn't see this.

#8 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 11:21 AM:

(I'm not entirely sure we need to ROT-13 spoilers for the original series of Star Trek in this thread. Thoughts? I could post a spoiler warning....)

#9 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 11:27 AM:

4
I knew there was at least one other time, but couldn't bring back the occasion.

#10 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 11:31 AM:

Raw Story had one post on the seven best episodes featuiring Nimoy. Most of the readers were 'wait, what??' because they had "Spock's Brain" on the list. Um, not that one. Ever. But they didn't have 'City on the Edge of Forever', or several others that were, and are, favorites.

#11 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 11:37 AM:

I feel like, as a result of here and other portions of the internet, there's a lot of How to Adult, How to Person, How to Friend instruction. I like that. I like that there are trellises. I like that there are guides to this, and that people in my circles understand that it's something to be learned and taught, not automatically performed. It makes such a difference to know that it's not just me, that there are models, that the models are valuable to people for so many reasons.

#12 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 11:46 AM:

Diatryma @11:

Yes, that's totally a thing, and I'm glad of it too.

#13 ::: John M. Burt ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 11:50 AM:

At least, as our local paper put it on its front page, he lived long, and prospered. That certainly can't be denied.

#14 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 12:35 PM:

I had the typical nerdy-kid reaction to Star Trek -- I went head over heels, especially to Spock both as a person and a concept. Trying to emulate the "no emotions" thing was one of the things that got me thru junior high mentally intact.

Unfortunately, the show aired at 9 PM and my bedtime on school nights was putatively 9:30. This was often honored more in the breach than the observance, but for some reason my parents decided to turn this particular thing into a major control struggle. One of my most vivid memories is of my father, one night, physically dragging me away from the TV and up the stairs, as though a difference of 1/2 hour one night a week was going to destroy my health or something. Thinking about it later, I am now convinced that the real issue was that it was science fiction and therefore Not Respectable.

Despite their best efforts, though, Star Trek turned out to be one of the shaping forces in my life. And Spock was a huge part of that. The sense of loss is indescribable.

#15 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 12:40 PM:

At Daily Kos, one person now has this sig line:
'Leonard Nimoy will never really die. We all carry a piece of his katra.'

#16 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 12:43 PM:

14
I didn't have that problem: my father read science fiction (had been for years, and knew I had been reading it for years: the joke was about his Astounding/Analog having eyetracks on it before he got the cover off); and my parents knew we'd sneak-watch from the staircase or the downstairs hall.

#17 ::: cyllan ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 12:51 PM:

In my particular case, Star Trek is one of the pillars of not just my identity, but the identify of my community, and Nimoy's Spock was the bedrock upon which that pillar took its strength. When we heard of his passing, our world shook just a little because we realized that this thing we have can never be replicated. We are geeks and nerds, and we are happy about it, but if Star Trek hadn't existed, we probably wouldn't be who and where we are.

Henson's passing hit me as well, but it was later when I was watching Second Generation Kermit, and I realized that it just wasn't the same. The new Kermit is close -- almost perfect, but not quite, and the gap between them made me feel like now, and like when Fred Roger's death landed. A piece of what made me me is gone, and I can not explain that experience to those who have not had it.

#18 ::: Karl T. ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 01:06 PM:

For what it's worth, abi, you and I are not far apart in age, and yet you are one of those trellises upon which I have built my character as an adult. Whenever I come across an emotionally difficult situation that requires a balance of tact, deep compassion, and honesty, my first thought is always, "What would abi do?"

In my pre-Net adolescence in the late 70's and early 80's, "What would (later, more self-aware) Spock do?" served much the same function. But as I discovered the Net and the communities within it, my role models shifted away from fiction and toward people with whom I could interact.

Thank you for providing this thread; it seems to me that learning about how we form our ideas of "How shall we live, and how shall we treat each other?" is one of those communal conversations that may yield unexpected treasures.

#19 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 01:08 PM:

The best moment, for me, of Spock being Spock came at the end

SPOILER

of an otherwise unexceptional story, where Kirk was, essentially, bewitched into loving someone. McCoy has given Jim a sedative, and remarks to Spock that he wishes he could forget. Alone in the room, Spock looks at Kirk expressionlessly for a moment, then arranges his fingers on his friend's head, and murmurs: "Forget."

#20 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 01:16 PM:

Tobias Buckell wrote an interesting blog post about Spock and his own experience, growing up biracial.

Among other things I didn't know about Nimoy... When work began on the animated "Star Trek", the producers didn't have the budget to hire Nichelle Nichols and George Takei, then Nimoy pointed out that ST was about diversity and that, if they weren't going to be in that show, neither would he... When Walter Koenig found out that he and Takei had the same salary, but that it was more than Nicholls was making, he went to Nimoy, who went to the front-desk folks and, yes, she got a raise... And he was there to give what support he could to Grace Lee Whitney after she was raped.

#21 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 01:17 PM:

I love that Nimoy was part of the Star Trek saga in a recognizable arc over forty years and however-many shows and movies. I love that *he* clearly loved that.

Last night I spent a couple of hours listening to the audiobook version of Diane Duane's _Spock's World_. (Abridged by the author.) It's read by George Takei with Nimoy doing the first-officer's-log interludes. He was as present in that as in everything else he's done.

(Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9yCOhG6yt8 . I have the novel as well, but this is my weekend of sticking things to envelopes for hours so an audiobook was in order.)

#22 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 01:29 PM:

"That one looks like a dragon. You see the tail and the dorsal spines?"
"I've never seen a dragon."
"I have. On Berengaria Seven. But I've never stopped to look at clouds before. Or rainbows. You know, I can tell you exactly why one appears in the sky, but considering its beauty has always been out of the question."
"Not here."

#23 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 01:56 PM:

Watching Man Trap, and the first half of Star Trek IV last night didn't leave me feeling sad or at loss. It made me feeling happily nostalgic and grateful.

Damn fine job, Mr. Nimoy, behind the camera and in front of it. Damn glad you were around for so long, and had a chance to write, direct, photograph, and sing in addition to acting. Thank you. Thank you so much.

#24 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 02:09 PM:

I did not see The Original Series till it was in reruns (long in reruns). My first encounter with it was James Blish's novelisation (or novellaisation) of the first two seasons, which was in my high school library.

However, I warmed to the character of Spock instantly, as a figure on the page, and even more when I first encountered Nimoy's portrayal, for the same reason that Tobias Buckell gave on Twitter a couple of days ago. For the first time, here was a character of mixed race being given the most positive image possible (on top of which, here was the nerdiest character possible being portrayed in the most positive light).

#25 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 02:59 PM:

I thought I should post the full exchange that abi's thread got its title from.

"I see no logic in preferring Stonn over me."
"You have become much known among our people, Spock. Almost a legend. And as the years went by, I came to know that I did not want to be the consort of a legend. But by the laws of our people, I could only divorce you by the kal-if-fee. There was also Stonn, who wanted very much to be my consort, and I wanted him. If your Captain were victor, he would not want me, and so I would have Stonn. If you were victor you would free me because I had dared to challenge, and again I would have Stonn. But if you did not free me, it would be the same. For you would be gone, and I would have your name and your property, and Stonn would still be there."
"Logical. Flawlessly logical."
"I am honoured."
"Stonn. She is yours. After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."

#26 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 03:14 PM:

When Star Trek first started its run, way back in the Before Time, I loved it because it was SF, and because of the kind of SF it was... but I loved Spock, and Nimoy's creation of him, because he was not a character I expected from what was essentially an action-adventure story. Kirk was the predictable hero, but Spock, as he was written and as Nimoy played him, was not just logical but humane. As the series went on you knew that he had "all the feels," as my daughter says, informing the rigor of his logic and his dispassion. I lived in a family where some people's emotions were emphatically available all the time, with the result that I believed that showing my own feelings was hazardous. I might have grown to believe I didn't really have any. There was great comfort in watching a model of someone whose feelings were powerful, but not on the surface.

#27 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 03:35 PM:

I came to Star Trek late (in syndication) because at the time it began I was hooked on Man from U.N.C.L.E. I began reading science fiction as part of an English course in High School, and that opened the door to everything else.

My favorite character was Dr. McCoy, and it took me a while to warm to Spock. (I grew up addicted to Dr. Kildare which I watched from the hallway after my parents thought I was in bed.) The episode that Kip mentions is the one that made me want the First Officer for a friend.

And I want to salute Nicholas Meyer for managing to evoke that scene in Wrath of Khan...one of the best bits in a movie that had many.

#28 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 04:36 PM:

Karl T @18:

I'm flattered by your opinion of me, but do remember that what you see on the internet is not an entire, balanced person. I'm more real than a fictional, scripted character like Spock, but what I do online and in public is only a subset of my entire life.

Which is to say, don't use an idealization of me as too much of a realistic template. I'm not that awesome, taken as an entirety.

I do, however, totally acknowledge the value of a paragon or template for the kind of inspiration you're discussing. When I'm feeling really unconfident or incompetent, I'll sometimes ask myself what a braver, better person than I would do, then go do that thing. It's a useful tool for redirecting one's self; it's got me out of more than one collapse of confidence.

Just...remember that I too am human. I'd hate to commit some kind of horrendous arse-up online and take any part of you out as collateral damage.

(A relevant anecdote.)

#29 ::: Karl T. ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 05:22 PM:

abi @ 28:

Point taken; what is meant as a non-pressuring statement of admiration can also be read as a form of pressure to behave as a role-model, with no room for human error. Perspective and context make a huge difference.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I have experienced a good deal of sympathy and fellow-feeling with your writing about the type of person you aspire to be, and your efforts (and struggles) to turn that aspiration into action.

Please have no fear that I will be painfully disillusioned when you turn out to be *gasp* just as human and capable of error as the rest of us. Lots of people I admire make mistakes -- one of the things I admire (and try to emulate) most in people is the ability to make a mistake, acknowledge it, try to mitigate/repair any damage from it, learn from it, and carry on.

I sincerely hope that I have not caused you any distress.

(And yes, I am aware of the relevant anecdote -- and I have a few similar experiences of my own.)

#30 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 05:27 PM:

Karl T @29:

I wasn't distressed, not at all. I was just concerned that I wasn't really the right tool for the job.

We're good.

#31 ::: Mr Waverly ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 06:17 PM:

what I do online and in public is only a subset of my entire life

Shhh!!!

#32 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 07:38 PM:

They'll be able to tell, when we're gone, that there was a trellis, even if they can't tell what it was, by the shape it left in so many lives.

#33 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 07:57 PM:

"Don't send flowers."

http://matociquala.tumblr.com/post/112464687051/in-memory-of-leonard-nimoy

#34 ::: HelenS ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 08:55 PM:

"For you would be gone, and I would have your name and your property, and Stonn would still be there."

Which is the SAME RESULT as if she'd just married Spock in the first place. Not "flawlessly logical" at all.

#35 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 09:05 PM:

34
That was the third possibility, the least likely.

#36 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 09:13 PM:

I was not formed by Star Trek, by Spock, but I offer my condolences.

#37 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 09:18 PM:

HelenS @34, not the same result. If she had just married him, Spock might have stayed on Vulcan. T’Pring must know that there have to be severe consequences for a Starfleet officer killing his captain.

#38 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 09:37 PM:

Getting this out before going on to read the thread; apologies for the tome:

Ghods. Thank you, abi.

@0: I don’t have anything that I want to add to them.

Except that you did; I'm especially glad it was you to start this thread; your comments back when the ST reboot came along suggested that your relationship with Classic Trek has similarities to mine. And you've echoed here many of the thoughts I've been trying to put together, these last few days. I kinda thought you might. I am especially curious to hear more of your perspective. I wonder if you underestimate how much you said with your opening post.

This isn’t some excessive fangirl reaction, some indulgence in popular over-emotion in the wake of an Officially Sanctioned Sad Event.

Friday and Saturday, I was kind of surprised at how little distress I felt at the news. It's taken a couple of days for my reaction to begin to work its way to the surface.

But it's a reaction that I'm clueful enough to guess goes all the way down.

I keep having to tell myself to slow waaay down; remind myself that this is a real loss. Good self-care dictates that I make the time and attention to experience this and really deal with it. (That I have to consciously give myself this permission is a whole 'nother discussion.)

inventing myself the first time wasn’t easy either. I was always looking for models for interacting with the world and dealing with unacceptable emotions

Acceptance and cherishing of difference was a core Trek value that I took on wholly as my own, and seeing it there gave me a crucial anchor-point outside of the intolerant milieu of my upbringing.

Spock especially, for me, though, was a safe place (the one safe place) to be "other," and contain and maintain myself in the midst of the onslaught of those around me attempting to make me more "right" or more "normal." Spock was someone who I could just be with, and we could each be "who we are," without having to struggle against those who tried to make us "better." (I love Dr. McCoy, but his constant needling of Spock just infuriated me.) Spock was a real ally—the only one I had, for too much of my childhood.

It’s simply that one of the trellises on which I grew my character is gone, really gone.

It took me a long time to work out the distinction between Leonard Nimoy and Mr. Spock. I've enjoyed much of Nimoy's work, and I'm a fan, though not particularly "rabid" (I was suprised to finally figure that out). So hearing of Mr. Nimoy's passing was sad, but didn't hit me particularly hard. And, sadly, not particularly surprising, given the time. Except:

so many of my leaders and teachers are washing away before my eyes.

For me, it's been my peers. Again, not surprising; I'm approaching sixty. This is what happens when you live long enough. But grief is cumulative. Blessedly, my guinea pigs have given me some practice in dealing with this, but I still sometimes find myself, the eight-year-old me that sits back at the core of my identity, looking out at the world of loss with puzzlement and dismay. I've carefully ignored the whole mujo thing for much of my life; nowadays, it's coming to sit in my lap.

Spock is one of the kingpins of my existence. And now Nimoy is gone.

This comment, over on Scalzi's blog, was what kicked the door open for me; broke the dam:

As I’ve posted on my own site today, I think I speak for all Star Trek fans when I say we’ll all be standing in for Doctor McCoy now, and carrying Spock’s katra within us forever.

I happened to watch "All Our Yesterdays" (Where Spock and McCoy get transported back in time to a paleolithic ice age) a couple of weeks ago (for the first time in color—!), and I was struck by how...abbreviated the story seemed. Each point was sketched in with just a line or two of dialog. My memory of the story was much more fulsome than that.

My friend Cathy was always reporting these fascinating insights out of the books she read. One time, I was so struck by something she told me that I went and chased down the book and read it. I was disappointed: while I could see where the book kind of hinted at the idea that Cathy had shared with me, it never really more than danced fleetingly around it. At our next meeting, I complained about this. Cathy was surprised. "It's all down there in black and white!" Then, thinking about it, she giggled. "Okay, maybe it's more in the white than in the black." Until watching Spock and Zarabeth, I hadn't realized how little "black" there really was, there.

And then I remembered Lois Bujold's essay "The Unsung Collaborator" (in Nesfa Press's Dreamweaver's Dilemma):

Two early rejection slips of mine both for the same story. Let me quote:

Some of the writing is clumsy, especially at the front, but this is overall a striking story.

And the second:

Although it is nicely written I really don't think you have much of a story here.

And I said, "Huh?"

Well, the story eventually sold. The tale is still one of my personal favorites. But what made the difference in the responses of my two editor-readers? They both read exactly the same words....

I first had this blinding insight while watching a Star Trek rerun a while back. Now, you must understand, I was an ST fan back before Trekkies were ever invented, when it was all brand new.... I and about six of my girlfriends would gather every Thursday evening for what my parents called "the prayer meeting," and we would enjoy the show vociferously. My parents were baffled, and it was only lately, watching the show in very cold blood, that I have realized why.

They thought that what they were seeing on the screen, the plot and effects and dialogue, was all there was. They had no conception of how much work our willing brains were doing on the initial stimulus after our senses took it all in. We took in the show and fixed it, and it was to this fixed-up version that we gave our passionate response.

It's increasingly clear to me that the reader and viewer--the active reader or viewer--does a lot more than he or she is ever given credit for. They fill in the blanks. From hope and charity, they explain away plot-holes to their own satisfaction. They add background from the slimmest of clues. They work. They work so hard, in fact, that they end up remembering not the actual words on the page, but the events described as if they had been there. [emphasis mine]

I had forgotten (if, indeed, I'd ever really been aware) that the way I watched Star Trek was that I'd drink in the show, soaking in every last detail, and then I'd go to bed (I was frustrated that I couldn't go right to bed, because High Chaparral came on right after, and I wanted to watch that, too. But it was a distraction.), and then run it in my mind, my version, where I could ignore Kirk and McCoy being annoying, and all the other distractions, and focus on—build—my relationship with Spock. Which, I didn't realize until decades later, was really my relationship with myself. And my world. Figuring out who I wanted to be:

...looking for models for interacting with the world and dealing with unacceptable emotions, trying to understand how to care about people who were different than me, looking for reassurance that they would care back.

~oOo~

I have to be a grownup and make my own choices

A coworker just went through her second Christmas without her dad; her mother had died some years ago. The loss she was feeling most accutely was all those "mom" things her mother did: the Christmas sweater that was just short of being Too Much, the Christmas stockings loaded with treats, all the things that were her mother's specialty. Now she's the one who's in charge of that stuff—if she wants it to get done at all.

Watching "Journey to Babel" has brought up again all those old "fixed-up" head-cannon stories I made for myself, and they're vivid, and still have power for me. They're not gone; they're still inside of me (where, in fact, they were, all along). If I want, I can still bring them out.

It's the end of an era. But: in a very real way, though Nimoy is gone, and I'm sad, Spock is still there. My relationship with Spock is still real. The tears I cry are grief, but they're also tears of reconnection; of claiming. Of owning. But I'm now fully conscious that it's in me. And if I want it to be, I have to be the one who makes it.

I've never been well-rooted in this world. Now, a thread has snapped. I'm still whole, but I much more conscious of how little my wholeness is rooted in The World. Mujo, it seems, has moved in to stay. And I'm not sure what to do with that.

#40 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 09:39 PM:

There’s another example of Spock displaying emotion, but it’s understandable if fans don’t consider it canonical: In the original pilot (“The Cage”, footage from which got reused in “The Menagerie”), there’s a scene where several Enterprise crew (some male, some female) are prepared to beam down the a planet. For mysterious reasons, only the women beam down. Spock looks shocked and shouts “The women!”

Most fans, watching that scene, chuckle at the unexpected behavior. At that point in the show’s development, Spock’s personality hadn’t yet been established as cold and emotionless. Jeffrey Hunter (Shatner’s predecessor), playing Captain Pike (later retconned as Kirk’s predecessor) played his role more intellectually than Shatner did, and so Nimoy chose to play Spock as more hot-headed to contrast. When Shatner was chosen for the captain’s role, and played it more passionately, Nimoy went in the opposite direction.

Another thing going on there was that Number One, the original First Officer, played by Majel Barrett, was cold and emotionless*. Yeoman JM Colt, presented as a more stereotypically feminine character, was probably going to be her foil. All those discussions between Spock and McCoy about the values of emotion and logic? In Roddenberry’s original vision, those would have happened between two women. (Also, Number One, in Roddenberry’s original series pitch, is described as Egyptian-looking. Those discussions would have occurred between two women, and one of them a woman of color. We did get a little of that byplay between Spock and Uhura.) When her character was removed, her personality traits were incorporated into Spock’s character. (Spock, in the pitch, is “probably half Martian” and has “a slightly reddish complexion”.)

* Chris: “‘Frigid.’ I believe the word you’re looking for—”
Me: “The word I’m deliberately avoiding using.”

#41 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2015, 09:57 PM:

I'm probably like millions of others who were exposed to Star Trek while a young teenager. I would make up in my head thousands of adventures where I accompanied the crew on their five-year mission.

I usually saw myself as someone who whatever reason is transported to the 23rd century, or perhaps found in suspended animation like Khan (only I'd be entirely benign).

The mid-sixties was the perfect time for Star Trek, I think. It was a chaotic time - wars (cold and otherwise), assassinations, racial turmoil - but ST was assurance that we could get past that, and that we would have passionate and logical people to lead us. And it would indeed be fascinating, as Mr. Spock often told us.

#42 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 02:44 AM:

I've always been a little ambivalent about Spock. A lot of the very bad advice I received as a teen was about ignoring my tormentors and not becoming emotional and getting smart to get away. It was all basically excuses for the adults in my life to avoid dealing with the real problem of constant bullying because I wasn't behaving logically and objectively and adult enough to earn their support. So Spock was at the same time the solution to my problems and a completely unattainable goal.

But I appreciate what Nimoy added to the world because he was kind and unwaveringly ethical, independent of his fictional characters. (I would add Carl Sagan to the list of past heroes, btw.) I take my hope in knowing who is on my list now, and that as we continue to include additional voices, more people are becoming available to listen to for their own justices and wisdoms...

I do wonder, in the context of my own personal mythology, where his molecules will choose to spend eternity.

#43 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 03:26 AM:

Jacque @38:

One of the reasons that I don't have a lot to add to the reactions to Nimoy's death is that I am in the midst of an entirely unrelated thing that is both eating large slices of my attention and injecting quantities of joy into my life at random intervals. So I don't know what I feel right now, or what I will feel when the unrelated thing tapers off.

One thing I do have to add: Nimoy's Spock taught me reflective silence. I don't mean repression or denial of emotions, nor putting a skin of quiet over an emotional storm so that the bullies go away (and I'm sorry, KayTei and others, that he was used as that kind of bludgeon). Rather, he modeled a manner of interacting with the world where right actions spring from a deep well of inner stillness, thought, and principled evaluation.

When I am at my best, it's often because I'm reflecting those values.

#44 ::: Martin Wisse ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 06:17 AM:

One thing that struck me about Spock in the wake of Nimoy's passing, is how much Nimoy's own Jewish background informed the character, not just in the well known story of where he got the Spock symbol from, but in general.

If you look at science fiction and related fields (comics!) at around the same time Star Trek premiered, you see a huge Jewish immigrant influence on them, people who were first or second generations Jewish immigrants to the US and whose experiences bled through in the art they made. Spock, with his struggles to adapt himself to the dominant culture onboard the Enterprise while staying true to his roots, fits in perfectly here.

I've been rewatching Star Trek in chronological order in the wake of Nimoy's death -- for the first time even rather than catch as catch can when they're shown on telly -- and what struck me is that even in the earliest episodes you have those typical immigrant conversations between Spock and Kirk or Bones.

Also that Kirk has his shirt off by the second episode, but no surprise there...

#45 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 08:56 AM:

I've read, and I don't know if it's true, that Shards of Honor started off as Trek fic. It's unclear whether Cordelia was originally Kirk, or some other Federation officer.

*

I don't usually do the celebrity thing, and I wouldn't have called myself a huge Trekkie; sure, given the choice between Shatner!Kirk and Spock, I'd have taken Spock, but that doesn't mean much. But Nimoy's death is hitting me very hard.

#46 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 09:38 AM:

Carrie S.@45: I've read, and I don't know if it's true, that Shards of Honor started off as Trek fic. It's unclear whether Cordelia was originally Kirk, or some other Federation officer.

Not exactly.

#47 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 10:05 AM:

abi@0 and Jacque@38: Thanks to both of you for your comments. I'm still figuring out how this is affecting me, but both notes brought up a lot of useful reflections for me in areas that (for me) are not obviously related to Trek, even historically. Still thinking.

One complicating factor in my feelings about Nimoy specifically is that he appeared in so many iterations of Star Trek. It was a happy surprise to see him when the first movie came out, and then again in his later appearances, up through the reboot. I think I had started to feel that his departure had been permanently postponed.

#48 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 11:38 AM:

Martin, #44: Also that Kirk has his shirt off by the second episode, but no surprise there...

I had an interesting related conversation in e-mail recently with a friend. He feels that the "Kirk as womanizing horndog" thing is badly exaggerated, and one of the things he hates about the reboot is that they took that meme and dialed it up to 11. So I went to IMDB and scanned down thru the original series episode titles, counting up the ones where "Kirk gets the girl". From which I drew 2 conclusions:

1) He's got a point. Only about a third of the episodes involve a romantic subplot for Kirk.

2) OTOH, it's also true that (a) it happened often enough for certain other episodes to be primarily remembered as "oh, that's the one where [not-Kirk] gets the girl", and (b) that's a much higher percentage of romantic subplots than any other show's captain got. Picard had at most one per season, and Sisko only had one major romantic storyline and that was with a recurring character. I didn't see enough of either Voyager or Enterprise to have an estimate, but from what I did see I don't recall romance being a major issue for either of those captains.

The thing that jumps out at me now about original Trek isn't romance, it's fistfights. Which is an artifact of the show being basically a Western with SF trappings; fistfights were a staple on Westerns, so Kirk got them too.

#49 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 12:49 PM:

Star Trek, though very much a part of my childhood, has never had, for various reasons, the resonances for me that Blakes 7 and Doctor Who have had. So thinking on Leonard Nimoy, whilst sad, doesn't strike me at the core as it does some others.

But then I remember my reaction at seeing Tom Baker's cameo at the end of The Day of the Doctor for the first time on Doctor Who for over thirty years: and I wept and wept and was completely overcome. Wept for my childhood TV hero and my other hero: my Daddy with whom I used to watch the show. And Tom isn't even dead yet.

I know exactly what you mean abi. It is not logical, but it is often true.

#50 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 01:31 PM:

Lee @14: Spock both as a person and a concept. Trying to emulate the "no emotions" thing was one of the things that got me thru junior high mentally intact.

I'm pretty sure that it was largely due to Spock that I got through my childhood alive. Certainly felt that way.

Serge Broom @25: I thought I should post the full exchange

And the ep, "Amok Time," was written by another Ancestor, Ted Sturgeon. It shows.

abi @28: Just...remember that I too am human

Well, adding to the chorus: from where I sit, you seem to Human pretty well. Despite (because of?) the requisite feet of clay.

You do know that's so the ghods don't strike you down for hubris, right? ;-> More seriously, I don't know that it's possible to be a good, kind human without putting one's foot in it with some regularity. One needs the reference to support one's compassion.

Steve C. @41: but ST was assurance that we could get past that

Even more (for me): it gives a vision of what to shoot for; a template for what kind of society we wanted to evolve into. In our current time of tumult, that vision is sadly absent.

abi @43: Yes! So much, yes. But especially reflective stillness. I hadn't thought about that. I tend wear myself so much on my sleeve that I miss out that one. Something I want to put more attention into. Thank you for pointing it out.

Also: random quantities of joy! Yay!

Martin Wisse @44: Also that Kirk has his shirt off by the second episode, but no surprise there...

And which I will never ever see again without seeing Cpt. Taggart in overlay and giggling. Thank you, so much, Tim Allen.

#51 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 05:44 PM:

James @49:

Your dad was worth a good few tears. I remember him well.

#52 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 06:10 PM:

Just saw this image at File 770.

#53 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2015, 06:21 PM:

P J Evans, #52: The one that got me has been going around Facebook. It's a split-screen -- the top half shows that same table with Bones, Kirk, Spock, and Scotty sitting around it, while the bottom half is the image you linked to (sans text). Ouch.

#54 ::: KayTei ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 01:01 AM:

abi @ 43

I don't think bludgeoning is how I would frame it. There was a set of expectations established. And, separately, there was a character already in existence, facing the same set of problems - trying to figure out how to sublimate human emotional reactions in favor of dispassionate, logical response. It wasn't a mature or balanced read on the matter and nobody pointed it out to me as an ideal; rather, it was one part of a desperate, bitter teenage struggle.

I know other people found Spock an easier model to learn from, but it was a style that ran intensely counter to my strengths. I find that interesting, precisely because when not acting as Spock, Nimoy demonstrated exactly the sort of grounded ethical human model that I strive for at my best - he is very definitely one of my examples for how to do it right.

#55 ::: James Harvey ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 08:23 AM:

abi @51

Thank you: he was indeed! :)

#56 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 11:04 AM:

53
I got that 'ouch' reaction also.

#57 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 04:13 PM:

I was never a big Star Trek fan, never really felt it as a formative part of my childhood. So there's a distance for me: the news of Nimoy's passing made me sad, like, "oh, hell, we've lost another one," you know? But didn't really *hit* me.

But then I saw this today, and just quietly cried for a few minutes.

#58 ::: Semilog ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 04:15 PM:

Gutted is right.

It's like learning that there will be no more Holmes episodes with Jeremy Brett. There's just no point to anyone else trying to play the character. And these character are /so/ important as analogies in my own internal narrative. The apartness without loss of engagement. The sense that one must always strive for a solution that is not only rational, but ethical, and just… that there, really, is no workable alternative to that approach.

#59 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 05:03 PM:

abi: Time, attention, and inclination allowing, I'm interested in hearing more about "stillness."

~oOo~

So how long does it take to get through this? The metric I've heard is that grief lasts a month for every year of the relationship. That's...forty-eight months. ::whimper::

#60 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 07:22 PM:

#57: Took me a moment. Awwwwww!

#61 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 08:26 PM:

@57: I'm afraid I don't get it.

#62 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 08:41 PM:

...oh. Oh! Yeah.

#63 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 09:19 PM:

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little #57: Yeah. Spock became part of our culture, in all sorts of ways. Something occurred to me in a discussion at my local "nerd club" (just got back from the monthly meeting).

There's a lot of people who inhabit one or another archetype in the public sphere. Nimoy was one of the few people who created an archetype, one that wasn't just a fashion of the year or decade, but took root and grew. And within that group, he's part of an even smaller elect... because he wasn't destroyed early on by his creation.

The heroes of Greek mythology, whether warrior, lover, sage, or poet, each had a patron god, whose support granted them their abilities, and more importantly their kleos. That word is usually translated as "fame", but the word comes from a word meaning "bright" -- the same root as "clarity". We still talk about people being "stars" -- that's the same idea, carried forward across the millenia. But there was a catch to this patronage: Every Greek hero was eventually destroyed by their patron god in characteristic fashion. And even today, we see a lot of celebrities destroyed by their stardom; consumed by the passions of Aphrodite, the dissolution of Dionysius, the violence of Ares, the arrogance of Apollo, the dark secrets of Hades.

But... not all of the Greek heroes were taken young, or by violence. There's also the example of Odysseus, who was swallowed into the ground in his old age , as he walked along the shore. (His patron was Poseidon, lord of the sea and of earthquakes.)

Spock was an archetype of humanity and humanism, someone who stood for thinking through to the peaceful solution, and who provided a moral compass for both his companions and his "worshippers". And all that was very much driven by Leonard Nimoy the man. I see a divine justice in that the course of Nimoy's life in turn reflected the nature, and the "slogan", of the hero he created.

#64 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 09:26 PM:

David Harmon @63: The tricksy man who thought of the Trojan Horse and told the Cyclops he was "Nobody" had Athena as his patron. Poseidon was his enemy, because he hurt Poseidon's son. Being swallowed up by the earth might have been a long-delayed vengeance.

(That Poseidon's son intended to eat him and all his men cut no ice. Evidently if the son of a god wants to cannibalize you, you should simply be sensible of the honor of the thing.)

#65 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 10:08 PM:

David Goldfarb #64: As I recall from a class I took from Professor Gregory Nagy way back in college, Odysseus had relations with many of the gods, but his primary connection was surely to the Earth-Shaker.

A hero's relationship with their patron was often, even usually, a "love-hate relationship". The point was that the god was paying attention to that particular mortal, going out of their way to manipulate their life, to shape their tale into one that poets would sing over the hero's grave or shrine, and pass down through the generations. And every sailor knows how "tricksy" the ocean can be.

#66 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 10:20 PM:

David Harmon: How recently have you read the Iliad and Odyssey? I've read them within the last decade, parts of them more than once. (In the original, even.)

In the Iliad, Athena is noted as protecting Odysseus in battle numerous times. Athena interferes with the footrace in book 23 so that Odysseus beats Lesser Ajax. In the Odyssey, Athena is the one who agitates to get him sprung from Calypso's gilded cage; the one who takes an interest in mentoring his son; who meets him on the shores of Ithaca when he finally gets there; who gives him the beggar disguise that he uses to infiltrate his household; who intervenes in the battle against the suitors; who convinces the suitors' relatives not to take vengeance.

Saying that Odysseus' primary connection is to Poseidon is about as sensible as saying that Watson's primary connection is to Inspector Lestrade.

#67 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 10:46 PM:

PS: I would not expect a hero of Athena to be especially "tricksy" in that way, though the Trojan Horse was of course a war strategy. The god most associated with trickery was Hermes but really, most of the Greek gods tended to be pretty sneaky and mischevious. OK, maybe not Ares or Hestia, but even Haephestos got one in against his wife and her lover. (And then there was the infant Dionysius messing with Apollo....)

#68 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 11:01 PM:

David Goldfarb #66: Admittedly, it's been a while, and I really should revisit them. But again, the point isn't just the god providing help. Poseidon was the one who prolonged Odysseus' journey, and who provided many of the conflicts that made the hero famous. If he was purely an enemy to Odysseus, why let the sailor return home at all, much less live to old age? There are ample examples of what happens to most people who piss off a god.

#69 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 11:20 PM:

BTW, Another comment is being held for review, before my last comment. I'll add to it that Athena is among other things a war-goddess, and thus would be involved in most heroic battles -- surely favoring the smarter heroes, but still she could play on either side or both, and IIRC did so in the Trojan War.

#70 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2015, 11:23 PM:

David Harmon @63: Details of Odysseus aside, I like your take on Nimoy and the Spock archetype. A lot.

#71 ::: Scott Drone-Silvers ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 12:27 AM:

I felt very sad when I read of Leonard Nimoy's passing. I had read his books, and interviews, and had a lot of respect for the man as much as the actor. I certainly enjoyed his other work, especially his turn as William Bell on the TV series Fringe. And I was further saddened when I thought of another figure of my youth gone.

But then I saw the image, a still from The Wrath of Khan, of the empty chair that Spock had abandoned to save the ship and its crew, and to borrow the term used elsewhere in this thread, felt gutted .

#72 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 12:43 AM:

I don't understand #57. Perhaps it's a reference to a show or a movie or something I never saw, or maybe I'm simply not remembering something. Could someone explain it?

#73 ::: Em ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 12:54 AM:

Cally @72 : It's a reference to The Big Bang Theory. Its characters find Rock, Paper, Scissors too simple and predictable, so they play Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock. Here's the scene.

#74 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 12:57 AM:

Em: thank you! Though I've seen all of two(?) episodes of the Big Bang THeory, I have, in fact, played Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock.

#75 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 01:25 AM:

I remember my mother commenting after watching ST:TNG, that she missed Spock.

#76 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 01:31 AM:

I'm pretty sure that RPScLSp predates the TV show -- I recall seeing even more complex variations quite a while ago.

#77 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 01:51 AM:

Rock Paper Scissors Spock Lizard dates back at least to January 1998, nearly a decade before the first episode of The Big Bang Theory aired (Sep 2007).

#78 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 03:30 AM:

Funny that the Odyssey should come up in this thread. I’ve often thought that, despite Roddenberry’s description of Star Trek as “Wagon Train to the stars,” the closest earlier analog the show has is the Odyssey. Kirk, like Odysseus, is a ship’s captain, and both eloquent and tricky. The Enterprise routinely encounters weird aliens who seem akin to the godlings, monsters, and enchantresses of ancient Greek myth. And the spoken prolog of every episode pays tribute to Odysseus, announcing that Kirk and his crew are traveling “where No Man has gone before.”

#79 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 06:44 AM:

Jacque @59:

Time, attention, and inclination allowing, I'm interested in hearing more about "stillness."

Spock's? or in general?

Spock is shown meditating in his quarters more than once. He clearly has a regular practice of sitting still, in silence, for periods of time.

And look at how he moves, and what he does when he's not moving. He's not a fidgeter or a twitcher. He's always on-balance, and his gestures are always controlled. His native state is still and silent, watching and thinking.

In my experience, these two things are not unrelated. When I sit in silence for a while, stillness descends on me like a mantle. It weighs down my shoulders and my hands, not in a tiring way, but comfortingly, like a thick duvet on a cold night. Then, for a time, all of my actions feel like they are preceded and succeeded by a kind of deep motionlessness. If I were more persistent with it, I suspect the effect would become a habit. Nimoy played Spock as someone who was like that through and through, someone who had a deep well of quiet within himself out of which his actions and words arose.

If you can bear it, look at this video from about 11 minutes: the moment Spock realizes that no one in Engineering is answering, and decides to go down there and do whatever is necessary. All he does is pause, look inward for a moment, and get up and do. It's a swift decision, but not an impulsive one; it comes out of stillness rather than agitation, even with lives in the balance.

Is that an answer, or part of an answer? Can you ask more questions if you want to know more? I don't know how to express the matter very well, because it's all in either perceptions of an onscreen character or fundamentally inarticulate personal experiences.

#80 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 07:25 AM:

Adding to my previous: in this, Spock resembles another one of my personal trellises, Therem Harth rem ir Estraven, from The Left Hand of Darkness*.

There's a quote there that sums up this "action out of stillness" thing for me:

I never knew a person who reacted so wholly and rapidly to a changed situation as Estraven. I was recovering, and willing to go; he was out of thangen; the instant that was all clear, he was off. He was never rash or hurried, but he was always ready. It was the secret, no doubt, of the extraordinary political career he threw away for my sake; it was also the explanation of his belief in me and devotion to my mission. When I came, he was ready. Nobody else on Winter was.

Yet he considered himself a slow man, poor in emergencies.

Once he told me that, being so slow-thinking, he had to guide his acts by a general intuition of which way his "luck" was running, and that this intuition rarely failed him. He said it seriously; it may have been true. The Foretellers of the Fastnesses are not the only people on Winter who can see ahead. They have tamed and trained the hunch, but not increased its certainty. In this matter the Yomeshta also have a point: the gift is perhaps not strictly or simply one of foretelling, but is rather the power of seeing (if only for a flash) everything at once : seeing whole.

And like Spock, Estraven has deep roots in silence and stillness. He talks about returning to his earlier practices, including the "untrance", which is (in the vocabulary I am familiar with) a form of contemplation.

In the afternoon, finding myself dull, I have taken up the old disciplines I learned in Rotherer. I am glad to see I have lost no skill at summoning dothe-strength, or entering the untrance; but I get little good out of the untrance, and as for the skills of stillness and of fasting, I might as well never have learned them, and must start all over, like a child.

-----
* This is not really surprising. I think it was Joanna Russ who pointed out the deep resemblances between The Left Hand of Darkness and K/S.

#81 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 07:56 AM:

Avram #78: An excellent point. It's also worth noting that by Jean Shinoda Bolen's modern psychological interpretations¹, the main triad of officers also match up to the "three kings" among the Olympians: Aggressive, lusty Kirk is dominated by Zeus; while passionate, fierce McCoy highlights Poseidon. Spock himself represents the best side of Hades: Reserved, and often silent, most fearsome of all in battle (able to strike down opponents with a moment's touch!), but also, regularly bringing forth precious gifts from within. And at times we see that he does have his secrets.... For bonus points, we get Mr. Scott as fiery Haephestos, god of engineers: Aside from maintaining the weaponry and shields in battle (and the ship itself in between), whenever he emerges from his Engine Room he's the most likely of the lot to crack a joke... or become the butt of one.

¹ Note that Bolen's² system is not even close to gender neutral: The male gods represent aspects of male personality (a single god is not a complete personality), while the goddesses represent relationships in a woman's life. Cross-gender discussions get deferred to a discussion of Jung's anima. IIRC this leaves women rather stuck on personality issues, at which point we need to remember that this "system" is presented in a pair of pop-psychology books for the mass market.

² I had thought she had a two-word surname like Our Hosts, but her own website refers to her as Dr. Bolen. She does have both web domains, "jeanshinodabolen.com" and "jeanbolen.com", but the latter seems to be her "active" site while the other holds a basic CV and some links.

#82 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 09:17 AM:

"Perhaps not. But he was certainly among the most ruthless, to decide arbitrarily who would survive and who would not, using his own personal standards, and then to implement his decision without mercy. Children watching their parents die. Whole families destroyed. Over four thousand people. They died quickly, without pain, but they died. Relief arrived, but too late to prevent the executions. And Kodos? There never was a positive identification of his body."
- Spock, in an unusually emotional moment

#83 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 03:01 PM:

abi @79: Oh, yes, thank you! That answers my question very nicely.

That kind of ties in with my head-cannon that the Vulcan meditation practice (five hours a day, according to T'Pol in Enterprise) has the effect of allowing the practitioner to systematically sort through all their stuff so they aren't blindsided by the storied innate Vulcan violence. It would also have the side effect of making the individual a very well-integrated personality.

Being someone who is, by nature, very not-still, I find this (and your take on it) fascinating. If I think of more questions, I will ask.

One of the things I like about long bike rides is that they have a kind of quieting effect on me that I don't get any other way.

& 80: I need to go reread LHoD. I think it's been thirty years or so....

David Harmon @81: whenever he emerges from his Engine Room he's the most likely of the lot to crack a joke... or become the butt of one.

...or pick a fight with the Klingons.

#84 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 03:20 PM:

Jacque #83: If you're talking about the "garbage scow" bit, that was a classic example of what I mean. Despite his nominal position, the writers sent him out drinking with the "regular" crew¹ and Klingons instead of (IIRC) working with the other senior officers, just so he could look embarrassed and provide that punch line.

¹ What is the in-universe terminology for non-officers?

#85 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 03:25 PM:

"But, Cap'n. They insulted the Enterprise!"

I don't think there are non-officers on Enterprise-class ships; lowest rank I recall hearing was Ensign (well, except for Cadet Wesley), which I think is a commissioned rank.

#86 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 03:41 PM:

Jacque (85): What about Yeoman Rand? Or are you counting non-commissioned officers as officers?

#87 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 04:04 PM:

Jacque @85, Memory Alpha has a list of Starfleet enlisted personnel, including named characters like TOS’s Yeoman Rand and TNG’s Chief Petty Officer O’Brien.

In TOS there are a class of crew who have different uniforms than the bridge crew, and can often be seen carrying out minor or menial tasks.

#88 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 04:06 PM:

Oh, also, Worf’s father was a chief petty officer, and kvells about being an enlisted man who raised an officer. Clearly that distinction exists, even in the egalitarian TNG era.

#89 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 04:24 PM:

I don't speak ranks (in any branch of the service), so I had the vague idea that all mentioned ranks were commissioned. Responses suggest I was, um, wrong. :-)

#90 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 04:30 PM:

AKICIML, Tech Support Division: Okay, so they upgraded me to Explorer 11 last week, and it seems to have, um, adjusted a bunch of stuff.

One of the irritating side effects is that, where I used to just click the time-stamp in the last comment in a thread, and then drag the URL off into a folder, to keep track of where I was, it seems to freeze on some random previous version of the shortcut. For example, if I try to save a shortcut for
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016158.html#3991750
it keeps putting it down as
http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/016158.html#3991641
I'm assuming there's a setting involved? But I can't figure out what it is, and it's very frustrating.

#91 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 04:31 PM:

Argh. Sorry. Wrong thread.

#92 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 06:48 PM:

Star Trek, both the original and TNG, varied in how military they were. The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country were perhaps the most military oriented. The latter actually had personnel in bunks instead of lavish studio apartments. (I still can't forgive Nicholas Meyer for having Spock issue the order "Right Standard Rudder" in that movie, though. Come on!)

It's established in TNG that families and children are aboard, and in the first TNG movie, that's addressed when you see the children being led to safety prior to the saucer separation. Other times, the presence of kids was ignored, such as in the first season episode where Picard calmly orders the self destruct to take place in one hour to foil a space entity (who looked like a bad CGI cat). When I saw that, I kept thinking how does a family tell a child that their home is going to blow up?

#93 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 07:24 PM:

I just quoted abi in my post about Nimoy, Spock, and fandom, because IMHO Spock was a trellis for fan culture, too.

In particular, I wanted to emphasize that Spock is *queer* (= not conventional in his sexuality and gender presentation), and that many queer people, over the decades, have felt him to be one of ours.

#94 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 08:48 PM:

Wondering something: I see a lot of articles saying that media fanzine fandom was started by the reaction to STAR TREK, including one cited by Doctor Science in his linked article. But I seem to recall there being MAN FROM UNCLE zines slightly before the ST ones. I'm just young enough so I wasn't seeing the earliest of either as they came out: but didn't EN GARDE (UNCLE and THE AVENGERS) precede the earliest ST zines?

Or should this be over in the Open Thread?

#95 ::: Inquisitive Raven ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 10:32 PM:

I believe that the enlisted in TOS were referred to as "crewmen," but I can't swear to it. They certainly weren't part of the regular cast, didn't appear much.

#96 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2015, 11:33 PM:

Tom @94:

En Garde doesn't seem to have been *earlier* than TOS.

About Man from UNCLE:Anecdotal stories give MFU the nod for first publishing fanfiction, though no copies of those early stories have been found.

If you have information about early MFU zines, please consider getting a fanlore.org login and contributing to the wiki. If you have any actual zines, especially from before 1977, I strongly encourage you to think about donating them to the University of Iowa's Fandom Collection, which has become the central depository for pre-internet fandom materials.

#97 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2015, 01:07 AM:

That's useful info, Doctor Science! The Fancyclopedia page on En Garde lists issue 4 as 1968, but didn't have info on the earlier ones.

I actually have an extensive accumulation of fanzines that date back into the 1930s. I call it an accumulation because it's unsorted and unfiled. I've been looking at the lists of what they have at the UCRiverside collection and keep noticing I have items they don't list, but haven't looked into selling/donating to them.

One place I'd want to look -- David McDaniel, who wrote MFU novels starting with THE DAGGER AFFAIR in 1966, was quite active in fandom before TOS was aired; was writing fiction; and would be a likely source for early media fanfiction. But he's dead. And so is Bruce Pelz, who would have just Known (completist fanzine collector and general know-it-all, and I miss him terribly). I'll do some more digging....

#98 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2015, 01:43 PM:

And local columnist Jerry Large has an excellent column on what Spock meant to him.

#99 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2015, 04:05 PM:

Doctor Science:

Spock in particular, Star Trek more broadly, and maybe even a big chunk of SF, brings in the idea of close interactions and friendships with aliens. Somewhere inherent in that is the idea that the aliens are going have places where they just can't or won't interface with the default-human settings in your society. I think that's good mental practice for dealing with the really wide range of ways people can be human. If you're prepared to be friends with someone whose sex drive only really comes on every seven years, you can probably be friends with someone who's asexual. If you're prepared to be friends with someone who finds a lot of human culture and practice frankly baffling and bizarre, you're probably able to be friends with someone who's non-neurotypical, or who comes from a very different human culture, or has some kinds of physical or mental or emotional problems that limit their ability to fit into the standard slot marked "person." Spock's not human, but he's clearly a person.

I''m not sure how much credit for that goes to the writers, and how much to Nimoy for portraying someone who looks like a human with funny-looking ears as both genuinely alien, and genuinely a person. Surely a mix of both. As abi said, Nimoy played Spock in a way that suggested a lot about him that never appeared in the script or the set. There was often a subtle ironic awareness of the weirdness of the humans he'd surrounded himself with that had to be pure Nimoy, as it very seldom came out in dialog.

In some weird way, that makes it easier for people to think of other very odd characters as fully human--say, Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, who's as far off from standard American culture human norms as Spock in his own way.

#100 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2015, 04:27 PM:

me @80:

This is not really surprising. I think it was Joanna Russ who pointed out the deep resemblances between The Left Hand of Darkness and K/S.

Correction, after checking: it was TNH who pointed it out to Joanna, and then (much later) to me in the context of having pointed it out to her.

#101 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2015, 04:29 PM:

Re the enlisted-crewman thing: I know I've read that Roddenberry's vision of the Enterprise was of an all-officer crew, no enlisted personnel. As with all of Star Trek's principles, this was observed unevenly, got more uneven in the early movies, and then after Roddenberry died went all over the place.

(I always figured that the gown-like garment was some kind of utility scrubs, not a rank-denoting uniform. As for Yeoman Rand, I dunno.)

#102 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2015, 05:09 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @101

The All Officers crew structure is something I recall from The Making of Star Trek and an element of the rationale was Air Force crews.

Yeoman Rand might have been the name of the post rather than the rank, but apparently she was classed as a non-commissioned officer by Roddenberry in a book on the making of the first movie.

You can retcon all sorts of other explanations, but I reckon part of it was simply that she was a woman.

#103 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2015, 06:15 PM:

#94, #96, #97:

Paula Smith (renowned for creating "Mary Sue") might know. In the middle 1970s, she was involved in publishing fanzines, and writing fanfic, for both Star Trek and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. And she organized early Trek conventions, and saw the idea of Trek fandom spread to encompass enthusiasm for other TV series.

I'm not sure how early she was writing, or publishing, her own U.N.C.L.E. fiction, nor whether she was the first to do so. As a publisher (boojums Press), Paula with her partner put out unpublished U.N.C.L.E. novels by pro writers David McDaniel (Ted Johnstone) and J. Hunter Holly, as well as fan-penned stories.

In the 1980s Paula wrote professionally for reborn U.N.C.L.E. comic books.

#104 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2015, 08:56 PM:

Bill Higgins @103: There are still a fair number of folks around who were involved in those early days. And EN GARDE was started in 1968, SPOCKANALIA in 1967 -- MFU started its run in 1964, and ST in 1966. So the real question is -- are there MFU fiction fanzines from 1964-66? There's a lot of non-fiction in various fanzines (APA-L definitely had discussion in 1964-5 of UNCLE, for example -- probably no fiction, though, because it wasn't a hotbed of fiction production), but fiction is harder to pinpoint.

I should ask Linda Deneroff, locally -- she was very active in the early Trek fandom days.

#105 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2015, 08:59 PM:

Related:

RIP, Harve Bennet, producer of three Star Trek movies, The Six Million Dollar Man, Salvage 1, and the Bionic Woman:

http://deadline.com/2015/03/harve-bennett-dies-star-trek-movie-producer-1201387026/

#106 ::: Semilog ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2015, 09:12 PM:

I particularly love that the mirror universe "evil Spock" is still recognizably Spock. He is the one character whose ethical core is largely immutable, even when everything else is in flux.

#107 ::: PurpleGirl ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2015, 09:23 PM:

RIP Leonasrd Nimoy

RIP Harve Bennet


Wasn't Harve Bennet David Gerrold's agent at one point?

#108 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 12:53 AM:

I've been watching Man from U.N.C.L.E episodes. (In fact, I'm watching one now.)

I might be working from a limited set, but so far it seems like awfully weak tea compared to Star Trek. Kind of low budget.

This episode I'm watching is supposed to be set in Hong Kong, but I recognize the waterfront set from a few weeks ago, when it stood in for a Scandanavian port. Just a few props scattered about.

I have enjoyed spotting character actors who appeared in Trek. I think the fellow who played Zephram Cochran is in this one. Peter Keil too.

#109 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 01:32 AM:

Semilog @106:

I was just watching "Mirror, Mirror", and thinking how important it is that goatee!Spock isn't evil, really, not the way the others are. As Kirk says, he's a man of integrity in every universe -- and it's his ability to keep a distance from his own emotions that helps him keep that integrity.

One of my close e-friends has a motto, "What Would Mirror!Spock Do?" -- because Mirror!Spock, remember, is a *revolutionary*.

#110 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 01:46 AM:

Another point to check: sometime in the mid-sixties there was a MFU fanfic in APA-L, "The Tenth Nazgul Affair", which puts Illya into the LotR universe. I've actually read this, and it wasn't bad. It was reprinted by Lee Gold in THE BEST OF APA-L #3, but I don't have a copy accessible (though I'll watch for it as I go through fanzine boxes). If it was initially published before 1966, that's a smoking gun. Probably smoking a bit if it was published in 1966 -- but if it's 1968 or later, not relevant. Lee may still have copies. I'll check with her if I can find an address. (And, BTW -- her fanzine THE THIRD FOUNDATION featured a fanfic Lensman pastiche starting in 1967 or so -- I got a set from her in 1969, and really enjoyed it.)

#111 ::: JFW Richards ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 06:58 AM:

The Project Strigas Affair from the first series of Man From U.N.C.L.E. has both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.

JFWR

#112 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 12:08 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 108: Having watched the series in order from start to end in relatively recent history (I was watching a season 4 episode the night before Joseph was born), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a bit of a mixed bag. The first season is actually quite good spy fiction, but two of its most successful episodes had a dash of quirky comedy and/or surrealism. So Season Two ran a bit with that (still strong but not as serious), and Season Three seemed to be aimed to compete directly with Get Smart, which was out and successful by then, so it can get very goofy and severely eye-rolling. Season Four, they tried to go back to their roots (The first episode includes a psychological torture sequence that may be mild by today's standard but was a pretty big flag in its era for "We've stopped kidding around". It has some excellent moments, but was cut off early.

I mostly remember one particular staircase set reappearing in any country they could use it for, but I wouldn't be surprised at repeating wharves.

Thing is, other than the appearance of a partial fourth season, that's not too far off the overall assessment I'd give the three seasons of TOS (Also watched within the last 5 years). Although even season three of TOS had a few really strong scripts. (And one which, in spite of a ton of sexist and from-a-different-time baggage, managed to wipe an episode of Fringe with near-identical themes right out of the water, demonstrating why season 5 of that show was a thorough waste.)

#113 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 01:22 PM:

Tom @110:

I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were a few MUNCLE stories floating around in APAs before 1967. There was certainly fanfic written before then, but very little of it was shared with more than a few friends.

I've heard from women who as girls were in music fan clubs in the early 60s and earlier (certainly Monkees, maybe others) where one activity suggested in the official fan club material was writing stories to share with your friends, or maybe even send in? Stories about meeting the band, maybe.

What made TOS the breakout fandom, IMO, is that it appealed very strongly to the kind of people who were already in sf fandom, and who thus had experience with things like zines, APAs, and conventions.

Your collection sounds *amazing*, and I really hope you decide to leave it to an institution where it can be curated and accessible.

#114 ::: Doctor Science ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 01:23 PM:

Lenora Rose @112:

Which TOS episode is Fringe-like? I know very little about the latter.

#115 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 01:42 PM:

I've heard back from Lee Gold -- she still has copies of THE BEST FROM APA-L #3 available for $4 including postage, an incredible bargain. Unfortunately, TENTH NAZGUL isn't dated in the reprint. And this volume covers June 1966 through March 1968). So we're in the right period, but we don't have things fully narrowed down. And the author, for your records, was Bill Glass.

Nobody, AFAIK, has done an index of APA-L. Too bad. If you have access to a collection that has that period of L, you could check. I don't.

#116 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 01:59 PM:

I'm not sure which MUNCLE (Heh!) seasons I've been watching. The first few started with this amazingly clunky bit where the characters introduced themselves and their roles. The last few start with Vaughn standing behind a glass shield and getting shot at. Cryptic.

#117 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 03:01 PM:

Stefan: That's actually a mirror: I think it's from an existing episode. yes, I remember the early intro being clunky. I think that might all be season one, but I really can't be sure.

Doctor Science: Most of them, not very much. But The Empath is about a woman who can't communicate in the traditional way but has great powers of healing and can save herself and her people if she sacrifices herself fully. It's also about the creepy aliens testing her, and her species, to destruction in the interest of making it "better". Which pretty much is season 5 of Fringe, except that their equivalent of the empath demonstrates no actual quality besides passively existing, the Observers show no signs that actually indicate they're remotely superior, and have apparently abandoned their intention to improve humans (INTO observers, which creates a paradox), and none of it makes sense. Watching the Empath in the middle of season 5, as we chanced to do, really brought that into relief.

And yet the Empath had some very sexist twitches by modern standards, a pretty hammer-hard Moral, meh effects and acting and was a decent episode but not exactly "City on the Edge of Forever". Fringe LOOKS slick and good and quick.

(I should say I really liked seasons 1.5 - 3 of Fringe, and most of season 4, including the teaser for season 5, so I felt very sad that season 5 didn't live up to its own promise.)

#118 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 03:34 PM:

I am fond of the third season's "Requiem for Methuselah", starring Tyne Daley's dad James, in which a woman refuses to choose between her creator and Kirk. (And Spock tries to ease the latter's grief at the end.)

#119 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 04:40 PM:

One bit in a MUNCLE episode that I thought was hilarious:

The agents visit . . . Italy? Paris? . . . and check in with the local U.N.C.L.E. branch. Which is also fronted by a laundry, and a door acutated with a steam press.

#120 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 05:08 PM:

It's worth mentioning on MUNCLE that besides the novels from Ace, there was a monthly magazine with really mediocre stories. Some of the novels (specifically, the six by David McDaniel) are a great deal of fun, and very fannish -- I particularly recommend THE VAMPIRE AFFAIR (which begins "It had begun to snow" and ends "It was still snowing," a really wonderful Edward Gorey reference -- and features Forry Ackerman and other LA fans of the time) and THE RAINBOW AFFAIR (which features cameo appearances by a large number of British mystery heroes). I've been told that THE UTOPIA AFFAIR is the first appearance in fiction of LARP war-games, but I don't know for sure.

So there was a lot of incentive to start writing media fiction about MUNCLE -- there were paying markets that were willing to buy. And if it wasn't good enough for them, it was good enough to share with friends. There wasn't any such market for ST, at the time.

#121 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 05:50 PM:

#115 ::: Tom Whitmore :

LASFS Member Karl Lembke is currently still scanning and making avaiaible as PDFs the files of APA-L. He's done a bit over 1800 Distributions -- about 70% of the total. I _think_ he started at the beginning, and the first few (5?) years were (IMHO) its Golden Age. One of the most prolific contributors, as I reall, was Ted Johnstone/David McDaniels, who wrote something like four or six of the Man From UNCLE paperbacks. I'm pretty sure Tedron also wrote some fandom-published pastiches set in that universe and several others (though I don't think he ever _literally_ ever cross-dressed), as did (at least in collaberation) Dean Dickensheet (who most likely also did some MFU-characher bits for the Baker Street Irregulars). [And if you're investigating the Origins of Fan-written Fiction/Pastiches, The BSI strikes me as being an excellent candidate.]

Karl is really a very nice guy, even though he does claim to be a Libertarian [Ahem!], though he's also a bit more quirky than most of the people I know in fandom (with the exception of the late Dave Rike), but it seems likely that you could get digital copies from him at a reasonable price. You'll probably need to make your own Index (I tried for a couple of weeks, and decided that it would be easier to find a good Samurai sword and kill myself more mercifuly). He lists his @ as:: karl.lembke @ gmail com [modify as needed].

#122 ::: Jenny Islander ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 06:00 PM:

I have adopted the fanon that in addition to inner stillness, Vulcans have grown accustomed to a kind of outer background noise that helps them stay grounded. That is, anywhere within reasonable-for-their-civilization travel distance, they can hear a kind of psychic hum of other Vulcan minds. They don't realize how much they lean on this sense that there are others around and the others are pretty much okay until Vulcan is destroyed in the reboot.

Count me in as one of the legion of lonely, weird kids who saw Spock's self-contained difference and confidence as a sign of hope for their own future. If somebody could imagine Spock, and a tribe for Spock, then maybe, just maybe, they were writing what they knew, and my own tribe was out there somewhere.

#123 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 06:16 PM:

Thank you, Don -- I didn't know about Lembke doing that, and it'll be useful. Why, he's probably scanned my zines (but if he's selling stuff, that violates copyright up down and sideways). I got involved right after what you're describing as the Golden Age, as you probably remember (1970 or so).

Tedron was also very active in The Great Forgotten Fannish Feud, Coventry. I'd still love to see a history of that -- I've got two issues of his fanzine Gimbel, the second (#3) of which is very long and complex. And I've got a few Coventranian Gazettes. I got snippets of info from Bruce back in the day, but his main comment was that nobody wanted to talk about it. Pity, because in many ways it was the precursor to the SCA (and involves some of the same people) in the ways it became an immersive LARP. And it's also a serious precursor to D&D. Paul Stanbery has a lot to answer for....

But we digress ever further from ST and Nimoy, and the importance of both. He really did make an important difference in a lot of lives, and I don't want to lose sight of that.

#124 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 07:00 PM:

Check out Page 13 of this old model rocketry newsletter:

http://www.oldrocketplans.com/pubs/Centuri/American_Rocketeer/vol3no1/am_rocketeer_vol3no1.pdf

"The Man and the Girl from U.N.C.L.E."?

The little rocket in question was recreated and sold for a few years.

#125 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 08:43 PM:

Tom: if you ever find "The Tenth Nazgul Affair" you might tell Vonda--she knows Robert Vaughn to say hello to, and when I mentioned it once she was amused.

#126 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2015, 09:10 PM:

As I said, Bruce, they're available from Lee Gold. I may just send Vonda one.

#127 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2015, 06:26 AM:

Sorry, Tom: because of the sleep problems I've been having I was fried enough to miss your comment on Lee Gold. I'm about ready to build a tank and hunt down 900 pounds of Epsom salts to see if I can get more than 2.5 hours of continuous sleep.

#128 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2015, 12:56 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 120: I loved David McDaniel's books when I was a kid. I didn't catch any of the fannish references, but it didn't matter; they were fun. I did get all or most the British fictional detectives turning up in The Rainbow Affair, though--I seem to remember spotting The Saint by the reference to his car and being both proud of myself and delighted. That was, I think, one of the first books where I realized that one writer was paying tribute to others, and McDaniel was definitely the first author of tie-in novels who I ever went look for by his own name rather than because of the series or movie.

I think I may still have those books around somewhere (what? me, dispose of books? unlikely). I'll have to look for them . . .

#129 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2015, 12:59 AM:

They hold up to re-reading, in my opinion.

Lee and Barry Gold have put up a website listing the references in The Rainbow Affair -- but I think there are more, and I want to go pull out my copy and check. I think I know where it is in the storage locker.

#130 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2015, 10:43 AM:

I never got any references in David McDaniel's MFU books (being only an egg, and having no clue that there were references to get). I just remember his as being the best of all the MFU books. (I think, for some reason, the only one I managed to hang onto was The Vampire Affair, that one being my favorite.)

#131 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2015, 06:13 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 129: Now I have to go reread The Rainbow Affair. Just to see how many references I missed, all those years ago . . .

#132 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2015, 01:57 PM:

One of my fondest wishes is that someone would reprint the Man from U.N.C.L.E. books, perhaps as a series of anthologies, in hardcover.

My paperback copies are falling apart...

#133 ::: Minstrel Michael ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2015, 10:11 PM:

In Boston there's an entity called the Vilna Shul, an old synagogue from the 19th century that had fallen out of use. By the time the generation after mine had found out about it, it was right on the verge of being torn down for a parking lot. So an organization was hastily cobbled together to save it, knowing that buying it and restoring it would cost horrendous amounts of money. Leonard Nimoy came to town repeatedly to help raise awareness and funds. Here's the notice in the VilnaScribe newsletter:

As the world mourns the passing of Leonard Nimoy, z"l, we remember him as a boy born in the West End of Boston, a native of the very same neighborhood that gave birth to our Vilna Shul. Nimoy's parents emigrated from Ukraine and were Yiddish speakers. Even after moving from the city to make his way as an actor, Nimoy came back to Boston and shared his story with the public frequently. He was also a great supporter of cultural organizations in the city and was a member of our Advisory Council. Here at the Vilna, we frequently cite Nimoy's wonderful story of how he invented the famous "Live Long and Prosper" symbol the world associated with him thanks to Star Trek. Its origin was the priestly blessing of the kohanim, which adorned arks throughout Europe and anywhere Jews went, including the Vilna Shul's ark here in Boston. May his memory be for a blessing.

#134 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2015, 01:16 AM:

An odd route took me to this today, and I'm sure I enjoyed it, and the journey there, way too much.

#135 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2016, 05:47 PM:

Belatedly stumbled across another Nimoy/Spock memorial: Upon Losing Spock Last Friday.

#136 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2016, 07:21 PM:

David: That was on my To Read list. Thanks for prompting me to get to it sooner rather than later. :'-(

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