Jock and Jill
Went up the hill
To fetch a plume of water...
Rather, in October of this year, an uphill trek of roughly 239,000 miles to an innocent body that circles our earth every 27.3 days, influences our tides, and is slowly (how very brilliant of it!) moving away from us. If only it had moved faster, this tale might not have begun. For those of you who have not heard, Jock(NASA) detonated a ballistic missile on the moon because, well he was just SO curious about whether the moon had water, and patient research and exploration was SO yesterday. Jock wasn't hoping to plant flowers and beautify that surface: he wanted to colonize the moon so that he could pollute and putrify and poison her the way he had the earth. Indeed, Jock's buddies had already left their footprints on the moon's surface, and since there is no wind to blow them away those footprints will remain for hundreds of years. We're pretty proud of those early explorations. Many of us, though, are concerned about man's impact on the environment. And some of us are appalled at what has just taken place.
But why are we surprised? Our history of colonization, as shown in the New World, is a grim one. Anyway, Jock's plume turned out to be debris, not water, which shot 30 miles high and so Jock fell down (on the job of BS-ing the public so that they would cheer the impressive results of his brilliance). What he had accomplished was to blast the upper stage of a 2-ton rocket at over 5600 miles per hour into the moon, causing a crater roughly one third the size of a football field in width. He could not fathom the criticism that ensued: meteors and comets have been bombarding the moon since its birth. (Men have also been raping women since Tarzan dragged Jill by the hair.) And we're the first country to dig a humongous hole-in-one-moon, just as we were the first to detonate Fat Man and Little Boy. (A recent acquaintance told me that he had worked as a physician at Nagasaki and Hiroshima roughly a decade after WW II ended. He was horrified by the disfigurements, but even more shocked by the way these tragic human beings were being shunned as “imperfects” and therefore “untouchables”.)
The link of water to the moon indeed has an ancient lineage. Folklore associates the moon with rainfall, cycles, floods, storms, and increased hemorrhaging. “Moon madness”, gave rise to luna, as in lunacy (luna sea?) and lunatic. In the United Kingdom, the 1842 Lunacy Act described a 'lunatic 'as “a demented person enjoying lucid intervals during the first 2 phases of the moon and afflicted with a period of fatuity in the period following after the full moon”. The Maori felt that Rona, the daughter of the sea god Tangaroa, controlled the tides. In Mayan mythology, the old Moon Goddess was Ix Chel whose assistant was a sky serpent believed to carry all of the water of the heavens in its belly. In ancient China there were 12 moons, one for each month, made of water – they also had a hare or a toad living inside.
Modern thinkers have had their own forms of lunacy. According to the BBC, Operation Blue Peacock during the Cold War considered planting a nuclear landmine underground in case the Red Army tried to cross West Germany. The landmine was to be filled with chickens who would generate enough heat to keep the nuclear mines at an operable temperature for a week. In fact, at the pinnacle of the Cold War the United States Air Force was thinking of dropping a nuclear bomb on the moon just to show how powerful we were. The bomb would have been larger than the one dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. According to Dr. Leonard Reiffel, the physicist who directed the project, “I made it clear at the time that there would be a huge cost to science of destroying a pristine lunar environment, but the US Air Force were mainly concerned about how the nuclear explosion would play on earth.”
That “pristine environment” exists no longer. The tumblings and rumblings of Jill and Jock have forever destroyed it. The little dog still laughs to see such sport and the satellite dish runs away with the torpedo spoon. But the cow adamantly refuses to jump anywhere near the moon, let alone over it. Life, Space, and Mother Goose may never recover.
And what of the rest of us: no matter how much “scientific progress” is claimed in that monstrous plume of debris, what are we and our children going to be breathing and absorbing over the centuries? How will our food be affected? Our plant life? Our microbes? Cancer, anyone?
What were they thinking, these pillagers of that pristine environment? What gave us the right to rape the moon – us, not the North Koreans or the Iranians? Do we really have to be the Emperors of Everything?
I see the moon
The moon sees me
The moon see the blight
Of our debris.
God bless the moon
And God bless me
And God bless the heights
Viva La Bomba!
c. Corinne Whitaker 2009
Note: If you have any doubts about what we have done to Mother Earth, take a look at our Site of the Month. Titled "Infernal Landscapes", it is a chilling reminder of the harm that we as a species are capable of perpetrating on the world around us.