by Leigh Lundin
Fact: Less that 0.002% of American males will be reading this article instead of watching the Superbowl. Nevertheless, we press ever forward with our own take on entertainment including a part of Superbowl history.
In the past few days, a couple of entertainment anniversaries came to my attention, one a film and the other an advertisement.
Yes, an advert that appeared only once, but oh, what a work of art by none other than that master filmmaker known for Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, and Hannibal: Ridley Scott. It was an ad run just one time thirty years ago during the Superbowl.
By now, you know I’m referring to Apple’s 1984 introduction of the Macintosh. Go on, watch it again; you know you want to.
I surmise the author of the article that reminded me of the Mac’s anniversary is quite young, not realizing the cycles of history. Without irony, she writes “The ad follows a popular theme of that era; that ‘Big Brother’ is watching you.”
Julia, Big Brother IS watching us like never before. Here in the US, we’re debating the rôle of the NSA and exactly how many of our civil liberties we’re willing to forego in the pursuit of, er, liberty.
The UK has grown more heavy handed. After misusing an anti-terrorism law to jail at least one reporter, David Cameron’s government ordered its spooks over to The Guardian to oversee the destruction of hard drives and computers (including *gasp* a beautiful MacBook Air!) containing Snowden files. So much for freedom of the press.
Visiting this theme of governments and misleading their citizens brings us to another landmark film by another superb filmmaker, a man who brought us such classics as 2001, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Barry Lyndon, and Eyes Wide Shut: Stanley Kubrick.
Of course, I’m talking about Dr. Strangelove, which came to the screen fifty years ago. You’ve noticed I possess a dark sense of humor and awareness, but for personal reasons, that’s a film I can’t watch.
Events that happen in early childhood can effect a person forever after. When I was quite little, my parents attended a talk about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I’ve never witnessed anything as frightening as that presentation with its graphic slides and descriptions of atomized citizens flashed into the sides of buildings. That was the first time I learned that people not only killed other people, they could do it on a mass scale.
After the talk, audience could meet the speaker and look at his exhibits. One was shiny metallic pellets from a Japanese bomb site in, of all things, a baby food jar. When I looked closer, the presenter joked, “Don’t drop it or it’ll explode!”
Thereafter when I was supposed to be sleeping and heard a large aeroplane overhead, I worried it might drop bombs. I’m convinced Strangelove is a great film, but for me, it was the wrong movie at the wrong time, the reason I’ve not been able to bring myself to view Dr. Strangelove.— yet.
Now, fifty years later, we learn that Dr. Strangelove portrayed the truth much more accurately than our government, which
pooh-poohed the notion of an out-of-control military officer starting a
war on his own but secretly knew it was all too true. The actual
situation was far more volatile and dangerous than anyone imagined, not
just on our side, but also the Soviets.
Do I hear Clydesdales?
Back to Superbowl Sunday. I’ve read that modern sports are bloodless (usually) reenactments of war. That might make non-sports fans look more kindly on football.
Now about those cheerleaders…