15 December, 2005

Space Men

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.


At 8:45 AM, December 15, 2005, Blogger Jeffrey said...

I too share the space nerd syndrome

At 9:58 AM, December 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Giles gave me this DVD set as a Christmas present about five years ago. I try and watch it every year, too. (did you know they just re-released them in widescreen?).

My two favorite episodes are "Spider" and "The Genesis Rock". I really like the actors in that one, especially the one who plays Dr. Silver.

Thanks for a great post. While my weapon of choice is a musical staff and not a slide rule, I still consider myself a geek. It's easy in our world to think that the geeks are unattractive. It's nice to know that some people find us sexy. :)


At 11:01 AM, December 15, 2005, Blogger Patrick said...

GREAT analysis on the de-man-ification of man! Geeks aren't necessarily hackers. Some geeks are just quality people.

At 11:42 AM, December 15, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

try and watch it every year, too. (did you know they just re-released them in widescreen?).

I remember Erin saying that you guys like these, I think.

I saw the anniversary set and was seriously contemplating getting it, but I think I'll wait until we have one o' them funky rectangular TVs. That is the only possible reason I can imagine for watching the widescreen versions. Since the show was made for HBO, it was shot and cut in the fullscreen square version.

At 2:49 PM, December 15, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

I just bought the "new and improved widescreen" dvd set of From The Earth To The Moon. It kicks ass. There is a new/enhanced/expanded/Criterion/Special Edition/whatever version of The Right Stuff out that demands purchasing as well.

At 3:01 PM, December 15, 2005, Blogger Shoelimpy™ said...

Beautiful post. It is my greatest dream to become a spaceman one day.

At 5:12 PM, December 15, 2005, Blogger Lee said...

I'll point out the exception to the rule concerning man=dummy. King of the Hill. Many times, Hank is the only person in the family that has a clue.

At 5:24 PM, December 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i believe that the latest variant of the "_______ - sexual" tag, the "uber-sexual", brings us full circle. by creating a bucket for men that are sophisticated, driven, and in command of themselves in any setting, what they've merely done is re-discover those long-lost creatures - "Men." these are distinct from "guys", long the most common variant, and one that has lately been confused as the model.


At 5:27 PM, December 16, 2005, Anonymous Beth said...

I agree that there are no good male roles in t.v. and movies. I am also attracted to men that most people would consider geeks. Too bad that I've never known a smart, get things done kind of guy. It probably has something to do with being in education. It seems like every man I know in education just got into it for the summers off and/or coaching. I think they all share one brain!

Spider is by far the best episode in FtEttM! Now that I have finished all the holiday rush at school, and have come down with a wicked cold, curling up with that movie and a nice warm blanket sounds about like heaven.

At 4:30 PM, March 26, 2007, Anonymous La BellaDonna said...

I'd have to say the man whom I have met who sets the bar at its highest has, coincidentally, been a cowboy and slings a sliderule.

There aren't many like him - but there are an awful lot of good men out there, nevertheless.


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