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Friday, April 14, 2006

Fiction That Pre-Cogs, Iran, Carl Sagan, and the Need For a New "America's Scientist"

This is a real mish-mash of a post, I tells ya, but it might learn you a couple of things.

Joseph Conrad's "The Secret Agent" pre-cogged the Unabomber. (I like that Conrad's real name was Teodore Korzeniowski and, well, you know the Unabomber's name...)

There was a novel that eerily presaged the Titanic disaster. From this site: "In 1898 Morgan wrote a novel that at the time was seen as so far-fetched as to not be believable. The novel detailed the harrowing tragedy of an ocean liner called the Titan. This huge fictional ship tempts fate and after striking an iceberg in the mid-Atlantic during its maiden voyage sinks with a tremendous loss of life due to a lack of life boats."

Which leads me to "Threads," a 1984 BBC production about nuclear combat and the horrible aftermath endured by the surviving British. It was downright compelling and scary when I viewed it--unlike the hokey "The Day After" telepic produced by an American network. What made me think of "Threads" this morning is that the nuclear exchange is prompted by a crisis in...Iran. Learn more about the movie here and here.

Dr. Carl Sagan was a scientific advisor on the movie, according to IMDB. I recall he was fervently trying to get the word out about "nuclear winter" back in the 1980s, the Reagan era. Sagan was "America's Scientist" for years, just as Dr. Joyce Brothers was "America's Psychologist," Billy Graham is "America's Preacher," and Donald Trump is "America's Casino Operator/Real Estate Dude." What we need is a new "America's Scientist," a beloved, popular and smart figure that will be feted at the White House, one who can make President Bush listen to--and make him seriously address--real concerns about the environment, global warming, peak oil, and the effects of nuclear combat.

Oh Christ. What am I, on drugs?

Anyway, the Iranian crisis depicted in "Threads" has no resemblance to current events. It's just a simple East vs. West/Warsaw Pakt vs. NATO matter in the film. But let's hope the BBC's Iran reference point does not turn out to be prescient.

1 Comments:

Blogger X. Dell said...

In a post coming early next month, I'll be adding one to your list, Johnny.

I managed to find an esoteric manual in the garage sale, and I found a section on "Statements of Intent." A SoI is a narrative thrust into public discourse (a piece of music, a work of art, a play, movie, etc.) so that plans requiring the use of numerous operators, who for obvious reasons cannot be connected, can act independently.

Sure, there are memes in the air. But I wonder, sometimes, how many Statements of Intent are playing at the local cineplex.

1:58 PM  

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