I wrote this over at Reinvented just now:
How could you miss the nuclear fear? Terrorism has nothing on the propect of Leonid unleashing the 17 warheads aimed at your home town and making it a plateau of black glass to the horizon. Folks have been blowing up stuff and civilians since at least Joseph Conrad’s Secret Agent 100 years ago. How much is what has happened in the last few years really new? I still fear the rusting hulks of the Soviet nuclear fleet at Murmansk, Vlaidivostok and Kaliningrad far more than the guys play acting the very bad Bond script. [That is what I am starting to worry about quite seriously…how long will it take for the war on terror to be over if there are no more 9/11’s? How does it end?]
I wrote it in response to two statements [thread here] which quite surprised me:
- …who needs nuclear fear when we have terrorism (by a mid-20s person); and
- I missed the Cold War and nuclear fear too — totally passed me by (by a late 30s person).
I found these points of view not so much unexpected as they are pervasive so much as bizzare in their utter focus on the history of the very recent. Far greater threats to the western world were almost commonplace throughout the 20th century, even just the last third I lived through. Are we now so sphincter-locked that we forget…forget how to be defiant and get on with it all when we were able to do so faced with far greater risks and fears?
I am not suggesting that either the threat or the fear isn’t real but I cannot shake the feeling I immediately had on that day watching the TV as so many died – this is like a very bad and very ugly Bond film script. There is something in the shallow dimensionality of where we are now [which I do think is largely unrelated to Bush or Iraq] that makes me feel there are new gaps showing in the culture… but I cannot say where they are or what they say about us.