Astronauts: a Comparison

This astronaut is alive with soul. Taken from the front cover of the Afghan Whigs' 1965, he is an emblem of the unbridled passion and joy to be found on that album; moreover, he is up there in space swinging to the collective sound of free love in the American '60s. Many miles above the Earth, he's feeling the groove. What's he doing up there? He's twisting the wires, fixing the cables, setting up the interstellar transmission to send the sweet sounds of Motown all across the stars and beyond. He'll get the job done. And what's up next for our spaceman friend? Well, he's going to step back into his rocketship and freak his astronaut ladyfriend until the break of dawn - which, floating in orbit, could be an awful long time.

This, I think, is the kind of astronaut we want to have up there in case aliens come by.

What the hell is the matter with this astronaut? The soul is not only not alive in him, the soul is fossilized and on display at the Museum of Natural History next to that Tyrannosaurus Rex everyone's talking about. Look at this guy: stiff as a board. The joints on that suit have never followed a groove. They wouldn't know how. He'd need a guidebook to follow People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. Where is he going with that big orange ball? What is he going to do with it? What creature anywhere in this entire universe is hoping to see this jerk with his big heavy orange ball? Shit, if it was brown, I could see that. Brown is funky. Maybe he's decorating his space station. But orange?

Call me alarmist, but this picture comes straight from NASA's homepage, which leads me to believe that the people in charge think this is what an astronaut ought to look like. And that's scary. Is this the kind of spaceman we want playing host for any aliens passing through? Just imagine: the Martians land at his pad. They're smiling. What's going on, Earthling? They're ready for the first interspecies party. They brought bean dip. This fucker says hold on, let me get the place ready. He breaks out a bag of stale Cheeze-Puffs, pours three glasses of milk and drops the needle on some Kenny G. We're fucked! The Martians will never come to an Earth party ever again. They'll probably bomb the shit out of us.

Write your congressman!

(photos: Afghan Whigs/Columbia, NASA)

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