July 21, 2021

"If you thought they were gazing at the earth, and feeling small, and reflecting on the trouble the planet and its inhabitants are in, they weren't. They were trying to catch skittles in their mouths."

A comment at a Facebook post by the NYT: "Watch Jeff Bezos and his fellow passengers on the Blue Origin flight play with Skittles and experiment with gravity on their trip to space on Tuesday."

What if you had to argue: The Skittles-catching foolery in space was the best form that philosophical inquiry could take under those circumstances.


If the "what if you had to argue" game seems alien, read my 2012 post "What if you had to argue that it's good for children to play 'What if you had argue?'"

Here's a similar game — I just thought it up — "What if you had to write a book about...?" To play the game, you don't have to write the book. You just sketch out ideas about how this subject could fill an entire book. Now: What if you had to write a book about candy and philosophy?

The Skittles company — the aptly named Mars — must be pleased to get this relatively jaunty moment in the limelight — lime, not green-apple — after the unpleasant associations that have come its way in recent years. See "Skittles can’t seem to escape political controversies" (WaPo 2016). 

First, there was the incidental presence of Skittles in the possession of Trayvon Martin (whose killing riveted the country in 2012). Then there was an absurd Donald Trump Jr. tweet "'If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?'/This image says it all. Let's end the politically correct agenda that doesn't put America first."  

Much better product placement this time, Skittles.


Ann Althouse said...

Temujin writes:

"The word that comes to my mind when watching that short video is 'reveling'. They were reveling in the moment. It may have been initially scripted- the skittles were brought on board for a reason- but the sounds you heard were sounds of joy, giddiness. I like that. It's an honest reveal. What would you do on a short flight into shallow space? Ponder your place in the scheme of things? Look at our world and wonder why people don't take better care of it, and each other? Look at the beauty of all you can see?

"Frankly, you can do that right where you're sitting. Every day. But you can't float around and toss skittles into each other's mouths in weightlessness every day. Their time was short. They enjoyed the ride. The point of Blue Origin and the others is to eventually have space tourism. Have you ever watched how tourists act? This is a fine start."

Ann Althouse said...

Remember golfing on the moon?

Ann Althouse said...

Tom writes:

"The Simpsons got there long ago: https://youtu.be/lNtj5pG5etM."

Ha ha. Excellent.

Ann Althouse said...

MikeR writes:

"I hear what Temujin says about "reveling". But it's much higher priority to hate people like Jeff Bezos and focus on them as targets. That's what the world needs now."

I'll add:

But that's why candy is in the calculation. He's a boy, with his boyish wonder. Don't hate the happy little boy!

Ann Althouse said...

Brian writes:

"Ann said "Remember golfing on the moon?"

"Even Before the Golfing; from the very start of (at least) the Apollo program; the astronauts would give tv ops, where they would 'demonstrate zero g', and play music, and tell (stupid) jokes. Fun! Fun! FUN! Space flight is a Big Game!!

"Why would they do this? I never knew

"Why were they allowed to do this? Because NASA was run by dolts

"MAYBE, the first time they went in space, zero g demonstrations MIGHT have made sense... But by Apollo 10, they should have been All Business

"Space flight is a serious thing; and to trivialize it just makes people think that you are playing a(n Expensive) game, and WASTING money. By Apollo 13, the networks weren't even showing the astronauts' zero g tv ops."

Ann Althouse said...

Chris writes:

"A word from Qoheleth will fit:

"Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life.
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭9:7, 9‬ ‭NRSV‬‬

"Life is vain, and death sure, so enjoy time today with the people you love, and eat candy."