I know what I was doing 40 years ago today. I was sitting in front of the TV set with a blanket draped over the set and myself, taking pictures of the screen.
The point, of course, was to get our very own photos of the moon landing.
Did it work? Actually — not bad.
It was one of the most exciting periods in history — our first landing on a celestial body outside of Earth. The planning, courage, and sheer determination were a validation of the human spirit. Within a few years we would have Lunar colonies, with cheap, non-polluting manufacturing. Huge space stations would orbit Earth playing host to tourists, scientists, and even educational facilities.
Once we knew we could leave the planet, we had essentially insured the continuation of our species.
Of course, that was a dream that failed to take into account the incredible petty-mindedness of the greatest majority of the human race. It was as if in having proved our abilities, we then sat back and allowed the nit-pickers, worry-warts, and bloody-minded idiots to take over. Courage gave way to timidness, vision to despair.
We truly are a race of morons.
Imagine the following scene between Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella.
“Your Majesty, we have succeeded. We have discovered a new world with untapped resources. You can begin sending ships immediately and reaping the rewards.”
“Yes, Kit, thank you for your interest in our country’s future, but I think we’re going to go in a different direction.”
“A different direction?”
“Yes. We’re just going to stay local and see how that goes.”
“You mean, no exploration? No new mineral sources? No new discoveries?”
“Well, that trip you took was pretty dangerous, wasn’t it?”
“Of course, Your Majesty, but…”
“There you go then. We can’t risk it. We’ll just stay where we are. But thank you. We appreciate your enthusiasm.”
At least Columbus didn’t have to cope with barely literate assholes convinced that his entire journey had been a hoax. It’s not enough that people with the intelligence of a gnat took away our future; they’re also trying to take away our past.
And sadly, 40 years almost to the day of the landing, the voice of the early space missions, Walter Cronkite, has gone silent.
Still, I guess one good thing has come of the whole moon hoax debacle — and that’s this brilliant piece of satire directed by Adam Stewart.
I had my mother send me the photos we took that day. They’re not great — not as good as I remember — but they capture the moment. Here they are, for what they’re worth.