In celebration of the recent 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Lego commissioned a Harris poll to check if the magic of the Space Age was still alive and well in the hearts of today's booger-eaters. But in its poll asking 8-to-12-year-olds what they wanted to be when they grow up, "astronaut" has been bumped off its high perch by the amazing, awe-inspiring dream job of being someone who asks people to smash Like and Subscribe buttons.
The (small) poll found that 3 in 10 American and British kids want nothing more than to become YouTubers, outvoting the dream of reaching the final frontier by a large margin. Of course, elders (in this context, anyone old enough to drink) across the world will be outraged by this news. Typical lazy Gen Y snowflakes, shunning a lifetime of heroism and science in favor of making fart noises over six consecutive hours of Fortnite. How dare they. How dare th- wait, hang on. Quick, can anyone name five active astronauts? (Not you, reader in the distressed NASA T-shirt.) Yeah, neither can we.
Maybe, just maybe, we should consider that the decline of the astronaut in the eyes of children is actually bleak example of the decline of most Western nations' space programs. Look at the other three top five dream jobs: musician, professional athlete, and teacher -- i.e., like YouTubers, examples children see the most every day while dividing their time between school and looking at a parent's iPad.
The sad fact is that most of us aren't in love with space exploration anymore. Sure, it was real easy for '70 kids to be into the STEM dream of space exploration. They thought that by the time they grew up, they'd be living the Jetson life in moon bases. Meanwhile, we know better, and kids still wanting to be astronauts have to accept that it'll either be a life of never actually going into space or, if they saw the only good space movie of our time, it'll be all fending off solar winds while eating a bunch of poop-tatoes.
Besides, it's not like kids don't love space anymore. According to the poll, 95% of even the non-Chinese kids (whose country is doing space gangbusters) still love the idea of living in outer space. They just don't want to be the ones who do the exploring. It's almost as if kids in the West know that, instead of getting to become the Magellan of space, they'd have to settle for being an alien border patrol agent for the MAGA age.
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