Saturday, 26 September 2009

Fear tactics.

After news that Iran has taken North Korea's place as the wayward child of the United Nations and developed nuclear weapons, it's time to once again consider something we haven't needed to think about since the Cold War; what to do if a big fat nuke drops in our garden.

Ok, I'm being dramatic, obviously if that happened, no Scout's guide on Earth is going to change the toasted outcome of that one. However, there's nothing like Government information guides written and produced in the 70s and 80s to thoroughly scare the shit out of the British public in the name of information.

20 short films were produced in order to advise the public what to do if we were attacked with nuclear weapons. This one in particular is a highlight.

As if this wasn't enough to encourage one to be prepared for the incoming nuclear holocaust, the kids got their own version. Children's informational programmes about dangerous stuff in the 70s and 80s were known for inducing nightmares on a level that makes The Exorcist look like a walk in the park, with producers clearly deciding that pushing death in the faces of the young ones was the way forward. Even something as basic as telling them to stay away from deep water needed a Grim Reaper to hammer the message home.

Even after being hardened by this emotional abuse, there was nothing to prepare the little ones for Threads, a docu-film about a nuclear attack on Northern England. A thirteen-part series in small enough chunks to be shown in school classes, it's surprising more kids didn't join the armed forces for some emotional shelter. Here's some highlights from Threads:

After seeing this stuff, it always makes me crack a wry smile when people mention the desensitised youth with brains battered by horror and violence. Perhaps they just blocked out their own experiences with denial or a casual bit of alcoholism.

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