Is Barack Obama the modern day Mr. Spock?

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obama-spock.jpgWhile Americans are flocking to movie theaters in droves to see "Star Trek," it was only a matter of time before someone drew a correlation between Spock and president Barack Obama, right?

Jeff Greenwald explores the similarities in a compelling post over at

"Spock has been on many minds lately, and not entirely because of the new film. Big thinkers in both print media and the blogosphere -- from New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd to MIT media moguls -- have referenced the Enterprise's science officer in recent months, drawing parallels between the dependably logical half-Vulcan and another mixed-race icon: Barack Obama.

They're not just talking about the ears. For those of us who watched the show in the 1960s (or during the countless reruns since), Nimoy's alter ego was the harbinger of a future in which logic would reign over emotion, and rational thought triumph over blind faith. He was a digital being in an analog world; the Pied Piper who led our generation into the Silicon Age.

Anyone who followed the early "Star Trek" with regularity knows how charismatic Spock was. If there were two characters I wanted to be as a young man, they were Spock -- and James Bond. Both displayed total self-confidence, and amazing problem-solving skills. Both traveled to exotic destinations, and were irresistible to women. And both shared a quality that my generation lacked completely: composure."

Greenwald continues, explaining that the same things that drew people to the iconic Leonard Nimoy character are what draw many to the charismatic Obama:

"Like Spock, part of what makes Obama so appealing is the fact that although he's an outsider -- "proudly alien," as Leonard Nimoy once put it -- he uses that distance to cultivate a sense of perspective. And while we're drawn to Spock's exotic traits -- the pointy ears, green blood and weird mating rituals -- we take comfort in his soothing baritone, prominent nose and ordinary teeth.

Spock's appeal, according to the actor who portrayed him, came from cultivating this dichotomy. In 1997, I interviewed Nimoy for my book "Future Perfect: How 'Star Trek' Conquered Planet Earth." "There is a sensitive side to Spock," Nimoy said, "to which a lot of people, male and female, responded. Also very important -- at least I thought it was, because it was what I was constantly playing -- is the yin/yang balance between our right and left brains. How do you get through life as a feeling person, without letting emotions rule you? How do you balance the intellectual and emotional sides of your being?"

All of this space-aged analysis is too much for me to wrap my human brain around, but what do you think? Is Greenwald on point here or is this just another example of Obama-related hoopla running amuck?

Obama is Spock: It's quite logical (Salon)

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    This page contains a single entry by Kyle Koster published on May 9, 2009 11:18 AM.

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