This week is the 40th anniversary of the moon landing. NASA has released some conveniently timed reworked footage of the landing, which has reignited the passions of enthusiastic conspiracy theorists. Adding more fuel to the fire is the loss of the original landing tapes.
Many people believe that the moon landing was a hoax, a setup inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s special effects feats in 2001: A Space Odyssey in order to reclaim the American population’s trust in their government. And obviously, to prove to the Russians (and the rest of the world) that was still the most bad ass, technologically superior nation.
There have been a billion publications made about the apparent hoax, and just as many “No way, why would they fake that shit” rebuts. They’re on the internet, they’re in your local library, and they’re broadcast on your television. To me, the argument comes across a lot like the one between Atheists and Christians. The argument is definitely very different, but the similarities in the delivery are pretty amusing.
Christian: “But we can see proof of god!”
Atheist: “Oh come on, you’re a dumb shit for believing that crap.”
Conspiracy Theorist: “But we can see proof that it was faked!”
Believer in the landing: “Oh come on, you’re talking like a crazy.”
The theorists do have their valid points. But they are quickly rationalized by whoever it is who’s job it is to debunk those myths. Some stick out though. No doubt every one of you reading this has knowledge of at least one reason why people think the whole landing thing wasn’t real. Be it the way the shadows fell in the photographs (Myth Busters busted that one), the lack of stars in the sky, the strange placement of the crosshairs… Every one of those little tidbits does appeal to our sense of curiosity, to our knowledge that there are a lot of things governments do that we don’t know about, to our inclination towards believing anything that is said as long as it is said with enough authority.
I’m now going to state my opinion on the matter, just in cased you haven’t been able to figure it out already: I don’t care. I don’t think it matters. I believe that there is always room for more free thought about the things we’re told, but in this context… whatever man.
Whatever the case, real or faked, it’s happened already and there is nothing we can do about it. Life has carried on, and there is way more important shit to focus on. If the intellectual energy spent on writing those books and websites was channeled into, say, cancer research, I think we’d be a little closer to curing the fuck out of that disease.
There’s a counter-conspiracy that I am more inclined to believe: that the American/world governments have agents who seed the conspiracy theories in the minds of individuals smart enough to do their own research. The reason for this? To generate an atmosphere of distrust, which encourages the population to perceive the government as all powerful, able to do anything they like, and warrants a sense of helplessness in the face of it all. Give the people a little space to theorise and criticize, but only within boundaries that impede any real revolutionary action to be taken.
That’s the one we should be seriously considering. Not debating over whether or not Neil Armstrong was a hired actor.