Come Armageddon, Come
Emily and Brian have both recently posted some thoughtful remarks about nuclear war, Hiroshima, and the ways in which we all seem to have forgotten just how horrible these weapons actually are. In fact, I was quite surprised yesterday to see that Emily, Brian, and Amy seemed to have been the only progressive bloggers writing about the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. It would appear that-- for better or worse-- August 6th is now more infamous as the day the president ignored the 2001 memo warning him that September 11th was about to happen.
Anyway, in an effort to continue our conversation about the horrors of nuclear weapons, I present to you Steven Church's essay "The Days After the Day After." I found this piece to be a really moving reminder of what it was like to live in Reagan's America as a kid, terrified by nuclear war's seeming-inevitability. It also made me think abou that shitty Steve Guttenberg TV movie referenced in the title in a whole new way-- Church grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, which was where the film was shot. The essay describes the way the movie temporarily transformed the town and caused everyone to reflect on what nuclear war would likely mean, and what it did mean that we were all kind of living at gunpoint during the arms race.
Anyway. It's a good essay, and it's especially worth reading now, as, like, just about every tough-on-terrorists know-it-all running for president is trying to indicate that he or she would be willing to use nuclear weapons against a country if there was evidence to suggest that some terrorists might be driving through or something. And Church is a really good writer-- his 2005 memoir The Guiness Book of Me was one of the best memoirs in recent memory. I highly recommend him.