Good Riddance, Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos went to space this morning ... unfortunately he is back
UPDATE: JULY 20 2021
How anticlimactic: Jeff Bezos went to space ... And then immediately came back to earth.
Aboard his rocket, Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos took the 11 minute trip to the very edge of space on July 20th alongside his brother, the pilot, and the 18-year old winner of the bidding contest for the fourth seat on the trip.
The ragtag group made history, with Wally Funk, the pilot, becoming the oldest person to ever fly into space, and contest winner Oliver Daemen becoming the youngest. Daemen has similar qualifications as Bezos: he is rich. After the initial highest bidder couldn't make the 11 minute trip because he "was busy," Daemen filled in the last remaining spot after his father, an investor, bought him the ticket.
Meanwhile, Funk was a member of the legendary, but often forgotten, "Mercury 13," a group of women who trained to go to space alongside the Mercury 7, but were excluded because they were female. The satisfying fulfillment of Funk's lifelong dream is the most redeeming part of this ego-driven mission, which is little more than a joyride for the other members aboard.
Having lost the Billionaire Space Race to Richard Bronson, Bezos's trip was already anti-climactic. And since he ... is back ... it's a losing game for us all, who kind of wanted him to stay up there, far away from us.
The successful flight means that it's likely Bezos will be ferrying rich people up to space on similar joyrides in the near future. The multi-million dollar tickets will offer a similarly pointless experience, burning through rocket fuel, the earth's atmosphere, and money at alarming rates for literally no reason but bragging rights.
As the climate crisis gets more and more dire, the pandemic continues to exacerbate existing wealth inequalities, and Amazon workers continue to beg for better conditions, it feels irresponsible to celebrate that Bezos and other rich people are going on flights to space shorter than most people's commutes.
Meanwhile, Mackenzie Scott, Bezos's ex-wife, is making it her mission to give away her amassed wealth — so we'll be thinking about her, instead of congratulating Bezos on his ego mission.
ORIGINAL: JUNE 7 2021
Jeff Bezos is going to space next month, and we will not be missing him. Goodbye and good riddance. We love when someone knows when they've overstayed their welcome.
Due to the tyranny of global capitalism — just Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates have more combined wealth than half of the country put together — the Earth is literally Jeff Bezos's playground. But like any other selfish, spoiled toddler in the sandpit, one is not enough. Tired of his toys (the billions of dollars of wealth he has hoarded as founder of Amazon), he's moving on to the next big thing: space.
After announcing his successor in February 2021 and stepping down as CEO, many wondered what Bezos's next move would be. Would he make like his ex-wife Mackenzie Scott and make it his mission to donate as much money as possible, wondered those less cynical than us? Would he move on to other pursuits, seeking more wealth to hoard? Or would he spend his retirement on a golf course in like, Mar a Lago or wherever else rich terrible people go?
The answer: Jeff Bezos is headed into the great unknown on July 20th. Although he will not be traveling while Mercury is still in retrograde, Bezos's trip still seems pretty scary. The flight is the first human spaceflight conducted by his rocket company, Blue Origin, and he will be making the trip with his brother.
In an Instagram post, Bezos shared his plans, saying: "Ever since I was five years old, I've dreamed of traveling to space."
The caption continued: "On July 20th, I will take that journey with my brother. The greatest adventure, with my best friend. #GradatimFerociter."
One other seat is up for grabs via an auction where the bids are climbing, currently at $2.8 million. Elon Musk's SpaceX and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic are also working on vanity space projects, so it seems the space race just got more intense.
Meanwhile, wealth inequality has only increased during the pandemic, devastating the lowest earners in the country but actually increasing the wealth of many billionaires — further broadening the horrific wealth gap in America. And while Bezos and other billionaires make a show of how much money they give to charity, for most, their donations are only a fraction of their net worth.
And so while so many people are suffering and would be immeasurably impacted by donations of even fractions of Bezos's wealth, Bezos is turning his back on them and setting his eyes on space.
"To see the Earth from space, it changes you," said Bezos in the Instagram announcement. "It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It's one Earth. I want to go on this flight because it's the thing I've wanted to do all my life. It's an adventure. It's a big deal for me."
It's laughable to hear Bezos talking about "humanity," but if anyone needs a perspective shift, it's him. But since we've long given up the hope that one day Bezos will wake up and finally decide to end world hunger or any of the other things he could do with his money, we say bon voyage. Good Riddance — and stay out!
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