"In the event of a moon disaster"

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Nixon was prepared for astronaut eulogies:

When man first landed on the moon 30 years ago, President Richard Nixon had a speech all ready in case man would not get off again.

A contingency statement was prepared for Mr. Nixon, an eerie, poignant tribute that he would deliver while the astronauts were still alive but when there was no longer any hope for them.

“Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace wills stay on the moon to rest in peace,” says the statement, incorporated in a memo titled “In Event of Moon Disaster.”

The memo is dated July 18, 1969, two days before the moon landing.

Mr. Nixon never had to act on it. Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin made it safely off the moon, back to the command module with Michael Collins, and home. The words were drafted by William Safire, then a Nixon speechwriter and now a columnist for the New York Times.

The memo ended up in the National Archives and was reported by the Los Angeles Times. Associated Press


Wild People, Unite!

A manifesto:

As I see it, here in the early 21st century, triage requires we look beyond our management-plan differences and unite to fight for all our Places, for all our kids — cowboys and Indians, multi-generational rancher and rural-refugee relative-newcomer (just more in a multi-millennial line of migrators) — or we’ll soon have nothing left to argue about. If we can’t look past our personal political agendas toward some deeper shared roots, then it just may be that all of the meaningful nooks and crannies left on the land will be engineered, profiteered, privatized, regulated, marketed, and paved away. We can argue about the details, but first we must unite against those who have no meaning of Place beyond the money that can be extracted from the land; and who, in that money-worshipping land-sacrificing, will suck the Place out of the places needed by those of us who still need that meaning. In a growth-buzz addicted culture, even the stems and seeds get smoked.

Here’s my new bumper sticker: Save the wild people. I envision next to that slogan the picture of a little kid giving the finger. — Ken Wright, The Exquisite Corpse Manifesto Issue



Outlaw manifesto of the century:

In March 1967, at the dawn of what became known as the summer of love, Otto Muehl published “ZOCK,” one of the most fanatical nihilist credos ever written. In this intense instance Otto might be compared to Sergei Nechaev–Dostoyevsky’s model for the fictional Verkhovensky in The Possessed–and his very real Catechism of the Revolutionist. Both manifestoes carried to an ultimate extreme lewdness and severity, of mystical satire in praxis. In both there are suggestions of older, shadowy millenarian uprisings, the writer depicting himself as a complete immoralist, bound to commit “any crime, any treachery, any baseness or deception” to create a New World order. The stories of Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, even Jesus and Judas are taken not as rogue elements but implicitly as paradigms of brotherhood, of fierce love. Both Nechaev and Muehl oppose history to project the future of mankind into a primordial time when communication between heaven and earth, gods and mortals, was not merely possible, but easy and within the reach of all mankind. In both there is an unstated belief in redemption through sin. Every acute and radical Utopianism that is taken seriously tears open an abyss in which by inner necessity these antinomian tendencies and libertarian moral conceptions gain strength. — William Levy, The Exquisite Corpse Manifesto Issue


Walt Whitman (1819–1892), Leaves of Grass:

79. Thought

Of obedience, faith, adhesiveness;

As I stand aloof and look,

there is to me something profoundly affecting in large masses of men,

following the lead of those who do not believe in men.

(dedicated to George W. Bush, as one of a series of posts honoring ‘banned’ poets)

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Deer

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The Strange and the Beautiful: “It takes a while to figure out why Dr. Mark Mahowald’s grainy sleep-lab videos are so spooky. One immediate reason is the phenomena on the footage — a class of disorders called ”parasomnias,” which are defined as unwanted and involuntary behaviors during sleep and are by definition occult, because they appear when most people are unable to witness them. But even the scientists who stay up late by profession never quite get used to what they see.” NY Times