Tuesday, September 29, 2009

what if they found uatu?

william safire's death inspired the gawker to post a speech safire wrote when he was nixon's speechwriter. the speech was supposed to be delivered in the event that neil armstrong and buzz aldrin were unable to return from the moon. of course, that didn't happen and the speech was never delivered.

which makes me wonder how many other speeches there are out there for things that never happened. why only write a speech for the armstrong and aldrin stuck on the moon scenario? what about if they decided there was only enough fuel for one of them to get back? or what if michael collins (the third apollo 11 astronaut) crashed into the moon instead of staying in orbit? or what if the spacecraft missed the moon entirely?

and are these speeches for remote possibilities only written for space missions? did kennedy's speech writers cook up alternate endings to the cuban missile crisis? isn't there enough stuff that actually happens to keep the speechwriters busy? i would imagine that safire could have written that page and a half speech on the fly if armstrong and aldrin had gotten themselves stranded. if they were stuck, there would be nothing but time.