Thursday, September 22, 2016

Duck and Cover

Maybe it's because of Jake Timber, but war has been on my mind lately.

It might also be a number of other factors whirling in both zeitgeist and headspace. A colleague just brought up the Cuban Missile Crisis, Putin threatens to return Russia to a dictatorship, thus raising once more the specter of nuclear war, and the frightening possibility of herr Trump's election likewise casts a pall over existence. I sit daily within this penumbra. Plus, if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you likely know that the threat of nuclear war has never been far from my mind ever since I was a child. Anyway, my musings here in pre-apocalyptic America have brought me back to my 2015 visit to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. While visiting that fine institution, I got to see the famous (infamous?) "instructional film" Duck and Cover, pretty much in its entirety.

The pic above is of the film's mascot, Bert the Turtle.

He manages to survive an attack from a monkey armed with dynamite while a cheery song skips along in the background. Good on ya, Bert.

Once the cartoon is over, I'm actually shocked at how foreboding the film's tone really is. True, it attempts to convince children naturally ignorant of nuclear science that diving under a school desk is going to save them from a warhead's detonation, but there's a grimness present. "This could happen at any time, kids," is the subtext of the narrator. "Without warning it could be here, a bright flash of light followed by a sweep of nuclear fire. If you're lucky, you will die instantly. If you survive, well...that's when the real pain starts."

That's life though, isn't it? Something horrible could come crashing down and everything is changed within a matter of seconds. You are then left to wander blind and maimed in the aftermath.

What's worse? Such an actual occurrence or living under the constant threat of it? I leave that for you to decide.

Don't kid yourselves. Our memories have grown flavescent with age and neglect. Any of the horrors of Hirsoshima or Nagasaki. As an aside, check out these recently found photographs taken just one day after the Nagasaki blast. Shocker: General MacArthur ordered also such photos confiscated to prevent the world from seeing the true horror of nuclear warfare. Might make the good ol' U. S. of A. look bad, y'know. Bad for "the business." But I digress...

Fall of communism, stockpile reductions, I don't care. Don't tell me the threat is gone.

Especially with herr Trump around.

Here's the film:

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