“Man Weeps on the Moon”

We watched First Man over the weekend. An epic film telling the story of Neil Armstrong’s journey to become the first human to step foot on the lunar surface. As a space exploration fan, filmmaker, and father, this film hit all the feels. It tickled my 9 year old self’s astronaut fantasies that died when I realized how terrible of a methmetician and scientist I was (right vs left brain). I love how it was shot on 16 and 35mm film. As a father and husband, it really hit home as he struggles to balance his career and passion with his family life.

As I usually do upon the completion of film-watching, I spend hours reading up on the back story, behind the scenes, production, reviews… I stumbled upon a review from The New Yorker that nearly caused me to throw my phone out into the snowstorm.

*Spoiler* Much of the story is written around the loss of Neil’s daughter, which culminates at a moment we see at the very end while he is doing the moon walk. The writer of the review basically states that it’s ridiculous that Neil cried while standing on the moonscape, thinking of his daughter. “… if Neil Armstrong had been the sort of fellow who was likely to cry on the moon, he wouldn’t have been the first man chosen… He would have been the last.”

You’re telling me that a man isn’t man enough to walk on the moon if he not only isn’t moved by the historic feat, but having also lost his daughter to a horrible death, then he would be the LAST chosen? Why? Because tears make a man weak? I’d bet my kids savings that Hillary shed a tear after reaching the summit of Everest for the first time in human history. I’m pretty sure Shackleton wept in the quiet of night when he was able to get his entire crew to safety when they all should have died. Jesus wept. When Bannister ran the first sub-4:00 mile; MLK; Leonardo after painting Miss Lisa…

Sure, they all needed nerves of steal to accomplish what they did. ALL of them. Or their feats wouldn’t have happened. But to say that only a real man, one who wouldn’t weap no matter the circumstances, deserves to walk the moon – this is a lie from the pit of rotten pride. Don’t believe it. It’s not true.

Location: NASA Aeronautics

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