I thought that was nothing but a weird dream


I dreamt that William Shatner was going to be launched into space, which was odd since I really don’t care about an over-the-hill celebrity and I generally don’t have that kind of random dream. But then this morning I learned that it was really going to happen next week! This was not a prophetic dream, I must have just fleetingly encountered a news item last week that just sunk out of my awareness (I really, truly don’t give a fuck about Shatner) and then resurfaced while I was asleep.

Science fiction will soon become reality, as William Shatner is scheduled to launch on the next crewed spaceflight of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.

The company plans to fly the Canadian actor, who famously played Capt. Kirk in the original “Star Trek” television series, as one of the passengers on the company’s New Shepard rocket.

The launch is planned for Oct. 12. Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations, Audrey Powers, is joining the flight, with the crew of four rounded out by previously announced members Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Medidata co-founder Glen de Vries.

But wait! This is insane! Shatner has no qualifications for this mission, and he’s 90 years old! It’s pure PR. Bezos is just stuffing random attention-getting bodies (and a few of his corporate cronies) into his rocketship to sit quietly and do nothing. This is precisely what the phrase “spam in a can” means.

Also, Bezos has sold $100 million in tickets to willing hunks of wealthy spam. None of them earned the privilege of going into space, they’ve just got connections and money that’s going to give them bragging rights at the next cocktail party. Just lumps of spiced ham, heavily processed, shot into space, and unfortunately returned.

You know what this means? Elon Musk is going to have to bag a Kardashian, or maybe a Star Wars cast member, for his next flight.

By the way, did you know that Bezos is suing NASA for awarding a contract to Musk? Fight, fight, fight! Can they please kill each other, or at least cripple themselves, in a bloody time-wasting spectacle of profligate money-flinging?

Comments

  1. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    Musk v. Bezos, Alien vs. Predator: Whoever wins, we loses.

    Also, yeah, it is true that this is naked PR… but it is pretty wonderful symbolically, and it’s okay to celebrate that. Captain Kirk is going to go to space. Yes, not really, just the actor who played him alongside an array of other roles, but if Roddenberry were alive, I imagine he would be ecstatic.

  2. sc_262299b298126f9a3cc21fb87cce79da says

    Well, at least they’re not going to Africa and slaughtering large animals so they can have their picture taken over the corpse. That’s so passé.

  3. consciousness razor says

    This is the mirror universe.

    By the way, did you know that Bezos is suing NASA for awarding a contract to Musk? Fight, fight, fight! Can they please kill each other, or at least cripple themselves, in a bloody time-wasting spectacle of profligate money-flinging?

    Somebody should keep NASA in the car and circle the block a few times looking for parking, while the others sort it out among themselves. It’s not much of a plan, but we just need to make sure they survive.

    Sadly, the complaint is also totally believable:

    Historically a staunch advocate for prioritizing safety, NASA inexplicably disregarded key flight safety requirements for only SpaceX, in order to select and make award to a SpaceX proposal that NASA’s evaluation team assessed as tremendously high risk and immensely complex, even before the waiver of safety requirements.

    Reading about the recent Boeing Starliner failures will not exactly fill you with confidence either.

  4. consciousness razor says

    Captain Kirk is going to go to space. Yes, not really, just the actor who played him alongside an array of other roles, but if Roddenberry were alive, I imagine he would be ecstatic.

    In the previous mission when Bezos was able to “go to space,” it was a suborbital flight which lasted a whole ten minutes and reached a maximum altitude of 107 kilometers.

  5. Howard Brazee says

    I don’t care if wealthy people subsidize the space program. It’s better than buying yachts and stuff.

    Nobody has to be “qualified” to buy a yacht or diamond ring. Why is being a space tourist (apparently) much bigger news than buying other bling?

  6. birgerjohansson says

    consciousness razor @ 4
    Money talks…it is like William Gibson’s “Peripheral ” where two factions fight over control by outbidding each other for control of politicians.

  7. hemidactylus says

    I hope instead of doing some expected Kirk line during the launch, he instead just keeps repeating “Denny Crane!” and “Mad Cow!” over and over on a hot mic.

  8. davidc1 says

    First time the spamship blows up ,there will no longer be any takers for further flights.

  9. stroppy says

    “The Expanse”
    Gazillionaire rocket man Jules-Pierre Mao, spends bazillions trying to spark war and to reengineer the whole human genome. Prophetic? You decide.

  10. PaulBC says

    My first thought was “What, he died and they’re launching his urn?” That I would not have trouble believing. This just sounds like a huge waste of money. I have nothing against Shatner in particular. I just haven’t given him a thought since Priceline was a big thing.

  11. Just an Organic Regular Expression says

    The huge stupidity in this is that rockets are dangerous. Any space enthusiast who lived through the Challenger disaster knows this; it marked us permanently.

    One of these launches, more probably Bezos’s, is going to blow up, probably on landing, and that will be the end of tourism for billionaires for a long time. There will be an outpouring of public regret for the fondly-remembered has-beens who got shredded & cooked, congressional inquiries, pious statements from NASA and the other billionaire… jeez I’m puking already.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/blue-origin-employees-letter-new-shepard-rockets-not-safe-2021-9?op=1

  12. stroppy says

    @ 13

    I would say so, yes.

    Which brings up an important point. For safely navigating the impending future, don’t provoke the giant, blood-mad mutant beetles by accidentally looking at them.

  13. rblackadar says

    @13 OMG Brilliant! Where can I get that font?

    (When the link came up on my screen, I misread “Onion” and thought for a moment it was news about Lockheed Orion, or perhaps Project Orion from the 1950’s.)

  14. consciousness razor says

    For safely navigating the impending future, don’t provoke the giant, blood-mad mutant beetles by accidentally looking at them.

    The only humane approach. Because it would infringe your rights if you weren’t allowed to trudge around at korpse piles or gropeyards.

  15. Artor says

    What are the chances Shatner will die during liftoff? An overweight 90 year old is not exactly the best candidate for pulling multiple Gs for several minutes.

  16. DrVanNostrand says

    Surely Elon Musk is already in negotiations with Mark Hamill, James Earl Jones, and Harrison Ford.

  17. PaulBC says

    Artor@20

    What are the chances Shatner will die during liftoff?

    And an entirely new futures market is born!

    “Old celebrities in space death watch” isn’t catchy enough, but I’ll leave it as a strawman. Anyone have something better:?

  18. flange says

    Even at 90, Shatner will do anything to get himself on camera, or in print. Captain Kirk beamed up for good on final mission.

  19. hemidactylus says

    It would be kinda cool if James Spader was waiting at the landing zone for Shat’s return from space with glasses of scotch and cigars at the ready.

  20. hemidactylus says

    @12- PaulBC

    I used to despise Shat. My dad would mock people on TV or movies as having attended the “William Shatner School of Acting”. After Star Trek there was Kingdom of the Spiders, TJ Hooker, Rescue 911, and the Priceline thing. But he got a new lease on life with Boston Legal (which branched off from The Practice as Crane’s firm represent Shore toward the end of that series). BL wasn’t for everyone and I caught it in reruns years later. But Shat nailed that role and shattered the Kirk image for me.

    I for one think Shat in space or whatever barely qualifies for space isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened. It’s kinda cool IMO despite Bezos’ Blue Origin as genetic fallacy. YMMV.

  21. PaulBC says

    hemidactylus@25 If he agrees to do a reprise of Mr. Tambourine Man from orbit, I might tune in.

  22. microraptor says

    It’s a sad state of affairs that America’s space program has devolved into a dick-measuring contest between a couple of billionaires.

  23. PaulBC says

    microraptor@27 I remember back when it was a dick-measuring contest between superpowers. Those were the days.

  24. Ishikiri says

    @16: I, for one, am going to find it awfully funny when a group of these fuckers become the first people to die in space.

  25. steve1 says

    I would only put Shatner on a rocket if the airplane sabotaging creature from his twilight zone episode goes with him. Shatner would have to mug crazily like he did in that episode.

  26. NitricAcid says

    Does Shatner actually still consider himself a Canadian? I don’t think he’s set foot here (other than one appearance on Montreal’s Just for Laughs) since the elder Trudeau was Prime Minister. (That’s the Carter administration, for those who prefer American measurements.)

    I honestly suspect he’d rather go out in the blast of a rocket-d!ck than to continue to wither away as a has-been actor, still famous for a role he played in the 60s.

  27. consciousness razor says

    still famous for a role he played in the 60s

    Well…. He was still Captain Kirk in 1994’s Star Trek Generations. He seemed old then.

    Or if you want the last film before there was a Captain Picard, it was 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Everybody remembers that one: Back to the Future, with whales, in space. They probably should’ve ended it then.

  28. PaulBC says

    Well…. He was still Captain Kirk in 1994’s Star Trek Generations. He seemed old then.

    I would argue that his job as Priceline spokesperson in the late 90s represented his media saturation peak. Like, he had been famous for doing a few things (mostly Star Trek but also TJ Hooker) most of his career, and he had finally reached the Nirvana of being famous for being famous. For some this blessing comes early, but man, Shatner had to pay his dues to get there.

  29. consciousness razor says

    I would argue that his job as Priceline spokesperson in the late 90s represented his media saturation peak.

    Not Boston Legal? 101 episodes on ABC, 2004-2008.

    Believe it or not, the guy is still cranking out stuff now, at age 90. But nothing very big anymore.

  30. NitricAcid says

    #33- Yeah, you could probably count movies 2, 3, and 4 as memorable. I don’t even remember how many movies there were in the series after that, because they all stunk.

    I watched a spider-plague-invasion movie that starred him a few year ago, and when the credits started rolling, the subtitles proclaimed, “Keep watching for fascinating Shatner trivia!”, followed by an explanation of why everyone involved in the movie hated him- he would insist that the camera must always be focused on him (because he’s the star), even if other actors were delivering lines at the moment.

  31. wzrd1 says

    After a full day and change, my view is, suborbital flight is either a really, really expensive sounding rocket, a weapon (see ICBM) or a toy.
    At least one company has a true orbital vehicle.
    Which is dangerous as well. After all, rocket science is easy. Build a bomb, make it go off slow, in only one direction and steer it. ;)

  32. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    @5: Which is still far higher than Shatner had been. It’s still cool. If it didn’t cost so much and promote such ugly priorities (alongside some really good ones), it’d be something we could applaud without reservation.

    @6: Except buying yachts only furthers the idea that the rich should like boating, while the huge privatization of space reinforces the idea that science is for the powerful and that the rich are being rational in essentially preparing to use space as an escape valve to retreat from the catastrophes their short-sighted idiocy and greed caused. Oh, and yeah, dumps a ton of carbon into the atmosphere, to say nothing of other externalities.

  33. beezlebubby says

    In a just world, their two crafts would collide in sub-space, taking out two payloads of undeservedly wealthy parasites in the process.

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