Houston has long maintained a kind of inferiority complex. Even now after publications from coast to coast have proclaimed our surprising hipness, we still get things stuck in our craw. Case in point, not getting a space shuttle for Space Center Houston. Plagued by the insipid overuse of "Houston, we have a problem," being bypassed for one of the shuttles in the city that literally built them was a particularly potent kick in the crotch, which is why this new contest from NASA leaves me cold.
Space Center Houston is launching a contest on July 4 that will allow Texans to name a space shuttle replica (ack) that will be part of a new $12 million attraction under development at the Clear Lake Facility. The winner gets a trip for four to Space Center Houston (that 30-minute drive will be AWESOME!) and a placard with the name of the winner's hometown inside the exhibit.
I really admire NASA and I think their promotions department is one of the more clever out there, particularly their social media group, which won a Web Award this year for best hashtag, but this is just bizarre.
Not only is it adding insult to injury that we essentially get an amusement park version of a space shuttle instead of living history -- imagine if the Smithsonian got a plastic Wright Brothers replica plane kids could ride in circles 10 feet above the ground...scintillating! -- but the winner gets a plaque inside this thing with the name of HIS hometown? I can't wait to see Clute or Waco or, God help us, Dallas emblazoned across this monument to our collective disappointment.
But, if they are looking for names, how about Space Shuttle Disappointment or Space Shuttle Embarrassment or Space Shuttle We're Not Bitter...Seriously or Space Shuttle Thanks a Lot NASA for Putting a Shuttle in New York City Because They Obviously Need More Tourist Attractions and Had SO Much to Do With the Space Program.
Any of those would be suitable, but feel free to submit your own on their website. You have until Labor Day to get Laredo stitched onto the inside of the Shuttle Oh Give Me a F***ing Break.
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