Saturday, February 11, 2006

Space Oddity (1969) – David Bowie

(Part One of The Moon In The Mind’s Eye tetralogy)

Initially released during the summer of 1969, (when Harriet Wheeler stayed up as a little girl to watch the first mission to the moon), “Space Oddity” explores the disconnect between public adoration and one’s sense of self-worth. Major Tom’s mission allegorically recounts society’s whimsical fascinations, the trivial details over which the media trifles, and the tenuous creation of celebrity status. However, when Major Tom actually steps out into space, he steps into a psychological vacuum, realizing that he is an insignificant object tethered to a piece of metal. The mission no longer defines him: alone in space, all his accolades on Earth are meaningless. He does not feel like the man he was—Major Tom, the renowned astronaut—so much so, that he has lost the desire to pilot the spacecraft for re-entry, allowing it to continue on its course without navigation. No longer an astronaut, Tom says farewell to his wife and his former identity, orbiting the Earth incommunicado in pursuit of his re-defined existence.

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