A New Planet for 1930
|Pluto, once a planet...|
In these long breaks between the signature 21 Essays series, I’m experimenting with a new feature focused on possibilities for future series. I’ll spin the roulette wheel to pick a year (or set of years) and then brainstorm on some potential essay topics. This time the wheel spins, gradually slows, then clicks to a stop, pointing at: 1930.
So here’s my second 1930 series possibility: 9 essays on Pluto, once the ninth planet from the sun… now just another dirty iceball on the outskirts of town.
Pluto was both discovered and declared a planet in 1930 only to linger through decades of doubt until the final eclipse of 2006, when it was downgraded to a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt. But there will always be more to Pluto than just an ex-planet. Starting in 1930, Pluto was Disney’s favorite all-purpose mutt, providing dependable support for Mickey and Minnie. And Pluto will always be one of the Big Three Roman gods (but now he’s the only one without a planet again).
As usual, there’s more to the story than the sound bite that Pluto was bullied out of the solar system for being the runt of the litter. Here’s a science lesson, delivered by C. G. P. Grey, compressing Pluto’s 76-year run as a planet into five very entertaining minutes:
My biggest problem with the idea of doing 9 essays on Pluto is that I can’t hope to beat C. G. P. Grey’s video for sheer entertaining Pluto-nerdiness.
Over the next three days, I’ll be proposing some more 1930 ideas (with no promises that I’ll necessarily be getting to any of them…). But I’m wide open to other suggestions. Any ideas for 1930 movies, books, short stories, poems, songs, or other cultural artifacts that might inspire a good 21 Essays series?
© 2012 Lee Price