Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Real Man on the Moon

In Day of the Moon Part 2 (Day of the Moon), the defeat of the Silence was greatly due to the world's attention being focused on the lunar landing.  Today at Gallifrey Exile, we pay tribute to the first man to ever walk on the Moon: Neil Armstrong.

Armstrong can truly be called a hero because he did not seek fame or fortune, and even when it came to him, he kept true to himself.  It is highly unlikely that Armstrong would ever have agreed to appear in Transformers: Dark of the Moon (unlike his more bon vivant Apollo 11 companion Buzz Aldrin) where the latter legitimized the bizarre plot of the film. 

Instead, Armstrong kept to himself, rarely granting interviews and continuing to work and live away from the spotlight.  He managed a remarkable feat, and I don't mean being the first human to ever walk on the Moon.  Armstrong remained famous throughout his entire life, but never yielded to fame.  He kept his privacy.  He never felt the need to share his views on the world or things outside of it.

The curious thing is that Americans universally respected his right to stay in the shadows.  If the moon landing had happened today, one would imagine the constant barrage of the paparazzi would be around him.  His every move would be chronicled: what he ate, what he wore, what he thought, whom he slept with.

Today, people both important and not willingly present themselves for the world to 'marvel' at (although I hold people merely laugh at them).  Ryan Lochte won gold and silver medals in London, and now has got it into his water-soaked head that he can be an actor and fashion designer.  I imagine he will force his attention on the world for some time, even though the world (and in particular the United States) really doesn't care about Mr. Lochte.  We don't even need to go over the sad story of both the Kardashian/Jenner clan and those who are 'fans' of vapid people who have done nothing to earn their notoriety save for allowing cameras to capture every moment (public and private) for others to see.

All those who have received fame for vulgarity and foolish behavior provide a clean porn for the rest of us: they get their jollies from seeing people humiliate themselves for our entertainment.

That was not the case with Neil Armstrong.  He kept his clothes on, and kept to himself.  Once he finished his job, he went home.  He was no Charles Foster Kane, reclusively hiding in his own Xanadu.  Armstrong just had a proper perspective on life: there is more to life than making history.  We should take this as Armstrong's final example: once we have accomplished a great thing, be it winning a gold medal or the lottery or discovering a new cure, one should say, 'Thank you for your kind words and applause, but I've got a life outside the spotlight and I'm going back to it.'

Of course, he accomplished a great thing for himself and for his country, but Armstrong always kept his dignity, and Americans responded by according him all due respect while moving on with the country's business.  Both the nation and the man were content to be consigned to history books.

Doctor Who is about a man who travels through time and space.  Neil Armstrong is a man who has travelled through space, who walked on the moon, and who, once returned to Earth, kept himself there both physically and mentally.  Now, Neil Armstrong is free to touch the stars once more.

Respectfully dimming the Eye of Harmony to a true icon: Neil Armstrong.   

In Memoriam

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