Here For It w/ R. Eric Thomas, #95

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

This week: Idris is making memories in Cats, this is America so speak gibberish, and I'm very envious of this child who got to hug Prince Harry.

We went to see the new movie First Man last week. It's the Damian Chazelle-directed, Ryan Gosling-starring film about the "moon" "landing" and Neil Armstrong. For weeks, I've been insisting on describing First Man as the story of the first man to escape from the moon. I do not know why I do this; it is only funny to me. But, really, I find it quite amusing. We've all heard the "story" of the moon landing ad nauseum, but when are we going to talk about all the people trapped on the moon and the brave first man to escape? I imagine this film as like The Martian but with The Rock. How does he escape from the moon? BRUTE FORCE, MY DUDE.

We saw the film with David's dad. His dad had to step out of the theater during the moon landing sequence. (Guess he was like "Been there, saw that, bought the t-shirt. NEXT!") Little did we know that the movie ends like two minutes after the moon landing. Spoiler alert. He lands on the moon (and then escapes!) and Damian Chazelle was like "Well, so what? What do you expect now? The Earth is boring. NEXT!" Anyway, we got up to meet David's dad in the lobby and I told David we should say the movie ended with them revealing the whole thing was filmed on a soundstage in Nevada. The final shot is Buzz Aldrin (who does not come off well in this movie; he's the Captain of Moon Jail) bursting out of the doors of a makeup trailer, crowing "Well, boys! We did it. And none of these fools will every be the wiser!" And then Neil Armstrong gives the moon the middle finger and everyone laughs and signs their Illuminati contracts.

David's dad did not believe that is what happened in the movie, but I stand by my story. And someday I will make a film that tells the truth. It will be called 1st First Man, so it comes up earlier in Google searches, which is how we determine veracity these days. If something's on the second page of Google, historians say it never existed.

I don't actually think the moon landing was a hoax (honey, I have enough trouble keeping track of the conspiracy theories I have about things that happen in my own life, to people I know; I can't be bothered to think about who has and has not escaped from celestial bodies.). BUT I do like to pretend I think the moon landing was a hoax. Again, I do not know why I do this. I think it is funny but I am open to the idea that I have a bad sense of humor.

For years, I've had a running joke with my friend Kristen that I don't believe in space at all. This frustrates her immensely, which delights me. "What do you think is up there?" she asks. "A blanket with holes in it," I always answer. She knows that I don't really not believe in space but she can't get me to admit it. We haven't really run this gag since prior to the election so perhaps it's not fun anymore. Maybe this all part of a slippery slope. Maybe I'm the problem. Lock me up! Send me directly to Moon Jail (SO I CAN RIP IT ASUNDER WITH MY BARE HANDS!)

This lingering joke that is possibly not a joke anymore (SINCE THE DEATH OF COMEDY. IT WAS FIRST VICTIM OF THE FIRST MAN) presented a bit of a problem for me this summer. David and I were invited over to the pool of an interracial gay couple who are slightly older than us (and massively richer). (Side note: I believe in the past year, we have met 60% of the interracial gay couples in Baltimore and, like, two additional people who were not interracial and/or gay. I am now on a quest to meet the other 40%. I will be the First Man to... oh, never mind. I just want to complete the collection. Is there a meeting or something?) (Side side note: I just made myself giggle thinking about a meeting of interracial couples. Like a Quaker meeting except when people are moved by the spirit they say things like "We had very different reactions to Black KKKlansman!")

ANYWAY, we're paired off, floating in the pool, talking. The one I'm talking to says something about the stars (it was getting close to dusk) and I, almost automatically, responded "Yeah, the 'stars.'" He was like, what's this now? And I, again without thinking, said "I just don't know about that." He said "What don't you know about?" And I--still brain-absent--replied "I'm just not convinced." He stared at me, like you would stare at someone who just said they don't believe in the stars. And it was only then that I remembered this was a person I had just met and not one of my best friends who is contractually obligated to put up with my bullshit. What I did next, however, is even worse. Not wanting him to think of me as a lunatic space truther, I--the husband of a pastor--said, "Well, I just mean, who can say what the Lord put up in the firmament."


In order to not seem like an insane person, I pretended I had religious questions about the nature of space. Why, God? Although, to be honest, I do have religious questions about space! When I was watching First Man there were all these breathtaking scenes of the barren surface of the moon and "space" and I said to myself "What was God doing putting all of this junk up in the sky? Like, what is the point?!" I reacted to the majesty of space like a parent bursting into a teenager's bedroom "Why do you have all the Tamogachis everywhere? What is the point?!" Or me talking to myself whilst standing in the study, "What is your plan with all these New Yorker magazines and tote bags? What are you trying to prove?!"

Hey! God! What's the big idea with all these dumb giant pretty beautiful rocks in the vacuum of space?! I'm upset! I demand answers and I won't rest until I get them, even if it means breaking... in to Moon Jail.

This week, I'm obsessed with Meghan and Harry's trip to Australia, Ted Cruz played a 10-year-old Disney CD at his wedding, and there's a Dogs Playing Poker-esque painting in the White House that is giving me stress. But first! IDRIS!

Costume Ideas for Cats Star Idris Elba

Yesterday, news broke that Gravel-Voiced Zaddy Idris Elba is bringing his snack buffet to Tom Hooper's new film version of Cats. As a Snack Cat. A kibble (or a bit). Producers have not announced which cat he'll play, but let me be the first to say I don't care at all. Idris is going to throw on some spandex and sing and maybe lick himself a little bit and I'm putting myself on bed rest from the excitement. What cat is he playing in Cats? The cat of my dreams. Idris Elba could play Garfield and I'd be like, "Yas, zaddy, cancel Mondays! Smother me with lasagna! Nermal is a narc!" [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Why Yes, I Am Madly Envious of the Kid Who Tugged on Prince Harry's Beard

I am pleased to announce that I have a new nemesis and it is the adorable child who got to touch Prince Harry's beard. It is a known fact that one of my life goals is to give a little tug to Harry's ginger scruff, preferably at an Australian airport. I have been working toward this goal for years and this kid just saunters up and snatches my blessing! This is an international incident. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

The Absurd "Republican Presidents at Happy Hour" Painting in the White House Is All I Can Think About

The painting, by Andy Thomas, is called "The Republican Club" and it has somehow seared itself into my brain. You've heard of Thomas Kinkade, the painter of light. Apparently Andy Thomas is the painter of unimaginable darkness. This is like "The Last Supper" except you know one of these dudes is going to skip out on the bill. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Ted Cruz Made Heidi Cruz Play the Aladdin CD at Their Wedding

Famed astrology fan Ted Cruz has made a lot of questionable choices in his life. Why did he support a president who constantly bullied him and his family when they were political opponents? Why does he insist on trying to beat hot zaddy Beto O'Rourke? Why did he leave The Muensters? So many questions. But none are as vexing as Cruz's decision to play "A Whole New World" from a CD at his wedding. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Trump Versus The Concept and Existence of Grammar

First of all, if I read this tweet to you blindly and asked "who wrote it: Kanye, Trump, or Dwight Schrute from The Office?" you would be stumped. Second of all: what? [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Let's Hang Out!

Hosting The Moth StorySlam at The Miracle Theater in Washington, D.C., Thursday, November 1
Hosting The Moth StorySlam at City Winery in Washington, D.C., Monday, November 19

Random Thing on the Internet...

My friend Alejandro Morales, a very funny comedian in Philly, launched his short webseries, Sadulous, a funny series about being sad, this week. It's a delight! Watch it on YouTube here.

Been here! Done this! Next!