Eat the rich, but let them build rockets in the meantime
July 12, 2021 at 10:21 AM EDT
Do you really want Bezos tackling child hunger? Do you want Musk trying to expand healthcare access? Do you want Branson to focus on voting rights? Hell no.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic went to space (or the vicinity of space) in a PR-suffused event over the weekend. It was all rather twee, packed with maudlin riffs about childhood dreams and riddled with hero worship. And the stream kept stuttering while some of the planned vehicle-to-Earth communications failed.
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But the launch accomplished what it set out to do: A few folks made it to into zero gravity after launching their rocket-powered space plane from a larger aircraft, flipping it around at the top of its arc so that its passengers could get a good view of our home while floating. Then it came back to the surface and, we’re sure, much champagne was consumed.
In the aftermath of the event, lots of folks are pissed. Complaints have rolled in, dissing the event and generally mocking the expense involved when there are other issues to manage. A sampling follows. Note that these are merely illustrative examples of a general vibe. I have precisely zero beef with anyone in the following tweets or articles:
How’s this headline:
Branson, Musk, and Bezos who could tackle child hunger, climate change, racial injustice, health care, the rise of fascism etc and still be richer than 99.9999% of us choose to be narcissistic assholes and shoot their money into space.
That about right?
— Mary L Trump (@MaryLTrump) July 11, 2021
Branson wants to bring space to the average person.
— Kim Ruxton (@KimRuxton) July 11, 2021
And from the media side of things, this stood out today from the Tribune:
Sure, it’s maddening that Jeff Bezos’ new yacht will require a second boat so that he can have a mobile heliport on the go — his new boat has sails, so you can’t chopper to it — while the company that built his fortune churns through workers with abandon and squeezes its drivers so much that they have to piss in bottles due to scheduling constraints.