Thursday, July 11, 2013

A House for Lunatics

Lunatic: Origin: 1250–1300; Middle English lunatik  < Old French  lunatique  < Late Latin  lūnāticus  moonstruck.

Apparently, members of the house of representatives in the US are considering a new national park:

On Monday, Representatives Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) – both members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee – proposed new legislation that would declare the lunar landing sites of Apollo missions 11 through 17 as a National Historical Park.

Was this a spoof? Perhaps a story from “The Onion”? No. A quick search resulted in dozens of hits from multiple sources.  So, I will try to take this story seriously….

National Historical Parks, like the related National Historic Sites, are areas deemed to deserve "special recognition and protection" by the US government, including the conservation of scenery and historic objects "to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

The members of the house of representatives want to protect a garbage dump, a place where US astronauts disturbed the natural surface of a place previously untouched by man.  My guess is that is a violation of some EPA code.  Perhaps the EPA will also have jurisdiction?  Oh, forgive me – I said I would try to take this story seriously.

"As commercial enterprises and foreign nations acquire the ability to land on the Moon it is necessary to protect the Apollo lunar landing sites for posterity," the Representatives' proposed bill reads in part.

They want to protect the landing sites?  Perhaps they could propose a companion bill to send the US military to the moon at the same time.  All of it. Wait, there I go again.

The park would be jointly managed by the Department of the Interior and NASA, which together would monitor the Apollo landing sites, catalog the items found there, and coordinate with other "spacefaring nations and entities" to manage access to the sites.

The sites are on the moon.  I know that most members of congress don’t know the location of the countries that they are bombing…but this is the moon we are talking about.  It isn’t located between Kansas and Missouri…oh, sorry; I can’t seem to stay on a serious note….I will try harder.

In addition, the bill would have the US government submit the landing site of Apollo 11, the first manned Moon mission, to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for designation as a World Heritage Site.

A “World Heritage Site.”  On the moon.  What is this, the United Inter-galactic Nations?  Perhaps The Federation?  Shall we ask Spock to be the first ambassador? Or perhaps these guys?  Oh, I give up….

I guess now that the US government has made obvious what many already suspected – that much of the world, including many world leaders, are under its authority – why not start thinking in universal terms?


  1. Maybe the Congress could make national parks of other pieces of junk that the US has abandoned in slightly more accessible places, for example.

  2. In the spirit of the seriousness of your essay, I must relate a brief story that somehow seems tangentially relevant.

    I once purchased a fine men's shirt and noticed that the manufacturer's name for the shirt's color was specified on a tag and was rendered in both English and French.

    In English the somewhat poetic name for the shirt was 'moonstruck'.

    The French translation for the shirt's color was listed as 'fou'.

    If one simply translates 'fou' back into English, it means 'madman' or 'crazy'.


  3. Is this a protest against government cordoning off land or because the technology doesn't really exist for people to disturb the Moon landing areas?

    In the same principle would preserving the spot were certain colonists first landed be meaningless at the time when traveling half way around the world was very difficult and expensive?

    1. I find the action humorous on many levels and for many reasons. I would start writing the reasons and soon find myself with a post longer than the original.

      Call my words the words of protest, or the words of reflection on absurdity.