OPINION – Get off our lawn, Perez Hilton!

Astronaut-Michael-Collins-249x300 One of the reasons I created this site was due to my aversion to the whole Perez Hilton/Speidi celebrity culture that’s slowly taken over our region and culture. I wanted to create something that would actively put focus on the more substantial and positive human realities that our community of 10 million people offers its residents and visitors. Because that stuff exists.

Fact is, I don’t want to live in a world where people are encouraged to believe it’s no longer cool to aim towards pursuing meaningful or rewarding stuff that makes the world a better place to live in. What kind of future do we have to look forward to and build upon if we set up a standard where being a narcissistic jerk is a paying accomplishment to aspire to? (Mind you, I’m not nearly as old as I’m sounding right now… but whatever. Get off my lawn!) Anyhow, in light of this… I would like to announce that Astronaut Michael Collins is officially my favorite person of the day. No, he has nothing to do with Southern California really… I simply love what he had to say in his recently posted Q&A statement featured on NASA’s web site.

Think about it… Michael Collins was the third Apollo 11 crew member. He was an integral team member on the first successful moon landing… a contributor to world history. Yet nobody remembers his name because he was the person who stayed inside while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took the first steps on the moon. Basically, he made it all the way to the moon and then had to wait behind in the car. And had Michael not stayed behind, despite being terrified that his deepest fears would be realized and he would have to navigate back to Earth alone, the mission couldn’t have succeeded. But is he upset that whenever people are asked about the event, nobody remembers his name? Nope. As a matter of fact, during the big Apollo 11 40th Anniversary celebration, Collins decided not to give any media interviews and instead issued the previously mentioned Q & A of the questions he is most frequently asked. He just doesn’t feel he deserves the attention.

*Highlights of his Q&A and a video of Michael Collins discussing his thoughts (and wishing out loud that we’d flown to Mars instead) after the jump*

Question: …Are you grumpy?

At age 78, yes, in many ways. Some things about current society irritate me, such as the adulation of celebrities and the inflation of heroism.

Question: But aren’t you both?

Not me. Neither.

Heroes abound, and should be revered as such, but don’t count astronauts among them. We work very hard; we did our jobs to near perfection, but that was what we had hired on to do. In no way did we meet the criterion of the Congressional Medal of Honor: ‘above and beyond the call of duty.’

Celebrities? What nonsense, what an empty concept for a person to be, as my friend the great historian Daniel Boorstin put it, “known for his well-known-ness.” How many live-ins, how many trips to rehab, maybe – wow – you could even get arrested and then you would really be noticed. Don’t get me started.

My favorite quote though, is definitely this one:

“I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of 100,000 miles their outlook could be fundamentally changed. That all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument silenced. The tiny globe would continue to turn, serenely ignoring its subdivisions, presenting a unified façade that would cry out for unified understanding, for homogeneous treatment. The earth must become as it appears: blue and white, not capitalist or Communist; blue and white, not rich or poor; blue and white, not envious or envied.”

Amen. So what do you guys think? Are Michael and I just grumpy old people? Or are you as grumpy as we are?
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJGzK23jVVk[/youtube]

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