Saturday, July 18, 2009

Krauthammer's Moon

Michael Crichton once wrote that if you told a physicist in 1899 that within a hundred years humankind would, among other wonders (nukes, commercial airlines), "travel to the moon, and then lose interest... the physicist would almost certainly pronounce you mad." In 2000, I quoted these lines expressing Crichton's incredulity at America's abandonment of the moon. It is now 2009 and the moon recedes ever further. - Charles Krauthammer, The Moon We Left Behind
I tire of the political world at times, much as, I fear, the political world tires of me. For although the realm of statecraft is my bread and butter, man can not exist on bread alone, at least not without becoming wan and pasty. One needs other worlds beyond the smoke filled room. One needs - one craves - the moon.
Next week marks the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. We say we will return in 2020. But that promise was made by a previous president, and this president has defined himself as the antimatter to George Bush. Moreover, for all of Barack Obama's Kennedyesque qualities, he has expressed none of Kennedy's enthusiasm for human space exploration.
Ironic, isn't it, that I was forced by the standard rules of political engagement to make a cheap shot about Obama in a column meant only to mourn the moon. My editors at the Weekly Standard - Barnes and Kristol - made me add that irrelevant paragraph. It is little wonder that many people think of me as a rather droll prick, although, it must be added, few consider me to be a prick of the enormity of Barnes or Kristol. Lunar-sized pricks, the both of them, men who would turn my deepest yearning into naught but political drivel.
America's manned space program is in shambles. Fourteen months from today, for the first time since 1962, the United States will be incapable not just of sending a man to the moon but of sending anyone into Earth orbit. We'll be totally grounded. We'll have to beg a ride from the Russians or perhaps even the Chinese.
Or perhaps even Togo, you insufferable assholes. Honest to God, I am tainted by the stench of you two. I am a thoughtful, non-didactic man, not the villain as whom I'm so often portrayed. Why, recently I saw a 'comic' which portrayed me as the insidious Auric Goldfinger, my laser pointed at the genitals of Barack Obama as I insanely proclaimed "No, Mr Obama, I expect you to die!" In actuality, my words would have been quite different.

A vigorous young president once summoned us to this new frontier, calling the voyage "the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked." And so we did it. We came. We saw. Then we retreated.

How could we?

How could you, Freddie 'The Beatle' Barnes? For those insipid last three words were not from my pen, and Kristol's stunted brain is not wired for introspection. My own end was a plea, which you aparently mistook for a weakness. "Promise me the moon, Mister President," I wrote, "For man was made for greatness. Fly me to the moon, and let me dream again."

Not Shakespeare, Barnes, I'll admit it, but abundantly more eloquent than 'How could we?'.

Let me offer you another quote, you insufferable moron, one that you might do well to ponder the next time you consider making one of your ham-fisted edits. To paraphrase what the great American fictional icon Ralph Kramden often said when his wife Alice would blithely insert herself into his business, "One of these days, Barnes... POW! To the moon!"

No comments:

Post a Comment