Earlier this summer I took my son to watch the film "Apollo 11" and though I've seen several documentaries and feature films about lunar exploration including Al Reinert's 20th anniversary masterpiece "For All Mankind" and Stanley Kubrick's prophetic "2001: A Space Odyssey" there was a sequence in this new expose that was so moving and powerful I simply must call it out. There are a set of shots capturing the faces of the 3 astronauts going through the preparations and suiting-up just prior to boarding the rocket that will launch them into outer space and, eventually, the Moon. These stoic images take place fairly early in the film with a Walter Cronkite voice over interspersed with short (and rapid) montages of family photos and home movies encapsulating each man's private life. The overall effect was, for me, incredibly moving and I can feel tears welling in my eyes even now just recalling it because the faces of these relatively young men are courage and fortitude made flesh. When I think of the self-sacrifice, the risk and the goal these men accepted and seeing them BEFORE they achieved glory I was in awe - no other word for it. I highly recommend the film, even though it was produced by #FakeNews CNN, for these frames of solid gold + a lot of other great footage later in the documentary.
One of the saddest aspects of this 50 year anniversary commemoration of the moon landing is to see how far America as a nation has fallen, spiritually and psychologically (not technologically), from that high water mark of national achievement and pride. Because "Apollo 11" is constructed entirely from archival footage and sound from the year 1969 there is not a contemporary moment for 90 minutes and the effect of being transported to this far off distant land is somewhat jarring. As the NYTimes and WaPo noted the space program of 1969 was white, male and fun which in today's cultural ethos is horrible. Typical #FakeNews drivel but the best/worst analysis of this incredible achievement belongs to... drumroll please... The Nation Magazine (natch).
The perpetuation of inequality is just the hook for a much longer and, it must be said, global story on the impact of space exploration on the world's disadvantaged earthbound denizens. I would love to spend hours dissecting each and every paragraph of Haris Durrani's article but I'm just going to grab one as dingy example of the whole:How Armstrong's “giant leap for mankind” helped perpetuate inequality—on Earth and beyond. https://t.co/GnNBfrQTBm— The Nation (@thenation) July 20, 2019
"Some thinkers on the left, on their part, regard the Space Force as woefully out of touch with fundamental questions of justice. They argue that the government should spend resources in more meaningful directions: What about Flint, Puerto Rico, climate change, police brutality? This response echoes critiques of many space ventures since the 1960s. Consider Gil Scott-Heron’s Whitey on the Moon, Andrew Russell and Lee Vinsel’s contemporary update, “Whitey on Mars,” or environmentalist critiques of space futures like Interstellar’s. Even Garrett Hardin, a decade before he popularized the phrase “tragedy of the commons” in 1968, cast doubt on the idea of solving problems of population growth and limited resources by leaving Earth behind (although his racist legacy should moderate how his claims are read)."
Where do you start?
- Spaced based weapons systems are the uber high ground in war and the administration of justice - The Hague is defenseless against them.
- Flint Michigan is NOT as meaningful as space exploration and Puerto Rico is even less meaningful than Flint (which is saying something).
- Gil Scott-Heron is a wonderful artist/musician and "Whitey on the Moon" is a longtime favorite of mine but I would hardly call it a well reasoned critique of "space ventures" - it supports the Gondwana vs. Laurasia dialectic and justification for interplanetary colonization.
- Pulling Garrett Hardin of the trash heap of history is rich (even with the "racism" disclaimer, and BTW Hardin's "racism" was the least objectionable aspect of his worldview ) considering his Malthusian obsession, death worship and stalking of the wild taboo.
The Nation has been published since 1865 - That's roughly 150 years of Socialism right here in the good old USA. One artifact from the 1969 mission to the moon that had lasting impact on the psyche of us terrestrials was the photo of planet Earth from the lunar surface which effectively dissolve national borders in the minds of our leaders. Whatever ideas or conventions mere Earthings might have about their nations, cultures or races were dismissed as superstitious taboos by the "star-men" who direct the course of human events in the geo-political realm. The Nation became Global and thus began a long and painful decline from Greatness. Nation(alism) is for the birds - Globalism is for the star-men and We the People are left with Garrett Harding to lead us to slaughter.
It is in reaction to this horrible state of affairs that #MAGA gets its vitality and power. It is not fueled by the self-hating, shame filled "nationalism" of The Nation or the distant platitudes of Global elites or the self-destructive suicide march of Harding's "new ethics" but by the God given glory of Neil Armstrong and the dedicated men (and their government) that put him on the moon.