Sunday, July 20, 2014

The man on the moon

The moon landing occurred 45 years ago today. Like a few other events that I’ve experienced in my lifetime (the Kennedy assassination, the 9/11 attack, and the airing of the last episode of M*A*S*H*) I know exactly where I was, and who I was with, when I heard the news.

If you’d like to relive a bit of the excitement from that day, you can watch the “moon walk” on You Tube - if you can spare the hour or so that it takes to watch it:

the moonwalk - before Michael Jackson

The early days of space travel were fraught with danger, and not all of the astronauts that went into space came back alive. However, for the ones who made it into space and back again, the views were pretty nice.

The musical group R.E.M. released a song titled “Man on the Moon” in 1992. Lyrically, the song is a tribute to the performer Andy Kaufman with numerous references to Kaufman's career including Elvis impersonation, wrestling, and the film My Breakfast with Blassie. The song's title and chorus refer to the moon landing conspiracy theories as an oblique allusion to rumors that Kaufman's 1984 death was faked. It’s a fun song to listen to (click on the link below) even though the lyrics themselves really don’t make sense.

if you believe they put a man on the moon

In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, roughly 20% of the American population believe that the moon landings were faked. One of the chief proponents of the moon landing “hoax” theory is a Nashville taxi driver named Bart Sibrel. He’s filmed two documentaries on the subject, and has produced two other related videos. He also participated in a FOX (but, of course) television network special titled, “Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?.”

Although Neil Armstrong was the first person to land on the moon, “Buzz” Aldrin was right behind him. The photo shown below is a shot of Aldrin saluting the American flag:

Over the years, Sibrel has tried to interview the “moon landing” astronauts, but they have all refused to to meet with him. He eventually lured Buzz Aldrin to a hotel in Beverly Hills in 2002 under false pretenses, and he finally got exactly what he deserved:

a sock in the jaw

Bart Sibrel probably won’t just go away anytime soon, but the popularity of his theory, and of FOX “news” in general, proves (once again) the wisdom of the phrase that is widely attributed to P.T. Barnum:

“there’s a sucker born every minute”.

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