Sunday, February 25, 2007

Billy Bob in Space

In about a month, I'll be travelling to Amsterdam to present my paper, One Giant Leap for Bureaucracy. The piece is about how NASA is more concerned with maintain its authorative position in space travel than allowing private citizens to enter space. NASA's just like any other bureaucracy, more concerned with its public image than bringing humanity into space.

Enter The Astronaut Farmer, a movie about Charlie Farmer (Billy Bob Thorton) building a rocket on his Texas ranch. When he tries to buy rocket fuel for his launch, FBI and a smattering of other government agencies find out and try to shut him down, notably NASA and the FAA. The overarching sentiment on why they don't want him to launch: they don't want to be embarassed.

It was a pretty good movie, though sometimes overdone and scientifically shaky. But the theme is disturbingly accurate.

1 comment:

B Tween said...

Absolutely true. The government is not literally a machine. It's composed of individuals who seek validation through the exercise of their power, so when someone seeks to marginalize their power, they react viciously.
There are examples of it everywhere, from Heckuvajob Brownie to Rumsfeld to the President himself. (I only use GOPers in this example because they've been the party of power for so long - give me 6 more months and we'll have lots of democratic examples).

The real power in DC is not in the hands of the politicians, but in the hands of those whose job it is to implement policy. They can make or break an idea, and if they turn their hoary eye upon you, look out!