Friday, 24 July 2009

Refining...and still fingers crossed

Finished the first draft of the disso at the start of the week. At 16798 words, it's 5-10% too long - and a bit rough in the middle. I've had feedback on one key chapter though, and it was reasonably positive - though apparently my concluding statements were a bit too abrupt. So, focus for the next week - work permitting - will be to trim the opening piece and beef up the end.

Still waiting for news on my scholarship - it could still be three weeks before anything definitive. Still, now editing on the disso rather than new research, so it should be a quicker process.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

40 Years Ago Today

Buzz Aldrin's all over the media, Mike C and Neil A are nowhere to be seen...pretty much summing up the respective chosen profiles of the three Apollo X1 Astronauts on the 40th anniversary of their launch from Cape Canaveral. No doubt all three will feature in a few days' time as the actual moon landing is celebrated - and then I'm sure that Collins and Armstrong will fade swiftly out of the limelight again.

Meanwhile, the disso draft has passed 11,000 words - with great input from Jim Baughman , Reg Turnill and Kris Stoever. I hope to have a draft completed by the other side of the weekend. Somehow the timing seems fitting. But for now, it's back to McDougall for me and the events of summer 1958...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Ike unspun was closer to the truth. But JFK had a better finger on the pulse

More than 8,000 words into the disso now, and what's emerging is a distinct difference in Ike and JFK's approach to the media over space.

When Sputnik launched, Ike was calmness itself - dismissive of the media's rabble-rousing since he knew that Khrushchev's propaganda attack was largely smoke and mirrors. But he misjudged the near-hysteria the satellite caused, and was forced to react to head off a media baying for massive defence spending.

JFK was pro-active in his use of the media, using his gift for rhetoric to fight back from the Bay of Pigs and Gagarin's flight with a big message built on little substance. JFK provided the content whereas Ike had failed to fill the vacuum. Back in 1957, the media had kicked off a space race that need never have existed. By 1961, Kennedy was using that race as a cornerstone of his foreign policy: driving hard at a new frontier beyond earth's atmosphere.