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Friday, April 28, 2006

The predictive power of Dr. Strangelove 


Friday night at the TigerHawk household is often for family movies, which have gotten steadily more interesting as our children have grown up. Tonight, in recognition of our son's "Cold War" unit in 9th grade history, we are watching Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, a movie made 42 years ago. I hadn't seen it in at least 20 years, perhaps more. What an outstanding, hilarious, instructive movie.

There's all kinds of great stuff in there, and some of it was astonishingly prescient. This bit, in which Soviet Ambassador DeSadeski explains to American President Muffley why the Russians built the "doomsday machine," foretells both the economic supremacy of the United States and the, er, "patriotism" of, er, certain newspapers:

President Muffley:

But this is absolute madness, ambassador. Why should you build such a thing?

Ambassador DeSadeski:

There are those of us who fought against it, but in the end we could not keep up with the expense involved in the arms race, the space race, and the peace race. And at the same time our people grumbled for more nylons and washing machines. Our doomsday scheme cost us just a small fraction of what we'd been spending on defense in a single year. But the deciding factor was when we learned that your country was working along similar lines, and we were afraid of a doomsday gap.

Muffley:

This is preposterous. I've never approved of anything like that.

DeSadeski:

Our source was the New York Times.

If you haven't seen Dr. Strangelove since the end of the Cold War, you need to.

2 Comments:

By Blogger sirius_sir, at Sat Apr 29, 11:14:00 AM:

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Apr 29, 06:10:00 PM:

I saw it when if first came out. I was then a SAC aircrew member. I thought it was hilarious, but I was the only person in the house who was laughing. Everyone else took it very seriously. Dolts.  

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