Recently I looked at newspaper coverage o the 1969 Apollo 11 lunar mis-sion: ront page ater ront page o banner headlines, screaming two-inch type,giddy editorial cartoons, all reported manner o visionary enthusiasm and tear-ul astonishment or a new uture where moon creatures have been disprovedand NASA will rescue us all. Writer and sci- visionary Ray Bradbury wantedto create a new calendar, beginning with “Year One o the New Era.”In Section One, on page two o the July 20, 1969 edition o the
—barely noticeable in the lower-let corner, the insubstantial pica-width dwared to near extinction by the booster power o Apollo media cov-erage—ran a small item:
Mother Kills Sel and Two ChildrenMillstone, N.J., July 19 (AP)—Mrs. Nancy A. Schnitzer, 29, killed herchildren Douglas Jr., 9, and Donna Lynn, 2, with a 12 gauge shotgun andthen turned the weapon on hersel at the Schnitzer home here, police said.
A headline near the top o that page read “Here’s Scenario or 1stMoonwalk!” But beneath was documented proo that what gripped much o a world barely penetrated the appalling consciousness o one house in New Jersey.As a kid, I loved watching the television ootage o the Saturn V andApollo rockets liting o rom Cape Canaveral: the otherworldly orange o the heat and fame, the intense, God-awul vapors. I glimpsed the inside o auniverse—a dream, a hell—that I’d never beore seen. The attached scaold-ing and ladders on the launch pad, surreal in its height o three hundred and
The God-Blurred World