Pop Culture Junkette

Addicted to pop culture.

Friday, September 29, 2006


Anyone else watching this creepy show? I mentioned in my little fall TV recap that I'd be giving it a long leash because of the subject matter. This may be too much information, but I'm sickly fascinated with stories about surviving a nuclear war. Personally I'm not at all worried about getting killed in a nuclear blast, but surviving one? OH MY GOD NO!

I think it all started when I read Alas, Babylon in middle school. Now that was a CREEPY and terrifying book about a small Florida town after a nuclear war. I don't have a great memory for books, generally once I put something down it disappears from my head, but I still remember several important lessons it taught me: (1) do not live in a home that is unliveable without electricity (one of the characters lived in an expensive modern glass home that was partially open to the elements and became completely unliveable without airconditioning or central heating); (2) do NOT wear jewelry heisted from a jewelry store contaminated by radiation (there was a really grisley death brought about by this kind of greed). Now, hopefully I'll never put lesson (2) to use, but I definitely think about (1) every time I consider moving.

Then, in highschool, I took this strange history elective called Conflicts and Revolutions, which was supposed to be a class United States wars from the revolution to the modern day, but because my teacher was a little lazy, it more or less consisted of watching one war movie after another. In the strangest move of this very strange class, he decided to show us a little movie called Threads. Which was a BBC movie set in England. About nuclear winter. The connection to American history is really obvious isn't it? Anyway, if you've never seen this movie don't. It's completely scarring. Everybody I've talked to who's seen it has very visceral memories about the nightmares it invoked. I personally had dreams about it for months. This is from the BBC description of the movie:
We are treated to a graphically disturbing portrayal of the medieval conditions that might prevail after such a conflict, including starvation, nuclear winter, disease, psychological trauma, illiteracy and both mental and physical mutation.

Sounds grim, right? Well it is.

Slightly less grim was a book I read in college called The Postman. Yes, it was turned into a lame movie with Kevin Costner, but the book was really pretty good. It offered a much more hopeful look at a post-nuclear world in which not everybody is blind and eating rats and there is some hope at rebuilding civilization. What's interesting about The Postman is the idea that what could really kill civilization after a nuclear war isn't the effects of the war, but the destabilizing effects of crazy survivalists with guns. Because the book happened to be set in the area where I was living at the time, it also led to nightmares. In fact, for months I couldn't drive down certain roads in Oregon without imagining what they'd look like twenty years after cars stopped running.

And now there's Jericho, and given my history of nightmares, you'd think I'd avoid this show, but no. Of course not. I told you I was sickly fascinated by this little genre, so I will continue to watch. And maybe buy some potassium iodide pills. Just in case.



Blogger Red Fraggle said...

The big lesson I learned from Alas, Babylon was to have a wind-up watch that didn't need batteries. Oh, that and make sure the man you married has a really great brother, just in case he (your husband) doesn't survive the nuclear war.

9/29/2006 12:20 PM  
Blogger Laura Holt said...

That book was chock full of brilliant lessons.

9/29/2006 1:44 PM  
Blogger MrMotivation said...

Wow, I will have to check it out this show then. Considering you book list here are some suggestions for end of the world fans:
Earth Abides - kind of sweet end of the world tale about growing old.
Lucifer's Hammer - being smart is helpful in post holocaust CA.

9/29/2006 8:25 PM  
Blogger thekeez said...

I am so with you - I luv Apocalyptic movies and books. I'm a bit of a geezer, lived through Duck and Cover, Cuban Missle Crisis - saw The Day After. Watching Jericho with my teenaged kids was interesting.

They hadn't a clue really, about nuclear weapons, mushroom clouds, radiation, fallout, etc. What was just a part of my normal consciousness was completely foreign to them.

Which is a good thing when you think about it.

Anyway, Jericho has its problems, but we all liked it well enough at our house. So great to see Lennie James from Snatch. What's the story on his character, hmmmmmmmmmmm?

My fear is that Lost kicks in this week and the walls come tumbling down on Jericho.

Wasn't that Steven Pasquale - Garrity - from Rescue Me as one of the escaped cons?...thekeez

10/02/2006 1:10 PM  
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