Friday, 17 July 2009

Historical lunacy and a literary gem

I was at a barbecue last week, and for some reason we fell to talking about the Apollo 11 moon landing - which was, as we're constantly being reminded, was 40 years ago. Len - well, let's call him Len - said, 'It didn't really happen, you know.' Of course it did, everyone said, we saw it on TV, or those who were too young had seen the recordings. 'Think about it,' said Len. 'Kennedy had told NASA that America had to have a man on the moon by the end of the decade.' We thought about it. It's true - the home of Hollywood - no problem in faking it. 'And what about: "One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind", don't tell me that's not a script!' 'And the near disastrous Apollo 13! Sounds too like a Hollywood story-line.' A giant conspiracy? How can we tell? Well, I guess most of us reckon it's taking historical scepticism too far. There are too many witnesses still alive with their different angles on their involvement.

And yet, it occurs to me, that some people have similar scepticism about the death and resurrection of Jesus, which I admit we don't have on film (except in reconstructions) but we do have in the equivalent of their day including direct or indirect evidence from a whole variety of witnesses. Well, it seems to me that people who dismiss that evidence are of the same ilk as Apollo mission conspiracy theorists - historical lunatics.

Meanwhile, we've had my cousin staying here a night. She is very nice. She writes books too. She's working on the final drafts of her next one, which is due out at the beginning of next year. Look out for it, 'Living with Dying' by Grace Sheppard (DLT). You heard about it here first.


  1. Well interestingly enough, I heard something on the radio that might support Len's theory. Happens the original video of moon landing has been erased...
    Wonder what Len would think of that?!

  2. I am reluctant to wade into conspiracy theories, but re. the script point: one would have thought if it was a Hollywood performance they might have corrected Armstrong's bluffed line. The missed indefinite article made the line contradictory, though nicely balanced.

  3. On the other hand, in an attempt at psychological realism, the script-writers might have cleverly portrayed Armstrong as a semi-articulate air force pilot a bit tongue-tied at an historic moment.