Posted on July 21, 2019

Apollo 11 and the America That Was

Bradley Moore, American Renaissance, July 21, 2019

In one scene in the excellent new documentary Apollo 11, thousands of white grandparents are shown watching the 1969 launch at Cape Canaveral with their grandchildren. When some of those grandparents were born, the Wright brothers had not yet flown. It took only 66 years from Kitty Hawk to the moon landing.

This documentary is unlike any other; it is almost as though moviemakers traveled back in time to video astronauts, NASA employees, and spectators. This is the brilliant effect achieved by using previously unseen footage from what turns out to be a rich archive.

Alas, Apollo 11, directed by Todd Douglas Miller, is not a movie for today’s America. Although it got a 99 out of 100 rating from reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes, it grossed only $10 million. It was released in just 405 theaters, whereas a blockbuster will appear in over 4,000.

Twenty-four years ago, another movie about the Apollo program, starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon, was a huge hit. Apollo 13 was about brilliant NASA engineers helping courageous astronauts make their way home after an explosion and an aborted mission. The third-highest grossing movie of the year, it earned $172 million in the US market. The film’s cast is overwhelmingly white. The men at Mission Control declaring “go” for launch are white. Many have crew cuts and wear starched white shirts and black ties.

They wouldn’t make that movie now. Just 24 years ago, America was a different country.

Likewise, In Apollo 11, all but one of the engineers, scientists, and flight leaders of the team are white men: the same crew cuts, white shirts, and black ties. The one exception is a white woman on whom the film spends an inordinate amount of time.

Portrait of the prime crew of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. From left to right: Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr. (Credit Image: © NASA/ZUMA Wire)

At the time of Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong said, “The enormity of the event is something only history will be able to judge.”

How does history judge the moon landing? In light of current political dogmas, of course.

On July 16, Washington DC FM station WTOP tweeted about a story it had posted on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, noting that “Apollo 11 got off the ground, in no small part, thanks to Wernher von Braun, a brilliant German-American rocket engineer who was laid to rest in Alexandria, Virginia. Rocket that sent men to moon was his greatest achievement.”

Later the same day, WTOP tweeted: “CORRECTION: We have updated this story to explicitly state that Wernher von Braun was a Nazi.” Later still that day, WTOP tweeted again: “After careful consideration, WTOP has decided to remove the article from our website. This story did not meet WTOP’s standards and should not have appeared on any of our platforms.”

Apparently, the only important thing to know about von Braun was that he was a Nazi; his key contributions to the space program are best forgotten.

The Washington Post criticized Apollo 11 because it wasn’t diverse. It also tweeted: “The culture that put men on the moon was intense, fun, family-unfriendly, and mostly white and male.” Not to be outdone, the New York Times praised the Soviet Union’s diversity in space. It tweeted, “America may have put the first man on the moon, but the Soviet Union sent the first woman, the first Asian man, and the first black man into orbit—all years before the U.S. would follow suit.” The Nation asked, “Is Spaceflight Colonialism?

It took RT, formerly Russia Today, to defend NASA. It tweeted: “Do liberals think it would have been better for NASA to stay on Earth until US society advanced enough to send the right people (a black woman) into space? Should the USSR have been allowed to win the space race?”

Unfortunately, many liberals probably do think that. The moon landing reminds them of the achievements of a racially homogeneous institution our ancestors built. At least some journalists find that offensive—even if they can’t erase the accomplishment from history.

Apollo 11 shows what our people can achieve. Show it to your children and grandchildren. Teach them to be proud. It’s a small way to defy the cultural elites who are dismantling our once-great country.