Sunday, October 24, 2010
The usefulness of "Duck & Cover"
(Video retrieved from Youtube.)
The above is the original American civil defence video made in 1951 in response to the first nuclear tests carried out by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. During the period of nuclear scare, this video was shown in schools religiously all over the country and every school kid was taught to practise the "duck and cover" drill so as to be prepared, should a real atomic bomb attack take place.
In "The Atomic Cafe", parts of this video was edited into the film sequence in such a way that the usefulness and relevance of the drill becomes highly questionable. In fact, "duck and cover" was repeated so many times (01:04:30~01:05:00) in the 30-second sequence that it starts to make the drill look slightly absurd. If an atomic bomb with 40 megatons of nuclear energy were land on you, how would ducking and covering your head with your bare hands help you in any way?
"The Atomic Cafe" is laced thoroughly with satirical tones and what makes us laugh is the constant jab at the logic (or lack thereof) behind American politicians' actions and decisions during the atomic bomb scare, such as the "duck and cover" drill that kids in the U.S. still go through at school even in the present day (though for other purposes, such as earthquakes).