UNSPECIFIED - JULY 20: Apollo 11 astronaut during moon walk by Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin standing on moon surface after planting Amer. flag (no caps). (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
America

Hollywood Lands on the Moon


- September 2nd, 2018
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Don’t let the sexist title fool you, “First Man” is one woke biopic about American astronaut Neil Armstrong, who is portrayed by Ryan Gosling, an admitted Canadian.

But don’t take this Philistine’s word for it. Check out this rave by David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter:

This is a strikingly intelligent treatment of a defining moment for America… What’s perhaps most notable is the film’s refusal to engage in the expected jingoistic self-celebration that such a milestone would seem to demand. At a time when the toxic political climate has cheapened that kind of nationalistic fervor, turning it into empty rhetoric, the measured qualities of Josh Singer’s screenplay, based on James R. Hansen’s 2005 biography of Armstrong, are to be savored.

What are these “measured qualities” about which Rooney waxes? One is that “First Man” did not include a dramatic portrayal of the American flag being planted on the moon.

Of course, this has caused a conniption fit amongst benighted deplorables; and has compelled the film’s star, Gosling, to interrupt his commercial and artistic sojourn to the Venice Film Festival in Italy and address America’s nativist rabble.

Specifically, Armstrong’s deeds “transcend countries and borders”; and, further, that Armstrong didn’t see himself as an American hero. “I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement and that’s how we chose to view it,” Gosling added. “Also I think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.”

Gosling has valid points.

The American made Apollo 11 craft did, in fact, literally transcend “countries and boundaries” when it was shot into outer space.

Moreover, since Neil Armstrong and his fellow American astronauts Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin were human beings, their mission was “a human achievement.” Indeed, Gosling should be applauded for not mistakenly crediting the moon landing as “a simian achievement,” because some previous space flights had employed monkeys.

Finally, Armstrong was a modest man, who truly did not view himself as an American—or any country’s—hero. Like a Super Bowl MVP, he gave all the credit to his teammates, who just happened to be working in the American space program to send him and his crewmates to the moon. But that’s nitpicking.

And, speaking of nitpicking, here’s Senator Marco Rubio typifying the right-wing’s quibbling complaints: “The American people paid for that mission, on rockets built by Americans, with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn’t a UN mission.”

Wasn’t it, Marco? In the grander cosmic scheme, wasn’t it…?

Unfortunately, Gosling and his Hollywood collaborators’ reasons (including overseas sales) for not including the scene of the American flag being planted on the moon are lost upon the Rubios of this world; folks who think the moon landings and Russia-Gate were faked or that Mr. Armstrong actually planted the MTV flag on the moon; and other irredeemably ignorant nationalists like this guy:

But why, some say, the moon? . . . We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard . . . [P]utting a man on the moon [is] part of a great national effort of the United States of America.

Sure it was, brah….

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Photo Credit:  The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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