“The Apollo program was designed by men, for men. If we do not acknowledge the gender bias of the early space program, it becomes difficult to move past it.”
—Tweet by the New York Times, today.
How many times do we read something like this and because it has a certain internal logic and sounds rhetorically reasonable we just nod and accept that something intelligent has been said instead of something suited to a stark raving lunatic?
There is nothing, absolutely NOTHING to 'move past'. It's a false, contrived dilemma with no attachment to either the real world or to people as they exist upon it, or off of it either. History is not holding us back. The men and women of the space program built it well for us and we've long built upon what they made. Name a single thing, even one thing, about the space program that we've been unable to "move past". There's nothing.
In fact, in order to support such counter-factual assertions about the power of the past we modern folk have to cleanse the past of participation, of the women who did the computing by hand, of all the heroism and triumph, of everyone who *at the time* was involved in an active and lively conversation about who ought to be an astronaut. And worse, erase those who ultimately have *won* that argument.
Because it's not even appropriating for ourselves the struggles of the past, but appropriating a version of the past that is shallow and twisted for our purposes.
So don't just read a "reasonable" statement and nod. Actually think it through, identify each element, both the facts claimed AND the claimed significance of those facts and figure out if you're getting smoke blown up your *ss by people who absolutely refuse to just be HAPPY about one of the most amazing and unequivocal triumphs of our nation.
(And don't suggest that they're doing it because they hate America, even if it's true.)