Monday, February 11, 2013

The Buzz Aldrin Show

It's interesting to note the similarities between the 1970 Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "Little Red Riding Hood," in which American astronaut Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin rescues the "pretty" daughter of a humble woodcutter (played with gusto by John Cleese) and the currently running TV commercials for AXE deodorant where an astronaut modeled on Aldrin is chased by beautiful women because "nothing beats an astronaut!"

In both productions, the astronaut simply stands by as others do the real work. In the 1970 Python sketch, "the wicked wolf was shot by security guards" and in the current AXE commercials, a series of firemen, lifeguards and others do the real rescuing while the astronaut shows up at the end to bask in reflected glory and adulation.

And maybe that's the real silliness of the current AXE commercials. No one can become a real astronaut simply by winning a contest and letting others do all the difficult work just like no boy can ever become a man simply by purchasing a cologne.

Of course, women have also been offended by the current AXE campaign.

As outlined in the February 9th, 2013 Space Safety Magazine article "Is the AXE/Apollo Campaign Sexist? The Resentment Builds Up," the overall campaign has been generally considered sexist and not altogether understandable. According to the article, "the campaign not only discourages female participants, but is also very disrespectful to all the women who successfully took part in various space missions, some of them even serving as ISS commanders."

According to the January 9th, 2013 Parabolic Arc article "AXE, Buzz Aldrin to Send 22 People into Space on Lynx Flights" Buzz Aldrin has even attached himself to the current campaign, which is wrapped around a promotional contest to win 22 suborbital trips on the X-Cor Aerospace Lynx suborbital spaceplane.

But Aldrin should know better. So should X-Cor Aerospace. Perhaps over the next few months they'll both come to their senses.

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