Of course, the project's goal was achieved with Apollo 11. What do you see as the practical outcome of the whole Apollo project? Did it live up to its promise?
I'm not sure. It lived up to its promise in the sense that it got the Americans to the moon, and that's what they were promised. In a very basic sense, the American people were not really expecting much more, which is evidenced by the fact that after Apollo 11 they very quickly lost interest in it. And so in the sense of being an exciting adventure, yes, it lived up to that promise. In the sense of being something more than that, something scientifically important or something which brought benefit back on Earth ... Neil Armstrong said it was a small step for man and a giant leap for mankind. It's difficult to see the giant leap, and even Armstrong said that a year afterwards, when he was asked in what ways was it a giant leap, and he said, "I really don't know."
Ég hef einhvernvegin alltaf reiknað með því að þeir hafi haft með sér eitthvað frá tunglinu sem hægt væri að rannsaka, en ef til vill var það ekki svo merkilegt. Og það hefði örugglega verið hægt að eyða peningunum í annað, einsog þessi gaur vill meina. Eða kannske hefðu þeir farið í stríðsrekstur.. Væri samt ekki dálítið aumt að hafa ekki farið til tunglsins, vitandi það að tæknin sé fyrir hendi?
Það er þetta með að teygja sig í eitthvað sem gæti eða gæti ekki verið innan seilingar, án þess að ég missi mig í rómantískum landkönnuðamyndlíkingum. Ef manni sýnist þessi trjágrein eða þessi ljósakróna vera aðeins of hátt uppi til að maður geti slegið í hana, þá hlýtur maður að stökkva. Bara til að gá.
Og svo er hérna grein um Paul Auster, mestmegnis skítkast í Travels in the Scriptorium, en nokkrir áhugaverðir punktar..
[P]erhaps Auster is one of the last true highbrows, part of the final generation that could approach genre fiction and other manifestations of popular culture in this way without seeming reactionary. Certainly, younger writers adopt a different stance. Auster's attitude regarding popular culture as embodied in genre fiction contrasts with, say, fellow Brooklynite Jonathan Lethem's relation to comic books, which is one of immersion and conspicuous, detailed connoisseurship. Auster's admiration for detective novels is surely genuine but, when it comes to particulars, awfully vague. None of his critical writings gathered in Collected Prose: Autobiographical Writings, True Stories, Critical Essays, Prefaces, and Collaborations with Artists (2003) takes up the merits of a specific genre writer, and in Hand to Mouth, when recalling the period in which he steeped himself in detective fiction as "good medicine, a balm against stress and chronic anxiety," he writes: "I had been reading a lot of detective novels that year, mostly of the hard-boiled American school, and ... I had developed an admiration for some of the practitioners of the genre. The best ones were humble, no-nonsense writers who not only had more to say about American life than most so-called serious writers, but often seemed to write smarter, crisper sentences as well." If such figures were indeed so insightful about American life, one might ask, then who exactly were they? Dashiell Hammett (whose Maltese Falcon contains an episode that plays a role in Oracle Night )? Raymond Chandler? Jim Thompson? Auster doesn't bother to identify these "humble, no-nonsense writers" (the phrase is condescending, especially since Auster's repeated considerations of the writing life, extending even to its careerist minutiae, suggest that for him there is nothing humble about being a writer). One suspects if they were neglected modernists or French poets, he would have called them out by name.