I started this post about six different times, with various opening sentences, but none of them seemed to provide adequate coverage for my theme. So I'll just jump right into it and omit the background. The short form is that I love the Space Program and almost anything related to it. (Yes, I drink Tang.) I could, and probably will, write much longer lovescreeds to NASA, Test Pilots, Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. But since it's December, it's time for my annual viewing of From The Earth To The Moon. I am addicted to these DVDs, and watch them several times throughout the year, but I always make it a point to watch them now.
Almost everywhere you look, men are buffoons. On TV shows they are idiots who can only make it through the day because they've somehow entrapped a smart hot chick. In movies they are idiots who don't realize that the smart hot chick is the girl for them. They apparently can only dress themselves if they're homosexual--or have a gay man's help. My personal theory is that we are so used to seeing men portrayed as lackwits that even when they aren't as stupid as we think, people project lowered expectations on them without question. (Case in point: President Bush)
The Holy Trinity of Space Movies [The Right Stuff; From The Earth To The Moon; Apollo 13] tells a different story. It shows men as they were, as they should be and as (I believe) most of them still are. Men driven by curiosity--by the simple question "Can we do this?"--who set goals and achieve them. I admit that I'm a sucker for slide rules, pocket protectors and black-rimmed glasses. I grew up in a city full of actuaries and engineers, so my template was set pretty early. To me there's nothing sexier than a man at the top of his form. For many women that's embodied by a cowboy. For me it's a man who can sit around a table with other men and crunch numbers, find solutions and put hunks of metal into space. FtETtM has several episodes, but my favourite, without question, is Spider. A full hour of the engineering process for the Lunar Module from conception to delivery, it showcases the marvels that men can accomplish. It's a happy thing in a misandrous world.