I just got around to seeing First Man, the story of Neil Armstrong, first man on the man. It’s the 60s. You remember the 60s. Maybe you don’t. Young’uns. Crazy times, the 60s, culminating in 1969, of course, a year crammed full of historic events.
The movie sets the scene and doesn’t gloss over the turbulence of the day. There’s a snippet of a song, a poem, really, by Gil Scott-Heron that plays for a few moments, to illustrate that not everyone was thrilled with the space race. We should be spending money on other things, they said.
Whitey on the Moon.
Yeah, it’s easy to get riled up by the words, whether you agree or disagree. It’s easy to be offended. It’s easy to scream, right on.
That’s the power of the piece.
And it’s powerful because it’s poetry. Urban poetry set to music.
It’s hip and cool. The forerunner of rap.
Set aside the message for a moment. Listen to it as art. Appreciate the rhythms and the cadence and the genius of the form.