WISH that I could share
the joy and untold delight that most people appeared to take in the latest exploits of the American astronauts and the •prospect of a landing on the Moon in July. About the only thing that appealed to me in the whole operation was the courage of the spacemen, but over-exposure of their performances on television almost sent me into orbit.
I also disliked the whimsical nature that crept into the lunar business. particularly that homespun guff of "Snoopy," which brought back to me the nasty nonsense of wartime when messages and the names of sweethearts were chalked on bombs before they fell from our aircraft to blast some poor devil to bits. Make everything nice and homely, Mummy. and the horrors will surely recede.
From a scientific point of view the Moon "probes" are infinitely rewarding, but what most people choose to forget is that science is invariably perverted to serve ignoble ends. The Moon will sooner or later be used as a platform to decide the future or non-future of this little planet of ours.
Therefore, before you go shouting your head off at the miracle of Moon landings. pause for a moment and ask yourself if you really want Big Brother (American or Russian) up there grinning back at you with a smile a thousand times more lethal than that of the old man in the Moon.
rlirfIERE is no finer way to start the day than to'cliscover. a new word. On Sunday
after I had filleted my breakfast kipper and degutted the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Sunday Express and Sunday Mirror, I took my scalpel to the Observer and stared fascinated at the caption under a picture of Mr. William Rees-Mogg. the editor of The Times. It said quite simply: "Rees-Mogg: Personal affron."
And there was no doubt about it at all. He really did exude affron from every pore compared with the other pictures of other famous men illustrating a feature on Harold Wilson's past and almost adulterous relationships with the Press.
There was a picture of Lord Hartwell, the bossman of the Telegraph. A good photograph too, but not a hint of affron in his faintly sardonic profile. Cecil King stared at me with a slightly worried expression (and who can blame him after the recent Christie's sale?), but affron was the last word that you would have associated with his charming, but disdainful mug. And Lord Thomson grinned at me with the grin of every commercial traveller the world over. But of affron there was no trace.
In short Rees-Mogg had it over all the others, As usual the Observer had hit on the right word for it. I looked again at the editor of The Times and the more I looked the more I became convinced that affron was to become the new vogue word, pioneered, like so many others, by the trendy Observer.
My dictionary was not at hand but any fool could work out for himself what affron was. It was quite plainly an allpurpose word to describe a compound of middle-aged charm and intellectual brightness allied to reserved bespectacled bellicosity.