Duck and Cover
For some reason, I haven’t been able to sleep lately. Blame cat butts in my face, Daylight Savings Time, being too hot, too cold, whatever. I don’t know. Anyway, after tossing and turning for a couple of hours last night I decided to watch something on my new awesome tablet. Since I cancelled my Hulu Plus and Netflix subscriptions because I didn’t use them enough, and Amazon Instant Video only works on iThings, I turned to my old friend PBS. Yes, one can watch all the PBS videos one wants on an Android tablet. I scroll through all the programs until I come to one called Secrets of the Dead. SECRETS OF THE DEAD! Who wouldn’t want to know some secrets from dead people at 3:30 a.m on a Tuesday morning? Awesome! I fired it up, and the first episode was about the Cuban Missile Crisis. I wasn’t sure what this had to do with secrets (although I’m sure there are plenty of classified documents about it) or the dead (but as I found out, one person died in the event, the U-2 spy plane pilot that Castro shot down), but hey! Maybe it would bore me to sleep. I’ve never been a huge fan of 1960s history, preferring other eras instead. As a kid in the Baby Boomer-run 1980s, the 1960s were held as the Greatest Era in History and we learned in great detail everything that went down then; none of it interested me that much. So hey. The Cuban Missile Crisis.
Basically, this documentary-style show was like a historical submarine movie. It was mostly shot from the point of view of the submariners aboard the subs that were carrying nuclear missiles from the USSR. They interviewed a couple of the guys who were on that sub and their wives (maybe that’s where the secrets of the dead come in? Since this happened 50 years ago, some of the participants have died).
Have I mentioned before that I FREAKING LOVE SUBMARINE MOVIES?!!? I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of Phantom, starring David Duchovny and Ed Harris, which is about a submarine that, uh, does submarine stuff. I don’t really care what; I just love sub movies! There’s pretty much only one plot a submarine movie can have, anyway– there’s a submarine. Someone is trying to destroy it. It has to dive deeper, which puts stresses on the sub because of water pressure. Can it escape and not be crushed under the unrelenting weight of the ocean? Can a bunch of guys trapped in a small, confined space keep it together and not go crazy? Unfortunately, Phantom was only in the theaters for about 0.8 seconds, so I missed it. Alas. But Submarines AND David Duchovny? How can you go wrong?!?
But back to the Cuban Missile Crisis… I didn’t finish watching the show, because the innernets crapped out and the streaming died half way through. I’ll probably watch the rest of it tonight or tomorrow or something. Anyway, it awakened all sorts of 1980s Cold War anti-nostalgia for me. I remember being terrified of nuclear annihilation when I was a kid. My favorite anecdote about environmentalism is how we were told that it was our PATRIOTIC DUTY to stop global warming– because if global warming happened, then all the permafrost in Siberia would melt, making it fertile farmland. Meanwhile, the breadbasket of America would turn to desert, and how would THAT affect the balance of power?
We watched all the same propaganda films in school that they watched in the 60s– the ones about “history” where the map of Europe is all happy and brightly colored until a dagger stabs into Russia and bleeds red all through the former Soviet Bloc.
Baby Boomers liked to scoff at how they had drills where they had to “duck and cover” under their desks in case of nuclear war, and how it wouldn’t do anything. What we took away from that lesson as kids was that in the event of nuclear war, we’re all screwed. Maybe duck-and-cover wouldn’t have helped, but at least it showed a tiny bit of optimism. Maybe while kids were ducking and covering, their last thought would have been “HOLY SHIT I’M GONNA DIE… maybe…” rather than the message we got which was “WE ARE ALL SCREWED. PERIOD.”
Anyway, I got up this morning fresh from weird 1980s inspired Cold War dreams and stumbled to the computer to look at the news headlines, like I do every morning. I see that Kim Jong-Un is vowing to “annihilate the enemy” and wants to blow up some South Korean island. Seriously? I’m getting those pangs of “HOLY SHIT WE’RE ON THE BRINK OF WAR” like I had when I was a kid. It’s odd, since I haven’t really worried about this stuff in decades. What is that crazy douche up to? Geez. I thought this was the 21st century. Of course, who knows what’s really going on– the media is far from unbiased on both sides of the ocean.
It just seems that that kind of country-border dick measuring is SO pre-second millennium!