Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Fail Safe

At the end of Dr Strangelove Slim Pickens as Major Kong famously straddles the H bomb as the bay doors open. He rides his WMD like a bronco, waving his cowboy hat and crying “ahhooahooo.” The film ends with the mushroom cloud exploding to the tune of “we’ll meet again.” The subtitle should be chanted like the 23 Psalm, “Or How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Bomb.” Now threats of Armageddon are being bantered about like bids in bridge. No Trump, anyone? The Kubrick film appeared in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Brinkmanship was a foreign relation policy on both sides of the Iron Curtain. The US and Russia stood each other down like street toughs. Since the Cold War, the possibility of mutual annihilation resulted in a zero sum equation. Everyone would have to play with their howitzers and drones. War became literally a computer game in which an angry, but value-free technology took on the burden of actual combat. Now the oblivion is again on the back burner. The unspoken gentleman’s agreement about nuclear parity is not being honored by at least one side of the table. Terms like “the domino theory” and “spheres of influence” were an important part of the choreography of a world order that was too big to fail. Now there seem to be no understandings, no buffers. Another l964 movie, Sidney Lumet's Fail Safe, more accurately describes the present predicament.  Remember “ban the bomb” rallies in the 60s. Now, nuclear arms themselves are no longer a deterrent. 

read "Pet Buddha" by Francis Levy, Vol.1 Brooklyn

and listen to "Cool Jerk" by the Capitols


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