Years ago there was a movie directed by Orson Wells called “Citizen Kane“. It was about a reporter talking to everyone connected to a publishing tycoon in an attempt to discover the meaning of the tycoon’s last words. The movie started with the death of the wealthy man after he says the one word: ‘Rosebud’. No spoilers here, it’s a classic movie, you should see it for yourself.
Through out history when someone of note died, if he had said something great or not so great during his last days, they were quoted and remembered. Books have been written dedicated to the last uttered words of famous people.
Another great man died this week. He was not a tycoon, he was an actor. However his most famous character inspired thousands of young people, me included, to be interested in computers and technology. In my youth I could not miss an episode of Star Trek with Mr. Spock played by Leonard Nimoy.
Although the captain was the expert at double-talking a computer into self-destruction, (Hell, anyone using Microsoft can do that now.) it was alway Mr. Spock who discovered that a computer was what had gotten them into trouble in the first place and gave the captain the clues to get them out.
Nimoy, it was pointed out in his obituaries, was a very talented artist in many fields. But a curious thing I noticed this week in all of his obituaries that aired on the networks. Instead of ending the obit by talking about his last words, everyone quoted his last tweet. It was a good one and very appropriate for a man who must have known he was nearing the end of his life. In addition, many of the tweets from people sending condolences were also quoted. The fact that Nimoy’s published last words and condolences from friends were tweeted instead of verbal shows that electronic communication has become much more the norm than face-to-face quotes. I find it ironic, and not in a bad way, that the man who was responsible for so many of us growing up interested in technology was last remembered using a part of that technology.