Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Second Verse, Same as the First

This is a cold war era video I found over at The Oregonian embedded in an article by Peter Ames Carlin entitled, "With nuclear annihilation imminent, Portland keeps its cool"

It is 27 minutes, but well worth at least spending 10 or 15 minutes if you can't see the whole thing. The video hit me on a number of levels.

It is a piece of propaganda first and foremost. With our more sophisticated abilities to criticize media, it is plain that this video is meant to invoke fear that leads to compliance. Our current terrorism hysteria is not much different from this video. Take a small but spectacular threat and pump it for everything it is worth.

However, it could also be considered an example of how a community could react to an extreme situation. Those do happen. CBS and the US gov't chose nuclear annihilation, but imagine if such a plan could have been carried out for the big hurricanes of the last 5 years. What if actual coordination had occurred and people cooperated instead of complaining for once in their lives? How many lives would have been saved? How could a pre-existing plan have helped to cope with the financial aftermath of those who lost so much? Emergency Preparedness is not just a Boy Scout merit badge.

In Portland, the same plan could be put together to respond to natural catastrophes. Instead of selling out for corporate contracts and cutting our public resources to the bone, we could actually plan for difficult times. With dwindling natural resources and growing population, it would be a smart idea.

Instead, we prefer a circular firing squad of blame and allowing the most belligerent to wield the microphone. GM is facing bankruptcy and America debates whether to help. I will bet that one of Toyota's worst years ever isn't turned into a cable news circus. In fact, I would bet the government quietly makes sure Toyota does just fine.

It might be an idea for our own country.

(On the other hand, Japan had their own financial meltdown and didn't recover very quickly due to their own foot dragging, so there you go. We appear to be acting similarly to placate the bankers, so prepare for a slow recovery.)


Dave said...

What may have been possible in the past may not be possible today.

Consider: In America's largest cities takes forty five minutes to an hour. The sudden onslaught of traffic during an emergency would mean instant traffic jams. Lets say a tsunami wave was to strike the west coast. Most of our largest cities are right on the coast. In some cases the disaster might be more immediete.

Another example would be a volcanic eruption...

Dave said...

I seem to have left out the word commute

Don Snabulus said...

Evacuation would likely be a bigger problem. We are a bigger city now.

DewKid said...

... or even worse: PepsiCo might decide to stop making Mountain Dew!! The implications of that are just... just... OH THE HORROR!!!

Don Snabulus said...

By evacuation, I mean Temecula Valley Viognier chilled to precisely 53 degrees.

The Moody Minstrel said...


Seriously, though; I thought evacuation was what happened when people ate too much spicy food. That would DEFINITELY cause clogging at the exits (and restrooms) of the restaurant!

Pandabonium said...

I grew up doing "drop drills" in school - huddling under my desk and covering my head with my hands as a defense against nuclear attack. During the Cuban missile crisis we had neighbors building bomb shelters and there as actually a pre-fab bomb shelter on display at the local shopping center. Thank you CIA/DIA. The reality is and always has been that it is the USA that wields and uses the big stick on this planet and that fears of others is just a tool to frighten taxpayers into footing the bill.

Now we've allowed the US Constitution to be shredded out of fear of ... what? Saudis with box cutters? Pathetic, cowardly little farts we have become.

But your point is well taken about REAL threats to communities today.

On a positive note, I can point to Portland's on-going planning to deal with peak oil and the need to localize food production and encourage more efficient transportation systems. I that regard, Portland is a leader in planning.

WV "feedersi" - what Si Zentner's wife told him when he asked what he should with a stray female cat.

Don Snabulus said...


I thankfully avoided the hiding under the desk drills, but there was still plenty they wanted us to worry about as there is now.

It looks like Obama cares about the Constitution about as much as Bush did...disappointed, but not surprised.

Portland is a great city in a lot of ways with a lot of good people...hopefully that will help us when we need it to.

Dave said...

Not to mention plenty of bridges and viaducts to hide under

Dean Wormer said...

Portland is expendable.

Unless I'm at work.

Your point is well taken about the use of public resources and GM. Our leadership in Washington are lunatics.

Pandabonium said...

Be alert, stay alert!

In college I found a record (one of those round black vinyl things with grooves in it to reproduce sound) in a drug store sale bin, titled "If the Bomb Falls" (LP 1962). It said, "There's no doubt about it, if you live within a few miles of where one of these bombs strikes, you'll die - instantly. You'll also die if you live down wind of where one of these weapons falls. It may be a slow and lingering death, but it will be equally as fatal as the bomb blast itself. You'll die, unless you have shelter." I used it for humorous cuts in taped broadcasts I produced called "The Fuhrer Bunker Headquarters" - featuring Richard M Nixon as der Fuhrer.

Anyway, that's the kind of terror crap us boomers grew up with. And we're supposed to be afraid of box cutters? Sh.....t. We know who the real "terrorists" are now, don't we, boys and girls?

Hint: they live and work around Washington, D.C. and suck up over half the Federal budget.

Hey, truth seeker - now you can listen to a few cuts of this LP. Point your browser here: When the Bomb FallsTune your radio!

Dave said...


Let's be carefull who we call terrorists. There are many innocent men women and children in DC who have never run for office.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Such as Olivia.

Still, I understand what PB meant.

Pandabonium said...

Dave & Moody - I was of course referring to the military /intelligence complex. Innocent civilians and in particular Olivia obviously do not "suck up over half the Federal budget".

Word Ver: forgs - dyslexic frogs