“Can You Hear Me, Major Tom?” RELOADED

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In a summer where one of the most talked-about movie releases is the latest in a 40-year-old franchise and the average age of baseball’s best team is, like, 35, it’s no surprise that David Bowie’s Major Tom, a character first introduced in 1969, has gotten a new lease on life. It JUST MAKES SENSE. To wit: Breaking Bad‘s deceased nerd chemist, Gale Boetticher, a few weeks ago sang a karaoke version of “Major Tom” (by Peter Schilling).

(Was the catalyst for his murder rooted entirely in this performance? We’ll have to wait for the season finale to know for sure.) And now for the kids, illustrator Andrew Kolb has put together the saddest book ever in his illustrated version of Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”

Right?!? Kolb’s 60s “This is ___“-style illustrations somehow give the already dire lyrics more dramatic heft than they had on their own, especially when it comes to Major Tom’s wife (who in this instance appears to work at Ground Control). Your husband just lost communication with the natural world! Happy Labor Day! Read the book in its entirety here, if you have the strength.

Now two instances is still one shy of a trend, but what’s the point of a pop culture blog if not to promote exaggerated, unfounded theories? And so we ask: does all this 2011 Major Tom-ness have something to do with the halting of NASA’s space shuttle program? And also a pervasive feeling, nationwide, that we’re just floating in a tin can (Honda Civic) with no control over our own professional destinies, hopelessly watching life march ever on far below?

…Something to chew on at your BBQ tomorrow!

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