I’m just not that impressed, sorry
There is no cultural divide larger between the generation which was alive to see the moon landing and the which was not alive to see the moon landing than the importance of the moon landing. I cannot fathom the idea of the moon landing being a source of American pride. I cannot wrap my mind around the idea that someone would see people from their country landing on the moon and think “Damn… I’m proud to be from the same country as those people”. I do not know if I’m stupid or jaded.
Actually, scratch that, I know that I’m both of those things. But my point stands – The moon landing baffles me, and here are the five reasons why:
1. The desire to go to the moon seems like a very simple thing to want to do without that much immediate ulterior gain
To understand this point, consider that I was born in 1995, and the first thing I think I really understood with regards to national civics was that we were going to war with Iraq. I was seven, I was in the second grade, and though I have very little memory of knowing what happened on 9/11 or what George W. Bush did as president (save for the fact that I shared a last name with him). As a result, my process of maturing into a person conscious of the world around me came at the same rate of the rest of the country noticing that the Iraq War was a business trip for oil money that the military needed to kill people for.
It is hard to come to terms with the idea that a national program visited the moon because it would be good to when the defining national saga of your lifetime ended up with the deaths of millions in support of, like, Dick Cheney’s nephew keeping an office job and the BP station selling gas at $2.47 per gallon. It is so hard to fathom anything done at a national level by the United States not having an either bloodthirsty or greedy or power-hungry angle to it, and the explanation about the moon landing being “we needed a morale boost and everybody wanted to see what was up there” is so simple and non-cynical, it just doesn’t gel with the worldview my experience thrust upon me. If you wanted to boost morale during the Vietnam War they could’ve just faked that shit and saved some money.
2. A significant number of people think we faked that shit to boost national morale during the Vietnam War & Civil Rights protests
Now… I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think that the moon landing was faked. We will get to why I don’t think it was faked later, but I must point out that I do not actually believe it was faked. But I understand why a lot of people think that this significant, myth-making event in American history was:
Because a non-insignificant amount of significant events in American history were at least fudged.
That V-J Day kiss? Non-consensual. The raising of the flag at Iwo Jima? Staged. That George Washington cherry tree? Pretend. The Betsy Ross flag story? Little Evidence. Even everywoman American hero Rosie Ruiz turned out to be a fraud!
And I don’t even know that all of that, save for the apparent fact that borderline sexual assault was a normal act of celebration in the 1940s, is that much of a bad thing! Myths are a normal part of history! But so many major cultural artifacts are introduced during our lives and time and time again we have to learn “wait, that was faked too?” that some skepticism, I think, is understandable.
Now, again, I don’t believe that the moon landing was faked! But I can get it if you look at a significant national event which came at the end the decade defined by a war built on a hoax, during the administration of a president who would command a break-in attempt on his opposition party, and take it with a few grains of salt! Again, I don’t think it was faked, but I kinda get it! Now, the reason I don’t think it was faked was –
3. It doesn’t seem all that impressive judging by the evidence!
I’m not saying that the technological feat isn’t impressive. That’s impressive as hell, getting people all the way up to the moon and back over a decade before the Intellivision came out is an impressive feat. No, what I’m saying isn’t that impressive is the moon.
Look at that! What is so great about that? It’s gray, dusty, and it has big craters.
So does my freakin’ ex-wifeSo does the damn Interstate Highway system and you don’t see Annheuser-Busch making special beers to celebrate I-29! We already knew all that before we got up there! I coulda told you the moon was gray and had craters just looking at it from my damn backyard!
But this I think lends credence to the theory that NASA did indeed go to the moon, because if they had faked it I think things would’ve turned out much cooler than they did. The Iwo Jima pic at least stirs somethin’ in you, the videos of the astronauts eating shit in low-gravity slow motion are hilarious!
You don’t fake something like that for national morale! You want sweeping John Williams-esque music to accompany it, not the ESPN Not Top 10 soundtrack. That won’t get people to buy the special commemorative Budweiser bottles.
4. The Moon Landing has provided reason for Annheuser-Busch to make new Budweiser variants
Look. I like Bud heavy as much as the next person. You offer like a $2 Bud bottle at your dive bar and I’m getting it, I could give a shit about spending ten bucks on an Imperial Stout made in a basement in Fresno. But we do not need more Budweisers. We have the unholy trinity already (Bud heavy, Bud Light, Bud Ice), and there’s also that Bud Light Platinum, and Budweiser Select, and I’ve still got a decent stock of Bud Dry somewhere in a non-air-conditioned storage unit in El Paso. We don’t need new Budweiser, and to think that I’m going to be pushed to buy more mediocre beer just because it’s in a little bottle and it makes me think of the moon is false. And uh, yeah, Moon-themed beer? Coors already has that, and you get to eat a little orange slice treat when you finish the glass.
I’ll stick to sipping a bottle of Russian Jordan at my next social gathering. Their space program was more impressive anyway.
5. The Soviet Space Program was much more impressive anyway
People don’t want to talk about this, naturally, because we were at war with them. But the Soviets got up into space first, and they put a dog up there first, and some Italian people accidentally found out that one woman of unknown identity burned up on reentry, so who knows how many other people they put up there without telling anyone and probably killed!
But, god, we spend all this damn time talking about how cool the moon landing was, how great it was that we went up to the moon, how wonderful of a job we did getting people up to the moon. And, yeah, sure, the moon is great! We know the moon well!
But I have it on good authority that the Cosmonauts went even further. Take this transcription of an interview between an astronaut and a cosmonaut which I just uncovered:
COSMONAUT: Russian space program is best, we were the first to make it to outer space
ASTRONAUT: Sure, but the American space program was the first to get to the moon! That means our program is the best!
C: Ah, yes, but have you heard of our secret sun landing plan?
A: Sun landing? Whaddaya mean by that?
C: My country will have a rocket full of men land on the sun very soon.
A: But you can’t possibly land on the sun, it’s too hot up there, you’ll all burn up!
C: Ah, you see, that is why we will go… at night!
This conversation, much like the also very real Canadian Lighthouse Incident, shows very simply the American tendency to assume we’re automatically correct in assuming that our first assumption is the correct one. This comes up time and time again. That’s the difference between the American and Russian mindset. Americans say “we have to spend millions of dollars on an outer space pen” and Russians say “let’s use these RoseArt #2 Pencils I had smuggled into East Berlin”. Americans say “We can’t just kill a dog in space” and Russians say “Godspeed Laika!” (or, whatever the equivalent of ‘Godspeed’ in that non-theistic Soviet culture was). Americans say “You can’t land on the sun.”
Russians will just go at night.
Now, if you’d excuse me, I’m going to buy some of that special Moon Landing Budweiser, dump it into the local pool where it belongs, and enjoy myself a nice Andrei Kirilenko.
In commemoration of Joe Bush’s worst ever post, Annheuser-Busch will be launching a special “Dipshit Reserve American Red Lager”. Joe Bush will also be publishing this on a Friday afternoon. He can be harassed by your grandparents on Twitter, Facebook, and if they want to give him money for some reason they can do it at Ko-Fi