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A gaint, er, leap for mankind

The billionaire space race continued this week. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ventured into space aboard a rocket built by his own company, Blue Origin. Bezos and his three co-passengers hit a maximum altitude of 66.5 miles (that’s about 107 kms to those of us in SA). This, CBS News reported, is “more than four miles above the internationally recognised 62-mile-high ‘boundary’ between the aerodynamically discernible atmosphere and space”. Earlier this month another billionaire, Virgin founder Richard Branson, also flew into space. There were several takeaways from Bezos’s trip. He was praised for taking 82-year-old Wally Funk along for the ride; her dreams of becoming an astronaut were repeatedly dashed thanks to rampant sexism, but she had the last laugh on Tuesday.

Another common headline centred on Bezos’s obscene wealth and criticised his obsession with space while most Amazon employees barely scrape by. And then there was the rocket. Social media couldn’t help but notice that Bezos was heading for lofty heights in – there’s no other way to put this – a gigantic phallic object. Cue many jokes about size, endurance and the male ego following a rather public divorce. Being the richest man in the world probably eases the sting of any jokes, and we’re sure Bezos was just relieved the flight itself wasn’t a gigantic cock-up… 😇

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 22 July 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.