The Right Stuff Versus America-Lite

James Lileks on Neil Armstrong:

I heard a BBC report on his death, and I hoped they started with “Fly Me to the Moon.” or some other piece of grown-up music. What I heard used  Thunderclap Newman’s “Something in the Air,” an interminable piece of simpering hippy tripe sung in a helium voice, because it was 1969, man. The dawning of the Age of Aquarius, and all that. As if the world was suddenly united. As if people back home weren’t rolling their eyes and complaining about the cost.

Sorry: they don’t get to claim Neil Armstrong. They don’t get to own the Moon Shot. The effort to put a man on the moon was everything the counterculture 60s repudiated: technology, military skill, national pride, American optimism, the sense that the Frontier has to be conquered so we can find a new one, and go there too.


Read the whole thing.

You know else doesn’t get to claim Armstrong? The man whom David Gelernter describes as the personification of his thesis that confident, muscular America of the mid 20th century has been diluted by the New left into what Gelernter calls “America-Lite.”

Tranquility Base here, the Ego has Landed:

Obama probably thought he was being modest by appearing in silhouette. Bless his heart.

On the other hand it all works out: as I said to my friends on Saturday night when I made a toast to Armstrong, most people today can only name one person from the 15th century. (Despite the intense efforts by America-Lite to demonize that man.) 500 years from now, Armstrong may well be the only name most people remember from the 20th century.


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