Gil Scott-Heron on Space Exploration

R.I.P., Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011), one of the most cogent social commentators of my generation.

In memory of his accomplishments, I offer here as food for thought – especially for those of us in the space community who think about the value of government investments in space exploration – an excerpt from the lyrics he wrote for “Whitey on the Moon” (Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, 1970).

“…I can’t pay no doctor bills

But Whitey’s on the moon

Ten years from now I’ll be paying still

While Whitey’s on the moon…


With all that money I made last year

For Whitey on the moon

How come I ain’t got no money here?

Hmm, Whitey’s on the moon


You know I just about had my fill

Of Whitey on the moon

I think I’ll send those doctor bills

Airmail special

(To Whitey on the moon)”


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