It's unusual, but I think even a U.S. President can be a punk, a person with the drive to say, "screw the system, let's do something crazy just because it's impossible. "
September 1962, John Kennedy stood in Rice stadium and delivered his
famous "Man on the Moon" speech. A lot of people have no idea how crazy
that speech was--considering that we have been to the moon several
times, we have an orbiting space station and George Bush talked about
sending people to Mars not too long ago, it's not really that bizarre
these days. However, we no longer have an active space exploration
program that involves sending humans beyond Earth orbit, so the idea of
going to the moon, even today, is worth raising an eyebrow and a
In 1962, the idea was worth jumping off your
La-Z-Boy, spilling your TV dinner on the dog while screaming, "what is
this boy smoking?" Seriously, why would we go to the moon? It's just
hanging up there in the sky. It doesn't even have air and hardly any
gravity. What's the point?
Imagine facing that kind of reaction to the idea of lunar exploration.
trying to launch a 100,000 pound vehicle into space carrying three
people that will hit a moving target 8 days later and still be able to
return those people back to earth alive. What you have to work with is
the computing power of a pocket calculator (not the scientific kind,
just the basic math kind) in a package the size of a room (no monitor
attached to it), some highly explosive devices designed to rapidly
propel deadly stuff across continents and drop it on your enemies,
plenty of pencils and paper, radio transmitters that require a wall
outlet or a huge battery pack, all the paper maps you care to re-fold,
and some crazy test pilots willing to die trying to get the job done.
you even think of asking people to do this? Would you make a speech in
front of thousands of strangers telling them you're going to spend their
tax dollars doing this?
A punk would.
Read more about the punk aesthetic of the 1960s in my Transistorpunk community on Google+.