Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Primer for Living with Fear and Worry

I know this post is a bit of a downer, but I found it interesting that in this 1955 addition of LIFE Magazine the front cover touted a new version of The Women with Shelley Winters, but the majority of the middle of the issue was dedicated to the basics for surviving a nuclear bomb.

I think it was maybe until I was in the 3rd or 4th grade that we finally stopped having bomb drills. I still remember going down into the basement of Kinzie Elementary where we all stood against the green painted brink walls. It was terrifying. I think at that time I didn't really understand the concept of nuclear war, but my brother was in the army and even then I lived in terror of having to join the military and fight.

In the 80's during the end of the cold war and the Reagan Years, popular media finally caught up with the notion that nuclear war was a bad thing. Movies like "Testament", "The Day After", and Sting singing song "Russians" were seemed part of the drumbeat from Hollywood to stop the madness. By that time, it was pretty much known if the bombs did fall that it meant no more world. But in 1955, people still could have their Shelley Winters in a tub on the front, and their instructions for how to survive a nuclear blast in the middle.

Here in this illustration the caption proclaims that a family can live in relative comfort in their dirt impacted basement. Notice that even though the world was destroyed outside, father still had time to pick out that perfect tie. They make it seem as if the nuclear winter will be no more inconvenient than an extra long wait at the dentist's office.
Or if digging your own grave is your style how about a foxhole shelter. This caption alludes to the fact that your average man can dig a hole deep enough to provide him shelter in just a couple of hours. The copy is so trite that I can hear Betty Furness reading it: Ladies remember to shake off that radioactive dust occasionally; this way your man will only see your glowing personality. Ok... Now I can buy sitting in the forever waiting room, or even digging my own personal hole, but no way in hell could anyone talk me into washing a whole house!

I think that kids today are missing the general overall paranoia and fear that the past generation lived with everyday. Considering that the Bush press secretary didn't know what the Cuban Missile Crisis was speaks volumes. Perhaps Miss Perino should put her feet up some evening and listen to this lovely album "If the Bomb Falls". In it gives advice to the smart housewife to choose easy to make foods; And for the family to bring a bottle of tranquilizers, about a 100 pills should do for a family of four. The calming voice says that "Tranquilizers are non-addictive"... Just point me towards Ground Zero!

Side one

Side two

Note: I know I got this record from someone on the Net years ago. I just can't remember who. My apologizes if I scammed it.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

It is amazing how historically ignorant people have (and have been ENCOURAGED to) become...I suppose the administration thinks that if people become informed about the history of the Nuclear Age, they might start getting informed about other things--like that pesky Constitution!