Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mad Dogs and Astronauts

It's exciting day two of the crazy lady astronaut story. Hey boy!

Here's another picture of her looking crazy after her arrest. Here's a picture of here in better days. Was she having an affair with the other astronaut? Is that what broke up her marriage? Boy, what was up with the diapers and wig and the other weird stuff?

Here's a discussion of what her defense might be. Can she get a fair trial if everyone thinks she's crazy?

Gosh, how could an astronaut have gone wacky like that? An astronaut, for Pete's sake!

Two words: mute button.

Dead Skunk Story

I spent a career in military aviation, so don't get me started about astronauts. They're people with relatively glamorous jobs that require a reasonably high level of competence, energy, dedication and so on. Some of them are exemplary people and some of them aren't. But they're just people. Not gods.

From what I can tell, this woman was a successful overachiever who literally "had it all." Then her life started to unravel, her compartments buckled, and she cracked. That's happened before. I guarantee you that right now men and women are deployed in war zones whose lives back home are falling apart. Most of them will find a way to keep a grasp on their sanity. Some won't. Every day you encounter people who have the kinds of personal problems this astronaut had. Some manage to keep it together, some don't.

This astronaut woman didn't. I don't know why. But I do know that she wasn't some sort of super-being, as some people seem to believe astronauts or professional athletes or politicians or other celebrities are.

I'm not condemning or condoning what this woman has done. Nor am I concerned about NASA's "image." What concerns me is that people are just now figuring out someone like an astronaut has flaws. Or that someone like an astronaut might have had deep underlying emotional problems that finally worked their way to the surface. Hell, nearly everybody has underlying emotional problems.

We're a supposedly sophisticated, developed society. We need to stop idolizing and idealizing our public figures. Babe Ruth was a drunk and a philanderer. A former congressman--who was the Navy's only Vietnam era fighter ace--went to jail for taking bribes. What we know now about John F. Kennedy makes Bill Clinton look like a choirboy. Paragons of virtue have been caught engaging in the very behaviors they condemn. And let's not even talk about O.J.

It's the 21st century, and we still cling to the myth that our political leaders and cultural icons are somehow superior to the "common man," and look what that's gotten us: 9/11 Iraq, Afghanistan, erosion of the Constitution, abuse of power, failure of our trusted institutions and on and on and on and on.

It's time to grow up as a society, to stop worshiping idols and believing in fairy tales. And to outgrow our childish fascination with dead skunk stories like the tale of the wacky astronaut.

If you're hooked on stories about larger than life kooks, read Homer or Shakespeare or the Bible.

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Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.

10 comments:

  1. The NASA story is all just a big distraction from real, important news facing our nation. But that's what "news media" is about today, more so than ever.

    First story like that -- to dominate the news coverage just based on media frenzy -- as I recall it was the little boy trapped in the well (around '87?).

    And now someone's making a rock opera of the Runaway Bride story.

    What a country!

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  2. Yep. And it couldn't have come along at a better time from the Rovewellians' point of view.

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  3. Anonymous3:28 PM

    Dude a part of me is wondering why you wasted any thought and energy on this, and another part of me is snarling,

    No shit Sherlock!

    You went to college and I didn't?

    Oy.

    Who do you think pushes these stories onto the front pages? The type of people who would actually stoop to the level they believe they are catering to and read this crap?

    No.

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  4. Anonymous,

    What part of "mute button" didn't you get? ;-)

    I think if you actually read this entire article, you'll realize that I'm addressing a number of larger issues than just the astronaut story.

    Best,

    Jeff

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  5. Anonymous3:55 PM

    I agree with the part about idol worship. Holding those in office to a higher standard results in a political minefield when personal lives are brought into play.

    That having been said, a high standard is required regarding behavior that has a direct impact upon us, the governed. Do not lie to us about phony casus belli if we or our children are to die for your cause. Do not steal from us to enrich your friends, cronies and corporate backers. Oh, and by the way, do not lie to us about your sexual orientation when your job as a televangelist is to teach us about the mral depravity of the very practices you regularly engage in.

    As an aside, you mentioned that Bill Clinton appears absolutely angelic when put beside JFK. This "character flaw" did not interfere with JFKs execution of his office, and Bill's would not have either had not a large portion of the Melon fortune been put into play in order to ruin his presidency. On the other hand, David was both an adulterer and a murderer, and those character flaws did adversely affect his ability to rule. It really is funny who we, as a society, choose to idolize!

    MeMyselfEye

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  6. Meanwhile, the real story unfolds: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,2008189,00.html .12 billion dollars in hard cash just given away without any accountability, thats quite a bank-robbery.

    The Onion has it right: Bush needs a Head ecretary of Corruption... ;-) http://www.theonion.com/content/node/44892

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  7. Shlok5:56 PM

    It's less idol worship for me and more we spent millions training this astronaut (not to mention the cumulative cash value of her training at the USNA, Undergrad pilot amd test pilot schools), all of which is wasted now.

    We should expect a lot ROI and that expectation shouldn't be confused with idol worship.

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  8. Of course Capt Nowak should now be thankful that Anna Nicole Smith has exited in so newsworthy a fashion as to hog the headlines...

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  9. Hey! Nice story man! Good goin!!

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