When news broke this week that a new biopic of astronaut Neil Armstrong omits the moment he planted the American flag on the moon, all hell broke loose on social media, with folks blaming the omission on political correctness and slamming lead actor Ryan Gosling’s defense of it.
“I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement [and] that’s how we chose to view it,” Gosling had said of Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing. “I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.”
“He was reminding everyone that he was just the tip of the iceberg — and that’s not just to be humble, that’s also true. So I don’t think that Neil viewed himself as an American hero. From my interviews with his family and people that knew him, it was quite the opposite. And we wanted the film to reflect Neil.”
This rhetoric displeased many, including even record-setting test pilot Chuck Yeager:
That’s not the Neil Armstrong I knew
— Chuck Yeager (@GenChuckYeager) August 31, 2018
This is total lunacy. And a disservice at a time when our people need reminders of what we can achieve when we work together. The American people paid for that mission,on rockets built by Americans,with American technology & carrying American astronauts. It wasn’t a UN mission. https://t.co/eGwBq7hj8C
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) August 31, 2018
This movie is about a fake moon landing. The real one had an American flag. Revisionist PC history bullshit. https://t.co/Ab2buFazlN
— Rich Zeoli (@Richzeoli) August 31, 2018
A film about Neil Armstrong landing on the moon, and they pretend he didn’t post an American flag. Reprehensible. https://t.co/j7VsrOPoVH
— Michael Q Sullivan (@MQSullivan) August 30, 2018
But why not just present the facts as they were? I think Ryan Gosling is a wonderful actor, but omitting the seminal moment in the midst of mankind’s greatest achievement seems a purposeful denigration of the 400,000 Americans who accomplished it. https://t.co/K6SldeBkPA
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) August 31, 2018
Fox News host Laura Ingraham called the omission “another way of trashing patriotism.”
“It’s another way of moving beyond the nationalism or nationalistic spirit, fervor of the moment,” she said, referencing the left-wing dream to erase borders and eliminate sovereign nations.
She may have been drawing from what’s known about the the film’s director, Damien Chazelle, and writer, Josh Singer. According to The Daily Wire, both are far-left zealots who loathe President Donald Trump and are known to spout Democrat talking points on social media.
According to Armstrong’s sons, Rick and Mark, these complaints are off the mark. In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, they argued that the film contains “numerous shots of the American flag on the moon.” And the reason it omits the planting of the American flag is because the filmmakers wanted to focus on Armstrong’s “personal experience.”
“This is a film that focuses on what you don’t know about Neil Armstrong. It’s a film that focuses on things you didn’t see or may not remember about Neil’s journey to the moon,” they said.
“The filmmakers spent years doing extensive research to get at the man behind the myth, to get at the story behind the story. It’s a movie that gives you unique insight into the Armstrong family and fallen American Heroes like Elliot See and Ed White. It’s a very personal movie about our dad’s journey, seen through his eyes.”
The point, they continued, was to convey the fact that father was certainly an American hero, he was so much else: “an engineer and a pilot, a father and a friend, a man who suffered privately through great tragedies with incredible grace.”
“This is why, though there are numerous shots of the American flag on the moon, the filmmakers chose to focus on Neil looking back at the earth, his walk to Little West Crater, his unique, personal experience of completing this journey, a journey that has seen so many incredible highs and devastating lows.”
“In short, we do not feel this movie is anti-American in the slightest. Quite the opposite. But don’t take our word for it. We’d encourage everyone to go see this remarkable film and see for themselves,” they concluded.
See a trailer of “First Man” below:
A statement issued by Chazelle fits with what Armstrong’s sons had said.
“To address the question of whether this was a political statement, the answer is no,” he reportedly noted in a statement. “My goal with this movie was to share with audiences the unseen, unknown aspects of America’s mission to the moon — particularly Neil Armstrong’s personal saga and what he may have been thinking and feeling during those famous few hours.”
But as noted by Ingraham and her guest, contributor Raymond Arroyo, why omit one of the most pertinent facts related to the landing?
“My feeling is, you’re doing a biopic, stick to the facts. He planted an American flag. Plant an American flag,” Arroyo said.