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PRENOTE: I’ve previously identified the on-line event relating to this with several very interesting remaining segments Aug 10, 17, 24, 31. Details are here. Please note especially Aug. 10. Pre-registration is required for each segment, and early registration is recommended. This is worth your time. Take a look at the descriptors and enroll.
I watched “The Day After” with several hundred others on Zoom yesterday (Saturday). It was a wise use of time, as was viewing of Television Event, the story of the making of The Day After, a couple of days earlier.
Both films are easily available on-line.
Joyce recommends also, another 1983 film, Testament, which she found even “more engaging and moving”. I haven’t watched that yet, but will.
Each of the films deal with the horrors of the reality of nuclear war. One line of script in The Day After stood out for me: “We knew about this for 40 years”, a character says, remembering the dawn of the nuclear age during WWII.
I was watching the film near40 years after it had been released in 1983.
Afterwards I looked up a source that I trust on data, Nuclear Threat Initiative, and noted how little we appear to have learned in the long history of the Bomb.
Re the films, I won’t review here what can easily be viewed by anyone, anytime, anywhere. The films are well worth your time, your thought, and your personal action, wherever you live.
Whose fault was it, is it, and will be? This slavish devotion to the sacred Bomb, and other things, that can destroy us.
My choice is “we, the people”. We have many excuses for our inaction.
I have noted for a long time that a near mandatory requirement for a candidate for U.S. President is to be engaged in, at minimum, at least the threat of war against an ‘enemy’. Political strategists know this.
A whole succession of Presidents were dragged into the near endless quagmire of Vietnam; then came the continuing quagmire of the Middle East; most recently has been the war against ourselves, neighbor to neighbor, most represented by the aftermath 2016 election and literally the many years run-up to that election.
And now we have very active saber rattling by the U.S. and Russia (Ukraine), and China and the U.S. (Taiwan)…on and on it goes.
It isn’t quite as simple as just disarming and not doing war anymore. We can’t just walk away from Ukraine – oh, we can, but it would be disastrous for more than the Ukrainians. But that’s another topic.
Another line in The Day After was the famous quote attributed to Albert Einstein about nuclear: “I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” I’m linking an analysis. about the specifics of the quotation itself, but there is no doubt in my mind that it was Einstein’s deep concern, whatever his specific words might have been, when or to whom, that he believed we were playing with the very future of all of us, if we play around with nuclear weapons. And we’re far from having learned our lesson as a people.
POSTNOTE: I wondered why I had never heard of “The Night After” before learning of it through the Zoom series earlier referenced. It came clear when I learned that its airing on ABC was November 20, 1983.
Nov. 20, 1983, I was about two months into my personal ‘resurrection’ year – I say this almost literally. I was in a new community and new job where I knew almost no one. I was just beginning to dig myself out of a deep hole from two previous years that I will always describe as both the worst and best years of my life.
I do think that 1981-83 also represented an opening for programming such as the films referenced above. I share one piece of evidence from my own life – my holiday card prepared around Thanksgiving time, 1982. You can read it here, and it fleshes out, a bit, about where I saw our country at that point in time: Nuclear War.
Now, 40 years later, we’re in very different times. I have hope that the flame for peace and justice has not gone out. And in bits and pieces we can all keep it alive.