Hey, everybody! You may know me as that guy you know.
Others may know me as the award-winning writer of Astronauts in Trouble and publisher of First Moon and Switchblade Honey, among other fantastical space-related graphic novels.
Still others may know me as that Dad at school who has all the best Halloween costumes and swears a shit-ton for effect on his Facebook feed.
I’ve done a lot of stuff and I’ve got a lot of stuff going on. Which is why it took me a couple of days to hear that a Japanese billionaire who made his stake selling CDs via snail mail is going to be the first passenger on Elon Musk’s crew-rated Flash Gordon thing, the Big Falcon Rocket, four short years from now.
Now, forget that this Futurama-looking thing, with its forward retractable wing, will never be crew-rated in four years, Yusaku Maezawa says he’s paying the fares for eight other artists who “will create works of art reflecting on their time in space.”
I’ve spent my adult life in advertising and marketing and promotions and print publishing and talent wrangling and other babysitting creative freelancers and I can tell you Maezawa will be wasting his money.
The brief of this trip is a week to the moon and back. I know you folks reading this either are or know creative people. Can you imagine any kind of creative you know spending a week with ten other people they don’t know very well in a campervan the size of a Winnebago, floating around, trying to take a poop in zero gravity?
Half these people can’t wipe their own heinies ON EARTH much less have the rigor and discipline to have a smooth three day ride to the moon, circle it for a day soaking up the cosmos, come back for another three days, and ply their talent to craft poems and paintings and songs and multi-media sculptures using Chef Boyardee or whatever. What a useless idea.
Maezawa should go, sure. If I was the 18th richest guy in Japan, I’d want to go, too… and I’d wear my screen-used suit from Armageddon the entire time… even when I was trying to catch my own floating poop in a bag.
But artists and dreamers and other talent have been making art inspired by the moon for thousands of years without leaving the planet and besides Apollo 12 hero Al Bean, no spaceman has really done anything about it, art-wise. I’d make the argument that you aren’t an artist worth your salt if you can’t inspire deep emotion of some kind in your audience by making them see what you see in the boundless, majestic infinity of existence, already.
Japanese billionaire bringing artists. Pshaw.
Maezawa should bring a diverse cross-section of humanity with him. Teenaged science nerds with a couple experiments. Single moms, just for the week off. A fourth-generation farmer. Jodie Foster, so she can radio back to Earth: “They should have sent a poet” and make the planet laugh. Somebody from a third world country, unfamiliar with technology.
You don’t have to send “artists” because no matter who you send, they’re coming back artists, and job done.
That said, most starving artists know bakers color-code their bread to let you know when it was actually baked. Employees know when to remove and restock, and college students in the Philosophy Department know how to maximize their pennies to get the freshest bread to stay in the cupboard the longest.
Loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou, don’tcha know.
Commercial bakers don’t bake on Wednesday or Sunday. I don’t know why; if you care, I’m sure Google works in your town.
My point is, I’m not the 18th richest guy in Japan, and I just got you hip to a more artistic way of looking at your next grocery run than Maezawa and his eight buddies will.
And we didn’t have to go to the moon to do it.