Jeff Bezos wore a cowboy hat in space
Greetings from the strange valley, where billionaires are leading a modern space race amid a climate crisis and a global pandemic while, naturally, wearing Western clothing.
Today, Amazon billionaire founder Jeff Bezos has become a space cowboy, launching himself just outside Earth’s atmosphere for 10 minutes while wearing a cowboy hat and boots. To put it very simply: it was a bizarre uniform for a new kind of final frontier.
Bezos unveiled his company’s Blue Origin uniforms days before his first human flight to the edge of space, posing alongside a three-person crew including his younger brother Mark Bezos, astronaut pioneer Wally Funk and an 18-year-old Dutch physicist. student Oliver Daemen. In the photos, the quartet poses in their cobalt blue spacesuit, which Elder Bezos paired with a taupe cowboy hat and matching boots. In post-launch images of the Blue Origin hitting the ground today, it looks like Jeff was wearing the same outfit setup in space.
We may never know what drove this particular dress choice of Bezos, who doesn’t normally wear any sort of Western clothing. Is this a reference to a new era of space as an American frontier, a Far West of the heavens? Or maybe a tribute to the West Texas desert where the launch took place? Regardless, the hat and boots look like an odd attraction to the ordinary American man, which Bezos is not, in almost every measure, financial and otherwise. Incongruity lends itself well, however, to a general air of disconnected villainy.
Bezos’ short stint on the Kármán Line, which demarcates the Earth’s atmosphere from space, comes just nine days after fellow billionaire and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson also launched into space for a one and a half hour mission. Branson’s crew uniforms, though a similar shade of blue, felt a bit more Tron, with gold yokes on the thighs and matching grippy boots that could be, in a different context, maybe somehow sick. Now that Branson congratulated Bezos on the successful launch of Blue Origin, they may be able to come together to decide on new space suit colors. It could of course be worse: They could wear the SpaceX suit.
As astronomer Carl Sagan wrote in his 1994 book, Pale blue dot, “Our planet is a lonely spot in the great enveloping cosmic darkness. In our darkness, in all this immensity, nothing indicates that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. In the meantime, the least billionaires can do is sew some self-awareness into their alien space mission uniforms.
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