Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Media and the Moon

I only hope, before my time on this rotating orb is up, that I get to witness an achievement as awe inspiring and exalting as the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. That our minds could have crawled out of the caves (of the Garden, whichever), developed the wheel, the ship, the plane, progressing ever and ever forward, molding the rock of the Earth and the ingenuity of his mind into a fire that burned strong and hot, that escaped the force of gravity and lifted us off the Earth, and into space. It was us that did this. More importantly, it was the United States of America that did it. No other country on Earth had the resources, the Government that worked (at the time) with private enterprise, and the drive to create the power that would defy us staying here for all eternity.

How expanded the mind has become in the thousands of years we've been here. The Tower of Babel was man's first attempt to reach Heaven, and since then, through science and philosophy, we've realized that reaching God is not a physical exercise, but rather a mental and spiritual one. That reaching the heavens means evolving and stretching ourselves outward, towards those worlds that Galileo glimpsed in his telescope.


So my mom has been very disappointed in the media's attention to the 40th anniversary of the Moon Landing. Not one magazine cover has it on the cover. Time has Sarah Palin, and most of the others have Michael Jackson. The media has more coverage of the Moonwalk than those who walked on the Moon. The greatest achievement that mankind ever made, and it gets virtually no picture space on the front of the main periodicals. Sure, Astronomy magazine has it, and Life did a special edition for it, but that was it.

The television media irks me even more. Today as I got up to make breakfast, I stopped as Fox News ran a commercial for their Moon Landing special. Friday night... narrated by Greta Van Susteren. Ticked me off. The Moon Landing reports should be handled by the noblest of voices. I expected Glenn Beck, whose admiration for the achievements of man would have made him tear up. Or Mike Huckabee, with the voice of a preacher, aged in oak. I would even have accepted Geraldo or Bill O'Riley. Instead, they get the woman who reports on Aruba and OJ and missing children.

Where are the noble voices, those that take the incredible works of man and form words to express it. Of course, Walter Kronkite would be the most noble of voices, but alas, he is not able. Dan Rather has done such a great job in communicating the truly important news, even if he faltered with CBS's liberal agenda. Where is CNN's Cooper Anderson, or NBC's Costas? Where are the voices that we hear on those times when we remember where we were when? Those are voices we need.

Instead of listening to talk shows with paternal tests of 8 men, or the self-pandering of Senators as the accept Supreme Court Justices, or the latest in the Michael Jackson family circus, shouldn't we hear about the greatness of mankind??? Shouldn't we wonder where the people are that could achieve such marvelous feats, when today's children cannot recall even the most basic science facts? The CRCT results are not promising. It is true that competition with the Russians (Sputnik) fueled the education in science and math that created much of today's technological advances. Without those men, the Internet would have been a dream, and the Space Shuttle that is currently orbiting the Earth toward our Space Station would not even have been thought of. But today, children are much more interested in consuming than creating. More interested in entertainment than advancing the human race toward the farthest frontiers. The science fiction of my father's time has been replaced with the fantasy of today. The wonder of computers and of man's ability to soar to the heavens is now replaced by vampires and wizards, by miracles of magic that allow achievements without effort. Wonders without work. Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke would be very disappointed, I believe.

We have the ability to reach the heights of our solar system, to stand atop Olympus Mons and laugh at the universe. We can explore the depths of the oceans and the wonders of the microscopic world, where Quarks and strings of vibrating energy sing the choruses of the Universe. Let's do it. Let's meet God in the heavens and say, "Look at the wonders we have done. Look at the creations You have made, and we rejoice in all that we have done, and in You for making us. We should not cower to His throne and show him the polluted, lazy world that we have created now. He would forgive us, but let's show God what a wonderful creature He made. The Guardians of our world, the keepers of Earth until He returns. And let's do it for ourselves. Because that is the destiny of our race, to live and soar and look over the mountaintops (see the Freidrich painting at right), and not to cower in the corner, blaming everyone for our failures but ourselves.

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