Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Quote of the Day: Peak Western Civ edition

Aesop's post on the anniversary of the Moon Landing is a must read on many levels.  This part jumped out at me, as he remembers the even as he experienced it as a kid:

But on the day, that summer Sunday afternoon in 1969, when Armstrong stepped out the door to rendezvous with destiny, there wasn't one single car on the streets, anywhere. I was there, and I went outside, and I saw it with my own eyes, kids, from a house just up the street from where Rocketdyne made the Saturn V engines that took us there, again and again.
Nothing outside moving, anywhere. Not. One. Single. Person.

Every single human on the planet with access to one was huddled in front of black-and-white or color TVs, back when TV had those choices, and each holding their breath waiting for the moment that the cream of 1969 video technology broadcast the shadowy moment to the waiting world.

It made me remember huddling around a TV with family and friends, back in 1969.  Dad wasn't there - he was in Paris researching a book in the French national archives.  He said that the State Department set up an enormous screen in the Place de la Concorde where they projected the landing live (at Oh-My-God-30 in the morning, Paris time).  The place was packed, and he said that as an American, his money was no good in Paris that evening.  France and America have always had a complicated relationship, but not that day.

Go read Aesop's post.  You're welcome.


GregMan said...

Peak Western Civ is right, and we've been going downhill ever since.

Peteforester said...

I remember waiting for Armstrong to exit the LEM. Remember? The camera outside wasn't working for a while. It took them a while to get it fixed. Meantime, we all just sat there staring at this distorted, jittering image of pretty much nothing. No one wanted to walk away from the TV for fear of "missing it." ...And it didn't matter if you had a color or B&W TV; all the video that we saw was B&W...

Greg said...

I missed it live because I was working at a Boy Scout summer camp, and there was no TV within miles. The camp nurse had a radio in her office, and told us about it at dinner that evening.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I had not thought of it that way before reading the article, but I have since. My peak might be a touch later, but not later than 1985.

But yes. We have passed the peak. And we seem to be picking up speed.

Beans said...

We all went to a neighbor's house to watch the launch on COLOR TV (one of those big screen tvs, you know, console, with a stereo in one end and a bar in the other, and big speakers.

Watched all the news updates and the landing on the black & white, because, well, the landing was being transmitted in black and white.

Glorious times.

And we pissed it all away on the stupid shuttle. When we could have had orbital taxi capsules or DynaSoar style ;ersonnel shuttles and lifted the big and dangerous stuff far more efficiently on a second launch. I mean, we've already done orbital rendezvous and perfected that.

Will said...

one of the little remembered results, by most people, was the .gov gave the pinkslip to a huge number of aerospace engineers after the moon landing. I can remember encountering them working at 7-11's and other similar venues, and so many of them swore they would never work in that arena again, if they even bothered to work as an engineer for that matter. There were so many esoteric engineering specialties that got created for that circus, and NASA just yanked the rug out from under them with no warning. I don't recall the numbers, but we had an astounding number of engineers that got thrown away.