The Bird Man Hoax: Dealing With the Gravity of the Situation
So, sadly, I just got news from Wired.com that the “Bird Man”, assumed to be Jumo Smeets, is really a film producer and animator by the name of Floris Kayaak. From what I can tell it was all a hoax intended to draw attention to his real career and works. The announcement came today on a Dutch TV show.
What I witnessed during the last few days inspired me to write this article.
First, I noticed physicists and realists alike battling out the mathematics and possibilities. Various equations and video tracking programs to monitor if the camera shake were shown. Techies would state their opinions just to have trolls denounce them with cutting, sarcastic wit that was unfounded, yet oddly enamored.
What I noticed lurking under all of this, however, inspired me. Millions of dreamers were gazing at the video, hoping it was real, despite the science. I was one of those people.
We have always dreamed of flight, partly due to our need to dominate our environment but also, I think, because mastering gravity comes with a completely raw sense of freedom. I’m not talking about sitting cramped in an aisle seat on a 747, next to the obese sweaty guy who’s constantly playing elbow battle with you. I’m talking about an individual taking off into the air of his own volition, feeling the air rush beneath him and looking down on the exponentially shrinking landscape below. I suffer no illusions that I’ll soon be flapping to work with my own wings, no doubt made in china, while sipping on my morning latte and scoffing at the gravity-challenged below. However, I’d like to think that if I wanted to, I could; that I had the freedom and power to soar into the heavens.
Unfortunately, floating in a metal tube with wings is the closest I will be getting. Let’s not lose heart, though. If I’ve learned one thing from human interaction, it’s that when you limit someone and tell them something is not possible they only find more ways to prove you wrong.