The job of the astronaut is up there with firefighter and fighter pilot as the dream occupation of adventurous children. Exploring the unknown, gazing down at a delicate planet earth as it mutely holds itself aloft in the limitless darkness, alone and unprotected. You are the modern-day frontiersman, conquering the vast terrains of the universe. You instantly earn limitless respect from everyone on earth. Your words will be immortalised, people care about what you have to say. "How's that astronaut guy voting in the Brexit?" you ask yourself. "I reckon he'd vote Remain. Hmm."
Astronauts are literally on top of the world. They're striking figures of intellectual and physical power, like the giant Lenin statue atop the imposing Palace of the Soviets. But with the permanently grinning, always on, media trained and (now literally) down to earth Tim Peake, blighty's own Buzz Aldrin, we get none of the (admittedly very American movie-style) sense of adventure and excitement of what an astronaut is. Instead, we just get a pretty nice guy who likes exercising. This upsets people.
Tim is the epitome of Mr Normal Nice Guy, the kind of bloke who tries to break up a flame war by saying "let's just agree to disagree" with a smiley emoticon. He rubs some people up the wrong way. A little Twitter search of the words "Tim Peake annoying" with gives you thousands of results, 20 more coming every minute, ranging from the fairly light-hearted: "That Tim Peake is a bit of an annoying done-it-all for me!" to the more severe: "Anyone thinking Tim Peake is an annoying, irritating prick now, wait till he's back on earth". Others are more extreme "Wish Tim Peake got sucked out the fire exit on that space station the annoying cunt." Pretty strong words for a man whose only crime is to be on telly for being in space. What is it about him that rubs people up the wrong way?
When your man Peake went up in that big ol' rocket, a lot of people were a bit miffed about the large amount of money it appeared to be a waste of. Space travel has been a constant bugbear for those who think the world's governments shouldn't be funnelling billions, nay trillions, of different currencies into building rocket ships and centrifugal force simulators and packaging egg dust to be consumed and then shat out carefully into the direction of the sun. They think we should be spending it making sure children aren't dying of hunger and thirst and diseases and all that boring shit. Uh, hello UNICEF, we're looking for aliens! Tim Peake, to some, with his broad grin and kind eyes and history of military service as a test pilot, his love of hiking and climbing and the outdoors, with his cute nuclear family, represents the good life. Healthy, happy, doing well, in space for fuck's sake. While we're down here pretending it's summer looking at sloppy rain-soaked dogshit on the pavement. He's looking down on us, but not in a godly way, or the way you believe a deceased loved one might look upon on your graduation, but looking down and thinking "Ew, glad I'm up here and not down with those austerity fucknuts."
Because there's no real discernible issue with Peake's actual personality, apart from him having a slightly dull, media-trained way about him. So it's very possible that the ire people have expressed is that simple, very British old chestnut of sneering jealousy. We're not even jealous that he's up in space. We just hate that he's so fucking content about it. Some people see a person smile and they think the world smiles with them. Others see the same smile and want to carve it out with a steak knife. With Peake and his near constant buoyancy, literally floating in the air, we are met with a vision of positivity that we struggle to achieve in our own lives on Earth.
But that's how you have to be if you want to be an astronaut. The child inside you may think you have to be a wisecracking adventurer, the galaxy's own Indiana Jones, but in reality you just have to be really smart and really well-adjusted. You have to be in pristine health to be sent up to a space station for half a year eating paste, pretending to run the London Marathon so your muscles don't turn into jellied eels. Tim Peake is, sadly, better than us, guys. He's physically fitter, happier, smarter, he's done more shit with his life and more people love him than will ever even know your name. What a bastard.
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