OK, so here’s my annual anti-Atlas Society space travel movie rant. Last year’s mean-spirited (but totally on-target) rant was directed against Will Thomas’s review of “Interstellar.” This year’s “rant” is directed at Ed Hudgins’s equally silly review of “The Martian.”
The truth is, I haven’t seen “The Martian” and I’m not inclined to, since there’s only so much Matt-Damon-in-space I can take, and I got enough of him last year to last me awhile. So I’m not really talking about the movie part of the review, even if it has that trademark Atlas Society feel of Randroid propaganda masquerading as film criticism:
The Martian is an uplifting film that does not minimize the challenges of life; indeed, Watney explains that he knew going in that space travel was dangerous and that he could be killed. But he says that once you acknowledge that you might die, you deal with the problem at hand and the next and the next. This is humanity at its best. Damon as Watney gives a fine performance. His character must keep up his optimism—without maudlin emotionalism or self-deceiving bravado. He must demonstrate intelligence and ingenuity. In all this we see the best of the human spirit!
Formula: (Ayn Rand + Sartre + Marcus Aurelius + Macgyver) / Elon Musk = A Hero for Our Times
No, I’m talking about the hey-let’s-travel-to-Mars part of the review. But this time I’m not going to rant. I’m not going to say a damn thing. Just go back and read Hudgins’s case for going to Mars. Then read Ed Regis’s “Let’s Not Move to Mars,” published in The New York Times a few weeks ago, and compare the two.
An excerpt from Regis:
These are only a few of the many serious challenges that must be overcome before anyone can put human beings on Mars and expect them to live for more than five minutes. The notion that we can start colonizing Mars within the next 10 years or so is an overoptimistic, delusory idea that falls just short of being a joke.
I link. You decide.
By the way, if you’ve ever found yourself wondering why the average educated person regards Objectivism as a cult for immature, fantasy-besotted lunatics, hold Hudgins’s and Thomas’s praise for Elon Musk in mind while you read this. Is the supposedly uncharitable stereotype really that far off?