Transterrestrial Musings  

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay

Alan Boyle (MSNBC)
Space Politics (Jeff Foust)
Space Transport News (Clark Lindsey)
NASA Watch
NASA Space Flight
Hobby Space
A Voyage To Arcturus (Jay Manifold)
Dispatches From The Final Frontier (Michael Belfiore)
Personal Spaceflight (Jeff Foust)
Mars Blog
The Flame Trench (Florida Today)
Space Cynic
Rocket Forge (Michael Mealing)
COTS Watch (Michael Mealing)
Curmudgeon's Corner (Mark Whittington)
Selenian Boondocks
Tales of the Heliosphere
Out Of The Cradle
Space For Commerce (Brian Dunbar)
True Anomaly
Kevin Parkin
The Speculist (Phil Bowermaster)
Spacecraft (Chris Hall)
Space Pragmatism (Dan Schrimpsher)
Eternal Golden Braid (Fred Kiesche)
Carried Away (Dan Schmelzer)
Laughing Wolf (C. Blake Powers)
Chair Force Engineer (Air Force Procurement)
Saturn Follies
JesusPhreaks (Scott Bell)
The Ombudsgod
Cut On The Bias (Susanna Cornett)
Joanne Jacobs

Site designed by

Powered by
Movable Type
Biting Commentary about Infinity, and Beyond!

« Great Balls Of Fire! | Main | Gravitas »

A Brave Woman

And a great journalist. Oriana Fallaci, rest in peace. Don't know where she'll end up--she was a devout atheist, but unlike many of her (non)religious cohorts, she was able to make the distinction between modern Christianity and the medieval Islamists with whom we are war.

[Update at noon]

Michael Ledeen, who was her friend, has some thoughts. Also, as Monte Davis notes in comments, her book If The Sun Dies is a classic for those interested in space. Perhaps Apogee could do a reprint in her honor, if they could get permission of the estate. And wherever she is now, if she sees Pete Conrad there, maybe she'll finally pay off the bet.

[Update at 5:30 PM EDT]

A more extensive eulogy from Michael Ledeen:

Those who know Italy will recognize Orianna as the quintessential Tuscan, right out of the texts: tough, intellectually brutal, brilliantly and eloquently disparaging of anyone who doesn’t meet impossibly high standards, utterly loyal to “the cause.” Tuscans were the worst fascists and the worst communists, uncompromising, cruel and dogmatic. Happily for us, Orianna’s cause was the pursuit of truth, whatever the political and social consequences. Once considered a fashionable leftists, she positively reveled in her ostracism in later years by her old admirers. She immersed herself in the words of her critics much more than in those of her allies, because she wanted to be able to demolish the criticism. I once spent half a day in her Manhattan town house, deconstructing the attacks against her in the Italian and French press. When we’d been through it all, she laughed happily, and raced to the kitchen to cook lunch.

...Lots of people were surprised to learn that she lived as a virtual recluse in New York City, rather than Florence, but America was a big part of her soul. A real freedom fighter has to love America, and she did, just as she hated America when it failed to meet her high standards. Her writings on America were extraordinary; the words she wrote right after 9/11 deserve to be remembered for a very long time:

The fact is that America is a special country, my dear friend. A country to envy, of which to be jealous…and it is that way because it is born of a spiritual necessity…and of the most sublime human idea: the idea of liberty, or better, of liberty married to the idea of equality…
Posted by Rand Simberg at September 15, 2006 07:06 AM
TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference this post from Transterrestrial Musings.
Excerpt: In remembrance: Roger Simon, Fausta Wertz, Michelle Malkin, Babalu, Protein Wisdom, Gateway Pundit, Belmont Club, Jawa Report, Kesher Talk, LawHawk, Allahpundit, Transterrestrial Musings, Liberty and Justice An obit by Michael Ledeen, who knew her pers...
Weblog: Pajamas Media
Tracked: September 15, 2006 09:29 AM

Sad news.

Posted by McGehee at September 15, 2006 07:37 AM

My favorite story about her is the bet between her and Pete Conrad.


Posted by Cecil Trotter at September 15, 2006 08:29 AM

I've gone back to my beat-up copy of If the Sun Dies many, many times. At the time, it was criticized (or ignored) by a lot of spacers because it was so different from the prevailing shiny, hard-edged, technology-centric cheerleading for Apollo. Too much touchy-feely, not enough gee-whiz numbers about how fast the F-1 burned propellant.

But it has some of the most compelling cultural and "humanist" arguments for exploration and manned spaceflight ever made. If spacers could get over their neurosis about how nobody but Walter Cronkite ever "got it," they could still learn a lot from Fallaci.

Posted by Monte Davis at September 15, 2006 09:19 AM

Well, I for one think that Oriana "got it" much better than Cronkite, and not just about space.

Posted by Rand Simberg at September 15, 2006 09:34 AM

I don't have to research it, it might as well have been yesterday, even though I was 15:

"That may be a small one for Neil but it's a long one for me."

I thought it was a reference to Pete being somewhat shorter than Neil, and his LM touchdown was so light, that the compressive section between the footpad and the last ladder rung didn't give much...

...but I like this story even more.

Posted by Frank Glover at September 15, 2006 02:09 PM

I thought it was a reference to Pete being somewhat shorter than Neil, and his LM touchdown was so light, that the compressive section between the footpad and the last ladder rung didn't give much...

Why can't it be both? He probably planned a light touchdown.

Posted by Rand Simberg at September 15, 2006 02:23 PM

When I say I'm an atheist to people of faith, I'm offered asked what I think will happen when I die. I admit freely and openly, that I am nowhere, I hope that I am granted eternal blackness.

Not to be sarcatic or cruel, but really, the truth is, after a hard days work, after a brutal engagement of performing a function, don't we ALL beg for a good nights dreamless sleep?

Life is the hard days work, we live for a day, and finaly, the time comes to sleep, and we should be allowed to rest without the interference of any such other influence. After my long days life, let me rest, let me sleep, let me sink into the blackness.

Wherever she is? if there is a god, lets hope a god can give her the emptiness of sleep that she has earned by her good works in life. MAYBE, in case she and I are wrong, wake us up and tell us "you know? there is more you can do?" then let her chose. ME!? I know I would chose the blackness. It is not my right to see the accomplishments of men and women with whom I have no influence, let it be THERE accomplishments, and let those of us who are happy with who we are rest, in the finality of death.

Posted by Wickedpinto at September 15, 2006 05:32 PM

Whart a strange thing to say. I hope there IS somehwere else to go. I don't want a blackness to fall over me. I want to use all I have learned and felt somewhere else. Otherwise, what a waste! Better yet, fogetting everthing I've learned and starting over at a different plane. What a poor life if you are happy to embrace blackness at your death.

Posted by Bill Maron at September 15, 2006 09:27 PM

I am reminded of something my wife said to some flavour of door to door religous salesperson who's opening line was something along the lines of "don't you want eternal life?"
"You mean this s**t goes on forever!

Thinking of both my grandmothers, one whom can not even remember her daughter, the other whom is now in a secure unit, and I really hope does not.

Posted by Pete Lynn at September 15, 2006 10:12 PM

Well, when this atheist dies I intend to be cremated or dessicated or whatever and my remains placed beneath a newly planted tree (hopefully on the Moon), such that what I was physically will be incorporated into the growing tree. What remains of our brain's contents on a quantum level is unknown, but probably negligible in the same way that I don't appear to take on the spirit of the chicken that I consume for lunch. Who I am remains pretty consistent so I don't give much credence to the spirituality of that sort of thing.

As far as our "spirit" or "soul" goes, once the electrical energy ceases, game over. Thus, one's passage into posterity must be through children and good works (or bad works of particular notoriety, but as a Libertarian I can't condone that sort of thing). That's it. That golden light is the dissipation of electrical energy in the neurons. Once it's gone, no more you. Your role in the anti-entropy that is life is over, time for something else to take a chance. Hopefully you did well and nurtured life, whatever its form, because that's all you'll be doing now.

Children though, allow you to pass on your imprint on the anti-entropy matrix of life (your particular DNA, or at least half of it) into the ongoing battle against entropy. And since we're the smart ones on this planet, it's our responsibility as caretakers to take Earth's life out to the Moon and beyond.

Not a terribly optimistic view of death, but not necessarily a bad one either. I've had a few brushes, but can't say that I necessarily fear death, because when my time comes my time comes. I'd certainly rather die as a man than as a coward on my knees, but at some point death will happen. Hopefully as a result of my having lived civilization will be better as a result. Too early to tell yet, though. ;-)

Posted by Ken Murphy at September 16, 2006 08:43 PM

Post a comment

Email Address: