Thoughts on astronauts

I typically don’t use this blog to comment on news items as tragically bizarre and off-topic as an astronaut being arrested for attempted murder, but there’s just something haunting me about this news. I thought I had become numb to any shock presented by the strange parade of pop-culture weirdness we witness because we live in a celebrity-crazed post-modern society. However, I’m not ready for this. I’m not ready for an astronaut — an astronaut for god’s sakes — to become just another sleazy low-life. I was in elementary school in the 1960s and watched John Glenn blast off in black and white. I have been led to believe the (now obvious) mythology that potential astronauts are subjected to the most rigorous screening possible to determine whether they possess the mental and physical “right stuff” to travel into space. This news makes me think they’re outsourcing their psychological screening to the postal service. I’m sorry. That was an attempt at humor. Indeed, by midnight, Leno, Letterman, Stewart, Colbert, etc., will have worked this strange news over with dozens of jokes. However, there’s something about the way the astronaut looks over there in her mug shot that captures how this whole creepy matter makes me feel. My astronaut-hero-worship was of one of the last remnants of my nearly-depleted innocence. This is just too weird for me.

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  • Hudge

    The book “The Right Stuff” lifted some of the sanitary veil that NASA draped over the original bunch of astronauts – and famously Chuck Yeager who didn’t make that first cadre. It showed those individuals were indeed extraordinary, but also very human – not the precision-bots NASA tried to present to us as a holdover from the conformist 50s. This story is sad, embarrassing, and tawdry, yet human, too.