There have been two great epic-scale adventures of the post War era: The fall of the Soviet empire and the Apollo program. Neither of them has gotten a great movie yet.
The Apollo program was the only truly uncharted adventure of our time. Where anything at all could have happened. Since then all we’ve had is manufactured thrills. And fought each other.
For those of us who weren’t born in 1969, today was the one day in your life that will always be in the history books. Armstrong was, one must say, the most famous person on the planet. 1000 years from now Barak Obama and Mitt Romney, Brad Pitt, the Kardashians, Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire, Beyonce and Britney and every single person with a Twitter account no matter how many followers will have been forgotten, but still every school child will know Neil Armstrong’s name along with Columbus, Galileo and one or two others.
And he maintained it without Tweeting, blogging, podcasting, starting a fragrance line or starring in a reality show. He did a handful of interviews over the 40 years since Apollo, and that is it. No building his brand or thinking of other ways he could exploit his accomplishment. He did something absolutely unimaginable, at total risk before the eyes of the world, broke through our sense of the limitations of mankind, then he went to Ohio and taught math. What he did was left to stand on its own, without layer upon layer of grossness piled on top of it.
Someday, we may see another of his kind. But we’re not probably not anytime soon.