August had a lot of Armstrong news: Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, passed away. Lance Armstrong, who may or may be a seven-time Tour de France winner, said he’s not going to fight doping charges.
Personally, I feel that walking on the moon is a far larger accomplishment in terms of what it means to the world (the words “one giant leap for mankind” spring to mind…). Yet the loss of the renowned American astronaut seemed to garner very little coverage and social buzz vs. the decision of the great American athlete.
While both news items can be considered tragedies, only the Lance Armstrong bit is scandalous – and society just loves a good scandal. The same people who rallied behind this American battling cancer, taking cycling to a new level and taking on all sorts of charitable endeavors – “living strong” – are just as quick to talk about his bad news.
Let’s face it: other than conspiracy theorists who believe that the moon landing was a hoax, there just isn’t any good dirt to dish about Neil Armstrong. His squeaky clean American goodness image conjures thoughts of baseball, hot dogs and apple pie. That just doesn’t make good fodder for the social sphere.
In the end, while there was less chatter about him than Lance, I’m pretty sure that’s the way Neil would have wanted it. RIP, Mr. Armstrong.