Friday, June 7, 2019


After reading and commenting on student writing for more than thirty years, I’m very good at discerning what a writer may have meant to say. Though Donald Trump said that the moon is part of Mars, I don’t think that’s what he meant to say. I can think of two possible explanations of “of which the Moon is a part”:

1. Trump thinks that the moon orbits Mars. If so, he is, on this point as on so many other points, misinformed.

2. Trump envisions a trip to the moon as part of a long-range project to reach Mars. That’s NASA’s Project Artemis. But you can’t go to Mars from the moon without going to the moon first. If going to the moon is part of getting to Mars, NASA should be talking about going to the moon.

Imagine Trump’s sentences as they might appear in a first-year college essay taking a position on space exploration:
For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part), Defense and Science!
You’d wonder — or at least I would — how the hell this guy ever got into college. But those sentences are the public thoughts of the ostensible leader of the free world.

And as for “doing” “Science!”: “White House blocked intelligence aide’s written testimony saying human-caused climate change could be ‘possibly catastrophic.’” In The Washington Post tonight.

[Mars? I don’t think of the human future as playing out on other planets. Earth’s the right place for love, as the poet said.]

comments: 4

Fresca said...

"...and Science!"
I heard Dr. Science saying, "I have a master's degree - in SCIENCE!" (Remember that?)

Michael Leddy said...

Yes, I do. Was that on NPR?

Fresca said...

Oh-ho, dig deep enough and you find... your friend Nancy!

Ask Mr Science started with a comedy troupe, Duck's Breath Mystery Theater, and went on to be a 90-sec spot on NPR.
" Steve Baker, Duck's Breath's business manager, maintains that "Ask Dr. Science" is more like a comic strip for radio than a stand-up comedy routine with recognizable punch lines.

"It's not necessarily 'Doonesbury' every day," he said. "Lots of days it's Nancy and Sluggo. But there are many people who think Nancy and Sluggo is the most surrealistic comic strip ever.""


Michael Leddy said...

Thanks for that, Fresca!