I Saw a Film!

This is a collage of film and audio clips all related to the development, testing and actual use of the Atomic Bomb. When I saw it, back in the day it staggered me, and I tried to see it again for years, to no avail. It wasn’t available on VHS and eventually I stopped looking for it. This particular version says it’s been “restored”. I am not sure I understand what happened to it. The film is US propaganda, which means almost entirely full of BS that was meant to reassure Americans that the bomb was safe and that it meant that the world was ours.

Possibly the saddest parts of the film are those of the Bikini Atoll testing in which America convinced these island peoples to vacate the premises and let us ruin their traditional homes, basically forever. We also sank a bunch of ships, and burned a load of pigs and goats, and had American sailors far too close to the blast. The overwrought and virtually jaunty square-jawed ignorance of our national political presence is so obnoxious and painful to view that you can’t but help questioning everything about your national identity. Certainly, all nations mislead and strong-arm their people. But America was meant to be different. Finding out so clearly, especially during moments like the Rosenberg executions, how plainly racist and despicable the average bloody-thirsty citizen is.

There’s too much to review here, and the result is a disturbing document, eventually reaching a kind of humorous pitch in the era of the fall-out shelter and children being taught to prepare for the inevitable war. In a way it’s astonishing it’s not happened. America remains the only nation that actually did deliver these bombs to people and devastate their worlds. Watching the aftermath researchers drawing chalk circles around incinerated remains is mind-warping.

Couple this with a more modern approach like Command and Control, based on the recent book by Eric Schlosser, brings home the massive danger we lived under as the Titan 2 missiles and the endless bombs in the air overhead were maintained as if we weren’t flirting with unimaginable disaster. A disaster narrowly avoided because a technician dropped a socket and ignited the fuel of one of those missiles that had it detonated the warhead would have wiped out half the East Coast with fallout.

These sorts of films should be required viewing of every citizen, and every politician held to account for the escalation of Hell on Earth.

Running for a few bucks on Prime (USA). The chaplin telling the soldiers that the army has taken ever precaution to protect them, and that the blast is beautiful . . . astonishing stuff.

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