Furry to be aboard Blue Origin space flight - December 11th
On December 11th, a Blue Origin flight will be making a journey to space. Aboard it will be Laura Shepard, who is the daughter of the first American to fly to space, Alan Shepard. But given this is a furry news site, one of the paying passengers has piqued more interest within fandom circles. Cameron “MeepsKitten” Bess, a modest furry content creator of around 2,500 subscribers on YouTube, Twitch, and Twitter, will be riding aboard with his father, Lane Bess.
The video "I'm Going to Space" on MeepsKitten’s YouTube channel shows how he is both excited and anxious about this opportunity. He discusses how he plans to bring the paw of his fursuit along with a pansexual flag, which is his sexual identity, with him on the spaceflight.
Update: Due to high winds forecast, the flight has been delayed from December 9th to December 11th.
Meet the Meeps
MeepsKitten is a fursuiter and content creator in the fandom. He’s been posting videos since around 2019 on his YouTube channel. He recently started to stream on Twitch around two months ago. While he is mostly known in the fandom for his pending space venture, the content in the videos are of a more standard furry fare: Omegle chat reactions, gaming moments, and fursuit activities of the both mundane and unusual variety.
On that note if you’re interested in furries talking about space as a subject, I would recommend Hiyu’s YouTube channel which is more oriented toward the STEM subject manner than MeepsKitten’s more social oriented channels.
His father, Lane Bess, has noted that he is accepting of his son for who he is. The wealth of MeepKitten’s father, who will be joining him on the space venture, is where the funding for this endeavor is coming from. Lane Bess’s fortunes comes from his leadership of companies within the sector of cyber security. So if some furs believe that MeepKitten’s father is merely accepting of their son’s eccentricities because he doesn’t know what a furry is, there may be some room for doubt. He has a masters degree and works in cyber security, he probably knows.
Two of the major companies he worked for on the board, Zscaler and Palo Alto Networks, have gone parabolic during the coronavirus period. The young investors seem to call this exponential price change in an equity “going to the moon”, but I will note that despite Lane’s stocks in Zscaler doing just that, their tickets to space don’t get them that far. This upturn in those stocks are due to technology sectors getting a boost due to the increase in work-from-home and greater dependence on tech. Thus the security of our more decentralized world seems to have many investors believing the cyber security sector to be a strong one for the future.
As far as how wealthy Lane is, it is public knowledge that Lane Bess bought a 1.75 million dollar chunk of Zscaler stock back in March of 2018 soon after it went into trading publicly (called an IPO or Initial Public Offering). Should he have held the entire stack of shares to this day that 1.75 million dollar investment would now be worth around 750 million dollars.
We do not know if he continues to hold these Zscaler equities or not, so he may not be a near billionaire. However, the internet only has information on one asset and no sane person with a business degree would put all their eggs in one basket. Though Bill Hwang and his insanely jacked Viacom position that got margin called remind me that’s not a certainty. I doubt that Mr. Bess is nearly so foolish, though. Going to space is certainly less crazy than buying a ton of one telecommunication stock on borrowed money.
What’s in an astronaut’s name?
Social media had its say on the situation, some besmirching the luxury that the furry YouTuber was about to partake in, others simply getting agitated on him using the noun of astronaut to describe his activity.
As society advances, words that once were used to describe an activity become too broad, and thus need reworking. Some indicate that MeepsKitten should be considered more of a Space Tourist than an Astronaut. The logic being how being a passenger on an aircraft does not make one a pilot or stewardess, so being a passenger on a spacecraft does not make one an astronaut, which is seen as more of a job than activity.
Not everyone agreed with this need for a distinction. Firstly you have the article from Blue Origin itself about the space flight, linked earlier, denoting all 6 on this journey as astronauts. Secondly, a furry raccoon by the name of Drenthe posted a short thread under which he noted that just because someone is an astronaut doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to be active pilots of the vessel. His example included the situation surrounding the crew of the Mercury mission, NASA’s first manned rocket to break into outer space.
Today I heard a furry is going to outer space and that’s pretty cool. Then I heard people making fun of him for having rich parents, and that’s not cool. Can’t you just be happy for someone doing something cool?
I saw a complaint that he’s not going to even “do anything” so why call him an astronaut? Let me remind you, Mercury astronauts weren’t even supposed to touch anything on their rockets. Unless told to.
At one point NASA seriously debated sedating Mercury astronauts so they wouldn’t get cute and start touching the controls. They were there to sit in their chairs and ride the rocket.
Chuck Yeager called them “Spam in a can”.
But as I performed lateral reading against the above thread to find out the truth of it, I found that this thread is the ultimate of ironies. Our raccoon friend used Yeager’s phrase “spam in a can” to highlight how ultimately that the Mercury astronauts were mere passengers as well. And so that present furries are unjustified for ‘belittling’ those going up to space by calling them something other than astronauts. However, when you read into the quote by Chuck Yeager, it is actually him being no different than those on Twitter calling for MeepsKitten to not be called an astronaut.
In fact, these words from the mid 20th century are far more demeaning and spiteful toward the space goers in the Mercury project than any phrase furries have uttered on Twitter in the year of 2021 toward the furry with a ticket to ride the upcoming Blue Origin flight.
You see, Chuck Yeager was a distinguished air force pilot that became renowned as being the first human to break the sound barrier. For the Mercury mission to space, NASA was looking for distinguished air force pilots. However, there was a catch. They also desired those with a college background in a STEM field. Yeager, unfortunately, did not fit within that criteria. So when he called the Mercury crew “spam in a can” he basically was saying that they were not pilots, nor astronauts, but just meat bags in space. It would be hard pressed to think he would have used that wording if he were given the opportunity to be a part of the crew himself.
So if anything can be gleaned of this it is that sour grapes do not have an expiration date. Jealousy of opportunities that our fellow species are given that we are not is nothing new. It’s just that in the modern era we have been given a platform to present bitterness in real time. It also shows that these emotions of envy are not isolated simply based on class, but can occur wherever a limitation is placed that restricts opportunities. Even amongst those considered elites in our society.
History is anything if not recursive. As work in space expands, there is no doubt there will be an expansion of roles that will be defined with new words, just as there has been with any other profession and utility developed in the last century. Space Tourist or Interstellar Passenger will probably become canon lexicon, and the term Astronaut regulated to those whose careers revolve around crewing spacecraft.
And then even further down the timeline when the novelty of space travel has worn off, the words will simplify and be reverted back to passengers and crew respectively.
A parent privileges
The most fleshed out response of this situation was made by a fur within the aerospace field. Within it he discusses how those in the aerospace industry feel about this new space tourism industry, and highlights the positive impact it makes on the governmental programs whose purposes in space are more utilitarian. It notes with private capital pushing for the rockets and tourism, the government can focus on the more practical tools instead. It is well written and worth the read.
— Syd Stoat (@SydStoat) November 24, 2021
There is a major juxtaposition with the kitten who is going to space and the stoat who works within aerospace, and that is they are furs of different classes. Where the kitten had a father who gained massive abundance, the stoat’s family barely got by. Yet when push came to shove, both parents allowed their children to grow freely and with their support.
While most may look on in envy of the fur going to space because of the financial wealth he had been born into, the message that the fur who works in aerospace with more humble origins shows that the greatest wealth for both has been the support of those who came before them. To have parents that allow their children to boldly move forward where their ancestors never tread.
Things would have been much different had their parents not been the roots they needed to succeed. Toxic parents are the greatest detriment that one can have when transitioning into adulthood, should they allow you to make it that far. Class is irrelevant in this. Rich parents can be toxic to their children, just as much as impoverished ones can.
The wealthy toxic parent, wishing for their offspring to merely be an extension of their life, shove their descendant into learning the family business with an iron fist. That if they don’t continue, or go beyond their accomplishments, that they will deem them a failure in their eyes. Treating them no different from the items they buy as tools to be used for their purposes. Even beyond the grave. Donald Trump may be a good example of being a child of a toxic wealthy parent. Though in his case Trump may have benefited by leaning into the toxicity himself, which is why he was given the keys instead of his other sibling rivals. Those siblings of course, continued dealing with their father’s scorn through his child.
On the other side of the class lines, the impoverished toxic parent sees the potential in their child to go further than they had. But instead of feeling blessed for their success, they become angry at their own shortcomings and eye their child with envy. They start to sabotage their youth, in hopes that they will remain the failure they see themselves as. They will restrain them so they never get the opportunities they failed to reach. Even if that means their child’s death. Judith Eva Barsi, the late voice actress of Ducky from Land Before Time, is a prime example of being the child of a toxic impoverished parent, yup yup yup.
In the end, those of us who are given fathers and mothers who don’t restrain their children to succeed and offer support in any way they can are far more a source of privilege than the material of the spoon which we are born into. If we as a society start to push towards being the best parents we can over what we have stewardship over, whether it be our businesses, community, or actual children should we rear them, then maybe one day humanity will be worthy and find the strength to join the stars.