JAIMIE VERNON – SPACE, THE FINAL FRONTIER

Jaimie as King George

On November 19th I will be 51 years old. I was born three days before the Kennedy assassination so that puts me in a respectable place to look at a half-century of human endeavour and simultaneous failings with some authority.

I am proud to have lived during the second industrial revolution – this one involving advanced technologies. We took the ideas of Bell, Marconi, Tesla, Von Braun, Ford and so many others and didn’t stop just because we found them challenging (flying cars notwithstanding).

Flying car Most of our leaps forward were motivated by the very Mother of Invention – need: Telecommunications, high speed transportation, flush toilets, washing machines, microwaves, ballpoint pens, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers and electric shavers which, at their core, saved us time. Something our ancestors were in short supply of because of the drudgery of doing menial tasks manually.

Weaving Mill

But we didn’t stop there. We also created the need itself: Radio, television, computers, birth control, toothpaste, deodorant, plastic bags, and coffee stir sticks among them (which, to date, still aren’t long enough to work effectively). It seems that the human race was unaware that it needed to eliminate static cling until the Bounce dryer sheet was invented. Or deodorizing refrigerators with baking soda – a product you use once and then immediately throw in the garbage.

Bounce
Every advancement created consumers, jobs and economies on a massive scale. The global village grew bigger, the needs along with it and we pushed forward in our desire to better our lives as a species. But something went horribly wrong. The needs of the individual began to dominate and the big-thinkers – those people who have always been watching out for us as a species – have been marginalized and even destroyed in the name of freedom and convenience. Climate change? Deforestation? Pish-posh.

Alien cartoon We are a dangerous dichotomy intent on evolving while simultaneously killing ourselves as we do it. We’re a python that bites its own tail. We’ve managed to shit where we eat – progressing to the point of being unable to inhabit the very places we’ve built as our homesteads. Ironically, we call it civilization. To an alien race we might very well appear the epitome of a self-destructive global parasite.

philae_on_comet

This week much has been made of the European Space Agency landing a washing machine on a comet. Not all of it was positive. Why couldn’t we have used $1.8 billion the mission cost to fix the poverty and economic problems in Europe first? The same argument has been leveled at NASA in the past. Americans took that to heart and carved up the space agency’s budget to the point where now they’re not doing much more than helping other countries launch satellites and poking around the cosmos with the Hubble telescope – an aging orbital eyeball that’s already a quarter century old and in need of a paint job. http://astronomynow.com/2014/11/13/philae-sends-first-image-from-comet/

Explorers
What our forefathers once deemed exploration we now consider luxury – we really can’t afford the cost of hubris anymore. We do share one thing in common with those ancestors, however, and that is we don’t look back. The Puritans came to North America to escape their European overlords; Pissed off Brits left England to escape a despot king; The Irish came to escape starvation. Those people carved out a new normal. They started again and were the very face of evolving ingenuity. They built the new Rome and never returned to right the wrong that drove them from their homes in the first place.

Forbidden To that end, we are not going back to fix Europe’s economy. We don’t possess the empathetic capacity to feed the starving millions in Africa. We’re not going to save the pandas or the rhinos or the humpback whales. We’re getting off this mudball. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. Where once we raped and pillaged to establish our domain and reap the comforts of our conquests we now abandon what we’ve wrought and start fresh. It’s a disposable world we’ve created and one we’re determined to dispose of entirely.

startrek It’s why we’re going back to the Moon. It’s why there’s a race to get to Mars. And now…now we’re about to find out what comets are made of and maybe even why they exist. For many there is no big picture in this story. They see a floating iceball drifting through space. But its secrets are the same as the ones that drove the Spaniards to South America and the colonial Americans to black mining hills of Dakota. Gold. Or the Star Trek equivalent thereof. Roddenberry may have preached peace and love and granola in the 24th Century but he wrote never-to-be-used lyrics to the show’s instrumental theme song just so he could double dip on broadcast royalties well into perpetuity.

Scientists are chasing unicorns in space and they’ll soon be able to tell us exactly what it eats for breakfast. But capitalists are chasing money in space. VirginIt’s why Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic corporation was willing to bankroll the deaths of two test pilots last week who risked it all in the name of putting private citizens in orbit. They didn’t make it. But you can bet someone else will. No one has ever let the death of a few astronauts stop us from achieving greater things in the name of humanity or a profit margin. Remember…three men in Apollo 1 died on the launch pad so that we might get to the Moon.

Transporter While countries fight over water and oil and GMO infected food stuffs, there are a handful of would-be explorers – both altruistic and greedy – looking to make history. They will have their names on statues and rivers discovered underneath the surface of Jupiter’s satellite Europa. They will also develop the technology that might one day allow us to travel great distances not in space ships…by Trekkian transporter or, as Einstein predicted, through time itself.

Amazing Stories And if this all seems rather pie-in-the-sky and fantastic in a 1950s ‘Amazing Stories‘ kind of way just remember that it took Charles Lindbergh 33 1/2 hours to fly the Spirit of St. Louis from New York to Paris, France on the very first successful Trans-Atlantic flight. His motivation? Lafayette Hotel  mogul Raymond Orteig offered a $25,000 prize to the first person that could do it. Six others died trying. Lindbergh beat the odds.

Interstellar

It is this drive that will determine our fate. Not necessarily because of our desire to survive as a species (the plot point for the current Matthew McConaughey movie “Interstellar“), but because of our insatiable egos. We have many firsts to look forward to down the road. First man/woman on Mars, the first man/woman on all the other planets in the solar system, the first man/woman to breech the solar system, and so on.

And what of Mother Earth? It will breathe a sigh of relief and shrug off its parasites eventually recovering enough to start anew and possibly play host to a life form that isn’t hell bent on fucking and forgetting it. And our great, great, great, great ancestors will reminisce nostalgically about how it used to be for humanity with cute little inventions that ran on fossil fuel, battery operated digital timepieces and some forgotten celebrity with an ass the size of comet 67-P.

Kardashian

Send your CDs for review to this NEW address: Jaimie Vernon, 4003 Ellesmere Road, Toronto, ON M1C 1J3 CANADA

=JV=

Jaimie’s column appears every Saturday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonJaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 33 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 16 years. He is also the author of the recently released Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and a collection of his most popular ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ columns called ‘Life’s A Canadian…BLOG’ is now available at Amazon.com

One Response to “JAIMIE VERNON – SPACE, THE FINAL FRONTIER”

  1. Thanks Jaimie, that was great. I`m surprised you find the time to do this. But keep it up.

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