Re: ATM: Anti-Nuclear Activism -- Kids These Days Have Never Heard Of It, Right?

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I think you'd be surprised how little you can actually present in two classes.

I felt like I was learning a lot when I was in college, but once I started teaching I realized that actually the instructor-puts-information-if-your-head parts of class really didn't actually involve that much information at the end of the day. (Or at least when they did it was usually counterproductive.) An hour or so feels like an eternity when you're in the class, but when you're at the front of it it goes disconcertingly fast.

I mean, do a bunch of stuff, yeah, but I'd suggest looking at most of the cool videos/articles/etc. and picking only a very few essential ones, and then just telling the students they have to read/watch them ahead of time. You'll still have to cover what's basically in them, but showing even a little in the way of video/etc. isn't going to leave much time for fruitful discussion. In my experience when it comes to useful discussion you need a minimum of fifteen to twenty minutes to get really useful stuff happening, given the initial no-one-wants-to-talk-much minute or two and the time it takes to shake off the useless/counterproductive stuff.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 7:12 PM
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Also I was part of what I think was a series of anti-nuclear protests back in the late nineties. I'm not entirely certain because it was relatively small and took place over a weekend.

It turned out afterwards that there were still nuclear weapons/the Pentagon was still there/etc., though, so I don't think it worked. I did get to meet one of the Daniel Berrigan, though, which was something.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 7:14 PM
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An hour or so feels like an eternity when you're in the class, but when you're at the front of it it goes disconcertingly fast.

This was only intermittently my experience, which might account, in part, for my ambivalence about teaching.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 7:25 PM
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For the "Images of nuclear war in popular culture", you could mention the perverse popularity of post-apocalyptic fiction, some explicitly nuclear (Video games like Wasteland and Fallout come particularly to mind), some not (The Stand).

MHPH might be right that you want this to be accessory material rather than what you actually talk about.

Kraftwerk's Radioactivity comes to mind as well (HIROSHIMA.....HARRISBURG.....SELLAFIELD.....FUKUSHIMA). I suppose most of that is merely "nuclear", not "nuclear war".


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 7:26 PM
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First year or older students?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 7:30 PM
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We used to go to this Lutheran resort where we observed Hiroshima remembrance day on August 6. As a kid it involved making life-size paper cutout nuclear shadows of ourselves doing everyday activities. We also had t-shirts with a drawing of Martin Luther throwing an inkwell at a nuclear warhead and shouting 'nein.'

On actual advice, I'm sure there are people who know way more about this topic than me, but three immediate thoughts, organized in order of potential decreasing helpfulness. I haven't read it, but anthropologist Joe Ma\sco's Nuclear Borderlands comes to mind, though it could be a bit of a theoretical slog. Also, East German author Christa Wolf has some essays written in the 80s(?) about imminent nuclear holocaust, which is an interesting perspective from "behind the iron curtain." Also, when I was in middle school we learned about the atomic age through the documentary Atomic Cafe, which has lots of good snippets of cold war propaganda if you want to show some (apologies if this recommendation is beyond basic.)

I am slightly more experienced with teaching undergrads, so I do have a bit of advice here. First, I wouldn't assume they know much if anything about anti-nuclear movements or the Cold War at all, and that there might be a lot of unexpected really basic background that you have to supply (snippets from Atomic Cafe could help just give them a sense that this was actually a really big deal for a long time. Also, don't expect them to know about Chernobyl or Three Mile Island, though with Fukushima concern about the risks of nuclear energy might be a bit more present for them). Anyways, I think giving them an idea of how high the stakes were for the anti-nuclear movement at the beginning might be more important than you might think.

I would second what MHPH said in terms of general teaching strategy and the video stuff. I think video clips can be really effective, but they have to be done judiciously with room built in for discussion afterwards. There's also a more-than-anticipated time suck with the logistics of showing a clip,* so if you do want to show more than one, I would show them all at once, and then get discussion going around them. If you want to spread them out, make sure you have it completely seemlessly set up so discussion momentum doesn't get lost as you cut back and forth to the tv/laptop. Like, possibly, create a video of all your clips that doesn't have to stream online and that you can stop and start with no potential for lag or technological snafus.

*If you can, it might be worth it to figure out the AV situation and possibly even do a dry run beforehand.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 7:44 PM
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Freshmen, sophomores - it's nominally a foreign policy class, but I was specifically invited to talk about this stuff, not so much to make a connection to foreign policy. I get the sense from the professor that we are not exactly going to be expecting people to lavish a lot of time on homework, preparing for class, etc. The professor invites a lot of outside people to try to give her students some broader cultural background.

I'm thinking I might give them some Barefoot Gen and When The Wind Blows to read - that's easy enough, we can talk about it in class and do some slides of disturbing images and music video stuff.

Mainly, I want class one to convey "gee, ordinary people sure thought about nuclear war a lot in the seventies and especially the eighties" and class two to convey "there was a lot of popular anti-nuclear sentiment which generated Threads, Aldermaston marches, etc, and this was both massive and crossed a lot of political differences". Ideally, I'd like them to have some awareness of the _scale_ of the Cold War nuclear arsenal, and some sense of some of the tenor of the time.

I have mostly run class discussions about literature and I'm a little nervous about how to do one about history. Uh, how does one do that?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 7:46 PM
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I give you the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs' Disarmament Education Homepage, which has links to all sorts of stuff, especially under "Films" - though a lot of that stuff is on small arms, rather than nuclear. In My Lifetime is a particularly good primer, although that's just a clip. The full film - which maybe you can request a screening of - has quite a bit on the protest movements, which is not so much in that clip.


Posted by: Dag Hammarskjold | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 7:48 PM
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When you think about potential implicit shared background knowledge between you and the students, just repeat to yourself, "these kids were born in 1997."


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 7:49 PM
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It might be a little out of your time frame if you're focusing on the 70s-80s, but you could show the Daisy attack ad.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 7:51 PM
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I'm getting coffee with the professor tomorrow to talk more about her class and what she usually does.

I am thinking of using some of Atomic Cafe, unless she tells me that her students have _of course_ seen all that stuff already or something.

Maybe I should make a chart of subtext for the class - not things that I think the students will walk away knowing, but things that I want to keep in my head to inform what I'm saying/showing.

Basically, I don't want to bore them. But then, I suppose, it's more likely that they'll be bored because they're bored by school generally or because I organize my material badly than because I am telling them stuff they already know.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 7:55 PM
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Also, you should point them to Baby Tooth Survey.

Washington University School of Dentistry professors Harold L. Rosenthal, John T. Bird, and John E. Gilster conducted the scientific study of the baby teeth. They found that the radioactive strontium-90 levels in the baby teeth of children born from 1945 to 1965 had risen 100-fold and that the level of strontium-90 rose and fell in correlation with atomic bomb tests. Early results from the Baby Tooth Survey, and a U. S. Public Health Service study that showed an alarming rise in the percentage of underweight live births and of childhood cancer, helped persuade President John F. Kennedy to negotiate a treaty with the Soviet Union to end above-ground testing of atomic bombs in 1963."

The history of negotiations for the Partial Test Ban Treaty is pretty interesting in itself... you can explain to your students how the evil Soviet Union wanted to ban all nuclear weapons, but the heroic Americas weren't about to fall for that one. Same thing happened in 1986.

Also, nuclear fallout killed John Wayne.


Posted by: Dag Hammarskjold | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:01 PM
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This is a lot of work, but you could have contingency lesson plans. Like, if it turns out they're all precocious Cold War history buffs (unlikely), you could have some more sophisticated discussion questions in case you end up skipping the more basic stuff, and then also have a lot of more basic material that is still interesting that you'll plan on working through (like, plan A-Z, but recognize you might only make it to Q, or M, or possibly just C, and have ideas of what you want them to take away from the class even if you don't make it much past A). If the class seems bored or really quiet, I would ask them why directly, and then you can suss out the issues and adjust accordingly.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:05 PM
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Just play "Dream of the Blue Turtle" and go home.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:06 PM
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The class of 2019 has never known a world in which The Police were not a nostalgia act.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:11 PM
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9 is very good advice. You really can't expect students to know much of anything that happened before they were 10-12 years old, at least not in anything more than a general highschool-history-class way, unless it's good episodes of the Simpsons which, as far as I can tell, they know just as well as I do.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:15 PM
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If you want to go way back, there's Bertrand Russell and the "ban the bomb" movement in Britain. Slogans included "better Red than dead"

For ambience for that era Dr Stangelove is obvious. Also Fail Safe. On the Beach is poignant.


Posted by: No longer Middle Aged Man | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:18 PM
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That time the French intelligence service bombed the Rainbow Warrior.


Posted by: Dag Hammarskjold | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:19 PM
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But...but...I know things that happened before I was ten or twelve. Or wait, that's because I was a snotty little nerd, never mind.

I did survey my younger friends this weekend, and they (mid-twenties; I am an old) don't really seem to have done much on the Cold War in high school or college, never mind the actual specifics of nuclear testing, CND, the terror that was Reagan, etc.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:19 PM
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AIMHMHB, just the other week I saw a kid in a CND sweatshirt. It had the symbol on the back and CND on the front. I wouldn't have been more surprised if it was from a Flock of Seagulls tour.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:20 PM
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Godzilla.


Posted by: Dag Hammarskjold | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:21 PM
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Bless you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:24 PM
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It's unnerving to think about, but when planning you should keep in mind that there are going to be people in that classroom who are clearly (young) adults who were in elementary school when Obama was elected President.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:24 PM
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Nina. I defy you to find anything more more 80's.


Posted by: Dag Hammarskjold | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:25 PM
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Are you Al Hirschfeld?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:30 PM
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Before I made a bad airplane joke, goodnight.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:33 PM
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I don't have any recommendations for the class, but I will recommend a few folk songs on the topic.

1) "Think Again" by Dick Gaughan

Do you think that the Russians want war?
Will the voice of insanity lead you to total destruction?
Will you stumble to death as though you were blind?
Will you cause the destruction of all humankind?
Will you die because you don't like their political system?
There will be no survivors you know
No one left to scream in the night
And condemn our stupidity

2) "When Did We Have Sauerkraut?" by Lou and Peter Berryman.

Don't ya ever wonder what became of all the activists like us
Who tried to make a little noise about the war?
They must'a got absorbed into the general flow of balderdash
And no one seems to pay 'em much attention anymore.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 8:35 PM
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Oh, 99 red balloons, what a happy dance around the kitchen I just had.

As I remember, in the 1980s every little place in the US knew they were in the direct blast radius of some minor target. This is like the belief that everywhere needs Homeland Security anti terrorist tanks, except that we were explicitly relieved in the 1989s: it was obviously better to die immediately.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 9:20 PM
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There are a few great scenes of some the 1981 protests in "Sherman's March: A Meditation on the Possibility of Romantic Love In the South During an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation". Also scenes of survivalists building their bunkers for the post-apocalypse. Any excuse to introduce people to Ross McElwee's "Sherman's March" is a good one.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 9:29 PM
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24: More '80s than Nena is Nena in the original German.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La4Dcd1aUcE

Interestingly, the high point last year of the celebration of 25 years of the opening of the Berlin Wall was the release of about a zillion Luftballoons into the night air.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40TBt75--2g

More germane to the OP, if you're mentioning anti-nuclear activism in an international way at all, do note that it was huge in Germany. At the time that was important because Germany was the front line of the east-west confrontation in Europe. An anti-nuclear Germany was one that could possibly be detached from the system of western alliances. (There's your foreign policy angle!) Anti-nuclear activism is also one of the key drivers of the formation of the Green party, which has gone on to shape German politics at every level. One item on the Greens' long-term agenda -- weaning Germany from nuclear power -- is being continued by the current conservative Chancellor.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10- 5-15 11:42 PM
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I was going to say more or less what Doug said in 30.last. This also helps with your "I feel like it was mostly pretty useless in its effects on policy, but I'd like to have some kind of upbeat message for the students" concern. The Green party family has had a serious impact in European politics. I could be totally wrong here, but I think without the Greens & the social movements based in anti-nuclear, you wouldn't have the German government's feed-in tariffs, which have done a lot to drive demand and consequently innovation and cost-decreases in solar.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:40 AM
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"The War Game" is on line and should be watched by you if not your students. 1965. The BBC refused to air it for decades.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:17 AM
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You have to put the Rainbow Warrior atrocity in the context of the Fourth Labour Government's break with the US nuclear umbrella and the Kirk Government's decision to send a Cabinet Minister (chosen by lot) into the Test Zone on an RNZ frigate. (I think New Zealand remains the only legislatively nuclear free state in the world.)

Sorry - Labour's nuclear free legislation, and Lange's Oxford Union speech, is nationhood obligation for NZ school kids.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:26 AM
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re: 32

I watched the first broadcast, mid 80s, at my grandparents house, and it scared the absolute shite out of me. It was brilliantly done.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:28 AM
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If you want to go way back, there's Bertrand Russell and the "ban the bomb" movement in Britain.

Make sure you get the right Bertrand Russell. Late-1940s Bertrand Russell made speeches calling for an immediate pre-emptive nuclear strike on the USSR, in order to defeat and roll back Communist aggression before the Reds got their own atomic bomb.

9 is good advice, and I fear that if you're going to make any progress you may have to devote the first half-hour or so to a basic history of the Cold War, starting from 1945. It depends, though - if these are students of modern history or something then that might not be necessary.

On the cultural side, it might be worth looking at how nuclear-war images tie into the tradition of post-apocalyptic fiction. HG Wells wrote about a nuclear war destroying society (The World Set Free) and a non-nuclear war doing the same (The War in the Air). The dividing line between "nuclear war", which kills everyone and destroys everything, and "war", which happens in another country and doesn't really affect us that much, has not always been very clear.
And the back-to-the-land tradition who have actually voiced a desire to be bombed back into the Stone Age if that's what it takes to overthrow consumer culture; some jokingly (Betjeman, "Slough") and some not (Whole Earth Catalog).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:41 AM
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34. My school somehow got hold of a copy and showed it to the 6th form in 1969. I didn't sleep for a week.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:23 AM
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Late-1940s Bertrand Russell made speeches calling for an immediate pre-emptive nuclear strike on the USSR, in order to defeat and roll back Communist aggression before the Reds got their own atomic bomb.

His argument was that if war with the Soviet Union was inevitable, it would be morally better to undertake it while they didn't have a nuclear weapon because the total casualties would be fewer. I don't know that the argument is sound, but it's perfectly compatible with wanting rid of the things in principle. He was, of course, the first President of CND.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:52 AM
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You could totes tie it into Corbynmania - the complex history of the CND & the UKLP ft naked people in conference rooms.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:00 AM
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You could totes tie it into Corbynmania - the complex history of the CND & the UKLP ft naked people in conference rooms.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:00 AM
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Apparently what he said was " "if the present aggressive Russian policy was persisted in", there would be three options: "(a) war with Russia before she has the atomic bombs, ending fairly swiftly and inevitably in a western victory; (b) war with Russia after she has the atomic bombs, ending again in western victory, but after frightful carnage, destruction, and suffering; (c) submission. " And, in context, he recommended (a).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:02 AM
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38: that might be going a bit deep into the weeds for two one-hour classes for American undergraduates?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:04 AM
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The 40s and 50s are an interesting time for this, because that's when you get the move from air-delivered atom bombs being considered a terrible weapon, but not necessarily an apocalyptic one - the French wanted to use them at Dien Bien Phu, Ridgway and MacArthur wanted them in Korea, the Davy Crockett launcher and the Long Tom atomic shell were under development, you had massive pushes on civil defence and interceptor aircraft - to the missile-delivered hydrogen bomb being invented, which really was a massive leap in destructive potential. You could, and countries did, plan to fight a war in which a few 20kt Hiroshima-type bombs might be dropped on cities and military targets. It might simply be a case of "remember the Blitz? Like that but more so."

But you couldn't plan for a war in which the bombs would be 10 Mt, and unstoppable.

"If you are asking can we make more of them, the answer is yes. If you are asking can we make them more terrible, the answer is yes. If you are asking can we make them terribly more terrible, the answer is probably."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:10 AM
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As primary source material, the UK's series of public information broadcasts from the late 70s and early 80s, Protect and Survive (never actually shown, but prepared for use in case a nuclear war became "inevitable"), is mindblowing to watch now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IaeeSKpwSQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziFOX6HPr24

Then there's Jasper Carrott's take on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcXM6tfe9YM


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:22 AM
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But you couldn't plan for a war in which the bombs would be 10 Mt, and unstoppable.

I wonder if you could find an argument that since from a military point of view the big H bombs they were building in the late 50s/early 60s were scary but useless, this provided the political opening for the atmospheric test ban treaty of 1963 (the only thing Kennedy got right?).


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:27 AM
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What was the concert that Bruce Springsteen sang with Jackson Browne in the early 1980s? Matthew Broderick's first hit was War Games. Maybe show a clip of the ending. Would your students even know about NORAD's facility in Cheyenne Moutain, Colorado? I guess the Dew Line dates from the 1960s. As far as movies, John Travolta in Broken Arrow was one movie where detonating a nuclear bomb was only a start. The Day After was a made for TV movie.

Famous computer mishaps include one time when they turned a new system on in, I think, Greenland, and the radar recorded the rising moon as a massive Russian first strike.

When was John Hershey's Hiroshima published in the New Yorker? 1960s?

Wasn't nuclear war a theme of The Day the Earth Stood Still and other 1950s movies? We need aliens from outer space to make us peaceful.


Posted by: Robert | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:29 AM
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41: I don't mean actually going into the internal UKLP debate about the UK's independent nuclear deterrent, but just using Corbyn's recent well reported reticence to push the button as a hook on which to hang the issue if you are worried about making it seem relevant to the students.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:32 AM
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although if you do want to teach american college students about Nye Bevan's break with the constituency left over the nuclear issue it would probably really expand their minds


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:35 AM
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44: I don't know; the tests continued, remember, just underground. I think it was more likely growing awareness of the risks of fallout (the Lucky Dragon incident for example) and maybe a desire to deprive anti-nuclear types of a good visual - a mushroom cloud is iconic; a circle of the Nevada desert going THOOOOMP and kicking up a bit of dust is less so.

Plus, atmospheric test ban doomed the Orion program DAMN YOU KENNEDY.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:43 AM
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Although while I am on this kick here is David Lange's speech at the Oxford Union: http://publicaddress.net/great-new-zealand-argument/nuclear-weapons-are-morally-indefensible-1/ . It is both really good, a foundational text of New Zealand's national identity, and really quite funny in as much an argument with Jerry Falwell about nuclear warfare can be comic.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:47 AM
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Plus, atmospheric test ban doomed the Orion program DAMN YOU KENNEDY.

At least underground tests got us nuclear fracking.


Posted by: Dag H. | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 4:25 AM
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As far as the late cold war years go, The Day After made a pretty big impression on people my age. I recall some republicans denouncing it as unpatriotic at the time.

There's also War Games, which combines nuclear anxiety with fear of the oncoming computer revolution. Also, young Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 4:58 AM
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It's interesting that your rubric is "the 70s and 80s," since the high-water mark of the Cold War and fear of nuclear was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. I was alive then and remember quite clearly thinking we were all going to die, possibly before the weekend. By the 80s it was all background noise and the hype about what a warmonger Reagan was seemed trivial and manufactured.

You should show the GIF (website?) that has a world map with every nuclear test animated. Gets pretty busy there for a while.

I think even "kids today" may have heard about Slanislav Petrov, who correctly decided (in 1983) that an early warning detection of an American first strike against the USSR was a false alarm. He got a lot of press last year due to a documentary about the incident.

A guy they might not have heard about is Vasili Arkhipov, who during the Cuban Missile Crisis prevented a Soviet submarine from launching a nuclear torpedo against American destroyers. He's one of the real people the movie "K-19: The Widowmaker" (about a previous incident with a Soviet nuclear sub) is about.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:16 AM
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Yeah, I think a potted history of the Cold War may be the way to go, unless the professor says they've got that pretty well sorted out.

I'm thinking that I'll assign reading from Barefoot Gen and When the Wind Blows, then devote a little time to what they called "building a container" when I did this big hippie organizer training thing a few years ago - meaning, "giving the group a sense of itself as a group gathered for this purpose"....so I'm going to do a little survey and discussion about what people's first political memories are, what they know about the Cold War, etc. I think I'll also do a little "the past is another country"/we're going to engage in estrangement/structures of feeling thing.

Preliminary responses to readings.

Then! Potted history of Cold War, with a timeline and slides (I mean, I've GOT to use that bandaged policeman poster from Threads.). This will be broken into two, I expect, due to class time.

Class two - finish potted history, with emphasis on anti-nuclear stuff.

Tiny videos or something.

Resource list with links and book recs.

Over and out!

It's a good thing I've been reading Kotsko on ignorant schoolmastering.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:26 AM
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52: Growing up in the UK in the 70s and early 80s, the prospect of dying in a tactical nuclear war before reaching adulthood felt very real. I remember a discussion between a couple of teachers at school on what to do if it broke out, with their consensus being that they would head for central London as the place most likely to ensure the quickest death. It wasn't until the decision to withdraw Cruise missiles from Greenham Common in 1991 that I entirely stopped feeling that way (and can remember the exact moment when I heard the news bulletin; it felt as if an actual physical weight had been lifted off).


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:37 AM
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they would head for central London as the place most likely to ensure the quickest death.

Good advice is timeless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:39 AM
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re: 54

I grew up in Central Scotland, about 4 miles from a huge chemical plant/refinery, so I always assumed we'd get nuked anyway. Or killed when the plant* malfunctioned.

* which manufactured all kinds of things that'd handily kill you, even several miles away.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:43 AM
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52 and 54 are an interesting contrast: clearly the peak period for nuclear threat was whenever you personally were 12 years old. (cf "the golden age of science fiction is 12").


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:51 AM
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I was 12 when The Day After aired. I don't remember it. Maybe I wasn't allowed to watch it? I wasn't allowed to watch Dallas.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:54 AM
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I was 12 at the time of the Cuban crisis, but I suggest that was objectively a bit dodgy.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:55 AM
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Makes perfect sense, of course. The threat would have been scariest at the age when you were first old enough to understand it.

I had nightmares about nuclear war at around that age, like everyone else seems to have.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:56 AM
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So, you're giving two lectures, and you're not an expert, but an interested amateur. This is not a criticism of you; but recognizing that will help you manage the scope of the lectures (e.g., you're focusing on the 70s and 80s because that's what resonates with you, who lived through it), and that it's not your job to give them an entire history of the Cold War.

Focus on what you know. If it were me, class #1 would be about giving them a sense of what it was like living during those times (nuclear attack drills -- they've had active shooter drills, the assumption that this of course was how the world would end, good place for a documentary clip or two etc.); class #2, how people like them reacted and organized. It is okay to stick with only the things you know well, and you're not going to cover all that much in two classes.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:00 AM
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The Fate of the Earth, by Jonathan Schell, was well-regarded back in the day.

The linked book review, from 1982, says there were 40 books coming out that year on nuclear issues.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:00 AM
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It might be illuminating to ask the class, if you can get them to look up from their Miley Cyrus machines and product-placement sex apps, whether and how our environmental/inequality/race war/zombies/etc. apocalyptic terrors match the vintage, artisanal stuff of the Cold War.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:03 AM
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||

Oh, wow. I just had a moment of curiosity, and googled the UFW guy I mentioned in the post to see if I'd remembered his name right (yes, to within enough misspelling for Google to fix). One of the first hits was an anti-semitic blog using him as evidence that the UFW was a stalking horse for socialist Jews. Man, it's creepy finding stuff like that unexpectedly.

|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:03 AM
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We used to have tornado drills, but I can't recall a nuclear attack drill. Maybe the tornado ones doubled as nuclear attack drills because you do pretty much the same thing (walk quietly to the basement). Anyway, tornadoes were common enough.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:05 AM
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Anyone else read Warday? It was sort of a World War Z type 'history' of a nuclear war from a decade or so afterward.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:05 AM
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We had nuclear drills. File into the hallways and sit quietly against the walls.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:05 AM
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When I was in 5th grade, the 8th grade team pulled out of the local smart kids solve problems competition, and the replacements were me and three other ten-year-olds. The topic was how to solve the nuclear crisis, focusing on disarmament and negotiation.

(Our team won. We beat the kids from the rich(er) district by half a point! They were so pissed. But they got to go on the trip to DC. But this was a thing thought to be suitable for ten-year-olds to have to know about!)

The closest equivalent for these guys is going to be terrorism; most would have been five or six in 2001. When bin Laden was killed the undergraduates I was teaching were acting like -- well, Voldemort or someone had died. First big baddy of their lives; they would have been 10 in 2001.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:06 AM
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64: I can only hope that in the future you find all your antisemitic literature by deliberate effort.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:06 AM
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I'm going to do a little survey and discussion about what people's first political memories are

I was nearly eight years old when MLK and Bobby Kennedy were shot. I have no first-hand recollection of that at all. My first political memory was how my crazy hippie older brother, in defiance of sanity, voted for McGovern.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:07 AM
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I think Cala gets it about right, though that's still a lot for two classes. They can watch the War Game as homework, because there's nothing like being scared shitless just before bed time.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:07 AM
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I was allowed to watch The Day After and Dallas. I was not allowed to watch Soap, because it was too adult. (As a kid, my local movie theatre didn't enforce the rules for R-rated movies, with one exception: The Blue Lagoon. I should celebrate my adulthood with a Soap and The Blue Lagoon marathon.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:07 AM
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It's taken me until now to figure out that War Game isn't a typo for WarGames, which I don't recall being very scary.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:09 AM
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Nobody has mentioned the Terminator movies? (I guess that horrific scene of the children on the swings was based on the "Daisy" ad.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:13 AM
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The War Game is a made for TV movie by the guy who did Punishment Park.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:15 AM
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You should ignore everyone else's suggestions. You should show them Tomorrowland, and explain to them that it was everybody worried about things like nuclear war and environmental disaster is the reason we now don't have flying cars, and they should feel bad.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:29 AM
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We had nuclear drills. File into the hallways and sit quietly against the walls put your hands over your head facing the wall and get down on your knees with your ass in the air.

My father who was a captain in the US Army in the early to mid-60s told me the proper procedure involved getting your head way between your legs, then kissing your ass goodbye.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:29 AM
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61: Good point. My hope right now is that I can start with this and evolve it into something bigger and more in-depth. I already do some community ed stuff and - due to the smallness of the world - get asked now and then if I could present about something - "anything, really" - at ongoing dine-and-self-educate events, etc. I have tiny niches in "I remember local activism in the nineties, let me tell you about it" and "science fiction by people who are not straight white men with centrist/libertarian/right-wing/capitalist politics". (I'd say I'm actually pretty reliable on the latter, with a decent background in the history/theory/scholarship. Could use some more Frederic Jameson, though.)

Maybe we could do a little brainstorm about "what do you know about the Cold War" and then we could do a "Cold War, popularly conceived as the time period blah blah, major concerns were blah, blah and blah, strongly influenced popular culture such as in the seventies and eighties!" rather than a potted history - just a getting situated thing. Maybe show a section of Atomic Cafe.

In terms of political memory - my first actual political memory was seeing the Reagan/Carter yard signs, but I had no real idea what that meant. I think I noticed them mostly because I was just starting kindergarten and it was like "wow, text out in the world"! My first meaningful political memory was probably the first Gulf War - I had a really sheltered childhood. My family didn't watch television or listen to news radio and although we got the Star Tribune every day, I picked up the habit of reading the news quite late. I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tiananmen, etc, but not with any immediacy. Strangely, I had read a ton of old Doonesbury and Bloom County by that point, so I actually knew quite a lot of random political stuff from the late sixties onward, but it wasn't real to me.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:31 AM
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My first political memory was an anti-Carter slogan set to the Oscar Meyer jingle.

"My baloney has a first name, it's J-I-M-M-Y...."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:35 AM
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Mostly, I want them to take away a couple of things:

1. The approximate dates of the Cold War and the general understanding that there were many scary accidents, incidents of nuclear brinksmanship, etc. (rather than a detailed knowledge of such incidents).

2. The pervasiveness of the belief that we were all going to die in a nuclear accident or war.

3. The omnipresence of anti-nuclear sentiment at an almost pre-political level.

I think it should be possible to convey those in two classes.

I plan to tell my "and everyone called me a communist in my town for years starting when I was ten even though we didn't know what communism was" anecdote, too.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:36 AM
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Nobody has mentioned the Terminator movies? (I guess that horrific scene of the children on the swings was based on the "Daisy" ad.)

I think that scene is from "Terminator 2" which is (1991) outside the period under discussion. There's a similar scene but less graphic in the first one, I believe.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:02 AM
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Since nobody seems to have mentioned it yet Eric Schlosser's Command and Control is a grippingly written account of the history of nuclear (weapon) accidents; I don't know quite how you'd use it in this context (additional reading for interested students, maybe?) but wev it's great.

Also you could play them Kraftwerk's "Radioactivity" but that's just because it's an awesome song.

Finally, it seems like the activities of the UCS and things like the Doomsday Clock would be worth covering. (Nice Doomsday Clock graphics on the wikipedia page)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:06 AM
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Earliest political memory: Diefenbaker's election.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:06 AM
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Oh, hey, Nathan already mentioned Kraftwerk. I guess we went to the same concert this weekend.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:08 AM
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Oh hey, amd minutes to midnight was right in the damn post. Read, Sifu, read.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:12 AM
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Ever since this thread popped up, I can't stop hearing "if the Russians love their children too" in my head. Bring on the bombs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:19 AM
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My parents were active in the Catholic peace movement, so I thought a lot about nuclear war as a child in the 80s. I remember a lot of people making paper cranes.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:22 AM
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Johnny, go get your gun
For the commies are in our hemisphere today
Ivan, go fly your MIG
For the Yankee imperialists have come to play

Johnny goes to Sally's house to kiss her goodbye
But Daddy says to spend the night
They make love till the early morning light
For tomorrow Johnny goes to fight

Johnny, Ivan, Ian
Everybody come along
For our nations need new heroes
Time to sing a new war song

Party at ground zero
Every movie starring you
And the world will turn to flowing
Pink vapor stew


Posted by: Opinionated Fishbone | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:25 AM
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I participated in the Nuclear Freeze movement in Ann Arbor in 1982. It was my freshman year in college and my philosophy TA kind of recruited me. Among other activities we collected petitions to have Ann Arbor declared a nuclear-free zone.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:27 AM
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I didn't formally participate in the freeze movement but I refrained from developing or purchasing nuclear weapons.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:28 AM
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When two tribes go to war, a point is all that you can score.


Posted by: Opinionated Frankie Goes To Hollywood | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:47 AM
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Your 80 makes it sound like you have a good plan. I'd focus heavily on 2 and 3; it's the best way into it, I think, given the constraints of two lectures. You could start by asking them what they think the big issues of their generation are; then ask them which ones they are certain will end the world in their lifetimes. When you get blank stares, then you can launch a good video clip/tell a good story/make them reenact a nuclear drill.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:55 AM
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make them reenact a nuclear drill

Or the cannibalism parts from The Road.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:57 AM
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The omnipresence of anti-nuclear sentiment at an almost pre-political level.

"Omnipresence" is way overstating it. Perhaps in the circles you moved in it was the case. Don't forget that Kennedy ran on the non-existent "missile gap," and we elected Nixon twice and Reagan twice, and it wasn't just the Red States who voted for them.

Don't view the past with rose-colored glasses.

When the USSR fell apart I remember feeling a sense of safety and promise that I didn't even consciously realize was lacking up until then.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:59 AM
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I'm thinking I might ask them to read "The Lucky Strike" for one of the classes. It's not that long, it's not that difficult, and it was a huge deal, science-fiction-wise. Now it strikes me as a bit cheaply sentimental, but when I read it (in the nineties, not even during the Cold War!) it really hit me pretty hard.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:00 AM
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94: When I say it was almost pre-political, I mean that at least by the eighties, something like Alas, Babylon could be absolutely standard reading in a junior high class in a right wing town - the same town where I was called a communist from the age of ten onward because I ventured to suggest that individual Soviet citizens did not have personal animus against individual Americans, and the same town where an anti-communist speaker was brought in to harangue the gifted class about the evils of Russia. I would argue that by the mid-eighties there was a vague non-political anti-nuclear sentiment that could, in fact, coexist in the same person with wanting to have nuclear bombs to deter Russia.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:05 AM
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68: Yes, Warday was very influential to me. Really well done. Just documenting all the side-effects of the tiny, limited war, and the devastating changes they wrought underlined how much worse each impact would be.


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:10 AM
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95: KSR's short story? I thought that was excellent, but didn't know it was influential. That makes me very happy.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:12 AM
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Since it hasn't been mentioned yet, you could play Tom Lehrer's 'the wild west is where I want to be' and his 'We'll all go together when we go.' Actually, you could just play them the entire 'That was the Year that was' album and call it a day.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:16 AM
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I would argue that by the mid-eighties there was a vague non-political anti-nuclear sentiment that could, in fact, coexist in the same person with wanting to have nuclear bombs to deter Russia.

Yeah, I think there was a generalised "not wanting there to be a nuclear war" feeling, but that didn't translate into either a) universal or even b) very widespread support for unilateral disarmament. Even the Labour Party was deeply split in the 50s and 60s over unilateralism.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:18 AM
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99: Don't forget "Who's Next" and "So long mom, I'm off to drop the bomb".


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:19 AM
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98: Well, it was influential in science fiction.

I am still at a loss as to how influential pop culture stuff was here. In my very right-wing town, as an extremely sheltered child, I was none the less exposed to a simply tremendous amount of pop culture anti-nuclear stuff. Did it do any good? Just like Moby, I have always refrained from buying nuclear weapons, and we [Moby and me, I mean] seem not to have had a full scale nuclear exchange yet.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:20 AM
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To speculate wildly - I think that general anti-nuclear sentiment didn't really translate into support for unilateral disarmament, but it did translate into a kind of "we are all human" sentimentality which was helpful in terms of popular support for glasnost. "We don't want to die in a giant nuclear holocaust and it looks like the Russians don't either - wow, I guess we have something in common after all", rather a la "Help Save The Youth of America".

(If I were going to play a lot of music, which I'm not, I'd probably do the live version of "Help Save The Youth of America" that has the guy translating Billy Bragg's remarks into Russian.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:22 AM
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Well, I have always believed that my activism alone prevented a full scale Moby-Frowner nuclear war.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:26 AM
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My town was very right wing, but my youth was a bit mixed because my principal (a nun) was very much anti-Reagan and my favorite teacher (a man who taught science and religions classes) would, at the slightest provocation, expound upon the fundamental immorality of mutually assured destruction. In his dotage, he's taken to filling Facebook with so much right-wing nonsense that I've hidden three quarters of his posts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:26 AM
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"So long mom, I'm off to drop the bomb".

I was just about to post that.

the same town where I was called a communist from the age of ten onward because I ventured to suggest that individual Soviet citizens did not have personal animus against individual Americans

I played "Think Again" (the first song linked in 27) in my fifth grade class. In retrospect I was probably lucky that his Scottish accent made it difficult for many people to follow the words.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:28 AM
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I have now been thoroughly sidetracked from working by looking up half-remembered episodes of Whoops Apocalypse.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:28 AM
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And I'll just totally triple post here - it's interesting that "The Lucky Strike" and Jane Langton's anti-war kids' book The Fragile Flag both came out in 1984. They have very similar vision scenes - one where January has a dream about nuclear war and one where the President (yes, indeed...it's cheesy but was extraordinarily effective for me as a child reader) has a vision of a nuclear holocaust, and both are prompted to act.

I'm sure I've said this before here, probably several times, but reading The Fragile Flag was absolutely one of the turning points of my life. Absent The Fragile Flag and my 9th grade global studies class, I'd probably be tenured English faculty at a fourth rank institution in Nowheresville and much happier.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:28 AM
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That 108 wasn't a triple post indicates the need for faster response times. If that increases the odds of an accidental post, that's just a chance we need to take.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:29 AM
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"A Canticle for Leibowitz" came out in 1960, but I did not read it until a few years ago.

My first memory of an historic event would be Attica. I lived two towns north, and they brought a radio in to my elementary school class to listen to it.


Posted by: Robert | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:31 AM
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They have very similar vision scenes - one where January has a dream about nuclear war and one where the President (yes, indeed...it's cheesy but was extraordinarily effective for me as a child reader) has a vision of a nuclear holocaust, and both are prompted to act.

1983's "The Dead Zone" also has a scene involving a vision of a nuclear exchange (though the book it was based on was written in the 70s).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:34 AM
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I have a copy of "A Canticle for Leibowitz" right here at my desk. I got to the part where he is setting out on a journey. I should probably admit to myself that I'm never going to finish it and donate it to a little free library.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:37 AM
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That 108 wasn't a triple post indicates the need for faster response times. If that increases the odds of an accidental post, that's just a chance we need to take.

Gentlemen, we cannot allow a Mineshaft gap!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:37 AM
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107: I loved that show! I still remember most of the words to the Johnny Cyclops campaign song.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:37 AM
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107: that is nuts. I saw the film, though I occasionally ask myself whether it was just some sort of hallucination - I had no idea that there was an even more peculiar series.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 8:45 AM
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80 sounds great. To the extent the classes focus on the anti-nuke movement, it would be interesting to compare/contrast with the civil rights movement, the anti-(Vietnam) war movement, and even the ecology movement of the 70s.

When I got a "Question Authority" button around 1980, I think it was from an anti-nuclear power group at our county fair.

The general topic reminded me of Star Wars/SDI - at the time I felt like the only people in the world who took it seriously were Reagan and Gorbachev.



Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 9:02 AM
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You can't hug someone with nuclear arms. But with human arms you can hug and kill. You want that flexibility.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 9:06 AM
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102: Enh, good enough for me. I read that in one of his story collections--Remaking History?--and every now and then I find myself thinking about it.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 9:44 AM
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(If I were going to play a lot of music, which I'm not, I'd probably do the live version of "Help Save The Youth of America" that has the guy translating Billy Bragg's remarks into Russian.)

Thanks for the tip. I hadn't heard it and that performance is charged with an additional energy.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 9:49 AM
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maybe mention International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War? They won the Nobel in 1985, were only formed in 1980.


Posted by: JD Marron | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 9:53 AM
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They puts everything too everywhere - an' in little bits too.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 10:08 AM
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...I ventured to suggest that individual Soviet citizens did not have personal animus against individual Americans

This phenomenon has always left me confused - I mean, the extent to which you don't see that kind of animus towards actual Americans in other countries. People in America certainly had a demented animosity towards totally normal Soviet* citizens, after all. You see some distaste for Americans, sure, and in places that get a lot of Americans (which is mostly not the places where we're really destroying things/being threatening/etc.) you see a normal "ugh ugly-American tourists go away" sentiment that's totally normal. And in places where we're being nasty in some ways you can see people suspicious that you might be working with the CIA or something. But I read articles about people visiting, e.g., Iran and how the Iranians are friendly and welcoming and excited to see people from the US and so on and I think "Guys, come on. I get that you don't usually have any hatred of individual Americans, but have you considered getting one? That would be a totally reasonable attitude! Seriously!"


*And people in any number of other countries we've ended up doing nasty things to.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 10:09 AM
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Maybe we really are individually charming?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 10:37 AM
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123: Have you met us?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 10:41 AM
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That seems unlikely. Maybe they feel bad about the whole embassy thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 10:41 AM
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122: I think that people rapidly deduce that your average American is too much of a dupe to be mad at. We're all obviously fantastically ignorant about policy and have no functioning electoral system - you might as well be mad at Pierrot or Mr. Punch.

Or maybe humans outside the US are just better people, so while we hate them, they have decided to rise above.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 10:42 AM
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We do export a whole lot of pop culture to the rest of the world. So Americans abroad have the advantage of being the people in superhero movies.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 10:43 AM
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127: I buy it; Americans certainly have a tendency to view foreigners as super-powered villains.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 10:48 AM
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128: we do have a tendency to do the Evil Voice in conversation.https://youtu.be/5cFzABv0xMU


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 10:51 AM
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124: To be fair though, most of their exposure to Americans comes from our televisions shows and stuff. They haven't really spent much time with actual, normal Americans - just, you know, seen them on Jersey Shore or something.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 10:52 AM
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Plus, to 122, I think you may be underestimating how much people hate you because they aren't showing it. You don't have to express your distaste loudly and openly every time you see something you dislike. Especially not if you are hoping to do business with it. If I hated Muslims I would probably still manage to avoid saying so to every Muslim I met, and the result would be that most of them just wouldn't realise it.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:00 AM
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As Tom Lehrer says:

Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you,
You can tolerate them if you try.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:05 AM
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The foreigners who do seem to have an animus against Americans tend to be the English and Scots, and to a lesser extent French. Narcissism of small differences, I suppose.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:06 AM
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My personal theory is that the Sentinelese people of the Andaman Islands are the only people with an accurate perception of other cultures and that you can infer this from their behavior.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:07 AM
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I don't think most Americans "hate" foreigners from putative "enemy" nations on visits -- certainly during the Cold War itself there was lots of expressed sympathy for individual Russians. Maybe I'm being naive but I'm having a hard time imagining any nationality at all as to whom a wide swath of ordinary Americans would have an "I hate you because of your nationality" response to an ordinary tourist from abroad, even if there's a general suspicion of foreign governments. I guess I kind of background dislike extremely rich gulf arabs who show up in Beverly Hills, but that's not because of their nationality. Not sure why other countries would be any different.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:08 AM
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This is about views of the country itself and it's kind of impressively high all things considered. And outside of the tourists-are-awful phenomenon (they really are), I doubt you're going to see much in the way of "I really have a positive view of the country, but the actual people from there are shits." and I'd guess a decent proportion of "I disapprove of the country but the people seem mostly like nice decent folks."


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:11 AM
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My grandfather actively hated Germans, to the point where he was incapable of being civil to random German person X, but he was Norwegian, and this was only after he was senile enough to forget that WW2 had ended. We had a very uncomfortable Christmas Eve dinner once where he actively accused one of the guests (a young German man born in the 70s) of being part of the invasion of Narvik.

There are some Chinese who still hate Japanese that much, in part because Chinese TV is 99% implausible WW2 dramas. It's mostly young children and old people. Among young adults, it's a sign of unsophistication to really hate the Japanese, and in terms of individual tourist/expat behavior, everyone acknowledges that South Koreans are The Worst.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:17 AM
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131: I've had so many people overseas be extraordinarily generous towards me that it's hard to reconcile with prejudice. I've had people invite me to meals, their home, their cousin's wedding, loads of stuff. I'm sure some large subset of the people I've met in my life secretly hate me, but I have no reason to believe that it's particularly concentrated abroad.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:17 AM
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I doubt you're going to see much in the way of "I really have a positive view of the country, but the actual people from there are shits."

After living in Oz for a year and a half, I kind of feel this way about Australians. There are a few I've met that were decent and interesting people, but on the whole it really felt like Australia would be a better country without Australians.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:19 AM
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For no fault of my own, I'm irking an Australian right now. He's been very decent about it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:20 AM
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139: That's funny because when my students study abroad I tell them that Australian backpackers are generally the most fun to hang around with.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:28 AM
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140

IME the Australians in the US are better than Australians in Oz, and the ones in China are worse. The China bit is true of most nationalities, though from what I've heard the real dregs of the West are mostly in SE Asia. China is expensive enough and they are somewhat decent at enforcing sexual assault laws.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:29 AM
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Thanks to email and WebEx, I can piss off an Australian in Australia.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:30 AM
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141

In China they're the most likely to have hard drugs on them, which is a sort of fun I suppose.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:32 AM
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We had a very uncomfortable Christmas Eve dinner once where he actively accused one of the guests (a young German man born in the 70s) of being part of the invasion of Narvik.

Are you sure he wasn't? Maybe there was a new invasion planned and the young guy was reconning, and the Germans cancelled the invasion when he was exposed and they lost the element of surprise.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:33 AM
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145

Good point! My grandfather really deserves some posthumous recognition as the savior of Norway.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:37 AM
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Are you sure he wasn't Basil Fawlty?

Fixed that for you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:37 AM
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What's wrong with Australians? Do you hate sociability? I mean the point about expats in Southeast Asia is true enough, I stayed once ten years ago for a few days in a hotel in Phnom Penh that really was a spot where various dregs of Western middle-aged men washed up to drink and drug and sex-tourist themselves to death, and it was pretty grim, by far the most this-is-from-hell scene I've ever been near. The Germans seemed like the creepiest, though, maybe because I recall them being old, obese guys who wore leather biker pants.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:42 AM
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Isn't it too hot and humid for that?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:53 AM
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I sure thought so.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:55 AM
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If only they had access to leather short pants.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:55 AM
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You know who ELSE arrived in Australia and decided it would be much nicer as a terra nullius??


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:56 AM
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Your grandfather had no memory the British & French were preparing to occupy Narvik at the same time, and the Germans put on a quick, previously-unplanned operation to forestall them?

So that the blame for Norway's being caught up in the war and occupied is a complicated business?

I thought of Basil Fawlty too.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:57 AM
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"though from what I've heard the real dregs of the West are mostly in SE Asia."

Come back, alameida, I'm pretty sure she didn't mean you.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:59 AM
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Vang Veng, Laos is the cesspool of Australian youth. It's a small river town between Vientiane and Luang Prabang with maybe twenty five dive hostels. The locus of activity is tubing, where they rent you an inner tube to float down a river lined with bars blasting shitty music and serving cheap Lao whiskey. Each one has a rope swing or a slide or something to launch drunks into the river. The town itself has maybe 15 cafes that all serve the same food as well as weed or opium laced milkshakes, and they all have big screen TVs that show either Friends or Family Guy on repeat eternally. By 11 PM the unpaved main street looks like a Bosch painting. I swear that place has killed more Aussies than Gallipoli.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 11:59 AM
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Men, I am not ordering you to drink. I am ordering you to die.


Posted by: Opinionated Ataturk the Laotian Bar Owner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:02 PM
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Huh, I went there as well on the same trip. It was just getting started then as a new-ish tourist town, and I didn't stay long (I think there were maybe 1-2 hostels catering to Westerners then, and I don't remember drug-laced milkshakes) but I guess that destiny for the place makes sense.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:05 PM
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imagining any nationality at all as to whom a wide swath of ordinary Americans would have an "I hate you because of your nationality"

Hahaha. Foreigners are judged by the modal American on the basis of their country of origin's GDP. Contempt for say Mexicans and Central Americans is pretty widespread I think. I believe that today, open hatred for anyone from a muslim country is basically socially acceptable for all but overeducated coastal elites, maybe also unacceptable for nonelite granola eaters.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:08 PM
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Speaking of Laos, maybe this is only interesting to me, but I recently stumbled across this guy's Flickr stream of his life as a CIA "Air America" pilot when we were running a full-scale purportedly "secret" military operation in and out of Laos. It's pretty fascinating. I believe that more ordinance was dumped by the US on Laos in the 60s-70s than on Japan in WWII. It still looks like kind of a mostly pleasant vacation in photos.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:13 PM
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I don't think it's just GDP - I was in school with someone who disdained Scandinavians because they were "socialists", which was one step from being communists. She was unfamiliar with social democratic political organizations or the actual workings of any Scandinavian country's politics, of course. But we had actual Scandinavians in class (Markus and....hm, a name sort of like Elaina, if memory serves) for her to disapprove of.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:15 PM
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Yeah, they cleaned up Phnom Penh, kind of, and Vang Veng went to hell. When I was there in 2012-13 Four Thousand Islands by the Cambodian border was just about civilized.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:18 PM
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Thank god for Aussie backpackers abroad, they make American backpackers look polite and well-behaved by comparison.

159 is awesome stuff.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:28 PM
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... and I don't remember drug-laced milkshakes

Yeah, they are pretty great.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:30 PM
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158. What country do you live in? It isn't the US, apparently, or maybe where I live isn't. Sometimes I'm not sure when I read the national news.

Or maybe I don't know the right sort of people? I know plenty of what I would guess are "modal" Americans. ProTip: Trump is not a modal American.

159. Was it Laos they recently declared free of mines, or am I too optimistic? (Oops. It was Mozambique.)


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:33 PM
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So, looking up drowned Australians, as one does, I came across this guy. What struck me most wasn't that he was naked but that he's got what looks to be an 80 liter pack stuffed past the brim. That seems like a lot of stuff for a guy who isn't even wearing clothes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:34 PM
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165 was who I was referring to here.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:37 PM
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Right, but look at the size of his bag.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:39 PM
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I shall avert my eyes.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:40 PM
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162: When I worked in Shanghai, my co-teachers and I used to hang around with a couple of Australians. We bonded over the fact that we were all comparatively quiet and retiring and people were always telling us that we were hardly like Australians/Americans at all.

And it's true, of all the people who committed really culturally insensitive clunkers witnessed by me, the Australians were the most memorable. (For instance, asking the group leader loudly about Japanese war crimes at a school function for foreign teachers - many of whom were, you guessed it, Japanese.)

On the other hand, the non-asshole ones were all really nice and didn't seem to scorn us for being Americans like the Europeans did.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 12:52 PM
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153

Oh, my grandparents remembered alright. Hatred of the English was on par with that of the Swedes. Scotland is remembered fondly because 1) they were colonized by the evil English, and 2) they hosted the Norwegian parliament and royal family in exile.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:06 PM
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159: My uncle was an Air America pilot. My mother was a flight attendant on TWA flights transporting troops into Saigon at the same time, and once tried to leave a package from home for him at the Air America counter in the Saigon airport:

Mom: "Can I leave this here for Larry Breath? I'm his sister. I think he's out on a flight now, but he should be back in Saigon sometime soon."

Uncooperative Air America Employee: "Never heard of him."

Mom: "You must have, he works for Air America, he's here all the time."

UAAE: "No idea who he is."

Mom: "Oookay. I'm going to put this package down next to your counter. Maybe someone will pick it up."

UAAE: "That might work. You're his sister? The two of you look just alike."

Our covert agencies at work. (All facts in the above anecdote vouched for by my mother. I have no idea if they're true.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:06 PM
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Why did they have a counter?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:11 PM
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I have never understood that part of the story.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:13 PM
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Presumably part of the whole "covert" thing, no?


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:16 PM
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They had to pretend to be an airline, with all those aircraft coming and going, obviously on US business but not obviously what they were actually doing.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:18 PM
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That makes sense.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:21 PM
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They had to pretend to be an airline, with all those aircraft coming and going

Amateur hour. A real covert agency would have developed invisible planes.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:22 PM
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Leading to the Wonder Woman problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:23 PM
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But if they had to pretend to be a real airline, why did they have to comically half-deny knowing the name of an employee?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:24 PM
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When I was in France most people were nice and welcoming to me and other Americans. One guy got on an angry rant in a bar, but he went on to rant about "les beurs," so it wasn't just Americans he had a problem with.

I kind of assume that if you actually asked an Iranian or whatever why they don't hate us, à la 122, they'd explain that of course then understand that regular Americans have no idea what their army and allies do in their names, of course we wouldn't actually support all the horrible stuff going on, we're just duped by the cabal running the media. If it got to details we might have to say, well, no, most Americans support that, or agree that it's sad but feel that it's the lesser of two evils, and by the way there better not be anything anti-Semitic about that cabal idea...

And in the end cross-cultural communication would increase tension and hatred, not reduce it. You have to really know someone to hate them properly.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:54 PM
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What did he have against bears?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 1:58 PM
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The whole Air America/US in Laos thing rested on assumptions about mass communications technology, Asia, warfare, and the press that just seem totally foreign now but I guess could have made sense to guys who grew up reading boyish adventure stories and then went to Yale in the 30s. Let's use more bombs than we used in WWII on a country that we're pretending to have no involvement with at all, because ... that will win us love and keep them allied with the United States? We'll set up a laughably transparent front "civilian" airline to run the operation. No one will ever know! Oh, and we'll ise as our ally an insane general with a band of hill tribesmen, and fund their operation for free by helping them run opium.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:00 PM
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My impression of a lot of America's covert intelligence/operations agencies is that we're lucky they didn't call it "CIAirlines".


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:02 PM
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Let's use more bombs than we used in WWII on a country that we're pretending to have no involvement with at all, because ... that will win us love and keep them allied with the United States? We'll set up a laughably transparent front "civilian" airline to run the operation. No one will ever know! Oh, and we'll ise as our ally an insane general with a band of hill tribesmen, and fund their operation for free by helping them run opium.

Seems legit.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:03 PM
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148

Oh, and here's a sample conversation of why I hate Australians (tm)

[discussing racist incident where Aussie actors wore blackface and afro wigs for a comedy sketch]
me: that's really not an ok thing to do.
Aussie: aw, come on mate, don't you have a sense of humor?
me: it's really racist.
Aussie: not it's not, because we're not racist. If you Americans did it, it would be racist, because you guys are racist. But if we do it, it's just a bit of fun, because we're not racist.
me: seriously? do you not recognize that if you do racist stuff, you are, in fact, racist? Also, aborigines? the anti-lebanese riots? the white Australia policy? how can you even think Australians aren't racist? In fact, that very claim is a sign of unwillingness to acknowledge racism!
Aussie: well, see, that stuff would be racist if we were racist, but we're not, so it's not racist. Also, the aborigines were a simple people and much better off after we murdered them all provided them with social services, not like American Indians.
me: head explodes

Also, if you spend much time in Oz with nonwhite friends, you'll find exactly how far mainstream Aussie friendliness extends.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:14 PM
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The thing is, the keeping it secret part somehow sort of worked. I think the bombings only hit the US press in 71 or 72, six or seven years after they started. Crazy!


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:15 PM
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Did nobody notice Laos was being bombed or did they think somebody else was bombing Laos?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:17 PM
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180

My experience in France is that in Normandy, people treated me like complete garbage until I told them I was an American. Then it was a complete 180 to smiles and rainbows. In Paris people were actually very friendly to me, and then got looks of horror on their face when I told them I was an American. In Brittany, people were pretty nice to me because they could tell I wasn't a British school child.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:17 PM
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Of course, there's a limit to how secret you can keep bombings.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:18 PM
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From what I've been told that second line from the Aussie is something you'll definitely hear in a lot of places. I know there was a lot of that kind of "oh but it's not racist because we're not racist here" stuff in Northern Europe when Zwarte Piet started to get more and more controversial.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:19 PM
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164. I can't tell if you're disagreeing ironically or actually asking. I live in the US. From your name I guess you live in MA, which like the place I live (DC burbs) is full of coastal elite people who, no, are not modal Americans. I see that the phrase "modal American" is uncommon-- I'm not trying to be a smartass, average joe would have been better. In defense of the phrase, I spend enough time looking at skew distributions that 'average' is not my first choice for 'typical'

For whatever it's worth, I'm an ssimilated immigrant. My mom is still a US resident, has a fairly strong accent so is readily identifiable as a foreigner.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:19 PM
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I don't really know, but I think there just weren't enough Western reporters in Laos, and the regions being bombed were pretty damn remote. It's crazy, though. The CIA's airport there was at the time the busiest in the world.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:19 PM
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I think I look really modal American-y in the corn-fed flyover country sense. But maybe not so much now that I've lived on the east coast for so long.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:24 PM
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You think Pittsburgh is on the east coast? You are a modal American.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:29 PM
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I was also counting my time in Ohio.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:30 PM
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Well played.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:33 PM
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||
In the continuing adventures of the University of Minnesota's research scandals the AAHRPP refused to re-accredit them until more changes were made, and now they're going to have to deal with a lot more inspections (and a one year deadline) before they're re-accredited.

The university's statement in response to it is kind of great, and exactly what you'd expect from them if you've followed the scandals so far, namely that they're proudly pretending that remaining (temporarily) accredited is a positive thing rather than embarrassing. It's like watching someone out on bail boasting about how, while you may have thought looked bad when they were arrested, the judge has determined that there wasn't any reason to have them in jail after all.
|>


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 2:40 PM
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||
I don't really have the experience to know for sure, but the accrediting agency doesn't sound especially happy either. Four quarterly improvement plans, two status updates and another site visit sounds like a lot of stuff to require.
|>


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 3:06 PM
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Air America actually did a lot of legit airline stuff in the region and a lot of its pilots had no idea it was up to anything dodgy at all. And the Royal Lao Air Force was bombing Laos too in its fight against the North Vietnamese and the Pathet Lao - so it wasn't like there was no explanation at all for the way stuff kept blowing up. The secret bit was that the U.S. was doing it as well.

170 is great. "Screw the English! They're as bad as the Germans!" Dude the Germans invaded and occupied you for five years and murdered a load of your people. "Yeah but the English would totally have done exactly the same thing!" Right whatever. "Not the Scots though! They were our friends during the war!" You are aware that this is two parts of the same country we're talking about here? "What?"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 4:27 PM
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Oooer. That's my university! Although my section of it - though researchy - is not a Problem Area. I will have to see what scuttlebutt I can pick up in coming days, as I'd kind of lost track of the whole thing while under a great variety of deadlines.

I dunno, in many respects the UMN is a great place, and the funny thing is that in my part of it people are quite scrupulous IRB-wise, as far as I can tell from hearing people talk about their IRB status, proposals and time on the committee. But we sure have produced some impressively dreadful academic behavior taken as a whole.

Really, we do good scholarship here quite a lot of the time. We just seem to have a lot of senior administrators - not the president, really, although remind me to tell you about the shitshow that is union contract negotiations this time around, it's embarrassing, or it ought to be - who are determined to run us right off a cliff in a mistaken believe that it will bring them personal glory.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 4:49 PM
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There's a really good documentary about the Marshall Islands and the legacy of the Bikini tests which I have forgotten the name of but which might be an interesting source in terms of thinking about anti-nuclear testing movements from an indigenous perspective?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:30 PM
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The university administration, and one or two very bad departments* seem to be the ones causing all the serious trouble. The amount of stalling/denying/covering up and just bald faced out and out lying by the University administrators in response to the Markingson and related cases is genuinely shocking, and probably the biggest cause of all their trouble right now. If they'd stepped in in 2004 and addressed the obvious and very serious problems in the psychiatry department then they absolutely would not be in trouble right now.

Watching this year unfold for them has been really satisfying, I have to admit. (I really am curious what someone with experience in these kinds of things thinks about what the AAHRPP is doing here. Their descriptions make it sound like usually the procedure is that there's a report or two filed afterwards and then they decide a few months later - with the option of more detailed reports/updates, or maybe even an inspection, but really really rarely. Saying that that the school will have to submit a separate report for each of the next four agency meetings, two other updates, and have a visit all over the course of a year seems really strange. But I can't tell what's really going on.)


*Seriously, the psychiatry department has a remarkable history of bad behavior - like, stretching back decades, replacing people after they had to go to jail for misconduct with openly sociopathic employees of big drug companies, and so on.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:43 PM
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How did they find the money to hire away somebody from pharma?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:58 PM
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The word "away" is already giving the department too much credit...


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 5:59 PM
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191. I do live in MA, but I've lived and visited elsewhere a lot (relatives in various Red States, etc.), and I haven't seen the sort of casual dissing of other countries you describe all that much. In fact, I've hard more of it in enlightened topless Europe than here. Even American who occasionally "criticize" the model person in other countries, or the governments thereof, are mostly more polite to non-asshat tourist foreigners than to locals. Hmm, that last may be a MA thing. We all hate each other here.

On the other hand, the folks who post about how completely asshat-erous American tourists can be are certainly right, though my memory is French people at least thought the Germans were worse than Americans and hated them more. History, eh?


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:09 PM
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hard s/b "heard"


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:11 PM
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So, a report back from my meeting with the professor: class is mostly men but also mostly international students and people of color; they are not foreign policy specialists and indeed should be assumed not to know much about the Cold War. They will follow through on reading assigned pre-class. Chattiness is mixed. Generally supposed to be a pleasant bunch with a good rapport among themselves.

Tentative plan:

Assign KSR's "The Lucky Strike".

Start class with a little poll. Talk about the reading. Brainstorm/infodump about the Cold War.

Images and video - begin on Day 1 if needed. Slideshow of striking images. Atomic Cafe clip. Other video as needed to fill time; or skip things as needed to compress this section.

Section of When the Wind Blows and/or section of Barefoot Gen. Discuss.

Done!

I'm thinking that I would like to include something about that indigenous perspective documentary.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 6:26 PM
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It's almost all from the 50s/60s, but if you are looking for Atomic Cafe type stuff, this site, CONELRAD, is excellent. In particular, they have the "Dasiy commercial" (which is worth a watch for anyone who has not seen it).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10- 6-15 7:10 PM
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If they're mostly international students, that makes a big difference - how accessible will the KSR story be to them? Do you want to make the class explicitly about "this is about anti-nuclear activism and popular culture in the US" or try to cover worldwide, maybe with their help? Baseline opinion on nuclear weapons among, say, Indians or Pakistanis might be very different; in Pakistan having the Bomb is a major source of national pride for a lot of people.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10- 7-15 3:14 AM
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156 is yet another reason to love Unfogged.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10- 7-15 4:33 AM
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209: Per the professor, I am sticking to the US and the UK (with a few digressions about Western Europe as needed) in terms of what I present, partly because the students aren't familiar with US cultural history (except in the exported-movies way that everyone ends up being). Just as well, really, since although I think I have a broad outline, I am not going to have the expertise that most of these students do.

But my thought is to frame the KSR story as "what can we learn through reading this ABOUT center-left US sentiment in the 80s", not "how can we extract a moral from the story". We're reading it as an important story that's been used as an educational tool rather than as a prompt for ethical discussion.

I'm going to give the students some reading questions, though, and I think asking specifically about non-US perspectives on the story will be a good one.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 7-15 5:34 AM
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One thing that's worth thinking about when it comes to having discussion periods during class is what kind of discussion you want to see. In my experience there are two pretty distinct kinds - there's the one where individual students ask the professor questions, and maybe occasionally another student has a follow up or something, and there's the one where the students mostly talk to each other with the professor acting like the conductor in an orchestra (kind of). You have to do different things to get each one working, and both have their merits, so it's worth thinking through what you're looking for from the discussions.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 10- 7-15 10:43 AM
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I'm planning to do what I do in my community ed class, which is mostly encourage the students talking to each other - or at least I'm hoping that's going to happen. I know that means we're going to veer all over the place, but I've had at least a little practice nudging conversations back to where I sort of want them to go. Mainly, I'll be happy if students can talk more about the story as a story than about "should the US have bombed Japan", which is a risk with using this story. I'm thinking of giving them ten pages of Fragile Flag to compare it with so that it's more difficult to do that.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10- 7-15 11:34 AM
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