Man On The Moon

SUSPEND YOUR SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE, for the 2015 John Lewis Christmas ad is here and while being a whole lot less full of penguins than last year, there are a few awkward stretches of reality that you’re going to have ignore if you’re going to fully enjoy this year’s effort.

Music is Oasis’ Half The World Away, covered by Norwegian artist Aurora (Aksenes), who will be singing at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert next month, along with some other Norwegian band.

And the advert is lovely and inclusive, sending out the right messages for the holiday period. Because, it’s always nice for a strange, lonely, probably harmless, but nevertheless ever-so-slightly creepy, old man to be able to stare directly into a young girl’s home, isn’t it? Especially at Christmas.
I wonder if her parents know about this?

She is, however, clearly a scientific genius. NASA need to sign her up right now.
Rigging up a telescope that size to be able to achieve that sort of resolution is something no optical physicist in history has yet managed. And yet she’s… what? 10 years old?, and is working out of the living room of a house in suburbia while being distracted by her brother’s XBox antics. Incredible. In. Credible. No, I mean literally, not credible.
And her package delivery system of twelve apparently ordinary helium balloons to get that telescope in a shoebox to him? That’s akin to the Rosetta Comet team landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. If this analogy is to be continued, she will come down to breakfast on Boxing Day wearing a dodgy shirt, and everyone will hate her and forget her altruism and seemingly impossible lunar transport system of the previous evening, and how she made an old man who can apparently survive without oxygen, very happy.

How did he get up there, anyway? What’s he been eating? Where did the wood come from to build his house and that bench? Why hasn’t an earth based astronomer noted his presence? Why does he look vaguely like a cross between a Galapagos tortoise and Doc Brown out of Back To The Future? So many questions…

And then, if we’re going to be properly pedantic (and hey, who’s going to stop us?), then “Half The World Away” would amount to a distance of 3,185.5km. That’s not even 1% of the distance to the Moon. Each party involved is going to be sadly disappointed by that sort of meagre effort, although I suppose Mr Green Cheese wouldn’t even know about it.

Look, it’s nice, it’s touching, but it’s wholly scientifically invalid and completely implausible. What are our kids going to learn from this?

I, for one, will not be shopping at John Lewis this Xmas.

UPDATE: The Guardian: Who is Moon Hitler?
The Independent (spoiler: it’s not): The John Lewis Christmas advert and the Commodification of Loneliness.

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