Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

To repeat: No obscenities on Behind the Black

I am getting really tired of saying this: I will not tolerate obscenities or curse words on this website. The rest of the world might want to wallow in barbarism and ill behavior, but it will not happen here. This is my workplace. If you want to participate in the conversation on Behind the Black, I expect you to act like a civilized adult. If you can’t abide by these rules, then go somewhere else.

First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

Civilization might be collapsing all around us, but at least in this tiny corner I wish to try to keep it upright.

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

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c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


  • Bill


    Indeed. Thank you.

  • Daniel Peters

    Well Stated!

  • Author J. J. Hall

    What are people being obscene on this site? Mr. Z runs a good site, well studied & very gentle in the exposition of opinions. If you are triggered by what is written here, I suspect there is some darkness in your heart that Behind the Black is uncovering.

  • Cotour

    There is a cycle and learning curve to social media, blogs, commenting and sharing ones opinions. This is paradigm changing in the way that people communicate and interact.

    I do not think that there is a dark intent but a need to be validated. And this lends itself to different kinds of personal confrontations until you either evolve or are just outright banned because you have not evolved and you have a need to be obscene for either humor or because you have nothing else to offer.

    Social media is a very sharp double edged sword that cuts even when you least expect it and our brains through the hits of dopamine that it creates, especially for those who now grow up within it without any other perspective, may not be able to handle it properly. Its an ongoing live experiment.

    In addition, “They” are pushing your buttons in ways that you are not aware of:
    A worthwhile listen to Jaron Lanier.

    Low standards are no standards.

    I applaud standards.

  • David Lohnes


  • Cotour

    Thanks for the dopamine hit, DL.

  • Lee S

    I can only agree… I have been in the “sin bin” for a remark I made after a drink or two…. And to be honest.. the use of cuss words has been normalised to some extent these days….
    But they have very little use in polite discourse….
    I can be very sweary… But it depends on the situation…. In someone else’s house ( IE.. this blog ) is a different situation to banging your thumb with a hammer fixing your friends porch, with no kids around ( true story!)
    My father said ” swear as much as you like son, but if it’s front of your mother or me, your gonna get it!”

  • wodun

    I use different language depending on the context and don’t believe in limiting the vocabulary I draw on to communicate. Sometimes a swear word is required and the proper word to use. But different rules for different venues.

    Really, everyone has different rules and what is normal to some is outrageous to others. No one should expect that what they think is outrageous is the same for everyone else. Civilization was built by rough men who spoke their mind and that can be upsetting to some. Even the classics are filled with vulgarity, insults, and various slang.

    The “why I nevers” can be a tedious group to deal with who are often vulgar in a very polite manner.

    My suggestion is to place a request above the comment box. “No swearing, please. Offenders will not be allowed to comment.” This might not stop all the swearing or prevent the need of a blog post about it but it would put the rule someplace of notice where everyone can be aware of the special rule for this site.

    It would also be refreshing change from the PC censorship on other sites where the things that are forbidden must not be said so that a person never knows whether they are running afoul of some rule that is unwritten.

  • m d mill

    A very good policy.
    I would note that RZ has used the word *C*R*A*P* on this web site and in national radio interviews, which is certainly a very coarse term itself used in polite discussion…so none of us are without sin.

  • wodun

    I know some kids who get into trouble for saying stupid and boring.

  • m d mill: I never claimed to be a saint. I at least try to do better. If you don’t like my rules, then go somewhere else. I am losing patience with people making excuses for bad behavior.

  • Lee S

    It’s true that different places have different rules… “C*r*a*p” was acceptable language from children while I was in WV last year, ( which in England is not) … And “A*r*s*e” was not ok.. ( which in the UK is perfectly fine..)…..
    The difference between what different cultures find offensive is an interesting subject….
    Here in Sweden, I have seen naked bodies in kids programs, on newspaper bill boards, and naked bathing amongst friends and family is the norm….
    Films with violence are rated 18

    In the UK , and in the US even more so, the exact opposite applies…

    Im not judging either as better or worse, but I find the underlying moral difference between superficially similar cultures, fascinating…

    ( And I will never cuss again on this blog… I like it here, and would like to stay!)

  • EnkisAdvocate

    Thank you for not wasting my time, Mr. Zimmerman. I’ll be going somewhere else because I don’t like my speech censored.

  • EnkisAdvocate: If the only way you can express your opinion is to spout obscenities, then I am glad to see you go.

    Those who read my site and the comments here know that I censor no one’s opinion, even if they are harshly critical of me. All you have to do is write like an adult.

  • commodude

    I’m a retired Sergeant, and, as such, my language can easily slip into the lingua franca of the NCO corps. However, there’s a time and a place for everything, and Robert’s insistence that we maintain a certain level of decorum in his workplace is welcome.

    It is eminently possible to express your opinion on a subject without slipping into expletives, and it comes across as a much more thoughtful post minus the foul language so prevalent elsewhere.

  • Cotour

    Who, meaning what adult, is unable to express themselves without HAVING to use commonly agreed upon offensive or crude words?

    Having some order of expectation in how people express themselves on any particular platform is not censoring them. How silly.

    I will assume that EnkisAdvocate is an abortion right up to the ninth month kind of guy? Its either all or nothing for him.

  • wodun

    Mr Zimmerman,

    I urge you take my suggestion seriously. If you want people to follow rules, they must know what they are first. A regular reader will have seen your posts but not new readers. Clearly stating the rule above the comment box puts it right there at eye level for all to see every time they make a comment. It might be necessary to go one step further and put in a hyperlink to a post where the rule is explained in greater detail.

    Reminder: No swearing on Behind the Black, not even in quotes! Offenders will have their commenting privileges revoked.

    Question: Is linking to something with obscenities also against the rules? Do we need to include a warning that some material at this link may be objectionable to some people? I ask because I have linked to things with some swears and I don’t want to run afoul of the rules.

  • wodun: Actually, I had been thinking along the same lines, prior to your first comment. There are technical details for doing it that I need to figure out.

    I prefer people avoid linking to obscene material. However, if one must, it is only common courtesy to preface the link with a NSFW (Not safe for work) type warning. This isn’t required, but once again, it would be the act of a civilized person.

  • wayne

    As someone who posts a lot of video-links, I will endeavor to tag anything with “adult language,” upfront.

  • Gene Shipp

    That’s what’s great about America!! America is big place and if you don’t like the rules of this house then find another.

    I see no point in foul language. Why curse when you could have used that opportunity that you just wasted to state the actual problem-the cause plainly, accurate and short. If ranting is what you, a foul mouthed poster, are doing then quit. I quit facebook because I got angry about political current events and it wasn’t producing anything. Even if I quit ranting and sharing political things it ate valuable time.

    Men hit their thumbs with hammers and keep their mouths shut. No matter who, if anybody, is there. It’s called integrity. I learned that lesson in my teen years.

    Thank you Mr. Z for keeping it clean. I don’t listen to or spend time with anyone who curses. Why put up with disrespect? I’m not a snob. I choose wisely who to spend my valuable time with.

  • Lee S

    You never swear… Good for you.
    I do swear…. Good for me.
    I have the integrity to know ( mostly ) when and where this is acceptable, and indeed, in some of the circles I keep ( who dispite being good honest freinds would probably not be to your taste), it is deemed acceptable
    integrity has absolutely nothing to do with the subject.

  • Gene Shipp

    Lee S
    Bad for you. You are what you speak.
    Part of integrity is being decent at all times. You know who will put up with it and who won’t. You need more integrity. If they jumped off a bridge would you?

    Listen to Rabbi Daniel Lapin. He’s got a cd or instant download called Perils of Profanity – You are what you speak. Listen to that and tell me you feel the same. He’s got podcasts too.

    You can be a leader to your good honest friends. Respect is earned when you restrain yourself and respond with a light gentle word. People can see and hear that you are boiling on the inside, but like George Washington, let your words be few.

    Now you’ll think i’m contradicting myself because i tell a story about Washington cursing. But see that was not the majority of who he was. He had a temper. You could see it across a battlefield of 16,000 men. He was the most self restrained crazy man our country has known and you know how blessed we are to have had him as our first president. No kids by the way. He and Martha had no children born to them. Everyone behaved better when he was around. James Madison had to get on his horse and travel several days to get to Washington and convince him to attend the constitutional convention. And he came wearing his uniform. Just sat there. He said very little at the convention.

    Once when his troops were retreating he walked his horse toward the enemy. He was an excellent horseman. Had a big beautiful horse. He could make his horse do anything he wanted with his feet, knees and calves. He didn’t need to use the reins. So as his men were retreating he made his horse walk slowly right toward the enemy. He looked at no one. Just looked straight ahead. He had no idea if anyone was going to fight or not. And his men saw this and they stopped and held their ground.

    The british saw him get closer and volley after volley of shots were fired right at him and he didn’t get hit. So they turned and ran. And his men routed them.

    Another time his men were retreating and he chased them, cursed them and whipped them with his quirt.

  • Ed

    Thank you Mr Z.

  • Lee S

    @ Gene….
    Fascinating story… I have absolutely no idea what, if anything, it has to do with cussing.
    You can do and think what you want. And if you think less of me for the way I live my life, that is acctualy good. It means you are not judging someone who perhaps cares.

  • Wodun

    There is a big difference between NSFW and the use of a swear word. I brought up links because I posted a video where someone swore but it was PG. And where the commenter got in trouble for quoting a historical figure, there are many cases where talking about history or current events requires linking to things that would run afoul of the rules.

    I am fine putting up a “trigger warning” for those who are easily offended by some material.

    Clear rules are good because everyone has different standards. Some people are direct and upfront and others can be not so nice people but without being so direct. I think Ace has written a few essays on the topic, gamesmanship.

  • wayne

    Fully support a minimum decorum. I’m just a guest here, I’ll abide by the rules. “Engage brain and take a breath before pressing ‘post-comment.'”
    –I do however, agree with wodun on the distinction ref: nsfw vs. using one of the magical 7 words.


    Jordan Peterson –
    “Why do you curse when your computer crashes?”
    –totally appropriate for home or work–

  • Larry D-M

    I am astonished to find that Mr. Zimmerman must use his valuable time to require civil expression by some using this blog. Those who require his supervision in this respect are a detriment to our society. Shame is our of fashion but that what those folks should be feeling.

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