Eric D. Snider

Positive Buzz

Snide Remarks #634

"Positive Buzz"

by Eric D. Snider

Published on July 11, 2011

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People have complained about the film "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" for many reasons: it's too long, it's too loud, it was directed by a sociopathic 13-year-old boy, it exists at all, etc. I can sympathize with some of these objections. What I can't get behind, though, is any criticism of Buzz Aldrin for appearing in it.

In case you haven't seen the movie, on account of being over the age of 30 and/or female, I will tell you what Buzz Aldrin is doing in it. The movie's premise is that the 1969 moon landing was partly to investigate a UFO that had crashed there in 1961. (The government's response time to an accident is about the same as Allstate's.) When this information is revealed to the movie's fictional characters in the present, the real Buzz Aldrin shows up to confirm that it's true, and to tell them about the secret things he did on the moon 42 years ago. Optimus Prime, the giant space robot who dresses up like a semi truck on the weekends, treats Buzz Aldrin with great respect. The whole thing reminds me of those cheesy old holiday specials where Dean Martin or Perry Como or whoever would get a "surprise" visit from some other celebrity. ("Say, there's a knock at the door! Who could that be? Why, it's our old friend Buzz Aldrin!")

On Twitter and in other important circles of public discourse, some viewers have expressed disappointment in Aldrin for participating in this goofiness. They say it's demeaning, that it tarnishes his reputation as an American hero. But I say poppycock. Poppycock and balderdash! (Also: hogwash.) Being in "Transformers" is demeaning for the actors, sure, and for many of the automobiles. But not for Buzz Aldrin. Why? Because his status as one of the few men to walk on the moon means that it is mathematically impossible for him to do anything that would diminish his standing. He gets a free pass. No matter what he does for the rest of his life, he will always be cooler than everyone else except Neil Armstrong.

Buzz Aldrin could have done his "Transformers" cameo in the nude and made fart noises with his hand and his armpit instead of speaking his dialogue, and it wouldn't have mattered. He would still be a man who walked on the moon. He could play the Jennifer Lopez role in a shot-for-shot remake of "Gigli," then show up at the red-carpet premiere in blackface and fire a gun into the crowd -- he'd be no less an icon than he is now. People would tsk-tsk a little, but then they'd still want to buy him a drink and listen to his moon stories.

Let me be clear. Buzz Aldrin can do anything he wants to. Buzz Aldrin could barge into your home covered in sheep's blood, make himself a sandwich, relieve himself on your carpet, then set the house on fire on his way out. Anyone else would be arrested for that. Nick Nolte has been twice. But if you called 9-1-1 about Buzz Aldrin, the responding officers would sternly say to you, "Were you aware that this is Buzz Aldrin? Maybe you didn't realize that he WALKED ON THE DAMN MOON??"

All of this applies not just to Aldrin, of course, but to any of the nine men still living who walked on the moon. If you've been to the moon, you have immunity from all laws and social customs forever. There was an act of Congress and everything. ("Whereas going to the moon is awesome; and whereas none of you regular people will ever do anything that is even one-millionth as cool as that...") Granted, it's kind of a hassle for the guys who aren't Buzz Aldrin or Neil Armstrong, because no one knows their names and they have to show ID a lot. But they're still entitled to the privileges.

And they're hardly the only ones. Our society grants exceptions to a lot of people. The Queen of England, for example, can do pretty much anything she chooses -- and not just in England, either. We defeated her in a war well over 200 years ago, but whenever she visits America we treat her with reverence. She's allowed to skip to the front of the line at customs, she can drive on the left side of the road, she can get as drunk as she wants without being kicked out of a bar, all because she was elected Queen of another country.

We sort of had an arrangement with Michael Jackson, too. As long as he made cool music and entertained us by being a fascinating weirdo in public, we agreed to look the other way on the child-molesting thing. Sure, we gave him a hard time about it, but we never really made it an angry-mob-with-torches-and-pitchforks kind of issue, not the way we would have if it had been someone other than Michael Jackson molesting those boys.

So let's have no more of this nonsense about Buzz Aldrin somehow sullying his image by being associated with "Transformers" or "Dancing with the Stars" or German fetish pornography or the Queen of England or anything else. If he wanted to, he could spend the rest of his life sitting on his front porch twisting the heads off live kittens and throwing them at passersby, and he would still be awesome. The fact that he could do this yet chooses not to just makes him more awesome.

Then there was the time an obnoxious attention whore who claims the moon landing was a hoax kept pestering Buzz Aldrin, and so Buzz Aldrin, who was then 72 years old, punched him in his stupid face. The only thing that could make this more fantastic would be if there were video footage of it -- which there is!

(Aldrin didn't get in any legal trouble for punching the guy, either. Why? BECAUSE HE WALKED ON THE MOON. Haven't you been paying attention?)

In that video, you'll see that Aldrin puts up with a lot of crap from this idiot. The guy gets right up in Aldrin's face, calls him a liar and a thief, tells him he's going to hell for participating in the moon-landing hoax. But Aldrin doesn't lose his patience until the guy calls him -- wait for it -- "a coward."

OH NO YOU DID NOT just apply the word "coward" to a man who got inside a rocket and went to the moon! America basically built a giant bullet, put Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong and the third guy whose name I forget inside it, put the bullet in a giant gun in Florida, aimed it at the moon, and pulled the trigger. Then the bullet hit the moon -- BULLSEYE! -- and Buzz and Neil got out and hopped around and planted a flag, and then came home. Not one of those actions, except maybe the hopping around, is something a coward would do. You call a guy like that a coward, you're lucky to escape with just a punch in the mouth, especially considering everyone who went to the moon came back with super powers.

Stumble It!

This item has 30 comments

  1. Jessie says:

    I had a feeling, based off your recent Twitter activity, that this week's column would be about Buzz. I'm so glad that was the case. One of my favorites, ever.

  2. Daniel says:

    That's a fantastic salute to a great American Hero, and an all around classy kind of guy. Those who are upset about him appearing in Transformers should unbunch their panties and realize that even the frenetically insane Michael Bay is allowed to salute this great man.

  3. John C says:

    Loved the column, loved the video.

    For what it's worth, here's an informative list:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Apollo_astronauts#Apollo_astronauts_who_walked_on_the_Moon

    And here's an informative cartoon:
    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/65_years.png

  4. Joe says:

    There is a DVD by Brian Regan called "I Walked On the Moon" which pretty much says everything that Eric just said. It's pure genius. Buy the DVD. You won't regret it. Also give Eric money too, because he entertains us on a more personal level than any stand up comic could.

  5. Eric D. Snider says:

    I appreciate Joe's compliment, but Brian Regan's routine doesn't say "everything" that this column says. The only overlap Regan and I have is in suggesting that if you can say "I walked on the moon," you'll always top everyone else's story. Otherwise, we go in completely different directions.

    It's at the end of this clip:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2F_3BS6QSY

  6. Clumpy says:

    Actually, the only thing that the Brian Regan bit really has in common with this article is the implication that walking on the moon gives a man a certain cosmic authority over us landlubbers. Eric's point - that having done so is so astoundingly unique that it could cover up any subsequent, demeaning behavior - is really entirely different. And it's true - I'm inclined to give Aldrin a pass for what is probably assault most definitely not in self-defense because of who he is. And his mean hook at his age doesn't hurt.

    At any rate, were we to rate Brian Regan purely on a topic-by-topic basis he wouldn't seem very original. But what he does at his best - turns the banal minutiae of day-to-day life into memorable turns of phrase and surreal and human little vignettes - is what really makes him unique. Likewise it's more important what Eric does with the material than any single starting thought.

  7. Michael says:

    You know, I wasn't even going to pay attention to Transformers III until I learned just now that Buzz Aldrin was in it. Holy crap. Maybe I should see it?

  8. Marcles says:

    Hilarious, Eric. One of my favorite Snide Remarks ever.

  9. Rob D. says:

    It's true, hopping on the moon is fine........but I'm just glad Buzz didn't skip on the moon. If Buzz skipped on the moon and I ran into him on the street, there would be punches thrown. I'll just leave it at that.

  10. Thoughtful Observer says:

    Man, this is awkward. I met the man once. It was a party for the 2009 inauguration. He was supposed to give a speech. He was horribly drunk. He didn't make any sense and said stuff that bordered on insulting and offensive. Afterwards, when I asked for a picture (politely, waiting my turn), he was gracious, but stared at my friend's breasts the entire time. He was completely out of it. I know everyone here will say "WHO CARES! HE WALKED ON THE MOON!" But for me, it was disappointing that this man who achieved so much appears to now just be another lecherous old drunk. So, it's not so surprising that he showed up in Transformers, I guess.

  11. Casey says:

    Would you like to yell at the moon with Buzz Aldrin?

    Yes, please!

    I own you!

    You dumb moon!

    I walked on your face!

    Don’t you know it’s day!? Idiot!

  12. charlie sheep says:

    HOLY CRAP! I just got it. Michael Jackson was a moonwalker!

  13. Owain J. Brimfield says:

    Didn't Buzz play a similar guest role in an episode of Frasier way back when?

  14. G&P Oz says:

    That video ROCKS! Little old guy punches big stupid attention whore in the face. Best ever!

  15. Dave says:

    Owain: I believe that was John Glenn. I remember that episode because he was talking on the radio about all the stuff he saw in space that the government wouldn't let him talk about--it was purely comedic and ridiculous, and yet a bunch of UFOlogists actually pointed to it as validation that aliens exist. Loons.

  16. JB says:

    Why is everyone still complaining about Transformers? After the first movie, you kind of got a hint as to how it was gonna be. Why do people keep expecting an academy award winning flick? It has made millions and no one cares that it's loud, poorly acted, has a nonsensical plot and fudges facts about US history. Let it be what it is folks!

  17. Joy says:

    Best Snide Remarks ever.

  18. Larry says:

    I tried to read the best parts of this to my wife, but I was laughing so hard I started crying and couldn't stop laughing for a few minutes. Hardest I've laughed in way too long.

    Huzzah Eric! Thank you.

  19. Bryce says:

    Man, this is the best Snide Remarks of the season.

  20. David S. says:

    Awesome. Great column, Eric.

  21. corned_beef says:

    Way hilarious. Keep standing!!!!

  22. Lydia says:

    tears! this made me laugh until there were tears!

  23. Michael says:

    Brian Regan + Weird Al

  24. Ty says:

    Nothing, ever, in the history of the universe, has been better than Buzz punching that idiot in his idiotic face. Buzz is a true hero.

    I tear up with pride when I see the moon hoax moron's head snapping back. The old man can still throw a right with some power in it.

  25. Christine Ashworth says:

    Wow. How satisfying was that to see Buzz punch that idiot? WAY satisfying! Thanks so much for this - great post!

  26. Dawn says:

    I was Buzz Aldrin in a former life.

    (Eric, you'd better get that joke.)

  27. Miranda says:

    Wow, #10. You're a buzzkill.

  28. Sandy White says:

    Excellent column! Probably my favorite so far. That, or the one about the "genderless" baby... :)

  29. Eric D. Snider says:

    I was Buzz Aldrin in a former life.

    (Eric, you'd better get that joke.)


    I do not get that joke.

  30. dawn says:

    You're kidding me! I kept wondering why the phrase "WALKED ON THE DAMN MOON" was making me laugh so hard...then I realized it was because I was hearing it in H.Jon Benjamin's voice. Dr. Katz may be the only thing that makes me laugh as hard as you, and it was in searching for info about the show that I found your site.

    Or did Ben think he was Neil Armstrong in a former life? Either way...

    Laura: "He's STILL ALIVE."

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