Obsolescence

By Phil Plait | July 14, 2008 11:09 am

It’s sad, but true, that sometimes you just don’t need things anymore. Even in fiction. I won’t spoil anything about this very well-written story, so just go read it. It’s short; it’ll only take you a few minutes.

I wrote a story some years ago with a similar idea, but it was pretty bad. Some day I’ll dust it off, tighten it (way) up, and do something with it. Some day.

Tip o’ the tin foil beanie to Larry Klaes.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Humor, NASA, Skepticism, Space

Comments (30)

  1. John

    The link isn’t working for me. :(

  2. I just clicked it and it works. I don’t know why it failed for you.

  3. John

    Actually, I tried a third time and it worked.

    Strange.

  4. Brian Hart

    The link isn’t working for me either!

  5. Hilarious. Guessed the punchline but the ride was fun. :-)

  6. Celtic_Evolution

    Phil… you may have inadvertantly launched a D.O.S. attack on this poor site. You don’t know you’re own strength… ;)

  7. Celtic_Evolution

    grrr… yes, I know the difference between “you’re” and your”, despite the evidence to the contrary. :/

  8. No, C_E, Space Review is a big site and can handle the few hundred or thousand hits sent their way. :)

  9. Brian Hart

    3rd time’s the charm for me too!

  10. Craig

    @Celtic_Evolution

    grrr… yes, I know the difference between “you’re” and your”, despite the evidence to the contrary. :/

    …which is why it would be nice to see this blog have a comment preview option. Maybe it’s in the works.

  11. Cheyenne

    I tried 4 times now. No worky for moi!

  12. Celtic_Evolution

    the few hundred or thousand hits sent their way.

    Oh, the modesty… ;)

  13. That was hilarious, but, I think the guy’s onto something. It all makes sense now…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq_n1ZaL6e0

  14. Gary

    The link worked for me, great little story!

  15. Space Cadet

    I read this (and linked to it) when you posted the blog with the Google Earth – Moon Landing video. Was it coincidence, or was it – cue the Twilight Zone music -something else????

  16. baryogenesis

    Speaking of appropriate music——http://musicformaniacs.blogspot.com/

  17. Zucchi

    That was hilarious.

  18. Hugo

    Reminds me of a movie I saw once. All fictional. A number of famous actors. Complete tosh.

    You, knowingly: “Capricorn One.”

    “No, Apollo 13. Capricon One was real, the guvmint just covered it up.”

  19. Hugo, the last laugh is on you! They’re re-making Capricorn One. :)

  20. owlbear1

    [Editor’s Note: The following is a work of fiction.]

    The necessity of that comment is an utter tragedy.

  21. The Yorkshire Sceptic

    Brilliant! Thanks for the rec. :-D

    I’d love to see the Coen Brothers’ version of it… {VBG}

  22. The Yorkshire Sceptic

    P.S. If you liked it, don’t forget to sent feedback! :-)

  23. “Wow.” President Bush shook her head. “That’s going to take some time to digest.” She stood up and walked over to the windows overlooking the Rose Garden, hands behind her back. “He really was a Muslim,” she muttered to no-one in particular. “It all makes a crazy kind of sense now.”

    She turned, and Director of the National Security Agency, Lt General Cussler, could see the irritation in her face. The newly sworn-in President of the USA did not like it when someone in the room knew things she did not, and really did not like it when this fact was the focus of conversation. “You guys did the right thing; sounds like we really dodged a bullet, there.”

    “No pun intended,” said Cussler, with what he hoped was a conspiratorial and not overly sycophantic wink.

    President Bush just glared at him, and he immediately wished he’d stuck to what the memo had said about making jokes. “Anything else you national security types been keeping quiet about?” she asked.

    “The moon landings, Madam President,” said Cussler, eager to move on. “The Apollo moon landings.”

    “Are you kidding me?”

    “The truth of the matter has been artfully concealed for quite some time, Madam President.”

    She waved a hand as she sat back down behind the Resolute desk. “But I know about those. Everyone does. There’s no secret. Faked. Giant hangers under the Arizona desert. No way science could have gotten men to the moon in the sixties, blah, blah, blah. Everyone,” she glared at him again, “knows about those. Next.”

    “Well,” said Cussler, holding his briefing papers like a child holds a blanket, “that’s not really true. It’s not the whole story.”

    “Tell me,” President Bush said, leaning forward, hands steepled, voice dangerously steady, “did I just imagine that trip to Arizona? Did I just imagine the giant-” she glanced over at her Chief of Staff.

    “Vacuum chamber, Madam President.”

    “-vacuum chamber? The one with the danged moon in it? I don’t think so. Not much of a national security secret when you’ve all gone and made a theme park out of it, now is it?”

    Cussler squirmed in his seat. Sweat was making his overlarge waistband sticky. “I think you ought to hear me out on this one, Madam President.”

    “Fine,” she sighed. “Go on.”

    “Well, it’s true there is a place in Arizona where you can go – and you’ve been there – and you can see the place where NASA faked the moon landings. That’s all true. Except it isn’t.”

    “I’m warning you, General.”

    “Right. Yes. You see, the thing is,” Cussler swallowed, his throat dry, “the hoax is a hoax.”

    “I’m not just warning you anymore, General, I’m considering having you shot. What in the hell are you blabbering about?” To the room: “What the hell is he on about?”

    No-one in the room was stupid enough to actually answer, so it was left to Cussler to soldier on. “The hoax is a hoax, Madam President, because we really did go to the moon.”

    A pause. “What?”

    “It’s true. We really did. Apollo put men on the moon, Madam President. It actually happened.”

    “But – I was on the tour. The science wasn’t up to it.” She stood up, pointing an accusing finger at Cussler. “The space rays would have killed them. The landings were staged as a PR stunt.”

    “All lies. It was too good to pass up, Madam President, all those stories about it being a hoax. If we could put men on the moon in the sixties, when a digital watch was something strange and amazing, why had we never returned to the moon since? Why had we never put anyone back there? The hoax was the perfect answer. More than half the nation believed it was all a hoax anyway, so why not confirm what they already knew? We built the facility in Arizona, spent a whole lot of taxpayer money making it look mothballed and antique, leaked some incriminating information out in a random Freedom of Information request and then let the whole thing play out in the press. Helped divert attention from the whole Obama debacle, although that was just a side benefit.”

    “We really went to the moon?”

    “Yes, Madam President. Buzz Aldrin was lying when he said he was lying. A true patriot.”

    “But why?”

    “Because we can’t go back, Madam President. We can’t afford to, not any more. NASA is stripped to the bone and can barely put satellites in orbit. Asking them to rebuild the infrastructure to put another man – or woman – on the moon would bankrupt this country. You know how it is with the dollar now, but rather than admit that we can no longer do what we did routinely in the sixties, rather than admit we are now less technologically advanced that a nation that had yet to experience disco, we decided to adopt the hoax as the official US Government position. Cheaper all round and, like I said, we knew it would pass the smell test. Just like Intelligent Evolution.”

    “What about Intelligent Evolution? I got very good marks on that in college, you know.”

    “Which brings us to the last point in this national security briefing, Madam President. You might want to be sitting down for this one.”

  24. Brilliant! Now all we need are the Space Nazi’s who escaped to the Moon in 1945 in their secret flying saucers to come back, and attempt to assassinate Pres. Bush.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KEueJnsu80

  25. Excellent stuff David.

    Michael L, Iron Sky. Yep, been looking forward to that one. That has a Pres. Jenna Bush too.

  26. :) Shane, that’s why I posted it!

  27. Michael, missed the “and attempt to assassinate Pres. Bush” bit. Oops, my bad.

  28. After the initial shock wore off Pres. Bush, she picked up the telephone, “Yes, please have The Secretary of Science and Education come to the Oval Office. Yes, Dr. Hovind, and you’d better have my science advisor, Mr. Hoagland join him.”

    With apologies to David! :)

  29. David

    Glad you liked it – just a quick 30mins response inspired by reading that story.

  30. Awesome, and enjoyed your website.

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