There are better things to do at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday than watch Jeff Bezos ride a giant dick to sub-orbital heights. One of those things might be watching him take off from Houston, so that in the off-chance he died up there someone would have to tell Houston they had a problem. But NASA seems to have a lock on that; the rocket fired up and landed in a town called Van Horn, Texas.
That’s one of the only interesting facts about this sojourn, partly because it was shorter than you’d think, but staged to seem longer. Though the trip lasted about 11 minutes, Bezos has repeatedly attempted to turn his pea-brain project into an epic family saga. He brought his brother, Mark, along for the ride. He served the press his “grandmother’s recipe” of arroz con pollo. He had the Blue Origin comms person, whom I can only imagine they chose for her tinkly, angelic laugh, read what amounted to a yearbook entry from his sister, Christina:
Steve and I are so excited for this monumental launch. Jeff, this is something you've dreamed of your whole life and your passion for space is infectious. Mark, you’re the best champion when it comes to encouraging us in our adventures. As you buckle in, I remind you of when Jeff, you were Captain Kirk, Mark, you were Sulu and I took the role of Lt. Uhura. We would battle Klingons while firing torpedoes, all the while dodging in and out of traffic and praying we made it to our destination safely. Mark, be prepared to fire those torpedoes if you need to do so. Now hurry up and get your asses down here so I can give you a hug. We love you and godspeed New Shepherds.
Personally, I’d rather Mark didn’t touch the torpedoes. But different strokes. Clearly it hit with Mia Farrow:
Some saw this relentlessly dark broadcast as a call for optimism, a rallying cry that could unify our yin-yang sign of a country by ploughing boldly into the one part of space we actually do know pretty well. Unfortunately, this shit is too boring to stir the hearts of men.
The one upside of the broadcast was this reflection from an astronaut on the atmosphere Bezos so badly wants to escape but, for the moment, remains condemned to with the rest of us:
Looking at the blackness of space and looking at the surface of the earth and seeing that almost nothing separates those two, [you realize that] all of humankind is on this one small rock protected by this thin, fragile, little layer of air.
Welcome home, Jeff. The air is warm.