I Think About This a Lot is a series dedicated to private memes: images, videos, and other random trivia we are doomed to play forever on loop in our minds.
The first time I saw designer Isaac Mizrahi declare that “the moon is such a planet I can’t even stand it,” I laughed. I laughed again when I replayed it in full, and then again when I replayed moments I considered crescendos. And later that night, again, I laughed while rewatching it on my phone in bed. I have laughed out loud almost every single time I’ve watched the video of Mizrahi and his QVC co-host Shawn Killinger bicker over whether or not the moon is a planet. Full laughter, with my mouth — not a nasal-exhale amusement. Every sentence fragment they speak builds on the last until they talk over each other, both of them losing their minds over the most insane things I have ever heard. And I think about it every time I, too, make casually stupid statements that sound true-ish but which are … clearly not.
At the beginning of the clip, Shawn holds up the ugliest shirt I have ever seen, made of a mottled green polyester. She declares, “This is what we call emerald, but really it’s more of a seafoam.” We’re off to a great start. After Isaac replies that the color is a “rich experience,” Shawn points out that “it almost kinda looks like what the earth looks like when you’re a bazillion miles away from the planet moon.”
“The planet moon,” Shawn murmurs in a way that I’m familiar with. The murmur of someone who knows they just said something that is maybe very dumb, but they’re not quite sure. “The planet moon,” Isaac coos back. She hesitates for just a moment and decides to go for it. “Isn’t the moon a star?”
“The moon is a planet, darling,” Isaac says.
The next 62 seconds are chaotic. Isaac slips in and out of his over-the-top transatlantic accent, occasionally revealing by way of words like “basebawl” that he was definitely born in New York. Shawn unleashes an attempt to list all of the planets but can only name Uranus, Saturn, “the one with the rings,” and Earth.
Shawn doubles down on the moon being a star, supporting her theory with the fact that the sun is — also — a star. Isaac retorts that he does not know what the sun is and then corrects himself: “We don’t know what the sun is,” he says, as in all of us. As in the world is at a loss as to what the sun is. We just don’t know.
He asks someone named Chunky to Google the moon if he’s listening. Who is Chunky? Why would Isaac ask someone who might not be listening to Google the moon? Some things are better left as mysteries.
They only agree on one thing about our solar system, and it comes after someone off-camera (Chunky?) informs them that the moon is not a star nor a planet, but a natural satellite. Shawn and Isaac are absolutely disgusted with this fact.
“A natural satellite? What’s that mean? I don’t like that at all,” Shawn says incredulously. “A natural satellite,” Isaac says with suspicion at the exact same time. “But things live on it. That means it’s a planet.”
This statement, that the moon is a planet because things live on it, is not addressed once. The hosts move on quickly. They have shirts to sell, and the moon being a natural satellite is not a fun topic on which to dwell.
“I use Google all of the time,” Shawn attempts to sum up what just happened. “I feel bad. I feel bad for Yahoo because they’re really good, too.” This moment of sympathy for Yahoo remains the wildest pivot I have ever seen come from any conversation. And then the clip ends. A perfect 96 seconds.
I consider myself smart or, at least, smart enough. I am resourceful and independent, and I have friends who come to me for an ear or advice because I am all of these things. I have built a nice life for myself. I have also thought some very dumb things. I love this video because prior to seeing it, I had no idea the moon was a natural satellite.
I thought Alaska was an island until I was 16 years old because it is shown in an inset on every U.S. map, just like Hawaii. When I was 19, I saw a reindeer in person and had to hold back tears of joy and wonder because I did not know reindeer are real. I don’t think that’s unusual, but this happened again when I was 24, and a third time a few years later. I just keep forgetting reindeer are real, and I don’t know how to fix that. Maybe I never want to fix it. It feels like magic every time, before I remember I’ve been through it before. I tried to remember all of the continents the other week, and I couldn’t because I forgot about Asia and Europe.
My friend once tried to teach me how to tell if I was walking east or west on the unnumbered streets in Manhattan by looking at clues I will never understand. Something about the direction of traffic and numbers on buildings. He quizzed me once and I looked around for a moment before confidently saying that we were heading east. He congratulated me, and then I admitted I had no idea how to use his tricks and would never learn how to use them, and I instead used the sinking sun as my guide, like Laura Ingalls Wilder out on the prairie, finding her way from the creek to the house. I have lived in New York for seven years.
Am I any better than Isaac and Shawn, living in their world where the moon is a planet? Are any of us? And truly, who knows what the moon really is?