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Atomic Cafe, The

Reviewed By Thom
Posted 12/16/99 19:36:28

"Duck... and cover"
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Hilarious footage from disaster preparedness films of the '50s and '60s. The films themselves are ironic given what we know now. But after World War II people really believed they were being told the truth by the government about everything from food additivies to nuclear technology and protesting government action was unheard of. Can you imagine?

Were Americans really that naive or just tired after two wars of epic tragedy and ready to settle into a nice comfortable grind where conflict could be conveniently erased by simply going along with what someone else told you. And in America, the government (whatever that is in our version of democracy) became the Patron of the people.

If a nuclear bomb explodes in your neighborhood, what do you do, Jane? That's right. Duck and Cover.

Seeing this scene repeated 30 different ways in 30 different segments never gets tiring. It so unbelievable the things they told people and how utterly ridiculous any safety precaution would be. I remember duck and cover drills in elementary school in the '70s but it was specifically for earthquakes.

The MK ultra-starched clothes, the happy-go-lucky attitudes, the officially sanctioned patronizing white male protestant narrator of these official government films are so jokey it's hard to believe they were intended as serious training films.

Talk about a world in complete denial. People just accepted that butter was yellow even though everyone from a farm, which included most of the population of the US, knew it was white. White Suburban Monoculture. 2+2=5. No wonder the beats were so disenchanted. American culture was so phony and hypocritical where could you find anything authentic or true in a society based on lies?

The documentary also shows cannon fodder used to test the effects of nuclear fallout. Simply unbelievable.

A must see for any student of modern American history or a fan of irony laden social commentary.

There is no commentary of the footage in Atomic Cafe. There doesn't need to be. Social progress is enough of a backdrop to create the irony in every pasty film clip.

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