Robert L. Peters

21 July 2009

One small step… in 96 point type.

nyt_21july1969.png

The moon (the one we see from earth on virtually every other night than tonight, a new moon, go figure…)

I remember vividly the wee hours of Monday, 40 years ago today, when I saw Neil Armstrong take his first steps on the moon (at 02:56 GMT in the early hours of 21 July—I was living in Germany at the time, so it was already Monday there, while North Americans enjoyed a Sunday night special). Our family did not have a TV and I was quite sick with the flu at the time… but I got up in a fevered haze and walked six blocks to the nearest Radio & TV shop which had TV sets tuned to the moon landing in their display window, with loudspeakers of the English reportage playing into the street. (I ended up translating the action and the English announcer’s coverage into German for an assembled group of Italian and Turkish foreign workers from the nearby barracks, disoriented drunks, and assorted street-people and others too poor to own a TV set—all of whom had gathered outside the shop to take in the spectacle in real time).

That unique moment offered a fresh view of our wee blue-green planet for all of humankind, and triggered Marshall McLuhan’s phrase “Global Village” as well as Buckminster Fuller’s “Spaceship Earth.” Trivia factoid: it also marked the first time in history that the New York Times used a 96-point headline: “Men Walk On Moon.”

(Thanks to GDC-Listserv friend Marilyn Matty, from New York (fittingly), for pointing out the latter re: the NYT a few minutes ago).

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