Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I don't want to set the world on fire

There are many things that fascinate me. Two of them in particular are the 1950s as perceived by America, both at the time and subsequently, and the prospect of nuclear war, perhaps because the Soviet Union fell when I was less than a year old and therefore its spectre never hung directly over me. As you can imagine, I am thus greatly enamored of the Fallout series. Last night, while watching a promotional video made by Redbook in 1957, I think I figured out exactly why, apart from the obvious fact that the bomb weighed heavily on many minds in the 1950s, that combination of 50s aesthetics and nuclear chaos have always captured my imagination so. 1) While I admire many of the aesthetics of the period, they are a thin veneer over a lot of simmering unpleasantness. I don't think the pretty stuff can be divorced from the hidden turmoil and hypocrisy that gave birth to it, so the only way to bring the two out of dissonance is to let the fire, the radiation, and the passage of time take a bat to it all. 2) I sometimes, in my more paranoid moments, think that humanity collectively cheated death in the cold war and worry that as the first generation after it came to an end, fear that it will be us that death ultimately somehow comes to collect on.

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