“First Robot”, or “Explore Space to Deal With Death”, A Review of First Man, by Damien Chazelle

Movie-wise, I’ve still been on a TGM kick, especially at work, and so it was only natural that my boss (also a pilot) was shocked that I hadn’t seen First Man.

“When I heard they didn’t show him planting the flag, I just lost interest,” I explained.

Well, he told me it was just great and must-see viewing for a pilot. “I can’t believe a pilot wouldn’t want to watch that movie.”

So I watched it.

And like all “inspired by real events” movies, they couldn’t just leave well enough alone.

To be clear, there is no record—at any level, to include hearsay—that Neil Armstrong throws his dead daughter’s bracelet into a moon crater.

In the film, we watch, not a man, but a machine train and train and train and then launch for the moon. Maybe the director saw the problem here.

“How can we have a movie called ‘First Man’ and then show that it was a cold, calculating psychopath that NASA launched to the moon?” we can almost hear him asking.

But the answer to this problem is to fix the portrait (or title), not insert a definitively make-believe event.

In short: Tell the Truth!!

From my perspective, I wanted to know—and I thought the movie was wanting to tell me—why Neil Armstrong was the first man to land and walk on the moon. Specifically, why Neil Armstrong was chosen and why Neil Armstrong had what it takes to know that he should be first.

I know I’m better than most of mankind at achieving goals and completing tasks correctly etc. But I also have been around other dudes that I couldn’t hold a candle to. Neil Armstrong seems to have never experienced the latter. He only knew that he was the man. Absolute confidence. Unbridled certainty.

It’s remarkable.

It’s worth a million dollar film being commissioned.

But it’s also worth getting right.

Our culture seems to struggle with the idea that adults still want things. That adults still can have desires. A movie like this bears this out. It doesn’t know what story to tell. The story is not about “look how he couldn’t be both a good dad and a good man.”

Neil Armstrong wasn’t a good dad! Oh em gee! Damn him to hell!

Does anyone else still believe that a good adult can be precisely what a child (and a nation) needs?

Broadening, does anyone else still believe that an achieving adult is precisely what a family and a nation needs?

We’ve become bedazzled by the idea of sacrificing individual achievement in order to help some version of the helpless masses.

Sorry, but my achievements do help them. We don’t need to scrap NASA in order to feed people.

Your desire to stop my achievement is called “envy” and is sin straight from the pit of hell. JS Mill showed me this. You should learn to see it too.

In any case, between First Man and Ad Astra, I’m not persuaded. Men don’t need the death of fathers and daughters to propel them to greatness. They just need…

And that’s it. The heart of the matter. What do men need to propel them to greatness? Do you know?


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