We went to the National Air and Space Museum today, thinking it’d be a lark for our 16-month old son, who loves planes and anything else that makes a lot of noise and moves through the sky.
I’d forgotten, though, exactly what the Air and Space Museum memorializes: jets, bombs, and war.
Truly, the history of flight is the history of war in the 20th century.
Political aggression and state-sanctioned bloodshed were the twin engines that powered the technological advances which made dying, death, and destruction, all wrought by aircraft, both quicker and cheaper, and ultimately, easier in the modern age. Obliteration from on high, cities reduced to blips on radar.
Even space, the final frontier, is now essentially a battlezone, a militarized nebula of satellites and payloads. This, at least, is what we learned at the museum.
Next week, no kidding, we’re seeking an antidote to all this flag-waving glorification of war, something not so exuberant and triumphant. Something a little more, uh, aware of the follies of greed and rapacity.
Maybe some Bosch at the National Gallery of Art?