Yuri and the Wonder Twins

Apparently The Wonder Twins are back, if only in toy form:

As a commenter on io9.com put it, “I especially like the Praise Satan grins they’re sporting.”

Now compare this new buffness and boobishness to the original:

In other news, today marks the 48th anniversary of the historic flight of Yuri Gagarin, hero of the Soviet Republic and the first human being to both enter outer space and orbit the Earth. Here’s a picture of me and a couple of students, from earlier this year, in which I am sporting a Yuri Gagarin T-shirt. It was given to me by a charming and gorgeous Ukrainian woman I was dating last year, and was purchased in the Ukraine, where Gagarin’s is still a household name:

It’s so very sad that most people in the West today have no idea who this great man was. His accomplishment ranks up there with those of Columbus and Champlain, yet the might of American media has erased his name from our school books. I once polled my students to see how many could identify the name on my T-shirt; none could. Some even thought “Gagarin” was the name of a clothing line.

So let me set the record straight. Yuri Gagarin was the first human being in space. Yuri Gagarin was the first person to orbit the Earth. Alan Shepherd was the first American, and second human being, in space, though he only did a sub-orbital flight. The Americans didn’t make orbit till the flight of John Glenn, a whole year after Gagarin. In the interim, another Soviet, Gherman Titov, became the second human to orbit the Earth, but the history books have all but forgotten his name.

If I ask people who the first woman in space was, they always answer “Sally Ride“, which infuriates me no end. Sally Ride was the first American in space, and flew in 1983.

The actual first woman in space was Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who did the deed two decades earlier in 1963.

In fact, Ride was actually the third woman in space, beaten by a year by yet another Soviet, Svetlana Savitskaya.

The USSR may be gone, and there may have been a great many things about that regime that we find unattractive. But let’s not forget that they were the ones who took the real pioneering steps in manned space exploration. Today we remember and honour Yuri Gagarin, hero of the Soviet Republic, and with him the legion of lesser known cosmonauts whose legacies do not benefit from the mighty machine of American media.