It’s quiet in Jacksonville, 1953.
office at night, edward hopper, 1940
What an event last night in Colorado! Now is the time to Commit to Mitt: http://mi.tt/Rk67tT
My second day of school outfit
As I reblog it, this photograph of the late Neil Armstrong has over 30,000 notes and is featured on the Tumblr radar (that predictably gauche barometer of public taste). When I log into Facebook, I am assaulted by a news feed full of homages, quotes, images, videos, etc. In nearly every instance, there is a clear absence of deeply felt emotion expressed over the ostensibly mourned. It feels, like death itself, preordained: someone died, we must acknowledge it.
Is it an atavistic impulse? An attempt at warding off death by paying our respects, however autistically? Is that grinning face above a memento mori? (And if so, what better symbol of the fragility and tenacity of human life is there than a man shielded from oblivion by a few inches of synthetic material?) Or is it something less self-interested? Is it truly an acknowledgement of the importance of this man—or his footprint at any rate? I suppose none of these possibilities are mutually exclusive. And when death is present, it’s best to allow for as much ambiguity as seems permissible.
We talk about death like we talk about the weather, in passing and with curiosity: it greases conversation and proves that in our fragmented age there are things we all share: memories; memories of memories; a constellation of figures to which we can look, even if we don’t. And in this instance, a moon.
As much as I suspect that our practice of mourning in this rote, one-click way is largely disingenuous and unworthy of being called mourning, there must be something to it, if only what it reveals about us, whatever that is. Death carries a lot of debris in its wake, curiosity not the least among it.
How many of us knew prior to yesterday afternoon that while in space, Armstrong put up his thumb and blotted out the earth. How many of us have had the same wish.
(image via crookedindifference)